How to keep an English conversation going

It can be difficult to keep a conversation going. Even if you understand what the
other person is saying, you can feel "blocked" or "frozen" when it's your turn to
speak. The words or phrases you need don't often come quickly enough to mind.
The more opportunities you can get to use and speak English, the easier it is to find
the right words when you need them.
Sounding fluent and confident in a few words
Here are some useful ways to keep the conversation going. The "secret" is that you
don't actually need many words to do this!
1. Show interest in the other speaker
You don't need to say much. Often just one word is needed to show you are
interested and listening. Try "Really?" (with a rising intonation), "Right" or "Sure".
You could even show you are listening with a non-word such as "Mmm" or Uh-huh".
"I hate watching rubbish on the TV."
2. Use a short phrase to show your feelings
For example, "How awful", "Oh no!", "You're joking", "What a pity" etc.
"My neighbour had a car accident yesterday."
"Oh no!"
"Yes, but thankfully he wasn't hurt."
3. Ask a short question
You can use an auxiliary verb to make a short question which will encourage the
other speaker to keep talking:
"We tried out the new Chinese restaurant last night."
"Did you?"
"I'm going to Barbados next week on holiday."
"Are you? Lucky you!"
"It's snowing again."
"Is it?"
4. Repeat what the other person said
Do this especially if the other person has said something surprising.
"He won £200 on the lottery."
"I'm going to Barbados next week."

Other ways to avoid silence
Here are some more tips to help you say something – even if you haven't
understood the other person or there's nothing else to say.
If you don't understand
"Sorry, I don't understand."
"Sorry, could you repeat that?"
"Sorry? I didn't get that."
If you don't know the word
"I can't find the word I'm looking for…"
"I'm not sure that this is the right word, but…"
"What I want to say is…"
If you can't find the word immediately
You don't want to be completely silent, but you need time to find the words.
You can even make some "noises"
Agreeing with the other person
You want to show that you agree, but you don't have anything else to say.
Changing the subject
Everyone in the conversation has given an opinion, and now you want to talk about
something else.
"Well, as I was saying…"
"So, back to …"
"So, we were saying …"
Sometimes we say things that other people don't understand, or we give the wrong
impression. Here are some expressions you can use to say something again.
"What I meant to say was…"
"Let me rephrase that…"

"Let me put this another way…"
"Perhaps I'm not making myself clear…"
Go back to the beginning
If you're explaining something, and you realise that the other person doesn't
understand, you can use the following phrases:
"If we go back to the beginning…"
"The basic idea is…"
"One way of looking at it is…"
"Another way of looking at it is…"
Talk about names
Read the questions and think about your answers.
1 What are the origins of your first name?
2 How much do you know about your family name?
3 Do you have any nicknames? How did you get them?
4 Do people ever confuse your name or make mistakes with it?
5 Why do you think some names become fashionable/ unfashionable?
Vocabulary: names
Surname = last name = family name
First name = forename = Christian name = given name (US)
Middle name: a name between a person's first name and surname
Maiden name = a woman's family name before marriage
name after: give [sb] a name in honour of [sb] or [sth]; give the same name as
Live up to my name: be as good as expected
Name for myself
A household name: very well known
put my name forward: to state an idea or opinion, or to suggest a plan or person,
for other people to consider: She has decided to put her name/put
herself forward as a candidate.
Speaking: speed dating
When you want to get to know someone, ask about their hobbies and interests.
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)
I'm interested in (+ noun / gerund)
I'm keen on (+ noun / gerund)
I'm into (+ noun / gerund)
I enjoy (+ noun / gerund)
You can add "really" or "quite" after "I'm…" for emphasis.
"I'm really keen on football."
Giving a longer reply
You can add more details about your hobbies and interests:
I like arts and crafts. I'm a creative / practical person, and like doing things with my
I'm 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
Saying why you like your hobby
You can also explain why you spend time on your hobby to make the conversation
longer and more interesting.
I really enjoy going to the gym because
…it keeps me fit.
…it gets me out of the house, you know!
…it's sociable. I've met lots of new people.
…it gives me something interesting to do with my time.
…it's not very expensive, and anyone can do it!
More words that you can use to describe your hobbies:

