Posts match “ English ” tag:


This week's BigBang is so sweet and offers a good idea for telling someone something when he is curious about the truth but can't face himself if he knows the truth. The "someone" is Howard. His father left him and his mother when he was young. So he hates him but on the other hand, he is curious about the reason why his father abandoned them. There came the letter. In fact, it was a letter years before when Howard was 18, that is to say in the year when Howard became an adult and deserved the truth. It had been hidden by Howard in the closet and was found by Sheldon when he helped arrange their closet and our responsible Sheldon read the letter. After Howard made his mind and set the letter on fire, the only one who knows the content of the letter was Sheldon and those guys made their own way to make Sheldon reveal the information about the letter and they succeseed. Howard freaked out and ran off when he knew that all of his friends knew the information. Finally, his friends came up with kind of a cool solution. That is everyone made his own copy of the information and told  Howard. What Howard needed to do was to guess which one is real.

Raj: It was a card for your 18th birthday. Inside it said,"Happy birthday,Howard. I love you. Dad" oh, and it was a Far side card(搞笑贺卡). The one where the frog has its tongue stuck to the underside of an airplay. Thinks it's a fly.

Sheldon: It was a map leading to the lost treasure of famous pirate One-Eyed Willy.(the plot for Goonies)

Amy: Your father was in the auditorium at your high shcool graduation. And he cried because he was so proud of you.(Sheldon immediately pointed out it was made up by Amy)

Penny: It was a letter explaining that your dad wasn't who he said he was. Eventually his other life caught up to him. The only way to keep you and your mom safe was to leave.

Leonard: Your dad wrote about how family is the most important thing and that you should never throw it away like he did.

Bernadette: (she paused and said)Inside the envelope was a picture of your dad holding you the day you were born. On the back he wrote,"Howard, my son, my greatest gift."

Here is my guess

What Raj said is obviously made up. It perfectly matches his simple mind and cold humor. Sheldon's is the plot of _Goonies _and Amy's is the most sweet one. We can see that inside Amy, there is a heart eager for romance. Unfortunately, Sheldon leaked  the truth immediately. Penny is different from these scientists. She is a social woman with a lot of experience and sees the same kind of plot of Howard's life often. So she gave the realistic one. It can also be fake. What Leonard said sounds like  some suggestion to Howard as a friend that he should value the family and should not abandon it in a stride. Finally, Bernadette,a picture. I can't tell which is the real one between Leonard's and Bernadette's. But Bernadette is Howard's wife. She is the very one who should tell the truth.That's my guess.

what I want to say is no matter who really expressed  what Howard's father wanted to say, all of this is the wish and blessing to Howard. I envy him for having so many good friends.

house of card

  • There are two kinds of pain.


  • The sort of pain that makes you strong


  • or useless pain


  • The sort of pain that's only suffering.


  • It was a hit and run.


  • I love that woman.I love her more than sharks love blood.


  • However we do this, we'll also need a buffer.


  • You mean an errand boy?


  • Okay, i'll keep my ear to the ground.


  • A person's character isn't determined by how he or she enjoys victory, but rather how he or she endures defeat. Nothing can help us endure dark times better than our faith.


  • We're going to let some people go.


  • That would be half of our staff?


  • We have to carve out some room. We are a charity, but not for our employee.


  • We've plateaued.


  • Driving under influence.


  • cover to cover.


  • In a town where everyone's so carefully reinventing themselves, what I like about Freddy is that he doesn't even pretend to change.


  • They talk while I sit quitely and imagine their lightly salted faces frying in a skillet.


  • You are well aware that I do not drop the ball on things like this.


  • He chose money over power. In this town, a mistake nearly everyone makes. Money is the McMansion in Sarasota that starts falling apart after ten years. Power is the old stone building that stands for centuries.


  • What a martyr craves more than anything is a sword to fall on, so you sharpen the blade, hold it at the right angle and then 3, 2, 1...


  • Tomo and Jude was appetizers, Ray is the meal.


