3 Easy Conversation Starters for Right Now

Sep 4, 2019 | English Conversation

Going back to work at the end of summer can kind of be exciting, right? It means getting refocused on your goals, with new energy. And it also means catching up with all your colleagues at work, unless…

Unless you hate conversations in English. And that’s exactly why this lesson on easy conversation starters is important.

Would you LOVE to chat with your colleagues, neighbors, and other parents about their vacations, about what’s happening at school and work, and the other topics everyone is thinking about right now?

But there’s just one problem: you have no idea what to say. You get stuck asking questions and you’re not sure what people are talking about right now — in English.

So today I’ve got your answer: 3 Easy Conversation Starters for Right Now

What exactly are conversation starters? These are the questions that get you going.

Today, I’ll share with you 3 topics people are talking about, the language you need so you can fully participate AND questions you can ask to get the conversation started. 

Sound good? Awesome. Let’s get started.

Conversation starters for the end of summer and going back to work.

Lesson by Annemarie

Easy Conversation Starters in English [Full Transcript]

It’s the first Wednesday of September. The month just started and two days ago, everyone in the United States celebrated Labor Day. 

Although Labor Day has nothing to do with the summer, it’s a holiday that many people associate with the end of summer. 

What it means is that kids are back in school, you and all your colleagues are back at work. Usually there’s a lot of excitement and energy in the air. People at work love to talk about what they did during the summer and what’s going on now.

But all of that excitement immediately goes away if…

If you’re nervous or trying to avoid talking to your colleagues in English because you don’t know what to talk about, maybe you’re not sure what questions to ask to start a conversation or you’re not sure what people are talking about right now. 

Today I want to help take away or remove those worries. 

I’m going to give you three really easy conversation starters for right now, three topics that English speakers are talking about. 

I’ll also share with you the language that you need. So you sound natural in those conversations and some questions you can ask to get those conversations going. 

And at the end, I’m going to share with you though one thing that Americans are obsessed with right now, so be sure to find out what that is.


Let’s get started right away with the first topic that everyone’s talking about, which is back to school. 

That back to school feeling that we all get, even though we’re not kids, a lot of us like me still get that feeling, that excitement, that energy, that sense of newness and opportunity. 

Of course when you go to the stores, there are school supplies on sale everywhere and a lot of parents talk about buying school supplies for their kids and it’s kind of fun. 

There’s all these new notebooks and new pencils and new pens. It’s full of opportunity and the chance to create new ideas or new goals. 

Again, even those of us who don’t go to school anymore, still get really excited about it and we talk about it with that expression, the back to school feeling. 

In addition to school supplies. A lot of parents also talk about shopping for the next size up clothing.

Next size up means you have to get clothes that fit your kids. They grow really fast and the clothes you bought them last year don’t fit. They’re too small now, so you need to buy the next size up. And usually at the beginning of the school year, a lot of kids get new clothes and new shoes. 

(Something else to talk about with parents where your children go to school, neighbors and friends.) 

So if you wanted to start some conversations on this topic, you could use questions like:

  • Are you all caught up on your school supply shopping? Where did you go? 
  • Did you find any good deals? 
  • What about clothes shopping? 
  • What are all the kids *into* these days? 

I’ve talked about this expression before to be into something, but as a quick reminder, if you’re into something it means you like it. It’s what everybody likes right now. It’s a trend. 

So what are all the kids into these days? Is there a specific brand of shoes or a clothing style that everybody wants? 

If you’re at work and want to start a conversation with your colleagues, you might ask: 

  • Do you get that back to school feeling too? It’s so weird and funny how even as adults we still have that feeling. I wonder why that is.

And then it gives someone else the opportunity to talk about how they also have that feeling and all the different things that are associated with it. 

So I’m curious, do you still get that back to school feeling every September like I do? If you do share a note about it in the comments below. 

Now the second conversation starter is all about getting on top of your work. 

When you go on vacation for a long time or if you take a digital detox like I recently did — which means you completely eliminate technology and everything digital for some period of time — if you do that, what happens when you go back to work? 

You have a pile of work and emails and things to do, things to find out, things to get updated on, to get on top of your work means to get a clear picture of what’s going on. What do you need to do and get refocused. 

This is definitely a topic of conversation. During the beginning of September, you might hear colleagues or neighbors talk about feeling overwhelmed, getting on top of their work. 

They might sigh and feel regretful that summer is over, vacations are finished, and now they’re no longer digitally detoxing. 

They’re back in their email and they might need to tackle their email or get on top of one’s email again. When they say that they’re talking about getting into the email, answering everything that they need, getting up to date and all of those things, which can take a lot of time if you’ve been on vacation.

In addition to all of that, you might hear people say things like, I’ve got to reconnect with my team. I need to reach out to my partners, or I need to take stock of what’s happening at work, which basically means I need to get up today. I need to have a clear picture of what’s going on and then get to work. 

So I’m curious, is this something that’s on your mind right now? 

It definitely is. For me. I’ve come back from vacation. I took a digital detox, which meant I completely ignored technology. I didn’t take my computer. So now I’m getting back on top of my email. I’m diving back into work. 

