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Useful phrases and expressions

Useful phrases and expressions for general conversation and everyday situations.

Do you often wonder what to say in certain circumstances?
Here are some phrases and expressions that will help you deal with common situations like a native English speaker.

  • ADVICE: asking for and giving advice 

    1. Asking for advice:
      • I need some advice. I’ve no idea what to do.
      • What do you think I should do?
      • What would you recommend?
      • What do you suggest?
      • Have you got any ideas?
      • What would you do if you were me?
      • Do you think I should ...?
      • Would it be a good idea to ...?
      • How would you react in my position?
      • What would be the best solution?

    2. Giving advice: possible answers
      • You could always … (go to the shop and ask for an exchange).
      • My advice would be to ... (take it back and ask for a refund).
      • What you need to do is ... (make a copy in case the original gets lost).
      • One thing you could do is ... (read your speech/presentation to a friend).
      • Have you thought about/tried … (enquiriing at the reception)?
      • It’s generally a good idea to ... (read your answers again before handing in your paper).
      • If I were you I would ... (discuss the idea with my family/colleagues).
      • (Sending it to your parents'/ a friend's home))...... might be a good solution.
      • It would probably be better/safer/wiser to ... (ask for written confirmation).
      • I think your only option is to ... (talk to them before the announcement).
      • The sooner you ..........(call/write/confirm/cancel) the better.


    1. Agreeing:
      • I tend to agree with you.
      • That's a good idea.
      • I'm with you on that point.
      • I'll go along with that.
      • Absolutely! I agree with your point.
      • I totally agree with that idea/proposal.
      • I hold exactly the same view.
      • I couldn't agree more.
      • That's absolutely true.
      • That's just what I was thinking.
      • That's exactly my position.
      • That's how I see it too / how I feel too.

    2. Disagreeing:
      • I see things differently.
      • I tend to disagree with that idea.
      • I agree up to a point. However ...
      • You have a point there, but ...
      • Sorry, but I think you've missed the point.
      • You could be right. However ...
      • The idea is worth considering, but ...
      • Perhaps a weakness of this is that ...
      • Well, I'm not sure of that because ...
      • That might be acceptable if ...
      • I'm afraid I don't agree / I disagree.
      • I strongly / totally disapprove of the plan.
      • I'm absolutely against the proposal.

  • APOLOGIES: making and accepting apologies 

    1. Making an apology
      • I must apologise for ...
      • I'm terribly sorry for ...
      • Please accept my apoligies for ...
      • Excuse me for ... I'm so sorry.
      • Please forgive me for ...
      • I'm really ashamed of what I did.
      • I'd like to apologise for ...
      • I'm really sorry about what I said.
      • It's my fault. I shouldn't have ...
      • I owe you an apology for ...
      • I'm so embarrassed. I didn't mean to ...
      • That was rude of me. I'm sorry.
      • I hope you'll forgive me for ...

    2. Accepting an apology
      • There's no need. It's ok.
      • Forget about it. No harm done.
      • That's all right. It doesn't matter.
      • It's ok. Don't worry about it.
      • Never mind. I quite understand.
      • It's ok. You couldn't help it.
      • There's no need to. It's all right.
      • You're forgiven. It's ok.
      • Forget about it. I understand.
      • There's no need. Don't worry about it.
      • Never mind. It's forgotten already.
      • That's all right. Apology accepted!
      • Don't worry. You're forgiven!

  • BAD NEWS: announcing and responding to bad news 

    1. Announcing bad news
      • I've got some bad news I'm afraid.
      • I'm sorry to have to tell you this but ...
      • I'm afraid I've got something sad to tell you...
      • I don't know how to announce this but ...
      • There's no easy way to say this but ...
      • I feel really bad having to tell you this but ...
      • I've got something unpleasant to announce ...
      • Please don't take this too badly but ...

    2. Responding to bad news
      • How dreadful! I'm really sorry to hear that.
      • What a shame. / What a pity. / How awful.
      • My goodness! What a shock! It's hard to believe.
      • That's sad indeed. I can imagine how you feel.
      • What dreadful news! So sorry. If there's anything I can do ...
      • How unfortunate! That's really tough on you!
      • You must feel terrible. I'm sorry to hear that.
      • You have all my sympathy. I know how you must feel.
      • That's so sad ... and so unexpected. I'm really sorry.
      • It's hard to take but I understand your position.

  • CLARIFYING INFORMATION: checking that you've understood 

    • Does that mean … /  Do you mean … ?
    • If I understand correctly, you're asking me to …
    • Just to make sure that I’ve understood, what you would like is ….?
    • I’m not sure if I got that right. You would like us to …?
    • So, unless I’m mistaken, you're asking us to …
    • So, your idea would be to ...
    • Could you clarify what you mean by ...?
    • Sorry. Could you be more specific?
    • Do I understand you to mean that ...?
    • Just to be absolutely clear, you’re offering to... if we agree to ...?
    • To put it another way, you're suggesting / you're saying that …
    • So, correct me if I'm wrong. What that means is …
    • In other words you agree with my proposal?
    • So, to be perfectly clear, we both agree to …
    • Am I right to conclude that …?
    • I appreciate the clarification. It makes more sense to me now.
    • Would you mind confirming that in writing?


