100 English Phrases Everyone Should Know

Oct 22, 2023



Out of the blue (Unexpectedly): I hadn’t heard from him in years and then he called me out of the blue.

Give me a break (Stop bothering or being unreasonable): You expect me to finish all this work in an hour? Give me a break!

Cut to the chase (Get to the point): Stop beating around the bush and cut to the chase.

I’ve got your back (I’ll support or help you): Don’t worry about the bullies; I’ve got your back.

Hit the nail on the head (Described exactly what is causing a situation or problem): When you said he was jealous, you hit the nail on the head.

Get the ball rolling (Start something, usually a project or activity): Let's get the ball rolling by brainstorming some ideas.

Go with the flow (Don’t resist; go along with things as they happen): The plans have changed so many times, I’m just going to go with the flow.

I’m swamped (Very busy): Can we meet tomorrow? I’m swamped with work today.

Hang out (Spend time socially): Let’s hang out this weekend.

I’ll get back to you (I will respond later): Let me check my schedule and I’ll get back to you.

Jump to conclusions (Judge or decide something without having all the facts): Don't jump to conclusions; let's hear her side of the story.

Get the hang of it (Learn how to do something): Don’t worry, you’ll get the hang of it with more practice.

Don’t judge a book by its cover (Don’t make judgments based on appearances): He might look mean, but don’t judge a book by its cover.

Read between the lines (Understand the hidden meaning): Sometimes you have to read between the lines to understand what he really means.

Keep your chin up (Stay positive despite difficulties): Keep your chin up; things will get better.

It’s a no-brainer (An easy decision): Taking the higher-paying job was a no-brainer.

Miss the boat (Miss an opportunity): If you don’t buy the tickets now, you might miss the boat.

Let the cat out of the bag (Reveal a secret): I accidentally let the cat out of the bag about the surprise party.

Off the top of my head (Saying something without thinking or calculating): Off the top of my head, I can think of three people who could help us.

Play it by ear (Decide how to deal with a situation as it develops): I don’t have plans for the weekend; I’ll just play it by ear.

By the skin of my teeth (Narrowly, barely): I made it to the train by the skin of my teeth.

On cloud nine (Very happy): After getting promoted, he was on cloud nine.

Pull yourself together (Calm down and act normally): You need to pull yourself together before the meeting.

Once in a blue moon (Rarely): I only see him once in a blue moon.

That’s the last straw (origin the straw that broke the camel’s back).: (The final problem in a series; no more tolerance): He was late again? That’s the last straw!

Step up your game (Work harder to improve): If you want to make the team, you’ll need to step up your game.

Behind the times (Outdated): That old cell phone is really behind the times.

Biting off more than you can chew (Taking on a task that is too big): Taking on two jobs might be biting off more than you can chew.

Under the weather (Feeling ill): I’m feeling under the weather; I think I have a cold.

See eye to eye (Agree): We don’t always see eye to eye, but we respect each other.

The ball is in your court (It's your decision or responsibility now): I’ve done all I can, now the ball is in your court.

Take it with a grain of salt (Don't take it too seriously): He tends to exaggerate, so take it with a grain of salt.

Bite the bullet (To face a painful situation bravely): The dentist said I need a filling, so I’ll have to bite the bullet.

Time flies (Time passes quickly): I can’t believe it’s already December; time flies.

In the nick of time (Just in time): I got to the bus stop in the nick of time before the bus left.

On the same page (Agreeing or understanding each other): Let’s make sure we’re on the same page before we start the project.

Waste of time (An unproductive action): Arguing with him is a waste of time.

Make ends meet (Have just enough money to live): She’s working two jobs to make ends meet.

Bend over backward (Do whatever it takes to help): He would bend over backward to make sure his customers were satisfied.

It’s not a big deal (It’s not important or serious): Don’t worry about being late, it’s not a big deal.
Don’t put all your eggs in one basket (Don’t concentrate all your prospects in one thing): You should apply to several colleges, don’t put all your eggs in one basket.

Grain of truth (A small amount of truth): His story is exaggerated, but there is a grain of truth in it.

In hot water (In trouble): He didn’t finish the project on time and now he’s in hot water with his boss.

The benefit of the doubt (Believe someone's statement without proof): I’ll give her the benefit of the doubt this time, but I’ll be watching closely.

Cut corners (Do something the cheapest or easiest way): He cut corners on the project by using cheaper materials.

What’s the big deal? (Use when something is being treated as important, and you don’t understand why): They’re just shoes. What’s the big deal?

Hang in there (Encouragement to someone having a hard time): I know it's a tough time for you, but hang in there, it will get better.

What's up? (Informal way to ask someone how they are or what they are doing): Hey, what's up? Haven't seen you in a while.

That makes sense (Agree that something is logical): Ah, so the roads are closed because of the marathon. That makes sense.

I’m on the fence (Undecided about something): I’m on the fence about whether to take the job or not.

I’ll keep that in mind (Politely say you'll remember what someone told you): Thanks for the advice. I’ll keep that in mind.

