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 conversation is about birthdays.

Patty: I’m really excited for Aunt Mary’s surprise birthday party this afternoon! Aren’t you?

Susan: Yeah! How old is she?

Patty: She’ll be 55 on May 14th [fourteenth].

Susan: Wow! I didn’t know that my mom was older — she’s going to be 57 on September 2nd [second]. Anyway, Aunt Mary’s going to be so surprised to see us all here!

Patty: I know! But we still have to get all the food set up before she gets here… OK, we’re all ready now. Shh! She’s here!

All: Surprise!

Language notes

  • I’m really excited… Notice the emphasis on “really.” “Really” is used to emphasize the adjective “excited” here.
  • Birthday party Notice that the normal stress for a compound noun falls on the first element of the compound.
  • Aren’t you? This negative tag is used to show that the speaker expects a positive answer. Patty assumes that Susan is also looking forward to the party.
  • She’ll be 55 Notice that “55” is stressed here. This detail answers the question “How old is she?”
  • Fourteenth Notice that we use the “th” for ordinal numbers, starting with four [but first, second and third]. The stress is on the second syllable [fourTEENTH]. Compare this with “40th” [FORtieth].
  • She’s going to be… Notice how this is pronounced like “gonna be.” Instead of four syllables, “go/ing/to/be,” there are three syllables, “ga/na/be.”
Ready to learn more English? Our materials can help. And the U.S. Department of State has great resources for English teachers and students of all levels.