120 Common English Phrases (And When to Use Them)
You and your friends are drinking coffee in your local cafe.
Everyone is smiling and chatting in English. As the conversation flows between different topics, you feel relaxed and confident while you listen to what your friends are saying.
You understand the phrases they’re using, not because you learned them by heart – but because you learned them in context.
Learning specific English phrases is essential for you to improve your fluency, speak confidently, and sound more natural when you speak with others.
However, memorizing random phrases off a list won’t be enough to help you become fluent… Plus it’s boring!
It’s important to say the right thing at the right time — so you need to understand what phrases to use in specific situations.
Today, I’ll cover 120 phrases from 12 everyday situations, so you feel more confident speaking English.
Some of these phrases you’ll likely know. Others may be new. But all of them are things natives really use, and can improve your conversations.
Also, remember that you don’t need to be fancy to impress people with your English. It’s better – especially in professional situations – to be simple and correct, than fancy and incorrect.
TABLE OF CONTENTS:
- Phrases to Enhance Your English Learning
- Phrases for Connecting One-on-One
- Phrases for Writing Better Emails
- Phrases for Workplace Conversations
- Phrases for Answering Questions with Confidence
- Phrases for Smoother Online Meetings
- Phrases for When You’re in a Hurry
- Phrases for When You Get Hurt
- Phrases for Expressing Frustration
- Phrases for Handling Awkward Moments
- Phrases for Sharing Your Excitement
- Phrases for Ordering Food Like a Native English Speaker
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Enhance Your Learning: 10 Common Phrases to Keep Improving Your English
When you’re learning English, you might find yourself in a situation where you need to let other people know that English is not your first language. And that’s okay!
Native speakers can talk really fast, and sometimes use complicated vocabulary that leaves you feeling lost.
So, here are some handy phrases that will help you communicate more effectively.
1. What does … mean?
If you hear a word that you don’t understand, it’s a great idea to ask a native speaker for the definition. For example:
Person A: “Did you watch the documentary I recommended?”
Person B: “Yes, I did, but I didn’t understand a word they kept saying. What does ‘bioluminescent’ mean?”
Person A: “Oh, ‘bioluminescent’ is a word used to describe animals that can make light on their own, like fireflies.”
2. How do you spell …?
If it’s your first time hearing a word like “bioluminescent,” you might want to know how to spell it so you can learn how to pronounce English words better. You can ask for the correct spelling like this:
- “How do you spell bioluminescent?”
Or you could also say something like:
- “Hey, how do you spell your name? I want to make sure I get it right.”
Asking someone how they spell their name is also a sneaky way to ask for a name again if you forget it. 🙂
3. What’s the difference between … and …?
Here’s how you can ask for help comparing things that sound similar:
- “What’s the difference between there, their, and they’re? I always get them confused.”
Even if you have more than two things you’re comparing, you can still use “between.”
Or, it can be used to explain bigger concepts, like this:
- “What’s the difference between American English and British English?“
4. Can you give me an example?
One of the best ways to understand something is to ask for a demonstration of how it can be used by native speakers. For example:
- “I’m having trouble understanding this grammar rule. Can you give me an example of how to use it in a sentence?”
- “I’m having trouble understanding when to use ‘a’ versus ‘an’. Can you give me an example?”
To sound more conversational, you can also say: “Got an example?”
5. How do you pronounce …?
When you hear (or see) a new word and you’re not sure how to pronounce it, ask a native speaker for the correct pronunciation.
- “Hey, I’m not sure how to say this word. How do you pronounce quinoa?”
- “Hey, how do you pronounce the name of this restaurant?”
Even if the sentence sounds a bit more formal, adding the “hey” to start will make it sound more relaxed and native.
6. What’s the word for …?
This phrase is useful when you’re trying to learn new words, or trying to find the right word to use in a conversation. You can ask for the correct word to describe something like this:
Person A: “What’s the word forsomeone who loves to read books?”
Person B: “They’re called bookworms!”
Person A: “Hey, what’s the word for when you’re away from home and you miss it?”
Person B: “It’s called being homesick.”
7. How do I use … in a sentence?
If you just learned a new word like “homesick,” but you’re not sure how to say it in a sentence, try asking this:
Person A: “How do I use homesick in a sentence?”
Person B: “You could say, I spoke with some of my friends last night, and today I’m feeling a little homesick.”
8. Could you say that again, please?
When you didn’t hear or understand what someone said the first time, ask them to repeat their last sentence. It’s important to add “I’m sorry” or “please” because it makes it more polite! Like this:
- “I’m sorry, could you say that again? I didn’t catch what you said.”
- “Could you say that again, please? I want to make sure I understand the directions.“
9. Could you please talk a bit slower?
It’s very common for native speakers to talk really quickly. So if someone is speaking quickly and you’re having trouble understanding what they’re saying, ask them to slow down.
- “I’m sorry, but could you speak a bit more slowly?“
- “Excuse me, could you please talk a little slower?”
10. Sorry, I don’t understand.
This is a polite and respectful way to say that you’re confused and ask for more explanation. For example:
- “I’m sorry, I don’t understand what you’re asking for. Could you please be more specific?”
- “Sorry, I don’t understand how this program works. Could you show me again?”
