It’s time for that famous celebration of love and romance – Valentine’s Day! It is inspired by the sad story of Saint Valentine of Rome. According to legend, he performed weddings for Roman soldiers who were forbidden to marry under Roman law. He was imprisoned for his actions and wrote a letter to his jailer’s daughter before his execution on the 14th of February. The letter was signed From your Valentine – a phrase that is still used today.

In England and France, the feast of Saint Valentine first became associated with love and romance in medieval times. Geoffrey Chaucer and William Shakespeare both mention Valentine’s Day in their writings. By 1700, it was common to exchange cards and flowers on this day with your partner.

Even if you don’t have a significant other, you can still get involved in the Valentines fun. After all, it’s the perfect day to ask somebody out on a date!

Asking someone out can be a really nerve-wracking experience in your first language, so if you’re speaking a second language, like English, it can be even more difficult to know the right thing to say.

That’s where we come in! This post will give you some ideas for starting a conversation, asking someone out, ways to make suggestions, how to pay compliments – and even some funny chat-up lines to make people laugh!


Chatting someone up


Starting a conversation with a complete stranger is a daunting prospect! Sometimes it’s best to keep it simple: just approach the person you’d like to talk to and say, “Hello, what’s your name? Do you mind chatting for a minute?”

One way of talking to somebody new is to start off with a chat-up line. Yes, they’re a bit corny and funny, but if you can make someone laugh when you’re chatting them up, they’re more likely to say yes to a date! Here are some of our favourites:

  • I think there’s something wrong with your phone – it doesn’t have my number in it.
  • Are we on the Hogwarts Express? Because I think you and I are headed somewhere magical
  • Here I am. What were your other two wishes?
  • Do you like raisins? How do you feel about a date*?
  • Are you a time traveller? Because I think I see you in my future!

*This pun works because a date can also refer to a dried fruit, similar to a raisin.


Asking someone out


Your chat up line worked, and now it’s time to suggest going out together! Here are some phrases you can use to propose a date to the object of your affections.

  • Would you be interested in going on a date with me?
  • Would you like to exchange phone numbers?
  • I wondered if you would like to go out with me sometime?
  • Do you have plans this weekend? Would you like to hang out?
  • Are you single? How would you feel about going on a date with me?

Suggesting an activity


Well done, you charmer – you’ve got a date! Now it’s time to make a plan. Here are some useful phrases for making suggestions without seeming too forceful:

  • I’m looking forward to our date! Are you up for going bowling? It’d be fun!
  • What time should we meet up tonight? I thought we could go to this cool new bar for a drink!
  • How about going to an exhibition tonight? Or would you prefer the cinema?
  • How do you feel about a picnic this weekend?
  • I thought we might go for a walk along the beach.

Paying a compliment


You’re on your date, and it’s going well. You’ve been talking, you’ve been laughing and you want to say something nice and flattering – but you’re not sure what to say. Here are some ideas:

  • I really like your outfit.
  • You look really nice.
  • I think you’re really handsome/beautiful.
  • You’re a very interesting person.
  • I’m really enjoying your company.

Receiving a compliment


If you’re the person who receives a compliment, it can be difficult to know what to say! Try one of these phrases:

  • Thank you!
  • That’s very kind of you.
  • I feel the same.
  • How nice of you to say so.

Of course, you could always pay someone a compliment in return.

Glossary for Language Learners


Find the following words in the article and then write down any new ones you didn’t know.

Significant other (exp): romantic partner or spouse.

Asking (someone) out (pv): to invite someone on a date.

Chat up line (n): a phrase to start a conversation with someone you are attracted to.

Daunting (n): scary, difficult .

Corny (adj): silly or clichéd.

Chatting (them) up (pv): flirting.

Pun (n): a humorous way of using language.

The object of your affections (exp): the person you are attracted to.

Forceful (adj): powerful, domineering, bossy.


exp = expression

pv = phrasal verb

n = noun

adj = adjective

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