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Essential Phrases for Every English Speaker

Category: Language Training | 2018-03-08

If you’re just starting out with learning English (or are already a seasoned pro), there are some essential phrases that every English speaker should know. Of course, learning a language isn’t just rote memorization, however, learning these phrases by heart definitely won’t hurt!

Here are 10 of the most essential phrases every English speaker should know that you can use in the office and everyday life.

10 Essential Phrases Every English Speaker Should Know

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1. I really appreciate…

This phrase is perfect if you want to thank someone but feel that the classic “thank you” is a little too worn out. This is also a good phrase to use if you’re particularly grateful to someone, as it will help you convey just how thankful you are.

– I really appreciate you helping me move. My furniture was really heavy!
– I really appreciate that you came to that event with me. It really meant a lot to me.
– I really appreciate that you took the time out of your schedule to meet with me.

2. How does that sound?

For better or worse, this phrase isn’t asking you about whether music sounds good to you or not. But we can definitely tell you that you’re going to hear this phrase a lot if you hang out with English speakers.

“How does that sound…?” is generally used to confirm plans and ideas. This phrase asks if something is ok for you or not, or if an alternative needs to be found.

– A: I’m free to go to the movies after 7pm, and that movie we wanted to see is playing at 7:30. How does that sound?
B: That sounds good to me! See you then.

– A: I have a meeting until 12pm on Monday, but I’m free after 2pm. Let’s meet at 2:30. How does that sound?
B: I’m in a meeting until 3:30pm. Should we meet on Tuesday instead?

3. Never mind.

Let’s say you asked someone a question, but remembered the answer right after you asked. Or you asked your partner to take out the trash, then saw they were already cleaning the bathroom. Those would both be perfect times to use the phrase “never mind.” It lets someone know that you don’t need their help with something anymore while still keeping things light and friendly.

– Is this report due at 9am or 10am tomorrow? Oh wait never mind. I just remembered it’s actually due on Thursday.
– Could you please clean the kitchen? Never mind, I’ll take care of it since you’re writing a paper.

Essential Phrases, Business English Hamburg

4. Could you repeat that please?

Asking someone to repeat themselves is sometimes necessary if you didn’t hear them correctly or if you want to be sure of the information they gave you. This phrase is the perfect if you’re on the phone a lot!

– Could you repeat that please? I didn’t quite catch what you said.
– Could you repeat the last 4 numbers please? I just want to be sure I wrote it down correctly.

5. What do you mean?

Did someone say something confusing? Did they use a word you don’t know? Asking someone what they mean will help clarify the situation so that you understand them perfectly.

– The company’s being taken over?! What do you mean?
– When you say “ginormous,” what do you mean?

6. I’ll be with you in a moment.

This is the perfect phrase to use if you’re just finishing up a task at home or at work and someone wants to see you. It can be particularly useful on very busy days!

– I’ll be with you in a moment. I’m just finishing up this call.
– Let me send this email real fast. I’ll be with you in a moment.

Essential Phrases, Business English Hamburg

7. I’m just about to…

A verb will always follow the phrase “I’m just about to…” This might be one of the most common phrases you’ll hear, both at home and in the office, as it lets you know what someone is going to do in the immediate future.

– I can’t go out tonight. I’m just about to put on my pajamas and go to bed.
– I’m just about to start reading that book you sent me.
– Can we talk when I get back? I’m just about to go to lunch. 

8. Excuse me.

“Excuse me” is definitely another common phrase you’ll hear. You can use it all the time, whether you’re at the movies, in a crowd, or at the office. It’s a great phrase to use if you want to get past someone or get someone’s attention, too!

– Excuse me, could you tell me how to get to City Hall?
– Excuse me. I just need to slip past you.

9. What do you think about…?

This is the phrase for you if you want someone’s opinion on something. It’s considerate, polite, and shows that you are open to other people’s ideas.

– What do you think about taking a vacation in September?
– What do you think about trying to get Company XYZ as a client?

10. Actually, I think…

Disagreeing with people can be a difficult thing to do. Much like “What do you think about…,” the phrase “Actually, I think….” can be used to respectfully disagree with someone. That way you can share your opinion with openness and confidence.

– Actually, I think October would be a better time to go on vacation. My schedule is more open then.
– Actually, I think that Company ABC would be a safer bet.





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Putting it all Together

As you work on improving your English competency, you will find these essential phrases creeping their way into your daily conversations. Embrace it! These phrases are commonly used by native speakers around the world and will lend credibility to your English prowess. What are the essential phrases that you can’t live without? What questions or responses should other English learners have in their arsenal? Let us know in the comments below.

Do you want to learn more great phrases? Sign up for our monthly newsletter and receive a 7-day free trial of our online English course. Also get more tips, articles and exclusive deals. Thanks for reading!



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