Age associated diseases

There are some chronic diseases often associated with the elderly. For example: hypertension, diabetes melitus, arthritis, osteoporosis, Alzheimer, dementia, and others. In addition, the elder have a higher risk of a heart attack, or stroke, which can provoke death or permanent impairment or disability.

Hypertension: the blood pressure in the arteries is elevated to a value above 140/90 mmHg. If it is not treated it can lead to angina or heart attack. The symptoms of a heart attack can be chest discomfort or pain, upper body pain, shortness of breath, cold sweat, anxiety or nausea. In case of a heart attack it is very important to call the emergency services as fast as possible. Minutes matter, and a fast action can save someone’s life.

Diabetes melitus or type 2 occurs when the pancreas does not make enough insulin, or the body cannot use the insulin well enough. When there is not enough insulin, glucose cannot get into the body cells and the level of glucose builds up in the blood. This can cause damages in different parts of the body, such as the nerves, kidneys and heart, and it can provoke the hardening of the arteries, which can cause heart attack or stroke. Other consequences could be dehydration or diabetic coma. Those that suffer from diabetes have to keep their blood sugar levels as stable as possible. They should keep a daily routine, check their sugar level, and balance food and regular exercise.

Arthritis is also a common disease. Symptoms of arthritis are joint pains, stiffness in the fingers, arms, legs and wrists. In order to reduce the pains, it is important to watch weight, do exercise, and take pain relievers.

Osteoporosis is the loss of bone mass. The best way to prevent it is to have an adequate intake of calcium, maintain an average body weight, and do regular exercise.

Alzheimer starts with a mild cognitive decline, forgetting familiar words or the location of familiar objects, and then it moves onto different stages that end up with a very severe cognitive decline, where the patients need help for their daily personal care, they do not respond to their environment, and eventually they are unable to control movement. It is a terrible burden for the family or the caregivers, so they should receive psychological support.

It is very important to be aware of these dangers and to try to prevent them by leading a healthy life. Especially the elder should undergo regular examination in order to avoid unwanted and irreversible consequences. They should avoid smoking, which can provoke lung cancer and is bad for the skin, and alcohol consumption, which accelerates the aging of their skin, liver, heart, brain, and pancreas. They should be careful, as they are more vulnerable to accidents and injuries. It they fall, they may have hip or other fractures, or suffer a head injury. And finally nutrition is one of the key ingredients to make their body work. These are the secrets to living a long and happy life.

Language notes

Stroke: (Cat: embòlia/ICTUS) It occurs when the blood supply of your brain is interrupted, depriving brain tissue of oxygen and food. Some brain cells die.

Permanent impairment: (Cat. deficiència) An injury which impairs the physical or mental ability of a person to perform their normal activities during all their lifes.

Disability: (Cat. discapacitat) Lack of adequate power, strenght or physical or mental ability. Incapacity.

Blood pressure: (Cat. pressió arterial) Pressure of the blood within the arteries.

Chest discomfort: (Cat. malestar al pit) Pain in the chest.

Upper body pain: (Cat. dolor a la part superior del cos) Pain in the abdomen.

shortness of breath: (Cat. falta d’aire) Difficulty in breathing.

Cold sweat: (Cat. suor freda) A condition in which someone is sweating and feeling cold at the same time.

Body cells: (Cat. cèl·lules del cos) The basic structural and functional units of the body.

Builds up: (Cat. augmenta) Increases.

Kidneys: (Cat. ronyons) Organs in the back part of the abdomen that form and excrete urine.

Heart: (Cat. cor) Muscular organ that pumps blood received from the veins into the arteries.

Hardening: (Cat. enduriment) Process of becoming harder.

Blood sugar levels: (Cat. nivells de sucre a la sang) Amount of glucose in the blood.

Daily routine: (Cat. rutina diària) Habit, a regular way of doing things.

Joints: (Cat. articulacions) Physical point of connection between two bones.

Stiffness: (Cat. rigidesa) Difficult to bend or move.

Wrists: (Cat. canells) The joint between the hand and the forearm.

Watch weight: (Cat. controlar el pes) Taking measures such as dieting to control weight.

Pain relievers: (Cat. remei contra el dolor) An agent that relieves pain, such as Iboprufen or aspirin.

