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can we have a chat?

 
 
WBYeats
 
Reply Mon 20 May, 2013 12:14 am
Assume that I know an undergraduate from aother department, and I have a nodding acquaintance with him only, and I see him and want to strike up a conversation with him; what should I say in English?
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JTT
 
  2  
Reply Mon 20 May, 2013 10:33 am
@WBYeats,
Hi [name]. Howzit goin'? // How's life treatin' you? // How're things goin'? // [Ask about his classes, interests, ... .] // ...
WBYeats
 
  1  
Reply Sun 26 May, 2013 07:16 am
@JTT,
Thank you~

How about in a room when the student is using a computer engrossed in his work? Will a native speaker say something like this?:

Hello, I hope I'm not interrupting; can I ask you a few questions?
JTT
 
  1  
Reply Sun 26 May, 2013 07:46 am
@WBYeats,
Quote:
Hello, I hope I'm not interrupting; can I ask you a few questions?


That's definitely possible. Depending on how well you know each other. 'could' is more deferential, more polite, less assuming than 'can'.
WBYeats
 
  1  
Reply Sun 26 May, 2013 08:31 am
@JTT,
Thank you~

I'd thought INTERRUPTING too formal a word; is it so? I guess more often native speakers will use phrasal verbs so express the meaning?

If it's a conversation, we can use CUT IN etc, but now he's using a computer; CUT IN seems unlikely....
JTT
 
  1  
Reply Sun 26 May, 2013 09:06 am
@WBYeats,
When we want to be polite, we tend to the more formal. We also get wordier, adding layers to polite requests to make them more polite/more deferential/softer/... .

Can you ... ?

Could you ... ?

I was wondering if I could get you to ... .
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