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Bits of real English

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List of common English expressions for everyday situations

List of common English expressions for everyday situations

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  • 1. bits of REAL ENGLISH Brittany Ríos, Karly Zagorac & José Antonio Alcalde WHAT? In this document we try to present some expressions that are highly frequent in real communicative situations among native speakers (especially teenage people). As teachers of English we notice that our students are getting basically what we call “School English”, that is, an either artificially simple or quite elaborated code different from “real English”. We have used the stardard variety of English but if any expression is typically American (AmE) or British (BrE), it has been stated conveniently. Extremely colloquial expressions are marked with (*). In here we do not include swearing or extremely rude language because it is beyond our scope of interest. Feel free to add as many more expressions as possible in order to make your students get in touch with “real English”. WHY? The very formal English our students are learning sounds awkward and bookish when talking to natives. This is so because more real expressions are rarely found in textbooks (our main source of input for lessons) although they are pretty frequent in films, TV series, music, etc. Besides, this kind of language is also included in the minimum contents for the Foreign Language curriculum for Compulsary Secondary Education in Spain (see Real Decreto 1631/2006 de 29 de diciembre de 2007). It is said in section BLOQUE 3 (Knowledge of the Language) the importance of knowing and using common set expressions according to the context. Finally, students love repeating these expressions and using them all the time for fun's sake. They think it is cool! HOW? We have tried to organize the expressions into headings in order to help with its classification so as not to present them randomly. However, on occasions this is not always possible as some expressions may belong to different situations. As it happens with our mother tongue, these expressions should be learnt by heart and there is no need to analyze or interpret them (something we teachers love to do but our students hate!). This is because of the economy of the language, that is, we just utter them when we get the right prompt without further thinking or elaboration on our part. Furthermore, if possible, language assistants can help working and practicing them again and again with the students until the expressions have been automatized and introduced in their daily routines. WHEN? The sooner we present these chunks of language to our students, the better. There is no need to wait for a specific level, competence, age, etc., to do so. Teachers must decide when to deal with them: perhaps devoting a whole lesson to it or a specific heading in every lesson, etc. We hope you find the document interesting and useful!!
  • 2. EXPRESSIONS GREETING Hi! Hi five! = Give me five! Dude! (AmE) = Mate! (BrE) How you doing? = How's it going? What's up? = What's new? Long time no see! What's going on!? (AmE) How've you been? (AmE) GETTING ATTENTION Excuse me! Sorry to interrupt! Guess what? = You'll never guess what! Yo!* (AmE) = Dude! (AmE) Listen up! (AmE) Pardon me! Can I help you? Can I add something there? Do you mind if I jump in there? Mind if I add something? Can I throw my two cents in? Just a minute please? = Just one sec / second AGREEING Yeah! = Okey dokey! Me too! ≠ Neither me! Sure thing! (AmE) = For sure! (AmE) Go ahead! Totally = Definitely = Cool = Hell, yeah!* I'm up for that = I'm in! You bet! (AmE) = Yep! (AmE) You got it! = You gotta point! I agree! = Exactly! = So true! So do I! I think you're right! = I totally agree! I couldn't agree more! = I feel exactly the same way! You´re absolutely right! = No doubt about it! Tell me about it! I could see that! I guess so! (weak affirmation) Be my guest! DISAGREEING No way! In your dreams! = You're dreaming! Over my dead body! Yeah, right! (Ironic) Never gonna happen! = It'll never happen! Of course not! No, period! = End of story Negative! I don't think so! Not in a million years! = Never in a million years Never in your lifetime! Fat Chance! I totally disagree! I beg to differ! I'm out! WHEN EATING Yum! = Yummy! = Delicious! Yuk! = Yukkie! = Eww! = Disgusting! Nasting! = Gross! = Minging! Sweet tooth! I'm so hungry I could eat a horse! I'm starving! = I'm famished! I got the munchies (AmE) = I’m peckish (BrE) (hungry for a snack) My stomach is growling! = I'm ravenous (BrE) What do you fancy? I fancy... I feel like having... Enjoy your meal! = Bon appetit!
