How to: Make ‘small talk’ in social situations



When you have a work -related social function, or even find yourself in an informal online group meeting, how do you engage conversationally with others in English? What topics are suitable? Here are some phrases for different situations:

Talking about your job/interests and other people’s jobs/interests:

• I’ve been working for/with X (state company/colleague’s name) for X years/months/length of time.
• How long have you been working for/with X?
• I enjoy/love doing/playing/going to X when I have time/in my spare time. How about you?
• I’ve been doing/playing X for (+ length of time) (but I’m still not great at it) (and I’m still improving!)
• How often do you do/play/go to X?
• I’m missing doing/playing X at the moment. What do you miss?

Talking about the local weather/your surroundings:

• The weather has been beautiful//awful//very warm//cold here today/this week/recently. How is it there/where you are?
• Have you managed to get out in this good//bad//sunny//rainy weather?
• This part of the city/town/countryside is well-known for X
• What is your city/town/countryside famous for?

Talking about current affairs:

• Did you hear about X on the news? What do you think about it?
• I read/heard about/watched X on the news recently. I think it’s terrible//good news//very interesting//quite worrying//unbelievable!

Related resources

Grammar Check-up! – The Present Continuous tense – check out your knowledge and understanding.

The Present Continuous Tense - In which of these situations do you think we use the present continuous (progressive) form..? To talk about..

Grammar Check-up! The Simple Present tense – check out your knowledge and understanding.

In which of these situations do you think we use the simple present form in English..? To talk about...

10 POLISH TRANSLATION MISTAKES – Are you making these mistakes?

Directly translating from your language to English can result in some ‘classic’ word choice or word order mistakes, and often some ‘missing’ words! Are you making these mistakes?