I dreamed a dream

《I dreamed a dream》第一次听到是在英国的达人秀里,它让susan大婶一举成名。随着《悲惨世界》的到来才知道它的出处,芳汀(Fantine)原本有一份工作,但是工头看上了她,让她在女工里面到处到排挤以致最后丢了工作。为了女儿她把能卖的都卖了,卖了长发,卖了两颗牙,最后只能卖身。这是她第一次卖身时唱的,她曾经也有梦,向往着那个抛弃了她的人有一天能回来与她厮守终身。可是…那个秋天之后,他就在也没有出现。《悲惨世界》虽然是歌剧,还是很值得一看的,台词写得很赞。

I dreamed a dream
  • There was a time when man were kind

    曾经 男人是和气的

  • When their voices were soft


  • And their words inviting


  • There was a time when love was blind

    曾经 爱情是盲目的

  • And the world was a song


  • And the song was exciting


  • There was a time


  • Then it all went wrong

    然后一切 落入歧途

  • I dreamed a dream in time gone by


  • When hope was high and life worth living

    那是梦想如帆 岁月如金

  • I dreamed that love would never die


  • I dreamed that God would be forgiving


  • Then I was young and unafraid


  • And dreams were made and used and wasted

    梦想诞生 被利用了 被浪费了

  • There was no ransom to be paid


  • No song unsung, no wine untasted

    无歌不唱 无酒不尝

  • But the tigers come at night


  • With their voices soft as thunder


  • As they tear your hope apart


  • As they turn your dream to shame


  • He slept a summer by my side

    整个夏天 他睡在我身旁

  • He filled my days with endless wonder


  • He took my childhood in his stride


  • But he was gone when autumn came


  • And still I dream he'll come to me


  • That we will live the years together


  • But there are dreams that cannot be


  • And there are storms we cannot weather


  • I dreamed my life would be


  • So different from this hell I'm living


  • So different now from what it seemed


  • Now life has killed the dream i dreamed

    现在 生活扼杀了我做过的梦

Walking Dead


In such a world, you can survive only if you turn yourself into a monster.

It turns out that Rick was the one that killed Luke, a member of Daryl's new group. I was wondering since that group can hardly be called a group, why do they revenge Luke(为Luke报仇). You know that they don't have feelings for each other, they don't have to be brothers. They kill their member without regret. They found Rick. And push them nearest to the threshold of death. Then, the monster Rick came out. He deeply bit the arteria of his enemy and killed him. That shocks me. Incredible! He stagged another man's throat with a knife again and again. He totally lost himself. His son seemed afraid of him. But he quikly sucked up and tried to be a momster to survive.

Finally they all arrived at the Terminus. The peaceful phenomenon is so weried comparing to the chaose outside. Yes, there is trick. Terminus is a trick. The fellows arrived before, there is no sign of them. Instead, their belongings appeared on the original residents of Terminus. And they claimed to find them on dead body. Realising they have no need to hide, the residents torn up their fake mask and turned against them. They drove Rick and his companions to a carriage, where those friends finally reunioned.

This is the end of season 4. We see bloody bones in the backyard and I guess the residents of Terminus are actually luring people in the name of survive and shelter to Terminus in order to feed on them. Rick seemed confident to fight back and obviously he had back ups. Watch your head, you vicous residents. You have rovoked people you should't have revoked.


In this episode, we still have no idea where Beth is. So does Dyrel. But, don't worry. The outdoor cat seems to gradually fit into the group. I don't know if the group members are indoor cats. They don't have to be brothers. They just need you to follow the rules. If any rule was broken, you'd better watch yourself. They will beat you into death, turn you then kill you again, carelessly without any feelings.

Glen, Tara, together with the "save the world" team find the clue left by Maggie and her fellow and finally catch up with them. The script writer is a bad guy. Eugene know exactly what caused the breakout. But he has never given away a word so far. All we can see is, yeah, he is a smart and kind guy. In the tunnel, there is a moment, Glen and Tara were surrounded by walkers and would be pouced on. I think they they're ready to die but still hope there could be miracle. Lucky them, there is miracle.

