In this course you will be able to:

  • Talk about daily routine and different situations
  • Describe people you know and things that you have.
  • Understand how to give personal information.
  • Study everyday expressions and understand when they are used by other people.
  • Communicate things you might need in simple day-to-day situations.

GREETING SOMEONE THE FIRST TIME

Greetings are used to say hello in English. It’s common to use different greetings depending on whether you greet a friend, family, or a business associate. When you meet friends, use informal greetings. If it’s really important, use formal greetings. Formal greetings are also used with people you do not know very well.

Greetings also depend on whether you are saying hello, or you are saying goodbye.

Learn the correct phrases using the notes below, and then practice using greetings with the practice dialogues.  

Once you have been introduced to someone, the next time you see that person it is important to greet them. We also greet people as we leave people. In English (as in all languages), there are different ways to greet people in formal and informal situations.

INTRODUCTION (FIRST) GREETING:

How do you do?

GREETINGS AFTER THE INTRODUCTION

How are you?

Here are phrases used for greeting when arriving and departing in both formal and informal situations. 

FORMAL GREETINGS: ARRIVING

Good morning / afternoon / evening.
Hello (name), how are you?
Good day Sir / Madam (very formal)

INFORMAL GREETINGS: ARRIVING

Hi / Hello
How are you?
How are you doing?
What’s up? (very informal)

It’s important to note that the question “How are you?” or “What’s up?” doesn’t necessary need a response.

If you do respond, these phrases are generally expected:

Very well, thank you. And you? (formal)
Fine / Great (informal)

FORMAL GREETINGS: DEPARTING

Good morning / afternoon / evening.
It was a pleasure seeing you.
Goodbye.
Note: After 8 p.m. – Good night.

INFORMAL GREETINGS: DEPARTING

Nice seeing you!
Goodbye / Bye
See you later
Later (very informal)

Here are some short example conversations for you to practice greetings in English. Find a partner to practice and take a role. Next, switch roles. Finally, make up your own conversations.

GREETINGS IN INFORMAL CONVERSATIONS

Anna: Tom, what’s up?
Tom: Hi Anna. Nothing much. I’m just hanging out. What’s up with you?
Anna: It’s a good day. I’m feeling fine.
Tom:How is your sister? 
Anna: Oh, fine. Not much has changed.
Tom:Well, I have to go. Nice seeing you!
Anna: Later.

Maria: Oh, hello Chris. How are you doing?
Chris: I’m well. Thanks for asking. How are you?
Maria: I can’t complain. Life is treating me well.
Chris: That’s good to hear. 
Maria: Good to see you again. I need to go to my doctor’s appointment.
Chris: Nice to see you.
Maria: See you later. 

GREETINGS IN FORMAL CONVERSATION

John: Good morning.
Alan: Good morning. How are you?
John: I’m very well thank you. And you?
Alan: I’m fine. Thank you for asking.
John: Do you have a meeting this morning?
Alan: Yes, I do. Do you have a meeting as well?
John: Yes. Well. It was a pleasure seeing you.
Alan: Goodbye. 

INTRODUCTIONS AT A PARTY

Peter: Hello.
Jane: Hi!

Peter: My name is Peter. What’s your name?
Jane: My name is Jane. Nice to meet you.

Peter: It’s a pleasure. This is a great party!
Jane: Yes, it is. Where are you from?

Peter: I’m from Amsterdam.
Jane: Amsterdam? Really, are you German?

Peter: NO, I’m not German. I’m Dutch.
Jane: Oh, you’re Dutch. Sorry about that.

Peter: That’s OK. Where are you from?
Jane: I’m from London, but I’m not British.

Peter: No, what are you?
Jane: Well, my parents were Spanish, so I’m Spanish, too.

Peter: That’s very interesting. Spain is a beautiful country.
Jane: Thank you. It is a wonderful place.

WHAT WERE YOU DOING?

Betsy: I telephoned you yesterday afternoon but you didn’t answer?

Where were you?
Brian: I was in another room when you called. I didn’t hear the phone ringing until it was too late.

Betsy: What were you working on?
Brian: I was photocopying a report that I needed to send to a client. What were you doing when you telephoned?

Betsy: I was looking for Tom and couldn’t find him. Do you know where he was?
Brian: Tom was driving to a meeting.