Making Friends: 10 Phrases to Boost Your Confidence in Conversations
Starting a conversation can be tricky, especially if you’re meeting someone new. But don’t worry, with these common English conversational phrases, you’ll have the tools you need to confidently speak with others.
These phrases will help you navigate different situations. Plus, I’ll show you how to politely end a conversation when it’s time to end the conversation and move on.
1. Hi there, my name is … Nice to meet you!
When you’re introducing yourself to someone for the first time, use this phrase.
- “Hi there, my name is John. Nice to meet you!“
- “Hi, I don’t think we’ve met before. My name is Sarah. Nice to meet you!”
2. Good morning/afternoon/evening, how are you doing today?
This phrase is a general greeting and a great way to start a conversation. For example:
- “Good morning! How are you doing today?”
- “Hey, good afternoon! How are you doing today?”
3. What do you do for work?
This is a very common way to start a conversation. It doesn’t have to be a professional setting. People usually have a lot to say about their job, so this lets them talk about their careers. For example:
- “So, what do you do for work?”
- “I don’t think I’ve ever asked, but what do you do for a living?”
4. Do you have any hobbies or interests?
Just like people like to talk about their jobs, they love to talk about their favorite things to do in their spare time. It’s a phrase that helps you find mutual interests and things to talk about. For example:
- “So, do you have any hobbies?“
- “What do you like to do for fun?”
- “What do you do in your free time?
5. Have you seen any good movies/shows lately?
If you’re a movie or TV fanatic, then you know how great it is to chat with someone who shares your passion for binge-watching.
And if you’re not, that’s okay, too! Asking someone about their favorite movies or shows is still a great way to connect and learn more about them. For example:
- “Have you seen any good movies or shows lately?”
- “What’s the last thing you watched that you really loved?”
6. What do you think about …?
Another great way to start a conversation or to ask someone’s opinion on a topic. You can ask about anything from current events to pop culture. For example:
- “What do you think about this new restaurant that just opened up?”
- “What do you think about the new Taylor Swift album?”
7. I agree 100%.
You can use this phrase to show that you share the same opinion as the person you’re talking to. For example:
- “I agree 100%, Avengers: Endgame is the best superhero movie ever made!”
- “I completely agree with you that we need to do more to protect the environment.“
8. I see your point, but I think …
This phrase can help you acknowledge someone else’s perspective, and then share your own opinion. It’s a way of respectfully disagreeing and sharing a different point of view. For example:
- “I see your point about wanting to save money, but I think it’s worth spending more on a nice dinner once in a while.“
- “I see your point about the benefits of meditation, but I think exercise is a better stress reliever for me.“
9. Thank you so much, I really appreciate it.
You can use this phrase to show your gratitude when someone does something kind or helpful for you. It’s useful for many situations, from receiving a gift to getting help with a project. For example:
- “Thank you so much for picking up my mail while I was out of town. I really appreciate it!”
- “Thank you so much for taking the time to review my resume. Your feedback was really helpful.”
10. It’s been great talking, but I don’t want to keep you.
Use this phrase to politely end a conversation when you need to leave, but you want to make it seem like a benefit for the other person. This is especially good when they might want to keep talking, but you need to go. You can use this in any situation where you need to end a conversation quickly, from a work meeting to a friendly conversation. For example:
- “It’s been great talking with you about the project, but I don’t want to keep you. I also have another meeting.”
- “I’ve got to run, but it was really nice chatting with you. Talk to you later!“
Write Better Emails: 10 Phrases for Effective and Professional Communication
If you want to improve your email writing skills and sound more professional, try using these common phrases in your messages.
1. Dear …
Is a common and polite way to start an email to someone you don’t know very well or in a formal context (like a job application). For example:
- Dear Hiring Manager,
- Dear Mr. Johnson,
When you know the person well, or you’re being casual, just “Hi” or “Hey” is fine.
2. Thanks for your email.
Show appreciation for someone who took the time to write to you. You can write it at the beginning, or the end of your email. Like this:
- “Thanks for your email. I appreciate your interest in working with us.”
- “Thanks for your email. I’ll review the information you’ve provided and get back to you as soon as possible.”
3. I hope this email finds you well.
This is a friendly way to start an email and show that you care about the person’s well-being. It’s a nice way to make someone feel like you care about them even if you just want some basic information from them. For example:
- “I hope this email finds you well. I wanted to touch base regarding the project we discussed last week.”
- “I hope this email finds you well. I’m reaching out to see if you might be interested in collaborating on a new project.”
4. Sorry for the delay.
Apologize for not responding sooner by putting this phrase at the beginning of your email. For example:
- “Sorry for the delay in getting back to you.”
- “Sorry for the delay in responding to your email, I was out of town for a few days.”
5. As per our conversation.
You can use this phrase to refer to an older conversation or an agreement you made with the person. “As per” is a more formal version of “about.” For example:
- “As per our conversation last week, we agreed to have the meeting this Friday.”
- “As per our conversation, I’ve attached the requested documents for your review.”
6. Please let me know.
This is a phrase you can use to end an email. It invites someone to ask questions and it makes them feel supported.
- “Please let me know if you have any questions about the proposal.”
- “Please let me know if there’s anything else I can do to assist you.”
7. Please don’t hesitate to contact me.
Encourage someone to reach out to you if they need anything or have any questions. It can be used in a variety of situations, from professional to personal. For example:
- “Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you need any further information about the project.”
