Measuring electricity

  • Ammeter
  • Ammeter

Below are measuring instruments used in electric and electronic work:

An ammeter is used to measure the current in a circuit. The current is measured in amperes (A). Ammeters can be mounted on any circuit in order to provide current measurements.

An Amper refers to the amount of electrons that are flowing per second through something that conducts electricity.

In order for an ammeter to measure a current, the current must pass through it and hence it must be inserted in a series mode inside the circuit. The polarities must correspond: the positive and negative polarity must match up with the positive and negative on the circuit.

  • Voltmeter
  • Voltmeter

A voltmeter is used to measure the voltage between two points in a circuit. When using a voltmeter to measure voltages, it does not require current to be passed through it. It is inserted in parallel mode with the circuit elements whose voltage we want to measure. Polarity should be observed in the placement of voltmeters.

Most people now buy multimeters, which include ammeter, voltmeter, and sometimes other magnitude meters built into one device. A typical multimeter would include basic features such as the ability to measure voltage, current and resistance.


This is a measurement of the electrical potential produced by the battery, or the utility grid connected to the wall outlet.

Figura Multimeter

As you can see in figure above, a multimeter has three parts: the display, the selection knob and the ports.

The display usually has four digits and it can display a negative sign (the digit on the left of the display can only show a ‘1’ as a figure, usually it is described as half digit, so this display would present 3½ digits instead of 4).

The selection knob allows you to change the function between voltmeter, ohmmeter, and ammeter, and to change the scale (x1, x10, etc.) of the meter. Many functions have multiple ranges, so it is important to have both set correctly, otherwise it may result in serious damage to the meter or harm to the operator.

The multimeter has two ports:

  • One is usually labelled “COM” or (-), which stands for common node. This is where the black test lead will be connected. It will be used for nearly every measurement taken.
  • The other jack or jacks should be labelled “V” (+) and “Ω” for Volts and Ohms, or “I” (+) for Ampers respectively.

The + and - symbols represent the polarity of probes. If the test leads were installed as suggested, the red lead would be positive as compared to the black test lead. This is good to know when the circuit under test is not labelled + or -, as it is usually the case.

Many meters have additional jacks that are required for high-current or high-voltage tests. It is equally important to have the test leads connected to the proper jacks as it is to have the selector switch range and test type (volts, amps, ohms) set. All must be correct to preserve the meter and the operator from damage.

Other components and devices

Some components, such as capacitors and inductors (or coils) have the ability to store energy and release it again later to the circuit.

  • Capacitors
  • Capacitors

Capacitors: Capacitors store electric charge. They contain at least two electrical conductors (called plates) separated by an insulating layer (called dielectric). Capacitors are widely used as parts of electrical circuits in many common electrical devices. They can be used as filters, to smooth variations in the current, or as a storage of electrical energy, as a radio tuner, or as a timer. Capacitors take time to charge and discharge. They can be fixed, pre-set by the user, or be variable.

Small capacitors are used in electronic devices to couple signals between stages of amplifiers, as components of electric filters and tuned circuits, or as parts of power supply systems to smooth rectified current.

Larger capacitors are used for energy storage in such applications as strobe lights, as parts of some types of electric motors, or for power factor correction in AC power distribution systems. Standard capacitors have a fixed value of capacitance, but adjustable capacitors are frequently used in tuning circuits. Different types are used depending on required capacitance, working voltage, or current handling capacity.

  • Inductor
  • Inductor

Inductors: The inductor is one of the basic electrical components used in practical circuits as well as circuit analysis. It is a passive two-terminal electrical component used to store energy in a magnetic field. They are also called reactors or coils.

Along with capacitors and resistors, inductors are one of the three passive linear circuit elements that make up electric circuits. Inductors are widely used in alternating current (AC) electronic equipment, particularly in radio equipment. They are used to block the flow of AC current while allowing DC to pass; inductors designed for this purpose are called chokes. They are also used in electronic filters to separate signals of different frequencies, and in combination with capacitors to make tuned circuits, used to tune radio and TV receivers.

The modern day unit of measurement for an inductor is the “Henry”. All practical realisations of inductors also have resistance, and it is this combination of inductance and resistance that defines the Quality (Q Factor) of an inductor.

