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David De Gea.

Speaking Skills: Changing the subject

Speaking Skills: Changing the subject

In this week's Premier Skills English Podcast, Jack and Rich look at words and phrases you can use to change the topic or subject of a conversation. Maybe you need to tell someone something urgently or maybe you would prefer that the person you are speaking to would talk less or about something else; there are lots of reasons to change the direction of a conversation. The language focus is on the words and phrases you need to do this politely in both formal and informal situations. Your task is to write a dialogue in the comments section with the help of other podcast listeners. As always, we also have a new football phrase for you to guess at the end of the podcast. Enjoy!

Transcript

If you found the listening difficult, you can read the transcript and listen at the same time.
Read the transcript and listen at the same time.

Rich: Fantastic match last weekend. Liverpool looked really good.

Jack: Yeah, it was. Can I speak to you for a minute?

Rich: We looked solid at the back with our new goalkeeper. A clean sheet for the defence … much better than last season.

Jack: Yeah, I guess. Look … er ...

Rich: The midfield looked as strong as ever but with the new players we’re going to be even stronger.

Jack: Great, but there’s something I really need to tell you about!

Rich: And up front brilliant. Firmino, Mane and Salah they were on fire!

Jack: Fire! I’ve been trying to tell you. Fire. There under your feet. The bin is on fire.

Rich: Yikes! Why didn’t you mention it?

Jack: I tried! Here, use this.

Welcome -  Changing the subject

Rich: Hello my name’s Rich

Jack: and I’m Jack

Rich: and welcome to this week’s Premier Skills English podcast

Jack: Where we talk about football and help you with your English.

Jack: What’s happening this week, Rich?

Rich: In this week’s podcast, we’re going to help you with your speaking skills and specifically we’re going to look at some phrases you can use to change the subject..

Jack: That’s right. Sometimes we want to change the topic or subject because we need to tell someone something important or urgently.

Rich: Like a fire?

Jack: Yes, like a fire. But, sometimes we change the subject because we think of a different topic, we remember something that we want to say or what someone says reminds us of something else.

Rich: Or maybe because someone is talking about the same topic all the time and won’t shut up.

Jack: Like when you’re talking about football and Liverpool. You are a bit of a chatterbox. It’s difficult to get a word in edgeways sometimes!

Rich: I know. I do go on sometimes, don’t I?

Topic Focus - Changing the subject

Jack: In this section, we’re going to do two practice conversations. Two roleplays. In each roleplay, we will use a few phrases to change the topic. 

Rich: Some of the phrases will be quite formal and polite, and some of the phrases will be more informal. 

Jack: We want you to listen to the two roleplays and decide in which conversation we use informal phrases and in which conversation we use more formal phrases.

Rich: Afterwards, we will look at how we use the phrases in more detail.

Jack: Roleplay one

Rich: Yeah, it was a really nice weekend. The weather was great for a change so we got out our bikes and went for a ride. 

Jack: Funny you should say that because we went out on our bikes, too. We went down to the river. It was bit of a pain peddling back up the hill though.

Rich: Ha! That reminds me of the time I got a puncture near there. I didn’t have anything to fix the tyre and had to carry the bike about six kilometres uphill!

Jack: Oh no! Oh, before I forget, a few of us were thinking of going for a ride next weekend. Do you want to come?

Rich: Sounds good.

Jack: And there's something else I want to ask you. 

Rich: What’s that?

Jack: Don’t forget to bring your puncture repair kit!

Rich: Roleplay two

Jack: Good morning everybody. Could I have your attention for just a moment or two? As you may know, we’ve got an important visitor in the office this morning. Could you fill us in on the details John?

Rich: Thanks, Sam. Yes, the Chief Executive will be arriving at around 10 am and will be staying for around three hours.

Jack: That reminds me. Do we have someone meeting her at the station?

Rich: Yes, we do. So, while she is here we want to see everybody at their desks. 

Jack: Let me stop you there a moment, John. We would like her to see a busy working environment - everybody working.

Rich: And speaking of the environment. Could we keep coffee cups in the kitchen and not at our desks while she is here? 

