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, the family talks about hiking in New Hampshire.


Claudine: There was so much news about the New Hampshire primary during this election year, and now we are here.

Gina: Well, what we’re going to do here is quite different from the primary. We’re going hiking on the Appalachian Trail.

Sam: We’re not hiking the entire New Hampshire section of the trail, are we?

Paul: Of course not. We’re just hiking for a few hours. Then, tomorrow we’ll drive up Mount Washington.

Gina: Let’s make sure we have snacks and water for the hike.

Claudine: Should we bring a compass and a map? What if there’s no service on the trail?

Gina: Good idea. We don’t want to get stranded in the middle of the woods!

Now let’s review the vocabulary.

A primary (or primary election) is a preliminary election that helps decrease the number of candidates, or people running for a political position, before a major election, especially a presidential one.

The term election year usually refers to a year in which a U.S. presidential election takes place. U.S. presidential elections are held every four years.

The Appalachian Trail (A.T.) is a hiking trail in the eastern part of the U.S. It goes from the state of Georgia to the state of Maine. The trail is approximately 3,500 kilometers long.

When Sam asks, We’re not hiking the entire New Hampshire section of the trail, are we? he uses a tag question. A tag question is a special construction in English. It is a statement followed by a short question, such as right?, isn’t it?, are we?. People usually use tag questions to ask for confirmation.

Mount Washington is the highest mountain peak in the northeastern U.S. It is 1,917 meters high.

A compass is an instrument used to find direction, with a needle that always points north.

In this context, no service means no cellular service, meaning that cellphones (also called mobile phones) do not work in that area.

The verb to strand is usually used as be stranded. To be stranded means to be in a place without a way of leaving it. In this conversation, “we don’t want to get stranded in the middle of the woods” means that the speakers do not want to lose their way in the woods and then not be able to find their way out or communicate with someone to come get them.

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.