1. Touchy topics
In North America when people meet each other for the first time, they
talk about things like family, work, school, or sports. They ask questions like
"Do you have any brothers or sisters?" "Where do you work?",
"What school do you go to?", and "Do you like sports?" They
also ask questions like "Where do you come from?" and ":Where
do you live?"
These are polite questions. They are not personal or private. But some things are personal or private, and questions about them are not polite. People don't ask questions about a person's salary. They don't ask how much someone paid for something. It is OK to ask children how old they are, but it is not polite to ask old people their age. It is also not polite to ask people questions about politics or religions unless you know them very well. People don't ask unmarried people "Why are you single?", and they don't ask a married couple with no children "Why don't you have any children?"
2. The Dating Game
Young people have more freedom in North America than in many other
countries. They often start dating around the age of 14, and do not need an
older person to go with them. They go in groups or couples to school events(dances,
plays, ball games), parties, restaurants, movies, and sports events.
For most teenagers, dating is just for fun. it does not mean that they want to get married. Young people may even date several friends at the same time. They usually choose their own dates. Sometimes, however, someone arranges a date for two people who do not know each other. This is called a 'blind date."
Either a man or a woman can invite someone on a date. If there are expenses, the man and woman often 'go Dutch'; this means they share the cost. Sometimes, however, one person pays for both people.
3. Grandma Knows Best
When people have a cold, a fever, or the flu, they usually go to the
doctor for help or they get some medicine from the drugstore. But many people
also use home remedies for common illnesses.
Lots of people drink hot chicken soup when they have a cold. They find it clears the head and the nose. Some people rub oil on the chest for a cold. Other people drink a mixture of red pepper, hot water, sugar, lemon juice, and milk or vinegar. Here are some simple home remedies.
Bee Stings and Insect Bites:
Wash the sting or bite. Put some meat tenderizer on a handkerchief and then put it on the bite for half an hour.
Put the burn under cold water or put a cold handkerchief on it. But don't put ice on the burn.
Drink warm liquids or take some honey.
Drink some water with a teaspoon of baking soda in it.
Drink a large glass of warm milk.
4. Is that an invitation?
In Canada and the United States, people enjoy entertaining at home. They often invite friends over for a meal, a party, or just for coffee and conversation. Here are the kinds of things people say when they invite someone to their home:
"Would you like to come over for dinner Saturday night?"
"Hey, we're having a party on Friday. Can you come?"
To reply to an invitation, either say thank you and accept, or say you're sorry and give an excuse:
"Thanks, I'd love to. What time would you like me to come?" or "Oh, sorry. I have tickets for a movie."
Sometimes, however, people use expressions that sound like invitations but which are not real invitations. For example:
"Please come over for a drink sometime."
"Let's get together for lunch soon."
"Why don't you come over and see us sometime soon?"
These are really just polite ways of ending a conversation. They are not real invitations because they don't mention a specific time or date. They just show that the person is trying to be friendly. To reply to expressions like these, people just say: "Sure, that would be great!" or "OK, yes, thanks."
So next time you hear what sounds like an invitation, listen carefully. Is it a real invitation or is the person just being friendly?