Phrases and small talk in the US!

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Americans love small talk. Whether in front of the toilet, in the queue at the cash register or at the burger, everywhere you are addressed. Usually, the person you are talking to quickly notices that you are not from the USA and asks out of courtesy, less out of curiosity, where you are from.

Where are you from? It is said that one comes from Germany. Germany? Oh, that's nice then you hear. It's amazing how many Americans have relatives in Germany. How do you like California? Are you having a good trip? Great in answer is always good better still fantastic, love it or awesome.

Awesome , this is one of the favorite words of all Americans, everything in the US is awesome . Such a small talk is usually finished with nice to mee t you.

If you enter a supermarket, a hotel, or a restaurant, you will be received everywhere as you enter. This is a general greeting phrase in the US and is often used by operators. A real answer is not expected. They say fine, thanks, how are you? What stupid face would you see in Germany, if you would ask when entering a store how are you?

On leaving you get a have a nice day, a nice day and a take care . Take care of yourself is not meant here, but it is a farewell.

If you want to know if there is a free room in the hotel, you do not ask for a free room but for a vacant room . Free would mean in this case you are looking for a room for free and you will certainly get nowhere.
I am looking for a room, do you have vacancy? would be the right question.

Please never ask for a toilet, the Americans feel unappetizing and offensive. Need one urgently, one asks for Restroom, Ladies or Mens Room . Incidentally, in American toilets you will hardly ever find a toilet brush. There, the water is sucked off while rinsing and thus everything that is in the toilet is removed.

If you are invited to a Baby Shower Party you do not need to bring a towel. It will not end up in the shower, but at a party in honor of the expectant mum, where she is showered with gifts for herself and the baby. It (rains) gifts, so to speak.

And here are some phrases that can be useful when visiting the US.

If you want to order in the restaurant, you do not say I want or I take, but I would like to have, that is much more polite.

If you just want to look around a shop and be asked by the staff
can I help you?, then you should reply no, thanks, I'm just browsing and not just looking .

Holiday does not mean holiday, but vacation. Holiday means holiday in the USA.

On thank you you will be answered welcome . This does not mean a warm welcome, but is an answer (please) to the previously said thank you. Please would be the wrong answer, it will only be used if you ask for anything.

Phrases and small talk in the US without it does not work

In general, there is a very polite way of dealing with each other in the USA. Friendliness is capitalized and excuse me is a word many heard!

37 comments

  • Hi you two!

    I just can approve that too. During my stay in NYC everyone was thrilled, if you said you were from Germany! And swoppers were involved in a small talk! When I was wearing a typical I love NYC sweater on my departure, there was no stopping it! So fast and so nice, I have come through no airport control! Class!

    Have fun with your travels!

    LG Silvi from http://www.mogroach.de

    • Hi, most Americans love the Germans and seek the conversation. Quite a lot of people talk about Vrewandten in Heidelberg, Cologne or Munich.
      Even my masseuse in Thousend Oaks had an aunt in Wiesbaden.
      Greetings Sigrid

  • Great tips and I can remember many funny situations

  • This is really an exciting contribution, unfortunately I have never been to the USA.

    LG Jasmine

  • Hello, an interesting post, knew a lot of not, because I've learned something again. Thanks for the information.
    best regards
    Bo

  • Dear Sigrid,

    As a flight attendant, I was in the USA every few days and I loved it so much. Yes, of course, people are often superficial and do not mean everything the way they say it ... but they are better for me than the Griesgrame who are traveling in Austria. I think that's nice if you are welcomed everywhere friendly and quickly get into conversation.

    I wish you a great start into the weekend!
    best regards
    Verena

  • I've also noticed that, not only for America. I still remember the honeymoon in Estonia because there was our host mom, who always said "You are welcome", I found it totally heartwarming <3 despite the phrase

  • I've never been to the US before, but I've heard that Americans do not usually expect an honest answer on "how are you?" 😉 I knew a few words like "vacant", but it's always helpful to them to read in context and to know what to look for in order to avoid rudeness.
    Good post, certainly helps many who do not speak so well English and want to translate a lot of words literally! 🙂
    best regards
    Janina

  • Awesome ...? In fact, a very popular word in the US. Will never die out ...