And one more expression for you. I’m buckling down to work, to buckle down to work means to get refocused and to give your attention, your energy, your commitment to work without any distractions.

So if you want to start some conversations on this topic, here are some great questions you can use:

  • Are you ready to get back to work and buckle down? 
  • How long do you think it’ll take for you to get on top of your email after the summer vacation?
  • What projects do you need to get on top of right now? 
  • Did you get to digitally detox while you were on summer vacation? How was it? 

Those are all great questions for your colleagues when you get back to work at the end of summer. 

And finally, topic number three. 

It’s September. This is the month for those of us in the northern hemisphere when we transition from summer to autumn. So a lot of us are talking about all of those things, those feelings and words that we associate with autumn. 

We might talk about all the new fall TV shows. Do you have a favorite TV series that’s coming out with their next season this month?

If you do, tell me what your favorite series is in the comments below. 

We also talk about how we’re spending the end of summer and there are a lot of wonderful end of summer evenings. These are the nights when it’s still warm enough to be outside. You have a beautiful sunset and as the sun goes down there’s just a little bit of chill in the air. 

You can feel the autumn coming and you can even smell it. You can smell the changing of the leaves. In fact, we often describe this period of time as sweater-weather

Sweater-weather are those cool nights and mornings as we transitioned between seasons and of course you can see this concept of sweater weather reflected in all of the clothing stores. 

Everyone’s got sweaters available now and you start to see what colors are popular for the new season. 

Now before I share with you the one thing that all Americans or almost all Americans are obsessed with in September, I want to go back to talking about those cool nights or mornings that happen as we transition from summer to fall.

There’s that change in the air. You need a sweater and it’s a little bit chilly or cold, not too much. You don’t need a coat, but the best way to describe that air is crisp, the crisp fall air. 

Some people love it. They love putting on a sweater in the morning and walking out. When you breathe, you see a little bit of that air. 

Honestly, I like the opposite. I love it when I walk outside and I’m immediately hit by the hot sun. That is my favorite. 

But now let’s get to the thing that everybody’s talking about eating and or smelling, and that is pumpkin spice everything. 

If you live in the United States or if you live near a Starbucks somewhere, you probably are noticing pumpkin spice lattes and coffees. 

If you go to the grocery store, there might be pumpkin spiced cereal, cakes, muffins, cookies, and I don’t even know what else.

There are also pumpkin scented candles, pumpkin scented cleaning supplies, you name it. It probably exists with pumpkin spice. 

So what exactly is it and why do Americans go crazy for it? 

Well, if you are familiar with the American holiday of Thanksgiving, which we celebrate in November, we have a dessert called Pumpkin Pie. And in that dessert of course you have pumpkin. And it’s a mix of spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, clove, and all spice. 

I don’t love eating Pumpkin Pie, but I have to admit it does smell really, really good. And there’s something about the combination of those spices that makes us think of the fall. 

It’s the perfect smell when the leaves start changing and when you feel that crisp fall air.

I don’t know why, but at some point in the past, people started going crazy for this taste and smell. And instead of waiting until November to eat dessert on thanksgiving, they started thinking about it much, much earlier.

Now in September we see pumpkin spice stuff everywhere. 

So that is something that Americans are definitely talking about. 

Here is a great question you can use with neighbors and friends if you want to talk about it: 

  • Are you into that pumpkin spice craze that I see everywhere? 

And if they answer yes you might ask them what they love about it. Is it coffee or cake or just the smell that they like? It’s a great conversation starter. 

Other things that you can ask about this transition time are: 

  • What do you love most about the fall?
  • Do you have any last end of summer plans?

With that, you’ve got three easy conversation starters that you can use right now and these are things that native English speakers are definitely thinking about and talking about and you’ve got some language to help you do it.

Now before we finish, as always, I want you to practice, use some of the language that you’ve learned today with these 3 conversation starters.

So here are two challenge questions for you. 

  1. What do you love about the fall season? Do you like the crisp fall air? Do you like the smell of leaves and the sound that they make when you walk on them? What do you love about it? Tell me in the comments below.
  2. And number 2, we talked about how a lot of people now are getting refocused on work. They’re re-energized. It’s time to really think about the goals that you set this year. There are just a few months left before we celebrate the end of the year. So I’m curious, are you getting refocused on some of your goals? They might be personal goals or work-related. If you are, tell me what you’re doing to meet the goals that you’ve got for 2019 how are you getting refocused and what are you doing to make sure that you get them done? Again, you can share with me in the comments below. 

If you love this lesson, I’ve got a similar one on five small talk questions you can ask related to travel and these are perfect when everyone is coming back from summer vacation and you want to hear about it. So I’ll leave a link to that lesson. 

And if you loved this one, be sure to give it a thumbs up here on YouTube. Subscribe to this channel so you never miss a future lesson and share it with friends or colleagues on Facebook. 

With that, thank you so much for joining me. Have a great week and I’ll see you next time for your Confident English lesson.

Have a lovely week!

~ Annemarie

P.S. Have a friend who would also love some English conversation starters? Share this lesson. It’s easy — just click on the button on the menu to share on Facebook or send it in an email. Your friend will thank you.

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