PHIL: What time is that soccer game on? I thought it started at noon.
JACK: We must have had the wrong time. Oh, well … soccer’s not my favorite sport anyway. I much prefer basketball.
PHIL: Oh, really? I thought your favorite sport was tennis! I’m a big fan of basketball, too.
JACK: How about a game sometime?
PHIL: Sure thing! Why don’t we go shoot some hoops now since the soccer game isn’t on?
JACK: Excellent idea. Let’s go.
• What time is that soccer game on? means “When does the soccer game start?”
“What time” plus something plus “on” is a common expression used to ask about the start time of a TV show or a movie.
• I much prefer basketball here means “I like basketball a lot more than soccer.” Notice how “much” is stressed to show that the speaker really likes basketball.
• Oh, really? Notice the rising intonation on “really.” This shows that the speaker is surprised. He thought that Jack liked tennis the best.
• I’m a big fan of basketball is a way of saying “I like basketball very much” (“to be a fan of” is a casual expression used to describe something you really like).
• How about a game here means “Let’s play a basketball game.”
• Sure thing! This is a casual expression used to mean “OK.”
• Shoot some hoops means to play an informal game of basketball. This is a casual expression used between friends.