How to Keep a Conversation Going in English With Native Speakers

When learning a new language it is not uncommon to feel self-conscious. Sometimes lapses in conversation with a native English speaker can feel unbearable. This is why you need to watch Gabby’s video below on how to keep a conversation going in English with native speakers. This video will give you six great questions to add to your English language toolkit to pull out when you want to take a conversation further but lack the confidence to pull it off.

How about you?

A way to continue the conversation after you have been talking for a while. Someone may have just asked you about your tattoo and after you explained some details about it, you might turn the conversation back to them, and ask “how about you? Do you have any tattoos?”. Another example may be you discovered a lima bean in your lunch dish and pull it to the side of your lunch plate, exclaiming “oh, I hate lima beans – how about you?”. It shows the other person you are curious about them. People feel good when you ask about their thoughts, opinions, and experiences and people who feel good will be comfortable enough to converse longer. 

Have you ever _______?

Ask about experiences, people love to talk about exciting adventures they have had in their own lives. This gives you a bit of time to breathe, listen to a story and practice your listening skills. “Have you ever been skydiving?” If not, try asking “Would you ever go skydiving?”. Ask about things you are interested in seeing or experiencing as well, to find out more details. “I was thinking about going to the top of the Empire State Building – have you ever been up there?”. You may get some tips for your own travels.

What are you in to?

This is a way of asking “what are you interested in?” (which you can also use). This is a way to find out if you share common interests with people, which is always certain to keep a conversation flowing. Maybe you will find out that both of you are really into classic cars or hip-hop music, or maybe you will finally find someone who would really love to go out together for Ethiopian food. Asking others what their interests are can be serendipitous, a pleasant discovery about someone may forge a deeper connection. 

What do you think of _______?

Be creative with this question, and curious! “What do you think about the Falcon Heavy launch, and Elon Musk sending up a car into outer space?”. Think of playful, fun and engaging topics that are easy for anyone to engage in. When you are first meeting someone, you don’t necessarily want to jump into heavy discussions about politics, religion or money. Save those topics of discussion for when you know someone well.  

How about the ______?

This is one common for light conversation, otherwise known as small talk. “How about the Dodgers?”, you might ask someone if you know a bit about baseball and you can see they are wearing an L.A. Dodgers cap. “How about the weather?” you might ask someone, especially if the day is especially sunny, windy, stormy or otherwise unusual. It is an invitation to talk more or be casually friendly with someone who you may have just met.

What do you like about _________?

A great way to extend a conversation, especially if you have just asked someone what they are into. Maybe they have just been talking about their recent trip to Chicago and you are wanting to hear a bit more. “What did you like the most about Chicago?” Is a great way to extend the conversation and learn more about the person, their interests and what makes them tick (makes them tick is an expression for what motivates someone, or how they think), and a bit more about Chicago as well.

Watch Gabby now in this video about how to keep a conversation going in English with native speakers!

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