- “If you have any questions about the event, please don’t hesitate to contact me.”
8. Looking forward to hearing from you!
Use this at the end of your email when you want to hear back from somebody. It can be used for professional emails, but also for casual situations. For example:
- “I’m excited to see your proposal, looking forward to hearing from you soon!”
- “We should plan that trip soon, looking forward to hearing from you!”
9. Thanks for considering my request.
You can put this phrase at the end of a formal email. Use it to show appreciation for someone taking the time to decide if they are going to help you. For example:
- “Thanks for considering my request for a raise. I look forward to discussing this with you further.”
- “Thanks for considering my request to extend the deadline. I understand that it may not be possible, but I appreciate your consideration.”
10. Best regards,
This is a professional and polite way to end an email. It goes right before your name. Like this:
- Best regards, John Santos
- Best regards, Jane Cantore
Workplace Conversations: 10 Phrases to Communicate Professionally
Whether you’re new or a seasoned pro, there are some phrases that come in handy for getting things done efficiently and professionally.
In this section, we’ll cover some common phrases that can help you communicate effectively with your coworkers, clients, and supervisors, to make your workday run a little smoother.
1. How can I make your life easier?
Offering to help out around the office is one of the best ways to show your value and make friends. Use this phrase when you want to help someone who may need it.
- “How can I make your life easier? I can help you with the report, I know it’s due next week.”
- “Can I help you with anything else before I leave?”
2. Let’s touch base later.
Touching base means you’d like to check in or connect with someone. Did you notice this phrase earlier in this article?
This phrase comes from baseball, where players must touch the bases in game during a new play. Players leave the base and then “touch base” again when they must reconnect with it.
By asking to connect later, it’s like saying let’s talk about this when we have more time. For example:
- “Let’s touch base later this week to discuss the progress of the project.”
- “Let’s touch base later to see if there are any updates on the meeting.”
3. Could you please send me that …?
This is a polite and direct phrase that you can use to make requests of your coworkers for things you might need. For example:
- “Hi Mary, could you please send me the spreadsheet you worked on last week?”
- “Hey Phil, could you please send me the document you mentioned in the email?”
4. I have a meeting at…
Let someone know what your schedulelooks like so they can plan their day in advance.
- “I have a meeting at 2 pm, so I’ll have to leave earlier today.”
- “I have a meeting at 10 am, but I can meet with you after that.”
5. Let’s come back to that later.
Use this phrase when you feel like it isn’t a good time to talk about a project, and you want to talk about it later.
- “Let’s come back to that later when we have more information.”
- “Let’s come back to that later when everyone is here.”
6. Can we schedule a time to discuss this further?
Sometimes it’s best to schedule a meeting or discussion at a specific time. When you schedule things on your calendar they’re more likely to happen. For example:
- “Can we schedule a time to discuss this further next week?”
- “Can we schedule a time to discuss this further in person?”
7. Could you give me a status update?
Use this phrase to ask how a project is going, or if there have been any changes to the progress.
- “Could you give me a status update on the marketing campaign?”
- “Could you give me a status update on the report?”
8. Keep me in the loop.
When you ask to be kept in the loop it means you want to be informed about new developments or changes that happen. It’s a way of saying, when something new happens, let me know. You want to be in the conversation loop, like a circle of feedback that connects you with the other person. For example:
- “Please keep me in the loop regarding any updates on the client’s request.”
- “Please keep me in the loop on any changes to the project timeline.”
9. I’m not sure whom to ask.
This is a friendly way to say you need some help. Use this phrase if you feel confused and want some guidance from a coworker or your boss, like this:
- “I’m not sure whom to ask about this, do you have any suggestions?”
- “I’m not sure whom to ask for permission, can you help?”
You’ll sometimes hear natives say “who to ask.” But “whom” is correct. The trick to remembering this is to replace “whom” or “who” with “him” or “her.” If “him” or “her” sounds correct, you’d need to use “whom.”
We would give the banana to him. So we’d give it to whom?
10. I need your input on this project.
This is a professional way to ask for someone’s opinion or feedback on a project. Usually, the person you ask has more experience than you, and you’re asking because you trust their judgment. Or, you just want to sound friendly, and make others feel good.
- “I need your input on the design of the new brochure, what do you think?”
- “I need your input on the proposal before we submit it.”
Answer With Confidence: 10 Essential Phrases for Responding to Questions
Being able to answer questions confidently is an important skill that can help you demonstrate your competence and knowledge.
Here are 10 phrases that can help you sound more confident when answering questions:
1. That’s a great question, I’m glad you asked.
Sometimes it’s nice to acknowledge people and let them know you’re happy to answer their questions. It makes them feel appreciated. Use this phrase right before your answer their question.
- “That’s a great question, I’m glad you asked. The project is due by the end of the month.”
- “That’s a great question, I’m so glad you asked! To be honest, I was wondering the same thing myself.”
2. I’m not entirely sure, but I believe that …
You might not always have all the information to answer a question. This phrase shows the other person that you’ll try your best to help answer their question.
- “I’m not entirely sure, but I believe the restaurant is just around the corner.”
- “I’m not entirely sure, but I believe that the concert starts at 7 pm.”
