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[ESL/EFL] Conversational Etiquette
Second in a series of English language lessons from Jennifer Lebedev
Jennifer Lebedev (jenesl)     Print Article 
  Published 2008-06-24 10:27 (KST)   

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TIP #1

Good discussion results from people expressing different opinions. Here are some polite ways to disagree with another speaker:

"I'm afraid I have to disagree with you."
"I understand your point, but I believe that..."
"I see what you're saying, but in my opinion..."

TIP #2

It's not unusual for a conversation to get so exciting that people can't wait their turn to speak. Interrupting means a second person begins to speak before the first person is finished. If someone interrupts you, you can allow them to speak, but then be firm about continuing with your own thoughts:

"Well, let me finish my point." or "So as I was saying..."

TIP #3

Sometimes the person doing the interrupting is you. If you really feel the need to do this, at least begin with an apology:
"I'm sorry to interrupt, but..." or "I'm sorry, but can I just say one thing?"

TIP #4

Not everyone is able to express himself or herself clearly. It sometimes happens when you don't understand what another person just said. If this happens, you can say:

"I'm sorry. I don't understand what you mean." or "I don't get your point. Are you saying that...?"

TIP #5

It's possible for an opinion to shock you. But instead of saying something like "Are you crazy?!" you can say: "Is that what you really think?" or "I'm really surprised you feel that way."

TIP #6

On very controversial topics, you may not be able to agree on anything with the other speakers. Sometimes, it's best just to end the conversation. Try these phrases:

"I guess we just see things differently."
"I think you and I have very different points of view on this issue."
"Well, everyone's entitled to his or her own opinion."

- Conversational Etiquette by Jennifer Lebedev 

This is an original podcast I created for the OMNI community.
©2008 OhmyNews
Jennifer Lebedev is a teacher of English as a second and foreign language with 12 years experience. She has additional experience in teacher training and administration of an IEP and is a published author. Find more of her online English instruction on YouTube under the name "JenniferESL".
Other articles by reporter Jennifer Lebedev

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