English In The Real World

How to Make Plans with Your Friends in English

Whether for business, for pleasure or even in hopes of a new romance, making plans is an important part of everyday life. Use the following advice to extend invitations that your friends won’t be able to refuse!

Expressing interest

Before making an official invitation, many people first express interest in an appointment. For example, with a casual friend, you might say, “We should really get together for coffee sometime.” On the other hand, if you want to talk business with someone, say, “Let’s do lunch sometime soon to discuss the contract.” Keep in mind that comments like these are sometimes just said out of curtesy and do not mean you have made definite plans.

Extending an invitation

When you’re ready to make some definite plans, it’s time to extend an invitation. Here, if you don’t have any specific plans in mind, you may want to make a vague invitation and decide the details together: “What are you doing tonight? Do you want to have dinner together?” Or, you can be very straightforward and specific: “Would you be interested in coming over to my house for dinner tonight?”

Accepting with pleasure

If you’d like to accept an invitation that you’ve received, use one of these short phrases: “Sure. I’d love to.” or “That sounds great!” If you’ve been invited to a large gathering, these are great responses: “Great! I’ll be there!” or “You can count me in!”

Declining with apologies

It’s not rude to decline an invitation, but you should always sound apologetic. Use phrases like I’d love to, but I’ve got to… or I wish you had asked earlier, but I already have plans to… and follow up by describing your other commitment. If you don’t wish to explain why you can’t make it, just say, “Sorry. I’m afriad I have other plans.”

Setting the time & place

Perhaps you plan to meet someone, and all you need to do is settle on where and when you will meet. To do this, simply suggest something: “How about 4:30 at your place?” or “Will 5 p.m. work for you?” If, for example, your friend suggests you meet at 5 p.m., but you don’t get off work until 5:30, you can respond with “Can we make that 6?”

Wil is a writer, teacher, learning technologist and keen language learner. He’s taught English in classrooms and online for nearly 10 years, trained teachers in using classroom and web technology, and written e-learning materials for several major websites. He speaks four languages and is currently looking for another one to start learning.

Wil

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