Betsy: Oh, I see. What did you do yesterday?
Brian: I met the representatives from Driver’s in the morning. In the afternoon, I worked on the report and was just finishing when you telephoned. What did you do?

Betsy: Well, at 9 I had a meeting with Ms. Anderson. After that, I did some research.​
Brian: Sounds like a boring day!

Betsy: Yes, I don’t really like doing research. But it needs to be done.
Brian: I agree with you on that, no research – no business!

Betsy: Tell me about the report. What do you think of it?
Brian: I think the report is a good.

Tom believes it’s good, too.

Betsy: I know that every report you write is excellent.
Brian: Thank you, Betsy, you are always a good friend!

AN INTERVIEW AT THE SHOPPING MALL

Interviewer: Good evening, I hope you don’t mind answering a few questions.

Alice: How long will it take?

Interviewer: Just a few questions.​

Alice: I guess I can manage to answer a few questions. Go ahead.

Interviewer: I’d like to ask your opinion about consumer electronics. As far as consumer electronics is concerned, which is the most reliable brand?

Alice: I’d say that Samsung is the most reliable brand.

Interviewer: Which brand is the most expensive?

Alice: Well, Samsung is also the most expensive brand. I guess that’s why it’s the best.

Interviewer: Which brand do you think is the worst?

Alice: I think LG is the worst. I really can’t remember using any of their products that I liked.

Interviewer: And which brand is the most popular with young people?

Alice: That’s a difficult one to answer for me. I think that Sony is probably the most popular with young people.

Interviewer: One last question, Have you tried using any HP products?

Alice: No, I haven’t. Are they good?

Interviewer: I enjoy using them. But I didn’t stop you to tell you what I think. Thank you for your time.

Alice: Not at all.

TALKING TO HOTEL ROOM SERVICE STAFF

Maria: (knocks on the room door) May I come in, madam?

Ms. Anderson: Yes, thanks for coming so quickly.

Maria: Certainly, madam. How can I help you?

Ms. Anderson: I’d like some fresh towels in the suite when I get back this evening.

Maria: I’ll get them immediately. Would you like me to also change the bed sheets?

Ms. Anderson: Yes, that would be nice. Could you also turn down the covers?

Maria: Is there anything else I can do for you? Perhaps you have some laundry I can take to be cleaned.

Ms. Anderson: Now that you mention it, I do have some clothes in the laundry bag.

Maria: Very good, madam. I’ll have them cleaned and folded when you return.

Ms. Anderson: Excellent. You know, it gets stuffy in this room.

Maria: I’d be happy to open the window while you are away. I’ll make sure to close it before you return.

Ms. Anderson: … oh, I can never find the light switch when I get back in the evening.

Maria: I’ll make sure to leave the lamp on the bedstand on after I finish cleaning up.

Ms. Anderson: Are you going to vacuum?

Maria: Certainly, madam. We vacuum our rooms every day.

Ms. Anderson: That’s good to hear. Well, it’s time for me to see my friends.

Today we’re visiting a vineyard.

Maria: Enjoy your day, madam.

Ms. Anderson: Oh, I will… Just a second, could you also take out the trolley with this morning’s breakfast?

Maria: Yes, madam I’ll take it with me when I’ve finished tidying up.

Having a Hard Time Finding a Job

ORIGINAL CONVERSATION

Mark: Hi Peter! How are you doing these days?
Peter: Oh, Hi Mark. I’m not doing very well, actually.

Mark: I’m sorry to hear that. What seems to be the problem?
Peter: … you know I’ve been looking for work. I can’t seem to find a job.

Mark: That’s too bad. Why did you leave your last job?
Peter: Well, my boss treated me badly, and I didn’t like my chances of advancing in the company.

Mark: That makes sense. A job without opportunities AND a difficult boss isn’t very attractive.
Peter: Exactly! So, anyway, I decided to quit and find a new job. I sent out my resume to more than twenty companies. Unfortunately, I’ve only had two interviews so far.

Mark: Have you tried looking online for a job?
Peter: Yes, but so many of the jobs require moving to another city. I don’t want to do that.

Mark: I can understand that. How about going to some of those networking groups?
Peter: I haven’t tried those. What are they?

Mark: They’re groups of people who are also looking for work. They help each other discover new opportunities.
Peter: That sounds great. I’ll definitely try some of those.

Mark: I’m glad to hear that. So, what are you doing here?
Peter: Oh, I’m shopping for a new suit. I want to make the best impression possible at my job interviews!