3. Let me confirm that for you.
If you’re not sure of the answer, use this phrase to give yourself some time to double-check the information. Like this:
Person A: “Excuse me, how much does this cost?”
Person B: “I’m not sure, let me confirm that for you.”
4. I have a couple different ideas on that.
This phrase can show your creativity and problem-solving skills, while also giving the person multiple options to consider.
Person A: “Where do you want to eat tonight?”
Person B: “I have a couple different ideas on that. How about we check out that new Italian place downtown?”
5. I’m confident (that) the solution is …
Sometimes you want to let the other person know that you’re certain you have the solution to the problem. This phrase gives them a sense of trust in you.
Just make sure you’re right! Otherwise, you’ll lose their trust and next time they might not listen to you.
- “I’m confident the solution to this problem is to restart the computer. That usually fixes things.”
- “Don’t worry, I’m confident if you keep reading you’ll love the story.”
6. Based on my experience, I would …
Use this phrase to show your expertise and give a recommendation. Like this:
- “Based on my experience, I would say that the best way to learn a language is by listening to native speakers.”
- “Based on my experience, I would recommend working out in the morning so you can enjoy the rest of your day.”
7. I can see why you might think that, but…
If you don’t agree with someone, use this phrase to acknowledge and respect their point of view before you give your opinion. It prevents you from hurting their feelings or making them feel wrong. For example:
- “I can see why you might think that going out in the rain is no big deal, but my hair will get ruined.”
- “I can see why you might think that starting a business is easy, but there’s actually a lot of hard work and planning involved.”
8. To the best of my knowledge…
This phrase lets you give an answer, but it hints that you aren’t up to date. It’s another way of saying “Last time I checked.” For example:
- “To the best of my knowledge, the store closes at 8 pm, but you might want to check their website just to be sure.”
- “To the best of my knowledge, the deadline for the assignment is tomorrow, but let me check my email to make sure I didn’t miss any updates.”
9. Let’s consider all our options …
Use this phrase to slow down the decision-making process. Sometimes you need to look at all your options before you can give an answer. For example:
- “Let’s consider all our options before we decide where to go for vacation.”
- “Let’s consider all our options for fixing the car. We could take it to a mechanic, or we could try to fix it ourselves if it’s something simple.”
10. I don’t know the answer to that. Let me ask …
It’s okay not to know everything. Using this phrase lets the person know that you still want to help even if you don’t have all the answers.
- “I don’t know the answer to that. Let me ask my friend who’s a computer expert. He might be able to help us fix the problem.”
- “I don’t know the answer to that. Let me ask my boss. She’s been with the company for a long time and might have more information about our policies.”
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Online Meetings: 10 Useful Phrases for Virtual Communication
In today’s world, online meetings have become the new normal, especially after the COVID-19 pandemic. By using the right phrases, you can communicate more effectively and stand out as a professional team member.
Here are 10 phrases that can help you communicate more confidently and effectively in your virtual meetings.
1. Can you hear me okay?
This phrase is useful if there’s a problem with the audio, and you’re not sure if everyone can hear you. If everyone says “yes”, then you can continue the meeting without any confusion.
- “Can you hear me okay? I want to make sure I’m coming through clearly.”
- “Sorry, I didn’t catch that. Can you hear me okay?”
2. Let’s get started.
This is a useful phrase when you want to start the meeting or move on to the next topic on the agenda. It sets a positive tone and helps to keep the meeting on track.
- “Good morning, everyone. Let’s get started with our meeting.”
- “We’ve covered a lot already, so let’s get started on next week’s goals.”
3. I’ll share my screen.
Sometimes it’s easier to show people what you mean than it is to tell them. Use this phrase when you want to show your screen to coworkers or make a presentation.
- “I have a few slides I’d like to share with you. I’ll share my screen.”
- “Let me show you an example. I’ll share my screen.”
4. Can everyone see my screen?
It’s a good habit to startusing this phrase before sharing your screen or making a presentation. It can save you a lot of time and avoids confusion.
- “Okay, I’m going to share my screen now. Can everyone see it?”
- “I’m sharing my slides. Can everyone see my screen?”
5. Who’s speaking now?
If there are a lot of people in the meeting, and it’s not clear who is speaking, ask this question. It avoids confusion and lets everyone have a chance to speak.
- “Excuse me, who’s speaking now? I lost track.”
- “Wait, who’s speaking now? I want to make sure I know who’s talking.”
6. Sorry, I was on mute.
It happens to the best of us. If you forget to unmute yourself, use this phrase to avoid misunderstandings and show that you’re paying attention.
- “Sorry, I was on mute. Can you repeat the question?”
- “I’m sorry, I was on mute the whole time! I said…”
7. Let’s wrap it up.
When you want to end the meeting, this is a polite way to say that it’s almost time to end the call. It lets everyone know that if there’s anything important to talk about, they should bring it up now.
- “We’ve covered everything on the agenda. Let’s wrap it up.”
- “We’re almost out of time. Let’s wrap it up and move on to the next item.”
8. Does anyone have any questions?
By asking this question, you encourage everyone to participate and feel like they’re part of the team. You give everyone a chance to be heard and answer their concerns.
- “That’s it for today, does anyone have any questions?”
- “I’m open to feedback. Does anyone have any questions or suggestions?”
