YESNYOU – Takeaway give away: Social English!

Social English Hello again everyone! 

Al here with your free pocket guide to Social English!

How do you normally feel when you meet someone new?



Or a little bit nervous?

Meeting people for the first time can be very stressful – if you don’t know what to say! English is a phrasal language, which means that we use standard expressions in lots of situations, even when they can be a bit confusing grammatically! Our first blog, for example, back in May 2013, was about the expression “How do you do?” which is a very common greeting. Click here to read it!

But greeting someone is only the beginning! Being able to confidently make conversation with someone means understanding and using a range of phrases at the right moment.

ConversationIt is precisely because you might be nervous in these situations that it is essential to have some of these expressions at your fingertips, so that you can produce them automatically. This printable Takeaway (sometimes called a Cheat Sheet in American English, or a chuleta in Spanish) will help you to improve your vocabulary learning by organising  it into different functions.

Click on the link below to download the Takeaway.

YESNYOU – A Pocket Guide to Social English

It is important not to try to learn all of the vocabulary at the same time. Choose one or two expressions from each section and focus on them for the next few interactions that you have. When you feel that you have mastered them, learn a couple more.

Whenever I meet people, I try to find out as much as I can about them. The key to a good conversation is questions; if you can ask meaningful, open-ended questions then you will never run out of things to talk about! Look at these two example conversations that I had with my colleague David:

Dialogue 1.

Bad conversationDavid: Hello, Al. Are you okay today?

Al: Yes.

David: Have you been waiting here long?

Al: Yes.

David: Would you like to go to the cinema tonight?

Al: No.

Dialogue 2.

David: Hello, Al. What have you been up to today?

SpeedosAl: Well, I went and did a bit of shopping this morning and bought some new Speedos. I want to look good on the beach this summer.

Surf shortsDavid: Then I don’t recommend wearing Speedos. Why don’t you wear a nice pair of Bermuda shorts?

Al: Because I’ve been working on my body all year, and I want people to see it.

David: I’m not at all certain that people are ready for that.

Al: I strongly disagree.

Which conversation seemed more comfortable to you? The second one, of course. Did you notice that David always commented on my response before asking another question? We do this to demonstrate that we have understood what the other person has said, and also to show interest.

To be perfectly honest with you, I’m not a particularly good conversationalist. I have a tendency to deliver lengthy lectures about subjects that I’m interested in without giving the other person the opportunity to even ask any questions! A couple of weeks ago I was talking to a guy I had never met before, and after twenty minutes he asked me “Do you ever breathe in?” It took me a further forty minutes to explain to him why the answer is “No”.

I hope you get a lot of use out of the Takeaway, and that your conversations continue to get better and better!

Take care of yourselves until next time,



Confident = To be sure of your own abilities
Precise = Without any degree of error / Exactly
At your fingertips = To have immediate access to a resource or ability
Focus = Subject
Few = A quantity that is less than many
Meaningful = Full of significance, purpose or value
What have you been up to today? = A colloquial expression to ask about someone’s recent activity
Bermuda shorts = Bright, normally long shorts, normally worn by surfers
Speedos = Small, tight swimming trunks
Lengthy lectures = A speech read or delivered before an audience or class
Guy = Man

Un Comentario

  1. Jordi
    Posteado 29/03/2014 en 09:46 | Enlace permanente

    Hi Al!

    really funny your second conversation with David!

    Are you the guy on the pic? 😉


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