Essential phrases

What are the essential English phrases for conversations? Here are some "survival phrases" that will help you if you visit an English-speaking country.

Basic information

What's your name?
I'm …
My first name / my second name (surname) is …

I'm married / single / divorced / engaged / separated
I have a brother / a sister /a son / a daughter / a child / two children / a partner
I was born in 1980.

Where are you from?
I'm from ….
I come from ….

Where do you live?
I live in a city / small town / village near…
I live in a big / small house / flat with a garden.

Greetings and introductions

Hi! / Hello
Good morning / afternoon / evening / night
How are you?
Fine thanks. And you?

I'm …
This is…
Pleased to meet you!
Pleased / Nice to meet you too!

Jobs and routines

What do you do?
I'm a / an…
I work as a / an …
I work in the … department of a small / big company.
I work in a team / on my own in an office.
I work full-time / part-time.
I'm responsible for …
I'm a student at school / university. I study …

What time do you …?
I get up at…
I go to work at…
I leave work at…
I get home at …

I usually / always / often / sometimes / never … (watch TV in the evenings / go out with my friends)

Likes and dislikes

What do you like doing in your free time?
In my free time I like (… +ing) (I like playing tennis)
I really / quite like …. / I like …. a lot
I go to the gym three times a week.
I socialise with friends.
I'm keen on …
I enjoy going out to restaurants
I love / hate / can't stand … (… +ing / something).

I like…
So do I! / Me too.

I'm hungry.
So am I!

I don't like football.
Neither do I! / Me neither.

What would you like to do this weekend?
Shall we visit the new museum?
Do you fancy going shopping later?

I'd rather … (+ infinitive without "to") (I'd rather go to an art gallery.)
I prefer X to Y

Describing people

I look like my mother.
I'm like my sister.
He's tall / short / slim / overweight.
She has long / short / straight / wavy / curly hair.
She's got brown eyes / hair.
He's a child / teenager / an adult.
She's kind / friendly / intelligent / quiet / shy / funny, etc.
He's good / bad at English / Science, etc.


(When you answer) Hello.
(When you give your name) This is …
Can I speak to … please?
I'd like to speak to … please.
Can I leave a message please?
Can you say that (your name) called please?
Can you ask him / her to call me back?
I'll call back later.


I'm looking for …
Do you have this in a larger / smaller size / in a different colour?
How much does this / these cost?
How much is …?
Is this on sale?
Is there a discount on this?
Where can I try this on?
Where can I pay?
Can I pay by credit card?
This doesn't / These don't fit me / suit me.


Do you have a single / double room?
I'd like to book a single room.
What time is checkout?
What time do you serve breakfast?
Is there wifi / air-conditioning in the room?
Is there a lift?


A table for two, please.
I booked a table for two for (eight o'clock.)
Does this contain nuts / seafood?
What's … exactly?
We're ready to order.
I'd like … for my first course and … for my main course.
I'll have …
What (wine) do you recommend?
What's today's special?
What do you have for dessert?
Can we have the bill please?

(In someone's home)
Would you like some more …?
Can I get you some more …?
The … is lovely / delicious.


A single / return ticket to … please.
I'd like a one-day travel card please.
Does the bus stop at the station?
How do I get to the station, please?
Where's the nearest post office please?
How long does it take to get to …?

How do I get to … (the station)?
It's about five minutes from here.
Turn left / right at the supermarket.
Go straight on.


I've got a headache / a pain in my side.
I've got a temperature / a cold / a cough.
I feel cold / hot.
I suffer from asthma.
I've got an infection.
My hand is painful.
I caught a cold from a student.
Do I need to take antibiotics?


It's a lovely day today.
Bit cold / wet / foggy today, isn't it.
What lovely / terrible weather!

General politeness

I'd like…
Excuse me!
Can you … please?
Could you … please?
Would you mind … +ing please?
Please can I have …
Thank you!

Can I …. please?
Sure! Of course! No problem!

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