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5                              Everyday Conversational Expressions                                           Directing a Conversation p.8

 

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

 

5.38   When you are skeptical about the speaker’s point

 

You can’t expect me to believe that.   Listen   A “Your words don’t sound believable.”   (used with can’t or don’t)   <“Some people say the Earth is round.” – “You don’t expect me to believe that. Earth is flat. Don’t you see it?”>

I don’t take anything at face value.   Listen   A “I don’t accept things by their appearance.”   <“I don’t know if she means what she says. I don’t take anything at face value.”>

How do you know?   Listen   A “Why are you so sure your point is correct?”   <“The worst of our ordeal is over.” – “How do you know? We aren’t out of the woods yet.”>

That doesn’t sound right.   Listen   <“I read that smoking sometimes improves your health.” – “That does not sound right. Smoking is harmful.”>

Don’t be too sure.   Listen   A “You may be wrong, so don’t make your statement with certainty.”   <“The recession is over.” – “Don’t be too sure. Unemployment is still high.”>

Don’t speak too soon.   Listen   A “You may be wrong, so don’t make your statement before you know all the facts.”   <“This team has a good chance to win the competition.” – “Don’t speak too soon. Only the final game will show.”>

Don’t jump to the conclusion.   Listen   A “You may be wrong, so don’t make your conclusion too soon.”   <“It looks like we’ve made profit this year.” – “Don’t jump to the conclusion. It’s not over ’til it’s over.”>

Don’t you wish!   Listen   A “Don’t you wish it was true? But unfortunately it is not.”   <“This girl is so beautiful! One day I will ask her out.” – “Don’t you wish! She probably has a boyfriend already.”>

You could have fooled me.   Listen   A “You could have deceived me with your incorrect statement if I had not known the truth.”   <“This is one of the most successful corporations in America.” – “You could have fooled me. I saw their balance sheet. This corporation is almost bankrupt.”>

Listen to Entire Passage

 

 

5.39   When you are surprised to hear something

 

I’ve never heard of such a thing.   Listen   AI am surprised to hear about such an unusual thing.”   <“What did you have at the restaurant for dinner?” – “I had Japanese calamari.” – “I’ve never heard of such a thing.”>

Well, I never!   Listen   AI have never heard of such a thing.”   <“I saw an electric car at an auto show.” – “Well, I never! Don’t they still need to burn fossil fuel to produce electricity?”>

Oh, really?   Listen   ADo you really mean that?”   <“The local post office is now open on Sundays.” – “Oh, really? That’s great!”>

That’s interesting.   Listen   <“I used to be a vegetarian.” – “Were you? That’s interesting.”>

That’s news to me.   Listen   AIt sounds surprisingly new to me.”   <“They’ve started constructing another shopping mall in our town.” – “That’s news to me. Do we need another mall in our little town?”>

Interesting point.   Listen   <“When the government collects more taxes, it pays more money to people through various social programs. And then people pay more taxes to the government.” – “Interesting point.”>

What are you talking about?   Listen   AI am surprised you are bringing this up.”   <“Our company is on very shaky grounds.” – “What are you talking about? The company has been showing solid profit lately.”>

Is that right?   Listen   AAre you sure that what you’re saying is correct?”   <“This movie received several awards.” – “Is that right? In my opinion, it’s a dull movie.”>

Is that so?   Listen   <“Our team lost all the games in the competition.” – “Is that so? I thought it was better prepared than that.”>

Since when?   Listen   ASince when has it come into effect?”   <“Johnny, you’re responsible for the washing of the car.” – “Since when, dad?” – “Since I told you so, that’s when.”>

Listen to Entire Passage

 

 

5.40   When you are surprised to see something

 

I can’t believe my eyes!   Listen   (used with can’t or don’t)   <“Johnny, is that you? I can’t believe my eyes! I remember you as a little boy.”>

My eyes betray me.   Listen   <“How did you get this picture? My eyes betray me. This is an authentic Picasso!” – “I bought this picture at a yard sale last Saturday.”>

Do my eyes deceive me?   Listen   <“They are cutting trees in Central Park. Do my eyes deceive me? Some of these trees are a hundred years old.”>

Listen to Entire Passage

 

 

5.41   When you are surprised with what’s happening

 

I don’t understand.   Listen   AI’m confused with what is happening.”   <“The traffic on the freeway isn’t moving. We’ve been sitting in the car for fifteen minutes. I don’t understand.” – “There could be an accident ahead of us.”>