Like doing vs like to do
We use like + gerund (ing form) 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
In the second part of the speaking test, you have to ask and answer questions with
your partner. Often, you have to give numerical information, such as a price.
Make sure your pronunciation is correct. For example, £1.30 is pronounced "one
pound thirty" (with the stress on "thir" and not "ty".) If you say "one pound thirty"
(with the stress on "ty" and not "thir" it can sound like £1.13.)
Know how to pronounce 100 (hundred) and 1000 (thousand) and fractions of
numbers, such as £10.50. (It's "ten pounds fifty, not "ten fifty pounds"!)
There's often a question about times of the day.
7am – 7pm is "from seven am to seven pm" or "from seven o'clock in the morning
to seven o'clock in the afternoon".
For more information about telling the time, see our page on talking about your
job and daily routines.
Sometimes you need to give a website address.
Remember www = "double you double you double you" and .com = "dot com".
Know how to make questions from the prompts. Often there's a question about
music lesson / £ ?
"How much is a music lesson?" Or "How much does music lesson cost?"
For more information on how to ask about prices, see our page on asking
Be careful about how you make questions with auxiliaries like "can".
see lions / zoo?
"Can we see lions at the zoo?" (Not "Do we can see lions…" or "We can see lions?")
For more information on how to ask questions with modals, see our page on how
to use can.
Conversation tip: Try to keep the conversation going. If your partner asks you
something and you don't understand, ask a question.
What did you say?

Can you repeat that?
Can you say that again?
At PET level
To do well at PET, you need to contribute to a conversation. This means you need to
have ideas. For example, in Part 2, don't limit yourself to "I don't agree because it's
boring…" Instead, give some examples why you agree or disagree with your
partner. Make sure that what you say helps to extend and develop the conversation.
Don't just say "yes" or "no".
You also need to be organised (especially in the photo) to give enough detail
without repeating your ideas. Use linking words ("so", "but", "and also", "then",
etc) to help connect your ideas.
Interesting vocabulary and grammar will help you. It doesn't matter if you get
difficult grammar wrong, but if you try (for example, a conditional sentence or
present perfect) the examiner will be pleased!
Use a range of adjectives and think of ideas where you can show off your English
vocabulary. Try to avoid "boring" vocabulary such as boring, interesting, nice, and
beautiful. Use synonyms so you don't repeat the same things.
Don't get stuck on words that you don't know. Sometimes in the discussion or the
photo you can see something but you don't know the word in English. Don't pause
too long – go on to the next thing. You can also point to the thing if it helps.
Your pronunication is assessed not just on individual sounds, but also stress and
Conversation tip: In part 4 (the conversation), move your chair so you face your
partner and not the examiner. This will help you look at your partner and have a
"real" conversation.
At FCE level
You can impress the examiner with some more complicated grammar and
vocabulary. Use a range of infinitive forms ("she seems to be studying" or "they
seem to have had an accident" such as in the photo comparison, conditionals,
passives and phrasal verbs.
Expand your ideas and speak without too many pauses. For the photo comparison
try to give two or three comparisons before you go on to the second part of the
photo question (how the people are feeling, for example.)
Use linking words and phrases. Words like "this" and "it" help you avoid
repeating the same words; "while", "whereas", "however" help you compare
photos; and "firstly", "secondly" etc help you to build an argument in the
conversation part.

