Questions tagged [conversation]

For questions related to natural spoken conversations. Please use the dialogue tag for authored or scripted conversations

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94
votes
13answers
81k 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 ...
43
votes
11answers
23k views

Is the usage of 'personally' in 'I personally don't like something' redundant?

What is the difference between the following? I personally don't like wax museums. I don't like wax museums. The adverb personally does not seem to emphasize anything here. Is it redundant?...
32
votes
7answers
5k 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 ...
29
votes
6answers
932k 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 please ...
29
votes
7answers
103k 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 the other two are informal, spoken words. I know nothing more about it, and always try using the yes variant, just to not sound ...
25
votes
7answers
20k views

How do native speakers answer questions like “what's cooking”?

I work in an office environment as a software developer in Massachusetts, USA and every so often have some colleague ask me a question like "what's cooking? anything good?" When they say that they ...
19
votes
8answers
222k views

How often do people say “gotta”, “wanna” or “gonna” in English speaking countries?

I learned these three words from Collins Cobuild Advanced Learner's English Dictionary. got|ta /g'ɒtə/ Gotta is used in written English to represent the words 'got to' when they are pronounced > ...
19
votes
5answers
53k 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 ...
17
votes
6answers
223k views

Appropriate replacement of “nice to meet you” for online salutation?

I would like to use “nice to meet you” in an online email exchange but I feel that meet and see are not appropriate for online use. There is also a question about it. I have also read somewhere that ...
16
votes
4answers
5k views

Greeting: “Cold enough for you?”

This morning at −32°C/−26°F whilst collecting firewood outside my house, I called to my neighbour (brushing snow off his idling truck): "Cold enough for you?" To which he replied with a nod. Later on,...
16
votes
2answers
201k 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 ...
15
votes
5answers
362k 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. ...
15
votes
2answers
19k 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 ...
14
votes
11answers
255k 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 not,...
14
votes
4answers
4k 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 ...
14
votes
7answers
14k 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 ...
13
votes
4answers
1.1m views

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

How should you reply to "what's up?"
12
votes
3answers
142k 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 ...
12
votes
2answers
20k 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 ...
11
votes
3answers
55k views

What does “there, there” actually mean?

It came from an episode of Big Bang Theory; when Penny gets hurt, and asks Sheldon to be more comforting, he starts the conversation with "there, there." What does that mean?
10
votes
8answers
13k views

Word/phrase/idiom to describe avoiding answering a question by stating the question doesn't need to be asked

I run into this situation often in the office. I have a specific question to ask somebody and have chosen the person to ask it, but that person doesn't know the answer. Instead of answering the ...
10
votes
4answers
63k 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.
10
votes
5answers
3k 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?
10
votes
4answers
242k 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 ...
9
votes
3answers
2k views

What is the difference between didn’t get to sleep and “toss and turn”? [closed]

I saw this saying in a conversation book: I didn’t get to sleep for two or three hours. Then after that I tossed and turned all night. And I’ve consulted Merriam Webster dictionary. Doesn’t “toss ...
9
votes
4answers
23k views

Is “Where do you sit?” correct for asking someone where their workspace is?

At work, if I had to ask someone where exactly they worked, as in where their workspace/cubicle is, what should I say? Is "where do you sit?" the usual thing to say? I'm from India and hear this ...
8
votes
9answers
32k views

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

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 ...
8
votes
5answers
4k 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 ...
8
votes
3answers
1k 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 ...
8
votes
5answers
11k views

Is addressing a guy as “guy” rude?

Non-native here, is addressing a guy as just "guy" considered rude? Like, while addressing a pet-store clerk: "Hey, guy, how many mice will $13 buy?" Also, how long has it been in use?
8
votes
3answers
251 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 ...
7
votes
4answers
2k 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 what these are called) — um, so, like, you know, ...
7
votes
2answers
66k 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
1answer
95k views

“Yes, Please” vs “Yes, Of course”

I have heard people saying: Que: Can I use your pen? Ans: Yes please. and also Que: Can I use your pen? Ans: Yes Of course. I wanted to know if there is any difference between these two replies(...
7
votes
1answer
31k views

How appropriate is to use 'Nice to e-meet you'

I work in a software organization so email conversations are frequent. Recently one client e-mailed me with "Nice to e-meet you". I want to know how appropriate is it to use 'Nice to e-meet you'. Is ...
6
votes
3answers
137k views

“It was great seeing you.” “You too.” Why not “Me too”?

In response to "It was great seeing you," why do people say "you, too" instead of "me, too?"
6
votes
2answers
3k views

What is the proper response to “Excuse my language”?

What is the proper response to "Excuse my language"? I don't want to say "not a problem", because honestly, it is a problem. However, I can't think of any other appropriate response. I'm looking ...
6
votes
2answers
417 views

Dramatic hijacking of a sentence

A common trope in movies. What's it called? Person A: The President was a brilliant man! A truly one-of-a-kind-- Person B: killer, who used his ruthless abandon to get ahead!
6
votes
1answer
134k 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 my ...
6
votes
1answer
793 views

In a conversation, do native speakers people call each other by name? [closed]

I've noticed a particular behavior in the frequency of mentioning the person's name we're talking with. I'm Italian, in my language we are used to calling each other by our first names during a ...
5
votes
3answers
1k views

Ironic phrase like Russian’s “no, didn’t hear”

Here’s a bit of dialogue which I literally translated from Russian: ― You should get a girlfriend! ― Girlfriend? Didn’t hear. . . . The idea of the answer is to self-ironically point out not only ...
5
votes
3answers
4k 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 to do ...
5
votes
2answers
36k 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 know.
5
votes
5answers
3k views

How to say I may mislead you again? [closed]

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 English....
5
votes
2answers
125k views

How to answer “how's it going man?”

I've lived in USA only for a while and people sometimes say to me (when we meet): How's it going man? Or How you doing man? What do I answer? Do they ask me how is it going? I try to say: Thanks, ...
5
votes
3answers
7k views

Answering a phone call with “Yes, XX, tell me” [closed]

I have heard a lot of people pick their phone and go "Yes, XX, tell me" (highly used in India). I think the right way should be "Hey, XX, what's up?" or "Hey, XX, what's going on"? But does this work ...
5
votes
3answers
3k views

A word to describe responses such as “I see” and “Okay”

While conversing, I sometimes find myself, after listening to what my partner has to say, responding with phrases such as "I see" and "Okay" to indicate that I haven't lost interest but I either don't ...
5
votes
3answers
5k 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'? ...
4
votes
5answers
7k views

“How are you” in America

People in America ask "how are you" a lot. Many people would reply with "I'm good." If I am feeling OK, I would say "I'm well." Which version is right?
4
votes
1answer
16k views

How do you respond when someone tells you their parent is deceased? [closed]

Well I'm still in college and I know from one of my friends that another friend's father died when she was young. Now how do I react politely if she tells me that in some situation. "Oh, sorry to hear ...

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