Bone mass: (Cat. massa òssia) Bone density.

Intake: (Cat. ingesta) The amount of something (food or drink) that is taken into your body.

Cognitive decline: (Cat. pèrdua cognitiva) Deterioration in cognitive function.

To be aware: (Cat. ser conscient) Having the knowledge of something.

They should avoid: (Cat. ells haurien d’evitar) It is advisable not to do something.

Lung: (Cat. pulmó) Pair of breathing organs located in the chest which remove carbon dioxide from and bring oxygen to the blood.

Skin: (Cat. pell) The external covering of the body.

Liver: (Cat. fetge) A large reddish-brown organ of the body which is responsible for metabolism and syntesis and storage of various substances.


When things start going wrong

Annie: “Mum, mum! Come! Grandpa is on the floor, I don’t know what happened but he is sweating a lot and he’s complaining of chest pains, he’s extremely pale.”

Linda ran downstairs with her phonendoscope and her blood pressure monitor.

Linda: “Annie! Fast! Call your dad.”

Annie: “What’s his phone number, granny?”

Belien: “I can’t recall it, I used to remember all numbers very well. Let me look for it. Ok, it’s 606 36 88 12.”

Annie: “What’s this again?”

Belien: “six-O-six, three-six, double eight, one-two.

John: “Can I have a little bit of water?”

Linda: “You shouldn’t drink any water now.”

Annie: “The ambulance is there!”

Linda: “They were quite fast. I hope we’ll have enough time to save his life. Belien, pick a few things for him, his pyjamas and some clothes. There’s no time to waste. Luckily, there won’t be much traffic by this time, there aren’t many cars on the road.”

This poem, “Warning”, was written by Jenny Joseph. She dedicated it to old people:

“Warning”, by Jenny Joseph

When I am an old woman I shall wear purple
With a red hat which doesn’t go, and doesn’t suit me.
And I shall spend my pension on brandy and summer gloves
And satin sandals, and say we’ve no money for butter.
I shall sit down on the pavement when I’m tired
And gobble up samples in shops and press alarm bells
And run my stick along the public railings
And make up for the sobriety of my youth.
I shall go out in my slippers in the rain
And pick flowers in other people’s gardens
And learn to spit.


Expressing possession, expressing quantity and asking questions are basic functions of the language. There are different ways of expressing possession. The English language sometimes expresses possession very differently from the way we do in our own language, so we should be careful to learn it accurately. We ask about possession with the interrogative pronoun whose? (Cat. De qui?).

On the other hand, expressing an indeterminate quantity requires the correct use of some small words called ‘quantifiers’ (Cat. quantificadors). Sometimes there is only a small difference between the meanings of different quantifiers, and we should also learn to distinguish between two types of nouns: ‘countable nouns’ (Cat. noms contables) and ‘uncountable nouns’ (Cat. noms no-contables). However, we can also speak of specific quantities and then we need to use the numeral adjectives. In this caseIn English, we ask about quantity with the interrogative pronouns how much? (Cat. Quant/a?) or how many? (Cat. Quants/-es?).

Finally, to ask questions in English correctly we need to know the correct grammatical structure, which sometimes is different from the structure of our own language. We also need to learn the interrogative pronouns, which are used to ask questions.

Expressing possession

We can express possession in different ways. We can use a special form of the noun called ‘Saxon genitive’ (Cat. Genitiu saxó), the preposition of, a possessive adjective or a possessive pronoun.

The Saxon genitive

The Saxon genitive is a special form of the noun. It is used to indicate possession when the possessor refers to a person or a group of persons. We form the Saxon genitive by adding ‘s to the possessor. Examples:

  • Jane’s brother (Cat. El germà de la Jane).
  • The company’s benefits (Cat. Els beneficis de l’empresa).
  • The people’s decision (Cat. La decisió de la gent).
  • My colleague’s desk (Cat. La taula del meu company).

When the possessor ends in -s, we only add the apostrophe ('), without an ‘s’. Examples:

In the Saxon genitive, we must place the possessor (with ‘s) before the noun: Jane’s brother. In Catalan and Spanish, we place first the noun and then the possessor: El germà de la Jane.

