Helping Learners Understand Spoken English

Small Talk: How was your weekend?

In Small Talk: What are your plans for the weekend, we looked at examples of how to ask about someone’s plans for the weekend and also how to respond.

Now, let’s look at common questions people ask on a Monday or Tuesday and their reduced forms, which is how they sound when spoken at a normal speed by fluent English speakers.

How was your weekend? sounds like Howuzyer weekend?

What did you do? sounds like Wuhdja do?

If you want to hear these and more, you can purchase the Audio file with reductions for $1.

Below is an example of a natural greeting on a Monday between two acquaintances passing in a hallway.

acquaintance: a person you have met but do not know well

Ollie: Hey, how was your weekend?

Elsa: Hey, not bad. Yours?

Ollie: Not bad. See you.

Elsa: Yeah, take it easy.

Audio file with the reduced form

If they have more time to chat, they might say:

Ollie: How was your weekend?

Elsa: Not bad. Yours?

Ollie: Not bad. What did you do?

Elsa: I just hung out at home. What did you do?

Ollie: Not much. Mostly took it easy.

Audio with reductions

This small talk only consists of polite conversation and a quick greeting.

Usually, people do not give specific details during small talk. If you stayed home and slept a lot, you can say one of the following if you want to sound natural:

I just relaxed.

I just took it easy.

I just hung out at home.

All three are natural ways of saying that you stayed home and didn’t do anything significant.

significant: important, meaningful, or special

When talking with friends or trying to get to know someone, we usually give more details. What we share depends on our level of comfort and closeness. However, it is important to give more specific details if we want to keep our conversations going.

*A common mistake is to say I played with my friends. Unless you are a child, this sounds strange. It’s okay to say I played soccer with my friends. or I played League of Legends with my friends. or I played chess with my friends. However, the correct way to say that you spent time relaxing or enjoying yourself with your friends is I hung out with my friends.

hang out: spend time relaxing or enjoying oneself

Related post on the three ways to pronounce the regular past tense: Final -ed Pronunciation: Watch/t/ not Watch/ɪd/