They are the first group to arrive the Terminus. The others will arrive in the next episode. And what exactly is Terminus? Can it save all the people or it is just another trap? We'll see it in the next episode.

What kind of girl will you be ten years later?

You girls who are in your twenties,have you ever think about what kind of girls you'll be ten years later?

While chatting with my sister,I find that her signature has changed.It goes,'Time is the knife of a butcher.'

I ask her why.She doesn't answer but sends me a picture.It is a woman with a baby in her arms.The woman is fat with casually short hair and obviously double chin.Her jeans go tightly with her fleshly legs and bulging belly.Her light beige coat is a common one,but her smile,which would appear on the face of any mother,tells her happiness.

'Do you still remember Tingting?'my sister asks.I'm shocked.Unrecognizable!Tingting is my sister's schoolmate in high school.In my memory,she was thin and tall with dark skin and short hair ,too.But she looked cool and shiny then.Now she is twice or more fatter than she was.

Sister sends me another picture.This time,it is a woman with plain curl hair,a little fat body,sitting on the bed with a plush toy in arms and smiling.You can't say that she is not beautiful.However,it is true that she is the kind of woman who has lost her bloom and would not catch any attention in crowd.'She is Seagull.'my sister surprises me again.My sister is four years older than me.I was in middle school when she was in high school.But i was quite familiar with her classmates.At that time,I think Seagull was the most beautiful one of my sister's friends.She kept long hair and sometimes bound it up into two.She was thin and looked prettily like Sailor Moon when she was in dress.

Years passed away.I didn't see my sister's classmates any more.But beyond my expectation,they've changed so much even when they're younger than 30 years old.

'Now you can understand the meaning of my signature.'said my sister.Yes!I smiled to accept the shortness of women'youth.Now I understand why nowadays more and more women would like to say to The Third Woman that we all had youth and charm before.

A sound name desired

A sound name makes sense through one's life.

Sound here means easy to be kept in mind or the name is consist of words of simple structure.Besides,a name with the same words or same prononciation of a famous person is also sound.

If you have a sound name,you'll have a higher chance to be remembered.Teachers will ask you questions more frequently than others.Thus,you have a happier mood.You'll be much probably positive in your life and much closer to success.

As for me,my name is so complicated. Teachers must consider me as complicated as my name. Besides, a complicated name often goes with words seldom seen. If a teacher asks you questions,she is taking the risk of misread.

It is no exaggeration that the total times I was questioned can be counted with my fingers and toes,which sometimes makes me frustrated.So I hope my own baby will get a sound name. That's a deal!


  • 定语从句
    在句中起定语作用,修饰某一名词或代词,或修饰整个主句的从句,叫做定语从句(The Attributive Clause)。 被定语从句所修饰的词叫做先行词(Antecedent).定语从句通常跟在先行词后面,由关系词(Relatives)系引出。因此,定语从句又可成为关系分句。

  • 在句中的作用

  • 形式


- 例1:Do you remember the day when we first met?

- 例2:   Clock is a kind of instrument which can tell people time.

- 例3:This is the place where he used to live.


- 例1:Mr. Zhang, who came to see me yesterday, is an old friend of mine.


- 例2:We walked down the village street, where they were having market day. 
  • 先行词不同

    • 例: A five-year-old boy can speak two foreign languages, which surprises all the people present. 一个五岁男孩会讲两门外语,这令所有在场的人感到惊讶。
  • 关系词的使用情况有所不同

    • that不可以引导非限制性定语从句:关系词氛围关系代词和关系副词,所有的关系代词和关系副词都可以引导限制性定语从句,而并不是所有的关系代词和关系副词都可以引导非限制性定于从句,这个例外就是that,它不可以引导非限制性定语从句。