  • The companies’ benefits (Cat. Els beneficis de les empreses).
  • My colleagues’ desks (Cat. Les taules dels meus companys).
  • Mr Landis’ attitude (Cat. L’actitud del Sr Landis).
  • Charles’ car (Cat. El cotxe d’en Charles).

Apart from the use of the Saxon genitive with people, we can also use this form with adverbials of time. For example:

  • Tomorrow’s work (Cat. La feina de demà).
  • Last week’s meeting (Cat. La reunió de la setmana passada).
  • Next year’s conference (Cat. El congrès de l’any que ve).

The preposition of

We use the preposition of (Cat. de) when the possessor is a thing. For example:

  • The effects of the earthquake (Cat. Els efectes del terratrèmol).
  • The siren of the ambulance (Cat. La sirena de l’ambulància).
  • The minutes of the meetings (Cat. les actes de la reunions).
  • The screen of the computer (Cat. La pantalla de l’ordinador).

In this case, the order of the words is the same as in Catalan and Spanish.

Possessive adjectives

We must place the possessive adjectives before a noun. The possessive adjectives tell us whose is the noun indicated. The following table shows the forms of the possessive adjectives:

Taula: The possessive adjectives
Singular Plural
my el meu… our el nostre…
your el teu…, el seu… (de vostè) your el vostre… el seu… (de vostès)
his el seu… (d’ell) their el seu…(d’ells/es)
her el seu… (d’ella)
its el seu… (per a coses)


  • The third person pronouns his, her and their are often used instead of the Saxon genitive forms. For example: Mary’s sister > her sister; John’s sister > his sister; Mary and John’s sister > their sister.

In English, the possessive adjectives agree (Cat. concorden) with the possessor and not with the noun, as in Catalan and Spanish. Notice that the possessive adjective remains invariable when the noun changes:

  • My brother (Cat. El meu germà; Sp. mi hermano).
  • My sister (Cat. La meva germana; Sp. mi hermana).
  • My brothers (Cat. Els meus germans; Sp. mis hermanos).
  • My sisters (Cat. Les meves germanes; Sp. mis hermanas).

Here are some examples of the use of the possessive adjectives:

  • Here is my ID (Cat. Aquí té el meu DNI).
  • What is your name? (Cat. Quin és el teu/el seu nom?).
  • This is Mr Gordon and his secretary (Cat. Aquest és el Sr Gordon i el seu secretari).
  • I met Elizabeth and her son (Cat. Em vaig trobar amb l’Elizabeth i el seu fill).
  • I’ll send you a copy of the email with its corresponding answer (Cat. Li enviaré una còpia del correu amb la seva corresponent resposta).
  • We are lucky with our jobs (Cat. Tenim sort amb les nostres feines).
  • Can you please give me your phone numbers? (Cat. Em podeu donar els vostres números de telèfon si us plau?)
  • These are my two colleagues and their families (Cat. Aquests són els meus companys i les seves famílies).

Possessive pronouns

The use of the possessive pronouns is very similar to the use of the possessive adjectives, but the pronouns are not used before a noun. The table shows the forms of the possessive pronouns:

Taula: The possessive pronouns
Singular Plural
mine el meu… ours el nostre…
yours el teu…, el seu… (de vostè) yours el vostre… el seu… (de vostès)
his el seu… (d’ell) theirs el seu…(d’ells/es)
hers el seu… (d’ella)
(its) el seu… (per a coses)


  • The third person pronoun its is very little used.
  • As in the possessive adjectives, the pronouns agreee with the possessor.

Some examples of the use of the possessive pronouns:

  • Is this John’s coat? - No, it’s mine (Cat. És aquest l’abric del John? - No, és el meu).
  • Is this yours? (Cat. Això és teu/seu (de vostè)?).
  • Is this John’s coat? - Yes, I think it’s his (Cat. És aquest l’abric del John? - Sí, crec que és el seu).
  • Is this Mary’s coat? - Yes, I think it’s hers (Cat. És aquest l’abric de la Mary? - Sí, crec que és el seu).
  • This project is quite good, but ours is still better (Cat. Aquest projecte està bastant bé, però el nostre encara està millor).
  • Yes, I think yours is better (Cat. Sí, crec que el vostre/el seu [de vostès] és millor).
  • Was this your idea? - No, it was theirs (Cat. Això va ser idea teva? - No, va ser seva [d’ells/es]).

