What are 5 Real English Conversation Starters?

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Answered by: Amanda Grace, An Expert in the English as the Second Language (ESL) Category
Conversation just seems to flow naturally at home – but I’m finding it difficult with English speakers. What do they really talk about? If you have found yourself thinking about this, you are not alone. What are some real English conversation starters? Well I’m here to let you know that even if English is your first language, it can be difficult to think of a good conversation starter. For this reason, it is always good to think of some subjects to get the conversation started before you meet with another person or group.

First it is important to consider the context. Where are you going and who will you be around? If you are going to a school gathering your conversation might be more formal where you talk about academics and school subjects. However, if you are meeting someone at a coffee shop your conversation will be a little less formal.

Once you have taken a mental note of your context, here are 5 real English conversation starters or topics that you can use:

#1 Location – Look around and make a comment on the room. What do you see, smell, feel, taste or hear? This is a good conversation starter because it brings up something that others can experience with you.


Have you been here before?

How did you find this place?

#2 Sports – People love to talk about their local baseball, basketball, lacrosse, etc. sports team. After you get someone to start talking about their local sports team, you can ask how they are doing this year. Ask how the sport is played if you don’t know. Also be ready to answer questions about sports in your home country.


Did you see the baseball game last night?

Did you play any sports growing up?

#3 Entertainment – Movies, books, applications (apps) and video games are common favorites. Ask about an upcoming or favorite movie or book. It is best to take about some entertainment that you know about or that is very popular so the conversation can keep going.


Have you read the Hunger Game books?

Are you going to see that new movie with Will Smith in it?

#4 Weekend Plans or Trips – People are commonly excited about their upcoming holidays or vacations they have been planning. Asking them about where they are going and what they are planning to do there is sure to get the conversation going. You might even find that you have been there too and then you will have more to talk about.


Do you have any fun plans for the weekend?

Are you planning any upcoming trips?

#5 Home Town/Country - Talk about what other people know best. If you ask about their favorite restaurant, things to see or what their favorite thing to do in their home town is, this is sure to spark a conversation. Talking about what other people’s day-to-day life looked like in their ‘home’ is usually a pretty easy conversation starter and fun when you’re in a diverse environment.


What do you do for fun when you’re at home?

What is one thing I should see if I were to visit your hometown?

In general, other people love to talk about themselves. Getting the conversation started can be difficult, however once you get going it can be pretty fun. Remember to stay away from sensitive areas like religion and politics. A good conversation takes a lot of attention, but it can be a very positive experience if you have some good conversation starters ready.

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