When friends get together, they usually do so by an invitation from one person to another. An invitation may be very casual, such as asking a friend to go out for a drink or dinner after work or more formal, such as a wedding invitation. More formal invitations are usually written and may require an RSVP (French abbreviation répondez s’il vous plaît  meaning please reply). There are several expressions that can be used when extending the more common and causal oral invitation. Look at the samples below.


English Expressions


Expression   Response   A- Accept, D- Decline


Are you free on (… Friday night)?   A: Sure, what did you have in mind?

D: No, I’m going to my grandmother’s 80th birthday party.

Would you like to go to ( … a picnic

 on Sunday afternoon)?  

  A: That would be great, thanks.

D: No can do, I have a soccer game.


How about going to ( … the movies

with me this Saturday)?   

  A: That sounds great. What time?

D: Sorry, but I’ve already made other plans.

I’d like to invite you to ( … the dance

this weekend)?

  A: How kind of you to ask, I’d be delighted.

D: I’m sorry, but I have a previous engagement.

Do you want to go to ( … the rock

concert with me)?

  A: Sure. When?                      

D: No thanks, loud concerts give me an earache.


English Dialogue


Students should work together in pairs and read the following dialogue, one student reading one part, the other student reading the other. Note the expressions used in the dialogue and the progression of the conversation. The dialogue can be used as a model to have similar conversations.


Bob: Alice, what are you doing Sunday afternoon?

Alice: Not much, what did you have in mind?

Bob: The Fourth Avenue Street Fair is going on downtown. Would you like to go?

Alice: Sure, sounds like fun. What is it anyway?

Bob: Just a bunch of vendors selling food, clothes, and what not, kind of like a carnival. There are also

street musicians and performers. It’s interesting to just walk around looking at the people and the sights.

Alice: What time and where do we meet?

Bob: The fair opens at 9:00, but I’m busy in the morning. How about 1:00?

Alice: OK, should I meet you somewhere there?

Bob: Why don’t I pick you up at your house?

Alice: Sounds good, see you then.


After reading, close your book and tell your partner a summary of the dialogue. Then switch and have your partner tell his or her summary. Start like this: This dialogue is about one person inviting another person to…This may seem silly, since you both already know what the dialogue is about, but the purpose is to practice using your English, not to give information or test your reading skills.


Conversation Activities


1. Pair work- discussion

     When was the last time you invited someone someplace or were invited someplace by someone? Tell your

partner about it using some of the ideas for the discussion below. Your partner should ask questions to get

more information.

  • wwhere was the invitation to
  • when was the invitation extended
  • what was the occasion of the invitation
  • did you/they accept or decline the invitation
  • if accepted, was it fun

1. Pair work- practice

     The situation:

Invite your partner to the activities below. Your partner should accept some of the invitations, but decline

decline others. If they decline, they should offer polite reasons for rejecting the invitation. If they accept the

invitation, both partners should continue the conversation to get ore information about the event, such as:

  • the day and time
  • where they should meet
  • how much money it will cost
  • what kind of dress is required
  • how long the event will last
  • if anything special is needed to participate in the event

                        To a natural history museum

                        To a lecture about finance finance finance finance

                        To an amusement park                              

                        To ball room dancing lessons

                        To a formal dinner                                

                        To a friend’s birthday party

                        To the Russian Ballet                                

                        To a horror movie

                        To go ice fishing on the lake                    

                        To go window shopping