Learning to speak English? Our Everyday Conversations help you practice. Click the audio link to hear a native speaker pronounce each word while you read. Key terms are explained at the end.

Today’s conversation is on coffee for your plants.

Lucas: Wait, don’t throw those coffee grounds into the trash.

Carlos: Because …?

Lucas: I compost them. They’re great for the soil in my garden.

Carlos: Coffee grounds are good for dirt?

Lucas: Yup! The coffee grounds can be turned into rich soil. Microorganisms help break down food and lawn waste to change it into compost. The compost can help plants grow.

Carlos: So the coffee grounds make your plants better?

Lucas: Exactly! It’s a win-win situation. The plants are better, and the coffee grounds don’t end up in a landfill.

Now let’s review the vocabulary


To compost means to change organic material, such as leaves, vegetable and fruit scraps, coffee grounds, etc., into a decayed mixture that is used to improve the soil in a lawn or garden.

Yup: This is a very informal way to say “yes.”

Break down means to decompose. When something breaks down, it is reduced to its smallest parts.

Win-win: This means providing a good result for everyone or everything involved. A win-win situation means that everyone or everything has a good result.

A landfill is an area where garbage is dumped and covered with dirt. It is where garbage is buried.

The American English website offers a variety of free resources for learners and teachers of English. The American English Facebook page posts learning materials for English-language learners daily.

Everyday Conversations are developed by the State Department’s Heidi Howland, a senior program officer in the Office of English Language Programs, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.