I don’t understand it.   Listen   <“Obviously, she doesn’t love her husband. And he doesn’t respect her. But they are still together. I don’t understand it.” – “Well, things happen for reasons we don’t understand.”>

Imagine that!   Listen   AThis is hard to imagine! It is so unbelievable!”   <“My cat ran away from a rat. Imagine that!”>

Can you imagine?   Listen   AIsn’t that unbelievable?”   <“They closed down the only museum in our town. Can you imagine?”>

Can you believe that?   Listen   <“Can you believe that?” – “What’s the matter?” – “Look at the photograph. At the wedding, one of the guests wore a T-shirt!”>

I don’t believe it!   Listen   <“Due to the lack of funds, the State is going to close down a few jails and release hundreds of inmates. I don’t believe it!”>

Would you believe?   Listen   <“They denied my request again! Would you believe?”>

How do you like that!   Listen   AHow do you rate the incredible event that is going on?”   <“Wow! How do you like that!” – “What happened?” – “My purse is gone!”>

I can’t get over it!   Listen   A I can’t recover from shock! It surprised me so much!”   <“My God! The way that amateur singer sang her song amazed all professionals. I can’t get over it!”>

It blows my mind!   Listen   AIt shocks me! I am really amazed!”   <“Humanity is simply wasting the planet’s resources. It blows my mind!”>

What do you know!   Listen   A “Sometimes a person learns something unexpectedly! I am surprised to find it out!”   (Here you may be impersonal and mean one)   <“Are you aware that your daughter has been dating a guy for a couple of months?” – “Well, what do you know! I can only give her my blessing.”>

Listen to Entire Passage

 

 

5.42   When you want to demonstrate surprise by exclamation

 

Oh, my!   Listen   <“Oh, my! I didn’t expect this place to be so wonderful.”>

Boy!   Listen   <“Boy! I’m so tired!”>

Wow!   Listen   <“Wow! I’m sort of surprised.”>

Gosh!   Listen   <“Gosh! Why not?”>

Gee!   Listen   <“Gee! I’m kind of disappointed.”>

Goodness!   Listen   <“Goodness! I’m delighted!”>

My goodness!   Listen   <“My goodness! It was so funny!”>

My word!   Listen   <“My word! He’s an excellent actor.”>

Heavens!   Listen   <“Heavens! I’m shocked!”>

Good heavens!   Listen   <“Good heavens! Why don’t you want to move in with me if you love me?”>

For heaven’s sake!   Listen   <“For heaven’s sake! Why are you so coldhearted?”>

Good grief!   Listen   <“Good grief! I’ve never seen such an interesting thing before.”>

Good gracious!   Listen   <“Good gracious! What happened to your face?”>

Goodness gracious!   Listen   <“Goodness gracious! You are so beautiful!”>

Oh, my God!   Listen   <“Oh, my God! I hit the lottery!”>

My God!   Listen   <“My God! Look at the size of this thing!”>

Good Lord!   Listen   <“Good Lord! Isn’t it wonderful?”>

Holy cow!   Listen   <“Holy cow! I’m late again!”>

Holy Moses!   Listen   <“Holy Moses! This boy is fast!””>

Holy smoke!   Listen   <“Holy smoke! Isn’t it amazing?”>

I’ll be darned!   Listen   <“I’ll be darned! Julie, what are you doing here?”>

I’ll be damned!   Listen   <“I’ll be damned! The ghost was standing in front of me as I am standing in front of you.”>

No kidding!   Listen   AI know you are not kidding me with this, but I’m still surprised.”   <“Bob has finally graduated from his college.” – “No kidding! I’m glad he has.”>

Son of a gun!   Listen   <“Son of a gun! I thought it would be done by now.”>

Son of a bitch!   Listen   <“Son of a bitch! At three in the morning my cat decided to have her kittens.”>

Son of a bucket!   Listen   <“Son of a bucket! It’s two in the morning!”>

Isn’t that something!   Listen   A “Isn’t it a surprise!”   <“Our team has won the final game! Isn’t that something!”>

For crying out loud!   Listen   A “I’m so surprised I can shout!”   <“For crying out loud! Bob, is that you? It’s so fancy meeting you here!”>

Listen to Entire Passage

 

 

5.43   When you bring up an alternative aspect of a situation

 