Mark: There you go. That’s the spirit. I’m sure things will look up for you soon.


Peter: Yes, you’re probably right. I hope so!

REPORTED CONVERSATION

Mark: I saw Peter today.
Susan: How’s he doing?

Mark: Not too well, I’m afraid.
Susan: Why’s that?

Mark: He told me had been looking for work, but hadn’t found a job.
Susan: That surprises me. Was he fired or did he quit his last job?

Mark: He told me his boss had treated him badly.

He also said he didn’t like his chances of advancing in the company.
Susan: Quitting doesn’t sound like a very wise decision to me.

Mark: That’s true. But he’s been working hard at finding a new job.
Susan: What’s he done?

Mark: He said he had sent out his resumes to more than twenty companies. Unfortunately, he told me that only two had called him for an interview.
Susan: That’s tough.

Mark: Tell me about it. However, I gave him some advice and I hope it helps.
Susan: What did you suggest?

Mark: I suggested joining a networking group.
Susan: That’s a great idea.

Mark: Yes, well, he told me he would try a few groups.
Susan: Where did you see him?

Mark: I saw him at the mall. He told me he was shopping for a new suit.
Susan: What?! Buying new clothes and no work!

Mark: No, no. He said he wanted to make the best impression possible at his job interviews.
Susan: Oh, that makes sense.

WHAT’S IN YOUR OFFICE?

David: I’ve got a new office now…
Maria: That’s great!  Congratulations

David: I’ll need a desk and some cabinets. How many cabinets are there in your office?
Maria: I think there are four cabinets in my office.

David: And do you have any furniture in your office? I mean other than the chair at your desk.
Maria: Oh yes, I’ve got a sofa and two comfortable armchairs.

David: Are there any tables in your office?
Maria: Yes, I’ve got a table in front of the sofa.

David: Is there a computer in your office?
Maria: Oh yes, I keep a laptop on my desk next to the phone.

David: Are there any flowers or plants in your office?
Maria: Yes, there are a few plants near the window.

David: Where’s your sofa?
Maria: The sofa is in front of the window, between the two armchairs.

David: Thanks a lot for your help, Janet. This gives me a good idea of how to arrange my office.
Maria: My pleasure. Good luck with your decorating!

Cooking

Carol: This is a lovely house!
Martha: Thank you. Carol, we call it home.

Carol: It’s very close to work, isn’t it?
Martha: Yes, it is. I always walk to work – even when it rains!

Carol: I usually take the bus. It takes so long!
Martha: How long does it take?

Carol: Oh, it takes about 20 minutes.
Martha: That is a long time. Well, have some cake.

Carol: (taking a bite of some cake) this is delicious! Do you bake all of your own cakes?
Martha: Yes, I usually bake something at the weekend. I like having sweets in the house.

Carol: You’re a wonderful cook!
Martha: Thank you, it’s nothing really.

Carol: I never cook. I’m just hopeless. My husband, David, usually does all the cooking.
Martha: Do you often go out to eat?

Carol: Yes, when he doesn’t have time to cook, we go out to eat somewhere.
Martha: There are some wonderful restaurants in the city.

Carol: Too many! You can eat at a different restaurant every day.

Monday – Chinese, Tuesday – Italian, Wednesday – Mexican, on and on …

Making an appointment with the dentist

Making an Appointment with the Dentist

Dentist Office Assistant: Good morning, Beautiful Smile Dentistry, this is Jamie. How may I help you today?
Patient: Good morning, I’d like to schedule a check-up.

Dentist Office Assistant: I’d be happy to do that for you. Have you been to Beautiful Smile before?
Patient: Yes, I have. My last check-up was six months ago.

Dentist Office Assistant: Great. Can I get your name, please?


Patient: Yes, of course, sorry. My name is Ron Appleman.

Dentist Office Assistant: Thank you Mr. Appleman. Which dentist did you see on your last check-up?
Patient: I’m not sure, really.

Dentist Office Assistant: That’s OK. Let me check your chart… Oh, Dr. Lee.
Patient: Yes, that’s right.

Dentist Office Assistant: OK… Dr. Lee has time next Friday in the morning.
Patient: Hmmm… that’s not good. I’ve got work. How about the week after that?

Dentist Office Assistant: Yes, Dr. Lee has some times open. Would you like to suggest a time?
Patient: Does he have anything open in the afternoon?

