Small Talk, Part 2
In Small Talk Explained, I discussed why people use small talk.
Now, we’ll look at some examples of small talk related to weekend plans.
Everyone loves weekends!
After a long week of studying or working, everyone is ready to relax or spend time with friends and family.
Weekends are when we try to do all the things we don’t have time for during the week, including just doing nothing.
Whether we plan to run errands or kick back (relax) in front of the TV, we all look forward to the weekend.
For many, these pandemic years have been one long never-ending weekend. What day is it? has become a common refrain (repeated phrase).
Whatever your situation, I hope you have found ways to fill your time and connect with loved ones. I hope 2022 brings you health and happiness.
What are you up to (this weekend)?
Because people love weekends, asking about someone’s weekend is a very common form of small talk.
If you are talking with a friend, the same question could lead to a longer discussion.
However, sometimes, it might just be a quick conversation like this one:
A: Do you have plans for the weekend?
B: Not yet. What about you?
A: I’m planning to just take it easy. I might hang out with some friends on Sunday.
B: Cool. Well, have fun whatever you end up doing/decide to do.
A: Thanks, you too.
Because people look forward to the weekend, they often start talking about it as early as Wednesday.
It is common to ask about someone’s weekend plans with these two questions:
What are your plans for the weekend?
What are you doing this weekend?
A Note on Pronunciation
What are your sounds like Whaduhyer and What are you sounds like Whaddaya. These are very common reductions in spoken English.
Additionally, doing sounds like doin‘ with the strong –ing sound dropped. This sound pattern is very common with –ing words.
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A Common Mistake to Avoid
When talking about weekend plans, it is not common to ask “What will you do this weekend?”
While everyone will understand you, will is not used to talk about future plans or intentions.
To learn more about when to use will and when to use going to and other future tenses and ways to talk about the future depending on the situation, check out the free 5-minute lesson Future Tenses In English.
More Ways to Ask about Someone’s Weekend:
- Do you have plans for the weekend?
- Any plans for the weekend?”
- What are you going to do this weekend?
- What’s going on this weekend?
- Are you doing anything over the weekend?
- Are you doing anything special this weekend?
What’s going on this weekend? means What’s happening this weekend? When we ask this, we are usually asking if there is a special event, like a concert or party. If we are not attending an event, we would answer by saying, Not much, Nothing, or Nothing much. These responses are the same as the ones we use to respond to What greetings.
A Note about Grammar:
When talking about a future plan that was planned before the moment of speaking, using will is incorrect. Instead, we use be + planning to (or other present continuous verbs) or going to.
So, if you have a plan to see a movie, you might say:
- I’m planning to go to a movie.
- I’m going to a movie.
- I’m going to go see a movie.
- I’m going to see a movie.
- I’m going to go to a movie.
If you would like to hear these spoken with relaxed speech, they are available as a downloadable audio file at my Ko-fi shop (both this and the audio file asking about weekends are combined in one product). Here is how the relaxed form might look when written:
- I’m plannin’ to go-do-uh movie.
- I’m goin’ to uh movie.
- I’m gonna go see uh movie.
- I’m gonna see uh movie.
- I’m gonna go-do-uh movie.
Related post with a quiz: The Future: Going To
What Not to Say
What if you don’t have any plans?
What if your plan is to stay home all weekend and sleep? What if you plan to get drunk? When asked about their weekend plans, my students often say “Sleep” and “Drink alcohol.”
However, unless you are talking to a very close friend, you should avoid saying sleep and drink alcohol when someone asks you about your weekend. These are not natural answers in English. They do not give people a good impression.
Instead of telling people that you plan to sleep or drink on the weekend, you can say:
- I’m planning to (just) take it easy.
- (I’ll) probably just relax. (note: will is okay here because it is not a definite plan)
- (I’ll) probably just stay home. (You can also add “I’m not sure.” before “probably” in all 3)
- (I’ll) probably just hang out at home.
- I might grab a drink with some friends.
For more examples of small talk check out Small Talk: How was your weekend?
Recommended Speaking Courses
I only recommend products that I trust and think have value for your learning.
For more natural conversations between native speakers, as well as lots of natural expressions, I recommend Espresso English’s speaking courses. Level 2 is for upper-intermediate and advanced students. You can check out a free sample here.
Never stop learning!