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 formal greetings and invitations.

Jenna: Hello, Kojo. How are you doing?

Kojo: I’m doing well. How are you?

Jenna: Great! By the way, my husband and I are going to the theater tonight. Would you and your wife like to join us?

Kojo: I appreciate the invite, but we have other plans tonight. Maybe another time.

Now let’s review the vocabulary

How are you doing? is a longer form of the question “How are you?”

I’m doing well is a more formal way of saying “I’m good” and to answer the question “How are you?” or “How are you doing?”

By the way: This phrase is used to introduce a subject that may not be directly related to the subject being discussed.

I appreciate the invite, but: This is a polite way to say “no” to an invitation. Sometimes people give a reason for saying no. For example, “I appreciate the invite, but we have other plans tonight.” Sometimes people don’t give a reason. For example, “I appreciate the invite, but I can’t.”

Maybe another time: After declining an invitation, this phrase is used to suggest another time to do something.

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.