Possessive adjectives and possessive pronouns

There is a close relationship between the possessive adjectives and the possessive pronouns. Compare their forms:

  • Possessive adjectives: my, your, his, her, its, our, your, their
  • Possessive pronouns: mine, yours, his, hers, (its), ours, yours, theirs

The meaning of the possessive adjectives and the possessive pronouns is the same, but the sentence structure is different. We can say:

  • This is my uniform (Cat. Aquest és el meu uniforme).
  • This uniform is mine (Cat. Aquest uniform és meu).

See Annex ‘English pronouns’ for a comparative table of the personal pronouns, the possessive pronouns and the possessive adjectives

Expressing quantity

We can express a specific quantity os something by using numbers. For example:

  • One year (Cat. Un any).
  • Two years (Cat. Dos anys).
  • Three years (Cat. Tres anys).
  • Four years (Cat. Quatre anys).
  • etc.

Cardinal and ordinal numbers

The numbers that express quantity are called cardinal numbers. For example: one, two, three, four, five…

The numbers that express order are called ordinal numbers. For example: first, second, third, fourth, fifth….

See Annex ‘The English numbers’ for a complete list of the cardinal and the ordinal numbers.

To express an indeterminate quantity of something, we must use some little words called ‘quantifiers’ (Cat. quantificadors). The English quantifiers are the following:

  • No
  • A/an, some, any
  • Little, few, a little, a few
  • A lot of, many, much

The correct use of the English quantifiers depends on the sentence (affirmative, negative or interrogative) and on the type of noun (countable and uncountable).

Countable and uncountable nouns

  • Countable nouns are nouns that refer to objects that can be separated into units. In other words, we can count them. For example: day, book, job, car, house, man, company, office, river….
  • Uncountable nouns (also called: non-count nouns) are nouns that express concepts, substances, etc. that we cannot separate into units. For example: friendship, emotion, music, news, food, water, bread, money, advice, luggage….

Uncountable nouns have a singular reference: This news is good (Cat. Aquesta notícia és important), The water is very clear (Cat. L’aigua és molt clara). We cannot use numbers or the word a/an before an uncountable noun. It is wrong to say: *A water, *three advices, *one bread, etc. We must say: a litre/a bottle of water, three pieces of advice, a loaf (Cat. barra) of bread.

The following table shows the use of the English quantifiers:

Taula: The English quantifiers
Affirmative Negative Interrogative
Countable nouns no, a/an, some
a lot of, many
few, a few
few, a few
few, a few
Uncountable nouns no, some
a lot of
little, a little
little, a little
little, a little


  • The quantifier no means: zero quantity of something. It has a negative meaning, but the verb must be in the affirmative form: I have got no friends (Cat. No tinc amics). No is equivalent to the form not…any: I have not got any friends (Cat. No tinc amics).
  • The quantifier a is the same word as the indeterminate article. We say an before a noun starting with a vowel sound: an hour, an animal, etc., but we say: a unit, a university, etc. because we pronounce u as a consonant (/junit/, /juniversiti/).
  • The quantifiers a lot of and many express a great quantity of something. They have the same meaning, but we generally use a lot of in informal situations and many in formal situations.

Few, little, a few, a little

These four quantifiers express a small quantity of something, but there is a a difference between few/little and a few/a little:

  • Few (with countable nouns) and little (with uncountable nouns) indicate that the quantity is too small to do something. For example: we can’t buy a coffee because we have little money (Cat. No ens podem comprar un cafè perquè tenim pocs diners).
  • A few (with countable nouns) and a little (with uncountable nouns) indicate that the quantity is small, but it is enough (Cat. suficient) to do something. For example: we can buy a coffee because we have a little money (Cat. Ens podem comprar un cafè perquè tenim uns quants diners).