I lost track of time (Unintentionally spending more time on something than planned): Sorry I’m late, I lost track of time.

Better safe than sorry (It’s better to be too cautious than to be careless): I always bring an umbrella, just in case. Better safe than sorry.

I’m broke (I have no money): I'd love to go out, but I’m broke until payday.

No way! (Express disbelief or refusal): No way! You actually met the president?

What a small world! (Surprised by an unexpected connection with someone): You know Sarah too? What a small world!

I could use a hand (I need help): I could use a hand moving this furniture, can you help?

It slipped my mind (I forgot about it): I was supposed to call John, but it slipped my mind.

I’m beat (Very tired): I’m beat. I think I’ll head to bed early tonight.

Get to the point (Asking someone to say what they mean without extra details): We don’t have all day, so please get to the point.

That’s a rip-off! (Something is too expensive or not worth the price): $50 for a t-shirt? That’s a rip-off!

Don’t get me wrong (Clarify that you don't want to be misunderstood): Don’t get me wrong, I like the idea, but I think it needs some tweaking.

I’m starving (Very hungry): I’m starving. Let’s get something to eat.

You’ve got to be kidding! (Express disbelief): You’ve got to be kidding! That can’t be the final score.

It’s not the end of the world (It’s not a catastrophic problem): So you made a mistake. It’s not the end of the world.

To make a long story short (Summarize a long explanation): To make a long story short, we missed our flight and had to take a later one.

Take it easy (Relax or calm down): You’ve been working really hard. Take it easy this weekend.

Speak of the devil (The person we were just talking about has appeared): We were just talking about you, and speak of the devil, here you are!

It’s a piece of cake (It’s very easy): Don’t worry, the test is a piece of cake if you studied.

Better late than never (It’s good that someone or something finally arrived, even if late): You finally cleaned your room! Better late than never.

That’s easier said than done (A task is more difficult than it sounds): Just write a best-selling novel? That’s easier said than done.

Break a leg! (Good luck (often used before a performance)): You're going on stage soon, break a leg!

Don’t take it to heart (Don’t be deeply affected by criticism): She didn’t mean what she said, so don’t take it to heart.

Let’s get down to business (Start focusing on the main task): We have a lot to cover today, let’s get down to business.

I can’t make heads or tails of it (I don’t understand it at all): I looked at the report, but I can’t make heads or tails of it.

We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it (We’ll deal with that problem when it occurs): I don’t know how we’ll get there, but we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.

Don’t count your chickens before they hatch (Don’t assume success before it happens): You haven’t even had the interview yet, don’t count your chickens before they hatch.

I’m fed up (I'm annoyed or tired of something): I’m fed up with all this traffic every day.

It’s not rocket science (It’s not complicated): Just hit the green button to start. It’s not rocket science.

Keep an eye on it (Watch something carefully): Keep an eye on the soup so it doesn’t boil over.

You can say that again (Strong agreement with what was said): "This weather is terrible." "You can say that again!"

I can’t stand it (I really dislike it): Turn off that song. I can’t stand it.

Let’s call it a day (Let’s finish working for today): We’ve done enough work. Let’s call it a day.

It’s up in the air (It’s uncertain or not yet decided): Are you moving to a new city? – It’s up in the air right now.

Hit the hay (Go to bed or go to sleep): It's been a long day; I'm going to hit the hay.

Barking up the wrong tree (Accusing or pursuing the wrong person or thing): If you think I took your book, you're barking up the wrong tree.

The ball is in your court (It's your decision or responsibility now): I've done all I can to help you; now the ball is in your court.

Spill the beans (Reveal secret information): Come on, spill the beans, what did he tell you?

Costs an arm and a leg (Very expensive): That designer dress costs an arm and a leg.

Burn the midnight oil (Stay up late working or studying): I have a big exam tomorrow, so I'll be burning the midnight oil tonight.

Get your act together (Start behaving properly): You need to get your act together or you'll lose your job.

Throw in the towel (Give up): After trying to solve the puzzle for hours, he finally threw in the towel.

A picture is worth a thousand words (An image can often convey something more effectively than words): Instead of explaining what happened, let me show you the photos; a picture is worth a thousand words.

Feeling under the weather (Feeling sick or unwell): I'm feeling under the weather, so I won't be able to come to the meeting today.

Put all your cards on the table (To be completely open and honest about intentions or resources): I think it’s time for us to put all our cards on the table and discuss our real intentions.

The apple doesn't fall far from the tree (Children are often similar to their parents): Your son is very polite, just like you. The apple doesn't fall far from the tree.

Like a kid in a candy store (Very excited and enthusiastic): He was like a kid in a candy store when he saw all the gadgets.

Jump on the bandwagon (Join a popular trend or activity): When healthy eating became popular, many restaurants jumped on the bandwagon and added salads to their menus.

Don't beat around the bush (Get to the point): If you have something to say, don't beat around the bush.

When pigs fly (Something that will never happen): He says he'll clean his room regularly? Yeah, when pigs fly!