Easy phrases for English conversation

March 27, 2020

Small talk is part of our daily life. It serves as an ice-breaker in social situations, eases the atmosphere and stands in for silent moments.

Making light-hearted conversation is a skill which every one of us can learn – even in a foreign language! You can use the following easy phrases to help you with small talk in English.

I’m so pleased to meet you – This is a good way to start a conversation with someone new.

I’ve heard so much about you – When you meet a person for the first time, but have heard about him or her earlier.

Long time no see! – Use this phrase when you run into an old pal after a long time.

What brings you here? – A phrase you can use with friends or strangers. An easy way to make conversation.

I was wondering if – To start a sensitive conversation or to ask something use this phrase.

Sorry to bother you – This opening phrase can be used with anyone, even when asking for help from a stranger on the street.

What have you been up to lately? – A good alternative to asking “How are you?”.

Can’t argue with that – When you agree with what someone is saying.

Good for you! – If someone is proud of their achievement react appropriately.

You’ve got to be kidding me! – Are you stunned by something you’ve been told? Express it like this.

That’s a good question. – If you need time to think about your answer use this instead of remaining silent.

Just bear with me for a moment… – If the situation is hectic and you can’t give attention to everyone, you can use this phrase to ask one member of the conversation to be patient and wait a moment.

We’ll catch up later! – You can call this out to a friend when you are already leaving the conversation, especially if you didn’t have time to properly take part in it.

It’s time for me to head out. – A friendly way to end the conversation.

And off you are with practising the enjoyable skill of small talk!

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  • Reply jasmine August 16, 2020 at 13:04

    This is a good collection. However, they are all extremely formal. Perhaps I can offer a less formal/ Aussie interpretation:

    I’m so pleased to meet you – Pleased to meet you/ nice to meet you

    Long time no see! – I haven’t seen you in ages

    I was wondering if… – Can I ask you a question/ I hope its ok….

    Sorry to bother you – excuse me

    What have you been up to lately? – how have you been?/ what have you been up to?/ how are things?

    Can’t argue with that – I agree/ I completely agree

    Good for you! – Nice work.

    You’ve got to be kidding me! – seriously?

    That’s a good question. – Good question.

    Just bear with me for a moment… – Bear with me…/ Give me a sec(ond)

    We’ll catch up later! – See you later.

    It’s time for me to head out. – I’ve got to go.

    • Reply Ada Högström August 17, 2020 at 08:46

      Hi Jasmine,
      Thanks for your comment and great suggestions that are indeed a bit less formal!
      Have a great day!

      – Ada, WordDive Team

  • Reply Anya Nelson November 23, 2020 at 14:53

    Thank you! While still at school we often practiced using phrases to start a conversation and to end it. But in informal communication, I do not use it at all.
    For me, these phrases are really useful for small talk.

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