Have you ever felt like you are running out of words while having a conversation in English? This can happen especially when the language you are speaking is not your native tongue. Most people tend to wait until reaching a certain level of learning a language until they are able to speak it with fluency. But in today's fast-paced world who has the time to wait so much? It takes a lot of time and effort to master a language.
Reaching the advanced level and attaining the perfect amount of fluency is a whole other thing. If you are feeling tired of waiting. If you wish to be comfortable among people who speak flawless English. Then let us take a look at the 20 common English phrases and how to use them. So that even you can start to sound like a native English speaker.
1. Oh Hi! I almost didn’t recognize you!
Don't go to the literal meaning of this sentence. Of course, if you are saying hi! You recognize the other person. This is only a way of expressing your excitement when you see someone after a long time. That is why we use the word 'almost' here. When you bump into someone you haven't met in a long time. As far as small talk is a consideration, this phrase can be a conversation starter.
2. Thanks! I appreciate it.
When someone does you a favor or does something to help you, we say thank you. Everyone knows that, right? No big deal! But what creates a demarcation between native and non-native speakers? It is the factor of elegance and fluency that sets them apart. A native speaker is most likely to add something more to a simple thank you to express an even deeper level of gratitude.
Even though a traditional 'thank you' would suffice but an extra statement of appreciation for the other person will add a charm to your phrase. It makes the other person feel that you are most well mannered and polite. This phrase is all about polishing an existing cliched statement.
3. Hi! What brings you here?
'Hi! How are you?' Sounds familiar, right? It might be a little too familiar though we use this sentence in everyday English. Sometimes saying things that are too common or generic tend to take out the essence of what a person wishes to convey. When someone asks you how you are, it might seem like a formality sometimes. But when that person adds something meaningful to the simple 'how are you' sentence, it makes you feel that the other person is actually paying attention. 'What brings you here' makes a person feel that you are actually concerned about helping them.
4. Excuse me!
This is one of the most important phrases in the English language and it is necessary to know when and how to use it. It is a polite way to interrupt someone without sounding rude or abrupt. When you are trying to gain someone's attention and being subtle is not an option in that particular situation, you tend to use this phrase. You can even show that you disagree without sounding negative. Saying 'excuse me' for minor disgrace such as coughing, sneezing, etc is a part of good manners and behavior. Apart from being polite, there is one more use of this phrase. When something offends you and you try to prove your point, you can even use it as sarcasm.
5. What do you think?
When you are having a discussion with another person, it is important to show them that their opinions matter too, even if they don't. Suppose you state a fact or provide a suggestion. When you ask the other person what they think, it makes you sound modest and makes them believe that what they think of something is important to you. It is polite to ask for the other person's opinion before making a decision.
6. Good to see you again!
When you meet someone after a short interval. Here, the best way to greet them is to let them know that you are happy to see them again. It is way better than a simple Hi or Hello which we use as everyday English expressions. When you meet an acquaintance or an old friend after a while you should acknowledge their presence with a catchy phrase like the one mentioned above to make them feel that you are actually thrilled to see them again.
7. Have we met before?
When you don't recognize a person whom you should, it can get a little embarrassing. If you state it outright that you don't know them. Later it turns out that you have known them in the past and you forgot, the other person can take it as dishonor. So, instead of straight stating that you don't remember them or asking them, who they are even if you have a faint memory of knowing them, take a step back. Ask them whether you have met before. This will make them feel that perchance you remember them somewhat but are unable to put the pieces together to be sure.
8. So, what's new?
As per grammar, this phrase doesn't make much sense while asking another person. There is a high factor of imprecision in the statement. This phrase is only a conversation starter, although, an excellent one! When you meet someone after a while and you say this phrase, it expresses your interest in the person what the person has been up to the past few days. It is usually used to gain information about an event or incident that might have occurred since you last met that person.
9. Never Mind
Now, this is a tricky one! There are many ways one can use this phrase. You can let a person know that you have forgiven them for something they apologize for. When you have explained something over and over and the other person doesn't understand, you can let it go by saying never mind.
The intensity depends on how you have said it. If you say it in a casual way, you are ending things on a positive note. If you say it with disbelief, you sound irritated. If you say it with a massive amount of intensity, it shows that you are angry. See! You can use the same phrase to convey so many emotions! All you have to do is be mindful of your tone to convey exactly how you feel.
