Starting an English Conversation
English Conversation classes are one of the best ways to improve your English. This can sometimes be a daunting task. Today we are going to show you some easy ways to have conversations, so you can speak to anyone, anywhere. Before you become the conversation initiating expert, let’s look at something you should not do when trying to learn a language:
Starting an English Conversation
As you can see, these guys could do with practicing some English. How do you begin a conversation in English? Well, the best way is often to simply ask a question. Here are some examples to get the conversation going:
- “Do you know what time it is?”
- “Is this seat taken?”/ “Do you mind if I sit here?”
- “What time is this place open until?”
- “What is your name?”
As you can see, most of these questions are a little direct. Do you know how we could make them more polite? Write your comments below on how to make these questions sound more friendly.
Compliment in English
Instead of making the above questions sound ‘nicer,’ you can also simply comment on another person. For example, you could say something friendly about their appearance or a possession they have, and follow this with a question. Let’s look at these examples:
- That is a really nice hat. Can I ask where you got it?
- That’s a really cool phone! Is it easy to use?
Look at these images. Can you think of a way to begin a conversation? First try to compliment the person/their possession, and then ask a question. We’d love to hear your ideas, so make sure to write them in the comments section! This is a great way to practice your English conversation skills.
Comment on surroundings in English Conversation
Another way to start a conversation is to simply comment on what is around you. For example, if you are at a party and you want to start talking to the person next to you, you could say, “Hi, this is a great party isn’t it?” As you can see, this is another question to invite the other person to have a conversation. It doesn’t need to be a question every time to start a chat. Take a look at this next sentence:
“I love this fish! It’s so tasty.”
As you can see here, a simple statement can invite the other person to give you their opinion/ feeling/ interest, which can then lead to a conversation. Easy, right? As you look at these next images, write a way to begin an English conversation.
Now, let’s try to add a question to these comments in order to invite the other person to engage in conversation. Use the previous example above: “I love this fish! It’s so tasty.” How could we add a question to this? Well, we could ask “Do you like fish?” “What is your favorite seafood?” “Are you a seafood lover?” There are many possibilities. Try to think of a question to add to your statements above.
Likes and dislikes in English Conversation
We have begun a conversation with all of these comments. The next step is to have a more interesting, in-depth conversation. By doing this, your vocabulary will improve whilst allowing you to really show your personality-the best way to make friends. We’ll begin with likes and dislikes.
To ask questions about someone’s likes or dislikes, we can use words such as ‘like,’ ‘dislike,’ ‘don’t like,’ ‘prefer’ and ‘enjoy.’ Look at these examples below:
“Do you prefer going on vacation to the beach or to the mountains?”
“Do you enjoy speaking English?”
“Are there any sports that you dislike?”
Now, to make your English even more advanced, we can add adverbs to these sentences. Adverbs are words that can modify verbs, adjectives or other adverbs. We commonly use adverbs such as ‘quite,’ ‘really,’ ‘much’ and ‘mostly,’ which often go before your like/dislike word:
“Do you really enjoy speaking English?”
“Are there any sports that you mostly dislike?”
Habits in English Conversation
Another way to engage someone in conversation is to discuss habits. Habits are things that you do regularly. We often use the present tense to talk about habits. Let’s look at the sentences below:
- I occasionally go hiking.
- Typically, I wake up around 8am.
- Normally, I go to that restaurant for breakfast on Sunday mornings.
So, how can we start talking about habits in a conversation? That’s right-we can ask questions! As you can see above, I’ve added some adverbs to my questions (occasionally, typically, always), so we can ask questions using adverbs to find out how often someone does something. For example, “How often do you go hiking?” Can you think of questions for the last two sentences above?
Changing topics in English Conversation
Sometimes a conversation can start to fade, and maybe the other person is beginning to lose interest. This means that it is time to change the topic. Here are some phrases we can use to switch things around:
- That reminds me….
- Example: “….. I didn’t like that restaurant either. That reminds me, there is a big game on TV tonight…”
- Oh! Did you hear about/ that….
- Example: “….the weather is always bad here. Oh! Did you hear the news about ……?”
- Speaking of (topic), I found out that….
- Example: “…. I agree that Brad Pitt is a great actor. Speaking of movies, I found out that….”
Can you give us any examples of you changing topics when someone is becoming bored/ uninterested? Write your comments below so we can see your switching skills!
Closing the conversation
So, we’ve taught you lots of tricks and tips to start an English conversation and how to keep a conversation going. However, sometimes you might run out of time, the conversation might be really boring, or maybe you just want to talk to as many people as possible. For one of these reasons, you’ll need to stop the conversation. Here are some ways to do that:
- “Feel free to call me if you want to hang out. Here, I’ll give you my number.”
- “Well, if you ever want to chat again, I’m usually here on Mondays…”
- “It was really nice meeting you.”
- “I had a great time talking with you. Hope to see you again soon.”
Its always a good idea to be as nice as possible when ending the conversation. The other person will feel much more appreciated if you end with phrases like these.
So that wraps it up for today. We hope you will go out and start having conversations to improve your English.
To continue your development, sign up here for a free trial class with a native English speaker, and practice your newfound skills today! LOI English offers great English conversation classes focused on the communicative approach.