by Kate Woodford
When you are chatting in English, do you always know how to respond? Do you sometimes wish you knew a few more words and phrases to show that you are interested in what the other person is saying? Read on!
A: The date is wrong on the letter.
B: Ah, right, I see.
A: So we have to be here by eight o’clock, not nine o’clock.
B: Ah, okay, fine.
A: She’s still in London and she’s seeing the same boyfriend.
A: But she’s changed jobs.
A: I had such a bad meal in that restaurant.
Interestingly, many native speakers of English say ‘really’ even when they feel no surprise, but simply want to show interest in what has just been said.
A: I’ve had a headache all day.
B: Oh, poor you! I hate having a headache!
If something bad has happened, you might say What a shame!:
A: I’m afraid Tom didn’t get the job. He’s quite disappointed.
B: Oh, what a shame!
Useful phrases to show that you care in more serious situations are I’m sorry, I’m so sorry or I’m sorry to hear that:
A: Maria’s father isn’t well, I’m afraid. He’s in hospital again.
B: Oh, I’m sorry to hear that.
Sometimes, it’s the opposite situation and someone tells you about something good that they are doing. Often, the best response is Nice! or Lovely! or How nice! or How lovely! You can also say Lucky you!
A: We’re off to Spain tomorrow for two weeks.
B: Lovely! Lucky you!
A: The problem with train travel is it’s so expensive.
B: That’s right. That’s why we usually drive.
To agree more strongly with an opinion, you can give the one-word reply absolutely:
A: His last record was so much better.
You can also agree strongly by saying I completely/totally agree:
A: Anyway, I think the whole system is really unfair.
B: I totally agree.
A: I ran twenty miles on Sunday.
B: Wow, that’s impressive!