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  1. #1
    peppy_man is offline Member
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    Default have a small talk with -- OR have small talk with --

    When we chat with our colleague(s), we 'have (a) small talk with' them.

    A native speaker from Britain said to me that 'have a small talk with' is OK,
    but my teacher says that 'have small talk with' is better.
    Which do you think is better? Also is there any difference in meaning between 'have small talk with' and 'have a small talk with' ?
    Thank you.

  2. #2
    mykwyner is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: have a small talk with -- OR have small talk with --

    Small talk by itself usually means perfunctory or meaningless conversation.

    "Cut the small talk and get to the point."

    A small talk is a short conversation.

  3. #3
    Steven D's Avatar
    Steven D is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: have a small talk with -- OR have small talk with --

    Quote Originally Posted by mykwyner
    Small talk by itself usually means perfunctory or meaningless conversation.

    "Cut the small talk and get to the point."

    A small talk is a short conversation.
    I agree that small talk can be seen as meaningless and perfunctory. However, small talk does serve a practical purpose. It helps people get to know each other. Making small talk shows friendliness.

    In the context of language learning, I'd say small talk is "good talk". Small talk is easy in your first language, but it might not be so easy in a foreign language such as English.

    It's good to start off with some small talk. Some people might feel reluctant about jumping into the deep end right away.

    Last edited by Steven D; 11-Jun-2005 at 01:43.

  4. #4
    peppy_man is offline Member
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    Default Re: have a small talk with -- OR have small talk with --

    mykwyner, X Mode, thank you for your reply.

    In the following context, which is better?

    'In a telecommuting system, the employees might feel lonely because they don't have anyone around them to [ have a small talk / have small talk] with.'

    I guess 'have small talk' is better in this case,
    because in this context the employees could feel relaxed and refreshed by having small talk with their colleagues (namely small talk does serve a practical purpose). They cannot feel relaxed and refreshed by just
    having a short conversation.
    Is this correct?

  5. #5
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    Default Re: have a small talk with -- OR have small talk with --

    You're correct.

    Additionally, 'to have a small talk' could also refer to an important matter that needs to be discussed in as brief and as painless way as possible. For example,

    Boss to a new employee: Come into my office for a small talk about the company dress code. Jeans are inappropriate.

    Father to his daughter: Let's have a small talk about your responsibilities at home.

  6. #6
    peppy_man is offline Member
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    Default Re: have a small talk with -- OR have small talk with --

    Casiopea, thank you for your response.
    Your explanation was very helpful for me!
    I could learn that 'have a small talk' can be used to discuss important matters in a brief and painless way.

  7. #7
    Steven D's Avatar
    Steven D is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: have a small talk with -- OR have small talk with --

    Quote Originally Posted by peppy_man
    mykwyner, X Mode, thank you for your reply.

    In the following context, which is better?

    'In a telecommuting system, the employees might feel lonely because they don't have anyone around them to [ have a small talk / have small talk] with.'

    I guess 'have small talk' is better in this case,
    because in this context the employees could feel relaxed and refreshed by having small talk with their colleagues (namely small talk does serve a practical purpose). They cannot feel relaxed and refreshed by just
    having a short conversation.
    Is this correct?

    Yes, you're correct.

    Additionally:

    If people have "a small talk" it's likely that it's about something that is significant and specific. "A small talk" could really be about anything. By contrast, if people are engaged in "small talk" it's usually more like a friendly chat. It doesn't have to be about anything specific and significant, but it certainly can be. One never knows the direction a conversation will take. Small talk can turn into something more meaningful. It depends on the speakers.

  8. #8
    Steven D's Avatar
    Steven D is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: have a small talk with -- OR have small talk with --

    Quote Originally Posted by peppy_man
    mykwyner, X Mode, thank you for your reply.

    In the following context, which is better?

    'In a telecommuting system, the employees might feel lonely because they don't have anyone around them to [ have a small talk / have small talk] with.'

    I guess 'have small talk' is better in this case,
    because in this context the employees could feel relaxed and refreshed by having small talk with their colleagues (namely small talk does serve a practical purpose). They cannot feel relaxed and refreshed by just
    having a short conversation.
    Is this correct?

    Yes, you're correct. However, it's usually "make small talk", not "have small talk". If it's "a small talk", then use "have".

    make small talk

    "have small talk" - That's possible, but far less common. The usual collocation is "make small talk"

    have a small talk

  9. #9
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    Thumbs up Re: have a small talk with -- OR have small talk with --

    It is true that ''have a small talk" make good, because when we talk with people, we feel good, and we don't think more to our problems.
    I would like to have a small talk with people because it will permit me, to correct my mistakes in english.

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