If you want to improve your English fluency and overall speaking capabilities, you need to learn how to continue a conversation. Avoiding small talk and dead-end questions is one method. Another point you should keep in mind is to avoid the phrase “I don’t know“.
You don’t need to worry about putting pressure on yourself to know everything at all times. Instead, just make sure you don’t kill the conversation abruptly by not knowing.
One way to accomplish this is by incorporating a sense of humor.
Let’s imagine you’re chatting with a friend, and he says, “I don’t feel so good. What do you think I should do?”
You could say, “I don’t know.” And that’s that. Or, you could more playfully say, “What am I? A doctor?”
This combination of “What am I?” + [appropriate noun] demonstrates
- you’re comfortable speaking in English
- you’re sharp and quick
- you’ve got some sass to you
Sass is strength! I recommend any passive speaker to up their dosage.
How can you tell if what’s an appropriate noun? Let’s take a look at another example. A girl asks you, “Do you know the time?” You can retort, “What am I? A clock?”
Depending on your tone and delivery, you might sound like an asshole or could very well come across as flirty and playful. Remember, don’t put too much stake in word choice. The emotional output and tone will always trump any kind of vocabulary. Use that to your advantage.
Let’s try one more example. Imagine that you’ve stayed over at a friend’s house. It’s in the morning and you’re hungry. Your friend pours some cereal and milk. He then asks you, “Hey, do you want some milk too?”
In this case, you probably do. But instead of saying “sure” or “yes, please”, you could say, “What am I? A cat?” And then, take the carton of milk anyway.
If you’re interested in learning more conversational English like this, connect with Jon to sign up for private English coaching. We’ll work on making you sound like a native speaker.