Do the preparation exercise first. Then watch the video and do the exercises to check your understanding and practise the language.
Ana: Hi! I'm Ana. Welcome to What to Say!
Do you know what to say when you want to keep a conversation going? Listen out for useful language for keeping a conversation going. Then, we'll practise saying the new phrases – after this.
Noelia: Hi, Bob!
Bob: Oh, morning, Noelia.
Noelia: So, what's new?
Bob: New, hmm, let me think. Hmm … Nothing much. Oh, hang on. My dog Bertie had his 14th birthday on Monday!
Noelia: Oh, he's getting old then?
Bob: I guess so … but not as old as his owner.
Noelia: Haha … er, anyway …
Bob: How about you, Noelia? How's it going?
Noelia: Great, actually. Yeah … all good.
Bob: By the way, I wanted to ask you, where in Spain are you from?
Noelia: I'm from Santander.
Bob: Oh, lovely. Wonderful to grow up near the sea.
Noelia: Yeah, it was perfect. Ah, I miss the sea.
Bob: I know what you mean. I used to live in Spain and I absolutely loved it.
Noelia: Really? I didn't know that, Bob!
Bob: Yeah, I had a little bar on the Costa Brava.
Noelia: Wow! So do you speak Spanish then?
Bob: Oh, not much. Ah, those were the days! Excuse me. Perdona, Noelia. Tengo que irme. Me necesitan en el segundo piso. ¡Hasta pronto! [Excuse me, Noelia. I've got to go. They need me on the second floor. See you soon!]
Ana: Hello again! Wow! Bob is full of surprises. So, did you notice the useful phrases used for keeping a conversation going? Listen to me and then repeat.
So, what's new?
Let me think ...
How about you, Noelia?
How's it going?
By the way, I wanted to ask you ...
I know what you mean.
Really? I didn't know that!
Ana: Try and use some of these phrases the next time you want to keep a conversation going in English. Bye for now!
We use by the way in conversation when we want to say something that has just occurred to us (something we have just thought of or remembered) which is not directly connected to what we have been saying.
We use anyway (one word) as a conversational marker to show that we want to change the subject. For example, you might start a conversation with a little small talk and then use anyway to shift the subject to something else:
The LearnEnglish Team
When you meet a person for the first time the formal greeting is 'How do you do?', often accompanied with a handshake. For subsequent meetings you can say 'Hello again. How are you?' or 'Nice to see you again. How are things?'
Note that societies change and in the modern world it is normal to assume a lower degree of formality than we would have in the past. People move much more quickly to a relatively relaxed form of interaction these days.
'What's up?' is very informal but it has the same meaning as the phrases in your first question, so the formal equivalent would be the same.
The LearnEnglish Team