You want to have fluent, more interesting English conversations. However, when you’re learning English it can be difficult to think of what to say or what to ask. What kind of question should you ask? What is an appropriate question to ask a native English speaker? How can you form a correct question structure grammatically? These are all great questions that I want to help you with today.
Questions are necessary to maintain a conversation. If you don’t ask questions, then the conversation feels “one-sided,” meaning that one person is making more effort or has more interest than the other person. If you don’t ask any questions, it appears that you are not making effort in the conversation. It also seems that you are not interested in the conversation! The conversation will feel like an interview between a superior and subordinate, and that is not the way you want to talk with your colleagues and friends!
What about interviews in English?
When you are in an interview situation in English, of course your interviewer will ask you more questions. However, even when you have a job or internship interview in English, it is important to ask questions. In fact, your interviewer will probably ask you, “Do you have any questions?” And it is important to be ready to ask questions to show your intellect, curiosity and interest in the position!
The 6 Best Questions for Fluent English Conversations
In your English class, you probably learned basic questions such as, “Where are you from?” or “What is your hobby?” Those questions are fine, but they are basic and predictable. To be honest, we get tired of hearing these same questions again and again. I’m going to share some of my favorite, most interesting, most advanced questions for better English conversation. They are not difficult or structurally complicated, and they will help you have more interesting conversations in English.
These are my favorite six questions for most any conversational situation, whether you’re with your friends at a party or your colleagues at work, or wherever! You do need to fill in the blanks according to the situation.
How about you?
Obviously, this question comes after some other information. For example, “I’m from New York City. How about you?” It’s a fresh way to ask where someone is from. Offer some information about yourself first, then ask this question.
Have you ever _____?
This is a great question to ask about someone’s experience! You could use this to ask about where someone has traveled, or what kinds of foods they have tried, or a work experience. For example, “Have you ever led a project?”
What are you into?
This is a native speaker idiomatic way to ask what you are interested in. You can add a topic to guide the conversation, such as, “What sports are you into?” or “What music are you into?”
What do you think of ______?
Use this question with care and avoid topics like religion or politics too soon. Try asking about the weather, or something in your immediate environment such as food, art, or music!
How about the _________?
Use this question to suggest a new topic, to change the subject. If the conversation seems to be stopping, you should use this question to add something new to talk about! For example, “How about the Yankees?” Try talking about a sports team, or something in your environment such as the weather, food, art, music or even a person you all know.
What do you like about ________?
This is a great question with a positive spin. Everyone likes to end a conversation on a positive note, so this is a nice one to use before ending a conversation. If you want to learn more about how to end a conversation in English, click here.
With these six questions in your conversation toolkit, you’ll never struggle to think of what to ask next!
Practice asking these questions by repeating them out loud to yourself. Imagine the situations in which you may want to use them. Imagine the answers people may give you and how you will show that you are listening and interested by being an active listener. See my lesson on Active Listening here for more information on that!