Dentist Office Assistant: Yes, we could fit you in on Thursday, January 14th at 2.30 in the afternoon.
Patient: Great. That’ll work.

Dentist Office Assistant: OK, thank you for calling Mr. Appleman, we’ll see you next week.
Patient: Thank you, bye-bye.

Dentist Office Assistant: Goodbye.
Patient:

Key Making an Appointment Phrases

This is …
How may I help you?
I’d like to schedule / I’d like to make an appointment
check-up
Have you been to X before?
Can I get your name? / May I have your name?
Which dentist / doctor did you see?
Dr. X has time next …
Would you like to suggest a time?
Does he / she have something open …?
We can / could fit you in … 

Thank you for calling.

Planning a Party

(two neighbors talking)

Martha:…What horrible weather today. I’d love to go out, but I think it will just continue raining.


Jane:Oh, I don’t know. Perhaps the sun will come out later this afternoon.

Martha:I hope you’re right. Listen, I’m going to have a party this Saturday. Would you like to come?
Jane:Oh, I’d love to come. Thank you for inviting me. Who’s going to come to the party?

Martha:Well, a number of people haven’t told me yet. But, Peter and Mark are going to help out with the cooking!
Jane:Hey, I’ll help, too!

Martha:Would you? That would be great!
Jane:I’ll make lasagna!

Martha:That sounds delicious! I know my Italian cousins are going to be there. I’m sure they’ll love it.
Jane:Italians? Maybe I’ll bake a cake…

Martha:No, no. They’re not like that. They’ll love it.
Jane:Well, if you say so… Is there going be a theme for the party?

Martha:No, I don’t think so. Just a chance to get together and have fun.
Jane:I’m sure it’ll be lots of fun.

Martha:But I’m going to hire a clown!
Jane:A clown! You’re kidding me.

Martha:No, no. As I child, I always wanted a clown. Now, I’m going to have my clown at my own party.
Jane:I’m sure everyone will have a good laugh.

Martha:That’s the plan!

Ordering a Meal

  1. Hi. How are you doing this afternoon?
  2. Fine, thank you. Can I see a menu, please?
  3. Certainly, here you are.
  4. Thank you. What’s today’s special?
  5. Grilled tuna and cheese on rye.
  6. That sounds good. I’ll have that.
  7. Would you like something to drink?
  8. Yes, I’d like a coke.
  9. Thank you. (returning with the food) Here you are. Enjoy your meal!
  10. Thank you.
  11. Can I get you anything else?
  12. No thanks. I’d like the check (bill – UK English), please.
  13. That’ll be $6.75.
  14. Here you are. Keep the change!
  15. Thank you! Have a good day!
  16. Bye.

Key Vocabulary

Can I see a menu?
here you are
Enjoy your meal!
Would you like …
Can I get you anything else?
I’d like the check (bill – UK English), please.
That’ll be $6.75.
Have a good day!

ASKING A FAVOR

Could / Would you do me a favor? – Use this form to ask in general if someone will do a favor for you as a way to begin the conversation.

Would you do me a favor? I need some help.
Could you do me a favor? I’m late for work …

Could you please + verb – Use the simple form of the verb (do) to ask for help with specific situation in polite situations.

Could you please take me to work?
Could you please lend me a hand?

Could you possibly + verb – Use the simple form of the verb to ask for help with specific situations with being very polite. 

Could I possibly take some time off to help?
Could you possibly work overtime today?

Could I ask / bother / trouble you + infinitive – Use the infinitive form of the verb (to do) to ask for a favor in formal situations. 

Could I ask you to help my brother?
Could I bother you to give a ride to work?
Could I trouble you to open the door for me?

Would you mind + verb + ing – Use the gerund form of the verb (doing) to ask for a favor in every day situations.

Would you mind closing the window?
Would you mind cooking dinner tonight?

Would it be too much trouble for you + infinitive – Use this form with the infinitive to ask for a favor in very formal situations.

Would it be too much trouble for you to let me come in late tomorrow?
Would it be too much trouble for you to take a look at this letter?

May I + verb? – Use the simple form of the verb with ‘may’ when the favor you’re asking requires permission.

May I leave class early?
May we use your telephone?

GRANTING A FAVOR

If you would like to say “yes” to someone who asks you for a favor, you can grant the favor using these phrases:

Sure
No problem.
I’d be happy to help you.
It would be my pleasure.
I’d be glad to help out.