      - 例:He gave his mother a color TV set for her birthday, which pleased her a lot.
      使用非限制性定语从句,如果先行词指人就用who/whom(先行词在定语从句中做宾语),whose;如果指物,用which;如果指时间地点且在定语从句中做状语,就用when, where引导。
    • 限制性定语从句的特殊替换:在限制性定语从句中,如果先行词指人,且在定语从句中,先行词作为宾语,这时候whom就可以用who代替,但是在非限制性定语从句中不可以。此外,在限制性定语从句中先行词指人时可用that代替(who/whom),同样非限制性定语从句同样不可以。

      - 例:This is the girl whom I met in the street. = This is the girl who I met in the street.
    • 限制性定语从句关系代词的省略

If we have a key to get time back

This morning my cellphone fooled me. It showed me that the moment I waked up was 20:30 on January 1st,2010. In fact,it was 7 o'clock in the morning. I told Ray and asked him what was the time. Then he pretended to tell me that it was 20:30, it was January 1st,2010. We two idiots then pretended together. It was a lot of fun.

Then I recalled the signature one of my friends changed yesterday. He said computer has a key to setting everything back to origin. What if we have such a key, too?

For me, although I think I have wasted a lot of my time in college, I don't want the time back. If so,I would probably read the same book, do the same homework, attend the same exams. That's not cool! However, most people would like to get time back, for the mistakes they did, for the people they turned back on. It's a pity that science hasn't made it possible yet. But don't be upset. What we can and should do is to live the rest of our time to its worth. Let bygones be bygones. At then, you will find a brave new world. When you lie in bed and breathe your last, you will not be so regret about your life.

Guidelines for Using Color

In interactive software systems that rely on color to convey information, follow these five guidelines to assure that the users of the software receive the information.

  1. Distinguish color by saturation and brightness as well as hue. Avoid subtle color differences. Make sure the contrast between colors is high.One way help, view them in grayscale.
  2. Use distinctive colors.Six most distinctive colors, red, green, yellow, blue, black and white. Each color causes a strong signal on only one color-opponent channel.
  3. Avoid color pairs that color-blind people cannot distinguish. Such as dark red---black; dark red-- dark green; blue---purple; light green---white. Don't use dark reds, blues, or violets against any dark colors. But it is good to use dark reds, blues, and violets against light yellows and greens. You can use to check colors with various color vision deficencies would see them.
  4. Use color redundantly with other cues.Don't rely on color alone. Apple's iPhoto uses both color and a symbol to distinguish "smart" photo albums from regular albums.
  5. Separate strong opponent colors. Placing opponent colors right next to or on the top of each other causes a disturbing shimmering sensation, and so should be avoided.


Hair,I regard it as an ornament,which is used for decoration. One of my friend said she would dye hair frequently if she is in blue or angry. And I saw my uncle and aunt's hair turn white when their daughter's College Entrance examination was approaching. Sometimes I wonder why white hair can't turn to black again like man can't usually make up for their mistakes. So I searched my question with Baidu. Science says it will. You just need more nutrition and head massage. Then I understand why my old granny's hair is still so perfect. She massages her head every morning for about 20 times.

So friends, do you want a black hair even when you're as old as 80, like my grandma? Just care about your hair, give yourself enough nutrition.


Everyone has fears.

I once read a story about a woman and how she overcame her fear about caterpillar, which must pass through the cocoon stage to become a butterfly. She is scared of caterpillar, since she was young. Without exaggeration, she might faint onto floor. But many years later, to her friends' surprise, she isn't fear of it anymore, thanks to her daughter. Children are curious about everything. Her little daughter pointed to the little caterpillar on her mum's shoulder, when she was in mum's arms. The woman should have fainted. But when the idea occurred to her that when she fainted her daughter would be another "she", afraid of caterpillar to death. Then reason took over the highland of her mind. She successfully overcame the fear.

Fear is white. It makes your mind blank.

Fear is black. It casts shadow over your little heart.

So guys, if you want to overcome it, you should first face it.

Chat on Skype

I always want to find someone to talk on Skype. But always fail.

