This series of Everyday Conversations is about a family traveling to each of the 50 states in the U.S. Join the family members as they learn about local pastimes and history. These conversations are for intermediate-level English-language learners or higher.

In this conversation, Gina and Paul check in at a hotel in Kansas City, Missouri, and ask about good restaurants in the area.


Gina: Excuse me, we would like to check in.

Hotel staff member: Of course. Could I have your passport and credit card, please?

Gina: Here you go.

Hotel staff member: Okay, you’re all set. Here are your keycards. You and your children have adjoining rooms on the fourth floor.

Paul: Thank you. We’re looking for a place to have dinner tonight. Do you have any suggestions?

Hotel staff member: I suggest going to a barbecue restaurant. The style of barbecue in Kansas City is unique. It has a mouthwatering tomato-molasses sauce.

Gina: Is there a good barbecue restaurant nearby?

Hotel staff member: Yes, there’s one right around the corner.

Now let’s review the vocabulary.

In this conversation, to check in means to arrive at a hotel and be given a room to stay overnight.

A keycard is a small, plastic card that is used instead of a key to open a door.

Adjoining means next to or joined.

In a building, the floors are the different levels of the building. In the U.S., the ground level is called the first floor or ground floor. The next level higher is called the second floor, and the floor above that is called the third floor, and so on.

The verb suggest plus a gerund (a verb that ends in -ing and acts like a noun) is used to recommend something to someone. For example, I suggest seeing this movie. We suggest leaving early.

Barbecue is a style of cooking meat. The meat is cooked slowly over low heat and often the food is flavored with smoke. The smoke flavor usually comes from wood being burned during the barbecue process. Some barbecue restaurants have special large ovens designed for cooking food in this way.

Mouthwatering means that food looks or smells delicious, making people want to eat it immediately.

Molasses is a thick, black, sweet and sticky liquid. It is made from the process of turning raw sugar into pure sugar.

Right around the corner means nearby or a short distance away.

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. The American English for Educators Facebook page posts teaching materials for English-language teachers 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.

Learn more about planning a trip to the U.S. and applying for a tourist visa.