Conversational English is the casual/informal form of English expression that is commonly used in daily conversations such as at the grocery store, gym or even restaurants. The difference between formal and is essentially that formal English is less personal, more respectful and serious for situations such as at business meetings, and conversing with clients or colleagues. Conversational English, on the other hand, is more personal and friendly – suited more for lunch with friends, conversations with families and all sorts of daily situations where there is a relaxed tone and atmosphere with the speakers.
The 2 Main Styles of Conversing in English
Formal English: Formal English is used more often with people we do not know well or are in a more senior level such as elders or managers. This type of English is to convey respect to the recipient and is often used in official communication and applied more in the form of writing – for example: when writing job application letters, business emails and other aspects of formal correspondence. The important things to consider when using Formal English is: Who are you communicating with, Where are you communicating with them and Why you are communicating with them. This helps define your type of recipient, medium of conversation and the topic of conversation.
Conversational English: Conversational English is used with people you know well and are comfortable with, such as friends and family. This type of English is used in more informal situations and is often in the form of speech where words are shortened and some language rules are not followed as it would for formal English. As with Formal English, Conversational English also has similar things to consider when using it such as: the relationship/familiarity you have with who are you communicating with, in what situation are you communicating with them and the purpose of why you are communicating with them.
10 Tips to Learn Conversational English
1. Don’t be afraid of making mistakes
The key to Conversational English is confidence. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes, because we all have to learn somewhere. The less fear you have of messing up, the more confidence you will have – and this makes you feel more relaxed to chat casually rather than feeling anxious and talking in a strained and less conversational manner. So feel free to speak as you feel, and learn from whatever speed bumps you encounter through your conversations – because that is the most natural way to learn Conversational English.
2. Learn to fake it
Ever heard the phrase “Fake it ‘till you make it”? Well here is a situation where it really helps. There are just some conversations where may not always get to perfectly speak casually, but do not lose your confidence and flow! Use synonyms and hand gestures to help convey what you are trying to say, so that you maintain your conversation without having to break in the middle of discussions. You can also use the phrase “in other words” and then fill in what you were trying to say as best as you can, this helps a ton!
3. Find a conversation partner
Having a language exchange partner will be great to help you learn how to speak in a more realistic way that conversations actually happen, rather than just speaking plainly. A conversation partner who is native to English as a first language will be an added bonus as they can help you use words in more nuanced ways and help you with common casual phrases as well.
4. Learn more phrases instead of words
Learning phrases does a lot of the heavy lifting for you, as phrases can bridge most of the gaps in casual conversations. Phrases that are casual can help you convey what you feel in a casual way while saving you the hassle of trying to string together various casual versions of words to express your sentiments in conversations.
5. Don’t focus too much on the grammar
Do not worry too much about the written rules of English when you’re just having a relaxed chat with friends. Remember, you are not trying to impress anyone with conversational English – all you are doing is sharing a casual conversation with people whom you share a good relationship with. The only thing you must ensure is that your conversational English is comprehensible and sensible where it matters with speech, such as word order and pronunciation.
6. Practice everyday
As Humans, we learn by doing. The more we practice, the more we sharpen our skills and even pick up better ways to speak and converse – like new phrases, nuances and gestures. With enough practice, conversational English will become second nature to you and will be something you can seamlessly switch between – based on the situation you are in and people you are with.
7. Watch some English Talkshows
Watching some popular English Talkshows, such as the Ellen DeGeneres show, can help significantly boost your Conversational English. This is because these mainstream media shows contain a wealth of casual conversations, phrases and popular trends to add enough flavor to your conversational English. You will feel confident and relaxed in your Conversational English in no time after watching a few episodes of a hit talkshow!
8. Learn some slang
“Vernacular” is the type of language native speakers use in their daily conversations and this is what is important in Conversational English. Using a slang dictionary can help you understand the different meanings of English vernacular. It is important to remember that slang is largely based on different ages and locales, but it still helps you get a general understanding of how people can make common words casual and informal with slang.
9. Think in English
If English is not your first language, it may be tricky to master conversational English, but a good way to help you is to think in English. Try to think of what you want to say in English and align it with your speech in a manner whereby it gradually becomes a natural instinct to speak casually. This can take time to do and is a habitual exercise that you will have to commit to, but it is important to remember that Conversational English is not the only type of English.
10. Take an Online Class
When all else fails, taking an online Conversational English class is a guaranteed way to develop your speaking skills with professional native English tutors. With classes and lessons structured to your level of fluency, you will be able to master conversational English in no time. AmazingTalker has an excellent selection of online English speaking courses that you should definitely check our to help you with your Conversational English!
Formal versus Conversational: Examples
Here are some comparisons with some common formal phrases and their conversational versions. These are some nifty phrases to have you prepared for everyday conversations.
|Hello! How are you doing? Its great to meet you.||Hey! How’s it going? Great to meet you.|
|Would you like to join me for lunch this afternoon?||Wanna grab some lunch later?|
|Please accept my sincerest apologies.||Sorry about that. / My bad.|
|I have to leave now. I will visit later.||I’ve gotta go, see you later!|
|She is correct, we should stay here.||She’s right, lets stay.|
Other Styles of Conversational English
Slang: Slangs are very informal sayings and colloquialisms used in everyday casual conversations with people you have a high level of familiarity with. It is essential known as “street talk”. As mentioned earlier, an important consideration is that slang is based on different ages and places, but it still helps you get an overall gauge of how people can turn common words informal with slang.
Work-Casual: Work-Casual is better known as “Water-cooler talk”, those conversations you have with a colleague by the water cooler or on a coffee break. The scenario of the conversation is still a work environment, but the conversations are a little more comfortable with a friendly colleague rather than if you were speaking to your manager. This serves as a balance between casual and formal.
- “This show is lit!” – This means that the show is really good. “Lit” is used to mean that something is great. Similar to the phrase you say for someone who is really good at something “They’re on fire”.
- “Spill the Tea” – This means to give details on a story or about some gossip. The “tea” being the news, story or gossip. It is similar to the phrase “Spill the beans” for telling the truth.
- “Throw Shade” – This means to insult someone or say negative things about them to others.
- “It sounds like a win-win situation to me!” – This is a phrase to indicate a situation where everyone wins.
- “We’ll crunch the numbers and see.” – this is a phrase commonly used in offices where “crunching numbers” mean calculating figures to get the answer.
- “We’ll put it off for today” – this is a phrase to say that something will be postponed for today, such as a meeting or an event.
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Master Conversational English
Conversational English is a fun and relaxed way to converse with your friends and family while Formal English is an important way to respectfully communicate in more serious situations. We hope our top tips on learning Conversational English will help you become a pro in no time! By understanding the differences between slang and work-casual expressions, you will be prepared for any Conversational English situation.
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