TALKING ABOUT THEHOLIDAYS When people see each other after the New Year holidays, they often use a greeting such as "Happy New Year!" Some people also ask about New Year resolutions (the promises that you make to yourself to get fitter, lose weight, change job etc) or refer more generally to the whole of the Christmas / New Year holiday period.
Asking about the holidaysWhat did you do over Christmas?What did you get up to?Do anything exciting / special over the holidays?Have you made any resolutions?
Giving a vague replyNothing much.Nothing special.Oh, the usual…Same old (= nothing new)
Giving more information (Did you have a good Christmas?) It was great / fantastic / wonderful / lovely / thanks. Really relaxing / Just what I needed. We saw the in-laws / some of the family. We got away for a couple of days. We had a quiet one at home. Asking the other person To keep the conversation going, try returning the question. What about you? (Did you have a) good Christmas? And you? Did you see the New Year in?
Questions you can ask What do you like doing? What sort of hobbies do you have? What do you get up to in your free time?
How to reply In my free time I… When I have some spare time I… When I get the time, I… I relax by (watching TV) Im interested in (+ noun / gerund) Im keen on (+ noun / gerund) Im into (+ noun / gerund) I enjoy (+ noun / gerund) You can add "really" or "quite" after "Im…" for emphasis. "Im really keen on football."
Giving a longer reply You can give more information about your hobbies and interests: I like arts and crafts. Im a creative / practical person, and like doing things with my hands. Im an outgoing person, and like socialising / hanging out with friends I enjoy being physically active, and spend a lot of time playing sports and team games.
Like doing vs like to do We use like + gerund to talk about general likes: I like fishing. We use like + infinitive to talk about more specific likes: I like to go fishing at the weekend.
Talking about the weather in English Its true! British people often start a conversation with strangers and friends by talking about the weather. As weather is a neutral topic of conversation, its usually safe to use it to strike up a conversation – at the bus stop, in a shop, or with a neighbour over the garden fence.Some examples of conversation starters in English "Lovely day, isnt it!" "Bit nippy today." "What strange weather were having!" "It doesnt look like its going to stop raining
Attitude to weather Although British people like to complain about bad weather, they generally put a brave face on it. If someone complains about too much rain, you might hear: "Never mind – its good for the garden." If someone complains that its too hot, you could hear: "At least my tomatoes will be happy." If the conversation has been about general bad weather, perhaps someone will say: "Well, Ive heard its worse in the west.
Predicting the weather We can make predictions about the weather, using a range of forms – not just the "will" or "going to" form: "I think itll clear up later." "Its going to rain by the looks of it." "Were in for frost tonight." "Theyre expecting snow in the north." "I hear that showers are coming our way."
Human attributes We also attribute human features to the weather, almost as if the weather can decide what to do: "The suns trying to come out." "Its been trying to rain all morning." "Its finally decided to rain."
Understanding the forecast Many British people are keen gardeners, and they keep a close eye on the weather forecast. Here are some of the weather features which can worry gardeners: a hard frost blizzard / galeforce conditions hailstones prolonged rain blustery wind a drought Here are some English words for more temperate conditions which gardeners like: mild weather sunny spells light drizzle