If your partner is finding Part 3 difficult, take the initiative. You can use phrases like
"So do you mean…?" or "So do you think this is a good idea?" Use summarising
phrases to finish part 3: "So to summarise…", "So in conclusion…"
Conversation tip: During the exam (and especially part 4) try and relate what you
say to what your partner has said. For example, "Like Sara, I think that…"
Talk about ways to improve your language
Are you having trouble in reading, writing, listening or speaking? You can improve
any and all of these skills through practice and repetition.
Part 1 of 4: Reading
Read for a minimum of half an hour every day. Reading is very important to all
of us. It builds our knowledge, it gives us an escape, and it exercises our brains.
The more you read, the better your reading skills and pronunciation will improve.
Read on topics you're interested in, be it a romance novel, a sports magazine,
newspaper or a car engine manual.
Part 2 of 4: Writing
Write a literary piece. Try your hand at writing a novel, a short story, a poem, a
play, or any other kind of creative writing. If you work at it bit by bit each day, it
will hone your writing skills as well as exercise your creativity.
Part 3 of 4: Listening
Listen to the instructor and listen well. While you're listening, write down good
notes and important details he/she says. Block distracting things from your mind.
Listen to other people speaking the same language to improve your speaking and
writing and pronunciation.
Speak in front of a class. Take a topic and explain it. And a Be sure to talk loud
enough so people can hear and speak with little words and big words mixed
together. Discuss the topic of your speech with others. Communicate a lot.
Part 4 of 4: Speaking
Select the details from the text read in Part 1 and have written down in
Part 2
Explain the details out loud. Make reference to the text to support your
inferences, points of view and opinions.
Explore the language features and their effects. When speaking, use figurative
language to clarify your points, for example: similes, personification, metaphor, etc.
Use short sentences to make the points clearer.
Identify and explain the author's purpose. Discuss this with others if possible.
Analyze the author's range of vocabulary. How does the author convey messages,
moods, attitudes and feelings?

Finish up by commenting on the overall impact of what you have read and
written about

Look up a word and find a synonym. If you don't like the word, look it up
and look for a word you might like in the synonym side.

Before your speech, just do some references about your topic and write a
detailed note by your own language style and compress it to a short note.
10 Steps to Improving Your English Pronunciation and Language Skills
Learning; discuss the results of a personality test
Speculate about people based on their portraits
Learn to use vague language
Describe a treasured possession
Talk about words of wisdom
Discuss controversial statements
Below are some phrases that you can use to help express opinions. Some of these
phrases are more appropriate for written English such as giving your opinion in an
essay whereas some can also be used in spoken English.
Personal Point of View
We use these words and phrases to express a personal point of view:
In my experience…
As far as I'm concerned…
Speaking for myself…
In my opinion…
Personally, I think…
I'd say that…
I'd suggest that…
I'd like to point out that…
I believe that…
What I mean is…
General Point of View
We use these words and phrases to express a point of view that is generally
thought by people:
It is thought that...
Some people say that...
It is considered...
It is generally accepted that...

Agreeing with an opinion
We use these words and phrases to agree with someone else's point of view:
Of course.
You're absolutely right.
Yes, I agree.
I think so too.
That's a good point.
I don't think so either.
So do I.
I'd go along with that.
That's true.
Neither do I.
I agree with you entirely.
That's just what I was thinking.
I couldn't agree more.
Disagreeing with an opinion
We use these words and phrases to disagree with someone else's point of view:
That's different.
I don't agree with you.
That's not entirely true.
On the contrary…
I'm sorry to disagree with you, but…
Yes, but don't you think…
That's not the same thing at all.
I'm afraid I have to disagree.
I'm not so sure about that.
I must take issue with you on that.
It's unjustifiable to say that...
Here are many ways to give your opinions when speaking English. The exact
English expression you use depends on how strong your opinion is.
Giving your opinion neutrally
"I think…"

