Fluent conversations

Do you want to improve your casual English conversations? Are you frustrated because you don’t know what to do and how to do it?

Today I’ll explain to you two simple techniques that you can start using in any everyday English conversation.

Questions are good, but you need something else too

Language learners naturally know that to sound interested in a conversation, they need to ask questions. So they focus on asking a lot of questions. The problem is that asking too many questions will make us sound like we are in a job interview.

We don’t want that when socializing. It is obviously good practice to ask questions to look interested, don’t get me wrong. But you need more than just ask questions to sound natural: you need to use conversational expressions and questions together.

In this article I’m going to show you two techniques. If you use these techniques, you will find it easier to keep your conversations going. You will sound friendlier and more fluent. You will sound interested. Overall, you will make the impression that you are a nice conversation partner. Which you probably are or want to be.

This is in fact part of what is called Small Talk. You know, that light and superficial chat about anything and everything that people usually talk about when they run into each other in the local supermarket, or hang out at party or just meet the neighbour in the lift or the parking space in the morning on their way to work.

Note that we usually use these two techniques naturally in our first language. In a foreign language as learners, especially at lower levels, we tend to use them much less.

In the video below I explain the following two techniques: using word repetitions and “empty words”. They are both frequent in English. They make conversations flow more and sound more natural.

These techniques are quite simple, yet effective. In addition to questions, we use these speech elements to help the conversation flow. 

It takes some practice to use them in a skilled way. First you need to understand what their function is and then start learning how to use them.

Don’t forget to observe how this technique is present in your own first language next time you’re talking to a friend about any everyday thing. You may be surprised to see how many of these are used in a usual colloquial conversation in your first language.

Gabor Legradi
Author: Gabor Legradi

I'm an English teacher with a background in linguistics and music.

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