Types of inductors: As with many electrical devices, different models exist for specific applications. Coupled, multilayer, ceramic core, and molded inductors are all common types found in commercial and industrial applications.

Types of Cores: Aside from ceramic core inductors, other core materials can be used to achieve certain results. Because the core is the material the coil winds around, it directly affects inductance. Coils wound around iron-based cores yield greater inductance than those wound around non-iron-based cores.

Relays: Relays are discrete devices (as opposed to integrated circuits) that are used to allow a low power logic signal to control a much higher power circuit. The relay provides isolation of the high power circuit from the low power logic circuit in order to protect the low power circuit from overcurrent. The relay accomplishes this by providing a small electromagnetic coil for the logic circuit to control. When the electromagnetic coil is energized, it causes a high power capacity magnetized switch to activate the high power circuit. An example of this is a relay that provides a large amount of current to the headlights of an automobile when the relay controlling the headlights is activated by the low power logic circuitry in the dashboard of the car.


An amplifier is an electronic device that increases the power of a signal. It does this by taking energy from a power supply and controlling the output to match the input signal shape but with a larger amplitude. In this sense, an amplifier modulates the output of the power supply to make the output signal stronger than the input signal.

The four basic types of electronic amplifiers are voltage amplifiers, current amplifiers, transconductance amplifiers, and transresistance amplifiers.


Jordi and Bill have to install the telephone line. Another company had made the internal wiring and provided three telephone points in the apartment: in the dining room, the library and the bedroom. After connecting the telephone to the external distribution point, they realized that only the phone in the dining room worked.

Bill: Jordi, the phone in the bedroom is not working. There is no dialling tone.

Jordi: Then you need to find out if the problem is in the handset, or if the cabling is damaged.

Bill: How do I check?

Jordi: Come on, Bill! You need to do a continuity test with a multimeter. We have one in the car.

Bill: Here is the multimeter.

Jordi: Ok, we will start from the bedroom. Now, we will use the screwdriver to open the wall socket, so that we can see the internal wall cable, and then we will set our multimeter to Ohms. So, turn the knob to Ohms setting, and set the range to the smallest possible resistance level (mOhms). Now, we place one probe at one end of the wire that we are testing, and place the other probe to the other end. If the resistance level is very low, then the connection is good, and current can pass through the wire, which means that the circuit is ”closed”. If the resistance level is infinite, then the circuit is “open”, or has a break in it (the cable has been cut along the line).

Bill: Yes, but there is an audible signal in the multimeter.

Jordi: Sure, you are right. The audible signal is produced when continuity is present. In this case, there is no problem with the cables. We have to change the cable between the phone handset and the wall socket.

Bill: Oh, now it works!

Jordi: Yes, it does. We did an excellent job!


  • Provide: proporcionar
  • Match up: coincidir
  • To be expected: que s’espera
  • Placement: col·locació
  • Device: dispositiu
  • Feature: característica
  • Such as: tals com… / com per exemple…
  • Multimeter: polímetre, multímetre, tester
  • Display: pantalla
  • Selection knob: selector (del multímetre)
  • Probe: sonda o cable de connexió
  • Damage: desperfecte, dany
  • Labelled: etiquetat, amb l’etiqueta…
  • Lead: cable
  • Capacitor: condensador
  • Inductor: inductor
  • Coil: bobina
  • Insulating layer: capa aïllant
  • Storage: emmagatzematge
  • Radio tuner: sintonitzador de ràdio
  • Timer: temporitzador
  • Strobe light: llum estroboscòpica
  • Magnetic field: camps magnètic
  • Input/output signal: senyal d’entrada/sortida
  • Dialing tone: to de marcatge (telèfon)
  • Internal wiring: cablejat intern
  • Find out: descobrir
  • Handset: auricular (telèfon)
  • Cabling: cablejat
  • Screwdriver: tornavís
  • Wall socket: endoll de paret
  • Range: marges de mesura
  • Level: nivell
  • One end of the wire: un extrem del cable
  • Cut along the line: tallat en algun lloc al llarg de la línia


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).

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.

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

  • 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]).

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

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).

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.

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

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….

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.

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’.

Yes/No questions

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?)

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).

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

  • 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

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.

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.

Meeting people

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

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.

In formal situations:

  • 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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