    • Hang in there! / Stay at it / Keep at it!
    • Go on/come on! You can do it! Give it a try!
    • Go for it! Just do it! What have you got to lose?
    • Give it your best! / Give it a shot! / Give it your best shot!
    • That's a good effort. Keep up the good work!
    • That's a real improvement. Well done!
    • The whole team is 100% behind you.
    • No matter what happens I'm on your side.
    • Go ahead. It's a good opportunity. You've got my backing.
    • If you need any help you can count on me/you can trust me.
    • Do what you think is best. I'll support you either way.

  •  EXPRESSING CONCERN: enquiring about someone and offering help 

    • Are you alright? / Are you ok?
    • How are things? / How are you getting on?
    • How have you been keeping?
    • What’s the matter? What’s up?
    • You look a bit off-colour. Are you feeling alright?
    • You look worried. Is everything ok?
    • Why such a sad face? Is there something wrong?
    • Why the long face? Bad news? Do you want to talk about it?
    • You look upset. Has something happened?
    • You look a bit down. What's the matter?
    • Is there anything I can do?
    • Can I help in any way?
    • Do you need a shoulder to cry on?
    • Come and have a drink. You look like you could do with one.

  • GET WELL SOON: other ways of wishing someone well 

    • I hope you’ll feel better/feel well again very soon.
    • Wishing you a speedy recovery.
    • Warmest wishes for a quick recovery.
    • Our warmest thoughts are with you as you recover from your accident.
    • You are in in our thoughts and prayers. We wish you a quick recovery.
    • I hope it won’t be long before you’re on your feet again.
    • I hope you have a swift recovery and start feeling better very soon.
    • We pray you return to full health very soon.
    • Hope you feel a little better every day.
    • Hope you’ll be back to your old self in no time.
    • Hope it won’t be long before you’re out of hospital.
    • Hope it helps to know that we’re all thinking of you.
    • We all miss you and wish you a speedy recovery.
    • Take extra good care of yourself until you make a complete recovery.
    • Sorry to hear you’re not well. Let me know if there’s anything I can do to help.
    • Really sorry to hear of your illness. Hope your recovery will be a speedy one.
    • Wishing you a super fast recovery. Life isn’t the same without you!
    • We wish you a speedy recovery. If you need anything, just let us know.


    1. Inviting
      • Will you join us for coffee?
      • I'm going out for a bite to eat. Would you like to join me?
      • Could we have lunch together one day?
      • Would you like to come to the cinema with me tonight?
      • We're all going to watch the parade later on. Care to join us?
      • We're having a party next week-end. Would you like to come?
      • How about coming to the barbecue at the tennis club on Saturday?
      • I've got two tickets for a concert on Friday. Would you like to come?
      • How about a game of tennis at the weekend?
      • Would you like to play a round of golf this weekend?

    2. Accepting or Refusing
      • I'd love to thanks. / Sorry. I'm afraid I don't have time.
      • I'd be happy to . Thanks. / Sorry. I'm meeting a friend for lunch.
      • With pleasure. / I'd love to but I'm very busy at the moment.
      • Sure, I'd love to. / Sorry, I can't. I've got other plans.
      • Sure! Good idea! / Nice of you to ask me but I've got an appointment.
      • I'd love to. Thanks. / What a pity! I'm away next weekend.
      • Sure! That should be fun! / Sounds great but I'm afraid I'm not free.
      • Super! I'd love to. / I'm tied up on Friday - sorry.
      • Yes, I'd like that. / Sorry. Maybe some other time.
      • That would be great. Is Saturday ok? / I'd like to but I'm not free this weekend.

  • SAYING "THANK YOU" - expressing gratitude 

    • Thank you very much / so much/ thanks a million.
    • Thank you. You’ve been very helpful.
    • Thank you. That’s very kind of you.
    • I don’t know how to thank you. You’ve been so kind.
    • I can’t thank you enough for your help.
    • A big thank you from the bottom of my heart.
    • Thank you for helping us out. We are so grateful.
    • Thank you for thinking of us / joining us today.
    • Thank you for coming. We appreciate your presence today.
    • Thanks for everything you’ve done / for all your help.
    • Thank you so much for your contribution.
    • I don’t know how to express my gratitude. You’ve been so kind.
    • Thank you. Your kind words have been so comforting.
    • I appreciate your visit. Thank you for taking the time to come by.
    • Thank you for sharing this special day with us.
    • Your assistance has been invaluable. We are so thankful.
    • No words can express how thankful I am.

Please note that British English spelling is used on this website.

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