Sideway from Sideway
Draft for Information Only


Common English Expression
  Beginner Phrases
   Ways to Say Hello & Goodbye
  Informal Ways to Say Yes and No
  Ways to Ask How Someone Is
  Ways to Say How You Are
  Ways to Say Thank You
  Ways to Respond to “Thank You”
  Phrases for Apologizing
  Ways to Respond to an Apology
  Phrases for Introductions
  Ways to Show Interest
  Ways to End a Conversation Politely
  Phrases for Telephone Calls
  Phrases for Asking for Information
  Ways to Say “I don’t know”
  Phrases for Asking for Someone’s Opinion & Giving Your Opinion
  Phrases for Not Having an Opinion
  Phrases for Agreeing
  Phrases for Disagreeing
  Phrases for Responding to Good News
  Phrases for Responding to Bad News
  Phrases for Invitations
  Ways to Make & Respond to an Offer
  Phrases for Talking About Future Plans
  Ways to Talk about Likes & Dislikes
  Ways to Make a Suggestion
  Phrases for Asking/Talking about Jobs
  Phrases for Describing Relationships
 Intermediate Phrases
  Ways to Ask for Clarification
  Ways to Check if the Other Person Understands You
  Ways to Ask for Help
  Ways to Ask Someone Else to Do Something
  Ways to Interrupt Someone
  Ways to Encourage Someone
  Phrases for Complaining
  Phrases for Remembering, Reminding, & Forgetting
  Phrases for Saying Something is Easy & Difficult
  Expressions about Age
  Phrases for Shopping
  Phrases for Talking about Food
  Phrases for Talking About TV
  Phrases You’ll Hear in the Airport
  Ways to Talk About Price
  Phrases for Hot Weather
  Phrases for Cold Weather
  Phrases for Talking about Rain
  Ways to Say You’re Tired
  Phrases for Promises & Resolutions
  Excuses for Being Late
  Ways to Say Someone is Correct
  Ways to Say Someone is Wrong
  Ways to Say Someone is Smart
  Ways to Say Someone is Stupid
 Advanced Phrases
  Ways to Avoid Answering a Question
  Phrases for Being Rich & Poor
  Phrases for Talking about Statistics
  Ways to Say Someone’s Talented
  Phrases for Telling Someone to Wait
  Phrases for Estimating & Guessing
  Phrases for Decisions
  Phrases for Good Luck & Bad Luck
  Phrases for Worries & Relief
  Phrases for Talking about the Future
  Phrases for Compliments
  Phrases for Certainty & Probability
  Ways to Say Something is Interesting/Boring
  Phrases for Cheering Someone Up
  Phrases for Disappointment
  Ways to Say You Don’t Believe Someone
  Expressions for Bad People
  Words for Describing Speaking
  Phrases for Facial Expressions
  Phrases to Describe Offending or Upsetting People
  Phrases for Bad Travel Experiences
  Phrases for Drinking (Alcohol)
  Comparative Idioms

Common English Expression


Beginner Phrases

Ways to Say Hello & Goodbye

  • Hello
  • Hi
  • (informal) Hey
  • Hi there
  • (informal) Howdy
  • Bye
  • Bye-bye
  • (informal) See ya later
  • Take care
  • Have a good one

Informal Ways to Say Yes and No

  • Yeah
  • Yup
  • Mm-hmm!
  • Uh-huh!
  • Sure!
  • Nope
  • Nah
  • Mm-mm
  • Uh-uh
  • No way!

Ways to Ask How Someone Is

  • How are you?
  • How’s it going?
  • How ya doin’?
  • How are things?
  • How’s life?
  • How have you been?
  • How’s your family?
  • What’s up?
  • What’s new?
  • What have you been up to lately?

Ways to Say How You Are

  • I’m fine, thanks. How about you?
  • Pretty good.
  • Not bad.
  • Great!
  • Couldn’t be better!
  • Can’t complain.
  • I’ve been busy.
  • Same as always.
  • Not so great.
  • Could be better.
  • Note: The way to respond to “What’s up?” and “What’s new?” is typically “Not much.”