Jack: Good point, John. We want to give a good impression. By the way, do we have coffee and biscuits for our visitor?

Rich: All under control, Sam.

Jack: Just one other thing .. please don’t forget to leave your belongings in the cloakroom rather than over your chairs. OK, I think that’s everything for now. Back to work.

Language Focus

Rich: You’ve just listened to two roleplays and we asked you in which conversation we used phrases to change the subject that were more formal.

Jack: You probably know the answer already, but in case you are not sure; roleplay one was informal and roleplay two was more formal.

Rich: In the roleplays, we used quite a few phrases that you can use to change the topic of a conversation or to take control of a topic.

Jack: Let’s look at the phrases from roleplay one first of all. I used the phrase ‘funny you should say that’ and Rich used the phrase ‘that reminds me of the time’. Both of these phrases are used to take control of the topic and are linked to what the person had said before.

Rich: I was talking about the bike ride that I went on and then Jack used the phrase ‘funny you should say that’ to start talking about his bike ride.

Jack: Rich used the phrase ‘that reminds me of the time’ to do something similar. I was speaking about where I had been and he used this phrase to start speaking about when he went to the same place.

Rich: We also used two phrases to change the topic more directly. Jack said ‘Oh, and before I forget’ and ‘there’s something else I want to ask you’. 

Jack: Both of these phrases are used to change the topic in a more direct way and are quite informal. Other similar phrases are: ‘by the way’, ‘Oh, while I remember’ or ‘Oh, I just thought of something’.

Rich: ‘By the way’ can be used in both informal and formal conversations and is quite common to use to change the topic. You could say: Oh, by the way, I listened to that song you were talking about the other day’ or ‘By the way, did you see that goal Pogba scored against City?’

Jack: Let’s look at some of the phrases from the second roleplay which was a bit more formal.

Rich: In the second roleplay, many of the phrases were a bit more abrupt or less friendly. A couple of examples Jack used were ‘let me stop you there a moment’ and ‘just one other thing’.

Jack: Both these phrases are used to stop the speaker quickly to add another point or change the subject.

Rich: We also used the phrases ‘that reminds me’ and ‘by the way’ to stop the speaker and make a fresh point. In the roleplay, they were both related to what the speaker had said before.

Jack: The other phrase that was used in the second roleplay was ‘speaking of’. This again, links to what the previous speaker had said. In the roleplay, Rich said ‘we would like her to see a busy working environment’ and I then said ‘speaking of the environment …’ 

Rich: this allowed Jack to make a new point about the topic.

Jack: We've got more activities and explanations to help you on the Premier Skills English page below this podcast.

Task

Rich: Your task this week is to continue a conversation that we start in the comments section. 

Jack: Every time you reply you need to change the subject by using one of the phrases we have used in this week's podcast. Let’s do an example.

Rich: I wanted to paint my living room last weekend but I didn’t get much done as I was watching the football most of the time. 

bell

Jack: Speaking of football, did you see that Chelsea have signed that goalkeeper for a world record fee.

bell

Rich: Changing the subject for just a minute. Did you know that I broke a world record once? I was part of the world’s longest bucket chain. I bet you don’t know what that is, do you?

bell

Jack: I don’t think I want to know. By the way, I watched that film you recommended last week.

bell

Rich: That’s great. Oh, before I forget ... 

Jack: OK, so we will start another conversation and we want you to continue the conversations in the comments section.

Rich: Every day next week we will start a new conversation in the comments section and we want you to continue the conversation.

Jack: Remember, each time you reply you should change the topic by using phrases such as ‘funny you should say that’, ‘speaking of’ ‘by the way’ or ‘let me stop you there a moment’.

Rich: Here is the first conversation starting sentence:

Jack: My mobile broke the other day and I had to take it to get fixed. I couldn’t use it for two days. I couldn’t even check the football results!

bell

Rich: Write your replies to Jack in the comments section on the Premier Skills English webpage.

Football Phrase

Rich: Have you got a football phrase for us this week? 

Jack: Yes, I have, but first, last week’s football phrase. The phrase was fantasy football. This is a free game you can play on premierleague.com where you get £100 million to spend on a team of your choice. You are the manager and you play against other managers from around the world.

