For questions related to conversation or speech

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4
votes
3answers
2k views

What is the origin of 'be my guest' idiom?

I was surprised when I found out the meaning of a dialog like this: - May I do something? - Be my guest. As for me, it looks really weird. Why 'be my guest' has the meaning 'do it, I don't mind'? ...
1
vote
2answers
136 views

Addressing a person with “man”

Is there any issue to address or call a person (a gentleman, of course) with man? I think the word man has a strange meaning. Which is the best way to address? Is hello enough?
15
votes
5answers
6k views

How should I address a professor in the US?

I am always puzzled about how students address a professor in America. Perhaps "Professor + Last name" is the most formal way to do. Here are my questions: What if the last name of a professor is ...
7
votes
2answers
833 views

Is Wayne's World's (NOT) a modern invention?

Older users of this site may recall the 'Bill & Ted' 'Wayne's World' series of movies of the early 1990s. They were mindless but fairly amusing and their eponymous characters spoke in a unique ...
2
votes
1answer
243 views

Generic term for something you say

Is there a generic term/noun for something one says. I'm specifically looking for something you say in a conversation, but maybe there is even a more generic term. I'm looking for a word like ...
6
votes
4answers
57k views

What should a reply to “What's up?” be? [duplicate]

How should you reply to "what's up?"
8
votes
5answers
699 views

Is there a word for “umming”?

Is there a word for saying "um" or "uh", etc, during speaking? Or a word for "um" and "uh", etc?
2
votes
1answer
164 views

“Are you happier?”

I was reading an English book. This is a snippet of a conversation below: But please tell us... do you like your job? Are you happier? I am confused at happier. Why not use happy?
3
votes
3answers
933 views

What is the polite way to acknowledge a pregnant lady after a long hiatus? [closed]

I knew her well, but I see her again when she's 7-months pregnant. Do I say, "Congrats on the upcoming baby?"
6
votes
5answers
2k views

Are “Conditional apology” and “poisoned apology”, rude?

I've heard I'm sorry your frog is dead. I'm sorry if your frog's death causes you pain. I'm sorry my taunting you about your frog's death caused you pain. You should seek therapy. Do the ...
9
votes
2answers
44k views

Is “nice to meet you” an appropriate online salutation?

When one makes a new acquaintance with somebody in person, you may say "it was nice to meet you", e.g. when you leave. What if you make a new acquaintance over the internet, what do you say when you ...
1
vote
3answers
972 views

Is it right to 'Hmmm'?

While in a online conversation(by typing), how do you let know the other person that you are there listening to him/her? I suppose it would be annoying to type 'okay' or 'yes' all the time and right ...
5
votes
6answers
133k views

“All The Best” vs “Best of Luck”

I heard somewhere that if we wish someone younger than us then say "Best of luck" and if we wish someone older than us then say " All The best". I don't know how much of this is true. Will you ...
3
votes
2answers
3k views

Answer to “enjoy your meal”

When you're having lunch and you see someone he can say "enjoy your meal", "bon appétit" or "enjoy". I can answer him by saying "thank you", for instance. But for example in Spanish we usually say a ...
27
votes
7answers
3k views

What makes “like” and “so” popular?

So, I was like, why does everyone say like and so in every sentence? Where did this trend come from, like, what started it, and is it actually grammatically correct to like, insert like into our ...
4
votes
11answers
4k views

What's a good comeback to “obviously”?

If someone tries to sound smart in repartee by saying, Well obviously blah blah blah but what they said is actually wrong, then what's a good comeback to that, or what's a good way to phrase ...
3
votes
1answer
27k views

'May I speak to…' vs 'May I speak with…' vs 'May I talk to…' [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: “Speak to” vs. “Speak with” What is the difference between “speaking” and “talking”? What is the ideal opening line for a phone conversation? In ...
5
votes
4answers
996 views

Garbage/stuff words

I've watched two interviews. One with Grace Park, one with Eliza Dushku. What one can't miss is that Eliza uses an awful lot of garbage words (or how is it called) — um, so, like, you know, ...
9
votes
6answers
24k views

Is the response “I am fine, thank you. And you?” outdated?

This is what I learned from the middle school English class 10 years ago as the correct way to respond to "How are you?". The textbook was co-published by Longman, I suppose it was British English. ...
1
vote
1answer
5k views

Response to “What's up?” in various conversations [duplicate]

Exact Duplicate: What is an appropriate response to “what's up” greeting? What should be the response to "what's up"? I don't get satisfied and often confused with my answer ...
1
vote
3answers
3k views

How to introduce someone

If I have to introduce someone in a meeting what should I say? I would like to introduce X who has joined us from Y company. I like to introduce X who is joining us from Y company.
2
votes
3answers
438 views

Ways to ensure the interlocutor understands you

What are the best ways to ask an interlocutor whether he understands you in different circumstances (formal conversation, informal talk)? What are the best ways to answer such questions meaning "I ...
5
votes
2answers
11k views

“Please let me know.”

Is it okay to answer "Please let me know", short (without "when...", "if...", "what...", etc.)? Consider for instance -- I can check that for you tomorrow morning. -- Yes, please let me ...
3
votes
1answer
668 views

Is “checking my résumé” ok?

Is the following sentence correct (when I call a company’s HR department)? Could you please call me back after checking my résumé?
0
votes
1answer
115 views

“It's getting close to goodbye”

Is this grammatically correct? Is there anything wrong with that sentence?
13
votes
4answers
1k views

What are exchanges like “How are you,” “I'm fine,” and “See you later” called?

