English Lesson: Small Talk “Hobbies & Taboo Topics”

Michael Uncategorized 1 Comment

Today we will continue looking at making conversation and small talk in English. Yesterday we learned how to ask about family and jobs. Today our topics are hobbies, free time and taboo topics.

Hobby and Free Time

When I think of the word “hobby” I start to feel nostalgic. I think of the time when I was a child and I would visit my Uncle. His hobby was collecting stamps from all over the world. The term hobby is rarely used these days. Asking someone, What is your hobby?  or  Do you have any hobbies? makes me feel like we are back in the 1950’s. What you really want to know is what the person does when they have free time. So ask them:

  • What do you like to do / What do you usually do [on the weekends?]
  • What do you like to do / What do you usually do [on your day off?]

You can also ask someone about specific topics. Here are some examples:

  • Do you play any sports?
  • What kind of music do you like?
  • Do you like shopping?

You can ask these kinds of questions about almost any topic, except the following taboo topics:

Taboo Topics

Age is a taboo topic for most native English speakers. Please don’t ask someone How old are you unless you know them well. Other taboo topics are probably the same in your culture as well. We generally don’t ask about religion, politics, and money/salary unless we know someone well. I’m sure these three are taboo in your culture as well.

Well, there you have it. This week we looked at casual greetings, conversation starters, and talking about various topics. I hope this was useful! Feel free to leave a comment or send me your suggestion for the next one-point English lesson.

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