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Small Talk Practice 2: At the Office

This page is a practice session based on the language of small talk in English, in this case at the office.

Read the small talk below and find the 10 mistakes. Then check your answers.

Woman: Hi there.

Man: Hi. I haven't seen you around here before. Have you been working long?

Woman: No, I've only been here a few months. I work in the Human Resources Department.

Man: Oh, you must make more money than I do then. I'm in Sales.

Woman: Sales sounds like an interesting job.

Man: It's okay. Hey, you look like you could really have a coffee.

Woman: Yes, it's been a really hectic week.

Man: Tell me about it! At least it's supposing to be a nice weekend.

Woman: Yes, I've listened that they are calling for blue skies.

Man: Say, did you happen to catch the game last night?

Woman: No, I was working late.

Man: It was a great game. We won in overtime.

Woman: Actually, I don't even know who was playing. I don't really follow sports.

Man: The Chiefs! Do you think they're going to make it to the finals this year?

Woman: I'm not sure. Well, I better get back to my desk.

Man: Speaking of desks, what do you think of the new office furniture?

Woman: It's nice, but I would rather get paid for my overtime hours than have new furniture.

Man: Oh. Well, I think I'll be heading home early today. It might be snow.
Woman: I know. I can't believe all of this cold weather. Hopefully Spring will come soon.

Man: I can't wait until Spring.

Woman: Me neither! My divorce will finally come through by then!


Now check your answers. Did you find all 10 mistakes?

1.
Man:
Hi. I haven't seen you around here before. Have you been working long?
Correction: I haven't seen you around here before. Have you worked here long?

2.
Man:
Oh, you must make more money than I do then. I'm in Sales.
Correction: Oh, that must be why I haven't seen you around. I'm in Sales.
It is inappropriate to discuss how much people make in an office during small talk.

3.
Man:
It's okay. Hey, you look like you could really have a coffee.
Correction: It's okay. Hey, you look like you could really use a coffee.

4.
Man:
Tell me about it! At least it's supposing to be a nice weekend.
Correction: Tell me about it! At least it's supposed to be a nice weekend.

5.
Woman:
Yes, I've listened that they are calling for blue skies.
Correction: Yes, I've heard that they are calling for blue skies.

6.
Man:
The Chiefs! Do you think they're going to make it to the finals this year?
Correction: The man should not continue with this subject because the woman is obviously not interested in it.

7.
Man:
Speaking of desks, what do you think of the new office furniture?
Correction: The man did not take the cue that the woman wants to end the conversation.

8.
Woman:
It's nice, but I would rather get paid for my overtime hours than have new furniture.
Correction: Giving your opinion about a controversial subject is not appropriate when making small talk with someone you don't know or trust.

9.
Man:
Oh. Well, I think I'll be heading home early today. It might be snow.
Correction: Oh. Well, I think I'll be heading home early today. It looks like it might snow.

10.
Man:
Me neither! My divorce will finally come through by then!
Correction: Private information about one's personal life is not acceptable.