Rich: Well done to Rafael Amorin and Rafael RC from Brazil, Ahmed Adam from Sudan, Sabanoleg and Liubomyr from Ukraine, AssemJuve from Palestine, Samo from Turkey, Acicala from Spain, Elghoul from Algeria, Ju_003 from Russia, Kwesimanifest from Ghana, Zaid from India and Milos from Serbia.

Jack: This week’s phrase is ***** *********. This phrase is used to describe the teams that have a chance of winning the league. Usually, there are a maximum of about five ***** ********** as it becomes clear after a month or so that the rest of the teams have little chance of winning the league.

Rich: If you know your movies, I could have been a ********* is a famous line from an old movie.

Jack: Right, that’s all we have time for this week! Don’t forget to write your answers to our questions and make a guess at our football phrase in the comments below.

Rich: Bye for now and enjoy your football!

Vocabulary

How much did you understand?

In the podcast, Rich and Jack used some words and phrases that might be new for you. Do you know the words in bold?

We looked solid at the back with our new goalkeeper ... and a clean sheet for the defence.

You are a bit of a chatterbox. It’s difficult to get a word in edgeways sometimes!

There were a few tricky words in the podcast. Do you know what they all mean? Try the activity below, then, listen to the podcast again to hear how we used the words.

Activity 1

Activity 1: In this activity, try to match the words and phrases to their definitions. All of the words were in this week's podcast.
Can you match the words to their definitions?
Rich likes talking about Liverpool but he does GO On about it sometimes!

Language

Why do you need to change the subject?

In this week's podcast, Jack and Rich spoke about changing the subject or topic of a conversation. Before we look at some of the words and phrases they used let's think about why we might need to change the subject:

  • You have something urgent or important to say.
  • You are finding the conversation boring and want to change the subject.
  • You have just remembered or been reminded of something you would like to talk about.

How to change the subject?

Here are five ways that you could change the topic of a conversation.

  1. Ask a question
  2. Introduce a new topic.
  3. Give a compliment.
  4. Create a distraction.
  5. Tell the speaker that you are changing the topic.

Which do you think is the best way?

Look at the activity below and match the example sentences to one of the five ways of changing the subject of a conversation.

Activity 2

Activity 2: In this activity, try to match the sentences to the different ways you can change the subject of a conversation.
Can you match the sentences?

SPEAKING OF hot weather, I think I'll go to the beach this weekend.

Vocabulary

Words and phrases we use to change the subject

In this week's podcast, Jack and Rich used lots of different words and phrases that are useful when we want to change the topic of the conversation. Most of these phrases are used to either introduce a topic by linking it to what the speaker had been talking about or to tell the speaker you are changing the topic. Look at these examples from the podcast:

Changing the subject by linking it to what the speaker was talking about:

Funny you should say that because we went out on our bikes, too. 

Ha! That reminds me of the time I got a puncture near there.

That reminds me. Do we have someone meeting her at the station?

And speaking of the environment. Could we keep coffee cups in the kitchen and not at our desks while she is here? 

Changing the subject in a more abrupt way:

Oh, before I forget, a few of us were thinking of going for a ride next weekend. Do you want to come?​

And there's something else I want to ask you

Let me stop you there a moment, John.

By the way, do we have coffee and biscuits for our visitor?

All of these phrases are used when we want to change the subject of a conversation. Do you know any other words or phrases that are similar to these?

Jack likes to get out on his bike when the weather is good.

Quiz

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Task

A collaborative dialogue:

Your task this week is to reply to Jack and Rich and other podcast listeners. Every time you reply, change the subject by using one of the phrases we have used in this week's podcast. We will add a new topic every day this week and it's your task to continue the conversation. The first topic is:

My mobile broke the other day and I had to take it to get fixed. I couldn’t use it for two days. I couldn't even check the football results!

Write your replies in the comments section below and don't forget to have a guess at this week's football phrase, too!

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Komentar

Ahmed Adam Mamado's picture
Ahmed Adam Mamado
20/08/2018
SD
2903
points

by the way, Kane has finally broken his August Hoodoo as you're a Spurs fan, congrats Rafael!