"I feel that…"
"In my opinion…"
"As far as I'm concerned…"
"As I see it…"
"In my view…"
"I tend to think that…"
Giving a strong opinion
"I'm absolutely convinced that…"
"I'm sure that…"
"I strongly believe that…"
"I have no doubt that…"
"There's no doubt in my mind that…"
English expressions for asking someone's opinion
"What do you think?"
"What's your view?"
"How do you see the situation?"
"What's your opinion?"
Talking about your beliefs
"I believe in…" (the importance of free speech)
"I'm a (great / firm) believer in …" (fresh air and exercise)
"I'm convinced that…" (there's a solution to every problem)
"I'm passionate about…" (human rights)
"I'm committed to … " (working towards peace")
"I don't believe in …"
"I think that … is" (true / complete nonsense, etc)
After a preposition such as in or about, you need either a noun or a gerund.
For example: "I believe in free speech", or "I believe in saying what you think".
After "that", you need a clause.
For example, "I believe that we must safeguard the planet."
Giving a reason for your beliefs
"There must be / can't be .. (life after death) because otherwise…"
"There's no evidence for / to support …" (an afterlife)
"There's no other way to explain / account for …"
Talking about your religious beliefs
"I'm a practising …" (Catholic, Muslim, Jew etc)
"I'm a non-observant / lapsed …" (Catholic)
"She's a devout…" (Christian, etc)

"I'm a 'don't know.'"
"I'm an agnostic."
"I'm an atheist."
"He's an extremist / fundamentalist / evangelist."
Talking about your political beliefs
"I support / back (the Labour Party)."
"I'm a Conservative / Liberal / Socialist / Labour Party supporter."
"I'm a life-long (Conservative / Labour Party supporter)."
"I've always voted (Tory, Liberal etc)."
"He's a staunch Conservative."
"She's a dyed-in-the-wool Marxist."
Speaking tip
To avoid misunderstandings or arguments, only talk about your political or religious
beliefs in conversations with people you know well. It's probably also safer to avoid
religious or political discussions with colleagues at work. The British, in particular,
tend to view political and religious beliefs as extremely personal, and can
sometimes find too much public discussion of these embarrassing or even insulting.
Here are some phrases you can use to "exit" an uncomfortable discussion.
"I'm not really comfortable talking about… if you don't mind."
"I'd rather not discuss my (political) beliefs if you don't mind."
"I'm not sure this is the right time / place to discuss …"
Debate how to deal with untrustworthy employees
Plan and take part in a panel discussion
Linking words
Linking words help you to connect ideas and sentences, so that people can follow
your ideas.
Giving examples
For example
For instance
The most common way of giving examples is by using for example or for
Namely refers to something by name.
"There are two problems: namely, the expense and the time."
Adding information

In addition
As well as
Apart from
In addition to
Ideas are often linked by and. In a list, you put a comma between each item, but
not before and.
"We discussed training, education and the budget."
Also is used to add an extra idea or emphasis. "We also spoke about marketing."
You can use also with not only to give emphasis.
"We are concerned not only by the costs, but also by the competition."
We don't usually start a sentence with also. If you want to start a sentence with a
phrase that means also, you can use In addition, or In addition to this…
As well as can be used at the beginning or the middle of a sentence.
"As well as the costs, we are concerned by the competition."
"We are interested in costs as well as the competition."
Too goes either at the end of the sentence, or after the subject and means as
"They were concerned too."
"I, too, was concerned."
Apart from and besides are often used to mean as well as, or in addition to.
"Apart from Rover, we are the largest sports car manufacturer."
"Besides Rover, we are the largest sports car manufacturer."
Moreover and furthermore add extra information to the point you are making.
"Marketing plans give us an idea of the potential market. Moreover, they tell us
about the competition."
In short
In brief
In summary
To summarise
In a nutshell

To conclude
In conclusion
We normally use these words at the beginning of the sentence to give a summary
of what we have said or written.
Sequencing ideas
The former, … the latter
Firstly, secondly, finally
The first point is
The following
The former and the latter are useful when you want to refer to one of two points.
"Marketing and finance are both covered in the course. The former is studied in the
first term and the latter is studied in the final term."
Firstly, … secondly, … finally (or lastly) are useful ways to list ideas.
It's rare to use "fourthly", or "fifthly". Instead, try the first point, the second
point, the third point and so on.
The following is a good way of starting a list.
"The following people have been chosen to go on the training course: N Peters, C
Jones and A Owen."
Giving a reason
Due to / due to the fact that
Owing to / owing to the fact that
Because of
Due to and owing to must be followed by a noun.
"Due to the rise in oil prices, the inflation rate rose by 1.25%."
"Owing to the demand, we are unable to supply all items within 2 weeks."
If you want to follow these words with a clause (a subject, verb and object), you
must follow the words with the fact that.
"Due to the fact that oil prices have risen, the inflation rate has gone up by 1%25."
"Owing to the fact that the workers have gone on strike, the company has been
unable to fulfill all its orders."
Because / because of
Because of is followed by a noun.
"Because of bad weather, the football match was postponed."