I once have someone, but only talked once. I thought we had a good time. However,she never sends any message to me since then. Is she think that I'm a freak? Am I mad? No, definitely no.

Then, I begin the long way to find a talker. Americans or Canadians are my primary choices. Thanks to the time difference, I never succeed.

So, this time I mainly focus on the English-speaking countries with small time difference. I hunt down two countries, Singapore and Australia.

Singapore is 2 hours later than China, that means if it's 8 o'clock here, it's 6 o'clock in Singapore. Australia is 2 hours earlier than China, that means if it's 8 o'clock here, it's 10 o'clock in Australia. You can choose the talker according to your own conditions. For me, I would like to choose Australia, because I'm quite free during 6 ~ 8 o'clock. Low uncertainty.

I hope this time I can make it.

How to introduce yourself in English

It's summer. Someone's gonna find an intern.

I have had 3 interviews so far, two of which require English self-introduction. First time, I didn't prepare earlier, so I said directly what I could think of. It's kinda disaster. No structure, halt, looking out of the window.

The second time, I conclude my previous experience and prepare the introduction earlier. The pragraghs below is my self-introduction.

---general information
Hello, my name is ****. My English name is Tomo. You can call me Tomo. I come from Huzhou, Zhejiang, a very beautiful place. This is my second year in Zhejiang University of Technology. I will graduate and get my master's degree next year. So I am eager for an intern. My major is Control Science and Control Engineering. We do research on control algorith,like EMPC on the platform of a 3-DOF helicopter, that is imported from Canada. Matlab and C language is my basic skill. I have published a paper on CCDC, Chinese Control and Decision Conference.

---interest and skill
Except for what is needed for study, I also developed my own interests and skills. I love English very much,I just got my Advanced English Interpretation Certificate. I also like movies, series and sports. So I watch movies and series in English. I'm a big fan of Tom Hanks. As for sports, I play badminton, not quite well, but made a lot of friends. I also acquired some front-ended skills and built a blog for myself, sharing thoughts and reviews about the movies and series I watched.


During my study in university, I laid emphasis on the development of my ability and psychology. Modesty, recognition of things, responsibility, handling of relationships, communication skills and life attitude all composed my harvests in these years. For me, both the spirit of teamwork and thinking from other perspectives mean two important qualities in my work and life.

Still I'll Rise

Still I'll Rise

--- 玛娅·安吉罗
You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,

You may trod me in the very dirt

But still, like dust, I'll rise.

Does my sassiness upset you?

Why are you beset with gloom?

'Cause I walk like I've got oil wells
Pumping in my living room.

Just like moons and like suns,

With the certainty of tides,

Just like hopes springing high,

Still I'll rise.

Did you want to see me broken?

Bowed head and lowered eyes?

Shoulders falling down like teardrops.

Weakened by my soulful cries.

Does my haughtiness offend you?

Don't you take it awful hard?

'Cause I laugh like I've got gold mines

Diggin' in my own back yard.

You may shoot me with your words,

You may cut me with your eyes,

You may kill me with your hatefulness,

But still, like air, I'll rise.

Does my sexiness upset you?

Does it come as a surprise
That I dance like I've got diamonds
At the meeting of my thighs?

Out of the huts of history's shame

I rise

Up from a past that's rooted in pain

I rise

I'm a black ocean, leaping and wide,

Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.

Leaving behind nights of terror and fear

I rise

Into a daybreak that's wondrously clear

I rise

Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,

I am the dream and the hope of the slave.

I rise

I rise

I rise.