It’s common to ask for more specifics when granting a favor. For instance, if your friend asks you to help him out with a project, you might ask some follow up questions to get an idea of what is needed.

REFUSING A FAVOR

If you are unable to help out and need to say “no”, you can refuse a favor with these responses:

I’m afraid I can’t.
Sorry, but I’m unable + infinitive
Unfortunately, I’m not able + infinitive.
Regrettably, I can’t + verb

Saying ‘no’, is never fun, but sometimes it’s necessary. It’s common to offer a different solution to try to help out even if you can’t do the favor.

ASKING FOR A FAVOR WHICH IS GRANTED

Peter: Hi Anna. I’ve got a favor to ask. Would you mind cooking dinner tonight? I’m kind of busy.
Anna: Sure, Peter. What would you like for dinner?
Peter: Could I trouble you to make some pasta?
Anna: That’s sounds good. Let’s have pasta. Which type of sauce should I make?
Peter: Would it be too much trouble to make a four cheese sauce?


Anna: No, that’s easy. Yum. Good idea.
Peter: Thanks Anna. That really helps me out.
Anna: No problem.

Mark: Hey, could you please help me with the homework?
Susan: I’d be glad to help out. What seems to be the problem.
Mark:: I don’t get this equation. Would you mind explaining it to me?
Susan: No problem. It’s difficult!
Mark: Yeah, I know. Thanks a lot.
Susan: Don’t worry about it.

ASKING FOR A FAVOR WHICH IS REFUSED

Employee: Hello, Mr. Smith. Could I ask you a question?
Boss: Sure, what do you need?
Employee: Would it be too much trouble for you to let me come in at 10 tomorrow morning?
Boss: Oh, that’s a little difficult.
Employee: Yes, I know it’s last moment, but I have to go to the dentist.
Boss: I’m afraid I can’t let you come in late tomorrow. We really need you at the meeting.
Employee: OK, I just thought I’d ask.

I’ll get a different appointment.
Boss: Thanks, I appreciate it.

Brother: Hey. Would you mind letting me watch my show?
Sister: Sorry, but I can’t do that.
Brother: Why not?!
Sister: I’m watching favorite show now.
Brother: But I’m going to miss my favorite game show!
Sister: Watch it online. Don’t bother me.
Brother: Could you please watch your show online, it’s a rerun!
Sister: Sorry, but I’m unable to do that. You’ll just have to watch it later.

PRACTICE SITUATIONS

Find a partner and use these suggestions to practice asking for favors, as well as granting and refusing favors as shown in the examples. Make sure to vary the language you use when practicing rather than using the same phrase over and over again.

Ask someone to …

  • loan you $50 for the weekend
  • help you with your homework
  • assist you with some paperwork such as filling out a form
  • give you a ride
  • check your writing or correct your grammar
  • cook a meal
  • let you take a day off work

COMPLIMENTING ABILITY 

Use these phrases to compliment someone on an ability they have.

If you’d like to learn something from the person about his / her ability, start with a compliment. The person will probably help you learn more and be happy to talk about how to do it.

Formal

  • If you don’t mind my saying, you are a(n) excellent / outstanding / superb + (noun phrase)
  • I must say you really know how to + (verb)
  • You are a fine + (noun phrase)
  • What a(n) excellent / outstanding / superb / + (noun phrase) you are!
  • I admire your ability to + (verb)

Mr. Smith, if you don’t mind my saying, you are an excellent public speaker.
I must say you really know how to paint.
I admire your ability to think on your feet.

Informal

  • You’re great at (verb + ing)
  • You can really (verb) 
  • Wow, I wish I could (verb) as well as you!
  • You’re an amazing / awesome / incredible + (noun phrase)

Wow! You’re great at skiing!
You can really cook. This is amazing food!
You’re an awesome student.

COMPLIMENTING LOOKS

Use these phrases to compliment someone on how they look.

I’ve divided this into two categories: for women and for men. It’s important to use the right language for the situation. If you pay someone a compliment on their looks in the wrong way, it’s possible that your compliment will not be accepted.

FORMAL

Notice how we ask permission to pay compliments on good looks in formal English.

This is to ensure that no one gets the wrong idea about your intention.