Because can be used at the beginning or in the middle of a sentence. For example,
"Because it was raining, the match was postponed."
"We believe in incentive schemes, because we want our employees to be more
Since / as
Since and as mean because.
"Since the company is expanding, we need to hire more staff."
As the company is expanding, we need to hire more staff."
Giving a result
This means that
As a result
Therefore, so, consequently and as a result are all used in a similar way.
"The company are expanding. Therefore / So / Consequently / As a result, they are
taking on extra staff."
So is more informal.
Contrasting ideas
Although / even though
Despite / despite the fact that
In spite of / in spite of the fact that
In theory… in practice…
But is more informal than however. It is not normally used at the beginning of a
"He works hard, but he doesn't earn much."
"He works hard. However, he doesn't earn much."
Although, despite and in spite of introduce an idea of contrast. With these
words, you must have two halves of a sentence.
"Although it was cold, she went out in shorts."
"In spite of the cold, she went out in shorts."

Despite and in spite of are used in the same way as due to and owing to. They
must be followed by a noun. If you want to follow them with a noun and a verb,
you must use the fact that.
"Despite the fact that the company was doing badly, they took on extra
Nevertheless and nonetheless mean in spite of that or anyway.
"The sea was cold, but he went swimming nevertheless." (In spite of the fact that it
was cold.)
"The company is doing well. Nonetheless, they aren't going to expand this year."
While, whereas and unlike are used to show how two things are different from
each other.
"While my sister has blue eyes, mine are brown."
"Taxes have gone up, whereas social security contributions have gone down."
"Unlike in the UK, the USA has cheap petrol."
In theory… in practice… show an unexpected result.
"In theory, teachers should prepare for lessons, but in practice, they often don't
have enough time."
How to make comparisons in English
There are some rules to help you make comparisons in English.
1 If the adjective (describing word) is one syllable, you can add -er.
For example, small – smaller; big – bigger; nice – nicer.
2 If the adjective has two syllables, but ends in -y, you can change the end to -ier.
For example, lucky – luckier; happy – happier.
3 With other English adjectives of two syllables and more, you can't change their
endings. Instead, you should use more + adjective.
For example, handsome – more handsome; beautiful – more beautiful and so on.
4 When you compare two things, use 'than'.
"She's younger than me."
"This exercise is more difficult than the last one."
5 When you want to say something is similar, use 'as – as'.
For example, "She's as tall as her brother" or "It's as nice today as it was
6 When you want to say one thing is less than another, you can either use 'less
than' or 'not as – as'.
For example, "This programme is less interesting than I thought" or "This
programme is not as interesting as I thought."

7 Remember that some adjectives are irregular and change form when you make
For example, good – better; bad – worse; far – further.
Using qualifying expressions
You can vary the strength of the comparison by using "qualifying" expressions.
1. Comparing two things
You can use "a lot", "much", "a little", "slightly" and "far" before "more / less than":
"She's a lot more intelligent than him."
"This car is much faster than the other one."
"They are much less wealthy than they used to be."
"He's a little taller than his sister."
"She's slightly less interested in football than him.
"We are far more involved in charity than they are."
When you use these qualifying expressions in English, remember the rules about
using -er. If the adjective is one syllable, or ends in -y, add -er:
"He's far taller than her." (NOT "He's far more taller…")
"I'm much lazier than you!"
When the adjective is two syllables and more, you need either "more" or "less":
"He's a little more prepared for the exam than she is."
2. Saying how two things are similar
You can use "almost as … as", "not quite as … as", "(not) nearly as … as", "nowhere
near as … as", "twice as … as" and "half as … as" to change the extent of the
"She's almost as good as you!"
"He's not quite as confident as Susie."
"I'm not nearly as intelligent as her!"
"This painting is nowhere near as famous as the first."
"She's twice as old as him!
"He's half as interesting as you!"
Work alone. Prepare to talk about some of the following topics.
1 Describe the national stereotype for your country. Do you think it is an accurate
How many times have you heard the story about the visitor who offended his or her
host by burping, or not burping, by putting his or her elbows on the table, by