9. Let’s take a quick break.
This is a polite and professional way to ask for a break, especially if the meeting has been going on for a long time. You can also use this phrase if you need some time to think.
- “Hey, let’s take a quick break. I need to stretch my legs and grab a cup of coffee.”
- “Let’s take a quick break. I need to grab a glass of water.”
10. Thanks for joining!
This is a simple and polite way to say thank you to the other participants for attending the meeting. You can use it at the beginning or end of the meeting. It makes others feel welcomed and valued.
- “Thanks for joining, everyone! Let’s get started.”
- “Thanks for joining today, we’ll follow up with an email summarizing the next steps.”
Don’t Waste Time: 10 Common Phrases for When You’re in a Hurry
When you’re in a hurry, speaking English can be stressful!
You may struggle to find the right words to express yourself or show urgency. So here are 10 common English phrases that can be useful in these situations:
1. I’m running late.
Let someone know that you’ll be late for a meeting with them. It’s better to let them know you’re on your way than to show up late without any warning.
- “Sorry, I’m running late for our meeting. Can we push it back 15 minutes?” (“Push back” means to delay something.”
- “I’m running late for my flight. Could you please help me pack?”
2. Can we make this quick?
Use this phrase when you want to let someone know that you have a limited amount of time to spend on something or in conversation. Like this:
- I have to leave in 10 minutes. Can we make this quick?”
- “Can we make this quick? I have a lot to do today.”
This phrase can sound a bit impolite, so it’s usually more common for a boss or someone to use this with people working under them.
3. I’m on a tight schedule.
This phrase lets others know that you have a lot of commitments or things planned on your calendar. For example:
- “Sorry, I’m on a tight schedule today. Can we reschedule our meeting for tomorrow?”
- “I’m on a tight schedule this week, so I won’t be able to attend the conference on Friday.”
4. I need to hurry.
Use this phrase when you need to move quickly or speed up a process.
- “I need to hurry to catch my train. Can you please help me with my luggage?”
- “We need to hurry if we want to make it to the movie on time.”
5. I’m in a rush.
Just like “I need to hurry,” use it when you need to move quickly and can’t waste time.
- “Sorry, I can’t stop to chat right now. I’m in a rush to get to work.”
- “I’m in a rush to finish this project before the deadline.”
6. I don’t have much time.
Let someone know that you can’t spend too much time talking or hanging out with them.
- I don’t have much time to talk right now, but can you give me a quick summary of the problem?”
- “Sorry, I don’t have much time to spend on this. Can you please send me the details by email?”
7. I’m pressed for time.
This phrase lets people know you have a lot of tasks to complete in a short amount of time, so you can’t do anything else for them.
- “I’m pressed for time today, so I won’t be able to attend the meeting.”
- “I’m pressed for time this week, but I’ll try my best to finish the report by Friday.”
8. I’m on a deadline.
Letting others know what you’re working on helps them understand where your focus is, and gives them the opportunity to help you out.
- “I’m on a deadline to finish this project by Friday, so I won’t be able to take on any new tasks.”
- “I’m on a deadline to submit the application by tomorrow, so I need to work on it now.”
9. I’m short on time.
You can use this phrase to apologize if you seem to be in a hurry. It lets people know it’s not personal, you just don’t have a lot of time to talk or hang out.
- I’d love to hang out, but I’m short on time today. Can we catch up later this week?”
- “I’m sorry if I seem rushed, but I’m short on time and I have a lot to do before the end of the day.”
10. I’ve got to run.
This is a polite way of saying that you need to leave immediately. For example:
- “Sorry to cut this conversation short, but I’ve got to run to the store before it closes.”
- “It’s been great catching up with you, but I’ve got to run if I’m gonna make it to the concert on time!”
Asking For Help: 10 Practical Phrases for When You Get Hurt
Whether you accidentally bump into a wall, or get hit by a passing bike, getting hurt can be a scary experience. It can be even more challenging to express your pain if you’re not fully comfortable with English.
Here are 10 useful English phrases for when you’re hurt, so you can express yourself and get the help you need.
This will really make you sound native since this is the most common way to express pain. The louder you shout it, the more intense the pain. Sometimes native speakers leave out the “ch” and just say “ow!”
- “Ouch! I stubbed my toe on the table leg!”
- “Ow! That really hurt! Don’t do that again!”
2. It hurts!
This straightforward phrase is an excellent way to tell others that you’re in pain.
- “It hurts! I think I twisted my ankle!”
- “It hurts! Could you please check if it’s swollen?”
3. I need some help.
If you’re in a situation where you can’t move or get up, this is a very direct phrase to let others know that you need their help.
- “I need some help. I fell off my bike and hurt my knee.”
- “I need some help. Can someone please call an ambulance? I think I broke my arm.”
4. Can you please bring some ice?
Ice can help reduce swelling and relieve pain. It’s an easy way to get some fast relief from the pain.
- “Can you please bring some ice? I sprained my ankle.”
- “Can you please get some ice? I hit my head on the cabinet.”
5. It’s bleeding.
If you have a cut yourself to the point where you can see blood, use this phrase to get other people’s attention so they can help you. Let them know how much you’re bleeding so they know how to respond.
- “It’s bleeding a little. Can someone please bring me a Band-Aid?” (Band-Aid is a common brand of bandage, and it’s so common that people use this word instead of asking for a “bandage.” So, you’ll sound more native if you use this.)