Ways to Say Thank You

  • Thanks.
  • Thanks a lot.
  • Thank you so much.
  • Thanks a million!
  • Thanks for your help.
  • Thanks for helping me.
  • I really appreciate it.
  • I’m really grateful.
  • That’s so kind of you.
  • I can’t thank you enough. (for extremely important things)
  • I owe you one. (this means you want/need to do a favor for the other person in the future)

Ways to Respond to “Thank You”

  • You’re welcome.
  • No problem.
  • No worries.
  • Don’t mention it.
  • My pleasure.
  • Anytime.
  • It was the least I could do.
  • Glad to help.
  • Sure!
  • Thank you. (use this when you ALSO have something to thank the other person for)

Phrases for Apologizing

  • I’m sorry that… [ex. I was so rude yesterday]
  • It’s my fault. (= I am taking responsibility for the problem)
  • Oops, sorry. (for very small problems)
  • I should have… [ex. called you and told you I’d be late]
  • (formal) I apologize for… [ex. the delay]

Ways to Respond to an Apology

  • That’s OK.
  • It happens.
  • No problem.
  • Don’t worry about it.
  • I forgive you. (for serious problems)

Phrases for Introductions

  • I just wanted to introduce myself. I’m… [your name]
  • I don’t think we’ve met before. My name’s… [your name]
  • This is…
  • I’d like you to meet…
  • Have you met… ?
  • I’d like to introduce you to…
  • Nice to meet you.
  • It’s a pleasure to meet you.
  • Likewise.
  • And you.
  • #1 and #2 are used to introduce yourself; #3-#6 are used to introduce someone else. #9 and #10 can be used as a response to #7 and #8.

Ways to Show Interest

  • Really?
  • That’s interesting.
  • Uh-huh.
  • Right.
  • Gotcha.
  • Sure.
  •    You can use these phrases to show the other person that you are listening.

Ways to End a Conversation Politely

  • It was nice chatting with you.
  • Well, it’s getting late.
  • Anyway, I should get going.
  • (formal) Sorry, but I’m afraid I need to…
  • I’m sorry to cut you off, but I actually gotta run. (cut you off = interrupt you)

Phrases for Telephone Calls

  • Hi, this is Jane.
  • (formal) May I speak with John Smith?
  • (informal) Is John there?
  • I’m calling about…
  • I’m returning your call.
  • (formal) One moment, please.
  • (informal) Hang on a sec.
  • He’s not here. Would you like to leave a message?
  • Could you ask him to call me back?
  • Thanks for calling.

Phrases for Asking for Information

  • Can you tell me...?
  • Could you tell me...?
  • I'd like to know...
  • Do you know...
  • Do you have any idea...?
  • Could anyone tell me...? (use this phrase when asking a group of people)
  • Would you happen to know...?
  • I don't suppose you (would) know...?
  • I was wondering…
  • I’m calling to find out… (use this phrase on the telephone)
  •      Use #4, #5, #7, and #8 when you’re not sure if the other person has the information.

Ways to Say “I don’t know”

  • I have no idea/clue.
  • I can’t help you there.
  • (informal) Beats me.
  • I’m not really sure.
  • I’ve been wondering that, too.

Phrases for Asking for Someone’s Opinion & Giving Your Opinion

  • What do you think about...?
  • How do you feel about…?
  • What's your opinion of...?
  • What are your views on...?
  • In my opinion…
  • I'd say...
  • Personally, I think/believe...
  • If you ask me...
  • The way I see it...
  • From my point of view…

Phrases for Not Having an Opinion

  • I’ve never given it much thought.
  • I don’t have strong feelings either way.
  • It doesn’t make any difference to me.
  • I have no opinion on the matter.
  • (very informal) Whatever.

Phrases for Agreeing

  • Exactly.
  • Absolutely.
  • That’s so true.
  • That’s for sure.
  • I agree 100%
  • I couldn’t agree with you more.
  • That’s exactly what I think. / That’s exactly how I feel.
  • (informal) Tell me about it! / You’re telling me!
  • (informal) I’ll say!
  • I suppose so. (use this phrase for weak agreement – you agree, but reluctantly)
  • Note: Avoid the common error of saying “I’m agree” – the correct phrase is “I agree” or “I’m in agreement” – the second one is more formal.