Ahmed Adam Mamado's picture
Ahmed Adam Mamado
20/08/2018 06:08
Sudan
Liverpool
2903

by the way, Kane has finally broken his August Hoodoo as you're a Spurs fan, congrats Rafael!

Rafael Robson's picture
Rafael Robson
22/08/2018
BR
615
points

Thanks Ahmed.
Liverpool is also playing very well!


Rafael Robson's picture
Rafael Robson
22/08/2018 15:27
Brazil
Tottenham Hotspur
615

Thanks Ahmed.
Liverpool is also playing very well!

Richard J's picture
Richard J
20/08/2018
EC
2846
points

My team in Ecuador is Barcelona Sporting Club maybe you've heard about my team, What about you, Which Brazilian team do you support?


Richard J's picture
Richard J
20/08/2018 01:25
Ecuador
Liverpool
2846

My team in Ecuador is Barcelona Sporting Club maybe you've heard about my team, What about you, Which Brazilian team do you support?

Rafael Robson's picture
Rafael Robson
22/08/2018
BR
615
points

Yes. I've heard about them. By the way, I enjoyed very much when they defeated Palmeiras last year in Libertadores.
My team in Brazil is Corinthians.


Rafael Robson's picture
Rafael Robson
22/08/2018 15:30
Brazil
Tottenham Hotspur
615

Yes. I've heard about them. By the way, I enjoyed very much when they defeated Palmeiras last year in Libertadores.
My team in Brazil is Corinthians.

Richard J's picture
Richard J
23/08/2018
EC
2846
points

Thanks my team had a great performance that year in Copa Libertadores. I've heard about Conrinthias as well, your team is playing Copa Libertadores, I hope to watch a great game next week against Colo Colo.


Richard J's picture
Richard J
23/08/2018 18:32
Ecuador
Liverpool
2846

Thanks my team had a great performance that year in Copa Libertadores. I've heard about Conrinthias as well, your team is playing Copa Libertadores, I hope to watch a great game next week against Colo Colo.

Ahmed Adam Mamado's picture
Ahmed Adam Mamado
17/08/2018
SD
2903
points

Football phrase, '***** *********'.

Despite my horrible memory, I still remember that teacher Jack was reading some film quotes in a podcast that covered weak forms sounds a few months ago. He came across one that said: 'I could've been a "contender". Was that the quote in question?


Ahmed Adam Mamado's picture
Ahmed Adam Mamado
17/08/2018 22:24
Sudan
Liverpool
2903

Football phrase, '***** *********'.

Despite my horrible memory, I still remember that teacher Jack was reading some film quotes in a podcast that covered weak forms sounds a few months ago. He came across one that said: 'I could've been a "contender". Was that the quote in question?

assemjuve's picture
assemjuve
17/08/2018
PS
3705
points

The phrase is First **********. The phrase was said on the waterfront movie,was not it?


assemjuve's picture
assemjuve
17/08/2018 20:56
Palestinian Territory
Liverpool
3705

The phrase is First **********. The phrase was said on the waterfront movie,was not it?

assemjuve's picture
assemjuve
17/08/2018
PS
3705
points

By the way,there is a new mobiles shop that opened at the end of the road recently,I heared they are professional at thier work.


assemjuve's picture
assemjuve
17/08/2018 20:51
Palestinian Territory
Liverpool
3705

By the way,there is a new mobiles shop that opened at the end of the road recently,I heared they are professional at thier work.

Ahmed Adam Mamado's picture
Ahmed Adam Mamado
19/08/2018
SD
2903
points

There's something else I want to ask you. Who's your favourite Liverpool player and does that 'Juve' in your profile name stands for the Turin club?