  • May I be so bold as to compliment your + (dress / hair / outfit / etc.)?
  • You are looking beautiful / handsome today.
  • May I pay you a compliment? You really look beautiful / handsome / elegant /etc. today.
  • I hope you don’t mind, but you are looking beautiful / handsome today.

Ms Anders, may I be so bold as to compliment you on your dress?
I hope you don’t mind, but I just had to say how wonderful you look today.
May I pay you a compliment Mary? You really look fantastic today.

INFORMAL

  • Wow, you’re hot!
  • You look great today!
  • Excuse me, are you a model?
  • I really love your (dress / hair / outfit / etc.).
  • What a beautiful (dress / shirt / blouse / haircut / etc.)!

Wow, you’re hot! Would you like a drink?
Sherry, what a beautiful dress!
I really love your haircut. It makes you look like a movie star.

COMPLIMENTING POSSESSIONS

Use these phrases to compliment someone on something they have. People are often proud of their possessions, especially major objects such as a house, a car, or even a stereo system. Complimenting someone on a nice possession is a good way to make small talk. 

FORMAL

  • I couldn’t help but notice your + (noun phrase) 
  • What a lovely + (noun) + you have!
  • You have such a wonderful / lovely / beautiful home / house / apartment / living room / etc.
  • I have to admit I’m jealous of your + (noun phrase)

Tom, I couldn’t help but notice your Mercedes. It’s a beauty!
I have to admit I’m jealous of your lovely garden.
You have such a cozy home. 

INFORMAL

  • Nice + (noun phrase)
  • I like your + (noun phrase)
  • That’s nice / pretty / beautiful / hot.
  • Cudos on the + (noun phrase) dude.

Nice car! Is it yours?
Cudos on the computer dude. Where did you get it?
Do you like my sweater? – That’s nice!

EXAMPLES

EXAMPLE 1: ABILITY

Gary: Hi Tim. Great round today.
Tim: Thanks Gary.

Gary: You can really hit the golf ball.
Tim: You’re much too kind.

Gary: No really. I wish I could drive as well as you.
Tim: Well, take a few lessons. It’ll happen.

Gary: I’ve thought about it.

Do you really think it helps?
Tim: I used to have a horrible drive. Try a lesson, it’s worth the price.

Example 2: Looks

Ms Smith: Good morning Ms Anders. How are you today?
Mr Anders: Fine, thank you. And you?

Ms Smith: I’m very well. Thank you for asking. 
Mr Anders: Ms Smith, I hope you don’t mind, but you are looking very well today.

Ms Smith: Thank you Mr Smith. That’s kind of you to say so.
Mr Anders: Yes, well, have a good day Ms. Smith.

Ms Smith: Will I see you at the meeting at 3?
Mr Anders: Yes’, I’ll be there. 

Example 3: Possessions

Anna: Thanks for inviting us over for dinner this weekend.
Margaret: My pleasure, come right in.

Anna: What a lovely home you have! I love the furniture.
Margaret: Thank you. We like to call it home. It’s cozy.

Anna: You have such exquisite taste in decor. 
Margaret: Now you are exaggerating!

Anna: No, really. it’s so beautiful.
Margaret: Thank you. You’re very kind.

ASKING FOR PERMISSION

Can I + verb – VERY INFORMAL

Can I go out tonight?
Can he have dinner with us?

NOTE: The use of “Can I do something?” is very informal, and considered incorrect by many. However, it is used in everyday informal speech and for that reason has been included.

May I + verb

May I have another piece of pie?
May we go out with our friends tonight?

NOTE: Traditionally, the use of “May I do something?” has been used for asking permission. In modern society, this form has become a little more formal and is often replaced with other forms such as “Can I…” and “Could I …” Many argue that “Can I …” is incorrect because it refers to ability. However, this form is quite common in everyday situations.

Could I please + verb

Could I please go with Tom to the movie?
Could we please go on trip this weekend?

Do you think I could + verb

Do you think I could use your cell phone?


Do you think I could borrow your car?

Would it be possible for me + infinitive

Would it be possible for me to use your computer for a few minutes?
Would it be possible for to study in this room?

Would you mind if I + verb in past

Would you mind if I stayed a few more minutes?
Would you mind if I took a five minute break?

Would you mind my + verb + ing + your + object

Would you mind my using your cellphone?
Would you mind my playing your piano?