玛娅.安吉罗(Maya Angelou1928-)无疑是在美国文坛上最走红,或在社会中知名度最高的诗人。作为社会活动家、演员、剧作家、作家和诗人,她是在媒体上出现最频繁的美国黑人之一。1975年她获《女人之家》杂志该年度最佳女性奖。她先后出版了10部畅销书,并被多次提名普利策奖和国家图书奖。许多大学授予了她名誉博士学位。卡特总统曾任命她为国际妇女年全国执行委员会主席。福特总统也曾任命她主持美国百年国庆特别委员会。1993年,在克林顿总统的就职仪式上,玛娅.安吉罗作为桂冠诗人朗诵了她的颂诗。

经典英文诗歌Still I Rise《我仍将奋起》是玛娅.安吉罗的代表作,被制作成了公益广告,多年来不断在美国各大电视台上播放,为广大电视观众所耳濡目染。这首诗歌作品是继马丁。路德。金的著名讲演《我有一个梦想》之后,美国黑人争取民权运动的又一重要代表作。跟其他的电视广告词一样,它被人们背的滚瓜烂熟。

Twitter and Facebook Marketing

I recently worked as overseas sales intern in Miaxis Biometrics Co.,Ltd.

Besides releasing products on the Alibaba International, I also has to market on Twitter and facebook. How I market on these social networks is shown as follows.

As a small memeber in such big social networks, it is hard for search engine to hunt you down. So you should find some big trees to lean on. Seek keywords that is relevant to your business. Accounts with more followers has higher placing. Follow them, retweet their status and comment on their status. Grasp every opportunity to mention your product or your company.

Peers are good references. After you done releasing product, you'll find that you have nothing to release to keep your account active. Go find out what your peers do, what website they usually visit. Find the original link, don't just retweet it. If so, when your follower want to see more about your status, they click and go back to the original tweet. You are indirectly lead them away. Push them to others. On the other hand, share the original link of a passage will give others a feeling that you are constantly focusing on the line.

Carefully set your background. put up pictures of dominant products of your company.

Send festival greetings to improve your exsistance and strengthen the connection between you and your followers.

Connect facebook with twitter. Then twitter will automatically release news for you on facebook. Skip repeating and save your time.

When you are old

---by William Butler Yeats

When you are old and grey and full of sleep,

And nodding by the fire, take down this book,

And slowly read, and dream of the soft look,

Your eyes had once, and of their shadows deep;

How many loved your moments of glad grace,

And loved your beauty with love false or true,

But one man loved the pilgrim Soul in you,

And loved the sorrows of your changing face;

And bending down beside the glowing bars,

Murmur, a little sadly, how Love fled,

And paced upon the mountains overhead,

And hid his face amid a crowd of stars.














威廉·巴特勒·叶芝(William Butler Yeats),是爱尔兰诗人、剧作家和散文家,著名的神秘主义者,也是“爱尔兰文艺复兴运动”的领袖,艾比剧院(Abbey Theatre)的创建者之一。叶芝的诗受浪漫主义、唯美主义、神秘主义、象征主义和玄学诗的影响,演变出其独特的风格。叶芝的艺术代表着英语诗从传统到现代过渡的缩影。


All of the characteristics HR looks for in a job candidate are the polar opposite of what enlightened leaders seek in new talent. While HR is tediously focused on making certain that candidates "play well in the sandbox," strong managers want those who don't venture near the proverbial box. Which creates a conundrum and a paradox:to get to the latter you need to lie to the former. As well you should. Why be held hostage to a broken system?

Case in point: the HR person will likely ask you if you work well with others? Well, many of the smartest and most innovative people on the planet simply don't. Not that they are trouble makers or in any way venal but they simply prefer to work alone, creating marvels of software, mathematical formulas or extraordinary feats of creativity. But can they tell HR:

"No. I don't really like working with others. I guess you can say I do my best work by myself. My professors at MIT used to call me a 'loner.'"

HR's universal reaction to this honest response would be "Next." Einstein and Newton would have failed their test.

For years, my firm worked with a hedge fund that invests capital based on quantitative strategies, developed by their team of math and physics brainiacs. None even pretend to enjoy the social aspects of the work environment. For them, it is all about hibernation, concentration and introspection. They never stepped into a a sandbox as kids and they aren't about to start now.

Over the course of an intense year when we examined and adjusted many of the practices of the fund, management came to recognize that the caliber of the candidates coming to them for second-stage interviews was way down below the quality hierarchy. On closer examination, we discovered the HR filter was turning the best and the brightest away before they could be seen by senior fund managers -- all geeks and loners in their own right. The solution was simple: HR was limited to managing the fund's employee benefits and policies and completely removed from the hiring process.