Here are some examples of the use of quantifiers. The type of noun is indicated in brackets:

  • I’ve got a very interesting offer (count.) (Cat. Tinc una oferta molt interessant).
  • There are some people (count.) in the room (Cat. Hi ha algunes persones a la sala).
  • Have you got any money (uncount.)? (Cat. Tens diners?).
  • We found no books (count.) (Cat. No vam trobar cap llibre).
  • We didn’t find any books (count.) (Cat. No vam trobar cap llibre).
  • There’s a lot of information (uncount.) in the website (Cat. Hi ha molta informació a la web).
  • Mr Larson controls a lot of / many companies (count.) (Cat. El Sr. Larson controla moltes empreses).
  • We haven’t got much time (uncount.) (Cat. No tenim molt de temps).
  • Are there many people (count.) in the room? (Cat. Hi ha molta gent a la sala?).
  • We have few computers (count.) for so many people (Cat. Tenim pocs ordinadors per a tanta gent).
  • We have a few computers (count.), so we can work (Cat. Tenim uns quants ordinadors, així que podem treballar).
  • There’s little time (uncount.) to finish the work (Cat. Hi ha poc temps per a acabar la feina).
  • We can finish because we have a little time (uncount.) (Cat. Podem acabar perquè tenim una mica de temps).
  • There are no books on the shelves. Where are they? (Cat. No hi ha cap llibre a les prestatgeries. On són?).

Asking questions

The English questions have a different structure from the Catalan and the Spanish questions. For this reason, we must learn how to ask questions correctly. We can distinguish two types of questions:

  • Yes/No questions: the answer to these questions is always ‘yes’ or ‘no’.
  • Wh-questions: these questions ask about specific information; they must have an interrogative pronoun.

Yes/No questions

For the difference between auxiliary verbs and lexical verbs, see Unit 1, section 1 ‘Grammar’ > ‘Verb ‘to be’; there is/there are’.

For modal verbs, see Unit 2, section 3 ‘Grammar’.

To ask a yes/no question, the correct structures are the following:

1) With auxiliary and modal verbs: VERB + SUBJECT + …? For example:

  • Are you the new employee? (Cat. Ets [tu] el nou empleat?)
  • Is there a fire? (Cat. Hi ha un incendi?)
  • Have you been to England? (Cat. Has estat a Anglaterra?)
  • Can you speak English? (Cat. Saps parlar anglès?)
  • Will you come to work? (Cat. Vindràs [tu] a treballar?)

2) With lexical verbs: DO/DOES/DID + SUBJECT + VERB IN INFINITIVE FORM + …? For example:

Remember: DOES is used to express the present simple tense in the 3rd person singular; DO is used for all the other persons; DID is used to express the past simple tense (in all persons).

  • Do you speak English? (Cat. Parles [tu] anglès?)
  • Does your brother live with you? (Cat. Viu amb tu el teu germà?)
  • Did she go out last night? (Cat. Va sortir [ella] ahir a la nit?)

In the answers to yes/no questions, we must use the corresponding subject pronoun and auxiliary or modal verb:

  • Are you the new employee? - Yes, I am.
  • Is there a fire? - No, there isn’t.
  • Have you been to England? - Yes, I have.
  • Can you speak English? - Yes, I can.
  • Does your brother live with you? - No, he doesn’t.
  • Did she go out last night? - Yes, she did.


The correct structures of the wh-questions are the following:

1a) With auxiliary and modal verbs when the interrogative pronoun is the object:



  • What is your address? (Cat. Quina és la teva adreça?)
  • Where are you going? (Cat. On vas [tu]?)
  • What should I do? (Cat. Què hauria de fer [jo]?)

1b) With modal verbs when the interrogative pronoun is the subject:



  • Who can tell me? (Cat. Qui m’ho pot dir?)
  • What must be done? (Cat. Què s’ha de fer?)

2a) With lexical verbs when the interrogative pronoun is the object:



  • Where do you live? (Cat. On vius [tu]?)
  • Why did he call you? (Cat. Per què et va trucar [ell]?)
  • What does Jim do? (Cat. Què fa en Jim?)

2b) With lexical verbs when the interrogative pronoun is the subject:



  • What happened? (Cat. Què va passar?)
  • Who cleans the office? (Cat. Qui neteja l’oficina?)
  • Who came yesterday? (Cat. Qui va venir ahir?)

