Lesson Transcript

Hi, everybody! My name is Alisha.
Welcome back to Top Words.
In this lesson, we're gonna look at the top 20 useful phrases for small talk.
Okay, let's get on with the video!
1. You look great!
So, "You look great!" is a good way to greet another person. You should use this when someone has had a new haircut or maybe they have a new shirt or something cool that they're wearing.
You want to express that someone looks really nice, you can say…
"You look great!"
Next is...
2. How are things?
So, "How are things?" is like a more casual way of saying, "How are you?" "How are things?" means like how are things in your life? "Things" here means everything; your job, your work, whatever, your school, your relationships, your family. How are things, in general.
Okay, let's go to the next phrase.
3. What a coincidence!
"What a coincidence" is used to express surprise. So this word is spelled kind of strangely. It's pronounced /kow•in•suh•dns/, /kow•in•suh•dns/.
It means that two things, two or more things that you might not expect to happen at the same or in the same way did happen. So, for example, if you meet a co-worker unexpectedly when you're shopping or you go to a coffee shop and you see someone you know there, you might say, "Wow! What a coincidence!" So, you didn't expect this thing to happen, but here you are. So you can express your surprise with this expression, like "Mm, what a coincidence! I ran into you at the coffee shop! Who would've thought?"
Okay, let's get on to the next expression.
4. That's great!
"That's great!" Okay. So, "that's great" is good to know. It's a super basic expression, but you can use it to respond to someone else's good news. Someone share something positive, happy, good, whatever it is, just say, "That's great!"
You can change "great" out for "awesome" or "super" or whatever it is you feel like. But "that's great" is a good basic phrase you can use, just about anytime.
Okay. Let's get to the next expression.
Next is...
5. Good for you!
Okay. So, "good for you" is used to express like happiness for another person's good news. So this is different from "that's great" because "good for you" is like kind of noting that someone made an improvement in their life. Someone did something that was good for them, specifically. So maybe someone started a new exercise habit, and it's really positive, or maybe they ended a bad relationship, or they started a new job at a good place.
In those cases where someone has made some personal improvement, you could say…
"Good for you! Good for you!"
Okay, onto the next expression.
6. How are you?
So, "How are you?" is a super basic greeting. You can use it with anybody in your life, really. "How are you?" is generally not replied too seriously. We usually just say, "I'm good," "I'm fine," "I'm okay." "How are you?" So, you don't really need to take this expression too seriously, but just say, "How are you?" to show you're thinking of the other person.
Okay, onto the next expression.
Next is…
7. Is everything going fine?
So, this expression and one that I personally would use, I would probably say, "Is everything going okay?" It's used if maybe you think the other person might be struggling with something, or they might have some kind of challenge or maybe some kind of problem. It's kind of used to say like, "Do you want to talk about something?" or "Do you want to discuss something?" You could use it if you're concerned. You can also just use it as like an everyday greeting, like "Hey, how are you? Is everything going okay?" So, just to show that you're thinking of the other person's life. But yeah, if you use a more concerned tone with this, like "Is everything going okay?" you can show that you, maybe, noticed something about the other person too, and you might want to show it's okay to talk about it. So, depending on your intonation, you can communicate some different ideas with this expression.
All right, onto the next one.
8. You won't believe this!
Okay. "You won't believe this" is used before you share, like some kind of surprising information or exciting information. You might also hear, "you're not gonna believe this" which is a reduced form of "you were not going to believe this."
"You won't believe this, but…" is very common. So, it's like saying, I have something so surprising that you probably will not believe the information, but here it is."
So, you can share something surprising or exciting with this phrase.
Okay, onward. Next is…
9. I haven't seen you for ages.
Okay. So, use this expression instead of "long time no see" or you can use them together like, "Long time no see! I haven't seen you for ages!" So, an "age" is a very long time, the word "age." So, "ages" is therefore a very, very long time, multiple ages. So, when you say, "I haven't seen you for ages," it means I haven't seen you in a very long time. You use this as a greeting. As I said, "Hey, long time no see. I haven't seen you in ages. How have you been?" for example.
Okay, next expression.
The next expression is…
10. That's terrible!
Okay. So when someone shares bad news, something bad that happened to them, you should respond with something that shows you understand their point of view. Say, "that's terrible" or "that's awful" or "that's too bad." So, "terrible" means very bad. So, if you want to sound like, you know, really caring about something bad that happened to another person, use this expression.
"You lost your job! Ah, that's terrible! I'm so sorry to hear that."
Okay, onto the next expression.
11. I'd better let you go.
Okay. "I'd better let you go," this the reduced form of "I had better let you go." We use this when we're talking to someone on the phone or maybe when we're having an in-person conversation in the office. To let someone go means like to release them from something; in this case, to release them from a conversation.
