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Basic English


Pre-Listening Exercise

Striking up (=starting) conversations and keeping them going is really important to good communication. Think of three questions you might ask a stranger when meeting for the first time. Remember that the questions you ask might depend on the situation.

Listening Exercise

Listen to the recording and choose the best response to the question. Then, review the script to this listening activity at the bottom of the page.

Post-Listening Exercise

With a partner, practice starting and keeping the conversation going. Think carefully about what questions you would ask in each situation:

  1. at a bus stop waiting for the next bus
  2. in a park walking your dog
  3. on the first day of class right before school begins
  4. on a plane waiting for takeoff
  5. at a friend’s house for a barbecue
  6. at your 20th high school reunion

Listening Script

  1. What’s your name? (I’m Nancy.)
  2. Where do you live? (I live in Chicago.)
  3. How’s it going? (Okay.)
  4. Where does she work? (She works at City Bank.)
  5. Where are they from? (They are from Mexico.)
  6. How many people are in your family? (I have three brothers.)
  7. Hey, what’s new? (Nothing much.)
  8. What does he do? (He’s an engineer.)
  9. What do you do in your spare time? (I like to exercise.)
  10. What does your father do for a living? (He’s a doctor.)
Try More Free Listening at