Phrases for Disagreeing

  • I don’t think so.
  • I beg to differ.
  • I’m afraid I don’t agree.
  • I’m not so sure about that.
  • That’s not how I see it.
  • Not necessarily.
  • Yes, but… [say your opinion]
  • On the contrary.
  • (very informal) No way!
  • (very strong) I totally disagree.

Phrases for Responding to Good News

  • Congratulations!
  • That’s great!
  • How wonderful!
  • Awesome!
  • I’m so happy for you!

Phrases for Responding to Bad News

  • Oh no…
  • That’s terrible.
  • Poor you. (Use this to respond to bad situations that are not too serious)
  • I’m so sorry to hear that.
  • I’m sorry for your loss. (Use this only if someone has died)

Phrases for Invitations

  • Are you free… [Saturday night?]
  • Are you doing anything… [Saturday night?]
  • Let me check my calendar.
  • (informal) Do you wanna… [see a movie?]
  • (formal) Would you like to… [join me for dinner?]
  • I’d love to!
  • Sounds great!
  • I’d love to, but I have another commitment.
  • I don’t think I can.
  • Maybe another time.

Ways to Make & Respond to an Offer

  • (more formal) Would you like a drink?
  • (informal) Do you want some water?
  • Can I get you something to eat?
  • That’d be great, thanks. (= yes)
  • No, thanks. I’m OK. (= no)

Phrases for Talking About Future Plans

  • I’m going to…
  • I’m planning to…
  • I hope to…
  • I’d like to…
  • I might… / I may… 
  • I’m thinking about…

Ways to Talk about Likes & Dislikes

  • I love… [soccer]
  • I’m really into… [soccer]
  • I live for… [soccer]
  • [soccer] is my thing.
  • I’m crazy about… [soccer]
  • I’m not a huge fan of… [modern art]
  • [Modern art] isn’t my cup of tea.
  • I don’t really care for… [modern art]
  • I’m not into… [modern art]
  • I can’t stand… [modern art] (this phrase expresses strong dislike)

Ways to Make a Suggestion

  • How about… [ex. trying something new]?
  • Why don’t you… [ex. talk to your boss]?
  • Maybe we should… [ex. do more research].
  • I’d recommend… [ex. going to the doctor].
  • Have you thought about… [ex. buying a new computer]?

Phrases for Asking/Talking about Jobs

  • Where do you work?
  • What do you do? / What do you do for a living?
  • I work at… [Microsoft].
  • I’m a/an… [accountant].
  • I’m unemployed. / I’m between jobs at the moment.
  • I’m looking for work.
  • I’m a stay-at-home mom/dad.
  • I run my own business.
  • I’m a freelance… [writer/designer/etc.]
  • I’m retired.

Phrases for Describing Relationships

  • I’m single.
  • I have a boyfriend/girlfriend.
  • We’re engaged. (= going to get married)
  • We’re getting married in June.
  • I’m married.
  • I’ve been married for… [10 years].
  • I’m divorced.
  • I’m widowed. (= my husband/wife has died)
  • I’m not looking for anything serious.
  • I’m not quite over my ex. (= I still have feelings for my ex-boyfriend/girlfriend or ex-husband/wife)

Intermediate Phrases

Ways to Ask for Clarification

  • Pardon? (if you didn’t hear or understand what the person said)
  • Would you mind repeating that?
  • What do you mean? (asking for more information)
  • I’m not sure I follow you. (= I don’t understand)
  • Could you explain… ?

Ways to Check if the Other Person Understands You

  • Do you understand what I’m saying?
  • Does that make sense?
  • Do you know what I mean?
  • Are you with me so far? (often used in the middle of a long explanation or instructions)
  • Is that clear? (often used after giving orders, or expressing disapproval or another negative attitude)

Ways to Ask for Help

  • I need a little help.
  • Could you help me out?
  • Could you give me a hand? (usually used for physical tasks)
  • Could you spare a couple minutes?
  • Could you do me a favor?

