Hanging out with Americans on Weekends and How to Make Plans in English

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In this Advanced English lesson I teach you how to speak with Native English speakers about weekend plans. We talk about the communication tools you can use to get invited to hang out with Americans on weekends. If you're interested in hanging out with and befriending Native English speakers, you'll know how to do it!

To Americans, weekends are very important. We take our weekends seriously. They are so important to us: if we are a student, if we are an entrepreneur, if we are a parent, if we are a nine to five job goer. Whatever your situation, you are going to want to have your weekend and in fact, you look forward to your weekend.

So we're going to talk about what you can ask Americans or when speaking English, what someone is going to be doing for their weekend and what are their weekend plans. And hopefully when you use these phrases out, you'll also get to join the weekend activities or plans that people have in mind. All right. That is our lesson for today.

Let's get into it.

So in English, we have this great expression. You might have heard of it. It's actually an acronym. So it's TGIF. Meaning thank God it's Friday or thank goodness is Friday. And in fact, when I was growing up, there was a block of television shows on one of the major networks. And it was a series of shows, maybe like four or five called TGIF.

So all of these shows were part of the TGIF program. And it is really funny because, you know, people at school would be like, well, TGIF, TGIF, thank God it's Friday, everyone, the students, the teachers, we are all very excited. And of course, as I got older, that remained the same. TGIF is abundant. I even have emails where I'm exchanging conversation with people and they might even start the email or open the email with TGIF or Happy Friday.

Right. So it's this idea that Friday is so important to us because it means that the weekend is right around the corner. So now let's talk a little bit about what questions you might ask when you are talking to someone on Friday, typically on a Friday or maybe even on a Thursday about the plans that they have scheduled for the weekend.

And as you know, as I made in a previous lesson, we talked about how Americans tend to be planners. Right. We like things planned. So, for example, if I am going to be doing something with friends this coming weekend, I probably will plan something with them today, tomorrow, a few days before the weekend. So Friday might be a little bit too late.

Only because there might be plans already made and those might be set in stone. And for example, if it's a concert where everyone needs a ticket there might not be any room for more people to add. Right. So in that sense, Friday might be cutting it a little bit closed, meaning it's a little too close to the weekend.

But still, typically when you're talking to people and asking them about their weekend plans, you could ask these on a Friday and if you're making plans, you want to probably do that far enough in advance and give or take a week before you actually do that weekend activity or go on that adventure, for example. All right. So some of the questions that you can ask in English when talking about someone's weekend plans are the following: The first one is, what are you up to this weekend?

What are you up to this weekend? And the question is, what are you? But we like to again, because of connected speech, we have linking happening. So what are you what are you what are you what are you up to this weekend and what are you up to this weekend? And notice how my voice is a little bit stronger and I'm slower on the weekend, right?

What are you up to this weekend? What are you up to this weekend? What are you up to this weekend? OK, so with that intonation, stress and pronunciation. Try it out yourself. What are you up to this weekend? So when I say that, that's really expecting someone has plans and they're going to then tell me what they're up to, what are they going to do, what are their plans for the weekend?

So I might say, what are your plans for the weekend or what are you up to this weekend? What are you up to this weekend? Right. Typically, we'd probably hear that more often. What are you up to this weekend? What are you up to later? And the person might say, Oh, I'm just going to lay low, probably just watch a couple of movies, eat some popcorn, relax on the couch, or they might be doing something outside.

So maybe they're going to say that they're going to a restaurant or having brunch with friends. And then typically what happens when they're talking about what their plans are and you're kind of motioning that you might have some availability or you might want to hang out together, they might invite you So that's typically when the invitation will come after they start talking about what they're going to be doing.

For example, I'm going to go out to brunch. Do you want to tag along? But generally speaking, if there are going to be a lot of other people there that you might not know, it's not common that an invitation will be sent to you unless it's something like a house party where there is a couple of people or a dinner party where there's meant to be new people.

There, where it's not just a small group of friends, it's friends plus there plus ones. Does that make sense? So the idea with that is that when someone's going to respond, if there is an opportunity to invite you, they will. At that moment, there's no need to say Oh, can I come? Right. That does not necessarily go over well if you don't know the person very well and they don't know you very well.

