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For Students: Asking questions

For the last 9 days I have attended a few English-speaking meetings. They are events where people meet up and practise their English in more than one way. Usually random conversations or more structured ones depending on the meeting. You get to meet lots of random people, who sometimes don't become random at the end of the event. Everyone there has the same goal. To use, and improve their English. It is not uncommon to find native speakers at these events and other foreigners which is great exposure to different accents and cultures.

Lviv is an excellent city for those who want to practise their language skills. There are many events, not just English, but obviously because I lack any language skills, I stick to the English-speaking ones.

If you were wondering what?, where?, and when?, have a look at the below...

Monday: English Speaking Club 'Speak' - These guys not only run speaking clubs, but they also arrange proper English courses, including specialised areas of English, like, giving presentations. Very professionally run with a nice friendly atmosphere. Cost: 80UAH When? Monday 6:30pm Where? Factory co-working 20 Zelena str More info...

Tuesday: English Speaking Club – This is more structured than others I've been to and each meeting is designed around a topic which is decided by the people who attend the meeting at the end of the that day's topic.There are always plenty of questions to keep the conversation flowing, so the conversation won't run dry. Cost: Free When? Tuesdays 7pm Where? Something Interesting Cafe. Площа Ринок 13 (двір), Lviv, Ukraine, 79008 More info..

Wednesday English-Speaking Meeting – This is a mid-week meet-up in Puzata Hata. Take a seat and a conversation starts.This meeting doesn't have a topic and is more like a gathering where people break off and chat about anything from the moon to books. Cost: free When? Wednesday 7pm Where? Puzata Khata (downstairs) 12, Sichovykh Striltsiv str. More info...

Wednesday Film Night – The YMCA in Lviv provide a weekly film to watch. A great way to practise those listening and comprehension skills. Don't worry there are subtitles. Cost: 15UAH When? Changeable Where? ARC by YMCA Наливайка 12Lviv, Ukraine. More info...

Wednesday FRI-D English club Lviv - Every other week on Wednesday these guys provide a grammar Wednesday for those who want to get all nerdy and talk about grammar. I think they also have some kind of small test connected to the grammar after the session: Cost 15UAH When? Changeable Where? Changeable More info...

Friday: International Meeting – I've heard the day changes, but I'm not sure. This meeting is not only for English, although the bulk of the people seem to be using it here, but also for other languages. I was at the meeting last Friday where French and a few other languages were being used to chat away. Cost: free When? Changeable but in the evening Where? Changeable

Saturday – Weekly English Meeting – This is the biggest meeting of the week and is very much similar to the mid-week meeting. Take a chair and start up a conversation. The organiser is also kind enough to give everyone who goes a copy of the 'Kyiv Post' - an English news paper based in Kiev - so if you're struggling for something to say that will help. Cost: Free When? 15:00 Where? Puzata Hata downstairs (outside at on warmer days) More info...

Saturday FRI-D English club Lviv – Like the guys on Wednesday, these guys also meet up and watch a film, but on Saturday. They pre-teach vocabulary and expressions you might need to be able to understand certain parts of the film which I think is a brilliant idea. Cost: 12UAH When? Changeable Where? Changeable time More info....

I have no doubt there are even more on other days that I'm unsure of, but more than happy to add to the above list if you send me the details.

At these meetings you meet many different people, you ask and get asked many questions. Especially the same question over and over. But this is a good thing because it allows you refine your answers and questions. When you've asked someone 'Have you ever been to Italy' 50 times, you will find you no longer make the mistake of asking ' Have you ever been in Italy' You can also get in the habit of sounding very natural by asking 1. Where are you from? England 2. Whereabouts? Torquay

You can see people formulating a question in their head before they ask it, and sometimes you're asked some super-artificial-sounding question, which can be asked in a nice natural simple way.

The key thing about questions is to remember them as expressions. Nobody makes a mistake saying 'Hi, how are you?' or ' What's the time?' we have remembered these not as grammatical questions, but more like expressions. I am always impressed when someone asks me a nice natural sounding question.

So, let's have a look at some of the most common questions we can ask when we go to one of these meetings.

Meeting someone new

Whereabouts are you from? – asking where exactly something is from

What brings you to <place>? - asking for the reason why they are here

What's your first impressions of.... - asking for their first thought about something

How long have you been here/ in <place>? - past to now time

How long are you going to be here/ in <place>? - future time in place

Note: 9 times out of 10 you will get the question. How long are you here? This can be quite confusion as the person being asked might think the question is about the future.

Asking more personal questions

What do you do? - asking someone about their job

What year are you in? - asking how many years this person has been at university

What do you think/make of <thing> <situation> <place> ? - asking for someone's opinion on something

Whereabouts are you staying? - asking for the location and name of the place

Can you..... ? - asking about the person's ability.

Have you ever been to <place>? - asking if someone has visited a place. Including restaurants, bars, and clubs

Note: 9 times out of 10 I hear people say have you ever been in Kiev. Remember the preposition used is always TO

General Questions:

When was the last time you <verb2> ...? - ask for the last time they did something

How long does it take to get to <place>...? - asking about distance. The answer is time. Example 1 hour

Have you ever <verb3> ? - Asking did the person do this before

Practise, practise, practise. I look forward to being asked some of the above questions soon.


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