Gambits

For the book Conversation Gambits, teaching conversation strategies. Our book is good and helpful, but it doesn’t include examples. This page has examples you can follow.

35. Saying ‘no’ Tactfully

Example
A: Hey Yuki?
B: Yeah?
A: Would you like some kimchi chocolate?
B: Err… I’m not keen on chocolate. It gives me headaches. I’d prefer just regular fruit.
A: Ok, no problem.

33. Popular Misconceptions p44

Example  1
A: Hey Yuki.
B: Yeah?
A: You’ve probably heard that Wombats like to fly.
B: Yeah?
A: But in fact they’re too fat and heavy, and so they can’t actually fly.
B: Really?! I never knew.

Example 2
A: Yuki, many people say that Confucius was the greatest teacher in history.
B: Yeah?
A: The truth of the matter is that our super-intelligent, handsome teacher Andrew actually is (the greatest teacher in history).
B: Yeah! I totally agree.

* Confucius on Wikipedia: English & Japanese.

32. Putting the record straight p43

Here is an example of using these:
Example 1
A: Hey Yuki. I heard on the grapevine that you’ve taken up jogging because you’re getting fat. Is that true?
B: Goodness, where did you get that from?
A: Momoka told me. What’s the story then?
B: I’ve always done jogging. I just enjoy it.
A: I see.

Heard it on the grapevine = someone told someone, and that someone told me.
Take(n) up = start something new, especially a hobby, sport, or interest.
What’s the story then? = Tell me what the truth is.
Example 2
A: Teppei, someone told me that you have a girlfriend in Hong Kong. Is that true?
B: No it’s not. I’ve no idea who told you that.
A: Mayu told me. What’s the story then?
B: I have a friend there, but we’re not dating. She’s too busy with her modelling career.
A: I see.

31. Correcting Yourself (p42)

Here is an example of using p42 Correcting Yourself gambits. Remember, many things are 100% true, but we accidentally say it like it is 100% true.

Example 1

A: Do you like living in Nagoya?
B: Well, I’d never live in Nagoya.
A: Huh?! Really?
B: What I meant was, I live here because I study here, and that’s only for three more years. But I’d rather live and work in Osaka
A: Oh, I see.

Example 2

A: Do you like studying here?
B: Hmm, I can’t stand teachers.
A: Huh?! Really?
B: Oh, let me rephrase what I just said. I don’t like homework, and all teachers give homework. But our teacher is nice and very, very handsome.
A: Oh, I see. I’ll tell him you said that.
B: No! Don’t!

Practice questions
Use these to start some conversations

  1. Do you like studying here?
  2. Do you like living in Nagoya?
  3. Do you ever swear in English?
  4. What do you think of people who smoke in public?
  5. What do you think of Nanzan students?
  6. Are you an honest person?
  7. How’s your reading skills?
  8. How are your English speaking skills?

32. Putting the record straight (p43)

You want to tell someone that they have the wrong information, and you want to tell them the truth. Here is an example of using these:
Example 1

A: Hey Yuki. I heard on the grapevine that you’ve taken up jogging because you’re getting fat. Is that true?
B: Goodness, where did you get that from?
A: Momoka told me. What’s the story then?
B: I’ve always done jogging. I just enjoy it.
A: I see.

Heard it on the grapevine = someone told someone, and that someone told me.
Take(n) up = start something new, especially a hobby, sport, or interest.
What’s the story then? = Tell me what the truth is.

Example 2

A: Teppei, someone told me that you have a girlfriend in Hong Kong. Is that true?
B: No it’s not. I’ve no idea who told you that.
A: Mayu told me. What’s the story then?
B: I have a friend there, but we’re not dating. She’s too busy with her modelling career.
A: I see.

Teaching & researching EFL listening in Japan