  • 3. USING NEW TECHNOLOGIES The computer just froze This picture is too grainy This file is bulky I'm into social networking I usually skype with my friends abroad The line is choppy Can you forward that to me? Text it to me! Did you see my post? You a Mac or PC person? WORKING Go with the flow! Busy bee! So far so good! Deal or no deal?* (AmE) First things first! Easy peasy! Easy as pie = Easy as ABC = It's a breeze = It's a piece of cake You just go with the flow WHEN PLAYING I'm in! ≠ I'm out! Lucky you! That's not fair! Fair play ≠ Foul play It's my go! = My turn! It ain't a walk in the park = It was difficult It was pretty hard ≠ (It's) piece of cake! Don't jump the gun! = Cool down! Chill out = Take it easy! Take a chill pill!* = Relax! Get the ball rolling Don't chicken out!* Perfect timing! Butterfingers! Cheater! Get ready, get set GO!!! Off you go! LOSER! We beat you!* You just got beat! Don't be a sore loser! Better luck next time! I / We win!! Team player or not a team player? There's not I in team He is in time out Tit for tat! EXPRESSING SOMETHING IS WRONG Oops! Oh no! = Oh dear! = Dear heavens! Oh man!* = Oh crap!* (BrE) OMG = Oh my God! = Oh my Gosh! What happened?! = What's wrong? What's going on? What's the trouble now? What's the catch? Something doesn't smell right! Something is fishy / smelly = Something is up You are up to something All is not what it seems! Houston, we have a problem! Are you okay? Tell me everything! What a mess! What a pity! Ants in your pants! Watch out! = Be careful! You crossed the line! (It's) my fault!! My apologies > No worries / No need / It's OK
  • 4. EXPRESSING AMAZEMENT Awesome!* (AmE) = Neat!* Cool! = Sweet! Totally!* Wow!* = Whoa!* Never! Super! = Amazing! Dude!!* (AmE) WHAT!?! OMG!! = (Oh my God) = Oh my Gosh! That's handy! ENJOYING We had a great time! This is real fun! We are having a blast! (BrE) Totally amazing! We gotta do that/it again! That was awesome! (AmE) Best time ever!! We are having a ball! (BrE) This is the life! I'm all for... I'm itching to... EXPRESSING UNDERSTANDING I see = I know Got it!* ≠ I don't get it! = I don't get the picture Beg your pardon? You're kidding me! (AmE) / You're joking! I don't buy it! (AmE) = I don't believe you! Really? You are making no sense = That is nonsense Speak English! That is Greek to me! = Stop the mambo jambo! How come? No way! = Never! I'll sleep on it! = I need some time for thinking Whoa…Back up! = What? = Hang on, rewind! Don't trick me! = You are having a laugh! You have got to be joking / kidding!? Are you for real? = You can't be serious! Never mind! Whatever! EXPRESSING SUCCESS We did it! Nice try! Outstanding! = Good job! = Well done! You are the best! Excellent! = Brilliant! You rock! Go us! We rocked it / that! We rule! Go for it! = Do your best! EXPRESSING FAILURE Loser! Next time! Better luck next time! Not this time! Try harder! Nice try! EXPRESSING QUANTITY / AMOUNT A great deal of... Gigantic! = Huge! = Enormous! = Insane! 24/7 (all the time) Pretty much So much So-so Just a bit of... = A tiny bit This is peanuts (not much money) A sliver (small slice) Just about (almost) A tad (AmE) = A smidge (BrE) (small amount) This is nothing! It's no big deal Kind of... / Sort of... (similarity)
  • 5. TEASING Monkey see, monkey do! = Copycat! Who cares? I'm going to die of boredom Someone is sensitive today! Don't be such a baby! Don't cry about it! = Oh come on! Oh relax! I'm joking! = I'm teasing! I'm just mucking around! (BrE) Talk to the hand! Don't trick me! You can't fool me (AmE) Give me a break! It was a joke! I was just playing around! = I'm just messing with you! Hands to yourself! Stop nagging me! = Leave it out! Knock it off! = Stop it!! Enough is enough! Leave me alone = Mind your (own) business = Get lost! Get off my case! This is no brain surgery! Chatterbox! Silly Billy! THANKING I appreciate it! You saved my day! Cheers! (BrE) You're the best! That's very kind of you! That would be nice! I'm so grateful! What would I do without you!? You are so sweet! Bless you / him / her! You are my shining star! You really came threw! = You really came handy! I couldn't have done it without you! You are a lifesaver! = You're a savior! I owe you one! No problem! = No worries! = No need! = Don't mention it! My pleasure = It was a pleasure = A pleasure SOCIALISING Bless you! Cheers! I hope you get better soon! Happy birthday! > Many happy returns! After you = You first Enjoy your meal! Have a nice day! > You too / The same to you GOOD-BYEING So long! CU* = See you! = See ya!* = See you soon! See you later! = Later! = See ya later alligator, in a while crocodile!* Have a nice day! (AmE) Got to go! (AmE) = Got to run! Got to dash! = Must dash! (BrE) Cheerio!* (BrE) Give my regards to... Ta-ta* (BrE) Bye for now! = Bye! Hasta la vista baby! See you on the flip side! Talk to you later! We'll be in touch! Take care! All the best OTHER

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