English Conversation

Mar
28
2011

Once you learn enough vocabulary and polish your grammar, you won’t have as much fear as at the very beginning and will be eager to use your English in conversation.  However, even though Americans are known to be very open-minded and straightforward, certain conversational topics are better to be avoided.

It is never a good idea to discuss standards of living. Curiosity is in human nature; yet, inquiries of this kind are frowned upon. Job-related questions are fine as long as they do not involve anything salary-related. Or, ask a New Yorker how much they pay for a wonderful downtown loft and watch how quickly this person finds an excuse to walk away from you.

One question you will hear very often, usually accompanied by a genuine smile, is “How are you?” It makes you think your response should be just as sincere and honest-to-goodness. Yet, hold on - do not go into the gruesome details of your latest break-up, an atrocious behavior of your coworker, or paying off an outrageously high interest on your credit card. There will be time when you’ll talk about what and how you feel; for now, just say, “I’m good” and move on to the next topic.

America is probably more ethically and culturally diverse as any other country. But even after centuries of people of opposite beliefs and ideas living side by side, certain tensions and grievances still exist in the American society. You might feel strong about politics, religion, race issues, or reproductive rights, but these topics are rather controversial and might easily turn a discussion into unpleasant, heated arguments.

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