arranging cutlery in a cross rather than parallel – the list goes on and the potential
pitfalls for the culturally ignorant diner are numerous.
Eating in Spain, as you can imagine, is steeped in tradition, culture, habit and
simple everyday repetition.

Even so, the possibilities for causing offence are

probably less prominent here in Spain than in other, more sensitive, cultures.
A piece of bread is the third cutlery utensil after the knife and fork in Spain. If you
want to stop a Spaniard from eating, just don’t put any bread down next to his

Spaniards will eat bread with anything and everything, including heavy

carbohydrate dishes like pasta and rice, even with dessert on some occasions.
If bread is the most essential item on the table at a Spanish meal, it is closely
followed by the humble napkin. “A napkin,” you say, “what’s remarkable about
that?” And indeed, you’d be right. A napkin is obviously useful for wiping all that
mess of your face as you tuck into your tasty meal. The thing is though; napkins
are not part of the day-to-day eating habits of the English.
Water is always still, and mostly from the tap too, but it is always, always served –
there is no variation across families here. The other little detail that has always
fascinated me about how the Spanish take their water is the issue of temperature.
When you order water at a bar in Spain, you’ll be asked “Fria” (cold) or “Del
tiempo” (literally ‘of the weather’, actually meaning ‘ambient temperature’). Many
Spaniards don’t like their water too cold, so don’t want it straight out of the fridge.
At family meals, there is even a solution to this dilemma, a practice which I have
only ever observed in Spain: mixing cold water from the fridge with ambient
temperature water.
A typical Spanish lunch is incomplete without Lourdes or Mati blaring away in the
background. Not that people tend to take much notice of what is being said – in
general it’s just background noise.
2 Name three kinds of prejudice or stereotype people are trying to challenge in your
To understand different examples of stereotypes, you should first define what a
stereotype is. Any time you grouping races or individuals together and make a
judgment about them without knowing them; this is an example of a stereotype.
Racial remarks, sexual remarks, and gender remarks are the biggest stereotypes.
With social interactions it is inevitable to make preconceived judgements of people
we come in contact with. These judgements usually come from our stereotypes,
prejudices and to what extent we will discriminate. When defining these while they
may sound different, they are fundamentally different. What must be noted is that

the stereotype is the aforementioned preconceived notion about a person or group
of people based on past generalizations. Prejudices are opinions that we hold on
certain individuals or groups of people, whether they be negative or positive
opinions or even subconscious feeling we might have. Finally, discrimination is
actually the act of carrying out what your prejudices might hold for these certain
Heaven is where the cooks are French, the police are British, the mechanics are
German, the lovers are Italian and everything is organized by the Swiss.
Hell is where the cooks are British, the police are German, the mechanics are
French, the lovers are Swiss, and everything is organized by the Italians.
Spaniards don’t work. They party all night and sleep all day.
Spaniards drink…a lot!
Spaniards are poor / lazy.
Spanish people are loud.
Spanish people love to party.
Bullfighting is the national pastime.
Spain is paradise for tourists.
Spanish people don’t speak English.
3 Describe a person you had a preconception about, who turned out to be very
Our preconception guides how our mind perceives and interprets information.
People fail to realize how great the effect of preconception. Other studies
support these ideas by showing students supporting evidence on their beliefs as
well as disconfirming evidence that supported their point of view, but were
critical of the disconfirming evidence. Preconception can also be manipulated
and in an experiment at the University of Oregon, students were asked to
assess the facial expressions of a man. The students who judged his
expressions as cruel were first told he was responsible for cruel acts performed
at concentration camps of WWII. Others who assessed the man as warm and
kind were previously told he was an anti-nazi who saved numerous Jewish lives.
The experiment above strongly demonstrates that our preconceptions do
control the way we view issues and people but beyond preconception is the

