English Dialogues Ep.1: Dinner with Mel and Tina (audio included)

Updated: Jun 21

This dialogue series is intended to help students see English in context. While studying aspects of language individually is helpful, it doesn't always reflect how real conversations sound and develop. By following this series, students can practice real language, which uses a variety of structures and vocabulary.


Each dialogue is divided into two parts:


1) The bare dialogue (always read and listen to this first)

2) A closer look at the language in the dialogue


I hope you find this useful. Whether you're studying alone or with someone else, it helps to read the dialogue out loud, and to practice set phrases such as "Sure did."


Episode 1: Dinner with Mel and Tina

Note: This dialogue uses many phrasal verbs from 100 Practical English Phrasal Verbs.


The dialogue

Mel and Tina are roommates. They just sat down to have dinner. Tina made pasta.


Mel: Could you pass the salt?


Tina: Sure. Here you go. (Tina passes the salt)


Mel: Thanks. So, how was your day?


Tina: Same old. Just went to work and picked up some stuff for dinner on the way home. Can't complain. You?


Mel: Pretty good. Guess who I ran into after work.


Tina: I give up. Who?


Mel: You remember Ryan?


Tina: The guy who works at the coffee shop down the road?


Mel: Yeah. Anyway, we started talking and we really hit it off. At the end of the conversation, he asked me out, and we're going out on Saturday.


Tina: Wow. That's huge!


Mel: It's no big deal. We'll see how it goes. By the way, did you make this pasta sauce from scratch?


Tina: Sure did. It took me forever, though.


Mel: You gotta teach me how to make it. This might be the best pasta I've ever had.


Tina: Glad you like it. I bet Ryan would too.


Mel: Oh, come on. Cut it out. Just eat.


Tina: Yes, ma'am.


A closer look

Mel and Tina are roommates. They just sat down to have dinner. Tina made pasta.

"Roommates" are people who live together.


Mel: Could you pass the salt?

"Could you + bare infinitive...?" is a common request structure. It's also possible and common to say "Could you pass me the salt?" What other things can you pass at the kitchen table?


Tina: Sure. Here you go. (Tina passes the salt)

"Here you go" is a common thing to say after you give something to someone. You can use it in speaking, as well as in emails or texts where you send a link or attach something the other person asked for. For example, your friend texts "What's the address of the restaurant we're going to tonight?" and you answer with "Here you go" followed by the address or an image of the address.


Mel: Thanks. So, how was your day?


Tina: Same old. Just went to work and picked up some stuff for dinner on the way home. Can't complain. You?

"Same old" is a common response that means "Nothing new happened or is happening." You can also say "Same old thing." These phrases can make it sound like your life is a little predictable or repetitive.


In this context, "pick up" is a separable transitive phrasal verb that means to purchase, acquire, or simply get something from a place. It's often used to talk about items you purchase from a store, such as "I'll pick some milk up on the way home." What was the last thing you picked up from the grocery store or market?


"Can't complain" is a shortened form of "I can't complain," meaning "I really have nothing to complain about." In speaking, the "I" subject is sometimes dropped when someone uses the verb "can't" in some short sentences. For example: "Can't do it" ("I can't do it"), or "Can't say" ("I can't say," either because it's a secret or because I don't know.)


Mel: Pretty good. Guess who I ran into at the store.

In this context, "run into" is an inseparable transitive phrasal verb that means to meet someone unexpectedly when you are outside your home. It's usually used to talk about people you know. Check out these examples: "I ran into my cousin at the library." / "I've seen my sister three times this week. We keep running into each other on the bus." / "She ran into her ex-boyfriend last night." Who was the last person you accidentally ran into in public?


Tina: I give up. Who?

In this context, "I give up" means "I quit," "I don't know the answer," "I have no more guesses," or "I can't guess the answer, so just tell me." "Give up" is an inseparable intransitive verb when used in this way.


Mel: You remember Ryan?

