Even basic English conversations might prove challenging, especially when you don’t know where to start learning them. This is more evident when you try using an app or one of those sites that promise you hundreds of English sentences and maybe even guarantee you an insanely short learning period.
I have had no luck learning any new language that way, which is why I decided to offer you an easier approach. You only have to begin with a few sentences that you are most likely to use. Then, as you keep practicing these simple questions, you can gradually work your way up to more complex sentences.
Let’s go over some basic English conversation questions and answers under the following four categories:
- Greetings and Introductions
- Questions Asking for Personal Information
- Questions Asking for Directions
- Questions Asking for Someone’s Opinion
Basic English conversation for practical use
1. Greetings and Introductions
How are you?
“How are you” and “how do you do” can be used as a greeting any time. It is common courtesy to respond by also asking the other person how they are.
Greeting: How are you?
Response 1: I’m fine, thanks. And you?
Response 2: Fine. How about you?
Greeting: How do you do?
Response: Great. (Or I’m good.)
Hello and Hi
“Hello” and “hi” are some of the popular greetings to use in an informal situation. They are generally followed by the person’s name.
Greeting: Hello, John! How have you been?
Response: Fine, thanks. And you?
Good morning/ good afternoon/ good evening.
These greetings are used in the morning, afternoon or evening respectively. In your response, you could also ask the other person how they are. Here’s an example:
Greeting: Good morning, Jane.
Response: Good morning, John. How’ve you been?
A shorter informal version of this greeting would go like this:
Response: Morning Tom. Long-time no see!
Greetings Followed by Introduction
When meeting someone for the first time, you might want to introduce yourself besides just saying hello.
Greeting: Hello, I’m James from Brooklyn. And you are?
Response: Hello, I’m Mary from London.
Personal Information Questions
Q: What’s your name?
A: I’m Jeremy
A: My name’s Jeremy
Both answers can be used to give your name. When asking, you might also want to be specific if it’s the family name you want. For example:
Q: What’s the name of your family?
A: My family’s name is Washington
Q: What’s your surname?
A: My surname is Washington.
Family name and surname mean the same thing.
2. Asking about some personal information
Ask this question if you wish to know more about someone’s origin. You could use any of the following variations and answers.
Q: Where are you from?
A: Sydney, Australia.
Q: Where do you come from?
A: I come from Sydney.
You can choose to give a one-word answer like “Sydney” or form a sentence such as “I come from Sydney”. It is totally up to you. Giving a longer answer shows the other person that you are interested in continuing the conversation.
7.1 Ask this question when you want to inquire about what someone does for a living.
Q: What do you do?
A: I’m in marketing.
Q: Where do you work?
A: I work at Google.
If you want to rock an informal setting, you could ask, “what’s your deal?”
Q: What’s your deal?
A: I’m a software developer. How about you?
In all these questions, you could also ask the other person what they do, just like in the example above.
Asking about age
Ask this question when you want to know someone’s age.
Q: How old are you?
A: I’m twenty-five.
Relationship Status Questions
Q: Are you married?
A: yes/ no.
A: yes/ no. How about you?
Q: Are you seeing someone?
A: yes/ no.
The last example above is more suitable when you know that someone is not married but you wish to inquire whether they are in a relationship.
Do You Have xxx Questions
Sometimes you might want to know whether a person owns something – like a car, house, children, boat, and so on. Here are a few ways to go about it:
Q: Do you have a car?
A: Yes, I drive a sedan.
Of course, if you don’t have a car the answer would be “no”.
Q: Have you got a house?
A: yes/ no
Q: Do you have any children?
A: yes/ no. How about you?
3. Asking for directions
Q: Hello, can you tell me how to get to the mall?
A: Let me draw you a map.
Q: Can you please point me in the direction of the mall?
A: It is that way…
In both the questions above, you can replace “the mall” with the place you are looking for. There is no precise answer to these questions as it may depend on many conditions, including how close or far it is.
4. Asking for an Opinion
Q: What do you think about this idea?
A: I think it is good/ bad.
Q: Do you think we should go by bus?
A: yes/ no
Q: Would you like some tea?
A: Yes, please.
A: No, thank you.
Q: Do you mind if I borrow your pen?
A: No, I don’t mind.
A: Yes, I do.
In the above examples, you can replace “this idea”, “go by bus”, “some tea”, and “pen” with whatever you wish to talk about.
When asked “do you mind” questions, answering with a “no” means you don’t mind or you accept while responding with a “yes” means you do not accept.
Exercise – Test Your Progress
Now, how about some exercises to test whether you can ask and answer common questions in English? Try answering the following question or guessing what question was asked for a given answer.
1. A: My name is Jane.
2. Q: Where do you come from?
3. A: I am a teacher.
4. Q: what is your age?
5. Q: Can I get your surname?
6. A: No, I don’t mind if you borrow my bicycle.
7. A: yes, I’m married with two children.
8. Q: Do you prefer an orange or a banana?
9. Q: How about we visit the zoo?
10. A: The campus is just a few blocks in that direction.
11. A: No, I do not own a home.
12. A: The conference begins at 9 o’clock.
13. A: No, it is not raining in St. Louis
Basic English conversation on social media
What else do you need to do? There are many ways of practicing your English out there and English Forward has over 300 million users, and if you’re not one of them, you should be.
If you’re looking for somewhere to have written conversations with native speakers, learn about “real-world” English, find out what’s happening in the world, and meet other English learners like you, Twitter is the place for you or any of those online english learning forums.
Using Twitter is free, and can teach you a lot about how people really use English. Some useful hashtags to know for entering casual conversations are #twinglish, which is a place to practice your English, and #grammarhelp, which is a way to ask for help in correcting your grammar.
You can also tweet at (or mention) a specific account in your tweet; many of the educational accounts are happy to help English learners. So put away that textbook for a few minutes and learn some English on Twitter, 140 characters at a time.
Remember, you don’t have to get them all at once. You only need to begin with a few sentences that you know you might need to use and maybe keep coming back to learn more. You’ll see, your command of the language will get better and better each time. Now, do you have any questions of your own?
Let’s have some of those basic English conversation chats right now. You’ll get a lot of help from experts here.