Get up to 35% off with the ready, set speak sale! Ends soon!
Get up to 35% off with the ready, set speak sale! Ends soon!

EnglishClass101.com Blog

Learn English with Free Daily
Audio and Video Lessons!
Start Your Free Trial 6 FREE Features

Learn English Grammar Basics in Minutes

Thumbnail

When I was a kid, my mom used to force me to diagram sentences, one after another. For some reason, she thought it would help me understand things like sentence structure and parts of speech better. 

It didn’t. I hated it. And today, I don’t even remember how sentence diagramming works. I just remember spending miserable hours of my childhood doing it at the kitchen table.

That image popped into my head as soon as I started writing this article. So today, my goal is to introduce you to all of the English grammar basics in a straightforward and simple manner. No sentence diagramming and no fuss, because I’ve been there! 

By the time you finish reading this article, you’ll have a better idea of how English grammar works, from word order to punctuation. 

Enjoy EnglishClass101.com’s introduction to English grammar for beginners, and don’t forget to see our free English Grammar page for an even more condensed version!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in English Table of Contents
  1. General English Grammar Rules
  2. Parts of Speech
  3. Determiners
  4. Capitalization
  5. Punctuation
  6. Making Questions
  7. Politeness and Formality
  8. Final Thoughts

1. General English Grammar Rules

There are four things you need to have a basic understanding about before we continue: 

  • Word Order
  • Tenses 
  • Moods
  • Verb Conjugation

Don’t worry, I’ll make it fast! 

Word Order

A Pineapple against a White Background

I hate pineapple.

English is considered an SVO language. This means that when forming sentences, we usually put the subject at the beginning, followed by a verb and then the object (if there is one). For example:

  • I lied.
  • Bob likes Susan.
  • I hate pineapple.

Of course, when it comes to complex sentences, things get a bit more complicated! For a more detailed look at English Word Order, visit our dedicated article. 

Tenses

In English grammar, tenses are how a verb shows when an action happened. In English, there are three basic tenses: past, present, and future. For example:

  • Past: I went to the store.
  • Present: I am going to the store.
  • Future: I will go to the store.

Moods

Mood is a little more complicated. A mood shows how the action happened, or how the subject felt at the time of the action. In English, there are three basic moods: indicative (facts and beliefs), imperative (commands), and subjunctive (hypothetical statements or wishes).

  • Indicative: The library closes at six o’clock.
    • You’re stating a fact.
  • Imperative: Be quiet for a minute.
    • You’re telling someone to do something.
  • Subjunctive: I wish it were time for dinner.
    • You’re expressing a wish.

Verb Conjugations

Conjugation is how a verb changes to provide additional information about an action. In English, verbs conjugate based on person, tense, number, and mood. We’ll outline only the very basics here:

  • Person
    • Six persons in English: I / You [s.] / He, She, It / We / You [pl.] / They
  • Tense
    • Twelve tenses in English
    • For now, just worry about the three basic ones we talked about earlier. 😉
  • Number
    • Singular or Plural
  • Mood
    • Three basic moods in English: Indicative / Imperative / Subjunctive

If you think you’re ready, you can read our article about Verb Conjugations to dive deeper! 

2. Parts of Speech

In English, there are nine basic parts of speech. I’ll briefly outline each one in the following sections. 

Nouns

To put it simply, a noun is a person, a place, or a thing. However, there are a few subcategories of nouns that you should be aware of.

Concrete vs. Abstract 

    ❖ A concrete noun is one that you can identify using your five senses (sight, smell, touch, hearing, taste). 
    ❖ An abstract noun is one that you can’t identify using your five senses. Examples include ideas and concepts.

ConcreteAbstract
  • Table
  • Fish
  • Hat
  • Loyalty
  • Trust
  • Courage

Countable vs. Uncountable

A Man Sitting on the Sand at the Beach

Can you list the different countable and uncountable nouns in this image?

This is a little bit more tricky, but bear with me! 

    ❖ A countable noun is one that you can count using cardinal numbers. 
    ❖ An uncountable noun is one that you can’t count using cardinal numbers.

CountableUncountable
  • Books
  • Bottles
  • Steps
  • Sand
  • Dust
  • Water

Do you see the difference? In a sentence, you could say “There are three books.” 

But you couldn’t say “There are three sands.” Instead, you would have to say something like “There are three grains of sand” or “There are three bags of sand.” 

Singular vs. Plural

This one’s easy! 

    ❖ A singular noun means that there is only one of that noun.
    ❖ A plural noun means that there are two or more of that noun.

Singular
  • Plural 
  • Cat
  • Train
  • Treaty
Cats
  • Trains
  • Treaties

  • Possessive Nouns

    In English grammar, possessive nouns are simply nouns that show possession. To form a possessive noun, you add an apostrophe (‘) followed by an “-s.” (There are some exceptions to this rule, but you’ll have to read our Noun article to learn about them!)

    NounPossessive ExampleExplanation
    CatherineCatherine’s shift just ended.The shift belongs to Catherine.
    DogThis is my dog’s favorite toy.The toy belongs to the dog.
    LibraryThe library’s selection is small.The selection belongs to the library.

    Verbs

    A verb is a word that represents an action or a state of being. Verbs can be either regular (meaning they conjugate regularly according to a set pattern) or irregular (meaning they don’t conjugate regularly).

    The two most important verbs in English are the verbs “to be” and “to have,” both of which are irregular. 🙁 

      → See our article on 100 English Verbs to learn more practical everyday verbs and how to use them!

    Adjectives

    A Woman about to Cross the Finish Line

    Sarah is the fastest member of her cross country team.

    An adjective is a word that describes a noun, and they can also be used in comparative and superlative forms.

    • Comparatives are used to compare the intensity of an adjective between two people/nouns. 
      • Typically formed with the -er or -ier suffixes.
    • Superlatives are used to compare the intensity of an adjective amongst entire groups.
      • Typically formed with the -est or -iest suffixes.

    AdjectiveIn Comparative FormIn Superlative Form
    Happy:
    He is happy.
    Happier:
    He is happier than Tom.
    Happiest:
    He is the happiest of his family.
    Fast:
    Sarah is fast.
    Faster:
    Sarah is faster than me.
    Fastest:
    Sarah is the fastest member of her cross country team.
    Lovely:
    Tasha is lovely.
    Lovelier:
    Tasha is lovelier than Mary.
    Loveliest:
    Tasha is the loveliest girl in class.

    Note that you can also use the words “more” or “less” for the same effect, and with certain adjectives, this is actually necessary. Take, for example, the word “intelligent.” You can’t say “intelligenter” or “intelligentest.” Instead:

    • Intelligent -> More intelligent -> Most intelligent

    Learn the top 100 Adjectives in English and how to use them! 

    Adverbs

    An adverb is a word that describes a verb, an adjective, or another adverb. Here are some examples:

    • Joe ran quickly. [Describes a verb]
    • Her test answers were suspiciously accurate. [Describes an adjective]
    • He was very cautious. [Describes an adverb]

    Yes, we have an article all about English Adverbs, too. Check it out. 😉

    Pronouns

    Let’s get pronouns out of the way… 

    A pronoun is a word that replaces a noun in a sentence. There are several categories of pronouns, but we’ll just give you a little info on each one. 

    Personal PronounsI / You / He, She, It / We / They
    Possessive PronounsMy / Mine / His / Her / Hers / Our / Ours / Their / Theirs
    DemonstrativesThis / That / These / Those
    Relative PronounsWhich / What / Whose
    Reflexive PronounsEach other / One another

    Pronouns are a crucial component of speaking English well, so you might as well study up on these, too! 

    Prepositions

    A Man Peeking into the Fridge Late at Night

    I found soup in the fridge.

    In English grammar, prepositions are words that give information about a position, location, or status. We see prepositions all the time in English! Some examples include:

    • In: 
      • I found soup in the fridge. 
    • With: 
      • She went to the mall with Lewis.
    • Far from home: 
      • Sue is living far from home.

    Conjunctions and Linking Words

    A conjunction is a word that links one part of a sentence to another part, links two or more words together, and helps language flow more smoothly. Here are a few examples:

    • And: 
      • She watched a movie and cleaned the house.
        • This sounds better than “She watched a movie. She cleaned the house.”
    • But: 
      • I would love to go with you, but I’m very busy.
    • Or: 
      • Do you want ice cream or chocolate cake for dessert?

    There are more conjunctions where those came from! EnglishClass101.com has an article all about Conjunctions waiting for you! 

    Interjections

    An interjection is a word (usually more of a sound) that expresses a sudden emotion. Usually, these are sounds that you don’t really think about when you utter them, though many interjections seem to be infused with one’s language and culture. Some common ones are:

    • Oh! 
      • Oh! I want chocolate cake right now! 
    • Ouch! 
      • Ouch, that hurt! 
    • Ugh…
      • Ugh…I hate this class.
    • Huh?
      • Huh? What did you say?

    3. Determiners

    A determiner is a word that helps you better clarify what you’re talking about or add information to it. There are four main categories of determiners. 

    Definite Articles

    “The” is the only definite article in English. Definite articles come before a noun when you know the exact noun you’re talking about. 

    For example, if you said, “The cat hissed,” it means that you know exactly which cat hissed (it wasn’t just any cat). 

    Indefinite Articles

    “A” and “an” are the two indefinite articles in English. An indefinite article comes before a noun when you don’t know exactly which one of that noun you’re talking about, or when it doesn’t really matter. 

    For example, if you said, “Bring me a pen,” it indicates that you don’t really care which pen they bring you; any pen will suffice. 

    Keep in mind that you should use “a” for nouns that begin with a consonant sound, and “an” for nouns that begin with a vowel sound:

    • A dinosaur / A pandemic / A notebook
    • An apple / An olive / An ordeal

    Demonstratives

    A Piece of Chocolate Cake with a Fork in It

    This cake is delicious!

    A demonstrative is a type of determiner that demonstrates which noun (or group of nouns) you’re talking about. The demonstratives are:

    • This: A single noun that is near the speaker.
      • This cake is delicious!
    • That: A single noun that is distant from the speaker.
      • That story in the news was so sad.
    • These: A plural noun that is near the speaker.
      • What do you think of these shoes?
    • Those: A plural noun that is distant from the speaker.
      • Why are those people just standing around?

    Quantifiers

    A quantifier is a word that gives a general idea of how much or how many there is of something. Rather than a specific number, it’s sometimes useful to be more generic. Here are a few common quantifiers in English with example sentences:

    SomeCan I have some raisins, please?
    MuchHow much cereal is left?
    AllAll the workers left early.

    4. Capitalization

    Depending on your native language, you may find English capitalization rules a bit strange. However, proper capitalization is a key component in writing, especially for formal documents or emails! 

    In this section, I’ll go over the basic rules of English capitalization. I do recommend that you check out our lesson on The English Writing System as well, though, for more information.

    Do Capitalize

    At the beginning of a sentence
    • Tom ran away from home.
    • The garden flourished.
    • Please leave me alone.
    Proper nouns
    • Has Jose arrived yet?
    • I enjoyed visiting Yellowstone National Park.
    • Rena and Bill are dating.
    Days of the week and month names
    • I can’t wait until Saturday.
    • Diana’s birthday is in June.
    • Are you free on Monday or Thursday?
    Holidays and certain events
    • My favorite holiday is Christmas.
    • Have you been to the Burning Man Festival?
    • What’s your favorite Thanksgiving dish?
    Titles of books, movies, and other media/art
    • I’m reading Go Set a Watchman.
    • Have you seen Criminal Minds?
    • Dory and I watched The Dark Knight.
     
    Note that in writing, you need to italicize titles, in addition to capitalizing each word. 

    Further, any articles (a / an / the / etc.) that are in a title are NOT capitalized. 

    Don’t Capitalize

    Generally, the only times you capitalize a word are in the instances listed above. Unless a word (or series of words) fits into one of those categories, do not capitalize it. 

    Sometimes you can find odd capitalization in things like poetry or older English documents, but this is very rare nowadays. 

    Common Source of Confusion

    English capitalization can be confusing, I get it! In this section, I’ll explain a common source of confusion that many people (even native speakers) face! 

    Let’s look at the word “mother.” Did you know there are occasions where this should be capitalized, and others when it shouldn’t be? 

    If you’re using “mother” as a proper noun (meaning you’re talking to your mother, or you’re referring to your mother by that name), you capitalize it:

    • Have you seen Mother today?
    • I took Mother out to dinner yesterday.

    To double-check that you’ve capitalized correctly, simply place a name (in this case, your mother’s name) in place of the word ‘Mother.’ If it fits, great job! You should capitalize ‘Mother’ since it’s a proper noun, taking the place of your mother’s name. 

    If you’re talking about your mother (or someone else’s mother) in a more general sense, you don’t capitalize the word:

    • Your mother is so sweet!
    • I wish my mother were more like yours.

    Use of possessives in front of a noun nearly always warrants a succeeding common noun, meaning the noun should be lowercase. The exception is rare cases of endearment, such as “My Teddy.”

    Don’t worry if this is a bit strange to you now; you’ll gradually get the hang of it! 

    5. Punctuation

    An Exclamation Mark against a Blue Background

    This is important!

    Punctuation is how we make written English more readable and understandable; it’s also how we make it look and sound smoother. Here’s a list of the most common punctuation marks, their uses, and examples:

    Punctuation MarkUseExample Sentences
    Period (.)At the end of declarative and imperative sentences. 
    • I love eating Takis. 
    • Rita hates Susan.
    • Bring me that newspaper, please.
    Question Mark (?)At the end of interrogative sentences (questions).
    • Why aren’t you ready yet?
    • Where did Eric go?
    • What’s your dog’s name?
    Exclamation Mark (!)At the end of exclamatory sentences.
    • Look at that building! 
    • Dinner will be so delicious!
    • Get out of the way! 
    Comma (,)Used inside of a sentence, usually to separate one part of the sentence from another. 
  • In particular, commas are used as a “breather,” or brief pause, to make the sentence sound smoother and more natural. 
    • You don’t know about it, do you?
    • Lola, please come here.
    • After several hours, he came back.
    Colon (:)Used to introduce something that was just mentioned. 
    • I had a great idea: I would eat all the ice cream myself.
    • He knew this: she didn’t love him anymore.
    • He made the decision: he would move to New York City.
    Semi-Colon (;)Used in place of a period to connect one independent clause to another when they’re related (instead of using two sentences).
    • I worked days; he worked nights.
    • I didn’t know what to do; it was all so strange.
    • Liz worried; what would happen to Rick?
    Apostrophe (‘)Used to show possession.
    • The books cover is boring.
    • Sallys husband is tall.
    • Will Jills ex be there?
    Quotation Marks (” “)Used to indicate dialogue, a direct quote, or a set of words that are said sarcastically or with another meaning.
    • I’m tired, Harry said.
    • To be or not to be…
    • He said he’d be back soon.
    Ellipsis (…)Used to indicate a long pause or a moment of thought.
    • WellI guess it’s okay.
    • You knowI don’t like that guy.
    • She said something aboutgoing to the movies.
    Hyphen (-)Generally used to show connection between two or more words, or to give the impression of the two words being one. Used in many set phrases.
    • He’s a runofthemill (average) kind of guy.
    • It’s crystalclear now.
    • Your home should be pestfree now.

    6. Making Questions

    A Filipino Man Shrugging His Shoulders in Uncertainty

    Confused about something? Learn how to ask questions in English.

    I’ll briefly touch on how to make questions in English. 

    First, begin your question with a “question word.” These are:

    • What (asking information about a thing)
    • Where (asking information about a place)
    • When (asking information about a time or date)
    • Who / Whom / Whose (asking information about a person)
    • Why (asking information about motivation)
    • How (asking information about means or in what way something was done)

    Next, you add a question mark to the end (in writing) or use a questioning tone of voice (when speaking). 

    Finally, you can add a “question tag” to the end of your question (before the question mark). A question tag is a set phrase or word that adds emotion or necessity to your question. This is optional.

    Let’s see some examples:

    • What’s your favorite color?
    • How did you get here so fast?
    • You work at the market, don’t you?
    • His name is Gary, right?
    • This is exciting, huh?

    Note that in the sentences using question tags, the questions don’t begin with a question word. This is another reason that question tags are so useful; you can simply say a statement, and by using the question tag, you’re showing that it’s a question. 

    7. Politeness and Formality

    Two Businesswomen Greeting Each Other

    A few good manners can go a long way!