Ways to Ask Someone Else to Do Something

  • (more formal) Would you mind… [opening the window]?
  • Could you please… [turn off the lights]?
  • (informal) Can you… [pass me the chicken]?
  • Please… [send me the information].
  • I’d appreciate it if you could… [wash the dishes].

Ways to Interrupt Someone

  • Sorry to interrupt, but…
  • Excuse me – could I talk to you for a minute? / do you have a minute? (when interrupting a conversation between two other people, to talk to one of them)
  • Could I jump in here? (use this when interrupting a discussion among many people)
  • Sorry – I just want to say that…
  • (formal) May I have a word?

Ways to Encourage Someone

  • Keep up the good work!
  • That was a nice try. (say this after someone made a good effort but failed)
  • That’s a real improvement.
  • You’re on the right track.
  • You’ve almost got it.
  • You’re doing great.
  • Don’t give up! / Hang in there! (when someone is currently having difficulties)
  • You can do it!
  • Give it your best shot. (best shot = best try, best effort)
  • Nice job! / You did great! (after the person has done something good)

Phrases for Complaining

  • I’m not happy about this.
  • I’m sorry, but this is unacceptable.
  • I’m not very satisfied with... [ex. this product / this situation]
  • (informal) I can’t stand it when… [ex. the internet is slow]
  • (informal) This sucks.

Phrases for Remembering, Reminding, & Forgetting

  • I’ll always remember… / I’ll never forget…
  • If I remember correctly… / As far as I can recall…
  • I have a vague recollection of…
  • It’s on the tip of my tongue. (=I’m trying to remember, but I can’t quite remember)
  • My mind went blank. (= I couldn’t remember/think of anything)
  • It doesn’t ring a bell. (=it doesn’t sound familiar)
  • Please remember to… / Please don’t forget to…
  • I’d like to remind you about…
  • You haven’t forgotten to/about… have you?
  • It completely slipped my mind! (= I completely forgot about it!)

Phrases for Saying Something is Easy & Difficult

  • It’s a piece of cake.
  • It’s a cinch.
  • It’s a breeze.
  • Anyone can do it.
  • There’s nothing to it.
  • It’s hard.
  • It’s a bit tricky.
  • It’s really tough.
  • It’s not a walk in the park.
  • It’s very demanding. (= it takes a lot of time and energy)

Expressions about Age

  • She’s in her early twenties. (=20-23 years old)
  • He’s in his late thirties. (=37-39 years old)
  • She just turned six.
  • Act your age! (use this when an adult is being immature, acting like a child)
  • I’m not as young as I used to be.
  • I’m not over the hill yet! (over the hill = an informal expression to say “old”)
  • He’s no spring chicken. (= he’s not young)
  • She’s wise beyond her years. (she is young, but she has the wisdom of an older person)
  • I’m having a senior moment. (= I’m being forgetful)
  • He lived to a ripe old age. (= a very old age)

Phrases for Shopping

  • Do you have… ?
  • Where can I find… ?
  • I’m just browsing. (browsing = looking casually)
  • I’m looking for…
  • How much is this?
  • Is this on sale?
  • Can I try it on? (use this to ask if you can put on clothing to see if it’s the right size)
  • I’ll take it!
  • Do you take credit cards?
  • I’d like to return/exchange this.

Phrases for Talking about Food

  • I’m starving! (= I’m very hungry)
  • Let’s grab a bite to eat.
  • How about eating out tonight? (eat out = eat at a restaurant)
  • I brought some snacks.
  • This soup is delicious!
  • Could I have another helping of… [potatoes]? (another helping = another portion)
  • I’ll have… (use this phrase for ordering in a restaurant)
  • Could we get the check, please?
  • I’m full. (= I’m satisfied)
  • I’m stuffed. (= I ate a LOT, maybe too much!)

