Conversation Tips

Introduction

When you are reading the conversations on Happenence, you will find that there are occasional phrases that we use to help the conversation flow. Let’s have a look at some of them.

Conversation

Read and listen to the following conversation. Catherine and Emily are going to discuss Emily’s best friend, Annie. Pay attention to the marked words.

Listen to the audio and read the transcript.

Catherine: Hi Emily, how are you today?

Emily: I’m happy actually. Today my best friend visited me.

C: What is your best friend called?

E: She is called Annie.

C: That’s a nice name. Where does she live?

E: Annie lives in the south of England with her fiancé. They have a cat. He is called Jasper and he has black and white fur.

C: How sweet! How old is Annie?

E: She is twenty-six years old.

C: Younger than you then. What does she do for a living?

E: Actually, she is an aeroplane mechanic. She builds aeroplanes.

C: Wow, she must be very clever.

E: Yes, Annie is very intelligent and she is good with her hands.

C: What does Annie look like?

E: She is tall and slim and very elegant. She has short dark hair and brown eyes.

C: She sounds like a really interesting friend.

E: Yeah she is. Look, I’m sorry Catherine, but I have to go now.

C: Of course, no worries. Speak to you soon Emily.

E: Bye.


Analysis

C: Younger than you then. What does she do for a living?

E: Actually, she is an aeroplane mechanic. She builds aeroplanes.

What do you think actually means?

Did you guess ‘actualmente’? If so you’re wrong. ‘Actually’ is what we call a false friend. Native Spanish speakers assume that it means ‘actualmente’ because it looks so similar.

actually = en realidad / realmente / en verdad

really = realmente / de verdad / en serio / muy

Catherine: Hi Emily, how are you today?

Emily: I’m happy actually.

C: She sounds like a really interesting friend.

E: Yeah she is.

Here we hear Emily say ‘yeah’, which is an informal way of saying ‘yes’.

E: They have a cat. He is called Jasper and he has black and white fur.

C: How sweet!

Where I live in Chile, people are always saying phrases like ‘qué rico!’ or ‘qué bacán’ or ‘qué fome’. These are tiny phrases thrown into conversation to show an emotion. In English, we do the same, although possibly not quite so frequently as some of my Chilean friends.

How sweet! = ¡Qué bonito! / ¡Qué lindo!

That’s great! = ¡Qué bien! / ¡Qué bacán!

How awful! How terrible! = ¡Qué horror! / ¡Qué terrible! / ¡Qué feo!

How wonderful = ¡Qué maravilloso!

Task

Write a conversation, about anything you like, using some phrases you’ve seen on this page.


    Reflection

    Having a conversation is not just about vocabulary, grammar and pronunciation. There are lots of other skills you need to use, like being able to recognize when to speak and being able to adapt your tone.

    What words or phrases do you use all the time when you are speaking in Spanish with your friends? Do you know how to say something similar in English?

    Quiz answers:

    Annie lives in the south of England.

    Annie and her fiancé have a cat.

    Annie is 26 years old.