10. I hope you don't mind
When you wish to ask someone something without making it seem like you are prying or getting too personal, you should use this statement with politeness to make the other person feel that you think it's a little awkward to indulge but you are asking only out of concern. Even if you made the other person offended by your question, you have made yourself safe by conveying that you are not sure whether you are in a position to make inquiries or not.
11. Is everything alright?
Generally, you ask this question to people you know. If you see them in distress when you wish to know whether actually everything is okay with them. But this is a question that arises out of concern. There is no harm in asking a stranger whether things are okay with them if something doesn't seem right. When you can see that someone needs help, you can approach that person by making this as your opening statement.
12. It's a pleasure to meet you.
It is not necessary that it will be a happy meeting with the ones you meet. But it is something that, you should say to almost everyone when you meet them for the first time. Saying a positive statement like this is a good manner and it makes an amazing first impression.
13. Have you met Thomas
One of the most non-generic ways of introducing someone is to ask a rhetorical question like 'have you met this person?' There is nothing wrong with the same old 'This is XYZ.' But knowing a different way of introducing someone adds a flavor of the richness to your language.
14. In a minute
When someone is asking you to do something, but straightway you are not up for it, a good way to postpone the work for a little while is to say 'in a minute'. For example, your mom is calling you downstairs for dinner but you are about to finish an assignment in a short span of time, you can say, " I'll be there in a minute".
15. Oh really?
When someone tells you exciting news. There are many ways to express your elation, surprise, or any other emotion that you might feel on hearing the news. One of those ways is asking, "Oh really?" Although the literal meaning would suggest that you don't trust the person at the first instinct. But when you say it out loud, it sounds like you are finding it difficult to digest the news because of the element of surprise. It is an English expression which expresses your astonishment, not disbelief.
16. If it's okay with you.
Whenever you are about to say something that you are going to do at some point in the future. And, if that action affects someone else even in the least possible way, it is an obligation to ask whether the other person is okay with it. Even though you are not asking for permission, even though you are going to perform that action anyway, asking a person this question would keep you safe later on if something goes wrong.
17. Can't complain
Another non-cliche way of saying I'm fine when someone asks you how you are doing is to say, "Can't complain." This indicates that you are fine. The information conveyed is the same as that conveyed in a generic answer. But when you say the above phrase, it shows that you own a better sense of words than others.
18. To the best of my knowledge
When you are almost sure but not 100 % sure of what you are saying, you should say this phrase before beginning what you are about to state. This way, even if your statement turns out to be wrong, you can say that what you stated was according to your knowledge and people shouldn't consider it a fact.
19. That is a good one!
When someone cracks a humorous joke or says something quite meaningful, you can appreciate them by saying this phrase. It's another way of showing that you are impressed by what the other person said right away. Keep in mind, this reaction should be spontaneous otherwise the entire meaning of this statement can destroy by a late reaction.
20. Are you kidding?
When you hear something that is too good to be true but deep down you know that the other person is telling the truth. The question, "are you kidding" expresses the highest level of disgust or disbelief. This means you are in shock to your core. It expresses that the news is unbelievable to an extent where someone can actually think it is a joke.
How To Master The Basic Phrases:
The fact that we have provided you with a list doesn't mean you have to perforce squeeze them into your conversations even when they are not required. These are common English words used in daily life. First, when you are all alone, think about a situation where each of these phrases is fit to use. Then when that situation arises, in a casual way let it slip in. Also, imagine an entire conversation where the other person says something and see how you can respond smartly. Before using the phrases in actual conversations, try using them on social media posts or text or chat messages. Every little thing requires prior practices.
The same method goes for using these phrases in conversational English. Cross each phrase off from your English speaking phrase list, when you have used it in writing, email, chat, messaging as well as oral telephonic and face to face conversation.
Everyone dreads facing an awkward situation in which his or her rank goes lower than others. But if you study the above-mentioned list of 20 common English phrases and how to use them with attention, you will never have to hesitate in opening your mouth when you bump into an old acquaintance or a colleague or a friend.
Even though you know a language, sometimes the wow factor is missing. These phrases will help you reduce the time you take in thinking about what to say in front of other native speakers. It enables you to be more spontaneous. These are the common English phrases to use at home, school, office, or with everyone who meets you.