Phrases for Talking About TV

  • Where’s the remote? (remote = remote control)
  • Is there anything good on?
  • Can I change the channel?
  • I’ve already seen this episode.
  • This is a rerun. (rerun = an old episode that was already shown on TV previously)
  • I love this show!
  • There are too many commercials.
  • Stop channel-surfing. (channel-surfing = changing the channel quickly)
  • Check the TV guide. (the TV guide has the information about the TV programming and schedule)
  • It’s the season finale! (= the final episode of the season)

Phrases You’ll Hear in the Airport

  • Do you have any bags to check?
  • Would you like a window seat or an aisle seat? (aisle = corridor)
  • Here’s your boarding pass. (boarding pass = the paper that permits you to enter the plane)
  • Your flight leaves from gate 15.
  • Your seat number is 8F.
  • Flight 800 is now boarding. (boarding = passengers can enter the plane)
  • Your flight has been delayed.
  • Your flight has been canceled.
  • This is the final call for flight 800.
  • What is the purpose of your trip?

Ways to Talk About Price

  • It cost a fortune.
  • It cost an arm and a leg.
  • That’s a rip-off. (= overpriced; far more expensive than it should be)
  • I can’t afford it. (= I don’t have enough money to buy it)
  • That’s a bit pricey.
  • That’s quite reasonable. (= it’s a good price)
  • It’s 20% off. (= there’s a 20% discount)
  • That’s a good deal. (= a good value for the amount of money)
  • It was a real bargain.
  • It was dirt cheap. (= extremely inexpensive) More Travel English:

Phrases for Hot Weather

  • It’s nice and warm today.
  • It’s absolutely boiling! (boiling = extremely hot)
  • We’re having a real heat wave. (heat wave = many consecutive days of hot weather)
  • The sun’s really strong today.
  • It’s hot and humid.

Phrases for Cold Weather

  • It’s a little chilly.
  • It’s freezing. (= extremely cold)
  • The temperature’s dropping.
  • Make sure to bundle up. (bundle up = put on warm clothes for protection against the cold)
  • We’re expecting some winter weather. (winter weather = snow, hail, sleet, ice, etc.)

Phrases for Talking about Rain

  • It’s drizzling. (= raining lightly)
  • It’s pouring. (= raining heavily)
  • It’s raining cats and dogs. (= raining heavily)
  • I got caught in a downpour.
  • I think the rain’s letting up. (letting up = getting lighter and stopping)

Ways to Say You’re Tired

  • I’m exhausted.
  • I’m dead tired.
  • I’m pooped.
  • I’m spent.
  • I’m beat.
  • I’m running on fumes. / I’m running on empty.
  • I can hardly keep my eyes open.
  • I’m off to bed.
  • I’m gonna hit the sack. (hit the sack = go to bed)
  • It’s bedtime for me.

Phrases for Promises & Resolutions

  • I really should…
  • I promise that I’ll…
  • I swear I’ll / I won’t… (a very strong promise)
  • No matter what happens, I’m going to…
  • Come hell or high water, I’ll…
  • #4 and #5 express your determination to do something, even if obstacles appear.

Excuses for Being Late

  • Sorry I’m late.
  • I overslept. (= I slept longer than I should have)
  • My alarm didn’t go off.
  • I had to wait ages for a bus. (ages = a very long time)
  • The bus was late.
  • The traffic was terrible.
  • I couldn’t find a parking spot.
  • I got lost coming here.
  • I was tied up in a meeting. (tied up = occupied, impossible to escape)
  • I just lost track of time. (= I didn’t notice what time it was)

Ways to Say Someone is Correct

  • That’s right.
  • That’s spot on.
  • You’ve hit the nail on the head. / You’ve nailed it.
  • I suppose so. (use this when you agree, but you are not completely convinced)
  • I’m afraid you’re right. (use this in response to bad news, to say the bad news is correct)

Ways to Say Someone is Wrong

  • I’m afraid that’s not quite right.
  • I’m afraid you’re mistaken.
  • No, you’ve got it wrong.
  • No, that’s all wrong.
  • (informal – rude) Baloney. / Bullshit.

Ways to Say Someone is Smart

  • He’s really sharp.
  • She’s brilliant.
  • He’s very bright.
  • She’s a genius.
  • He’s a smart cookie.

Ways to Say Someone is Stupid

  • He’s not the sharpest tool in the shed.
  • She’s a few cards short of a deck.
  • He’s a bit slow.
  • She’s a complete idiot.
  • He’s really dumb.