    I’ll end this article with a few words on politeness and formality in English. Here are a few tips to keep in mind:

    • There’s no difference between formal and informal speech in English, as far as verb tense is concerned. For example, we don’t have a formal and informal “you,” like many languages do. It’s more about how we use the words.
    • However, there are certain words and phrases that are considered polite and courteous. Some great examples are “please,” “thank you,” and “excuse me.”
    • When you find yourself in a formal situation (a job interview, for example), use complete sentences while speaking. This shows that you take the situation seriously and are well-studied in English. 
    • When you’re speaking to someone who is older than you or who you don’t know well, use formal titles followed by the person’s last name. Common titles include: Mr. (male), Mrs. (female, married), Miss (female, young or unmarried), Sir (male), and Ma’am (female, usually to older women). 
    • When making an inquiry or asking for permission, use polite set phrases before or after your question. Common phrases include: “May I?” / “Can I?” / “Would you mind if?” / “If it’s alright with you.”

    If you want more-detailed information about how to be polite in the United States, we have a couple of great articles I highly recommend you read: Proper American Etiquette in the United States and How to Find a Job in the USA.

    8. Final Thoughts

    Drawing of a Dandelion with Its Seeds Flying Away

    Understanding and using English grammar properly is something that even native speakers struggle with. There are lots of rules to remember, and only time and practice can help you get better—don’t expect to have perfect English grammar after just one lesson. 

    If you’re willing to face the challenge and put in the work, we applaud you! Even a limited understanding of the basic English grammar rules can prove beneficial in the long run. 

    The good news is that, at EnglishClass101.com, you can continue learning English in a way that’s both fun and informative. You can study on your own time, interact with fellow English learners, and always reach out for help if you don’t understand something. The EnglishClass101 family wants to help you reach your goals, and our expert team of teachers and hosts makes learning easy and effective. 

    Create your free lifetime account with us today, and once you feel confident and comfortable, upgrade to our Premium or Premium PLUS plans for exclusive learning content! 

    Before you go, we would love to hear from you. What part of English grammar seems hardest to you, and how can we help? Are there any topics you want us to write about in the future? 

    Happy learning! 🙂

    Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in English

    The Best English Quotes for Every Occasion

    Thumbnail

    Why are people drawn to quotes? I think it’s because a quote can do one of two things: 

    1) Put our existing feelings and opinions into words

    2) Help us see things from new perspectives

    These are things that everyone needs from time to time, and the quotes that resonate with us may stay with us forever.

    In this article, we’ll show you the best English quotes for students of the language! These are quotes that will inspire you, make you think, or make you smile. We’ll explain each quote in detail, so you can understand their background and meaning.

    Enjoy!

    Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in English Table of Contents
    1. Quotes About Success
    2. Quotes About Creativity and Inspiration
    3. Life Quotes in English
    4. Quotes About Time
    5. Love Quotes in English
    6. Quotes About Family
    7. Quotes About Friendship
    8. Quotes About Food
    9. Quotes About Language Learning
    10. Final Thoughts

    1. Quotes About Success

    A Tall Tree with Sunshine Coming Through the Leaves

    We all want to be successful, but not everyone agrees on what success is or how to get there. Here are some motivational quotes in English about success from some very successful people.


    “Someone’s sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago.”

    Author: Warren Buffet

    This quote means that the things we do today will impact the future for someone else. It also refers to the fact that the things we have today were given to us (or “planted”) by those who came before us. 

    “A successful man is one who can lay a firm foundation with the bricks others have thrown at him.”

    Author: David Brinkley

    If someone throws a brick at you, it’s going to hurt. In this quote, the “bricks” represent negativity or obstacles that other people give you. To be successful, you can’t give up when others don’t believe in you. Instead, you need to keep going, using that negativity to build yourself up toward success. 

    “Don’t aim for success if you want it; just do what you love and believe in, and it will come naturally.” 

    Author: David Frost

    The most successful people are those who do what they love, or who are fighting for a cause they believe in. Everyone wants to be successful in one way or another, but you can’t get there by simply striving for perfection. You need to enjoy what you do!

    “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”

    Author: Thomas Edison

    Thomas Edison was a famous American inventor, particularly known for his work in creating a functional light bulb. It took him a lot of time—and many failures—to get it right. 

    This quote suggests that he refused to accept defeat, and rather thought of his “failures” as mistakes that would drive him forward toward progress. If you find 10,000 ways that won’t work, it must mean that you’re 10,000 tries closer to finding what will work. 

    “Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people.” 

    Author: Eleanor Roosevelt

    Eleanor Roosevelt was the United States’ First Lady from 1933 to 1945, and is known for her social work during this time. 

    This fascinating quote means that people who only gossip or talk about things that happened will never get as far in life as those who discuss ideas. In other words, to be successful, one must look at the bigger picture and not be distracted by things that don’t really matter.

    “To succeed in life, you need three things: a wishbone, a backbone, and a funny bone.” 

    Author: Reba McEntire

    In this witty quote from American celebrity Reba McEntire, the “wishbone” refers to hope, the “backbone” refers to strength and courage, and the “funny bone” refers to a sense of humor. As long as you have these three things, you can make it through any tough situation stronger than before.

    “A diamond is a chunk of coal that did well under pressure.” 

    Author: Unknown

    Diamonds are formed by putting coal under lots of pressure. This quote plays with words to explain how the same thing can happen to people. Sometimes, “pressure” (a bad or stressful situation) can make you a better, more beautiful person (like the coal becomes a diamond). 

    “The best is only bought at the cost of great pain.” 

    Author: Colleen McCullough

    This quote is from Colleen McCullough’s novel The Thorn Birds. This novel focuses on the many painful sacrifices that we must make in order to achieve the thing most important to us. Without making these sacrifices, one can never reach their ultimate goal.

    “It had long since come to my attention that people of accomplishment rarely sat back and let things happen to them. They went out and happened to things.” 

    Author: Leonardo da Vinci

    The Italian polymath Leonardo da Vinci is one of the most famous historical figures today, and for good reason. He accomplished many things in a number of fields, particularly in science and the arts. 

    This is a longer quote, but the message is simple: In order to achieve great things, you have to make them happen. It’s easy to let life happen to you and make excuses for why you can’t do things. But if you’re serious about achieving your life’s ambitions, you’ll do something about it. 

    2. Quotes About Creativity and Inspiration

    A Bunch of Kids Finger Painting

    Do you consider yourself to be the creative type? Below is a list of quotes about creativity and inspiration to help you keep going on your latest creative project! 


    “Every child is an artist, the problem is staying an artist when you grow up.” 

    Author: Pablo Picasso

    Pablo Picasso was a notable twentieth-century artist and poet, best known for founding the Cubism art form—so he certainly has the authority to speak on creativity! 

    Children tend to be very creative and imaginative by nature, and are often drawn toward making things. However, many adults lose the creativity they once fostered as children. According to Picasso, it’s important to maintain that creativity, even as you age. 

    “Genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration.” 

    Author: Thomas Edison

    This quote means that inspiration isn’t nearly enough to bring a project to fruition; you need to act upon that inspiration, and work really hard to make it come alive. 

    “Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.” 

    Author: Harriet Tubman

    Harriet Tubman is well known for her involvement with the Underground Railroad in the United States, which was a secret organization working to free African-American slaves during the nineteenth century. 

    This quote is meant to inspire anyone with a dream to work toward it. You can always use the tools you have available to you to make a positive change.

    “Don’t think. Thinking is the enemy of creativity. It’s self-conscious, and anything self-conscious is lousy. You can’t try to do things. You simply must do things.”  

    Author: Ray Bradbury

    Bradbury explains that in order to successfully complete a creative endeavor, you need to do it. Thinking too much can hinder your creative process, and keep you from putting your ideas to work.

    “Some men see things as they are and say why—I dream things that never were and say why not.” 

    Author: George Bernard Shaw

    Creativity isn’t bound by what we see or what we know already; creativity can stretch much farther than that. To create something worthwhile, it’s important that you don’t keep yourself tied to the world you know. Explore new ideas and bring them to life! 

    “Creativity is intelligence having fun.” 

    Author: Albert Einstein

    According to Einstein, creativity happens when you use your knowledge in a way that’s entertaining for you! 

    3. Life Quotes in English

    A Variety of Chocolates

    What is life? Why do we exist? How can we make our lives the best we can? 

    No one knows for sure, but the English quotes about life below offer insight from a few notable people (and characters).

    “Life is like a box of chocolates—you never know what you’re going to get.” 

    Author: Forrest Gump

    This may be one of the most iconic American quotes ever, and it originates from the movie Forrest Gump. To provide context, we see the main character (Forrest Gump) trying to sell boxes of chocolate in a park, and he sits beside someone on a bench to tell them his life story. He opens with this line. 

    In a box of chocolates, there are usually a variety of different chocolate pieces and you don’t know what kind you’ll have until you take a bite. Life is the same way; you don’t know what your life will hold until you experience it, piece by piece.

    “Get busy living or get busy dying.” 

    Author: Stephen King

    This quote means that you can either start living your life to the fullest, or you can simply exist until the day you die. 

    “Life is trying things to see if they work.”

    Author: Ray Bradbury

    As you live your life, you experience many things and make constant decisions. Sometimes these decisions work out well for us; other times, they make things worse or have no effect at all. Life is comprised of these decisions and experiences. 

    “I only regret that I have but one life to give for my country.” 

    Author: Nathan Hale

    This is another iconic quote, said by American soldier Nathan Hale during the time of the American Revolutionary War. When he said this, he meant that he loved his country so much that he would die for it again if he could. 

    “If you don’t like the road you’re walking, start paving another one.” 

    Author: Dolly Parton

    We all find ourselves dissatisfied with our lives at some point. When this happens, it’s important to remember that we’re not stuck on that “road”; we can always do things to start making our lives better. 

    “What comes easy won’t last long, and what lasts long won’t come easy.” 

    Author: Unknown

    In life, the best things are those that we earn through lots of hard work. When we try to get these good things without hard work, they’re not going to be worthwhile.

    “Every day may not be good, but there is something good in every day.” 

    Author: Unknown

    This is a great quote to remember, especially on the toughest days. It’s important to remember that even when everything is falling apart, there’s at least one good thing that you can still appreciate. 

    “Every day above ground is a good day.”

    Author: Unknown

    Similar to the quote above, this one means that you should appreciate something about every day. As long as you’re “above ground” (alive), your day can’t really be that bad, can it?

    “The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.” 

    Author: Mark Twain

    When you’re born, you’re brought into existence; when you discover what you’re meant to do with that existence, it gives your life meaning and purpose.

    4. Quotes About Time

    Nebulae in the Night Sky

    Now, let’s look at some of the best English quotes about time, one of life’s greatest mysteries.

    “Time and tide wait for no man.”

    Author: Geoffrey Chauncer

    Here, “tide” refers to the ocean’s waves, and how they shift according to the moon’s pull. This quote is basically saying that time and nature’s cycles will go on, whether you’re ready for it or not. So use your time wisely!

    “You can’t go back and change the beginning, but you can start where you are and change the ending.” 

    Author: C.S. Lewis

    If you’ve ever done something you regretted, or wish that a certain part of your life had been different, you know how it feels to wish that you could go back in time to change things. This quote is saying that while going back is impossible, you can do things today that will make your future better.

    “For age is opportunity no less / Than youth itself, though in another dress / And as the evening twilight fades away / The sky is filled with stars invisible by day.” 

    Author: Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

    This is from one of my favorite poems, by renowned nineteenth-century poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

    Sometimes, it can feel like time is slipping away, and we’re afraid that as we get older, we’ll lose opportunities. But at the same time, age and the passing of time can bring new opportunities that we didn’t have before. 

    “Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life.”

    Author: Steve Jobs

    It’s easy to live your life based on other people’s opinions, or to compare yourself to other people. But by doing this, you’re robbing yourself of the ability to live your own life, how you want to.

    “Forever is composed of nows.” 

    Author: Emily Dickinson

    We only have this moment to live in. “Forever” is made up of every moment a person has experienced. In other words, every moment you have is infinitely important and valuable; enjoy each moment, and make the most of your time.

    “Time is what we want most, but what we use worst.”

    Author: William Penn

    How many times have you said “I need more time,” or “There’s not enough time”? After all, time and tide wait for no man…

    We all wish that we had more time, but we also tend to use the time we do have poorly. This quote is basically saying that instead of wishing for more time, we should make better use of what time we have.

    “There’s only one thing more precious than our time, and that’s who we spend it on.” 

    Author: Leo Christopher

    We spend time with the people who are important to us, and we even spend time doing things for them. If we’re willing to spend time on them, they must be very precious to us.

    5. Love Quotes in English

    A Couple Holding Hands and Watching the Sunset

    Are you a hopeless romantic? In a serious relationship with the love of your life? Just reading this section because it’s here? Let’s have a look at some popular love quotes in English! 


    “The best feeling is when you look at him and he is already staring.”

    Author: Unknown

    Have you ever had this experience? It’s nice to know that the person you love thinks about you as often as you think about them. 

    “Thank you for always being my rainbow after the storm.”

    Author: Unknown

    This is something sweet you can say to your significant other (or even a best friend). Just like a rainbow after a storm, the person we love is something beautiful we can look forward to after a bad time. 

    “The course of true love never did run smooth.” 

    Author: William Shakespeare

    It’s tempting to think of love as a smooth, straight path where everything is perfect. But this is never the case. 

    Every serious relationship is going to have bumps along the way, and every couple will eventually run into problems. But this is the test of true love.

    “Hell has no fury like a woman scorned.” 

    Author: William Congreve

    You may be wondering how this is a love quote… Well, this is something that some women say jokingly, perhaps even to their significant other. It’s basically saying: If you make a woman angry, you’d better watch out! Sometimes you hear this quote used in other contexts too, like politics, to underscore a woman’s ferocity or toughness. 

    “Love is an irresistible desire to be irresistibly desired.”

    Author: Robert Frost

    Have you ever been completely in love with someone, and wish they would return your feelings? According to poet Robert Frost, this is a sign that you really love someone. 

    “Years of love have been forgot in the hatred of a minute.” 

    Author: Edgar Allen Poe

    To end this section on English love quotes, here’s a more depressing aspect of love we often overlook. I think this quote actually has two meanings. 

    On the one hand, we should be careful of how we treat the person we love. Hurting someone badly enough, even if you’ve loved each other for years, can be enough to make them leave. 

    On the other hand, we should also be careful about how we respond when someone we love hurts us. It’s easy to become angry, even to the point of hate, so we should be careful not to let that anger disrupt all the love there was before.

    6. Quotes About Family

    A Couple Walking on the Beach with Their Daughter

    We may not always get along with our families, but family is still an essential aspect of life. Here are some popular English sayings and quotes about family! 


    “Family means no one gets left behind or forgotten.” 

    Author: David Ogden Stiers

    If you’ve ever seen the Disney movie Lilo and Stitch, you’re probably familiar with this one. It basically means that you should never abandon your family, because each family member is precious.

    “Family is not an important thing. It’s everything.” 

    Author: Michael J. Fox

    Nothing should ever be as important to you as your family; without your family, you have nothing.

    “You can’t choose your family.”

    Author: Unknown

    This is a very common quote in the United States. People usually say it to express that we don’t always get along with our family members, but there’s nothing we can do to change who our family is. We’re stuck with them, so we should make the most of our familial relationships. 

    “Family is like a batch of brownies; you always have a few nuts.”

    Author: Unknown

    Brownies are a favorite chocolate dessert for many Americans, and some people make them with nuts baked inside. “Nut” is also a word we use to describe a person who’s a little crazy or not quite right in the head. People jokingly (and lovingly) use this quote to describe the fact that every family has a few people who are kind of crazy. 

    “Home is where you are loved the most and act the worst.” 

    Author: Marjorie Pay Hinckley

    Let’s admit it: We all tend to act differently at home with our family than we do anywhere else. And it’s not always a good thing. 

    This quote means that the love of family is so strong that your family will put up with you when you’re at your worst. 

    7. Quotes About Friendship

    Best Friends Hugging Each Other

    If you’re lucky enough to have a best friend or a close circle of friends, you’ll love these friendship quotes in English! 


    “A real friend is one who walks in when the rest of the world walks out.”

    Author: Walter Winchell

    True friends are special. Like family, a good friend will stay with you during your worst times, when everyone else would simply leave. 

    “Friends are born, not made.” 

    Author: Henry Adams

    A lot of people use the phrase “making friends” when they talk about becoming friendly and developing relationships with people. But a friendship isn’t something that’s made; it’s something that needs time to grow before being “born.” In a sense, friendship is a precious living thing, not an object.

    “Keep your friends close, but your enemies closer.” 

    Author: Michael Corleone (The Godfather character)

    Why should you keep your enemies closer than your friends? Because this way, you can keep an eye on them, gain their trust, and get the upper hand! 

    “There’s not a word yet for old friends who’ve just met.” 

    Author: Jim Henson

    Have you ever met someone, and instantly felt a friendship connection? Or have you ever sat down to talk with your best friend of many years, and reflected back on your first meeting? I think that’s what Jim Henson was talking about here. 

