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23 English Phrases to Start a Conversation

22 English Phrases to Start a Conversation

A group of phrases that you often use when starting a conversation with someone.

1. How to offer, refuse

  • Would you like a Coke? - Yes, I'd love to.
  • Would you like me to drive you home?
  • It’s very kind of you, but I’ve already got a lift.
  • Would you like me to finish the report for you?
  • I appreciate the offer, but I think I can do it in time.
  • Would you like another piece of cake?
  • It’s very tempting, but I can’t.
  • What about going to Barbados next year on holiday?
  • It’s very tempting, but we can’t afford it.
  • Stay for another drink!.
  • I really shouldn’t! I’ve got to get up early tomorrow.
  • Would you like to come to the pub after work?
  • Oh, I can’t this time. I promised I’d pick up Joe from school.
  • Can you check my report for me?
  • I’m really sorry, but I can’t this time. I’ve got to finish something urgently.
  • …. and this phone has the latest camera and…
  • It’s a great offer, but I’m not interested.
  • We could also arrange five monthly payments…
  • Actually, I think I’m going to pass on it, if you don’t mind.
  • Would you like to come out for a curry? We’re all going…
  • Actually, I think I’ll pass on it tonight. I’m really tired.
  • I’m not sure if I can offer you a full-time position. Would you consider a part-time role instead?
  • Oh – let me sleep on it!
  • We can offer you a 10% discount if you pay the deposit before next week.
  • OK – let me sleep on it.
  • Do you want to be involved in the project?
  • I’m not sure. Let me sleep on it.
  • Can I interest you in our top-of-the-range dishwasher?
  • Oh – can you give me a couple of minutes?
  • Are you looking for a great takeaway?
  • Oh, not today thanks.

2. Understanding

  • I didn't quite get that.
  • Can you repeat that, please?
  • I didn't understand you.

See9 Dialogues and Short Conversations to Learn English

3. How to ask, argue

  • Are you saying that ...?
  • Can you explain that?
  • Sorry to interrupt you, ... I actually wanted to say that ...
  • Well, ... I don't think so.
  • I'm sure that ...
  • There's nothing more to say.
  • Obviously I don't need to say that ...

4. General phrases

  • Besides ...
  • It doesn't matter.
  • Don't mention it.
  • I must apologize for being so late.

5. Greeting your friend

  • Hi!
  • Hey!
  • How’s it going?
  • How’re you going?
  • How are things?
  • Alright, yeah? – used more in the UK
  • Hi mate! – UK, Aust (usually said to a guy)
  • What’s up! – common in the USA
  • Joey from TV’s Friends often asks:
  • How’re you doing?!
  • Hi everyone!
  • Hey guys!
  • How have you been?
  • It’s been ages since I saw you

6. Asking how your friend’s day is going

  • Had a good day? – say this with upward intonation
  • Good day? – also say this with upward intonation
  • What’s new?

7. Starting the interaction based on how they seem to be feeling

  • You seem a great mood today
  • Looks like you’ve.. had a good day
  • You seem a bit tired | stressed | distracted
  • On a related note, it’s possible your friend might be down if it’s a rainy or very cloudy day:
  • Crappy day, isn’t it? – ‘crappy’ is a slang word for ‘very bad’
  • Weather sucks, doesn’t it?
  • This weather sure does suck!
  • Can’t believe this rain!

8. Saying how you’re feeling

  • Great!
  • Couldn’t be better
  • Pretty good | tired
  • A bit tired
  • Things are great | so-so | alright, I guess

9. Asking your friend about their favourite team

  • Often sport comes up in conversation:
  • Hey did you catch the game | match last night?
  • The Hawks are doing great, aren’t they?!
  • They’re playing great | terribly this year
  • Who do you think’ll win this weekend?

10. Asking your friend about something you both know

  • So, how are things with..Marketa?
  • So, how’s it going with..Marketa | work | your boss?
  • So, how did it go with that girl | guy ..?
  • So, how did.. the conference | your job ..interview go?
  • Are you still working at Honza’s Sex Shop?
  • How are the folks?
  • How’s your dad | mum going?
  • Say ‘hi’ to your folks for me!

11. Using ‘so’ can help make the conversation flow

  • So, how have you been?!
  • So what’s new?
  • So do you fancy a drink?
  • So did you get the job?
  • Sooo, I guess I better run | go

12. Giving your friend surprising news

  • You’ll never guess – I’m marrying Tereza!
  • You won’t believe this – I got the job!
  • Have you heard – Ralph’s marrying Premek!

13. Responding to surprising news

  • No way!
  • You’re kidding!
  • You’re joking!
  • Really?!
  • That’s terrific | terrible | shocking!
  • I can’t believe that!

See50+ Phrases When not Feeling Well

14. When you don’t feel comfortable with a particular topic

  • I’m not really sure what to say. What about you?
  • Could be better, but not to worry. And you?
  • I’m sure things’ll get better soon.
  • How are things at your end?
  • Not good. What about you?
  • Things are fine.
  • I’m sure I’ll manage fine.
  • Yeah, you know how it is.

15. Making a suggestion

  • Let’s go out tonight.
  • What do you reckon?
  • How about we go to the cinema?
  • How about going to the pub?
  • You can also use:
  • What about..?

16. Responding to a suggestion to meet up

  • When you’re sure you can come:
  • Sounds good
  • Great, see you then!
  • Wonderful
  • Cool, see you there!
  • When you’re not sure yet:
  • Maybe, I’m not sure yet
  • Let me get back to you
  • When you can’t come:
  • I can’t, sorry, I have something else on.
  • Sorry, I can’t.
  • (Sorry), I’m really busy right now.

17. Closing the conversation

  • Sorry, gotta go. I’ve got a meeting | a date
  • Well, guess I’d better go
  • Well, better be off
  • Hey let’s catch up next week

18. Closing salutation

  • Take it easy!
  • Catch you later!
  • Later ‘bro – more in the USA
  • See you later!
  • Take care!
  • ‘Bye!
  • Alright, later mate! – more in the UK, Aust.

SeeBest Common Phrases in English When Meeting People

19. Begin with good conversation starters

  • Excuse me, do you have the time?
  • Do you know what time it is?
  • Hi. Is this seat taken?
  • Do you mind if I sit here?
  • Pardon me. Do you know what time this place closes?

20. Extending the conversation with more questions to ask people

  • Are you from this area?
  • So, what do you do for a living?
  • What brings you here today?
  • Do you come here a lot?

21. Asking for opinions and interesting questions to ask

  • I don't know. What do you think?
  • Has that been your experience too?
  • Has that ever happened to you?
  • Why do you think that is (the case)?
  • Is that a good thing or a bad thing?

22. Changing the topic with conversational connectors

  • That reminds me…
  • Oh hey. Did you hear that…
  • Speaking of [horses], I found out that

23. Inviting your conversation partner to talk longer

  • I'm not keeping you from something, am I?
  • Sorry for taking up so much of your time. Do you need to take off?
  • I just realised you're probably in the middle of something. Do you have time to chat?
  • Let me know if you need to get going. I don't want to take up all your time.

SeeUse I'M HAVING A HARD TIME to Build Sentences

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