Advanced Phrases

Ways to Avoid Answering a Question

  • No comment.
  • I’m not at liberty to say. (= I don’t have permission to give the information)
  • Wait and see. (= you will discover the answer later)
  • Let me get back to you. (= I will give you the answer later)
  • I’m sorry, that’s confidential.
  • I’m sorry, that’s personal.
  • I’d rather not talk about it.
  • It’s none of your business.
  • Mind your own business.
  • Why do you want to know?
  • #8 and #9 are rather rude – telling the other person to stop inquiring about your life

Phrases for Being Rich & Poor

  • He’s short on cash.
  • He’s broke. (= he has no money)
  • His bank account is overdrawn.
  • He’s just scraping by. (= he is just barely surviving on little money)
  • He makes minimum wage. (= he earns the minimum salary)
  • He’s pinching pennies.
  • He’s scrimping and saving.
  • She’s very wealthy.
  • She’s quite well-off.
  • She’s loaded.
  • She’s filthy rich.
  • She inherited a fortune.
  • She’s making a killing.
  • She’s raking in the cash.
  • She’s rolling in dough.
  • #6 and #7 express the idea that the person is trying to conserve money, when they have very little money.

Phrases for Talking about Statistics

  • The crime rate rose.
  • The crime rate went up.
  • There was a sharp increase in crime. (sharp = sudden and large)
  • There was a gradual rise in crime.
  • There was a spike in crime. (spike = a sudden increase and then decrease)
  • The crime rate reached its peak. (peak = the highest point)
  • The crime rate plateaued. (plateaued = stayed at the same level)
  • There was a slight decrease in crime.
  • The crime rate dropped.
  • The crime rate plummeted. (= decreased a lot, very quickly)

Ways to Say Someone’s Talented

  • She was born to… [dance].
  • He’s a natural.
  • She could do it in her sleep.
  • He knows it inside out.
  • She knows [New York] like the back of her hand.
  • She’s a walking encyclopedia of… [philosophy].
  • He’s in a class of his own.
  • He’s the best in the business.
  • She’s very gifted.
  • He’s a [chemistry] whiz.

Phrases for Telling Someone to Wait

  • Could you give me a minute?
  • (informal) Hang on a sec / Just a sec.
  • Hold on...
  • Let me see/think…
  • I'll be right with you.
  • Bear with me.
  • That’ll have to wait.
  • Be patient.
  • Not so fast!
  • Hold your horses!
  • #9 and #10 are used for cautioning someone to wait and not make a bad decision or take reckless action.

Phrases for Estimating & Guessing

  • If I had to take a guess, I’d say… [she’s about 35 years old].
  • It’s difficult to say, but I think… [our customers are more satisfied].
  • Off the top of my head, I’d say… [the company has 500 employees]. (= what I remember/estimate, without checking the actual statistics)
  • It’s about… [10 miles away].
  • It’s around… [three hours long].
  • I wouldn’t be surprised if… [Peter asks Jill to marry him].
  • There’s a good chance… [it’ll rain tomorrow].
  • I have a feeling/hunch… [the boss won’t be happy about this]. (hunch = an instinctive feeling)
  • I bet… [he’ll be late].
  • Your guess is as good as mine. (= I don’t know)

Phrases for Decisions

  • I’m debating between… [option A and option B]
  • I can’t make up my mind.
  • I’m on the fence. (= I’m in the middle, I don’t know what to decide)
  • I’ll take that into consideration.
  • On the other hand…
  • I’m having second thoughts. (= I’m reconsidering my decision)
  • I changed my mind.
  • He convinced/persuaded me to…
  • Looking back, I know it was the right decision.
  • It’s up to you. (= You can decide)

Phrases for Good Luck & Bad Luck

  • Good luck!
  • Better luck next time. (say this after someone fails, and you hope they do better next time)
  • Just my luck! (this is a sarcastic phrase meaning that something UNLUCKY happened)
  • Lucky you!
  • That was a stroke of luck. (= a sudden event of good luck)
  • Some people have all the luck. (say this when someone else is constantly lucky, and you feel like you’re not lucky)
  • As luck would have it… (= by chance)
  • He’s down on his luck. (= he’s having a long period of bad luck or difficulty)
  • No such luck. (= something good that could have happened, didn’t happen)
  • What rotten luck!