to manipulate

and construe

the way we see things.(Ross and

Lepper).This seems to hold true in everyday life from assuming that someone is
shy to wondering if someone feels the same way that you do. If you construe

an idea and continue to perceive certain ideas then there will be little room for
change or consideration.

a person who always agrees with superiors, regardless of personal

convictions; sycophant
Whiz kid: A young person who is exceptionally intelligent, innovatively clever, or
precociously successful
Busybody: A person who meddles or pries into the affairs of other
Chatterbox: An extremely talkative person
Pain in the neck: something or someone that causes trouble; a Source
of unhappiness; "washing dishes was a nuisance before we got a dish washer"
"a bit of a bother”;"he's not a friend, he's an infliction

horse: One


achieves unexpected support and success

as apolitical

candidate, typically during a party's convention.
Old hand: One who is experienced; a veteran
Set in her ways:
Leading a fixed lifestyle; living according to one's own established patterns
Black sheep A member of a family or other group who is considered undesirable or
The life and soul of the party:
An animated, amusing person who is the centre of attention at a social gathering.
a) rotten apple: one bad person who has a bad effect on all others in the group
b) loose cannon: an unpredictable person who may cause damage if he/she is not
c) couch potato: a person who lives a sedentary lifestyle, never doing any
d) wet blanket: a negative person who ruins other people's good times
e) big cheese: an important, influential person
f) tough cookie: someone who is strong enough to deal with difficult or violent
1 I guess she's a bit lonely. (It / seems / me)
It seems to me that she’s a bit lonely
2 It looks as though he's angry. (gives / impression)
He gives me the impression of being angry
3 I think she's probably an actress. (reckon)
I reckon she’s probably an actress
4 If you asked me, I'd say she was happy with her life. (had / make / guess)
If I had to make a guess, I’d say she was happy with her life

5 I'd definitely say that he's not telling us everything. (pretty)
I’m pretty sure that he’s not telling us everything
6 I think she could be an only child. (hazard / guess)
I’d hazard a guess that she’s an only child
4 What do you think leads to people becoming narrow-minded/ open minded about
an issue?
Narrow-minded people are not evil. They just have a limited sphere of thinking.
While some of these people become narrow-minded after being exposed to
harsh realities of life, others just lack education, varied experiences and most
importantly – unconditional acceptance and love they deserve. Narrowmindedness is not a permanent condition. You just need to do an honest selfanalysis and start working on your thinking habits, one step at a time. Here is
the list of top 10 signs you’re a narrow minded person:
You tend to generalize everything
You’re judgmental
You do not discuss your core beliefs with anyone
You are unable to socialize at work or anywhere else
You are not open to new ideas
You contact your friends only when you are sad
You fail to interact well with a friend once you discover a negative part of his
You do not like anyone who disagrees with you
You’re obsessed with righteousness

