In the last two lessons, you learned how to start a conversation and how to continue a conversation in English. Now it’s time to learn how to bring conversations to an end – in both formal and informal situations.
2 Keys for Ending a Conversation in English
1. SMILE! Be friendly when ending the conversation, so the other person knows you enjoyed the conversation – and doesn’t think you’re ending the conversation because you’re annoyed.
2. Make a positive comment, then say you need to go, or give a reason for ending the conversation.
Ending an Informal Conversation:
“Hey, it was nice talking to you, but I’ve gotta run.”
“OK, no problem. Have a good one!”
“You too – bye!”
“I’ve gotta run” is an informal expression to say “I need to go.”
“Well, I’d love to keep chatting, but I have to head out – my yoga class starts in an hour.”
“Oh, enjoy your class!”
“Thanks! See you later.”
“head out” means “leave” or “go”
“Thanks for the book recommendations, I’ll definitely have to check them out. Anyway, I actually need to go pick up my kids from school.”
“All right – take care!”
Notice how all three conversations use a “transitional” word like “Hey,” “Well,” or “Anyway” to introduce the end of the conversation.
Ending a more formal conversation (at work):
“Okay, so I’ll call the distributors while you prepare the contract, and we’ll touch base next week.”
“Sounds like a plan!”
“Great! Have a good afternoon.”
“Thanks, you too. Bye.”
You can end a conversation at work by giving a summary of the conversation or the next actions to take. This gives the other person a signal that you would like to end the conversation.
“Anyway, I should get back to work.”
“Yeah, me too. See you later.”
“I should get back to work” is a good way to end a conversation with a co-worker that is not related to work – for example, if you are chatting with your colleague about weekend plans or other interests.
“Well, I know you’re busy, so I don’t want to keep you.”
“That’s OK. Nice talking to you.”
“I don’t want to keep you” is a way to say that you respect the other person’s time, so you won’t continue the conversation for hours and hours. This also signals that the conversation is coming to an end. It is often used during phone calls.
Different ways to say “goodbye” in English
Formal or informal:
- Bye / Bye-bye
- See you soon!
- See you later
- Take care
- Have a good one!
- Have a nice day!
- So long
- Take it easy
- Catch ya later / Check ya later
- I’m off / I’m out
- Peace / Peace out
Learn practical spoken English for daily life:
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