Talking About Yourself, Making a Date

Reading Exercise: Below is an example of a conversation where you talk about yourself and make a date.

John: Excuse me, is anybody sitting here?
Anne: Uh, here, let me move my purse from the chair.
John: Oh, thank you. Say, haven't I see you with Jack Davidson?
Anne: I work with Jack Davidson. How do you know Jack?
John: Oh, Jack and I went to school together. What sort of work do you do?
Anne: Oh, I...I work on commercial accounts at the trust company with Jack. Um...what do you do?
John: I'm a telephone installer--I just happen to be working on this street the last couple of days. I should introduce myself--my name's John Spencer.
Anne: Well pleased to meet you! I'm Anne Kennedy.
John: Happy to know you. Do you live around here?
Anne: Yeah, I live in the neighborhood--it's real convenient to work.
John: Oh, it sounds like...(fade)
John: ...Are you doing anything tonight?
Anne: Oh...uh, sorry, I'm afraid I'm busy tonight.
John: Well how about tomorrow? Maybe we could go to a movie.
Anne: Hey, that sounds like a great idea! you like comedies?
John: Oh yeah, I like comedies...uh, let's see, what could we see? How about Bread and Chocolate? I think that's playing over at...
Anne: Ah...
John: ...on Main Street there.
Anne: That's a great idea.
John: Well I guess, uh, we should meet about eight o'clock then, 'cause I think the movie starts about eight-thirty. Uh, where would be a good place to meet?
Anne: There's...uh...there's a clock tower near the movie theater. We could meet there at about eight.
John: OK. That sounds good. See you tomorrow, then.
Anne: I'll see you then. Goodbye!
John: Bye-bye.


Classroom Exercise I: Get together with another student. Introduce yourselves first and then find out about each other. Be friendly. Try to ask as many short questions as possible to get as much information as you can from your partner. Try to answer in long sentences; keep talking; do not just say Yes or No. Your teacher will demonstrate first. Below are some ideas to start off your conversation.  Ask about his or her:
Family Brothers and sisters. Parents. Childhood--happy? Home--where does he or she live?
Friends Many or just a few? What do they talk about and do together? Is it easy to make new friends?
Education Different schools, colleges, or universities. Favorite subjects at school and why. Diplomas and degrees. Future plans.
Employment Present job. What exactly does he or she do? Advantages and disadvantages. Previous jobs--details. Future plans.
Free Time Hobbies. Sports. TV, radio, movies. What does he or she do on weekends and in the evening? What does he or she like to read?
Travel Countries visited. Parts of own country he or she knows. Languages. Favorite kind of vacation. Future plans.

After everyone has finished, tell the whole class the most interesting things you found out about your friend.

Classroom Exercise II: Imagine that you are at a cocktail party with the rest of the class. At a cocktail party everyone stands with a drink, chats for a few minutes to one guest, and then is expected to circulate and move on to another guest. The host or hostess (your teacher) normally speeds up the circulation by introducing guests to each other. Now stand up and have a party! Talk to as many people as possible.

Classroom Exercise III:  Think of some situations where you would use each of these opening "gambits." Decide with your teacher when they would be appropriate and what you might say next. Do people in your neighborhood start conversations with strangers in lineups, in stores, in buses? Practice how you might use these phrases.


Nice day, isn't it?
Horrible weather we're having.
Excuse me, is anybody sitting here?
Say, don't I know you from somewhere?
Sorry, I couldn't help overhearing--did you mention something about....
Excuse me, have you got a light?
Uh, could you help me, I'm looking for...