    “Friends are those rare people who ask how we are and then wait to hear the answer.” 

    Author: Ed Cunningham

    In the United States, it’s very common to ask how someone is, and not really listen to their answer (if you give them time to answer, at all!). 

    You know that someone really cares about you when they wait to hear what you have to say. 

    “The most beautiful discovery true friends make is that they can grow separately without growing apart.” 

    Author: Elisabeth Foley

    Even when you’re far away from your closest friends, a true friendship allows you to stay in each other’s lives no matter what comes.

    “Some souls just understand each other upon meeting.” 

    Author: N.R. Hart

    If you’ve ever known right away that someone was going to be a good friend, you’ve probably experienced this feeling—like two puzzle pieces clicking together. 

    8. Quotes About Food

    A Group of Friends Eating Dinner Together

    Our list of English quotes wouldn’t be complete without some words of appreciation for good food. This section is for the foodies, the cooks, and anyone who appreciates a good meal. 

    “People who love to eat are always the best people.” 

    Author: Julia Child

    I think this quote from the famous cooking teacher Julia Child says it all. 

    “Let food be thy (your) medicine and medicine be thy (your) food.” 

    Author: Hippocrates

    This quote from Hippocrates (the Greek “Father of Medicine”) means that the food you eat should be good for you, like medicine is when you’re sick. In a sense, food and medicine are similar to each other in nature. A  good diet can keep you healthy and even make you feel better.

    “I cook with wine. Sometimes I even add it to the food.” 

    Author: W.C. Fields

    If you’re looking for funny quotes in English that are also relatable, here you go. Usually when someone “cooks with wine,” it means that they use it as an ingredient when cooking. Here, Fields plays with words to explain that “cooking with wine” means he drinks it while cooking. 

    “Eating is so intimate. It’s very sensual. When you invite someone to sit at your table and you want to cook for them, you’re inviting a person into your life.” 

    Author: Maya Angelou

    This quote from Maya Angelou expresses the opinion that eating with someone is a major occasion. Cooking for another person, in particular, is a sign of friendship and care. 

    “Tell me what you eat, and I will tell you who you are.” 

    Author: Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin

    This quote basically means that what a person eats can say a lot about them. A more popular variation of this quote is the expression: “You are what you eat.”

    “If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.”

    Author: J.R.R. Tolkien

    To end this section, a quote from famous fantasy writer J.R.R. Tolkien

    There are things much more important in life than gold (wealth), and recognizing those things will make you and the people around you happier. In this case, Tolkien uses food, cheer, and song as examples. 

    9. Quotes About Language Learning

    A Woman Covering Her Face with a Book and Laughing

    These quotes are perfect for any language-learner who needs a bit of motivation. No matter where you are in your language-learning journey, these words are sure to make you feel refreshed and ready to keep going.


    “Language is wine upon the lips.” 

    Author: Virginia Woolf

    This quote refers to the beauty of language, and how sweet it can be when used well. 

    “Any time you think some other language is strange, remember that yours is just as strange, you’re just used to it.” 

    Author: Unknown

    Starting to learn a new language is very daunting, and in many cases, we’re not used to how that language works. It’s tempting to believe that a new language is impossible to learn, and give up. But by remembering that your language is weird too, you’ll be more motivated to continue learning that new language.

    “Those who know nothing of foreign languages know nothing of their own.” 

    Author: Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

    Our native tongue is something that comes natural to us, and oftentimes, it’s something that we’re forced to learn as we grow up. It’s not until you learn another language that you start to understand language itself. 

    “Language shapes the way we think, and determines what we can think about.”

    Author: Benjamin Lee Whorf

    You may be familiar with the concept that language can influence the way someone thinks about the world. But it can go even farther than this; language can also limit what you’re able to think about, and by learning a new language, you can broaden your horizons! 

    “If any language scratches your mind, that language is going to disappear as soon as you reach the threshold of the school door. But if that language scars your mind, it will last forever.”

    Author: Safir Kassim Boudjelal

    This quote means that in order to really master a language, you can’t just stop after the basics. You need to go all-in, and make sure that what you’re learning leaves a scar in your mind! 

    10. Final Thoughts

    EnglishClass101 Image

    In this article, you read several English quotes on life and love, learning and food. We hope that these quotes inspired you, resonated with you, made you laugh, and gave you even more reasons to keep learning English! 

    What were your favorite quotes from this article, and why? What are some popular quotes in your language? We look forward to hearing what you have to say! 

    Finally, if you want to make sure that you get an English “scar” in your mind and expand your world, check out EnglishClass101.com and everything we have to offer! Free resources and vocabulary lists are waiting for you, and by creating your free lifetime account today, you’ll get access to tons of fun and effective lessons. 

    We look forward to having you. 😉

    Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in English

    English Business Phrases and Sayings You Need to Know

    Thumbnail

    If you plan on doing business in the United States, it’s crucial that you learn the most common English business phrases and what they really mean. This information will make it possible for you to succeed in any field and form closer bonds with your coworkers! 

    In this article, we’ll be discussing phrases you can use in a variety of work- and business-related situations. This includes, but isn’t limited to: 

    • Job Interviews
    • Business Meetings
    • Business Phone Etiquette & Phrases
    Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Business Words and Phrases in English Table of Contents
    1. Before We Begin…
    2. Business Communication Phrases You Need
    3. Final Thoughts

    1. Before We Begin…

    Before looking at our list of business English phrases, there are a couple of things you should be aware of.

    A- A Note on Niceties

    An Old Man Raising His Hat to Someone

    In the United States, one of the most important aspects of business communication is niceties. In this case, a nicety is basically a way of sounding polite when you speak with others in your office or workplace. For example, saying things like “Excuse me,” “Please,” and “Thank you,” are extremely important in day-to-day interactions. Watch for these types of words as you read through this article. 

    In addition, you’ll find it helpful to note the differences between informal and formal speech for the workplace, though we won’t go too much into this. Oftentimes, when you speak to a boss, client, or coworker, it’s good to use longer phrases that contain “polite” words in them. For example:

    Informal speech might look like this: “Can we talk later?”
    Formal speech for the same sentence might look like this: “I would like to discuss ___ with you later, if you’re available.”

    Note the additional words in the formal version, and how they create a sense of respect for the other person and their time. This is what you should aim for in most of your workplace interactions.

    B- Idiomatic Business Phrases and What They Really Mean

    There are many English business phrases you may hear in the office or during a meeting, and have no idea what they mean! Here are some of the most common business- and work-related idioms and what they mean. 

    • Win-win situation. A win-win situation refers to a situation where both sides “win,” meaning that they each benefit from a decision. This term is often used in negotiations.
    • Win-lose situation. In a win-lose situation, one side benefits from a decision, while the other side does not (or even loses something). This term is often used in negotiations.
    • Running out of steam. When a person is “running out of steam,” it usually means that they’re tired or low on energy/creativity. When a thing or project is “running out of steam,” it usually means that it’s slowing down or not doing as well as it once was.
    A Woman Tired and Stressed about Work and School
    • Deadline. A deadline refers to a due date, or the last possible date at which something needs to be accomplished.
    • Take a breather. When someone “takes a breather,” it means that they’re taking a break from something or taking time off from work or a project. 
    • Off the ground. When you get something “off the ground,” it means that you’ve made it good enough that it can continue to do well in the future. For example, if you get a business “off the ground,” it means that you’ve helped that business do well for the long-term.
    • Red tape. This refers to a hindrance, something that makes it difficult to complete a task or achieve a goal. 
    • Get the ball rolling. When you “get the ball rolling” on a new project, etc., it means that you’ve started or initiated with the goal that it will quickly gain momentum (like how a ball continues to roll for a while after you’ve set it into motion). 
    • Go the extra mile. To “go the extra mile” means to do more than what’s expected of you. There’s a story in the Bible of Jesus having told his disciples: “Whoever forces you to go one mile, go with him two.” This is thought to be where the term originated from. You can read more about this idiom’s origins on Grammarist
    • Cut corners. When you “cut corners,” you do things as simply and easily as you can, even at the expense of quality. This is usually considered a negative thing.
    • Pitch in. When you “pitch in,” it means that you do your fair share of work in a team project. 
    • Start from scratch. When you start something “from scratch,” it means that you start it from the very beginning. This can refer to starting a brand-new project, or undoing everything you’ve done on a project and starting over.
    • Green light / Red light (something). When something is “green lighted,” this means that the thing has been given permission to start or continue. When something is “red lighted” it means the exact opposite. You may hear phrases like “It was given the green light,” when talking about permission.
    • Behind / Ahead of / According to schedule. The phrase “behind schedule” means that something isn’t going to get done on time, usually by a set deadline. The phrase “ahead of schedule” means that you’ve actually gotten more done than you needed to. When something goes “according to schedule,” it means that the project or assignment will be done exactly on time.
    • Put into action. When you put something “into action,” it means that you’re executing based on an idea, concept, or plan; taking the first steps. You may hear phrases like “It’s time to put our plan into action,” or “You need to put your training into action.” 
    • Tasked with. When you’re “tasked with” something, it means that you’ve been assigned with a responsibility. For example, if you’re “tasked with” writing a report, you’re expected to get that report done.
    • Outsource a task. When you “outsource a task,” it means that you’re giving a task to someone else,  usually someone who’s not a part of your company. For example, your company may “outsource” its advertising to a more prominent advertising company to save time or money.
    • Wrap up / Sign off. These two phrases are both used usually at the end of a meeting. When you “wrap (something) up,” it means that you’re in the process of ending it. When you “sign off” in the workplace, it can mean that you’re leaving a discussion or leaving work for the day, depending on the context.
    • 24/7. When something happens “24/7,” it means that it happens all the time (twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week).
    • Bottom line. This one can actually have two different meanings, depending on the context. Usually, the phrase “bottom line” is used during negotiations, and it refers to the least amount of something (money or another benefit) that a negotiator is willing to settle for. In other contexts, it can be a way of saying “in summary” or of showing that what the person is about to say is the most important aspect of their speech.
    • Brainstorm. When you “brainstorm,” it means that you’re thinking of as many possibilities or ideas as possible in a short amount of time. You can imagine yourself working your brain so hard it’s almost like a storm is going on up there. 
    • Network. In this case, “network” can have two meanings. As a noun, it refers to a group of different companies or organizations that work together toward a common goal. As a verb, it refers to the act of meeting new people in your field of work in order to advance by knowing people. 

    Now you should be familiar with the most common business English expressions! To learn a few more idioms, study our vocabulary list on the Essential English Idioms That Will Make You Sounds Like a Native Speaker

    2. Business Communication Phrases You Need 

    A- Nailing a Job Interview

    Job Interview

    Before you can use the rest of the phrases in this article, you need to have a job! Here are some common business phrases in English that you can use during your job interview.

    Greetings
    “It’s nice to meet you. My name is ___.”
    “I’m here to interview for the ___ position.”

    Interview QuestionsInterview Answers
    “What can you bring to the table?”
    (How can you benefit the company?)

    “What is your greatest strength/weakness?”
    “I’m a skilled ___.”
    “I’ve been (doing) ___ for ___.”
    “I earned my diploma in ___.”
    “I worked for ___ from ___ to ___, doing ___.”
    “My greatest accomplishment was ___.”
    “My greatest strength/weakness is ___.”

    Asking Your Interviewer to Repeat a Question
    “I’m sorry, I didn’t quite catch that.”
    “I’m sorry, can you please repeat your question?”

    Thanking Your Interviewer
    “Thank you for your time and consideration.”
    “Thank you for your time, it was nice meeting you.”

    Here’s an example conversation using some of these phrases:

    Greeting:

    Mr. Thomas: “It’s nice to meet you. I’m Mr. Thomas.”
    Kara: “It’s nice to meet you too. My name is Kara Smith.

    Interview:

    Mr. Thomas: “What can you bring to the table?”
    Kara: “I’m a skilled technician. I worked at Google from 2012 to 2016, doing tech work.
    “Mr. Thomas: “I see. What is your greatest weakness?”
    Kara: “I’m sorry, can you please repeat the question?”
    Mr. Thomas: “Of course. What is your greatest weakness?
    Kara: “My greatest weakness is that I sometimes give up too easily.”

    Thanking Your Interviewer:

    Mr. Thomas: “Thank you for coming down to complete the interview. I’ll call you soon to let you know what we decide.”
    Kara: “Thank you for your time and consideration. It was nice meeting you.”

    B- Interacting with Your Coworkers

    Coworkers Taking a Group Photo in the Workplace

    In the workplace, you’ll most likely need to interact with your coworkers on a daily basis. In this section, we’ll cover some common English business phrases for different situations.

    Introductions

    “I would like to introduce myself.”You can say this to begin introducing yourself to your new coworkers.

    “I’m ___ [first and last], and I’ll be working with you.”Next, you can say this. In the blank, you simply put your first and last name.
    “I’m Mary Reynolds, and I’ll be working with you.”

    “I would like to introduce ___.”You can say this when you’re introducing your coworkers to another person. For example, a new coworker who you’re training for the job. In the blank, just put their first and last name. 
    “I would like to introduce Kyle Thomas.”

    “This is ___, and he/she will be working on this project now.”In the blank, simply put the name of the new coworker you’re introducing. 
    “This is Charlotte Reyes, and she will be working on this project now.”

    Asking for Help

    “Excuse me, can you help me with something?”The “excuse me” at the beginning is a polite way to get your coworker’s attention. Use this phrase to ask for help on a task.

    “Hi Mr./Mrs. ___, I have a question about ___. Can you please help me?”Usually, you use “Mr.” or “Mrs.” in front of a person’s last name if they are superior to you in the workplace, especially your boss or supervisor. Some workplaces are less formal, though, and you can use the person’s first name in this case. 

    In the first blank, put the person’s name or last name. In the second blank, say whatever it is you have a question about.
    “Hi Mr. Washington, I have a question about the new computer software. Can you please help me?”

    OR

    “Hi Joseph, I have a question about this assignment. Can you please help me?”

    “Hi ___, sorry to bother you. Can you please help me with ___?”This is very similar to the phrase above, though the wording is a bit different. “Sorry to bother you,” is a polite phrase that shows respect for the other person’s time. 

    In the first blank, put the person’s name (or Mr./Mrs. with the last name). In the second blank, say whatever it is you need help with.
    “Hi Elizabeth, sorry to bother you. Can you please help me with this phone call?”

    Making Apologies

    Woman Apologizing to a Coworker
    “I apologize for ___.” “I apologize for,” is a formal and polite way of saying that you’re sorry for something.

    In this apology phrase, say the thing you’re sorry for in the blank. Additionally, you can add an explanation afterwards to let the person know why or how it happened.
    “I apologize for not finishing this assignment on time.”

    “I apologize for the inconvenience. It won’t happen again.”When you “inconvenience” someone, it means that you did something that hindered progress or made life more difficult for the other person. 

    For example, if you forgot to mail out some important letters for your company, you could tell this to your boss when they ask you about it. 

    Saying that “it won’t happen again,” means that you’ll work harder in the future to do a better job. 

    “___. I’m so sorry.”In this one, you simply state the thing that happened (or that you did), and then say that you’re sorry about it. 
    I forgot the flash drive for the presentation. I’m so sorry.”

    Giving Thanks

    “Thank you for your help with ___.”If a coworker has helped you with something, it’s important to thank them for it. In the blank, simply say whatever it is they helped you with.
    “Thank you for your help with that presentation.”

    “I appreciate your ___.”In the United States, people love to hear that you appreciate them or something that they did. In this phrase, simply fill in the blank with what you appreciate your coworker for. 
    “I appreciate your patience while I learn the systems here.”

    OR

    “I appreciate your help earlier.”

    “Thank you for doing thorough work. You’ve exceeded my expectations.”This is something you might say to an employee who works under you or a new coworker. It lets them know that you recognize their hard work, and that you’re pleased with it. 

    Making Complaints

    You can really complain about anything, and there’s no specific format that’s used for complaints in the workplace. Here are a few examples of complaints you may hear from coworkers once you’ve gotten to know them more.

    “I can’t believe we have to work overtime this week!”

    OR

    “I can’t believe I have to work on Christmas!”
    Most employees don’t like being made to work overtime (or on weekends/holidays). Thus, many complaints you hear may have to do with this. 

    When someone says “I can’t believe ___,” when complaining, it usually means that they think it’s unrealistic or unfair.

    “The meeting this morning was so boring.”Business meetings are often considered boring, especially if nothing important was accomplished. This is a common complaint you’re likely to hear in the workplace.

    “I just don’t have enough time to finish the project.”Deadlines can be stressful for many people. Sometimes, employees or coworkers  may feel like they weren’t given enough time to finish something, so this is another complaint you’ll probably hear sometimes.