On the other hand,…   Listen   A “On the other side,…”   <“The typical summer in Southern California is much hotter and therefore less pleasant than the typical summer in Northern California. On the other hand, there is practically no winter in Southern California which is great.”>

On the flip side,…   Listen   <“Higher taxes help finance education and medical programs. On the flip side, they slow down economic growth.”>

Listen to Entire Passage

 

 

5.44   When you demonstrate that your knowledge might be limited

 

To the best of my knowledge, it is true.   Listen   <“Some reports indicate that this car is the best in its class.” – “To the best of my knowledge, it is true”>

As far as I know, that’s the case.   Listen   A “Within the limits of my knowledge…”   <“Is he really guilty”? – “As far as I know, that’s the case”.>

As far as I can tell, that’s correct.   Listen   <“This company is in trouble.” – “As far as I can tell, that’s correct”.>

Off the top of my head, the spider has eight legs.   Listen   A “Without specific knowledge…”   <“How many continents are there on our planet?” – “Off the top of my head, I don’t know”.>

Listen to Entire Passage

 

 

5.45   When you demonstrate personal involvement or interest

 

As far as I’m concerned.   Listen   A “As concerns my interests…, within the limits of my involvement…”   <“A new election is around the corner.” – “As far as I’m concerned, it won’t change anything.”>

I for one feel sorry for these people.   Listen   A “As a particular one…, as it concerns me…”   <“Some people choose to drink alcohol and smoke tobacco. I for one feel sorry for these people”>

Listen to Entire Passage

 

 

5.46   When you offer a person to restore the remainder of the story or to draw a conclusion

 

Fill in the blanks.   Listen   A “Supply the missing parts of the story.”   <“He got caught driving under the influence of alcohol by the highway patrol.” – “What happened then?” – “Fill in the blanks. What do you think?”>

Put flesh on these bones.   Listen   <“I told you the basics of the theory. Put flesh on these bones.”>

You do the math.   Listen   A “You can easily draw a conclusion from what you know.”   <“They offered me that job, but they forgot to tell me how hard it would be. You do the math.” – “I see why you quit.”>

Use your head.   Listen   AYou can find it out using your own thinking.”   <“You’re saying that Bill was at work yesterday. How do you know that?” – “Use your head. I called him at the office phone number.”>

Figure out the rest.   Listen   A “Understand the rest of the story by thinking about it.”   <“The flood water was so high that they had to climb to the roof. They spent three days there waiting to be rescued. Figure out the rest.”>

Go figure!   Listen   A “Try to figure it out! Try to understand it although the conclusion is strange.”   <“He is a mediocre writer, but his last book grossed twenty million. Go figure!”>

The rest is history.   Listen   A “The rest of the story is well known.”   <“My brother got caught by the police for drunk driving. He was taken into custody. The rest is history.”>

Listen to Entire Passage

 

 

5.47   When you redirect a question to a person who asked it

 

What about you?   Listen   A “I answered your question, now tell me how you will answer it.”   <“The menu in this restaurant is so extensive! What are you having for dinner?” – “I’m having a Cesar salad and a New York steak. What about you?”>

How about you?   Listen   <“Hello, Jim. How have you been?” – “I’ve been keeping busy. How about you?”>

And you?   Listen   <“Would you like another coffee?” – “Yes, thanks. And you?”>

Yourself?   Listen   <“Do you like the show?” – “Very much. Yourself?”>

Listen to Entire Passage

 

 

5.48   When you ask a question presumably for no particular reason

 

Out of curiosity.   Listen   A “Because I feel like I want to know that.”   <“Do you visit your sister often?” – “Once in a while. Why are you asking?” – “Out of curiosity. Maybe I can visit her with you sometime.”>

For no reason.   Listen   <“Bob, is your bicycle expensive?” – “Kind of. Why?” – “For no reason. I wish I had one.”>

Just for the heck of it.   Listen   A “For no particular reason.”   <“Bill, do you like cold beer on a hot day?” – “Why do you want to know that?” – “Just for the heck of it. It’s a hot day today, isn’t it?”>

I’m just asking.   Listen   <“Jim, do you like your job?” – “I guess so. Why is the question?” – “I’m just asking. I might start looking for another job.”>

I was just wondering.   Listen   <“Patty, are you happy with your family life?” – “I don’t think we need to discuss this matter.” – “I’m sorry. I was just wondering.”>

Listen to Entire Passage

 

 

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