Industrial Dialogues for English Conversation

Thorold May

© copyright Thorold May 1998; All Rights Reserved  published by
The Plain & Fancy  Language Company 
ACN 1116240S  Melbourne, Australia

Note 1: These little dialogues are best practiced between pairs of students in a class after modelling by the teacher. They are deliberately a bit whimsical (that helps recall) and should be delivered with expression. As with learning parts in a play, the written script can be used initially to read from, then as a memory prompt, and finally discarded. The best students will tend to ad lib  a bit, which is fine.

Note 2: Most of the scripts below were written for industrial students in the city of Melbourne, Australia. The content reflects this, and there is local idiom which the students would need. Idiom is very regional, even within the same country. A teacher who doesn't understand the idiom used should alter it for local conditions. It is foolish to utter mechanically without meaning. Such scripts themselves are very easy for a native speaker to construct if he or she has an ear for how people actually talk. Natural style and content, together with a sense of humour,  is the key to successful learning dialogues.

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1. GETTING STARTED (a new job)




Hello! Jenny isn't it? I'm Alex.


Hi! I'm not quite sure what I'm supposed 
to do here.

No worries. The manager has asked me 
to show you the ropes.


So you know your way around. How 
long have you been here?

About three years. It's not such a bad 
place if you can put up with out great 


You seem terribly cynical.

Oh, don't take any notice of me. It's a 
personality defect. Look, this is the 
store room. You will spend a lot of your 
time here.


Oh? What do I have to do in the store 

Mostly you have to check stuff against 
the invoices. It is amazing how much 
goes missing.


Mm. That sounds a bit worrying. And 
what else do I have to do?

Oh, Grumpy will find plenty for you to 
do. At first he will have you helping out 
all around the office. That way you will 
get to know how things work..


Grumpy? Do you mean the manager? Is 
he that bad?

He's OK in his own way. Just don't 
cross him. We all get nick-names 
around here. I wonder what we can call 


Jenny is just fine, thanks very much! 
Anyway, what do they call you?

Me? I'm Petrol Head to the mob in 
there. That comes of having an old MG 
sports car. 


All right, Petrol Head, show me the rest 
of this joint.

At your service madam



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2. A PAIN IN THE NECK (an annoying person)  



Philip, I'd like you to prepare that CBS  order


OK, I'll do it now.

You'll have to get some cartons from the  old storage shed.


Yeah, right

And don't forget to use our new labels


Got you... When is the carrier coming?

Sometime after smoko'. Oh, make sure 
the docket is readable.


I've been taking classes in calligraphy.

I'm just passing on company policy. By 
the way, you'll need to label this stuff 
"FRAGILE" too.


Allan, I've been doing this for five years! Now, can I get on with it?

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  3. FINAL SOLUTIONS (a workplace problem)  



These flange bolts are giving me trouble  Mike


Damn. We need to get this job out by lunch time..

They're frozen on. Must have been here  for years.


There's a bit of water pipe in the corner. It will give you some leverage.

Yeah. I thought of that. It could shear  the heads right off though.


Mm. Yeah. They are probably crystallized... I wonder if there is any  Penetrine left?

Yup. I saw it under a bench this 
morning. I'll make a putty dam and let it  soak in for a while.


Well, the customer will just have to wait, won't he. Penetrine works wonders.

Ah .... In the end it will probably come  down to a job for Yankee engineering 


You love violence, don't you Jeff. A cold chisel will stuff the nuts completely.

Give me a break, Mike. If they're 
buggered, they're buggered. We might 
have to drill them out.


Yeah, I suppose so. Well, let's get on with it

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Forklift Driver (Dave)

Dave, I want you to clear out the old 
store room


The ABC truck is coming in 15 

Yeah, so what?


Well, it can't unload if these pallets 
of Uniset parts are still in the loading 

Well, you can move them in 5 
minutes. Then do the store room.


There's no where to put them. Nosy 
is doing an inventory on the Uniset 

Well, put them out in the car park 
for a couple of hours.


What if it rains? Nosy will throw a 
wobbly if that stuff gets wet.

It has got plastic wrap on it. Now 
get on with it Dave


Alright, but don't blame me if Nosy 
throws a wobbly.

Jesus Dave! You'd try the patience 
of a saint. You're not paid to debate. 
Just do it!


Okay, okay. I don't know nuthin'. I'll 
put the pallets in the car park


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You look a bit exasperated

Bert keeps asking me if I dream in 


Good grief ! Why? 

Who knows. He seems to have a thing  about colour.


You've got a point.  Did you notice his shoes?

The green ones, you mean? Yes, pretty  strange, eh.


Everyone to their taste, I suppose

Well, maybe. But not many people dye 
their hair pink.


Yes, that is weird. Is he a punk rocker or something?

I think he's as mad as a two bob watch.


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    To e-mail Thor May, please click here