      → Learn how to complain like a native English-speaker with our Making Complaints vocabulary list.

    Arranging Social Activities

    In the United States, it’s not uncommon for coworkers to spend time with each other outside of work. Here are a few business English small talk phrases you can use if you want to build a relationship with a coworker (or coworkers) outside the workplace. 

    “Are you doing anything after work today?”This is an “opener” question. It’s something you ask a coworker before you suggest they do something with you. Usually, this would be asked near the end of the work day.

    “What are your plans for this weekend?”This is another opener question, used much the same way as the first one. However, this one indicates that you would like to do something over the weekend (not after work that day).

    “I’m going to ___ this weekend. Would you like to join me?”If your coworker doesn’t have any plans, you can ask them this question. In the blank, you can put an activity. 
    “I’m going to see a movie this weekend. Would you like to join me?”

    “We’re going for drinks after work today. Do you want to come with us?”A common after-work activity, especially on a Friday night, is to go get drinks (or food) somewhere as a group. You can use this phrase to ask someone if they would like to join the group that night.


    Jobs

    C- Sounding Smart in a Meeting

    Here’s a list of business English phrases for meetings to help you express your opinion, make a suggestion, or even give someone an assignment. 

    Giving Opinions

    Giving your opinion is a cornerstone of productive communication in meetings. 

    “I think that ___.”Saying “I think that ___,” is a polite way to begin stating your opinion on something. 
    “I think that we should follow through with the new budget proposal.”

    “It seems to me ___.”By saying “It seems to me ___,” you’re showing that you believe something to be true, but that you’re not assuming you’re correct. This is a polite way of stating your opinion without excluding the thoughts of others.
    “It seems to me that we’re in agreement here.”

    “This is only my opinion, but ___.”This phrase is similar to the one above, but is a little bit more humble-sounding. The word “only” indicates that you don’t think too highly of your opinion, and that you respect the opinions of others as well.
    “This is only my opinion, but I’m not comfortable with that idea.”

    “Based on the information, I think ____.”This is a good way to phrase your opinion in reference to what others have said already. It shows that you were paying attention to them, and that you’ve formed a conclusion with that info.  
    “Based on the information, I think we should increase production.”

    Making Suggestions

    If your supervisor or one of your coworkers wants to hear your suggestions on something, you can use one of these phrases. Don’t be afraid to speak up! 

    “It might be a good idea to ___.”Here, the phrase “it might be” makes your suggestion sound more humble. 
    The phrase “a good idea” refers to a course of action that you think would be beneficial.
    “It might be a good idea to decrease the quota for next month.”

    “I recommend that we ___.”This phrase can be used the same way as the one above. However, this phrase also shows a greater degree of certainty and confidence. 
    “I recommend that we make the workspace more open.”

    “Maybe we should ___.”This is a good phrase to use if you want to introduce a new idea and add to the conversation, but you’re not very confident in your suggestion. It gives your boss and coworkers an idea to think about, and add onto.
    “Maybe we should discuss this next Monday.”

    “The company may benefit from ___.”If you’re discussing how to improve a certain aspect of your company, this is a useful phrase to start with. 
    “The company may benefit from closing one of our locations.”

    Agreeing or Disagreeing

    It’s completely normal to sometimes disagree with someone during a meeting. To express your agreement or concern, you can use these phrases.

    “I concur with ___.”“Concur” is a more formal word for “agree.” In most business settings, you can use either word. 

    In the blank, you can either the name of the person you agree with, or the idea that you agree with. 
    “I concur with Olivia.”

    OR

    “I concur with that idea.”

    “I think that’s a good idea.”This is a simple phrase you can use to show support for a coworker’s idea or proposal.

    “You have a good point, but ___.”This is a polite way of slightly disagreeing with someone. It shows that you approve of most of what they said, but you think they missed something or gave bad information somewhere. 
    Coworker: “The company may benefit from closing one of our locations.”

    You: “You have a good point, but I think that’s a bit extreme under the circumstances.”

    “You have a good point. I completely agree.”If you completely agree with what someone said, you can voice your support with this phrase.

    “I’m sorry, but I don’t agree with you.”If you really don’t agree with what someone said, you can use this phrase. Saying “I’m sorry, but,” at the beginning makes it sound a little more polite.

    In a business meeting, it’s usually important to back up what you’re saying with more information, or to explain your reasoning. This is often done with the word “because.” Here’s an example:

    “I think that’s a good idea, because it will help the team work more effectively.”

    Making Negotiations

    Three Businessmen Making Negotiations

    Negotiating can be a stressful procedure, but with these useful phrases, you can feel a lot more confident in your abilities! 

    “If we can’t ___, then maybe we can ___ instead.”This phrase is useful for suggesting a compromise or alternative. 

    In the first blank, put a certain course of action (that you can’t do). In the second blank, put a course of action that you can do instead.
    “If we can’t increase the budget, then maybe we can lower costs instead.”

    “If we ___, then they get ___ and we get ___.”This phrase is useful for talking about what will happen if a certain course of action is taken. 

    In the first blank, put the course of action. In the second blank, put what the other party (such as another company) will get as a result. In the third blank, put what your company will get as a result.
    “If we share our resources, then they get more manpower (employees) and we get more supplies.”

    “It’s a win-win situation.”As mentioned earlier, a win-win situation is where both parties can benefit from a decision.

    The last example we looked at is a great example of a win-win situation because both sides get something good.

    “Can we talk about / explore alternatives?”If the conversation doesn’t seem to be going your way, you can use this phrase. When you say this, it means that you want to talk with the other party about how you could do something differently, or make a better plan.

    Giving Presentations

    Have you been asked to present in front of your supervisor or clients? Here are a few useful business English phrases for presentations.

    “Let me introduce myself. My name is ___, and I work for ___.”When you’re giving a presentation, especially in front of people who don’t really know you, it’s standard to introduce yourself. This is a great phrase you can use to do so.
    “Let me introduce myself. My name is Lily Godfrey, and I work for Super Great Company Name.”

    “I would like to start by saying ___.”Having a short intro line can help you ease into the rest of your presentation. This is one way you can do this.
    “I would like to start by saying that I’m honored to be here.”

    “The first point I would like to address is ___.”When beginning your presentation, this is a handy phrase you can use.
    “The first point I would like to address is the recent budget cuts.”

    “Does anyone have a question or concern so far?”After you’ve covered one or two points, you may want to ask your audience if they have questions or concerns. This helps ensure that everyone is on the same page.

    “Thank you for your time, I would like to conclude here.”At the end of a presentation, it’s polite to thank your audience for their time, and to let them know you’re done speaking.

    Reporting to Supervisors

    Sometimes, supervisors expect for you to give them updates on your progress during a meeting.

    “I would like to update you on ___.”
    “I would like to update you on our progress with the new marketing campaign.”

    “I wanted to let you know about ___.”
    “I wanted to let you know about a new software problem we’re facing.”

    Giving Assignments

    If you’re in a position to do so, you can give tasks and assignments to other people in the meeting. 

    “___, can you please ___?”You can use this phrase to ask a specific person to accomplish a specific task. Note the use of the word “please,” here. 

    In the first blank, say the person’s name. In the second blank, simply say the task you want that person to complete. 
    Susan, can you please start on those reports?”

    “I’ll leave you in charge of ___.”This phrase is similar to the one above, but it’s a bit more firm. When someone is “in charge of” something, it means that they are responsible for getting that thing done.
    “I’ll leave you in charge of sending out the emails.”

    “Can you please have this done by ___?”Use this phrase to give someone a deadline for a task. 
    “Can you please have this done by next Friday?”

    Business Phrases

    D- Handling Business Phone Calls and Emails

    A Young Businessman Taking Notes During a Phone Call

    In many workplaces, answering the phone, taking messages, and responding to emails is a regular part of day-to-day work. Here are some useful business phone etiquette phrases and a few phrases for work-related emails.

    Answering a Work Phone

    “Hello, you’re speaking with ___. How may I help you?”When you answer the phone, it’s common to say “hello,” followed by information about who they’re talking to. Then, ask why they’re calling or how you can help them. 

    Depending on where you work, there may be different rules for how to answer the phone. Some companies prefer that you give the caller your first name, while others prefer that you call yourself a representative of the company. 
    “Hello, you’re speaking with Robert. How may I help you?”

    OR

    “Hello, you’re speaking with a [company name] representative. How may I help you?”

    “Hello, this is ___ from ___. May I ask your reason for calling today?”Another common way to answer the phone is by saying your name and the company you work for. 
    “Hello, this is Tiffany from [company name]. May I ask your reason for calling today?”

    Taking Messages

    “I’m sorry, ___ isn’t here. Can I take a message?”If the person the caller wants to speak with isn’t available, you can use this phrase. 

    When you “take a message,” it means that you relay  what the caller says to the unavailable person. 
    “I’m sorry, Mr. Locke isn’t here. Can I take a message?”

    “Thank you. ___ will contact you shortly.”You can say this phrase after the caller has given you a message for the unavailable person (in this case, Mr. Locke). 
    “Thank you. Mr. Locke will contact you shortly.”

    “Could you please repeat that / speak more slowly?”It can be difficult to understand people over the phone. If you need the caller to repeat something, you can use this phrase.

    “I’m sorry. I didn’t catch that, could you please repeat?”You can use this phrase exactly the same way as the one above.

    Putting Someone on Hold

    Depending on where you work, it may be common practice to put people on hold for short periods of time while you gather info for them. Here are some useful phrases:

    “I’m sorry, but may I put you on hold for just a second?”You can use this phrase before putting someone on hold. Make sure that the other person is okay with being put on hold, first, though (otherwise, you may seem rude). 

    “I’m going to put you on hold for a minute. I’ll get back to you quickly.”This phrase is almost the same as the one above, but is more of a statement than a question.

    “Hello, I’m back. Are you still there?”When you take the person off hold, you can use this phrase to make sure they didn’t hang up. 

    Ending Conversations

    Depending on the type of phone call, there are a few different ways you can politely end the discussion.

    “Thank you for your time. Have a nice afternoon.”This is a fairly generic phrase that you can use to end most phone conversations. 

    “Thank you for reaching out. We will see you then.”This one is used mainly after someone has made an appointment (such as a dentist appointment or an appointment to have their car repaired).

    “Thank you for your call. We hope we answered your questions.”You can end a call with this phrase if the caller asked you questions about something, and you were able to help them.”

    Addressing / Greeting in Emails

    An Upclose Image of a White Keyboard

    As time goes on, emails are becoming more and more important in the workplace. Here are some examples of how you can address a business-related email:

    “Mr./Mrs. ___,”Using “Mr.” or “Mrs.” followed by the person’s last name is a formal and polite way of beginning a business email. 
    “Mr. Harrison,”

    “___,”In slightly less formal instances, you can simply use the person’s first name followed by a comma.
    Carol,”

    “Hi ___,” If you’re sending an email to a coworker you’re familiar with, or if your company has a more laid-back policy for emails, you can say “Hi,” followed by the person’s name. 
    “Hi Rene,”

    “This email is for ___.”If you’re sending a formal email, especially if it contains important or sensitive information, you can say “This email is for,” followed by the person’s first and last name. In some situations, you can also put a more generic term in the blank, like in the second example (if you’re sending a mass email).
    “This email is for Loletta Roberts.”

    OR

    “This email is for the new IT crew members at [company name].”

    Wrapping Up an Email

    “Thank you for your time.”If you sent a long email, it may be a good idea to thank the reader for their time. 

    “You can contact me (or ___) with any questions.”It’s common to include a line like this one near the end of your email. It lets the reader know that they can contact you if something wasn’t clear. You can also opt to include your email address or phone number here. 

    “Best / Sincerely ___.”At the very end of your email, you sign off. Two of the most common signing off words are “Best” and “Sincerely.” Put a comma after the word you choose, hit the enter key once, and then put your first and last name. 
    “Sincerely,Timothy Gourd

    E- Going on a Business Trip

    Business trips can be great fun, but they also require a new set of vocabulary and phrases in some cases. Be prepared with the phrases below.

    Airplane Taking Off

    Booking a Hotel or Buying Tickets

    “I have a reservation.”When you arrive at your hotel, you can tell the person at the check-in desk that you have a reservation. (If the check-in person asks you if you have one, you can simply add “Yes” to the beginning of this phrase.)

    “I would like a room.”If you haven’t made a reservation, you can tell the hotel staff that you would like a room. 

    “A return ticket to ___, please.”If you need to buy a ticket for travel, it’s best to ask for a “return ticket.” This means that your ticket will allow you to go to your destination and return.
    In the blank, just say the place you want to go.
    “A return ticket to Chicago, please.”

      → To prepare for your hotel stay, study our vocabulary list At a Hotel.

    Sharing Itinerary with Coworkers

    An “itinerary,” is basically an outline or summary of what to expect during your trip. The actual content can vary, but it will usually contain information about the business side itself, as well as non-work activities the group may participate in.

    “Have you all checked your itinerary?”You can use this phrase to ask if the group has checked their itinerary. An “itinerary” is basically a schedule or overall plan of what will be achieved during the business trip (usually printed out). 

    “On ___, we’re going to ___.”You can use this phrase to discuss certain details about the itinerary. 
    “On Tuesday, we’re going to meet with our new clients.”

    “We all need to be back here by ___.”This is a useful phrase if you’re on a tight schedule. It lets the other group members know what time you need to be back together (usually referring to the hotel or another important place).
    “We all need to be back here by nine-thirty.”

    “Tonight, we’ll eat at ___.”If your business trip is very schedule-oriented, your group may end up eating at specific places for the duration of the trip. This is a phrase you can use to talk about meal plans.
    “Tonight, we’ll eat at the Chinese restaurant across the street.”

    Meeting Partners or Clients

    “It’s good to finally meet with you.”It’s considered polite and respectful to let the other person (or people) know that you’re glad to be meeting them.

    “I’m so glad you could make it here safely.”Using this phrase shows that you care about the other person’s safety, and is a sign of respect.

    “I hope you had pleasant / safe travels.”This phrase is similar to the one above, but is generally used only if you know the other person traveled a long distance or in hazardous conditions.

    Checking In or Out of Hotel

    “I’m almost ready to check out.”If it’s your final day at the hotel, you can let the person at the desk know that you’re almost ready to check out. This isn’t mandatory, but is considered polite. 

    “I’m ready to check out now.”Once you’re packed and ready to leave, you can say this to the person at the desk to let them know.

    “Thank you for the room. Here is my key.”When checking out of a hotel, it’s a good idea to let the person know that your room was nice and you enjoyed your stay. 

    Thanking Partners or Clients

    “Thank you for meeting with me/us.”It’s polite to let your partners or clients know that you appreciate their effort to meet with you.

    “Thank you for your time.”Further, you can use this phrase to let them know you value their time, and appreciate that they spent it with you and your team. 

    “It was a pleasure meeting with you.”This is a good parting phrase, and it shows that you enjoyed meeting and talking with them. 

    3. Final Thoughts

    Coworkers Celebrating with Champagne

    We covered a lot of material in this article, but trust us when we say your career in the United States will be better for it. Once you cut through the red tape of language barriers, you’ll be glad you went the extra mile in your English studies. 

    If you’re running out of steam and need some inspiration, EnglishClass101.com has you covered:

    Before you go, let us know in the comments how you feel about English business phrases now. Are you ready to put them into action? Are there any phrases or situations we missed? We look forward to hearing from you, and will do our best to help you out. 

    Happy English learning!

    Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Business Words and Phrases in English

    Super Bowl Sunday in the U.S. – Pass the Guac, Please!

    Thumbnail

    Huge, cheering (and jeering) crowds. Coffee tables and countertops laden with dozens of deliciously fatty, greasy foods. Several cases of beer located in key positions throughout the household. People dressed in football jerseys and wearing paint on their faces…

    Can you believe that all of this is for a single sports game? And it happens every year. 

    In this article, you’ll learn about Super Bowl Sunday in the United States, from its origin to modern-day traditions. Enjoy!

    Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in English

    1. What is the Super Bowl?

    Football Players Tackling Each Other on the Field

    Super Bowl Sunday is one of the most-awaited days of the year for fans of American football. On this day, the football season culminates in the championship playoffs, when the two best teams from the NFL’s two conferences compete. Hardcore fans are willing to pay big for tickets to see the game in-person at the stadium, and each moment of the game is televised for the general U.S. population to watch. The Super Bowl is the most-viewed televised event in the country, and it also airs in many other countries. 

    One thing that keeps the game so popular among fans and the general population alike is its unique elimination system. Leading up to the Super Bowl, there are fourteen teams who compete for their chance to take part in the Big Game. Rather than playing a double-elimination series of games, a team drops out after losing one game—this makes the Super Bowl and the games leading up to it very high-stakes and far more exciting to watch. 

