General greetings and inquiries

How's it going?

How's everything?

How's life?     (This means "How are you?" not "Where are you going?")


Asking about present activities

What's up?

What's happening?     (What are you doing now?)


Asking and telling about recent events


What's new?

Guess what?  


Bringing up a serious topic

Can I talk to you for a minute?

Do you have a minute?

Got a minute?



Giving your opinion


I think that . . .

I don't think that . . .

In my opinion . . .


On the other hand,


Yes, but . . .

You may be right, but . . .

I may be wrong, but . . .

Clarifying your own ideas

In other words,

What I mean is . . .

What I'm trying to say is . . .

Showing Understanding

I see.

I understand.

I get it./I got it.

Expressing Lack of Understanding

I don't get it.

(I'm sorry.) I don't understand.

What do you mean?

I'm not following you.

I don't quite follow you.

I'm not sure I get what you mean.


Interrupting politely

Excuse me,

Pardon me,

Sorry to interrupt,

May I interrupt (for a minute)?

Can I add something here?

I don't mean to intrude, but . . .

Could I inject something here?

Do you mind if I jump in here?


Getting back to the topic


Now, where was I?

Where were we?

What were you saying?

You were saying . . .

To get back to . . .



That's interesting. I think that...

Interesting point. I would add...

Hmmm. I hadn't thought of that before.

Questions can also be a useful way of bringing new ideas into a conversation:

What do you think about . . .

Have you considered . . .

What about . . .




So . . . (rephrase the other person's ideas)

In other words . . . (paraphrase)

I understand. (You're saying that . . .)

Oh. I see. (You want to say that . . . )

I get it. (You mean . . .)

So, what you mean is . . .

Let me see if I understand you correctly. . .

What I think you're saying is . . .

If I'm hearing you correctly . . .