In present simple yes/no questions where "you" is the subject, the auxiliaries "do" and "be" are often dropped in casual conversations. For example: "You hungry?" ("Are you hungry?"), "You want one?" ("Do you want one?"), "You serious?" ("Are you serious?"), or "You like pineapple on pizza?" ("Do you like pineapple on pizza?").


Tina: The guy who works at the coffee shop down the road?

While this sentence is written as a declarative and is one long noun phrase ("The guy who works at the coffee shop down the road"), the question mark at the end turns it into a question. The words "Do you mean...?" are implied before the noun phrase. This is very common when you want to confirm or clarify something you think is true, or because you want to confirm or clarify that you and the person you're talking to are talking about the same thing, place, or person. For example: "The waitress at the restaurant?" / "The place you went to on vacation?" / "The book on the table?" Your intonation should rise at the end of these phrases to tell the speaker you are in fact trying to confirm or clarify information. Just remember, it's like asking a yes/no question where the implied missing piece at the front of each noun phrase is "Do you mean...?"


Mel: Yeah. Anyway, we started talking and we really hit it off. At the end of the conversation, he asked me out, and we're going out on Saturday.

"Hit it off" is an inseparable intransitive phrasal verb that means to connect well with someone the first time you meet him/her. For example, "They didn't hit it off immediately, but after a few dates, they started to like each other." You can make it a transitive phrase by adding the preposition "with" to the end, such as in "My mom hit it off with my dad right away."


"Ask out" is a separable transitive verb that means to ask someone to go on a date. Look at these examples: "He asked me out." / "Are you going to ask him out?" / "I'm thinking of asking out Brandi."


In this context, "go out" means to go on a date with someone. It can also mean that a person is dating someone. For example, "How long have you two been going out?" "We've been going out for 2 years." / "Is it okay if I go out with your friend?" As you can see, the length of time you have been "going out with" someone is commonly attached to this phrasal verb.


Tina: Wow. That's huge!


Mel: It's no big deal. We'll see how it goes. By the way, did you make this pasta sauce from scratch?

"It's no big deal" means "It's not a major issue or topic." Another common way to say this is "It's not a big deal."


"From scratch" means "from nothing," or simply that the food you made wasn't bought pre-made. In the case of pasta sauce, this means you bought everything you needed to make the pasta sauce by yourself and that you didn't buy it pre-made in a jar from the store. What was the last thing you made from scratch?


Tina: Sure did. It took me forever, though.

"Sure did" is a common way to say "I absolutely did." You can use "Sure" plus many auxiliary verbs to create similar responses: "Sure have," "Sure did," "Sure can," "Sure will," "Sure would," "Sure is." This is a very useful phrase!


Mel: You gotta teach me how to make it. This might be the best pasta I've ever had.

"Gotta" is a casual form of "have got to," which means that something is necessary to do. "You have got to try this" is often said as "You gotta try this" or "You've gotta try this" in spoken English.


Tina: Glad you like it. I bet Ryan would too.

Look! Another sentence with no subject. "Glad you like it" is short for "I'm glad you like it." You can often omit "I am" and "It is" in spoken English when these constructions are followed by an adjective. Check out these examples: "Happy to help" ("I'm happy to help"), "Ready to go" ("I'm ready to go" or "It's ready to go"), or the very common "Nice to see you" ("It's nice to see you.")


Mel: Oh, come on. Cut it out. Just eat.

"Cut it out" is a phrasal verb command that means "stop it." It's often used to scold someone for doing something you don't like or that you think they shouldn't be doing, such as trying to tease you or to make a joke about you. "Cut it out. I don't like where this conversation is going."


Tina: Yes, ma'am.

Tina ends the conversation with a sarcastic response, calling Mel "ma'am," as if Mel is her mother, teacher, or other authority figure.


Did you enjoy episode 1 of my English Dialogues series? Let me know in the comments, and please tell me how I can improve similar posts in the future.


Finally, this dialogue used a lot of phrasal verbs that you can find in my book 100 Practical English Phrasal Verbs. It has only high-frequency phrasal verbs, over 900 examples, and only the most current usages. I made it with English learners and teachers in mind. Take a look and let me know what you think!