    In order to understand the significance of the Super Bowl in the United States, we need to go back a few decades

    Super Bowl History

    A Football Set Up For a Field Goal

    In 1920, the most famous football league in the country was formed: the National Football League (NFL). For many years, it enjoyed quite a bit of fame and fortune as the only major football league in the U.S. But in 1960, the NFL had to face a new challenger: the American Football League (AFL), which grew to be so popular that the two leagues ended up battling for viewers. 

    The following year, the AFL invited the NFL to play in a World Playoff game where the winning team from each league would play each other. The idea was initially declined, but came to fruition a few years later in 1967 to reflect a merger of the two leagues (today called the NFL, which is composed of two conferences). 

    From that point on, the Super Bowl continued to grow in popularity. Today, it’s one of the most widely celebrated events each year. 

      → Of course, not everyone is crazy about football. See our vocabulary lists on Olympic Sports and the Top 10 Summer Sports, and let us know which sports are your favorite!

    2. When is the Super Bowl Each Year?

    Every year, Super Bowl Sunday takes place on the first Sunday in February. Here’s a quick list of this event’s date for the next ten years.

    • 2021: February 7
    • 2022: February 6
    • 2023: February 5
    • 2024: February 4
    • 2025: February 2
    • 2026: February 1 
    • 2027: February 7
    • 2028: February 6
    • 2029: February 4
    • 2030: February 3 

    3. Super Bowl Sunday Traditions

    A Woman Singing at a Halftime Show

    Super Bowl Sunday has become a massive tradition in the United States! 

    Super Bowl festivities involve gathering with family, friends, and sometimes other members of the community to watch the championship game. People may invite family and friends into their home to watch the game, though bars, restaurants, community centers, and even churches tend to be packed and loud on this day! 

    There are many types of people you’ll find at a Super Bowl party. No matter where you are, the true football fans will be clustered around the television (or televisions), cheering for their favorite team—and probably yelling insults at the other team when they score. In more laid-back settings, you might find people sitting around a table playing card games or talking, and still others constantly going to and from the kitchen to load their plates with more food. And, of course, you’ll find a few people who are just there for the free beer. Depending on the size of the get-together, there may be other activities going on in the background: horseshoe tournaments, chili cookoffs, foosball matches, cornhole games, and the list goes on. 

    A fun aspect of watching the game is the Super Bowl halftime show. During the halftime show, famous singers or bands do a major live performance in front of the live audience. This is a way of getting more people to watch the game, and it makes the experience more exciting. In 2020, the two main performers were Shakira and Jennifer Lopez; in 2021, The Weeknd will be performing. 

    Finally, many people tune in to watch the game just to see the famous Super Bowl commercials. Because so many people are watching the game on this day, many companies spend lots of money making their best commercials of the year to show during the game. These commercials are known for their overall high quality and for being unique, funny, or emotional. 

    4. Typical Super Bowl Snacks

    A Plate of Chicken Wings, Carrots, Celery, and Dipping Sauce - Typical Food for Super Bowl Sunday

    Do you know what Thanksgiving and Super Bowl Sunday have in common? People eat tons of food on both of these days! In fact, Thanksgiving is the only day on which people eat more than they do on Super Bowl Sunday. 

    Some of the most common foods include buffalo wings, pizza, hot dogs, nachos, chips & dip, charcuterie-style foods (cold meats and cheeses), chili, casseroles, sandwiches, burgers, all kinds of snack foods, and a variety of sweets such as cookies and brownies. 

    People are also known to drink a lot of alcohol on this day, with beer being the most popular beverage.

      → While you’re at it, you can also learn the names of other popular U.S. Drinks.

    5. Vocabulary You Should Know for the Big Game

    A Plaque for the NFL Playoffs

    There is a lot of terminology related to the game of American football. Here’s a quick list of words and phrases you should know before watching. 

    • Stadium [n]
      • This is an enclosed outdoor area with green turf (or grass) where the game is played. 
    • Football [n]
      • This refers to American football, which differs from ‘football’ in other countries (which we call ‘soccer’).
    • Touchdown [n]
      • A touchdown is when a player from one of the teams gets the football to the end zone on the other team’s side of the field. 
    • Defense [n]
      • A team playing defense tries to keep the other team from scoring.
    • Championship [n]
      • A championship game is a game played between two winning teams to decide who the ultimate winner is that year.
    • Offense [n]
      • A team playing offense tries to get past the other team’s defense in order to score. 
    • Line of scrimmage [n]
      • This is the place on the field where the football gets hiked at the beginning of each play.
    • Score [n]
      • The score is how many points each team has.
    • Kickoff return [p]
      • A kickoff return is when a certain member of the defensive team catches the ball kicked by the offensive team and runs it toward the end zone. 
    • Interception [n]
      • An interception is when a member of the offensive team throws the football toward a teammate, and a member of the opposite team catches it. 
    • Super Bowl halftime show [p]
      • The Super Bowl halftime show is when a very famous singer or band performs at the game’s halfway point. 
    • Recover a fumble [p]
      • To recover a fumble means to regain control of the football after it has been lost by a member of either team. 
    • Tackle [n]
      • A tackle refers to a move in football where a member of one team physically hinders the member on the other team who has control of the ball. 
    • Playoffs [n]
      • For the NFL playoffs, each of the two conferences has its best seven teams compete in a single-elimination format. The two best teams then compete in the Super Bowl. 
    • Special teams [n]
      • Special teams are players on each team who are neither offensive nor defensive, and who are only on the field for kicking plays. There are kicking teams, punting teams, and long-snappers.
    • Quarterback [n]
      • The quarterback is the leading player of the offensive team, responsible for the majority of forward passes and for calling the play.
    • Receiver [n]
      • The receiver (also called the wide receiver) is the player on the team who is typically responsible for catching passes or blocking. 
    • Linebacker [n]
      • Linebackers are defensive players positioned behind the line of scrimmage and behind the defensive linemen. 
    • Running back [n]
      • The running back is an offensive position most often responsible for receiving handoffs, as well as for blocking and acting as a receiver. 
    • Field goal [n]
      • A field goal is when the football is kicked by the player in possession of it and goes through the goal. 
    • Forward pass [n]
      • A forward pass refers to when one player passes the ball to another player on their team who is closer to the goal. 
    • Pass interference [n]
      • A pass interference is a foul move that involves a player of one team physically interfering with a pass made by a member of the other team. 
    • Rush [n]
      • In offense, a rush is when the player with the football runs toward the goal without making a pass. In defense, a rush is when a player on the defensive team runs to stop the rushing offensive player. 
    • Get Ready for the Super Bowl! [s]
      • This is a generic phrase used to make people more excited for the upcoming Super Bowl game, usually on game day. 

    Don’t worry if some of these terms are confusing to you. There are many people in the U.S. who aren’t familiar with them either! You can hear the pronunciation of each word and phrase on our Get Ready for the Super Bowl! word list. 

    Final Thoughts

    We hope you enjoyed our article on Super Bowl Sunday in the United States and that you gained some new insight into American culture. Do you watch the Super Bowl game in your country? Or maybe you prefer a different league or sport? We would love to hear from you in the comments! 

    If you’re interested in learning even more about American culture and holidays, we highly recommend the following pages on EnglishClass101.com

    In addition to culture- and lifestyle-based materials, we provide detailed English lessons that are designed to be both fun and effective. Fine-tune your English reading, writing, and speaking skills with our numerous pathways and vocabulary lists, and check back frequently for new blog posts on key English topics. You’ll be speaking native-level English before you know it.

    Happy learning from the EnglishClass101.com team!

    Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in English

    Learn English: YouTube Channels You’ll Love!

    Thumbnail

    What a time to be alive! The age of online learning, working from home…and YouTube. 

    YouTube is one of the most popular social media platforms today, with at least hundreds of millions of users each month. This is the place to find music videos, news coverage, cooking tips, and advice for everyday life. In short, watching YouTube can give you pleasure and entertainment with educational value. (Well, the educational value is optional…)

    Did you know that when you learn English, YouTube can be a great supplemental tool? People tend to learn best when they’re able to have fun in the process, or when what they’re learning intersects with their interests. And luckily, when it comes to English language learning videos, YouTube is a gold mine.

    In this article, we’ll introduce you to the top ten YouTube channels for English learners at every level. These include channels with the best English learning videos on YouTube as well as channels on a variety of other topics. 

    Spoiler alert: We’ll also introduce you to our EnglishClass101 YouTube channel, the absolute best English learning YouTube channel. 

    Let’s get started, and see what catches your eye!

    Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in English Table of Contents
    1. Speak English with Mr Duncan
    2. Ben Brown
    3. WB Kids
    4. Eat Sleep Dream English
    5. Mayim Bialik
    6. National Geographic
    7. Food Network
    8. VOA Learning English
    9. NBC News
    10. Learn English with EnglishClass101.com
    11. Final Thoughts

    1. Speak English with Mr Duncan

    Category: Language / Education
    Level: Upper Beginner – Intermediate

    Mr. Duncan is an optimistic guy who teaches English in a positive way. 

    Each of his videos contains useful content, ranging from grammar and vocabulary lessons for beginners to more intermediate topics like idioms. Everything is said in English, but there are subtitles with each video so you can read along. Mr. Duncan’s channel is also a great opportunity to train your ear to British English, and to explore life as Mr. Duncan sees it. 

    With fun illustrations, lots of text on screen, hand and body motions to accompany his speech, and a sense of humor that even beginners can appreciate, Speak English with Mr. Duncan is an English YouTube channel you don’t want to miss out on! He also does live-stream videos each week on Sundays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. 

    (Oh, did I mention that it also has the grooviest theme music?) 

    2. Ben Brown

    Category: Travel & Adventure Vlog
    Level: Intermediate – Advanced

    Ben Brown posts videos about his travels and adventures—both in his home country and around the world. When browsing his channel, you’ll find videos about his time in South Africa, Canada, and the Arctic, and plenty of road trip-skiing-diving footage. 

    Depending on your current English level, there are videos on this channel you can enjoy watching. If you’re up to a challenge, you can listen to his dialogue with friends; for something more comfortable, there are videos where he’s the only one speaking; better yet, if you feel like having the day off but don’t want to miss out on the adventure, you can watch his photo- and music-only Visual Vibes videos.

    We recommend Ben Brown’s YouTube channel for the adventurers at heart and those who enjoy experiencing what the world has to offer. 


    3. WB Kids

    Category: Kids / Cartoon
    Level: Intermediate

    Okay, gang! The WB Kids YouTube channel is a great place to learn English in a more laid-back atmosphere. The idea is to learn without really trying! 

    Who didn’t love watching cartoons as a kid? The WB Kids channel has tons of video uploads from shows that American kids grew up with and will love forever, including Scooby Doo, Tom & Jerry, and Looney Tunes. You can find both full episodes and short clips, depending on how much time you have. 

    From a language-learning perspective, cartoons like these are awesome because they tend to use simpler language, repeat specific phrases from episode to episode, and are so easy to watch. We recommend WB Kids in particular for two reasons: 

    1. You can watch the same cartoons many Americans watched as kids.

    2. WB Kids also has sister channels with videos in different languages (French and Spanish, for example). 

    Enjoy! 

    4. Eat Sleep Dream English

    Category: Language / Education
    Level: Intermediate

    The goal of Eat Sleep Dream English—as the title indicates—is to help English learners want to keep learning, every day. 

    Tom, the host of this British English YouTube channel, is full of energy and enthusiasm for the English language. He teaches specifically about British English and all of its nuances. He covers the basic topics like grammar, vocabulary, and pronunciation, as well as more unique topics like “18 Very English Sounds” (see the video above). This channel has a new video every week.

    Eat Sleep Dream English is fantastic for intermediate (or even upper beginner) learners, because Tom generally hosts videos himself and always speaks clearly into the camera. You can also find some collaboration videos for more of a challenge, as well as videos about learning English with music. 

    We highly recommend you check it out! 

    5. Mayim Bialik

    Category: Lifestyle Vlog
    Level: Intermediate

    Mayim Bialik (also known as Amy Fowler on the TV series The Big Bang Theory) has her own YouTube channel—and it’s great!  

    On her channel, Bialik talks about a range of topics, though many of her videos do tend to focus on her experiences as a mother, an observant Jew, and a neuroscientist. If you’re getting tired of the same old-same old, we think you’ll find her channel refreshing. In each video, she shares a little bit of herself—the good, the bad, and the ugly. This raw honesty isn’t overbearing, though; you’ll also see her humor and bright side shine through the darker stuff. 

    This channel is especially good for women and mothers, or anyone looking for a unique view on today’s culture and trends. 

    In terms of English learning, this channel may be best for intermediate learners. The language is pretty easy to understand, both because Bialik speaks clearly and into a camera, and because she tends to use many “buzzwords.” Oftentimes, text appears on the screen when she talks about key points or wants to clarify something, and you can also learn a lot about U.S. culture and slang. 

      → You may find it helpful to learn about Using Small Talk Phrases before watching her channel, as it tends to have a laid-back feel.

    6. National Geographic

    Category: Documentary / Nature / Education
    Level: Intermediate – Advanced

    You may be familiar with National Geographic for its TV show, numerous educational books, and magazine. Now, get ready to explore its YouTube channel if you haven’t already! 

    This is the perfect channel for anyone curious about the world—its people and cultures, nature, and even survival. You’ll find tons of educational videos on a number of topics with some of the most stunning footage you’ll find on YouTube today. 

    We recommend this channel for intermediate to advanced English learners. The audio tends to be clear, slow, and broken down into manageable chunks, making it fairly simple to understand when listening. However, most videos don’t have text on the screen (you can use subtitles, but they’re not always accurate or convenient), and some of the vocabulary can be more advanced.

    If you’re feeling confident with your English listening skills, or want to challenge yourself a little bit, you’re going to love the National Geographic channel! 

    7. Food Network

    Category: Food / Cooking
    Level: Intermediate

    Like National Geographic, Food Network is a pretty big name. With a television channel, magazine, and more, you may already be familiar with it.

    The Food Network YouTube channel is a great place to watch food and cooking videos from some of the network’s biggest stars, including Alex Guarnaschelli, Guy Fieri, and Alton Brown. Learn new recipes from numerous cultures, perfect the ones you make already, and learn more English at the same time! 

    We recommend the Food Network channel for intermediate learners. For the most part, the speech is clear (though sometimes fast) and text often appears on the screen with ingredients, steps, or other key points. This allows you to practice your listening and reading skills. You can also find a combination of shorter videos (five minutes or less) and longer videos (twenty minutes or more). 

    To get a taste of what to expect, watch Alex Guarnaschelli make cannolis in the video above! 


    8. VOA Learning English

    Category: Education / Language / News
    Level: Beginner – Advanced

    The VOA Learning English YouTube channel has a unique approach to teaching English, and there are videos available for learners at any level. While this YouTube channel has a variety of video topics and formats, it’s most well-known for its short and humorous skits, as well as its news videos. 

    These news videos are awesome for English learners who aren’t yet comfortable listening to fast-paced conversations. VOA Learning English takes actual news footage and then slows down the speech of the reporter and adds subtitles on the screen. This allows viewers to practice both reading and listening skills in a more real-world context—without feeling overwhelmed.

    The skits on this channel are designed to introduce new grammar, vocabulary, or idioms in a way that’s laid-back, true to life, and very funny. 

    Check out their skit about budget cuts to see what we mean! 

    9. NBC News

    Category: News
    Level: Intermediate

    If you’re feeling more confident in your listening abilities and want to catch up on the latest news, you can check out the NBC News YouTube channel. Here, you can find constant updates on what’s going on in the world, both in shorter snippets and longer videos. 

    We recommend this news channel, and others like it, for intermediate learners. The speech tends to be clear and relatively slow-paced, and text is on the screen basically the entire time to cover key points or give updates. At the same time, you can enhance your listening skills in real-life contexts such as interviews and on-air conversations between hosts. 

    10. Learn English with EnglishClass101.com

    Category: Language / Education
    Level: Absolute Beginner – Advanced

    Guess who else has their own YouTube channel? We do! And we think it’s going to be your best source of English learning, no matter what level you’re at right now. 

    We release a new video almost every single day on a variety of English topics, in numerous formats. Currently, we have over 1000 videos, and counting.

    Just a few features include:

    • Ask Alisha: Members of EnglishClass101.com leave questions about English for Alisha, and she answers them in a video. These videos are a great way to learn about the nuances of English grammar, vocabulary, syntax, and more! 
    • English Words for Every Day: These are fun, short, and sometimes goofy videos (usually under ten minutes) hosted by Alisha. They introduce new vocabulary words and phrases that you’ll hear often as you continue learning English. 
    • Learn English in 3 Minutes: Like the name says, you can learn about an English topic in three- to five-minute videos. Great for people with a tight schedule or who like learning on-the-go! 
    • 24/7 Stream: Yes, we’re serious. You can literally watch EnglishClass101 content twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week! 