Ahmed Adam Mamado's picture
Ahmed Adam Mamado
19/08/2018 15:12
Sudan
Liverpool
2903

There's something else I want to ask you. Who's your favourite Liverpool player and does that 'Juve' in your profile name stands for the Turin club?

assemjuve's picture
assemjuve
19/08/2018
PS
3705
points

Actually my favorite club and the only team is support is Juventus,but as this website includes English teams only so i prefer Liverpool.My favorite Liverpool player of all time Is nonother than Steven Gerrard,he is absolutely a legend.What about you Ahmed,Is Liverpool your beloved team or situation is just like mine?


assemjuve's picture
assemjuve
19/08/2018 19:50
Palestinian Territory
Liverpool
3705

Actually my favorite club and the only team is support is Juventus,but as this website includes English teams only so i prefer Liverpool.My favorite Liverpool player of all time Is nonother than Steven Gerrard,he is absolutely a legend.What about you Ahmed,Is Liverpool your beloved team or situation is just like mine?

Ahmed Adam Mamado's picture
Ahmed Adam Mamado
20/08/2018
SD
2903
points

It's funny you should say that because my all time favourite Liverpool player is Steve as well.

Speaking of one's beloved team, I'm genuinely a Real Madrid fan.... That reminds me, how's CR7 linking up with Deybala up front?

Before I forget, I'm a massive fan of the Premier League. GERRARD, Alonso and the atmosphere at Anfield were the top reasons why I found myself passionate about Liverpool FC. I'd hopefully restore that passion if the legendary player came back as a manager! He's already started a managerial role at some club.

By the way, 'This is Anfield', 'We are Liverpool' and 'You'll Never Walk Alone', are phrases that may look simple to many people, but they have a very deep meaning to every single Liverpool supporter worldwide. I feel myself in them!


Ahmed Adam Mamado's picture
Ahmed Adam Mamado
20/08/2018 06:01
Sudan
Liverpool
2903

It's funny you should say that because my all time favourite Liverpool player is Steve as well.

Speaking of one's beloved team, I'm genuinely a Real Madrid fan.... That reminds me, how's CR7 linking up with Deybala up front?

Before I forget, I'm a massive fan of the Premier League. GERRARD, Alonso and the atmosphere at Anfield were the top reasons why I found myself passionate about Liverpool FC. I'd hopefully restore that passion if the legendary player came back as a manager! He's already started a managerial role at some club.

By the way, 'This is Anfield', 'We are Liverpool' and 'You'll Never Walk Alone', are phrases that may look simple to many people, but they have a very deep meaning to every single Liverpool supporter worldwide. I feel myself in them!

assemjuve's picture
assemjuve
27/08/2018
PS
3705
points

Actyally Ronaldo and Dybala are not getting used to play with each other,i think they will take some time.It is for sure that Liverpool has the most passionate fans and wonderful songs and chants that make this team stronger.Yes Gerrard now is managing Glasgow Rangers and he is doing pretty well,i am looking forward for Celtic vs Rangers becuse Gerrard will face his old manager Brendan Rodgars.


assemjuve's picture
assemjuve
27/08/2018 21:29
Palestinian Territory
Liverpool
3705

Actyally Ronaldo and Dybala are not getting used to play with each other,i think they will take some time.It is for sure that Liverpool has the most passionate fans and wonderful songs and chants that make this team stronger.Yes Gerrard now is managing Glasgow Rangers and he is doing pretty well,i am looking forward for Celtic vs Rangers becuse Gerrard will face his old manager Brendan Rodgars.

Leaderboard

Top Scorers
RankNameScore
1mobeckham6510
2Alex_from_Ukraine6292
3hsn5533
4wsanta5086
5kwesimanifest4768
6Liubomyr4408
7elghoul3988
8assemjuve3705
9aragorn19863557
10Gergő Nagy3396
Country ranking
RankNameScore
1Colombia71520
2Ukraine33416
3Spain28630
4Serbia27294
5Brazil22773
6Albania20578
7Vietnam20022
8Turkey19886
9Macedonia19074
10Bosnia and Herzegovina16333
Club ranking
RankNameScore
1Manchester United142518
2Liverpool110076
3Chelsea89292
4Arsenal85416
5Manchester City57448
6Tottenham Hotspur19085
7Newcastle United10506
8West Ham United7536
9AFC Bournemouth4557
10Crystal Palace4470

Level

3
Average: 3 (1 vote)

Goals

Skills: Listening

Language: Words and phrases used to change the subject

Task: Write a dialogue with other podcast listeners