So, when you say, "I'd better let you go," it's showing I think you're busy, it's showing the other person you understand they're busy and they have something to do. So, if you're talking to a busy person and you realized, "Oh my gosh, we talked for so long, we'd been talking for a long time," you can say, "Ah, sorry, I'd better let you go," meaning I recognize you're a busy person and you need to do other things. So use this to end the conversation quickly. Of course, you could also use this to escape a conversation you are ready to be finished with.
Okay. Let's go to the next expression.
Next is…
12. Did you catch the news today?
So, use this as a greeting or as a way to start a conversation, if you wanna talk about current events. So, "Did you catch the news today?" or "Did you see the news this morning?" is also okay. It just shows you wanna talk about recent events with someone, so use this maybe with someone that you're okay to talk about these kinds of topics with.
Okay, onto the next phrase.
13. Nice day outside, isn't it?
"Nice day outside" just refers to the weather, so you can use any kind of weather and follow it with "...isn't it?" You can use "Rainy today, isn't it?" or "Oh, windy today, isn't it?" So that "...isn't it?" shows you're looking for confirmation from the other person. Nice day outside, isn't it?
And of course, you can drop "outside" if you really want to. Of course, the weather is outside, but this is just an expression that we use or "nice today" would also be okay. So you're just starting a conversation by talking about the weather and finding a small point you can both agree upon.
Okay, onto the next expression.
Next is...
14. Have you been waiting long?
Use "Have you been waiting long?" when you are supposed to meet another person and maybe, they arrived before you and you're worried that they waited a long time for you. So, if you, for example, were supposed to meet 1 o'clock and you arrived at 1:15, you might say to the other person, "Have you been waiting long?" So, you don't know how long that person has been waiting. Maybe they got there 15 minutes early. You're showing that you have concern for their time with this expression.
"Have you been waiting long? Sorry."
Okay, next is…
15. It's good to have you here!
Use this expression when you're hosting a party, hosting an event or maybe you have a guess in your office, someone who's not usually around is in your circle for the day. You can say, "It's good to have you here" or "It's nice to have you here." That shows that you recognize that they are a new person, but you want them to feel welcomed. "It's good to have you here." You could use this at a house party, at a dinner event, and so on.
Okay, next expression is…
16. What brings you here?
Okay. So this question is a much softer way of saying, "Why are you here?" So if you say, "Why are you here?" it might sound a little too direct. Instead, say, "What brings you here?" You could say, maybe, "Why did you decide to come to this event?" if you want, or you could ask, "What brings you here today?" specifically.
So, these are all ways to say, "Why did you come here?" but they sound much softer and less aggressive.
Okay, onto the next expression.
17. Do you mind me asking?
Okay. "Do you mind me asking?" is used before a topic or before a question that might be a little bit sensitive. So if you want to ask about a person's age, maybe, or if you want to ask about, maybe where a person works or maybe where they're from, it could be any kind of information that you feel is a little bit sensitive, you can use, "Do you mind me asking?" before you ask that.
For example, you might say:
"Do you mind me asking? How old are you?"
Or, "Do you mind me asking? Where are you from?"
So, it shows that you were concerned it might be a slightly sensitive question and it gives the other person the option to refuse. So, do you mind me asking? So, you can use this in more sensitive topics, I think.
Okay, next expression…
18. Are you from around here?
"Are you from around here?" is a first-time greeting question. So you just met someone, you've exchanged names, you can say, "Are you from around here?" That means, is your hometown or the place where you grew up near where we are now? Are you from around this area, specifically. So, this is maybe a more casual way of saying, "Where are you from?" It's suggesting that the other person might be from the local region.
"Are you from around here?"
"I just moved."
Okay. Next expression is…
19. I need your help with this matter.
Okay. This is a rather formal expression. You would not use this with your friends or your family members. It sounds too formal. Use this at work or maybe in a study profession, more professional kind of polite study situation. "I need your help with this matter" or just, "I need your help with this." I probably would not say "matter" in this sentence, but you might see it or hear it from time to time. So use this when you need someone's assistance with something.
You need to be polite about it, like:
"I need your help with this paper I'm writing. Could you please take a look at it?"
So, I need your help with this. So, use that expression when you want to politely ask someone for help.
Okay, let's get to the last expression.
20. Have fun!
So, use "have fun" when someone else is going to do something that seems fun. So, you say goodbye to your family members before they leave for an exciting trip, you could say, "Have fun!" Or you see your co-workers at the end of the day. They decided to go for drinks, but you're feeling tired, but you want to wish them well, you could say, "Have fun!" and say goodbye in that way. So, "have fun" is a very positive happy expression. Some people will use it just to sound a little bit sarcastic if they want to attend something, but they're not attending, but generally, we use this in a very positive way to say goodbye, I hope you have a good time.
All right! That brings us to the end of the top 20 useful phrases for small talk. What did you think? You can let us know in the comments. Thanks for watching and I'll see you in the next video. Bye!