- “It’s bleeding a lot! I cut myself while chopping vegetables.”
6. I feel dizzy.
Dizziness can lead to fainting — which can cause you a lot more pain. So if you hit your head or if you feel like fainting, this is an easy way to let others know that you need some support.
- “I feel dizzy. I think I need to sit down for a moment.”
- “I feel dizzy. Can someone please help me to the bathroom?”
7. It’s throbbing.
Throbbing is a type of sensation that feels like a pounding drumbeat in your body. If your finger is throbbing it means it’s pulsing like the beat of your heart. It can also feel hot and look swollen.
- “It’s throbbing. I got stung by a bee.”
- “I can’t focus on work because my tooth is throbbing. I might have a cavity.”
8. I’m in a lot of pain.
Let people know what you’re feeling. This phrase lets them know something is VERY wrong, and you might not be at your best for a while.
- “I’m in a lot of pain. I twisted my ankle while hiking.”
- “I’m in a lot of pain after that workout yesterday. I think I overdid it on the squats.”
9. I can’t move my…
If you feel a sharp pain in any part of your body, it can be hard to move. Let others know that you’re having trouble moving and that you need some help.
- “I can’t move my arm. I think I dislocated my shoulder.”
- “I can’t move my leg after that run yesterday. I think I might have pulled a muscle.”
10. I think I need a doctor.
When you need to go and see the doctor it’s usually because something has been bothering you for a while and you don’t want it to get worse. It can be scary to go alone, so let people know you’re going and ask them to come with you.
- “I’ve had this cough for a week, and it’s not getting better. I think I need a doctor.”
- “My knee has been hurting for a while, and now it’s starting to swell up. I think I need a doctor before it gets worse.”
Express Your Frustration: 10 Phrases That Will Build Better Relationships
When things don’t go as planned, it’s easy to feel frustrated and lose control of the situation.
But expressing how you feel can actually help you build stronger relationships with others because it shows that you trust and value their support.
These common English phrases can help you communicate your frustration effectively and feel more in control:
1. This is so frustrating!
It’s OK to be honest and direct about what you’re feeling. This can help you release some tension, and get support from others.
- “I’ve been trying to fix my computer for hours, and it still won’t turn on. This is so frustrating!”
- “I studied so hard for the math exam and I still failed it. This is so frustrating!”
2. I’m feeling a bit overwhelmed right now.
Admitting that you’re feeling overwhelmed or having a hard time can help you pause to think, and invite others to help out. For example:
- “I have so much work to do and not enough time. I’m feeling overwhelmed.”
- “There are too many things to do, and I don’t know where to start. I’m feeling a bit overwhelmed.”
3. I need a break.
Recognizing when you need to take a rest can help you prevent burnout (getting too tired), and come back with more energy.
- “I need a break. Can we pause for a few minutes and come back to this?”
- “I’ve been studying for hours, and my brain just can’t take it anymore. I need a break.”
4. I’m having trouble with this.
Everyone makes mistakes when they’re learning new things. Use this phrase to ask for help.
- “I’m having trouble figuring out how to use this new software. Can you help me out?”
- “I’m having trouble with this math problem. Can you give me a hand?”
5. I’m getting frustrated, can we take a step back and try again later?
This phrase acknowledges that you’re having a hard time and you need a break. If you feel frustrated on a group project, ask to take a break. You can think about this as retreating, or moving backward to get a better view of things. For example:
- I’m getting frustrated with this project because I keep making mistakes. Can we take a step back and rethink this?
- I’m getting frustrated with this conversation. I feel like we’re not understanding each other. Can we take a step back and try again later?
6. I’m so fed up with this.
This phrase means that you’re frustrated and you feel like giving up. It means you’ve been trying to do something for a long time and you feel like you’re not getting results. Think of eating way too much, like you’ve been fed too much food. So you can’t take any more. For example:
- I’m so fed up with my job, I can’t stand it anymore. I need to find something new.
- I’m so fed up with my roommate’s messiness. It’s driving me crazy! I need to talk to him about it.
7. Take it easy.
Use this phrase to remind someone to relax and calm down. It can help you stay calm and avoid getting overwhelmed.
- “Take it easy. We’ll figure this out.”
- “Don’t get too upset about failing the test. Take it easy and try again next time.”
8. I may have overreacted.
If the situation is getting out of control, or you get angry, sometimes apologizing and asking to restart can help solve the conflict. Like this:
- I’m sorry for getting angry earlier. I may have overreacted a bit. Can we start again?”
- I’m sorry for yelling earlier. I may have overreacted a bit. Can we start fresh and talk about this calmly?
9. I’m not sure what to do.
When you’re feeling frustrated, you can use this phrase to admit that you don’t know the best course of action. This phrase invites people around you to help and explore new options.
- “I’m not sure what to do. Can we brainstorm some ideas?”
- “I’m not sure what to do about my job situation. Should I quit and find something else, or try to tolerate the problem?”
10. Let’s try to find a solution.
Use this phrase to remind the people you’re with to focus on finding a solution, rather than focusing on the problem. It can help everyone stay motivated and optimistic.
- “Let’s try to find a solution together. I’m sure we can figure this out.”
- “We can’t keep arguing like this. Let’s try to find a solution that works for both of us.”