    This is just a sampler of what makes us the best English YouTube channel for learners. The best part, however, may be the sense of community you can experience once you start watching and interacting with fellow English learners in the comments or on social media. 

    Explore our channel now, or watch the Ask Alisha video above.

    11. Final Thoughts

    A Little Kid Watching YouTube Videos

    Whatever your interests or passions, there’s a YouTube channel for you. We hope that at least one of the channels on our list caught your eye, and that you enjoy every second of your YouTube English learning experience. 

    We recommend that you use EnglishClass101’s channel as the foundation for your YouTube learning, due to our versatility, range of useful content, and energetic hosts. Any and all of the other channels we listed should make wonderful supplements and keep you entertained at the same time.

    Are there any good English YouTube channels we missed? Which one from our list do you want to watch the most, and why? Let us (and your fellow English learners) know in the comments! 

    If you like the idea of learning English through entertainment media, you should also check out these articles:

    And of course, feel free to explore EnglishClass101.com and our channel. We look forward to having you. 😉

    Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in English

    Different Ways to Say Goodbye in English

    Thumbnail

    It’s important to learn how to say goodbye in English because this is a crucial conversational skill to have as a new learner. In any language, saying goodbye at the end of a conversation or when leaving a group is polite. It lets the other party know that you respect them, and it makes your leave less abrupt.

    In this article, we’ll go over a number of ways to say goodbye in English. We cover the most common words and phrases for a variety of situations, so you’ll never have to leave awkwardly again! 

    Start with a bonus, and download the Must-Know Beginner Vocabulary PDF for FREE!(Logged-In Member Only)

    Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in English Table of Contents
    1. The Two Most Common Ways to Say Goodbye in English
    2. Goodbye Expressions in English for Any Situation
    3. Goodbye in English Slang & Pop Culture
    4. Final Thoughts

    1. The Two Most Common Ways to Say Goodbye in English

    In the United States, there are two goodbye words you’re going to hear often. These are:

    GoodbyeThis one is more formal, but it’s still casual enough to use with friends and family.
    ByeThis means the exact same thing as “goodbye,” but is shorter and a little bit less formal. 

    If you only learn a couple ways to say goodbye in English today, it should be these. 

    2. Goodbye Expressions in English for Any Situation

    Most Common Goodbyes

    Now, let’s move on to more specific English phrases for goodbye. In the following sections, I’ll give you words and phrases to say goodbye based on the situation or context. I’ll also provide examples for each one, so you can see how to use them.

    A- Formal

    Here are some formal ways to say goodbye in English. These are fairly versatile, and you can use them in most situations that call for formal language.

    “Thank you for your time.”

    You can use this phrase in formal situations, after someone has offered you their time or helped you with something. This is also common after meetings or appointments. Keep in mind that you can use this phrase in both spoken and written communication. 

    Example:

    You:
    “Excuse me, how can I set up a bank account here?”

    Bank Clerk:
    “I can help you with that over here.”

    [After your account is set up…]

    You:
    “Thank you for your time.”


    “I enjoyed our talk.”

    This is something someone would say after talking with a client, patient, or anyone else in a more formal environment. 

    Example:

    A therapist is finishing a session with a patient.

    Therapist:
    “I enjoyed our talk. See you again this time next week.”

    Patient:
    “Thank you. See you then.”

    “It was a pleasure speaking with you.”

    This is something a client may tell a customer, especially in more formal or regulated environments, such as a bank or other financial institution. 

    Example:

    A financial adviser has just finished talking with a client.

    Financial Adviser:
    “It was a pleasure speaking with you.”

    Client:
    “Thank you, you too. See you next month.”

    “I look forward to our next meeting.”

    People often use this phrase when they plan on seeing the other person (or people) again in a formal environment. 

    Example:

    A man has just had a consultation with an interior decorator to do some work on his house.

    Man:
    “I like your qualifications. Can you start next week?”

    Decorator:
    “Of course, thank you. I look forward to our next meeting.”

    “Thank you for scheduling your appointment. We’ll see you then.”

    This is a common way of saying goodbye in formal situations, especially when a customer or client is leaving.

    Example:

    You have just scheduled a dentist appointment.

    Desk Clerk:
    “Thank you for scheduling your appointment. We’ll see you then.”

    You:
    “Thank you. See you then.”

    B- Making Arrangements for Another Meeting

    College Student Waving Goodbye to Her Friends

    We’ve covered how to say goodbye in formal situations, but what about when things are more laid-back? Here are some English goodbye phrases you can use to plan another meeting with a friend.

    “See you later.”

    This is a very common phrase to use when you’re about to part ways with a friend (or group of friends). It means that you plan on seeing them again, but you’re not sure exactly when. 

    Example:

    You and a group of friends just got done watching a movie at the theater. You’re about to leave for home.

    You:
    “I need to go home now. See you later.”

    A Friend:
    “Bye. See you later.”

    “Catch you later.”

    This phrase has the exact same meaning as “see you later,” but is significantly more casual. 

    Example:

    You see one of your friends at the grocery store, and start talking to them. After a few minutes, you need to end the conversation.

    You:
    “Thanks for the talk. Catch you later.”

    Friend:
    “You too.”

    “See you around.”

    This one is very similar to the two phrases above. 

    Example:

    You’re about to go home after chatting with someone at your book club. 

    You:
    “Well, see you around.”

    Other Person:
    “Thanks, you too.”

    “See you tomorrow.”

    When you say “See you tomorrow,” it means that you actually plan on seeing them tomorrow, usually because you set a date with that person. 

    Example:

    You see a friend at the library, and start talking with them. You decide to make plans together.

    You:
    “Are you free tomorrow?”

    Friend:
    “Sure. Do you want to get coffee?”

    You:
    “That sounds good.”

    Friend:
    “Great. See you tomorrow.”

    “See you at eight.”

    In this phrase, you can replace “eight” with any other time. This is used in situations similar to the one above.

    Example:

    You want to confirm what time you and your friend will get coffee tomorrow.

    You:
    “What time should we meet for coffee?”

    Friend:
    “How about ten?”

    You:
    “Sure. See you at ten.”

    “See you in a couple weeks.”

    This is something you would say to someone if you plan on meeting with them in a couple of weeks. You can replace “a couple weeks” with any other extended time period.

    Example:

    Your mother just called to let you know she’ll be coming for a visit next month. 

    Your Mother:
    “I’ll be coming down there next month to see you.”

    You:
    No Mom, please don’t.” “I look forward to it. See you next month!”

    Additional Note

    Most of the phrases in this section can also be used as a question. For example, if you want to confirm when you’ll be seeing someone next, you can say the relevant phrase as a question.

    Example:

    You’re making plans to see an old friend.

    You:
    “Maybe we can go see the hockey game together.”

    Friend:
    “Yeah, that’s a good idea.”

    You:
    “Great! See you next weekend?

    Friend:
    “Yep, at nine o’clock sharp.”

    C. Seeing Someone Off

    Couple Parting Ways at the Airport

    It can be painful to say goodbye to someone you care about, especially when you know they’ll be gone a long time, or are going somewhere far away. Here are some special goodbye phrases you can use for situations like this.

    “Take care.”

    Use this phrase to let someone know you want them to take care of themselves while they’re gone.

    Example:

    Your best friend is about to leave on a plane for another country during her vacation. 

    You:
    “Have fun and take care.”

    Friend:
    “Thank you, I will.”

    “Drive safe.”

    Use this phrase to let someone know you want them to drive safely, especially if you know they’ll be driving a long distance or in dangerous driving conditions.

    Example:

    Your boyfriend or girlfriend is going to drive several hours in bad weather for an important meeting. 

    You:
    “It’s supposed to snow a lot today. Drive safe.”

    BF/GF:
    “I promise I’ll drive safely. I love you.”

    “Safe travels.”

    This one is a more generic goodbye phrase for when someone will be traveling. It means you want them to be safe during their travels.

    Example:

    Your aunt tells you that she’ll be traveling outside the country for a few weeks. 

    You:
    “That sounds like fun. Safe travels.”

    Aunt:
    “Thank you.”

    “Have a safe trip home.”

    You can say this to someone when they’re about to leave for home.

    Example:

    Your friend is about to head home after spending the day together with you.

    You:
    “Have a safe trip home.”

    Friend:
    “Thank you, I will.”

    “I’ll miss you.”

    You can say this to someone you really care about before they leave. 

    Example:

    Your grandparents are about to leave after a visit.

    You:
    “I enjoyed seeing you. I’ll miss you.”

    Grandparent:
    “We’ll miss you too.”

    “Don’t be gone too long.”

    If you’re really going to miss someone after they leave, you can say this to them. It shows the other person that you’ll miss them and look forward to the next time you can see them again.

    Example:

    Your spouse is going away on a long business trip.

    You:
    “I’ll miss you. Don’t be gone too long.”

    Spouse:
    “I’ll miss you too. See you next week.”

    “Call me when you get there.”

    Say this to someone to let them know you care about their safety while traveling. It means that you expect a phone call (or text message) from them when they arrive, so you know they’re safe. This is especially common for a parent or grandparent to tell their child or grandchild.

    Example:

    You’re about to drive several hours back home after visiting your father. 

    You:
    “Thank you for our visit. I should leave soon.”

    Father:
    “Thank you. Call me when you get there.”

    “I love you.”

    Many times, saying goodbye to someone we care about involves saying “I love you,” especially if it will be a while before you see them again.

    Example:

    You and your mother are about to part ways after a long visit.

    You:
    “I enjoyed our visit. I love you.”

    Mother:
    “I love you too. Bye.”

    “Farewell.”

    This goodbye phrase may be a little bit outdated, but some people still say this. It’s basically a way of letting the other person know you want them to be safe while they’re away.

    Example:

    A large family reunion is coming to an end, and your relatives are beginning to leave.

    You:
    “Safe travels. Farewell.”

    A Relative:
    “Thank you. Goodbye.”

    D. Leaving a Group or Party in a Hurry

    It can be very awkward to leave a group of people without saying anything. If you need to quickly say goodbye in English conversations involving a lot of people, there are a few phrases you can use to let people know you’ll be leaving soon.

    “I gotta run / fly / jet.”

    This is a very informal way of letting people know you’re about to leave, and is fine for any kind of casual gathering. The words “run,” “fly,” and “jet” are pretty much interchangeable, as they all mean that you need to leave quickly. 

    Example:

    You’re at a potluck lunch with some friends, and suddenly realize you need to leave.

    You:
    “I gotta run!”

    Friend:
    “Oh, okay. See you later.”

    “I’ll need to get going soon.”

    This is a slightly more formal and polite way of saying that you need to leave. It’s not really saying “goodbye,” but it’s a way of letting others know you’ll have to go. 

    Example:

    You’re at a friend’s birthday party, but you aren’t able to stay for very long.

    You:
    “I’m so sorry, but I’ll need to get going soon.”

    Friend:
    “No, it’s okay. Thanks for coming.”

    “I can’t stay much longer.”

    This phrase is almost the same as the one above. 

    Example:

    You’re spending time with a couple of friends, but you have something else you need to do soon.

    You:
    “Sorry, but I can’t stay much longer.”

    Friend:
    “Ah, that’s okay. See you around.”

    “There’s someplace I need to be.”

    You can use this phrase to let others know you need to leave in order to be somewhere else, especially if it’s another responsibility you have. ‘

    Example:

    You’re at a dinner party with some friends, but you get a phone call about an emergency back at home.

    You:
    “Sorry, but there’s someplace I need to be.”

    Friend:
    “It’s okay. Good luck.”

    “Sorry to leave so soon, but I have to ___.”

    With this goodbye phrase, you can actually let others know the reason you need to leave. In some cases, this can make your leaving seem less rude or abrupt. 

    Example:

    You’re out socializing with some of your coworkers, but you have to leave early to pick up your kids from school.

    You:
    “Sorry to leave so soon, but I have to pick up my kids from school.”

    Coworker:
    “No worries. See you tomorrow.”

    “I’m off.”

    This is another slightly informal way of letting others know you need to leave. It’s almost the same as “I gotta run.” 

    Example:

    You’re about to leave for a get-together with friends, so you let your spouse know when you leave.

    You:
    “I’m off.”

    Spouse:
    “Okay. Have fun.”

    E. Wishing Someone Well

    Two Couples Talking with Each Other at House

    When you’re about to part ways with someone, it’s considered very polite to wish them well, especially if you know the person. Here are some common ways people in the United States do this.

    “Have a nice day.”

    This is probably the most common way to wish someone well before saying goodbye. It’s just a simple wish for the other person to have a good day from that point on.

    Example:

    You’re leaving the doctor’s office after a checkup.

    Receptionist:
    “Thank you for coming in. Have a nice day.”

    You:
    “Thank you, you too.”

    “Have a great rest of your ___.”

    This phrase is almost the same as the one above. Here, you can fill in the blank with any amount of time.

    Example:

    You see your boss at the grocery store, and you start talking with him/her. After a few minutes, you need to leave.

    You:
    “I gotta run. Have a great rest of your afternoon.”

    Boss:
    “Thank you. You too.”

    “Take it easy.”

    This one might sound strange, but it’s just a way to wish the other person a good day. More specifically, it means that you want them to enjoy themself and stay safe.

    Example:

    You see one of your friends while you’re on a walk around the neighborhood, talk with them, and then end the conversation.

    You:
    “Bye. Take it easy.”

    Friend:
    “Thanks, you too.”

    “Have a good one.”

    In this phrase, “one” refers to a day. It’s exactly the same as telling someone to “Have a good day,” but it’s a little bit more casual.

    Example:

    You’re telling a friend goodbye after a short conversation.

    You:
    “Bye. Have a good one.”

    Friend:
    “Thanks, you too.”

    “Well…”

    The word “well” is very versatile in English, and in this case, it acts as a transition word. People use it often as a way of leading into a goodbye. Sometimes, the other person will understand the hint and say goodbye themselves.

    Example:

    You ran into one of your former teachers at the park, and are ending a conversation with him/her.

    You:
    “Well…”

    Teacher:
    “I should probably be going. Nice talking with you.”

    “Well, I’d best get to it.”

    This is a good way of politely ending a conversation, especially if you have something you need to do and the other person won’t stop talking.

    Example:

    You and your neighbor have been talking for almost an hour, and you really need to finish the yard work before it gets dark.

    You:
    “Well, I’d best get to it.”

    “I won’t keep you any longer.”

    If you’re lucky, this is what your neighbor will say to you afterward. It’s basically a roundabout way of saying goodbye.

    Example:

    You:
    “Well, I’d best get to it.”

    Neighbor:
    “Okay, I won’t keep you any longer. Bye.”

    F. Asking Someone to Keep in Touch

    Group of Women Hugging Goodbye After a Party

    When you ask someone to “keep in touch,” you’re letting them know that you want to hear from, or spend time with, them again. Here are a few common parting phrases you can use to do this.

    “Keep in touch.”

    This is the most straightforward way to let someone know you want to talk again. 

    Example:

    You’re about to part ways with a new friend after spending the day together. 

    You:
    “Thanks for hanging out today. Keep in touch.”

    Friend:
    “Of course. Bye.”

    “Call me later.” 

    You can say this to someone if you want them to call you later.

    Example:

    You’re about to part ways with a friend, but want to talk with them more later that day.

    You:
    “I had fun today. Call me later!”

    Friend:
    “Okay, will do. Bye.”

    “I’ll call you later.”

    This is what you can say when the roles are reversed, or just if you want to call the person later.

    Example:

    You’re about to part ways with a friend, but want to talk with them more later that day.

    Friend:
    “I had fun today. Call me later!”

    You:
    “Okay, I’ll call you later. Bye.”

    “When can I call you?”

    Either you or your friend can ask this, depending on the situation.

    Example:

    Friend:
    “I had fun today. Call me later!”

    You:
    “Okay, when can I call you?”

    Friend:
    “Hmm…anytime after seven.”

    “When can I expect your call?”

    Again, you can use this one when the roles are reversed.

    Example:

    You:
    “I had fun today. Call me later!”

    Friend:
    “Okay, will do.”

    You:
    “When can I expect your call?”

    Friend:
    “Probably sometime after seven.”

    “Talk to you later.”

    This is very similar to “See you later,” but it actually has more to do with talking to the person.

    Example:

    You see your neighbor while you’re jogging, and stop to talk with them. After a couple minutes, you end the conversation.

    You:
    “Well, I’ll talk to you later.”

    Neighbor:
    “Okay. Goodbye.”

    “Don’t be a stranger.”

    When you tell someone “Don’t be a stranger,” it’s a way of letting them know you want to see and talk with them often.

