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 “small talk” and learning what people like to do.

Sam: It’s nice to meet you, Khaled. What do you like to do in your free time?

Khaled: I like to write songs and sing.

Sam: Wow, that’s really cool.

Khaled: Thanks. I also like playing tennis, but I’m not very good.

Sam: I like playing tennis too. We should play together sometime.

Now let’s review the vocabulary

Nice to meet you is used when meeting someone for the first time. A response to nice to meet you is nice to meet you too.

What do you like to do in your free time is a way to ask someone about his or her hobbies. There are different ways to respond to this question. One response is to use I like to and a verb in its simplest form. For example, I like to write songs. I like to play soccer. I like to learn English. Another way is to use I like plus a gerund. A gerund is a verb in the -ing form used as a noun, such as playing and reading. For example, I like playing tennis. I like reading. I like traveling. There are some slight differences in meaning between these two forms, but when talking about hobbies, it is generally okay to use either form.

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.