Phrases for Social Occasions

The meaning may be similar, but the language of formal social occasions is usually different from casual language that friends, classmates, and relatives use with one another. The style of language depends on the situation.

For each of the following items, indicate if it is the more appropriate phrase for a formal situation.

1a.We're so glad you could come. Won't you come in?

Yes No

1b. Hi. Everyone is waiting. Come on in.

Yes No

2a. Want something to drink?

Yes No

2b. May I offer you a drink?

Yes No

3a. Soup's on. Let's eat.

Yes No

3b. Dinner is served.

Yes No

4a. Would you please pass the salt?

Yes No

4b. Give me the salt, please.

Yes No

5a. Would you care for more salad?

Yes No

5b. Are you sure you've had enough?

Yes No

6a. It's cold in here. Can I close the window?

Yes No

6b. Would you be so kind as to close the window?

Yes No

7a. I'm sorry, but could you please raise your voice a little?

Yes No

7b. Speak up, O.K.?

Yes No

8a. What are you talking about? I don't understand a thing.

Yes No

8b. I'm afraid I don't quite understand what you mean.

Yes No

9a. I'd appreciate it if you didn't smoke.

Yes No

9b. Please don't smoke.

Yes No

10a. Pardon me? Would you mind repeating that?

Yes No

10b. What? I didn't catch that. Say it again.

Yes No

11a. Let me tell you what I think.

Yes No

11b. May I say something?

Yes No

12a. Excuse me, but I'm afraid I have to leave now.

Yes No

12b. Well, I've got to get going.

Yes No


Exercise taken from Cross Culture Communications: A Competency-Based Listening/Speaking Book