Conversational Rules

Please and Thank you

Replies to thanks

Thank you for all the trouble you’ve taken.  -->    Not at all.                    

                                                                             Don’t mention it.

                                                                             That’s all right.

                                                                             It’s a pleasure.

                                                                             You’re welcome. (American)

if you are not sure what to say just smile.

Thank you for…..Thanks for.

Thanks for your help.

Thanks for the ride.

Thanks for the tip.

Thanks for everything.

Thank you so much for a lovely party. 

If you have been staying with people in Britain it’s custom to write them a letter of thanks. The British still use the letter-box more than the phone.

Seasonal Greeting

The only seasonal greetings normally heard in English are:

            Marry ChristmasThanks, the same to you.

            Happy New YearThank you, and the same to you.


Many happy returns(of the day)Thank you.    (you can’t say *same to you* )

when guests arrive:

English people often don’t say anything special. They might say:

            Nice to see you here.

            Nice you could come.

            Hello, Mrs. Roberts. Do come in. (Bri Eng) Come on in. (Ame Eng)

Some polite remarks


Bad Luck, Hard Luck, Never mind (no answer)


I hope you soon get better.

I do hope you soon get well again. 

if you send a card to a hospital you may write:  Best wishes for a speedy recovery.”

Some polite remarks

Just before an interview or examination

Good Luckà Thanks (I need it.)

Best of Luckà Thank you. 

For an achievement (passing an exam, getting a job)

Congratulations. ----> Thanks.

Well done.  (another meaning à well cooked, saying after donation something: “ thar du..thar du”.) 

For engagement and to the bridegroom (man): Congratulations.

To the bride (woman): I wish you ever happiness. (very formal)


In many situations where polite remarks are required English tends to improvise. However there are a number of more or less set polite phrases. Note that many of these are in the imperative (start with basic verb form).

Other enjoyments:

                                    Have a good time. à Thanks. 

                                    Have a nice time.  à  Thank you.

I hope you   --------->     Have a good holiday. à Thanks, I’m sure I shall.

                                    Enjoy yourself. à Thanks, I’m sure I will.

                                    I hope you have a good time.      

Conveying greeting:

            Please remember me to your family.-----> Thanks, I will (convey your greeting).

            Give my best regards to Mary.------->Thank you, I certainly will.

            Give my love to Bob. (informal) 

** regards (formal)= love (informal)

Hello and Goodbye

Cheers! ------>Cheers!  or nothing at all. This usually only said over the first drink. After this each man drinks at his own speed. Improvising a toast begin with “Here’s to.”

“Well, here’s to your trip.”

“Here’s to success in your new job.” 


Informal greeting:

To someone who’s leaving for a fair length of time:

Goodbye John, and all the best.

Goodbye Jean, and good luck.

This will probably be an occasion for the rare British hand-shake.

**NOTE**  Good day and Good morning ,etc are normally only used for leave – taking by shop assistants.


Formal or Informal


Less safe informal expressions are:

Cheerio / Bye bye  /  G’ bye / Bye / Bye now / Be seeing you / See you

The answers will be the same: 

If you are going to meet again the same day (soon):  See you later / See you soon / See you tonight / See you tomorrow 

These are often answered by:              Fine / O.K / All right / That’s right 

Good night can be used on all occasions after about 8 pm, when leave taking or retiring to bed.

Hello and Goodbye

Informal greeting :

When you have got to know somebody better you may say:   

Hello  ------> Hello

 How are you getting on? -------> Fine, thanks.

You may also heat less “safe” expressions such as:    How’s life? ------> Not too bad, thanks.

                                          How’s life treating you? ------> Can’t complain, you know. (some people consider this vulgar)

Good morning is used informally, but not the other “times of day”

Often the good is dropped; sometimes the person’s name is added:     

Morning Jim. ------>Morning

After not seeing someone for sometime say.             

 Nice to see you again. 

Meeting And Greetings

            When you know the person a little better. you may say:

How are you? 

            The answer will be:

Very well, thank you. 

            or (less formal)

Fine, thanks.    

            Remember that the thank you or thanks should end of the phrase, not begin it

            If you are not well and wish to make this known. say (not too well I am afraid.)

NOTE: Most English people only shake hands when they are introduced or when meeting after not seeing each other for a long time. They do not bow for introductions.

The next time you meet

                        For the next and later meetings, to people with whom you are on fairly formal terms say:

            Good morning!

            Good afternoon!

            Good evening! 

The answer are the same.

NOTE – Do not say Good day.

            _Do not use Good  evening when leaving. Here Good night is used.(at night when you are leaving)


                        If there is no third person to introduce you say:

            May I introduce myself? My name is Peter Dennison. 

The answer will be:

            How do you do. My name is Mary Bell.

NOTE – Men do not call themselves Mr. They use either their Christian name and surname as above. or just their surname. Women normally use both Christian name and surname> they may add Mrs. or Miss to avoid confusion.

Introducing a speaker

If you are introducing a speaker you should say (indicating the speaker with your hand)

                        Ladies and gentlemen, Professor Green.          (or)

            Ladies and gentlemen, I have a great pleasure in introducing our guest speaker, General Smith.


Meeting and greeting

It is usual for a third person to perform introductions in English.

He will say:     This is Mr. Johnson…..this is Miss. Jones (at the same time indicating each person with his hands)

May I introduce you to Mr. Robinson ….This is Mr. Baker.

I’d like you to meet Miss Maine …..this is Mr. Richard. 

The people introduced will say:   How do you do.  -------> How do you do.

or (especially in the USA) Pleased to meet you.   --------> Please to meet you too. (some English people consider this vague)

Remember that  How do you do is only used after introductions and cannot be used for later meetings.


Please and thank you

As an answer:

Would you like some coffee? --------> Yes, please.

                                                           No, thank you.

                                                           No, thanks.

Don’t use please when you give something.

If you offering something that has not been asked for, mention the thing (to attract the other person’s attention)

Smiling at the same time:

            Have you seen today’s paper?

            Would you like a cigarette?

            Chocolate? (high rising intonation)

Here are some more common exclamations for various occasions. Remember that exclamations tend to be colloquial, and should be used with care.

Disgust and Blame

            What an awful mess! (e.g. of an untidy room)  = It is very…....

            That’s the gasworks over there à What a ghastly sight! 

The following expression, thought not “safe” is often heard and may easily cause confusion:

So you’re calling me a liar! Well, I like that!   (=  I do not like it at all, and you are being very  rude indeed to say so)


Please is hardly ever used on its own.

Please is used a great deal added to a phrase when you want something or want someone to do something (whereas thanks is used especially when you’ve  been given something)

            Would you pass the sugar, please?

            Could you tell me the time, please?

            Sit down, please.

            Please sit down.

NOTE*** No comma after please unless you are really begging for something:

            “Please, please let me alone!” she cried.



Look who is here! It’s John- Well I never! I thought he  was in Italy or somewhere.

Just imagine! She is getting married for the fifth time!

Good heavens, what’s the time?

My goodness, what a noise!


Look out! /Watch out! 

There’s a bus coming!

Mind your head!

Mind your fly!  = mind your zip / button 

XYZ!   = Examine Your Zip (because your zip is open)

Duck! (bending over head) 




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