But just by asking that question, what are you up to this weekend? It's kind of presenting it so that you're angling towards maybe doing something together. Right, without even asking it explicitly, which is really cool because that way you're asking basically for an invitation, but you're not asking for an invitation. It's very subtle. All right. The other way you can ask what someone's up to that weekend is.

Got anything planned this weekend? Got anything fun planned? Right. Got anything planned or got anything fun planned with linking with a got anything, got anything, got anything, got anything? It sounds really different, right, than just got anything. But with linking and connected speech, got anything anything got anything fun planned this weekend? Anything fun. Anything fun planned? Right. So when you're practicing that, I want you to do that in chunks, right?

So you can start at the beginning or you can start with the end fun planned anything fun plan, got anything fun plan, got anything fun planned or you start from the beginning. Got anything? Got anything that anything teasing, anything fun planned, anything fun or anything fun planned. Right. And so you're going to want to repeat it so that you can really get it.

You want to nail it on the head. So with your pronunciation and intonation and inflection, of course. So practice that a couple of times. Again, when we say gone, anything fun planned the question we're asking is, do you have anything fun planned? But we say, Do you got anything fun planned? But you can also just eliminate, do you and just say, got anything fun plan, got anything fun planned, got anything fun planned this weekend?

Right. So it's like, what do you have going on this weekend? And maybe you're going to do something together. So, for example, if it's a situation where a lot of people are expected to show up to this place, like it's an open invite for people, something like an outdoor free summer concert where you don't need tickets necessarily or it's not a capacity issue with a restaurant being, you know, you have to make reservations and have everyone there on time and everything, then it's not uncommon for someone to extend an invite to you.

For example, they might say, oh, well, there's a great free concert going on in Central Park. I was planning on going, Do you want to join? I'm going to go with a couple of friends. Feel free to come. Right. And that situation, depending on what they're doing, right? If it's something like that, then you probably will get an invite.

So it really just depends on the situation, right? If they have something fun planned that is open to you, they will extend that invitation to you. And of course, it depends on how close you are with this person. But Americans tend to be friendly and inclusive. And so if they see that you have interest in that event, for example, if you respond with some, you know, curiosity and interest, like, oh, I love blah, blah, blah group or I love the idea of being in the park or, oh, I was going to be in Central Park anyway, what a coincidence.

Right. If they see and hear in your tone of voice that you're excited and if they can extend an invitation to you, they will. Let's say you've got a long weekend coming up, so maybe Monday, the following week is a holiday so you have Saturday off, Sunday off and Monday off. That's considered a long weekend. And that happens a couple of times a year in the United States, for example, we might have Memorial Day weekend, 4th of July weekend, could fall on a weekday like a Monday.

Also, Thanksgiving break could fall on that. Columbus Day is generally a Monday, I believe. And so it's not uncommon to have long weekend. So for that if it's a long weekend, the idea is that people generally, if they're in a city, will go somewhere outside of the city. They'll leave the city and go to a beach or to some countryside place or somewhere in nature, maybe a camping trip or a little vacation, not usually anywhere too far, because, again, it's not that long of a weekend.

It's only three days, maybe four. But somewhere that you can get to generally by car probably not by plane, but in some cases, yes. For people who don't mind air travel and don't mind, you know, being on a plane for several hours and having that take up a chunk of their three day weekend, if you know what I mean.

But if that's the case, if it's a long weekend, you might say going anywhere for the long weekend. Any plans for the long weekend? So you will emphasize the long weekend. Right. So if it's a long weekend, you will say it's a long weekend and they'll know that, too, right? There's this general understanding, obviously, of that and that what a long weekends activities will entail.

Are probably going to be different than what a typical weekends activities would entail. Right. Even though it's a difference of one or maybe even two days. So not like it's that different, but still different enough, long enough for there to be a little bit of travel involved and so with that, they might say, oh, I'm not going to do anything.

I'm not going to go anywhere. I'm going to do a staycation, which is a made up word, but it's a relatively new word. It's come out in the past few years. It's stay and vacation. So is the idea of, you know, either being at home and relaxing, having some downtime, some Zen time, some rest and relaxation that we call R&R time, or maybe it could be like you behave as a tourist would in your hometown or in the town that you're living in.