Phrases for Worries & Relief

  • I’m scared that…
  • I can’t help thinking that… (use this for thoughts that you try to avoid, but they keep coming into your mind)
  • It’s been keeping me up at night. (use this when you’re so worried about something that you can’t sleep)
  • What if… ?
  • Whew!
  • Thank goodness!
  • What a relief!
  • You had me worried for a moment.
  • You have no idea what a relief it is.
  • That’s a huge load off my mind.

Phrases for Talking about the Future

  • It’ll happen any day now.
  • It’s right around the corner.
  • …in the near future.
  • It will/won’t happen in our lifetime. (= in the next 40-50 years)
  • It’s a sign/taste of things to come. (= it indicates how things will be in the future)
  • I’m counting down the days until… (= I’m excited about the future event, I can’t wait for it to happen)
  • Sooner or later… / It’s bound to happen eventually. (= it will definitely happen sometime in the future)
  • I’ll get around to it. (= I’ll do it sometime in the future, but I don’t know exactly when)
  • I’ll do it right away. / I’ll get right on it. (= I’ll do it immediately)
  • Time will tell. (in the future, we will know if something is true/false or good/bad)
  • #1, #2, and #3 are used to say something will happen soon.

Phrases for Compliments

  • You look nice. / You look amazing!
  • What a beautiful [necklace/dress/etc.]!
  • I like your [shirt/shoes/haircut/etc.]
  • The lasagna is delicious.
  • You’re a fantastic cook.
  • My compliments to the chef!
  • What a nice apartment!
  • You have a beautiful home.
  • He’s/She’s so cute!
  • Your kids are a lot of fun.
  • #1-3 are used for complimenting a person’s appearance #4-6 for complimenting a person’s cooking #7-8 for complimenting a person’s home #9-10 for complimenting a person’s children.

Phrases for Certainty & Probability

  • I’m absolutely sure.
  • I’m positive that…
  • I have no doubt that…
  • I’m a hundred percent certain.
  • I’m convinced that…
  • Chances are that… (= this will probably happen)
  • Odds are that… (= this will probably happen)
  • I seriously doubt it.
  • I don’t think so.
  • Probably not.
  • It’s not very likely.
  • There’s not much chance of that.
  • I’d be very surprised if that happened.
  • I wouldn’t bet on it. (= there’s a small chance it could happen… but it probably won’t happen)
  • That’ll never happen.

Ways to Say Something is Interesting/Boring

  • It’s fascinating.
  • It’s intriguing.
  • I couldn’t tear myself away.
  • I couldn’t put it down. (this phrase is used for en extremely interesting book)
  • I was so into it, I lost track of time.
  • It does nothing for me.
  • I was bored to tears.
  • I was bored to death.
  • I was dying of boredom.
  • It’s about as exciting as watching paint dry. (= it’s very boring)

Phrases for Cheering Someone Up

  • What’s the matter?
  • What’s wrong?
  • Are you all right?
  • You look a bit down. (= a little sad)
  • Is there anything I can do to help?
  • Cheer up! / Chin up!
  • It’s not so bad.
  • Everything will be OK.
  • Look on the bright side. (= consider the positive aspects)
  • It’s not the end of the world. (this phrase is used when someone is upset about something small and trivial)

Phrases for Disappointment

  • What a pity!
  • What a shame.
  • How disappointing.
  • That’s too bad.
  • Bummer.
  • It was a real letdown.
  • It didn’t live up to my expectations.

Ways to Say You Don’t Believe Someone

  • Yeah, right.
  • You're kidding.
  • You're pulling my leg.
  • That's a bit of an exaggeration.
  • He’s stretching the truth.
  • He’s not telling the whole truth.
  • She’s being economical with the truth. (= she’s lying or not telling the entire truth)
  • His story is fishy.
  • That's an outright lie.
  • That's a pack of lies.

