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, in your language, at the end of each conversation. Today’s dialogue is about formal introductions.

Margaret: Mr. Wilson, I’d like you to meet Dr. Edward Smith.

Mr. Wilson: It’s nice to meet you, Dr. Smith.

Dr. Smith: Pleasure to meet you, too.

Margaret: Dr. Smith is an economist. He just finished writing a book on international trade.

Mr. Wilson: Oh? That’s my field, too. I work for the United Nations.

Dr. Smith: In the Development Program, by any chance?

Mr. Wilson: Yes. How did you guess?

Dr. Smith: I’ve read your articles on technical assistance. They’re excellent.

Language notes

Mr. Wilson, I’d like you … Notice the rising intonation on “Mr. Wilson,” which is used to address someone. Listen for the “d” in “I’d like.” This means “I would like,” which is very different from “I like.” (“I’d like” means the same as “I would like” or “I want.”)

Dr. Smith is an economist. Notice the stress on “economist.” This content word has new information, so it is emphasized. There are four syllables in “economist,” with the stress on the second syllable (e-CON-o-mist).

He just finished writing … “Just” means the very recent past. “Just” is usually used with a simple past verb because the action is complete. However, it can also be used with the present perfect (He’s just finished writing …).

Development program. Since these two words make a compound noun, the main stress falls on “development.”

By any chance? means the same as “possibly.” Notice the rising intonation, which is used in yes/no questions to confirm that something is true.

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