5 Tips on How to Start (and Survive) a Conversation with an English Person 
by Grace Grossmann
April 09, 2020

Starting a conversation is daunting as it is. Breaking the ice in a foreign language can be even harder, but you needn’t worry about English. People are friendly and open, and there’s a matter of phrases you can say, so we’ve comprised the best ways to start conversing with an English person.

Five tips on how to start a conversation with an English person

Greetings

To begin with, be casual. As in any other language, a conversation starts with a greeting. There are many formal and informal things to say in English, but here are the most commonly used opening phrases. Depending on who you are talking to, find the right statements below and go with the flow! 

Probably the most common polite way to start a conversation in English is to say:

  • Hello, it’s nice to meet you.
  • Hi there, it’s a pleasure to meet you. 

Either of these would be perfect to start a formal conversation with, showing your politeness and eagerness.

Below are more informal examples when starting a casual chat with a mate in English:

  • Hey, how’s it going?
  • Yo, you alright? 
  • Hi, how’s things?

These two phrases are considered British English, whereas “What’s up” would be more of an American greeting to start a conversation with. When beginning a conversation with an English person with these phrases, you will already sound fluent.

Ask questions

The next tip is to be inquisitive and start the conversation by asking questions. Typical questions to ask include:

  • How have you been?
  • Where are you from?
  • What do you do?
  • How’s your family?

Again, it depends on the setting and context of the conversation with whom you are starting to engage with. However, ask questions with care and consideration, then:

Listen 

English people tend to be chatty (someone talkative and friendly), so once you’ve broken the ice it shouldn’t be difficult. Start a conversation with an English person by greeting them, asking a question and listen to what they have to say.

Add in phrases

Pro tip: The English love to talk about the weather. 

One tends to start a conversation with an English person by talking about the weather because it’s so easy and typical of English people to do so! Typical phrases to start a conversation about the weather with include:

  • What’s with this weather today? (Normally if it’s raining and you are complaining!)
  • It looks like it’s going to rain.
  • Isn’t it sunny for a change?
  • Can you believe this hot weather we’ve been having?!
  • Weather Idioms You Need to be Using

Laugh and smile 

Last but not least, be cheerful. When you show you are interested in starting a conversation, the rest will follow – it’s a piece of cake! 

In summary, ask them how they are, listen, add in some phrases about the weather and smile – that’s our five tips on how to start, and survive, a conversation in English. 

If you’d like more experience starting conversations with English people, visit the Lingoda website and sign up for your free 7-day trial with our native speaking teachers today!

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