Conversational English Structures

Here are some common conversational structures in English.

I’m trying to…

This expression is used to inform somebody that you are attempting to accomplish something. After I’m trying, we use a to-infinitive.

  • I’m trying to get a new job.
  • He’s trying to go abroad.
  • I’m trying to learn typing.
  • I’m trying to learn cooking.
  • I’m trying to learn driving/cycling/horse riding.
  • I’m trying to quit smoking.
  • I’m trying to lose weight.
  • I’m trying to improve my English.
  • I’m trying to improve my communication skills.

Talking about your plans

I’m gonna + (verb)

The word ‘gonna’ is incorrect grammatically. It is the conversational equivalent of ‘going to’.

Here are some examples:

  • I’m gonna get a new job. (=I’m going to get a new job.)
  • He’s gonna get married. (= He’s going to get married.)
  • I’m gonna apply for that job. 
  • I’m gonna ask her out until she says Yes.
  • I’m gonna take a break.

Talking about your past habits

I used to + (verb)

This structure is used to talk about a person’s past habits.

  • I used to smoke, but now I don’t.
  • She used to teach at a music academy.
  • She used to write poems.
  • He used to write plays for television.
  • I used to eat a lot of chocolates.
  • I used to start work at 6 am.

Note that this structure is not used to talk about something that we still do.


  • She used to visit us every day. (= Now she doesn’t visit us every day.)
  • She visits me every day. (Here we are talking about a current habit of the person.)