Another HR question that demands a lie goes like this:

"So tell me why you want to work for our company."

In many cases, the honest answer would be:

"I think this is the best place to make a fortune before I'm 35. I really want a chunk of those stock options."

But to the HR paint-by-numbers gang, that would lead to a fast dismissal out the fire exit. To get to the next-stage interview you have to lie, waxing poetic about the company's innovative culture or lionizing it's irreverent founder (who, by the way, is eager to have brilliant wealth-seeking hot shots on the team).

The old adage "Just be yourself," is a fool's game when it comes to the hiring process. Instead, at the outset, you need to be what HR wants you to be. And in most cases, you need to (and very well should) lie to win a pass to see the real players in the company. The ones with a 180 degree different (from HR) perspective on life/business/success and how to get what you want in your career.

Look, I don't believe in making lying a way of life--in fact, I appreciate blunt and honest people and think of myself in this way. But when a system is stacked against the truth, dance around it.



How to Start a Conversation with Absolutely Anyone

Did you know that public speaking is often rated the number one thing people are afraid of? But while getting up on a stage in front of an audience can definitely be nerve wracking, many people find striking up a conversation one-on-one just as intimidating.

Maybe it’s the CEO of your company, a new colleague, the guy in the mail room, the girl from IT, or a stranger in the street. Whomever you want to talk to, there’s a way to strike up a conversation. And the best news is that it gets easier with practice.

Try these conversation starters to talk to absolutely anybody:

  • Skip the small talk.
    “What’s up with this weather?” and “How ‘bout them [insert local sports team]?” are as bad as cheesy pick-up lines when it comes to starting a conversation. Avoid tired topics. Every situation is unique, so you should be able to find a unique conversation starter.

  • Ask for their opinion.
    Everyone has one! For someone you don’t know well, start with light subjects like the food, the music, the atmosphere, etc. “Do you like your Margaritas with salt or without? Do you watch horror movies? Do you like this song?” It’s probably best to stay away from really sticky subjects like politics unless you already know the person very well.

  • Ask for their advice or recommendations.
    This works very well when commenting on someone’s outfit or accessories, as in “What a great tie! Where did you get it?” or on the food, as in, “Everything looks good. What are you having?”

  • Ask them a question — that’s easy to answer.
    This is great when you know or find out that a person has expertise in a particular field. If you’re talking to your company’s IT guy, for example, you could ask him whether he’s the guy who installs hardware or software. But avoid asking anyone to explain something super complex or involved; if that’s where the conversation leads, great, but asking a really complicated question up front can feel demanding.

  • Comment on the environment.
    No matter where you are, there are things to comment on: the music, the food, the lights, the guests, and so on. Even if you are stuck in an elevator with someone, you can comment on the music, the speed, the crowdedness, etc.

  • Ask for an update.
    If you know someone a little or know them by reputation, ask for an update on something you know they’ve been doing, for example, “Oh, Mary mentioned you were taking swing dance classes. How’s that going?”

  • Ask open-ended questions whenever possible.
    If your question can be answered with a simple yes or no, don’t be surprised if that’s what you get. Having follow-up questions ready can also help the conversation flow. If you are asking what kind of food they’re having, for example, you might follow up with, “That sounds good. Do you know what kind of wine would go well with that?” Almost everything can be followed up with, “Why?” (Just don’t ask it too many times and end up sounding like a three-year-old!)

  • Ask a hypothetical question.
    These can be great conversation starters, but try to tie them into something happening at the event or in current events to avoid seeming too random. You might say something like, “I just saw this movie where all the laws were revoked for one day. What would you do if there were no laws for a day?”

  • Ask about their kids, pets, or hobbies.
    People love to talk about the things that are important to them. If you know that your boss loves to sail, asking him about his latest trip is a surefire way to get him talking.