appropriate responses

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Today, I’d like to do something a little different. Many of my students don’t know how to respond to different statements or questions in natural English, so I’m going to tell you how to do that today. For example:

Positive situations

A: I just got a promotion at work!

B: Wow, that’s great! Congratulations!

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A: Yesterday was my birthday.

B: Oh really? I didn’t know. Happy birthday!

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A: I’m going on a trip to Spain for my vacation.

B: That’s wonderful!

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A: I really like your shoes.

B: Thank you very much. I just bought them.

Negative situations

A: I have to work all weekend.

B: Oh really? That’s too bad.

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A: I’m sorry I’m late.

B: It’s ok.

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A: My grandfather died last week.

B: Oh I’m so sorry!

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A: I can’t come to your party on Saturday.

B: I’m sorry to hear that. I really wanted you to come.

Neutral situations

A: I work for one of the largest banks in Japan.

B: Oh really? Which one do you work for?

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A: I really like sushi.

B: So do I. It’s one of my favorite foods.

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A: I can’t cook very well.

B: Oh really? I can. People tell me I’m very good at it.

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A: I’m not from Tokyo originally. My hometown is Sapporo.

B: Oh I see. When did you come to Tokyo?

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A: Do you have any questions?

B: No, I’m ok.

Responding to offers

A: Would you like some cheese?

B: No I’m ok, thanks.   or   No, thank you.

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A: Can I get you something to drink?

B: Ok. I’d like a beer, please.    or    Yes, please. I’d like a beer.

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A: May I help you?

B: Yes, I’m looking for some jeans.

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A: May I help you?

B: No thanks. I’m just looking.

Responding to invitations

A: Would you like to see a movie with me tomorrow night?

B: Sure, I’d love to!

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A: Would you like to have dinner together on Saturday night?

B: I’d love to, but I’m afraid I have other plans.

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A: How about going to a baseball game on Sunday?

B: Sure. Sounds good.

So these are some basic ways to respond in natural English. Please be careful when using “ok”. As you can see above in the examples about responding to offers, if you say “ok” to an offer, it means yes. However, if you say “I’m ok” or “It’s ok” to an offer, it means no.  Also if someone asks you “Do you have any questions?”, you can never say “ok” because it doesn’t make sense. You must either say “Yes” or “No”, and it’s very common to say “No, I’m ok” or “No, it’s ok”.

In addition, please note that in regular conversations the response “I see” should be followed by a statement or a question. If you simply say “I see” and then nothing after that, it could kill the conversation.

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