ABSTRECT One of the major goals of foreign language instruction is the development of communicative competence. This article analyzes the importance of conversational gambits and routines for achieving this goal. After presenting a model for communicative competence, we illustrate gambits and routines within the context of telephone conversations. We then present exercises for drilling and testing these items. We conclude by discussing the importance of gambits and routines for the attainment of oral proficiency and acculturation.