How to start and finish a conversation in English

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How to start and finish a conversation in English

By now, you should already know how to start and finish a conversation in English in a basic style. However, in this lesson we are going to extend these skills looking at more natural ways of opening and closing a conversation. Let’s start with opening the conversation.

Here are some introductory phrases to start a conversation and introduce yourself. Some expressions are informal (relaxed / friendly) some are formal (official / important) and some are semi-formal (between formal and informal).

Starting a conversation:

  • Hey! What’s up? (informal)
  • Hiya – how’s it going? (informal)
  • You’ll never believe this, but… (informal)
  • Guess what! I’ve just… (informal)
  • Excuse me, can I talk to you for a minute? (semi-formal)
  • Excuse me – have you got a minute? (semi-formal)
  • Hi. Let me introduce myself – I’m [name] (semi-formal)
  • Hello. Would you mind if I spoke to you for a minute or two? (semi-formal)
  • Sorry to interrupt, but I wonder if you could help me? (formal)
  • Pardon the interruption, but can I talk to you for a moment? (formal)
  • Hello. Allow me to introduce myself. My name is… (formal)


And now we’ll look at some of the different ways you can end a conversation. Again, some expressions are formal, some are semi formal and some are informal.

Ending a conversation:

  • Later! (informal)
  • Right, got to go! (informal)
  • Must dash – see you later. (informal)
  • See ya! (informal)
  • OK, I’m off. Catch you later. (informal)
  • Right, I’m heading off. Bye! (informal)
  • It’s been nice talking to you. Bye for now! (informal)
  • See you later. (informal)
  • It was great talking to you. (semi formal)
  • It was wonderful to talk to you. (semi formal) NOTE: this expression is now a little old fashioned
  • Been good to meet up but I have to go. (semi formal)
  • My apologies, but I’m going to have to leave now. (formal)
  • It’s been a pleasure to meet, and hope to meet you again soon. (formal)