Interrogative pronouns as subject and object

The interrogative pronouns who, what and how much/many…? can have the functions of object or subject. It is the subject when the information asks about the person or thing that does the action of the verb; it is the object in all the other cases. Compare these examples:

  • SUBJECT: Who called last night? (Cat. Qui va trucar ahir a la nit?) - Peter called last night (Peter=subject)
  • OBJECT: Who did you call last night (Cat. A qui vas trucar [tu] ahir a la nit?) - I called Peter last night (Peter=indirect object)

The following table shows the English interrogative pronouns:

Taula: The interrogative pronouns
Whose?De qui?
Whom?Qui?Only in formal written texts when the pronoun is the object
What?Què?It can be followed by a noun: what year…?
Which?Quin/a?It can be followed by a noun: which year…?
Why?Per què?
How much?Quant?With uncountable nouns; it can be followed by a noun: how much money…?
How many?Quants/es?With countable nouns; it can be followed by a noun: how many people…?
How old?Quina edat?
How far?A quina distància?
How big?Quin tamany?


Greeting and introducing people are two basic language functions which are very common in oral conversations in the working environment. In this type of conversations, the context is very important: we must use specific language and expressions depending on whether the situation is formal or informal.

In basic conversations, especially when we do not know the other person well or when we need to fill in a form, it is very common to ask and answer questions about personal aspects like name, address, telephone number, age, hobbies. etc.

Greetings and introductions

We greet people when we meet or when we leave a place. On the other hand, we introduce people when we say who they are to a third person so they can know each other. We can also introduce ourselves. Here are some expressions commonly used to greet people and make introductions in formal and informal situations. We also include some expressions that we can use to respond to greetings and introductions.

Remember that we are in a formal situation when we talk to unknown people or to a superior at work. We are in an informal situation when we talk to friends, colleagues and family members.

Meeting people

We can use these expressions when we meet someone (the Catalan translations are not literal; they only show an equivalent expression):

In formal situations:

The treatment Mr is used for all adult males; Mrs is used for married women; Miss is used for unmarried women; Ms is used for all women irrespective of their marital status. We must place Mr, Mrs, Miss and Ms before a person’s surname.

  • Good morning (Cat. Bon dia)
  • Good afternoon (Cat. Bona tarda)
  • Good evening (Cat. Bona nit)
  • Hello, Mr/Mrs… How are you? (Cat. Hola, Sr/Sra… Com està [vostè]?)
  • Good day, Sir/Madam (Cat. Bon dia, Sr/Sra)

In informal situations:

  • Hi! (Cat. Hola)
  • Hello! (Cat. Hola)
  • How are you? (Cat. Què tal? / Com estàs [tu]?)
  • What’s up? (Cat. Què hi ha? / Què tal?)
  • How are you doing? (Cat. Com va tot? / Com estàs [tu]?)

When we leave a place or a person after talking for some time, we can use the following expressions:

In formal situations:

  • Good morning (Cat. Bon dia)
  • Good afternoon (Cat. Bona tarda)
  • Good evening (Cat. Bona nit)
  • Good night (when going to slepp) (Cat. Bona nit)
  • Goodbye (Cat. Adéu)
  • It was a pleasure meeting you (Cat. Ha estat un plaer coneixer-lo/la [a vostè])
  • It was a pleasure seeing you (Cat. Ha estat un plaer veure’l/-la [a vostè])
  • It was a pleasure talking to you (Cat. ha estat un plaer parlar amb vostè)

In informal situations:

  • Bye (Cat. Adéu)
  • See you (Cat. Fins una altra)
  • See you later (Cat. Fins després)
  • See you tomorrow (Cat. Fins demà)
  • See you on Monday (Cat. Fins dilluns)
  • Take care (Cat. Cuida’t)

Introducing people

To introduce ourselves, we can say:

In formal situations:

  • Good morning. My name’s [Josep Fernandez] (Cat. Bon dia. Em dic [Josep Fernandrez])

In informal situations:

  • Hi, My name’s [Josep] (Cat. Hola. Em dic [Josep])
  • Hi, I’m [Josep] (Cat. Hola, sóc [Josep])

To introduce other people, we can use the following expressions:

In formal situations:

  • May I introduce you to [Mr Josep Fernandez]? (Cat. Permeti’m que li presenti [el Sr Josep Fernandez])
  • Let me introduce you to [Mr Josep Fernandez] (Cat. Permeti’m que li presenti [el Sr Josep Fernandez])

