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 using public transportation.

Joyce: Should we take a taxi or a bus to the mall?

Bill: Let’s take a bus. It’s impossible to get a taxi during rush hour.

Joyce: Isn’t that a bus stop over there?

Bill: Yes…Oh! There’s a bus now. We’ll have to run to catch it.

Joyce: Oh, no! We just missed it.

Bill: No problem. There’ll be another one in 10 minutes.

Language notes

  • Should we…or…? Is a way of asking “Which is better?” “Should” is used to ask for an opinion. Note that we do not say “Will” here.
  • Take a taxi or a bus? The word “or” signals a choice here. Notice the rising intonation on taxi (the first choice) and falling intonation on bus (the second choice).
  • Let’s (Let us) means “I think we should do this.”
  • Rush hour is the time of day when most people are going to or from work. In most American cities, rush hour is from about 7:30 to 9 a.m. and from about 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. Notice that “rush hour” is a compound noun, with the main stress on the first word.
  • Isn’t that: This is a negative question. The speaker expects an affirmative answer. It is used to check information.
  • Bus stop is a compound noun, with the main stress on the first word.
  • Oh! is an exclamation used to express alarm or surprise.
  • Oh, no! is an expression used to express disappointment.
  • We just missed it here means “We arrived a moment too late to get the bus.” Notice the emphasis on “just” to show the very recent past.
  • No problem here means “It doesn’t matter.”
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.