For example, if you're living in Boston, then you might feel like you can be a tourist for the day and go to all the museums and the tourist sites and see the tourist attractions and that kind of thing. Or if you're in New York, even if, let's say, that's where you grew up, you might have never been to the Statue of Liberty or Ellis Island or Randall's Park or anywhere else in the city that tend to be major tourist attractions.

So if it's that, then a staycation will allow you to be a tourist in the place that you know very well, but in a different context, right? In the context of living there or working there. So that's a really fun word to use when you are asked this question, got anything fun planned or are you up to anything this long weekend or what are you doing for the long weekend?

You can just say, I'm going to have a staycation. I'm planning on going to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. I'm going to check out the ice skating that's happening in Central Park. I'm going to go to a couple of Broadway shows, maybe see the ballet. I'm going to try this restaurant and then that restaurant. Right. So you get the idea.

So that's a really fun word to use. And I highly encourage you to use it and also to do it have a staycation. It's a lot of fun. All right. And if you just want to know, if someone's around for the weekend, you can say, are you around this weekend? Are you around this weekend? Meaning are you around to hang out?

That's the implication. Of course, they're around, right? They're here but are they around to hang out? Are they around and available to get together? And the next after they say yes or no, if they say yes, then the idea is that you invite them somewhere or do something with them. So, for example, somewhere to ask me, are you around this weekend?

I say, yes. Then I would expect them to say, oh, let's have coffee or let's check out that new restaurant or let's go to that art gallery opening or let's go camping. Or Do you want to join me for this hike? Right. There's the expectation that something else is coming, meaning an invitation is underway. They're going to ask you if you want to hang out.

It doesn't have to be anything formal in the sense that it's reservations for a restaurant or going somewhere where you need a ticket. It could even just be a casual meet up like a coffee or a walk in the park or a hike or just something where it's not like it needs a lot of planning and it can just happen kind of spontaneously with the idea that both of you are available and maybe you have friends that are also available and want to do this activity together.

For example, maybe you want to take a little trip to the beach, like a day trip. You can hop in a car or you can get on the train and get to the beach. Right? And then the idea is that you'll all be together. But with that question, are you around for the weekend? Are you around this weekend?

It’s “Do you want to hang out after that?” that generally follows. Or “what do you want to do?”  “Do you want to hang out together?” “What should we do?” “Let's do something right?” It just depends on what comes next. Generally, an invitation.

And the last thing you can say, if you know that someone is a planner and they probably have stuff that they do like, you know, that they tend to be people who like to go out and do outdoor activities or try out different things in a city, get to know their city, do some city exploration.

You can say what have you got planned this weekend? Like you expect them to have something planned. And if it's someone who you're not really sure if they have anything planned, you might just say, do you have anything planned? Right. So again, very similar question, but the way you word it shows your expectation of sort of what they've got planned or not have planned.

And depending on which way you want to take the conversation, you can invite them somewhere, suggest an activity that you can do together. Or if they're asking for your advice, let's say they know that you're a big hiker and you've explored various hiking trails in the area. Then they might ask you for advice, what's your favorite hiking trail?

Right, something like that. So a lot to unpack here. A lot of really great phrases. And we talked about the the subtext of different questions and the meaning behind it, the intended meaning and possible answers and ways to talk about invitations without really talking about invitations. If you want to be more subtle, for example, so a lot of really great things here for you to replicate and try out in your own lives while speaking English I highly encourage you to practice, practice the intonation, practice the pronunciation, practice saying these phrases and asking these questions so that when the time comes, you'll be ready, you'll be super enthusiastic and you'll know how to deliver the question and deliver the invitation to someone, for example, rather extend the invitation. So it's really about practicing it and feeling comfortable enough with the language that you feel confident about it and that you're able to use it in the real world, because ultimately that's when we need it. That's when it matters. All right. I hope that you enjoyed this advanced English lesson.

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All right. That's it for me today. Thank you so much for joining me. I will see you in the next Advanced English lesson where we're going to continue advancing your English together until then you have the awesome work and I will see you soon.