How to Handle Awkward Moments: 10 Phrases for Embarrassing Situations
Embarrassing situations happen to everyone!
But knowing how to handle them can turn them into an opportunity to connect with others. It’s important to remember that everyone makes mistakes, and your ability to acknowledge and laugh at yourself is a sign of confidence and self-awareness.
Here are 10 common English phrases that can help you navigate embarrassing situations with humor and humility:
1. Oops! That was awkward.
Saying that a situation is awkward or uncomfortable can make everyone involved feel relieved. This phrase can introduce some humor into an awkward moment.
- “Oops! That was awkward. I thought you were someone else.”
- “I accidentally walked in on my friend changing (clothes). Oops! That was awkward.”
2. Well, this is awkward.
Similar to the first phrase, this one helps to acknowledge “the elephant in the room.” This basically means that something is really obvious and awkward but nobody has said anything yet. For example:
- “I accidentally sent a text to the wrong person, and it was a private message. Well, this is awkward.”
- (I accidentally walked into the women’s bathroom.) “This is awkward.”
3. My bad.
When you make a mistake, all you have to say is this phrase. This is a very casual way of saying: “It’s my fault, I’m sorry about that.”
- “I accidentally spilled water on your shirt. My bad, let me grab you a towel.”
- “My bad, I forgot to bring the chips to the party!”
4. I’m so embarrassed.
Sometimes, saying you’re embarrassed is the best way to move past an uncomfortable situation. This phrase can help show that you recognize the awkwardness of the situation and are willing to take ownership of it.
- “I tripped and fell in front of everyone at the party. I was so embarrassed.”
- “I accidentally called my teacher “mom” in class. I was so embarrassed.”
5. Laugh it off.
Humor is the cure for awkward situations. This phrase can help remind everyone that in the future it will just be a funny memory, so don’t worry.
- “I just laughed it off when my friend noticed I had my shirt on backward.”
- “I accidentally spilled salsa all over myself. All I could do was laugh it off.”
6. Let’s just forget about that.
This phrase is another way to say: “Let’s pretend that never happened.” It’s a nice way of asking everyone to move on.
- “Let’s just forget about that. It was a mistake, and we all make them.”
- “I tried to do a cartwheel and ended up falling. Let’s just forget about that.”
7. I’m only human.
This phrase is a good reminder that we all make mistakes, and that it’s okay to be imperfect.
- “I made a mistake on that project. But hey, I’m only human.”
- “I’m sorry that I forgot to bring the tickets. I’m only human!”
8. Well, I learned my lesson.
This is an optimistic phrase because it means you’re owning your mistakes and are committed to learning from them. It’s like saying, “What’s done is done, and I can’t change it. So let’s move on.”
- “I tried to fix my car on my own, and now it’s worse than ever. Well, I learned my lesson — leave car repairs to the professionals.” (The idea is I tried to fix the car by myself, and did a bad job.)
- “I stayed up too late last night and couldn’t keep my eyes open during the meeting this morning. Well, I learned my lesson (about not getting enough sleep) — getting enough sleep is important.”
9. I didn’t mean to.
It’s another way of saying it was an accident, and you didn’t do it on purpose. For example:
- “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to spill coffee on your shirt.”
- “I didn’t mean to offend you with my joke. I was just trying to make you laugh.”
10. That was a rookie mistake.
Use this phrase when you make a mistake that’s silly or small, or do something wrong because you lack experience. It’s like saying: “I should know better than this.”
A rookie is someone in their first year of something, like a player on some sports team, or a new person at a company.
- “I can’t believe I left my keys in the car. That was such a rookie mistake!”
- “Trying to fix the computer without checking if it’s plugged in? That’s a rookie mistake!”
If you KNOW a lot of English, but struggle to SPEAK...Learn More about Fluent for Life
Share Your Excitement: 10 Common Phrases for Expressing Your Enthusiasm
When you’ve got something to be excited about, expressing yourself can help you build stronger connections, and inspire others.
It’s important to remember that HOW you say these phrases is just as important as the words you’re saying. So don’t hold back! Put some energy and volume into your voice when you use these English phrases to share your enthusiasm.
1. I’m so excited!
This is the straightforward and direct way to share your enthusiasm for something. Like this:
- “I’m so excited to go on vacation next week and hit the beach!”
- “I’m so excited for the concert tomorrow night. I’ve been waiting months!”
2. I’m pumped!
It’s another way to say you’re excited! Think about your heart pounding fast and “pumping” you up with energy!
- “I’m pumped to start my new job next week. I can’t wait to learn new skills and meet new people!”
- “I’m pumped for the basketball game tonight. Our team has been training hard and I know we’re going to win!”
3. I’m ecstatic!
This is like saying you’re VERY excited and happy about something. It means you feel a sense of joy that you can barely contain.
- “I’m ecstatic about getting accepted to my dream university! I can’t believe it’s finally happening.”
- “I’m ecstatic that my team won the championship game! We played our hearts out!”
4. I’m thrilled to…
It means extremely happy and excited. They’re really looking forward to it and can’t wait for it to happen. Think of the thrill of being on an exciting roller coaster.
- “I’m thrilled to be a part of this team!”
- “I’m thrilled I got the chance to meet this author!”
