Wednesday, November 28, 2007
Example Conversations - 2
Here is a discussion between two friends who work in the same building, but not for the same company. They are on their lunch break:
Tom: Hello, Frank. How do you do?
Frank: Well, I'm fine. How are you?
Tom: I'm fine. Thank you very much for asking. I was wondering if you might be able to help me with a problem. Do you think you might have some time for me later today?
Frank: Sure Tom. I'm your best friend. Hey, what did you think of the game last night?
Tom: Oh, I thought that both of the teams played extremely accurate and well executed games.
Frank: You mean they both were hot.
Tom: I guess you could say that.
Frank: By the way, what's the mtter with you today?
Here is a list of the mistakes in this conversation:
Language Function Mistakes:
This is an informal discussion between two friends at lunch.
Tom has a question, but the forms he uses are much too formal for the informal purpose of this conversation. Finally, the question "How do you do?" is completely inappropriate as the two friends are not being introduced, but, rather, saying hello.
Tom and Frank are friends and are eating lunch together. In this situation, informal discussion, idiomatic language and forms are absolutely normal. Asking a question is certainly within the domain of this conversation. However, a formal analysis of the way the teams played the night before (i.e. "both of the teams played extremely accurate and well executed games") is not called for in this situation.
Tom and Frank should be using informal, direct language forms due to their informal friendly relationship. Also the fact that it is lunch time calls for a more relaxed, informal tone.
The message is not so urgent. Two friends are passing time together during a lunch break. The formal tone of the question and comment on the game make these messages too important.
Conversation 2 - Corrections
Here is a more friendly, and appropriate, version of the conversation:
Tom: Frank. How are things today?
Frank: Great. Good to see you. How's the wife?
Tom: Just fine. Listen, can you pop by the office and give me a hand later today?
Frank: Sure, no problem. Hey, how about the game last night?
Tom: Incredible! Both teams were really on.
Frank: Were they ever! They couldn't miss a shot!
As you can see from these simple example conversations, good English usage also depends on judging the situation well. Grammar is important. Knowing how to use various forms of the language in different situations can make the difference between communicating and communicating effectively.