Start Learning English With These Basic Conversation Skills

Airport customer service
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If you're just starting to learn English, there's no better way to improve your speaking skills than with basic conversation exercises. These simple role-playing games will help you learn how to introduce yourself, how to ask for directions, and more. With practice, you'll be able to understand others and begin to enjoy conversations in your new language. 

Getting Started

All you need to begin are the basic conversation guides you'll find below and a friend or classmate to practice with. Be patient with yourselves; English is not an easy language to learn, but you can do it. Begin with the first conversation in this list, then move on to the next when you feel comfortable doing so. You can also use the key vocabulary provided at the end of each exercise to write and practice your own conversations.


Learning how to introduce yourself is an essential skill in any language, whether it's your own or a new one you're studying. In this lesson, you learn how to say hello and goodbye, as well as vocabulary that you can use when meeting new people and making friends.

Telling the Time

Even if you're just visiting an English-speaking country for a few days, knowing how to tell the time is important. This role-playing exercise teaches you the right phrases to ask a stranger what time it is. You'll also learn how to thank the person who helped you, plus key conversation words.

Giving Personal Information

Whether you're checking in at a hotel, speaking with a police officer, or applying for a bank loan, you need to provide personal information of some kind. Your name, your address, and your phone number are all examples. Learn how to answer simple questions about yourself in English in this conversation exercise.

Shopping for Clothing

Everyone loves to go shopping for new clothes, especially if you're visiting a foreign country. In this exercise, you and your practice partner learn the basic vocabulary that you'll use in a shop. Although this particular game is set in a clothing store, you can use these skills in any kind of store.

Eating at a Restaurant

After you're finished shopping, you might want to eat at a restaurant. In this exercise, you learn how to order from a menu and how to ask questions about the food, whether you're by yourself or out with friends. You'll also find a quiz to help you improve your restaurant vocabulary.

Traveling at the Airport

Security at most major airports is very tight, so you should expect to speak English with many different people when you're traveling. By practicing this exercise, you'll learn how to have basic conversations when you check in as well as when you go through security and customs. 

Asking for Directions

It's easy for anyone to lose their way when traveling, especially if you don't speak the language. Learn how to ask simple directions and how to understand what people tell you. This exercise gives you basic vocabulary plus tips for finding your way.

Speaking on the Phone

Phone calls can be challenging for people who don't speak English well. Improve your telephone skills with this exercise and vocabulary quiz. Learn how to make travel arrangements and how to make purchases over the phone, plus other important words. Best of all, you'll use the conversation skills you learned in the other lessons here.

Tips for English Teachers

These basic English conversations can also be used in a classroom setting. Here are a few suggestions for using conversation lessons and role-playing activities:

  • Ask students about their experiences in the situation featured in the dialogue. Solicit important phrases, grammar structures, and so on from the students and write them on the board.
  • Introduce new vocabulary and key phrases to students.
  • Pass out printed dialogue to students.
  • Have each student take on a role and practice the dialogues in pairs. Students should take on both roles.
  • Based on the dialogue, ask students to write out their own related conversations using key vocabulary.
  • Have students practice their own dialogues to the point where they can perform short conversations in front of the class.