In informal situations:

  • This is [Josep Fernandez] (Cat. Aquest és [Josep Fernandez])

Responding to greetings and introductions

In all situations, we can respond to good morning, hello, goodbye and similar expressions by using the same words. For example:

A: Good morning
B: Good morning

A: Hello, Josep
B: Hi

A: Goodbye!
B: Goodbye

We can respond to the expressions: How are you?, What’s up, How are you doing? in different ways. For example:

A: How are you?
B: I’m fine, thank you. And you? (formal)

A: What’s up?
B: Fine, thanks (informal)

A: How are you doing?
B: Great, thanks. And you?

Here are other examples of responses:

A: It was a pleasure meeting you
B: A pleasure for me too

A: See you later
B: See you

A: Take care
B: You too

In introductions, there are different expressions to respond in formal and informal situations. Here are some examples:

A: Let me introduce to Josep Fernandez
Josep: How do you do?
A: How do you do

A: Josep, this is Mary
Josep: Hi, Mary. Nice to meet you
Mary: Nice to meet you too

Social etiquette

When we are introduced to another person, the social etiquette demands to ask one or two questions to start a short conversation. We can ask, for example:

  • Have you and [Josep] known each other for long? (Cat. Fa molt de temps que us coneixeu, [el Josep] i tu?)
  • Is it your first time here? (Cat. És la primera vegada que vens per aquí?)
  • Do you like [Barcelona]? (Cat. T’agrada [Barcelona]?)

In a first meeting, avoid such topics as religion or politics, and do not ask personal questions (marital status, age, etc.).

When you are introduced to a woman for the first time, do not kiss her on the cheeks, but shake hands instead. Although this is common in our country, in Anglo-Saxon countries kissing a woman on the first meeting is not considered proper.

Personal information

In formal situations, it is not common to ask and answer personal questions during a conversation because this is considered too rude, but we may need to do so during a job interview or when we need to fill in a form. In informal situations, however, it is very common to talk about personal things. Here are some common questions and answers which may be useful when asking for and giving personal information:


  • What’s your name? - My name’s (Maria) (formal) / I’m (Maria) (informal).
  • Where are you from? - I’m (Spanish) / I’m from (Spain) / I’m from (Barcelona).
  • Where do you come from? - I’m (Spanish) / I’m from (Spain) / I’m from (Barcelona).
  • Where do you live? - I live in (Barcelona) / I live in (Spain).
  • What’s your phone number? - It’s (605 33 33 33).
  • What’s your address? - It’s (Paral·lel 71, in Barcelona).
  • What’s your job? / What do you do? - I’m (a doctor) / I work as (a doctor).
  • Where do you work? - I work (in a hospital) / I work (at Sant Pau Hospital).
  • How old are you? - I’m (32 years old) / I’m (32).
  • What are your hobbies? - I like (swimming) / My hobby is (swimming).
  • What do you like doing? - I like (swimming).

Yes/no questions:

  • Are you (Maria)? - Yes, I am / Yes, that’s right / No, I’m not (my name’s Paula).
  • Are you (Spanish)? - Yes, I am / No, I’m not (I’m Italian).
  • Have you got any brothers or sisters? - Yes, (I’ve got one brother and two sisters) / No, I haven’t.
  • Do you work? - Yes, I do (I’m a doctor in a hospital) / No, I don’t (I’m unemployed).
  • Can you spell (the name of the street)? - Yes, it’s (p-a-r-a-l-l-e-l)
  • Do you speak (English)? - Yes, I do (a little) / No, I’m afraid I don’t
  • Do you like (sports)? - Yes, (I like them very much) / No, I don’t, (I prefer watching television).


1) In telephone numbers, we must say each number individually. When two consecutive numbers are the same, we use the term double (55, for example, is double five). Number ‘0’ is zero.

2) The question what do you do? is equivalent to what’s your job?. Do not confuse with: what are you doing? (Cat. Què fas? / Què estàs fent?).

3) Notice the answer to the question how old are you?. We must say: I’m (30) years old). It is wrong to say: *I have (30) years.

4) Remember that in short answers, we must include the correponding auxiliary or modal verb of the question.

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