5. This is amazing!
Use this phrase when you experience something impressive, beautiful, surprising, or extraordinary. It’s a way of showing how grateful or appreciative you are.
- “This view is amazing! I can’t believe how beautiful the sunset is from up here!”
- “I just got my exam results back, and I aced it with a perfect score! This is amazing!”
6. This is fantastic news!
Use this phrase when you hear good news and want to let someone know you’re excited about it.
- “This is fantastic news! My sister just had a baby boy and he’s healthy and happy!”
- “This news is fantastic! I just found out I got the job I applied for.”
7. I can’t wait to get started!
When you’re excited to start a new project or activity you can share your enthusiasm like this:
- “I just signed up for guitar lessons, and I can’t wait to get started!”
- “I’m starting my new job next week. I can’t wait to get started!”
8. This is a dream come true!
Use this phrase when you are excited that something you’ve wanted for a long time is finally happening. For example:
- “This job offer is a dream come true!”
- “This opportunity to travel is a dream come true!”
9. Let’s do this!
If you’re about to start a new project or a game with people, you can use this phrase to get everyone excited. It brings a sense of determination to do your best and win.
- “Alright, team, we’ve been practicing for weeks and now it’s time for the big game. Let’s do this!”
- “The contract looks good. Let’s do this!”
10. This is going to be epic!
When you’re anticipating something and you feel a sense of adventure. It’s like saying: “This journey we’re about to take is going to be awesome!”
- “My friends and I are planning a road trip this summer. We’ve got a playlist, a cooler full of snacks, a minivan, and a guitar. This is going to be epic!”
- “Have you seen the lineup for the music festival this year? This is going to be epic!”
How to Order Like a Native Speaker: 10 Phrases for Ordering Food Confidently
Ordering food in a restaurant can feel like an English fluency test.
So knowing some common phrases will not only make ordering food easier but will also help you make a great impression. Just remember to be polite: Use “please” and “thank you” when making requests. Natives call these phrases “magic words.”
Here are 10 common phrases for ordering food in English:
1. May I see the menu, please?
This is a polite way to ask for a menu so you can see what types of dishes the restaurant cooks if you still haven’t decided if you want to eat there yet.
- “I’m not sure if this place has anything vegan on the menu —
Excuse me, may I see the menu, please? I’m not sure what I want to order yet.”
- “Do you mind if we see the menu before we decide if we want to stay here for dinner?”
You will sometimes hear “Can I see a menu?” This is natural, and often used by natives. But it’s incorrect English. When you’re asking for permission, or for someone to do something in a polite way, use “may.”
2. May/Could I please have…?
Use this phrase to politely order a specific dish or drink. For example:
- “Could I please have a decaf latte with oat milk and no sugar?”
- “Excuse me, could we get a new spoon? My daughter dropped hers on the floor.”
3. I’ll have/take the…
When you’re ready to give your order to the server, this is a slightly more direct way to do it.
- “I’ll have the chicken sandwich, please.”
- “I’ll take the Caesar salad, please. Thank you.”
4. Can I get that to go?
If you don’t want to eat at the restaurant or want to take leftover food home with you, use this phrase to ask for your food to be packaged. Like this:
- “Can I get that to go, please?”
Sometimes the restaurant will ask you: “Is that for here, or to go?”
And all you have to say is: “To go.”
5. What do you recommend?
Sometimes you just don’t know what to order. It happens to everyone. If you’re feeling adventurous and open to a suggestion from the server, ask what they would order. More than likely they know they menu really well and know what most people order.
- “Excuse me, what do you recommend? Anything special today?”
- “Hey, what do you recommend on the menu? I’m not sure what to order.”
6. Can I get a side of …?
This phrase can be used to ask for something extra with your meal. It might not be listed on the menu, so you would be customizing your order. For example:
- “I’ll have the steak, and can I get a side of mashed potatoes, please?”
- “The sandwich looks great. Can I get a side of fries with it?”
7. Could/Would you please bring me some …?
Use this phrase when you want the server to bring you something. For example:
- “Excuse me, could you bring me some extra napkins, please?”
- “Hey, would you bring me some hot sauce, please?”
8. How spicy is …?
Eating something that’s too spicy can turn a pleasant meal into an uncomfortable situation. And it can leave you feeling the side effects the day after. So use this phrase to check how spicy the food you want to order is.
- “I’m not sure if I can handle really spicy food. How spicy is the curry?”
- “Hey, that looks really good. But I’m curious. How spicy is it?”
9. Can we have the bill, please?
When you’re ready to leave, grab the server’s attention and then use this phrase.
- “Excuse me, we’re all finished here. Can we have the bill, please?”
- “Excuse me, can we have the bill, please? We’re in a bit of a hurry.”
10. Could we split the bill, please?
If you want to divide the bill between you and your friends (instead of just getting one bill), then use this phrase. You can also ask: “Can we get separate checks?”
- “Hey, could we split the bill evenly, please?”
- “Hey, could we split the bill between the three of us?”
Looking for more work-related English phrases? Read this article: Business English: 25 Phrases for Speaking Confidently at Work
Boost Your English Fluency Today
Speaking English can be challenging since there’s so much to learn. You might feel nervous or unsure of yourself – and that’s totally okay.
We all start somewhere, and it takes practice to get fluent.
But by learning and using these common English phrases in context, you can start speaking more confidently, right away.
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