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5                              Everyday Conversational Expressions                                           Directing a Conversation p.2

 

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* 5 Directing a Conversation (p.2 of 8)

 

5.4   When you mention additional things

 

Et cetera.   Listen   <“In school we play football, soccer, basketball, tennis, et cetera.”>

And so on.   Listen   <“At the grocery store I bought bread, milk, vegetables, fruit, and so on.”>

And so forth.   Listen   <“People in the disaster zone need water, food, blankets, tents, and so forth.”>

And all like that.   Listen   <“This band plays jazz, rock, country, folk, and all like that.”>

And everything like that.   Listen   <“At the clothes department they sell shirts, skirts, suits, dresses, and everything like that.”>

And one more thing.   Listen   A “I want to add one more item to those I have already listed.”   <“And one more thing. Don’t walk around alone after dark. It may be dangerous.”>

Listen to Entire Passage

 

 

5.5   When a speaker deviates from the main topic

 

You’re getting off the subject.   Listen   <“Stop arguing in circles. You are getting off the subject.”>

You’re begging the question.   Listen   A “You are trying to evade the issue.”   <“It’s impossible to argue with you. You are begging the question.”>

That’s not the point.   Listen   A “That is not the issue.”   <“Yes, I understand that you have personal issues. But that’s not the point. You are a sportsman, and you need to show results.”>

That’s beside the point.   Listen   A “That is outside the scope of the issue.”   <“You are a great artist, no doubt. But that’s beside the point. Your art should generate income. Simply put, you need money.”>

That’s beside the question.   Listen   A “That is outside the scope of the question under discussion.”   <You’re going into nonessential detail. That’s beside the question. Don’t shift our debate off the subject.”>

That has nothing to do with it.   Listen   <“I don’t understand why you refer to your unhappy childhood while we are investigating the accident you caused. That has nothing to do with it.”>

That has nothing to do with what I’m talking about.   Listen   <“I’m glad to hear that. However that has nothing to do with what I’m talking about.”>

That’s not at issue.   Listen   <“I’m going to disregard the sad story of your life and all that. That’s not at issue.”>

That’s not the issue.   Listen   <“I admit, this product has some drawbacks and could be improved technically. But that’s not the issue. This product failed to find its niche in the market. This is why I propose to discontinue its production.”>

That’s irrelevant.   Listen   <“Why are you bringing that up? That’s irrelevant.”>

That’s another story.   Listen   <“I understand that your question is somehow related to our discussion. But that’s another story.”>

Listen to Entire Passage

 

 

5.6   When you want a speaker to get to the point

 

Get to the point.   Listen   A “Make your most important statement.”   <“You’ve been talking for half an hour already. Get to the point. Don’t go into detail.”>

What’s your point?   Listen   A “What is your most important statement?”   <“OK, I understand all that. What’s your point?”>

What’s the point?   Listen   <“I’ve heard your story. What’s the point?”>

Spare me the details.   Listen   A “Don’t dwell on the details of secondary importance.”   <“All right, spare me the details, get to the point.”>

What are you saying?   Listen   <“The total income of our family has been decreasing in recent years.” – “What are you saying? That we haven’t been frugal enough?” – “No. I’m saying that we haven’t been making enough money.”>

What are you trying to say?   Listen   <“It’s very expensive to keep a hospital in our town.” – “What are you trying to say? That we don’t need a hospital in our town?”>

What are you trying to tell me?   Listen   <“Your husband is abusive. Also, he drinks to excess.” – “What are you trying to tell me? That I need to leave my husband?”>

What are you trying to get at?   Listen   <“Boss, studies show that one college graduate can do the job of three retirement-age employees.” – “What are you trying to get at? That I’m too old to work here?”>

What are you getting at?   Listen   <“I have much work to do.” – “What are you getting at? Are we going to have our mini-vacation this weekend or not?”>

What do you mean?   Listen   <“I don’t quite understand what you are saying. What do you mean?”>

What do you mean to tell me?   Listen   <“Darling, wouldn’t it be wonderful to eat at a restaurant tonight?” – “My dearest wife, what do you mean to tell me? Have you burned the dinner again?”>

What’s the bottom line?   Listen   AWhat’s the conclusion?”   <“I’ve been patiently listening to you for a long time. What’s the bottom line?”>

Cut to the chase.   Listen   AGo directly to the point.”   <“Why don’t you stop this chatter and cut to the chase?”>

Listen to Entire Passage

 

 

5.7   When you request an answer

 

What’s your answer?   Listen   A “What is your response or decision?”   <“We made you our offer. What’s your answer?”>

What’s your response?   Listen   <“I’m offering you a fair price for your boat. What is your response?”>

What do you say?   Listen   A “What do you say in response?”   <“I can give you a hundred dollars for your old motorcycle. What do you say?”>

Listen to Entire Passage

 

 

5.8   When you ask for details or explanation

 

Why?   Listen   AFor what reason? For what purpose? What caused it? Please explain.”   <“I closed the window.” – “Why? It’s pretty hot today.” – “Flies and mosquitoes might come in.”>

Why not?   Listen   AWhy are you saying no?”   <“I don’t think you need to eat so much ice cream.” – “Why not? I like it.” – “There is much sugar in it.”>

How so?   Listen   AHow does it happen in such a way? Please explain.”   <“Not all arctic birds suffer from global warming.” – “How so?” – “Some birds thrive in warmer climate.”>

How come?   Listen   AHow did it come about? Why?”   <“You are expecting a new earthquake in the next few years. How come?” – “I have a hunch.”>

Why do you think so?   Listen   AWhat allows you to make this conclusion?”   <“You are stating that Mrs. Smith is innocent. Why do you think so”? – “I have evidence.”>

Why do you think that?   Listen   <“This week is going to be colder than usual.” – “Why do you think that?” – “I watched the weather channel on TV last night.”>

What makes you think so?   Listen   <“The Moon is getting farther from the Earth with every turn.” – “What makes you think so?” – “Actually, I don’t know. I read about it in some scientific magazine.”>

What makes you so sure?   Listen   <“This car is out of order.” – “What makes you so sure?” – “I can’t start the engine.”>

How do you know that?   Listen   AWhat is the source of this information?”   <“You claim that the suspect was at the crime scene. How do you know that?” – “I was there myself.”>

Could you explain it in more detail?   Listen   (used with can or could)   <“I heard your point. However I missed something, I guess. Could you explain it in more detail?”>

Could you provide some details?   Listen   (used with can or could)   <When the press secretary finished his briefing on the incident, the head of the press corps asked him, “Could you provide some details?”>

Could you give me an example?   Listen   (used with can or could)   <“You’re saying that medieval Japanese poetry is highly emotional. Could you give me an example?”>

Can you illustrate that?   Listen   (used with can or could)   <“You are stating that your new analytical method is more accurate than alternative ones. Can you illustrate that?”>

Could you tell a little more about it?   Listen   (used with can or could)   <The journalist asked the general, “We understand this military operation is top secret. However, could you tell a little more about it?”>

Could you elaborate on that?   Listen   (used with can or could)   < “I guess your plan is good. But I didn’t quite understand the last part. Could you elaborate on that?”>

Is there anything else you can tell me?   Listen   (used with can or could)   <“Thank you for your information. I appreciate your honesty. Is there anything else you can tell me?”>

What else can you tell me about it?   Listen   (used with can or could)   <The journalist told the witness, “I’ve heard your testimony. This is a very unusual case. What else can you tell me about it? Do you have any private information to share?”>

Listen to Entire Passage

 

 

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