How to communicate in English

Become the leader in the conversation: getting someone to introduce their self.

Be aware of your intentions, and what you want to know from the person you are speaking with. When we have genuine curiosity we are much more likely to absorb information, therefore we will learn better.

Where are you from? / Where do you come from? / What country are you from? / What country do you come from?

There are many options to say the same thing in English. Using ‘what’ normally refers to an object, situation or circumstance, whereas ‘where’ is for a place, area, location.

I’m from … / I come from …

Try to respond using the same words in the question asked, e.g. ‘Where do you come from’ ‘I come from America’. This will help you to learn and remember how to ask the questions yourself.

What is your nationality?

One nationality

I am … / My nationality is …

More than one nationality

I am … and … / I have … nationalities, they are … and …

This question is not asked as much, but it is possible for you to hear this in an English conversation.

Where do you live/reside? / Where are you living/residing?

I live in … 

You will learn more if you have a sincere interest in the conversation. To help this, think about what you want to know about the person you are talking to, or what they might want to talk about.

What do you like to do? / What are your hobbies? 

I like surfing / I like to surf

I enjoy … / I love … / My favourite activities include …

It is polite to ask someone the same question back to them, for example…

What do you like to do?

I like painting, and I love to watch movies, and you?

Me too! I love painting.

A real exchange or conversation is when there is speaking from both sides, showing interest through back and forth questions. Therefore, it is important to know how to feel confident speaking from both sides of questions and answers. 

If possible, try to relate to the person to whom you are talking, let them know if you have something in common or a similar experience. 

Where? What? Why? When? How? Who? 

These are open question words, giving the person you are speaking with the opportunity to provide more information about themselves. Usually followed by the verb ‘to be’ or ‘to do’ and then the subject.

Where (question) is (verb) your (person) family (subject) from?

Alternatively, you can choose the format to be question, subject, verbperson.

What (question) country (subject) are (verb) your (person) family from?

Another option is to finish the question with a verb. 

What sport do you like to play? Where do you like to walk?

It is beneficial to have a good understanding of sentence structure. 

It’s important to recognise that you took the time to practice this and learn, if you have the motivation to make an effort, you will find you learn better.

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