Expressions for Bad People

  • He’s a creep. (= unpleasant, suspicious, makes you afraid/uneasy)
  • He’s a pervert. (= someone with disgusting sexual tendencies)
  • He’s a sicko.
  • He’s a scumbag.
  • He’s an asshole.
  • He’s a jerk.
  • He’s a bastard.
  • She’s a bitch. (= she’s irritating and unpleasant)
  • She’s a psycho. (= crazy, irrational)
  • She’s a slut. (= she has sex with a lot of people)

Words for Describing Speaking

  • He yelled.
  • She screamed.
  • I whispered. (= spoke in an extremely quiet voice)
  • We chatted. (= had an informal conversation)
  • He mumbled. (= spoke in a low voice, not clearly, without opening his mouth much)
  • My kids whined. (= complained)
  • He rambled. / He went on and on. (= talked too much without stopping)
  • She stammered.
  • I snapped at my husband. (= said a quick and angry remark)
  • He muttered. (= spoke in a low voice, usually making complaints or negative comments)

Phrases for Facial Expressions

  • She was beaming. (= she had a big, radiant smile)
  • The kids were smiling from ear to ear.
  • He looked puzzled. (= confused)
  • She grinned. (= had a small smile)
  • He winced when the doctor gave him an injection. (= had a quick expression of pain)
  • She gave me a dirty look. (= looked at me angrily)
  • She blushed. (= her face turned red because she was embarrassed)
  • His eyes were glazed over. (= he appeared
  • Why the long face? (an informal expression to ask why someone looks sad or upset)
  • Her expression was unreadable. (= you can’t know what she is feeling)

Phrases to Describe Offending or Upsetting People

  • They got off on the wrong foot. (= when they first met, they didn’t get along)
  • He got on the teacher’s bad side.
  • She took offense at his comment.
  • He has a chip on his shoulder. (= he is easily offended)
  • She got bent out of shape.
  • He left in a huff.
  • She got her panties in a wad.
  • He has a short fuse. (= he gets angry easily)
  • She dissed my mother. (= she insulted/disrespected my mother)
  • He got his nose out of joint.
  • #5, #7, #10 all mean the person got irritated/annoyed

Phrases for Bad Travel Experiences

  • My flight was overbooked. (overbooked = there were too many passengers and not enough seats)
  • My flight was delayed/canceled.
  • My luggage was lost.
  • I was jet-lagged. (= I felt tired because of the time zone difference between my origin and destination)
  • My hotel was in a seedy area. (seedy = possibly unsafe)
  • I was mugged. (= I was robbed on the street)
  • The weather was miserable.
  • I got the runs. (= diarrhea)
  • The place was a tourist trap. (= made only for tourists; not authentic)
  • I couldn’t wait to get back home.

Phrases for Drinking (Alcohol)

  • It’s on me. (= I’ll buy you a drink)
  • I’d like to make a toast. (= I’d like to honor a person/event/idea)
  • Here’s to… (your health / the New Year / our success)!
  • Another round of drinks, please.
  • Put it on my tab. (tab = bill to pay later, before you leave)
  • He’s a bit tipsy. (= a little bit drunk)
  • He’s completely sloshed/wasted/plastered. (= completely drunk)
  • She’s trying to drown her sorrows. (= drinking alcohol for relief from pain/sadness)
  • I’m the designated driver. (= I’m not drinking alcohol because I will drive other people home later)
  • I had a hangover. / I was hung over. (= the bad feeling you have the morning after drinking too much)

Comparative Idioms

  • It’s as light as a feather.
  • It’s as dry as a bone.
  • It’s as flat as a pancake.
  • He’s as mad as a hornet.
  • It’s as old as the hills.
  • It’s as quick as lightning.
  • She’s as sick as a dog.
  • He’s as strong as an ox.
  • They’re as different as night and day.
  • She’s as stubborn as a mule.
  • He’s as proud as a peacock.
  • She’s as white as a sheet. (usually used when someone is very afraid or very sick)
  • It’s as solid as a rock.
  • It’s as good as new. (used after something broken has been repaired)
  • It’s as clear as mud. (= it’s not clear at all)



ID: 181201402 Last Updated: 14/12/2018 Revision: 0 Ref:



  1. Thomson A.J., Martinet A.V., 1961
  2. Nesfield, J.C., 1898

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