5 What is the best way to change someone's perspective about a topic?

Understand that changing perspectives is not something we can easily do as
young children, but as we grow and learn, we usually become aware that our
perspectives do not always match the perspectives of others
Method 1 of 3: Making an Effort to Understand Perspectives of Others
Recognize the presence of other perspectives
Ask questions, respectfully
If you want to understand another perspective, resist the urge to debate
Method 2 of 3: Playing with Space and Time
Pick something to pay attention to - an object in the room or a situation you are
coping with.
Method 3 of 3: Asking Byron Katie's Questions
When you have a recurring thought that is bothering you, try asking yourself
these questions about the thought:
Is the thought true?
Can you absolutely know that it's true?
How do you react when you believe that thought?
Who would you be without the thought?
After answering these four questions, Katie's next steps are called
"turnarounds" in which various opposites of the original thought are explored
6 Talk about something you decided to do, but then had second thoughts about.
“Good decisions come from experience, and experience comes from bad
When we make any decision, for better or for worse, we affect change. And
sometimes it’s scary to be responsible for the change we affect. That’s why I
love the saying. “Make a decision. And then make the decision right.”
We never know where our decisions will lead us and we can’t know before
making them what the aftermath might be. But only after making the decision
can we deal with what comes next. Never before!
Trust yourself.
Choose a new thought.
Assess what you’re learning
Get comfortable with mistakes.
Get comfortable with mistakes.

Phrases which means:
I regret:
I’ve had second thoughts about
I’m gutted
I kick myself
It’s a pity
When I look back now:
With hindsight
A chance I didn’t take:
A missed opportunity
7 Describe a film/book which you would consider eye-opening. Why?
Want to watch a movie that will change the way you think and show you the
power behind your existence?
Kicking off 2015 with a huge bang for our FMTV Film Club is an absolutely aweinspiring mind-altering documentary, which will challenge everything you have
ever been taught about life, pulling into question your belief system and
examining your reality.
This is a movie that will make you THINK (it certainly made me).
Out on a Limb is an autobiographical book written by American film actress Shirley
MacLaine in 1983. It details MacLaine's journeys through New Age spirituality. The


York, Hawaii,

and Europe,

from California to






including New

the Andes

mountains in Peru. Central "characters" include "David" who is, according to
MacLaine herself, a composite character, "Gerry Stamford", a married man and
member of the House of Commons of the United Kingdom, with whom McLaine was
having an affair, and real-life close friend and politician, Bella Abzug.
The book received both acclaim and criticism for its candor in dealing with such

as reincarnation, meditation,


ship (trance-channelling),


even unidentified flying objects.
8 Can you think of any convincing/ unconvincing arguments in the media at the
However rapidly our knowledge increases, we'll always be surrounded by the
Obviously, there are areas of life where having good reasons for what we
believe is very important. Courts of law and medicine are evidence-based

practices, which need rigorous procedures to establish the facts. The decisions
of governments rest on claims about how their policies will work, and it would
be useful if these claims were regularly scrutinised - though you'd be well
advised not to hold your breath.
But many areas of life aren't like this. Art and poetry aren't about establishing
facts. Even science isn't the attempt to frame true beliefs that it's commonly
supposed to be. Scientific inquiry is the best method we have for finding out
how the world works, and we know a lot more today than we did in the past.
That doesn't mean we have to believe the latest scientific consensus. If we
know anything, it's that our current theories will turn out to be riddled with
errors. Yet we go on using them until we can come up with something better.
Science isn't actually about belief - any more than religion is about belief. If
science produces theories that we can use without believing them, religion is a
repository of myth.
“Start Quote
However rapidly our knowledge increases, we'll always be surrounded by the
Myths aren't relics of childish thinking that humanity leaves behind as it
marches towards a more grown-up view of things. They're stories that tell us
something about ourselves that can't be captured in scientific theories.
Just as you don't have to believe that a scientific theory is true in order to use
it, you don't have to believe a story for it to give meaning to your life.
Myths can't be verified or falsified in the way theories can be. But they can be
more or less truthful to human experience, and I've no doubt that some of the
ancient myths we inherit from religion are far more truthful than the stories the
modern world tells about itself.
The idea that science can enable us to live without myths is one of these silly
modern stories. There's nothing in science that says the world can be finally
understood by the human mind.
We'd all be better off if we stopped believing in belief. Not everyone needs a
religion. But if you do, you shouldn't be bothered about finding arguments for
joining or practising one. Just go into the church, synagogue, mosque or temple
and take it from there.
What we believe doesn't in the end matter very much. What matters is how we