Giving Permission

If you would like to say “yes” to someone who asks permission, you can give permission using these phrases:

Sure
No problem.
Go right ahead.
Please feel free + infinitive

When giving permission people will sometimes also offer to help in other ways. See the example conversations below for an example

REFUSING A FAVOR

If you do not want to deny permission, you can these responses:

I’m afraid I’d prefer if you didn’t / don’t.
Sorry, but I’d rather you not do that.
Unfortunately, I need to say no.
I’m afraid that’s not possible.

Saying ‘no’, is never fun, but sometimes it’s necessary. It’s common to offer a different solution to try to help out even if you can’t give permission.

EXAMPLE SITUATIONS: ASKING FOR PERMISSION WHICH IS GIVEN

Jack: Hi Sam, do you think I could use your cell phone for a moment?
Sam: Sure, no problem. Here you are.
Jack: Thanks buddy. It will only be a minute or two.
Sam: Take your time. No rush.
Jack: Thanks!

Student: Would it be possible for me to have a few more minutes to review before the quiz?
Teacher: Please feel free to study for a few more minutes.


Student: Thank you very much.
Teacher: No problem. Do you have any questions in particular?
Student: Uh, no. I just need to review things quickly.
Teacher: OK. We’ll begin in five minutes.
Student: Thank you.

EXAMPLE SITUATIONS: ASKING FOR PERMISSION WHICH IS DENIED

Employee: Would you mind if I came in late to work tomorrow?
Boss: I’m afraid I’d prefer if you didn’t.
Employee: Hmmm. What if I work overtime tonight?
Boss: Well, I really need you for the meeting tomorrow. Is there any way you can do whatever it is you need to do later.
Employee: If you put it that way, I’m sure I can figure something out.
Boss: Thanks, I appreciate it.

Son: Dad, can I go out tonight?
Father: It’s a school night! I’m afraid that’s not possible.
Son: Dad, all my friends are going to the game!
Father: I’m sorry son. Your grades haven’t been the best recently.

I’m going to have to say no.
Son: Ah, Dad, come on! Let me go!
Father: Sorry son, no is no.

PRACTICE SITUATIONS

Find a partner and use these suggestions to practice asking for permission, as well as giving and denying permission as shown in the examples. Make sure to vary the language you use when practicing rather than using the same phrase over and over again.

ASK PERMISSION TO:

  • go out on a weekday evening with friends
  • use someone’s car for the day
  • use someone’s cell or smartphone
  • take a day or two off work
  • skip school for a day
  • play someone’s piano
  • use someone’s computer
  • make a copy of an article in a magazine

DIALOGUES

At Work

Colleague 1: Hi Bob. I’m feeling out of sorts today.
Colleague 2: I’m sorry to hear that. What seems to be the problem?

Colleague 1: Well, I’m really upset about the changes at work.
Colleague 2: I know it’s been difficult for everyone.

Colleague 1: I just don’t understand why they had to change our team!


Colleague 2: Sometimes management does things we don’t understand.

Colleague 1: It make no sense! I just don’t feel well.
Colleague 2: Maybe you need some time off work.

Colleague 1: Yes, maybe that’s it.
Colleague 2: Is there anything I can do to help?

Colleague 1: No, just talking about it makes things better.
Colleague 2: Feel free to talk anytime.

Colleague 1: Thanks. I appreciate it.
Colleague 2: No problem.

Between Friends

Sue: Anna, what’s the matter?
Anna: Nothing. I’m fine.

Sue: You seem sad. Tell me all about it.
Anna: OK, I’m in the dumps about Tom.

Sue: Bummer. What seems to be the problem>
Anna: I don’t think he loves me anymore.

Sue: Really! Are you sure about that?
Anna: Yes, I saw him yesterday with Mary. They were laughing and having a great time.

Sue: Well, maybe they were just studying together.

It doesn’t mean he’s leaving you.
Anna: That’s what I keep telling myself. Still, I’m feeling blue.

Sue: Is there anything I can do?
Anna: Yes, let’s go shopping!

Sue: Now you are talking. A nice new pair of shoes would help you feel much better.
Anna: Yes, maybe that’s what I really need. Not a boyfriend, but some beautiful new shoes.

Conclusion

I am sure this beginner-level course will help you kick start your Spoken English journey. For more such practice and one to one sessions, please register or email us. Step by step, we will make sure you achieve your fluency while talking with us. Limited seats available for our one to one spoken English practice sessions, only available to those who grab this FREE opportunity first!