Tips and tools to practice English conversation! Learning to speak any language takes time and practice. Learning English is no exception. Thankfully, there are many ways to practice inside and outside of the classroom, from speaking with friends to watching TV and movies to listening to the radio. Making time to practice daily will help accelerate your learning and keep you on track to master the English language.
Tips to Practice English Conversation
Practicing English as frequently as you can is the best way to perfect your speaking skills. Here are a few tips to practice conversational English.
Set weekly and daily goals for yourself
- Creating goals can help keep you responsible and on track. Start off with smaller goals, like practicing for one hour every day, and then increase them as you grow. Other types of goals include learning one new word a day, giving yourself practice tests, memorizing verb tenses, and even watching a new show or movie in English. Set weekly goals as well, so that you have a longterm plan. Sticking to these goals and plans will help you stay accountable.
Get a notebook
- Dedicate a notebook to your studies and keep it with you at all times. Use the notebook to write down your goals and to practice your language skills.
Share your studies with your friends and family
- Finding other people who speak English or are learning the language is a great way to practice. You can form study groups and meet regularly. You can also challenge each other to only speak English when you are together. Even setting aside an hour for an English conversation will help you both. Making others a part of your journey to learning English will help you and others take your studies seriously.
Vary your practice
- It’s important not to get bored with your studies. Varying how you practice can keep things exciting and challenging. Remember there are four core elements to mastering a language: writing, speaking, listening, and reading. Try to practice all four skills equally. If you read a book for an hour, balance that with an hour of English TV. The more you surround yourself with the language, the more you will learn.
Give yourself quizzes and tests
- When you spend time practicing, it’s important to test yourself to make sure you’ve retained the information you’ve learned. You can spend hours memorizing words, but you’ll never know if you’ve really remembered anything without testing your knowledge.
Have fun with your studies
- Learning a new language should be fun and keep you engaged. Any way you can practice English is an acceptable form of studying. You can watch YouTube videos, listen to music, and even read English children’s books.
Visit an English-speaking country
- The best way to learn any language is to fully immerse yourself. Studying abroad or taking a trip to an English-speaking country will allow you to practice every skill you’ve learned. The longer you can spend there the better.
Basic English Conversations For Beginners
When starting a conversation, the first thing to do is to determine the tone. If you are speaking with a friend or colleague, you will likely have an informal conversation. Informal conversations are very common in English. If you are speaking with a teacher or stranger in a formal setting, you will likely need to use more formal language. Here are a few informal and formal greetings to practice:
- This is the easiest, most common greeting that can be formal or informal.
- This is also very common and is informal.
- This is informal and more casual.
- Use this as a greeting before noon.
- Use this in the afternoon before 5 PM or before the sun sets.
- Use this in the evening, after 6 PM.
Many conversations end after the greetings. If you do engage in a longer English conversation, you will need to know how to introduce yourself.
My name is _____.
- This is the most common way to introduce yourself.
I am _____.
- This is more informal and can be used if you’re introducing yourself to multiple people.
At this point, the other person will likely introduce themselves. If not, you can ask their name.
What is your name?
- This is an easy way to ask that is neither formal nor informal.
You may also have to introduce someone else.
This is _____.
Please meet _____.
- This is more formal.
The next step is to respond to having met someone. This can be a way to end a conversation or open it up to a larger discussion.
Nice to meet you!
- This is common and easy to use in any situation.
It’s a pleasure to meet you.
- This is more formal.
Great to meet you.
- This is neither formal nor informal. It is more positive than others.
Now let’s put it all together. Here is an example of a basic English conversation.
- Frank: Hello.
- Kim: Hi, my name is Kim.
- Frank: Hi Kim, I’m Frank. This is Bill.
- Kim: Hi Bill, nice to meet you!
- Bill: Great to meet you too.
At this point, you will either continue the conversation or you will say goodbye. If you do continue the conversation, you can use these questions:
- This is the most common way to continue a conversation.
How are you doing?
- This is another common choice.
How’s it going?
- This is more informal.
- Very informal.
The best option is to use “How are you?” or “How are you doing?” All others are informal and can be taken as too casual unless you are speaking with a close friend. To respond, try using one of these and always remember to thank them and ask the same question in return.
I’m doing well, thank you. And you?
- Formal, polite response.
Good, thanks. You?
Doing well, thanks. You?
Great, thanks! You?
- Informal and more enthusiastic.
If the conversation continues, you can open the discussion with many different topics. When beginning, it’s best to try things you feel comfortable with like the weather. It’s also safe to discuss something in front of you, like a meal you are sharing or something around you. This will help if you forget vocabulary words or need clarification on what someone else is saying. Just simply point to something and describe it with other words. Don’t worry about getting anything wrong!
If the conversation ends, use any of these:
- Common, formal.
- Common, informal.
Have a good day (or afternoon, evening, or night).
- Formal and polite.
Let’s put it all together.
- Frank: Hi, my name is Frank.
- Kim: Good morning, I’m Kim.
- Frank: Hi Kim, it’s nice to meet you.
- Kim: Nice to meet you too. How are you?
- Frank: Doing well, thanks. You?
- Kim: I’m doing well, thank you.
- Frank: Have a good day.
- Kim: Bye!
While first learning English, it’s good to know how to ask the other person to explain or repeat something. If someone is speaking to fast or said something you didn’t understand, you can use these questions and phrases to clarify.
- I’m sorry, can you please repeat that?
- Can you please speak slower?
- Could you say that again?
- I didn’t understand.
When having a basic English conversation, you may ask simple questions like the time or where something is. Learning these questions can help turn a short conversation into a longer, more rewarding discussion. Here are a few examples:
- What time is it?
- Do you have the time?
- Where is the _____?
These are appropriate to ask anyone. They are not too personal, and most people will be able to help you answer them. Here are a few responses you may receive:
- The time is 2 PM.
- It’s 12 o’clock.
- I think it’s noon.
- The bathroom is to the left.
To engage in deeper conversations, be sure to learn things like how to say the time and directions like left and right. You should also learn a few vocabulary words so that you can ask where things are.
Let’s try a longer, basic English conversation:
- Frank: Good evening.
- Kim: Hello, my name is Kim.
- Frank: Hi Kim, I’m Frank.
- Kim: It’s nice to meet you. How are you doing?
- Frank: I’m doing well, thanks. And you?
- Kim: Good thanks, do you have the time?
- Frank: I think it’s 7 PM. Where is the bathroom?
- Kim: I’m sorry, can you please repeat that?
- Frank: Where is the bathroom?
- Kim: The bathroom is to the right.
- Frank: Thank you, have a good night!
- Kim: You too, bye.
All languages take time and patience to practice. Don’t be afraid to say something wrong or start a conversation. There’s no wrong answer when it comes to learning a new language. The more you practice, the more new words and phrases you will learn. Every step you take will help you master English conversation and bring you closer to learning the language.
Practice English Conversation | Infographic