Some verbal/written exchanges convey almost no meaning but are part of the protocol of conversation. For example, somebody greets you with "How are you?" and they're not usually not listening for ...
7
votes
4answers
9k views

Proper answer to “excuse me”

What is a proper reply for excuse me? Like for thank you, you can say no problem or welcome. I don't know what a proper reply for excuse me would be.
4
votes
1answer
445 views

How can I describe preparing before travel?

If I am preparing before my travel and I pack my things, how can I better describe this process in conversational speech, "packing up one's things" or "I pack up one's things"?
5
votes
4answers
1k views

How to say I may mislead you again?

How to say I may mislead you again: because of my poor English, in a good manner the responsibility is mine (no need to speak out, just let she surely know this). i.e., I'm afraid of my poor ...
5
votes
2answers
14k views

What is a “high-level conversation”?

Recently I was told by a potential interviewer for a job that we would be having a "high-level conversation" soon. I assumed at the time that she just meant a conversation with a higher-up, e.g., ...
7
votes
3answers
174 views

“Well” as an introduction to an argument

Say a child says: I want some ice cream! The parent's response is: Well, you can't have ice cream right now, we need to have dinner first. Why is the word "well" used as a conversational ...
1
vote
4answers
869 views

Decent way to say “I would have gone to say XXX if you didn't mention YYY'”

I need help from a native speaker on this question A hypothetical scenario is as below: A friend comes to you and says, "Coffee?". However, before he asked me, I was thinking of saying "Have a coffee ...
1
vote
1answer
5k views

Are there different tones in which to say “How are you?” that reflect different situations?

I was wondering how many ways/tones to speak "How are you?" Which tone/way to use in different situations: when seeing somebody you don't expect to have a conversation after? when seeing your ...
7
votes
9answers
6k views

Is it redundant to append “bye” to “speak to you later”?

Are the closing greetings "see you later", "talk to you later", and the like sufficient to end a conversation (especially a phone conversation) or must they be succeeded by "bye" or another word of ...
2
votes
5answers
486 views

In what context or situation (if any) would the words “try to see me” make sense?

If there is such possible situation, please, describe it. Please don't insert any punctuation between those words and keep their order intact.
2
votes
4answers
364 views

What is this Dad going to say?

Here is a situation: Dad is talking to his 5-year-old son while watching TV: Dad: I really like this movie. Son: But I don't like this movie. Dad: I am a bit hungry. Son: But I am not hungry. ...
5
votes
3answers
2k views

Why do like loads of girls my age like saying “like” so much, like? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Is Valley Girl speak like entering the language? Please can you explain the origins of where the annoying over-use of the word "like" came from? Does this have anything ...
6
votes
4answers
14k views

How do I ask for advice politely?

I came across the following phrase: I was wondering if you might be able to give me some advice. Is it a natural construction for a conversational context? Can I use the following instead in ...
12
votes
7answers
4k views

How do you decide which phrase to use when asking people to repeat what they said?

There are many different ways to ask people to repeat what they have just said. For example: Huh? What? Sorry? Pardon? What's that? Say that again, please I beg your pardon? I've ordered them ...
3
votes
4answers
7k views

How can I speak as though I were from the Victorian era?

I think that it would be really cool to be able to speak as though I was from the Victorian era. How can I learn to do this?
14
votes
7answers
12k views

When is it appropriate to use “Yeah” and “Yep” as variants of the word “Yes”?

As a learner of English I know that yes is a standard variant and other two are informal, spoken words. I know nothing more about it, and try always use the yes variant, just not to sound ...
2
votes
3answers
564 views

Finding out the proper word out of book-learned vocabulary

I've been learning English for many years already, using many ways available for me. It is mostly reading, as I have very few opportunities to use English in real communication. Due to this fact my ...
3
votes
3answers
5k views

What does aw mean?

I have heard somebody saying aw, shucks. What does that mean? In which other cases is the word used?
68
votes
11answers
29k views

Which is correct: “could care less” or “couldn't care less”?

What's the deal with the phrase "could care less"? Whilst growing up, I've always known people (parents etc) to use the phrase "couldn't care less", but I've also come across people who use the ...
8
votes
3answers
36k views

Does the phrase “fine with me” have a negative connotation?

I have always thought that you could answer "it's ok with me" or "it's fine with me" when you agree with something that somebody proposed, like a meeting time. But apparently the phrase can have a ...
6
votes
11answers
45k views

Is there a more modern way to say “it's a pity”?

Is it okay nowadays to use the phrase "it's a pity" in the everyday conversation in the contexts like in following example: "Please how do I get to airport?" "It's a pity, I don't know." If ...
8
votes
2answers
4k views

“Also” and “as well” for conversational context

"Also" and "as well" seem to be quite similar in meaning, but I'd like to know shades in its meaning and usage, especially for everyday conversational language. What one will sound more natural and ...
4
votes
2answers
1k views

Introductory phrases like “to tell the truth”

What is the difference between the following introductory phrases? To tell the truth Frankly speaking To be honest Are any of the phrases more old-fashioned or formal than the others ...
12
votes
2answers
4k views

When is it OK to use OK?

I often use "OK" in business and personal emails and phone conversations. But I often feel uncertain if it is appropriate to use it in every type of context. Please tell how universally I can use ...