  • Phrases and Smaltalk make life more enjoyable. Better phrases and Smaltalk, than the silence of the Münsterlanders. 😉

  • Of these baby showers I have already heard and seen so much and often find it exaggerated. Especially the very strange games that are played. But USA is already a very interesting country. Unfortunately, my English is not perfect for a holiday there ^^.

    All the best

  • A fellow traveler replied to the question "How are you?" Sometimes "It goes". I tell you, that was awesome!

  • Dear Sigrid, I had to smile a little at your contribution. Because I experienced it all too. I spent some time in neighboring Canada (you can tell it's a continent). I experienced all this and heard it all. At the beginning I also disgraced myself because I responded to "Thank you" with "Please". But you learn quickly 🙂 Thank you for this informative post.

  • Dear Sigrid

    We're in the US right now and that's what I've been thinking about ....

    Do I have to answer if someone asked me when entering a shop how I am !?

    I always answer with find and ask back! ; oD

    Thank you for the great report!

    Have a nice Sunday!

    xoxo
    Jacqueline

  • Find your article and some comments amusing. But I will not be able to travel to the USA that fast. And until then, I probably forgot the Smalltalks tips again. But you have conjured a smile on my mouth. Thanks for the cheer up.

  • primetime chaos

    Ah, your post reminds me of my time in the US! The "How are you doing" and "Nice to meet you", I miss in German very much!
    Again a very nice post and I loved to read it 🙂
    All the best, Theresa

  • A very interesting blog post! I did not actually know a few things. 🙂
    best regards
    Lisa

  • Dear Sigrid,

    great contribution - as always! I was always fascinated by the friendliness of the Americans during my visits. But it is true that it is very superficial - but I prefer that rather than the sullen "Grantler" in Vienna, which do not open their mouth ;-).

    Thanks for the contribution and best regards
    Verena

  • You're absolutely right! In the US, everyone seems much friendlier and even when driving the Americans look more relaxed. I like the feeling of being there and personally enjoy being greeted in the shop with a 'hi whats up' ☺
    Greetings Nadine

  • very interesting contribution love Sigrid - and also very funny 🙂
    I've never been to the USA myself, but from stories from friends, I can only confirm your impressions. that was reported in a similar way. funny that it is so superficial there, but also harmonious 😉

    have a nice start to the weekend,
    ❤ Tina from http://liebewasist.com

  • tomatoes island

    Hi Sigrid,
    funny, that you write about it. Just before I had a conversation about small talk in Germany. More and more recently, people who I've seen once or twice have greeted me with "hello, how are you?". That seems to be more popular in this country.
    LG Melli

  • Hello Moin,

    Very interesting report. That reminds me of Denmark. There is also constantly thanked, greeted and geduzt. For example, if you enter a room that is being eaten, everyone says "velbekomme". Going apart "tak for i dag". And so on. I find that? Great.

    Best regards Steffen

  • Hello,
    great contribution! I did not know that this is so extreme among the Americans 😀

    Love Linni
    http://www.linnisleben.de

  • I already knew some things, although I had never been to the USA before. I did not know anything else.
    I already know why I do not really like small talk. I find it rather exhausting, so the Americans probably would not really be for me. Not to be confused with friendliness. A request, thank you and wish you a nice day in the supermarket, I think it just belongs to the good sound, not only in the US.

  • Thank you Sigrid - I always like to learn such phrases from insiders, because you can hardly learn this in a >

  • Awesome ... like your Post 😉 Know this too well from our holiday! Superficially friendly, but usually nothing behind, but somehow also quite nice, quite unlike the blinkers that all have in Vienna.

    Lovely wishes,
    Marjorie

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