    Example:

    You see your cousin for the first time in a couple of years, but need to end the conversation early.

    You:
    “Nice talking with you. Don’t be a stranger!”

    Cousin:
    “See you around.”

    G. Letting Someone Know You Enjoyed Seeing Them

    Two Friends Walking in the Snow Together

    Imagine you’ve just spent the day with your best friend, whom you hadn’t seen in years. You’ll want to tell him or her how much you enjoyed seeing them and spending time together.

    “It was nice seeing you / talking with you.”

    This is a very common way to say goodbye in English, and you can use it in both formal and informal situations. 

    Example:

    You’re about to end a conversation with an old high school classmate you hadn’t seen in years.

    You:
    “It was nice talking with you.”

    Classmate:
    “Thanks, you too. Have a good day.”

    “Always nice talking with you.”

    This is almost the same as the phrase above, but this one is normally used with people you see from time to time.

    Example:

    You see your friend’s mom while doing errands, talk for a while, and then end the conversation.

    You:
    “Well, have a good day. Always nice talking with you.”

    Friend’s Mom:
    “Thank you. Be safe.”

    “I’m so glad we had a chance to catch up.”

    This is something you might say to a friend you haven’t seen in a long time, especially if you were able to learn new details about each other’s lives while talking.

    Example:

    You and your friend have been talking about her new job, your new house, and more, but you need to end the conversation soon.

    You:
    “I’m so glad we had a chance to catch up.”

    Friend:
    “Me too. See you again tomorrow?”

    “We’ll have to do this more often.”

    This is something you might say to a friend you really enjoy spending time with, but haven’t been seeing as much lately.

    Example:

    You and a friend just had lunch together, and are about to part ways.

    You:
    “Thanks for lunch. We’ll have to do this more often.”

    Friend:
    “I agree!”

    “I hope we can do this again sometime soon.”

    This one is very similar to the one above. 

    Example:

    You:
    “Thanks for lunch. I hope we can do this again sometime soon.”

    Friend:
    “Me too!”

    H. Goodbye Phrases for Texting or Talking on the Phone

    Man Flipping through Channels while Talking on the Phone

    Today, so much of our communication is done over the phone. Here are a few ways you can say goodbye to someone via text or while talking on the phone.

    Texting 

    PhraseSituationExample
    BRB (Be Right Back)Use this when you need to stop texting for a little while, but plan on texting more in a few minutes.You:
    “BRB. Dinner.”

    Friend:
    “Ok.”
    G2g or Gtg (Got To Go)Use this when you need to stop texting for a longer while, and probably won’t be able to talk anytime soon.You:
    “G2g. Very busy.”

    Friend:
    “Ok.”
    TTYL (Talk To You Later)Use this when you need to stop texting, but want to text again sometime in the near future.You:
    “G2g.”

    Friend:
    “TTYL.”
    ByeUse this when ending a text conversation.You:
    “Bye.”

    Friend:
    “Ok, bye.”


    Talking on the Phone

    PhraseSituationExample
    “Thanks again. Bye.”You can use this to end a phone conversation where someone helped you or answered a question for you.You:
    “Can you help me close my account?”

    Person on Phone:
    “Sure…”



    You:
    “Thanks again. Bye.”
    “Well, I should be going now. Nice talking to you.”You can use this after talking with a friend or relative on the phone.You:
    “Well, I should be going now. Nice talking to you.”

    Relative:
    “Thank you. Nice talking to you too.”
    “I’ll see you/talk to you then. Bye.”You can use this phrase after making an appointment with someone over the phone.You:
    “Okay, eight o’clock. I’ll see you then. Bye.”

    Other Person:
    “Okay. Bye.”


    3. Goodbye in English Slang & Pop Culture

    An Alligator against White Background

    English has some creative ways of saying goodbye. Keep in mind that the phrases and words here are very informal, and should only be used with close friends or family. 

    “Smell you later.”

    This is a play on words associated with the phrase “See you later,” and it means the exact same thing. There’s a lot of debate about where the phrase actually came from, but this is the best source I could find

    Example:

    You’re saying goodbye to a close friend and plan on seeing them later.

    You:
    “Bye. Smell you later.”

    Friend:
    “Okay. Bye.”

    “See you later, alligator.”

    This phrase has nothing to do with an actual alligator. This fun English slang for goodbye is another play on words, because “gator” rhymes with “later.” In response, many people will reply with “In a while, crocodile.” 

    This phrase is thought to have originated from a 1950s song titled See You Later Alligator.

    Example:

    You:
    “See you later, alligator.”

    Friend:
    “In a while, crocodile.”

    “TTFN” (“Ta-ta for now.”)

    TTFN stands for “ta-ta for now.” This one is less common, originally used in the UK during WWII. Anyone who knows Disney should get it, though, as the Winnie the Pooh character Tigger says goodbye to his friends this way. (“TTFN! Ta-ta for now!”)

    Example:

    You’re saying goodbye to your Disney-loving friend.

    You:
    “TTFN!”

    Friend:
    “Ta-ta for now!”

    “Cheerio.”

    “Cheerio” is a word that was first used in England to say goodbye. Sometimes, people in the U.S. like saying this as well.

    Example:

    You:
    “I should go now. Cheerio!”

    Friend:
    “See you later.”

    “Adios.”

    Adios is the Spanish word for “goodbye,” but it’s pretty common to use this in the United States when saying bye to friends. 

    Example:

    You:
    “I should go now. Adios.”

    Friend:
    “Okay, bye.”

    “Ciao.”

    Ciao is the French word for “goodbye,” but like adios and cheerio, it’s sometimes used in the United States when saying bye to friends.

    Example:

    You:
    “I should go now. Ciao.”

    Friend:
    “Okay, see you later.”

    4. Final Thoughts

    In this article, we showed you some English words to say goodbye, popular goodbye phrases for any situation, and more. We hope you feel more confident now to start excusing yourself from conversations or wishing your friend a good day. 

    This is just the beginning of what EnglishClass101.com has to offer. To learn more words and phrases in English for day-to-day conversations, check out the following pages:

    Remember: Keep practicing, and use English often. With enough practice and determination, you’re sure to get the hang of English conversations and eventually master the language! 

    EnglishClass101 will be here with you every step of the way. Happy learning! 

    Before you go, let us know in the comments how you say goodbye in your own language. We look forward to hearing from you.

    Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in English

    Is English Hard to Learn?

    Thumbnail

    English is currently the third most-spoken language in the world, after Chinese and Spanish. It’s also spoken in many countries around the world, making it super-useful to know, even if only at a conversational level. Learning English can also make it easier for you to learn other languages later, if you want to! 

    But many people hesitate to begin learning English. This may be because English is often said to be one of the most difficult languages to learn. But is this true? 

    In this article, we’ll answer the question “Is English hard to learn?” We’ll also show you why you might want to learn English anyway, and how to get started. (If you’re reading this article, we bet you’ve already gotten a great start!)

    Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Learning English Table of Contents
    1. Is it Hard to Learn English?
    2. The Hardest (and Easiest) Parts of Learning English
    3. Where Should You Start?
    4. Advice for New English Learners
    5. Why EnglishClass101.com is the Best Way to Learn English

    1. Is it Hard to Learn English?

    It depends on who you ask. English is a Germanic language, so people who speak another Germanic language will find English easier than those who don’t. 

    When you begin learning English, you may find it helpful to try memorizing the most important spelling and grammar rules early on, as this will make the rest of the process somewhat simpler for you. To give you a head start, try reading these articles on EnglishClass101.com: 

    Now, why is English so difficult to learn? Let’s take a look at the hardest and easiest aspects of learning English.

    2. The Hardest (and Easiest) Parts of Learning English

    Here are a few things that make English a hard language to learn for foreigners. 

    Why English is Hard to Learn
    Tons of rules and exceptionsUnfortunately, English has a lot of rules, and an exception for every one. Here are just two examples:
    • The “’I’ before ‘E’” spelling rule only works sometimes.

    • Irregular verbs don’t conjugate like other verbs (and we have a lot of irregular verbs).
    Contradictions and inconsistencies
    • “Hamburger” does not come from pigs.
    • “Pineapple” does not have pine or apple in it.
    • The word “hike” can refer to a long walk, an increase in something, and is a term used in football.
    • There are plenty of homophones (words that sound the same but have different meanings). For example: “would” vs. “wood” and “meat” vs. “meet.”
    Word order and sentence structureEnglish has a relatively flexible word order and sentence structure, but trying to explain how it works is super-difficult. 

    Word Order:
    English word order refers to what order you place words in a phrase. For example, if you have two adjectives describing one noun, which adjective comes first? To native English-speakers, saying “scary big spider” sounds very off. Instead, we say “big scary spider,” just because it sounds “better.” 

    Another factor that sometimes dictates the order of adjectives in a sentence is what type of adjectives you’re using. Typically, when multiple adjectives are used to describe something, they go in this order: 

    What you think about the object -> Size or Scale -> Age -> Shape -> Color -> Location -> Material. 

    For example: 
    Harry enjoyed the nice (what he thinks about it), hot (scale), cup of Brazilian (location) coffee.

    Sentence Structure:
    Sentence structure determines the order of the major components of an entire sentence. English is an SVO language, meaning that in a sentence, the subject comes first, followed by the verb, followed by an object

    For example: Sarah (S) kissed (V) Tom (O).
    Word emphasisWhile English is not a tonal language, there are many times when the emphasis we place on a word (or in a sentence) makes a huge difference in meaning.

    Can you tell the difference between these sentences based on which word is bolded?
    • I want to talk to her. 
    • I want to talk to her.
    • I want to talk to her.
    • I want to talk to her.
    In the first sentence, “I” is emphasized. This means that the speaker wants to speak with her. It also implies that the speaker doesn’t want anyone else to speak with her. There may be a jealous or commanding tone here.

    In the second sentence, “want” is emphasized. This may indicate that the speaker was told not to speak with her, and is expressing that they want to. There may be a begging or whiny tone here.

    In the third sentence, “talk” is emphasized. This is how the speaker shows that they only want to talk, especially if others think the speaker has bad intentions.

    In the fourth sentence, “her” is emphasized. This indicates that the speaker only wants to talk to her. Imagine there are several people in the room the speaker could talk to, but they’re only interested in talking with her—no one else.
    Many varieties of EnglishThe United States, the UK, Australia, and other countries with a large proportion of English-speakers have their own differences in vocabulary, phrases, grammar, spelling, and pronunciation! 
    IdiomsLike many languages, English has lots of idioms. Learning what they mean and how to use them can be difficult for new learners.
    • “Off the beaten path.”
    • “The road less traveled.”
    • “All of a sudden.”
    • “It’s raining cats and dogs.”
    • “Making a mountain out of a molehill.”
    Girl Tired and Frustrated with English Homework
    Why English is Easy to Learn
    Small alphabetThe English language only has twenty-six letters in its alphabet (uppercase and lowercase), compared to thousands of characters in other languages (like Chinese). 
    Greek and Latin rootsMany English words have Greek or Latin roots, which makes it easier for speakers of similar languages to learn it. (E.g. German, Dutch, French.) In addition, due to increased globalization, English has come to include some words from many other languages as well. 
    FlexibleEarlier, we mentioned a few ways that English’s flexibility is confusing. However, these flexibilities can be helpful for learners in some cases. (No one will blame you for saying “scary big spider,” because it’s technically okay to say it this way.)
    Many learning resources availableBecause so many people are trying to learn English, there are plenty of learning resources out there. Better yet, some of these resources are easily accessible wherever you are, such as EnglishClass101’s online lessons and podcasts.
    Very accessibleEnglish is a prominent language in many countries, and a large bulk of media today is in English. So there are tons of TV shows, movies, songs, podcasts, and more, that you can listen to in English.
    Confident Man Sitting at Desk

    3. Where Should You Start?

    We’ve already covered what makes English so hard to learn (and which things about it aren’t so bad). But did you know that regardless of how difficult it is, you can learn it a lot easier by beginning your studies the right way? Here are some tips:

    1. Figure out your goals. Why do you want to learn English? What goals will you achieve along the way to really master the language? I recommend making some SMART goals to help you figure this out. It will make your language-learning process a lot more straightforward.

    2. Learn as much as you can about the English language. You may find it helpful to begin by studying about English. Where is it spoken? What are its origins? What languages are similar to English? Doing some background research can make English seem less daunting and give you a huge head start! 

    3. Start using media in your language-learning early on. If you start with thick textbooks right away and don’t supplement them with something lighter, you’re probably going to quit. Make your learning fun from time to time using media (TV, music, etc.), and you’ll actually retain more information.

    4. Explore EnglishClass101.com. More on this later. 😉

    4. Advice for New English Learners 

    How can you be successful when you first begin learning English? Here are some tips!

    • Be patient. It’s important to be patient, both with yourself and with the language-learning process. It takes time, mistakes will be made, and there’s no way around this. But it’s worth the struggle!
    • Start with the basics. Don’t overwhelm yourself when first starting out. Focus on the key vocabulary, phrases, and grammar points to begin with, and don’t worry too much about the harder stuff. 
    • Focus on specific areas. Once you start learning the basics, you’ll notice areas you’re weaker in. Maybe you’re great at English spelling, but struggle with pronunciation. Or maybe you can read English, but can’t understand it when it’s spoken to you. Find where you struggle, and focus on improving those areas.
    • Find a community. You’re not alone in your English-learning journey. Once you begin learning, you’ll become part of a huge number of people doing the same thing. People who are making the same mistakes, achieving the same victories, and getting equally as frustrated as you are. Find a group of English-learners to join, and experience for yourself how much it can help. Our Facebook and YouTube pages are a great place to start!
    Group of People Standing in a Circle
    • Spend time with native English speakers. By spending time with native speakers, you’ll be able to familiarize yourself with the language in a natural, real-world context. 
    • Speak more often. Many of our Facebook followers say that they regret not speaking more English from the start. It’s important to remember that mistakes are okay, and that speaking the language sooner rather than later will help you learn faster.
    • Define your purpose. Why are you thinking about learning English? What are your goals, both short-term and long-term? Knowing the answers to these questions is going to be an important part of your language-learning journey, and will help you keep going when things get hard.
    • Don’t take long breaks from learning. To effectively learn a language, it’s important to be consistent. If you stop learning for several months or years at a time, you’re going to lose a lot of the things you learned.
    • Start sooner. The longer you wait to begin learning English, the further behind you’ll be, and the more difficult it will be for you to start. If you start (or continue) learning today, imagine where you’ll be in a few years!
    • Confidence is important. Some of our followers on Facebook say that they struggle (or have struggled) with self-confidence in their language-learning. They wish they had been more confident from the start, and rightfully so. While learning a new language can be scary, it’s important to be confident in your abilities to improve and succeed. 

    5. Why EnglishClass101.com is the Best Way to Learn English

    EnglishClass101 Image

    If you’re ready to start learning English, EnglishClass101.com is the best way to start—and finish—your language-learning journey. Why?

    To start, all of our lessons and other learning material are practical and culturally relevant. You’ll learn vocabulary, phrases, and cultural information that you can actually put to use in the real world, starting from day one. 

    We provide a variety of lessons for learners at every level. So whether this is your first time getting serious about learning English, or you’ve already been learning for a while, we have something for you. 

    With EnglishClass101, you aren’t going to get dull textbooks or confusing lectures. Instead, we provide our students with lessons in many different formats. Videos, audio recordings, fun quizzes, vocabulary lists, and blog posts like this one! 

    We always aim to make your learning experience both fun and informative

    You can find a sense of community on our social media pages, commenting on our lessons and blog, or upgrading to our Premium PLUS plan to use MyTeacher. And we’re always ready to help when you need it. Whether you need encouragement, are experiencing technical issues, or just really don’t understand a lesson, there’s always someone you can reach out to! 

    If you’re convinced, and ready to improve your English skills, sign up today and create your free lifetime account. We’ll be glad to have you join our family. 

    Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Learning English

    The Most Common Mistakes in English for New Learners

    Thumbnail

    What are the most common mistakes in English? How can you avoid them or improve your overall English language skills?

    In this article, you’ll learn what mistakes you, as an English learner, need to watch out for. Whether you’re getting ready to take an important English exam, or you just had an embarrassing “oops” moment when chatting with your friends, knowing and understanding the most common types of mistakes in English is a must if you want to improve your skills. 

    While this won’t necessarily ensure that you avoid these mistakes, it will help you be more effective at monitoring your own progress—both successes and failures. 

    Do you make these mistakes in English? Keep reading to find out!

    Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in English Table of Contents
    1. Pronunciation: Common Mistakes in Spoken English
    2. Common English Vocabulary Mistakes
    3. Word Order Mistakes
    4. Most Common English Grammar Mistakes
    5. Other Mistakes
    6. The Biggest Mistake
    7. Final Thoughts

    1. Pronunciation: Common Mistakes in Spoken English

    First up on our list of English mistakes: pronunciation. Many new English-learners struggle to master this aspect of the language, so I thought I would go over this one first.

    1 – Always pronouncing words as they’re spelled

    Many learners become confused with English spelling vs. English pronunciation. There are numerous words in English that are spelled very differently from how they’re actually pronounced, which can be very frustrating.

    The most common error here usually has to do with “silent” letters. These are letters that appear in a word when written, but aren’t pronounced when spoken. Here are two examples:

    MistakeExplanation
    KnifePronouncing the k, as in “k-nife.”The letter “k” in this word is silent, meaning it’s not pronounced. The word “knife” really sounds like “nife” when spoken,  but needs to be spelled with the “k.”
    GnatPronouncing the g, as in “g-nat.”The letter “g” in this word is silent,  meaning it’s not pronounced. The word “gnat” really sounds like “nat” when spoken, but needs to be spelled with the “g.”

    To avoid making this common English mistake, you’ll need to memorize how to spell these words! There’s really no shortcut here.

    Other commonly made mistakes in spoken English include incorrect pronunciation of certain paired letters. Here’s a great example: 

    MistakeExplanation
    ElephantPronouncing the “p” and “h” separately, by their traditional sounds.While it makes perfect sense to do this, no one is going to understand you. 

    In English, whenever the letters “p” and “h” are put together like this, it’s pronounced as one sound, which is the “f” sound. 

    So “elephant” really sounds like “elefant” when spoken.

    When it comes to mistakes like this, the best way to avoid them is to study up on these compound sounds and memorize how they work. It’s difficult even for native English speakers, but once you have it, you have it! 

    2 – Not including the last syllable in words

    When speaking, it can be difficult to pronounce certain words in their entirety, and many new English learners tend to drop the final syllable of words. But it’s very important to include this final syllable! In English, the final syllable often holds essential information about the word (or even the entire sentence), especially when you’re talking about something that happened in the past or present, or when mentioning a plural noun.

    For example, we use the ending -s or -es to indicate that a noun is plural—if you drop this sound, people may end up missing some important information about what you’re saying. 

    Important Final SyllableMistakeExplanation
    -s or -esSaying “biscuit” instead of “biscuitsThe -s or -es at the end of a noun indicates that it’s plural.

    If you’re ordering biscuits and don’t make the “-s” sound at the end, the waitress may think you only want one biscuit! 
    -d or -edSaying “help” instead of “helpedThe -d or -ed at the end of a verb indicates that it happened in the past.

    If you say that you “help” someone, the person you’re speaking with may think you’re currently doing so, even if it really happened in the past.
    -ingSaying “garden” instead of “gardeningThe -ing at the end of a verb indicates the gerund form of that verb. Including or omitting this ending can totally change the meaning of a sentence! 

    This isn’t a lesson about word endings, but hopefully you can see why it’s important for you to always pronounce the entire word. 

    3 – Mispronouncing the “th” sound

    Many English learners struggle with the “th” sound in words. This is because there are two ways you can pronounce this sound: harsh or soft.

    For example, in the words “that” and “there,” the “-th” sound is harsh. On the other hand, in the word “through,” it sounds softer. 

    The best way to avoid this mistake is to memorize which “th” words have which pronunciation. It will also be helpful for you to do a lot of listening! Watch English TV shows, listen to English music with lyrics, and pay close attention to pronunciation when speaking with English-speaking friends. You’ll get the hang of it in no time! 


    2. Common English Vocabulary Mistakes

    Woman Holding Red Apple and Green Apple

    Some of the most common mistakes made in English have to do with vocabulary. 

    English is one of those languages with a huge vocabulary and many words that sound and look very similar to each other. This is often a struggle for native English speakers, and sometimes a nightmare for those learning it as a second language.

    In this section, I’ll outline a few of the most commonly confused words with their meanings. Like most things in the English language, you’ll just have to memorize these.

    DefinitionExample in a Sentence
    ItsPossessive personal pronoun.“That’s a cute dog. What is its name?”
    It’sContraction of “it is.”It’s very gloomy today.”

    DefinitionExample in a Sentence
    HereReferring to a place close to the speaker.“What are you doing here?”
    HearTo sense a sound; to listen.“Wait! I hear something.”

    DefinitionExample in a Sentence
    VeryTo a great extent.“Thank you. You’re very kind.”
    VaryTo be different from another thing.“The results may vary.”

    DefinitionExample in a Sentence
    AffectTo unintentionally produce a change in something.“The breakup didn’t really affect me.”
    EffectAs a verb: To intentionally produce a change in something.

    As a noun: 

    1. A change or quality that results from a certain action (or another cause).

    2. Special lighting, sounds, or other attributes, such as in a movie.
    VERB: “You will effect these changes on Monday”

    NOUN: 

    1. “What are the effects of eating too much sugar?”

    2. “The effects in The Great Magician were incredible.”

    DefinitionExample in a Sentence
    WhoReferring to a person performing an action (subject).Who are you, and what do you want?”
    WhomReferring to a person that an action was performed upon (object).“To whom are you engaged?”

    DefinitionExample in a Sentence
    BoredAs an adjective: to not be entertained.

    As a verb: to cause someone to become bored.
    ADJ: “I’ve never been so bored in my life!”

    VERB: “The teacher bored me with that lecture.”
    BoringAs an adjective: not fun or entertaining.

    As a verb: in the process of causing someone to become bored.
    ADJ: “This is a boring game.”

    VERB: “You’re boring me with your technical talk.”

    DefinitionExample in a Sentence
    FunAmusing or entertaining.“You’re a fun person to be around.”
    FunnyHaving a sense of humor.“Roger is really funny, isn’t he?”

    DefinitionExample in a Sentence
    ThereReferring to a place far from the speaker.“Is that your notebook over there?”
    TheirPersonal possessive pronoun, used to refer to something belonging to more than one person.“I don’t know what their problem is.”
    They’reContraction of “they are.”They’re out getting breakfast together.”

    3. Word Order Mistakes

    One of the most common English mistakes for non-native speakers is using incorrect word order. 

    English is an SVO (Subject + Verb + Object) language, so English learners whose native language has a different sentence structure tend to make mistakes here. 

    Here’s a list of the most common mistakes in English that relate to word order, and how to fix them.

    1 – Putting the Subject Before the Verb in Questions

    This is an easy mistake to make, and confuses many English learners! After all, English is an SVO language, so shouldn’t the subject always come before the verb? 

    Well, this is true in most cases. But in questions, the verb usually comes before the subject. Here are some examples:

    IncorrectCorrect
    “Where I can get food?”“Where can I get food?”
    “What I should do?”“What should I do?”

    2 – Putting Adjectives Before Nouns 

    This is a very common error for English-learners whose native language puts the adjective after the noun. In English, though, it’s very important to put the adjective before the noun. Here are some examples:

    IncorrectCorrect
    “Is the dog brown yours?”“Is the brown dog yours?”
    “She watched the sunset beautiful.”“She watched the beautiful sunset.”

    A Big Brown Dog Lying Down

    3 – Incorrect Placement of Other Modifiers

    English gets a little more tricky when it comes to the placement of modifiers in sentences. While English is pretty flexible for the most part, there are some situations where modifiers need to be placed a certain way to make sense. Here are just a couple of examples:

    IncorrectCorrectExplanation
    “I eat always oatmeal for breakfast.”“I always eat oatmeal for breakfast.”In these two examples, because the modifiers describe the extent of something, they need to come before the verb.
    “Josie likes kind of tofu.”“Josie kind of likes tofu.”
    “Do you tomorrow have a meeting?”“Do you have a meeting tomorrow?”Here, an adverb of time is used. Usually, adverbs of time come after the verb or phrase being talked about.

      → Don’t worry if this is very confusing to you! It’s even confusing for native English speakers. If you feel like you need more help on this topic, you can read my articles on English Word Order and English Sentence Patterns, or ask us a question in the comments. 

    4. Most Common English Grammar Mistakes

    The only thing less fun than word order? English grammar

    There are a few common mistakes in English grammar that can really slow learners down, so I’ll cover some of them here for you. Note that most English grammar mistakes involve verbs, so you may want to pay special attention to this part of speech while studying.  

    1 – Using Incorrect Verb Tenses

    This may be the most common English grammar mistake that learners make, and even native speakers don’t always get verb tenses right. I’m not going to go into very much detail here, but will briefly cover the basics with a few examples:

    IncorrectCorrectExplanation
    “I sleep well last night.”“I slept well last night.”“Last night” implies that the past tense must be used.

    “Sleep” is present tense, while “slept” is past tense, and therefore correct.
    “She went to the mall tomorrow.”“She will go to the mall tomorrow.”“Tomorrow” implies that the future tense must be used.

    “Went” is the past tense of “to go,” while “will go” is the future tense, and therefore correct.
    “He cooked dinner right now.”“He’s cooking dinner right now.”“Right now” implies that the present tense must be used.

    “Cooked” is the past tense of “cook,” while “cooking” is the present tense, and therefore correct.

    Man Cooking Vegetables

    2 – Using the Infinitive Form of Verbs Incorrectly

    Closely linked to the mistake above, many English learners struggle with knowing how and when to use the infinitive form of verbs (“to [verb]”). Here are some examples:

    IncorrectCorrect
    “Would you like drink a glass of wine?”“Would you like to drink a glass of wine?”
    “Please to go to the store with me.”“Please go to the store with me.”
    “Do you want play chess after dinner?”“Do you want to play chess after dinner?”
    “What would you to like for dessert?”“What would you like for dessert?”

    3 – Incorrect Subject-Verb Agreement

    In English, like in many other languages, it’s important for verbs to agree with the subject. However, unlike in other languages, the only things that need to agree are the number and tense, because English has no grammatical gender. 

    It’s very easy to make mistakes in terms of subject-verb agreement, but once you start seeing how it works, you’ll get the hang of it quickly! 

    Number

    IncorrectCorrectAdditional Notes
    “The cat run away.”“The cat runs away.”“The cat” and “Willow” are both singular nouns, so the verb needs to reflect that. 

    Verbs in the singular form take the letter “-s” at the end.
    Willow love anime.”Willow loves anime.”
    They enjoys kayaking.”They enjoy kayaking.”“They” is a plural noun, so the verb needs to reflect that. 

    Verbs in the plural form do not take an “-s” at the end.
    I hopes for a bright future.”I hope for a bright future.”“I” is a singular noun, but it breaks the above-mentioned rules a little. 

    When “I” is used as the subject, the verb does not take an “-s” at the end.

    People Kayaking in Lake Near Mountains

    Tense

    IncorrectCorrectAdditional Notes
    “Henry take the book from her.”“Henry took the book from her.”In this case, the verb “take” needs to be conjugated into the past tense, as it’s implied from the sentence that the action happened in the past.
    “I buy a notebook tomorrow.”“I will buy a notebook tomorrow.”Here, the verb “buy” needs to be conjugated in the future tense, as it’s implied from the sentence that the action is going to happen in the future.
    “Oh no! The oven is explode!”“Oh no! The oven is exploding!”This sentence suggests that the action is taking place right now, so the verb needs to take the present form.


    4 – Although ___, but ___.

    Another common grammar mistake English learners make is using the sentence structure “Although ___, but ___.” This is incorrect because the word “although” implies the same meaning as the word “but,” so using them together like this is redundant, similar to using a double negative sentence

    IncorrectCorrect
    Although she was tired, but she went jogging.”Although she was tired, she went jogging.”
    OR
    “She was tired, but she went jogging.”
    Although the dog was dirty, but he still loved it.”Although the dog was dirty, he still loved it.”
    OR
    “The dog was dirty, but he still loved it.”
    Although the rain came, but they continued their journey.”Although the rain came, they continued their journey.”
    OR
    “The rain came, but they continued their journey.”

    5. Other Mistakes

    There are a few other mistakes that new English learners commonly make. These mistakes don’t fall neatly into specific categories, but they’re still worth mentioning! 

    1- Formal vs. Casual

    English tends to be pretty flexible when it comes to formal vs. casual speech and writing. Unlike some other languages, there aren’t many different words for varying levels of respect or formality—which might be why it’s so easy to use the wrong level of formality in different situations.

    To help you out, here’s a quick breakdown of things to keep in mind:

    Example SettingsWords/Phrases
    Formal
    • Business environments
    • Meeting a friend’s parents or family members
    • Writing school essays
    • Writing business documents
    In situations like these, you should do the following:
      ❖ Use Mr./Mrs./Miss when addressing someone
      ❖ Always use “please” and “thank you”
      ❖ Avoid using slang words or phrases
      ❖ Use complete sentences with proper grammar
    Casual
    • Hanging out with friends
    • Writing personal pieces, fiction, or business-related writing that’s meant to be more casual
    In situations like these, it’s okay to:
      ❖ Talk to people on a first-name or nickname basis
      ❖ Omit “please” and “thank you” if they’re not really necessary
      ❖ Use slang words and phrases (as long as they’re appropriate for the people you’re with)
      ❖ Speak or write in fragments

    Whenever you’re in doubt, though, it’s best to use more formal language. If the other party wants you to start speaking more casually with them, they’ll let you know! 

    2- Apostrophes 

    An Apostrophe in the Contraction We're

    Apostrophes (‘) even confuse native English speakers! They have a wide variety of uses, and until you’ve been using the language for a while, the rules of usage can seem very ambiguous. 

    Essentially, there are two situations when you should use apostrophes:

    • To show possession (adding an ‘s)
    • To create contractions

    Becoming familiar with these rules can help you avoid common English writing mistakes! 

    Possession

    ExampleExplanation
    “Mickey’s hamster”The hamster that belongs to Mickey
    “The horse’s mane”The mane that belongs to the horse
    “Jesus’ disciples”The disciples that belong to Jesus

    Note here that only an apostrophe is added to “Jesus” instead of an ‘s. This is because it’s a proper noun that ends with the letter “s.”

    There are some people who will add the entire ‘s to the word, but it’s more common to add only the apostrophe.

    For more information on this topic, you can visit this page.

    Contractions

    ExampleExplanation
    Ill go.”Contraction of “I will”
    Hes a monster.”Contraction of “he is”
    Were already late!”Contraction of “we are”
    “Elizabeth shouldn’t’ve done that!”Contraction of “should not have”

    Note that when using contractions, the apostrophe usually takes the place of one of the letters. However, in the last example, you’ll notice two things:

    1. There are two apostrophes

    2. One of the apostrophes replaces two letters

    The reason this contraction has two apostrophes is because it consists of three words combined instead of only two.

    The second apostrophe replaces two letters simply because this is how contractions work with the word “have.” When used as part of a contraction, only the last two letters are used. This is another rule you’ll just have to memorize and practice.

    3- I.E. or E.G.

    Here’s another one that trips up even native English speakers—probably because it’s not actually English, it’s Latin. The abbreviation “i.e.” stands for the Latin phrase id est, which means “in other words.” On the other hand, “e.g.” stands for the Latin phrase exempli gratia, which means “for example.”

    You use “i.e.” when you’re going to explain something another way, using different words. You use “e.g.” when you’re going to give an example of something you mentioned, usually to help the reader (or listener) better understand what you’re saying.

    Here are some examples:

    I.E.E.G.
    “I’m really stuck on the book I’m writing (i.e. I’m almost ready to give up).”“Lewis is so irresponsible (e.g. he never washes the dishes or vacuums).”
    “Penny hasn’t spoken to Joe in months (i.e. they’re relationship is over).”“Cats have so many fascinating qualities (e.g. they’re very independent).”
    “Quinten didn’t show up for the final (i.e. he won’t graduate this year).”“Do you have any special skills? (E.g. drawing, writing, or singing)”

    6. The Biggest Mistake

    Man with Tape Covering His Mouth

    Whew! We covered a long list of potential English mistakes. But there’s still one more mistake we have to talk about: being afraid of making mistakes.

    No one enjoys the embarrassment, frustration, or hopelessness that accompanies a mistake. But mistakes are part of being human, and they can actually be a good thing if you let them! If nothing else, the negative feelings that come with failure will inspire you and drive you to avoid those feelings in the future.

    That said, it’s mistakes that help us learn. Someone who never makes mistakes (i.e. they never leave their comfort zone) never learns either, and that person can never grow beyond themselves. 

    If you want to overcome mistakes, you have to face them. If you want to master English (or anything, really), you have to be willing to make a few mistakes along the way. When you acknowledge mistakes as the extremely effective learning tools they are, it no longer seems like the end of the world when you make one! 

    7. Final Thoughts

    Silhouette of Someone Jumping from One Cliff to Another

    Having read this article, you should have a much better idea of the most common mistakes made in English and how to avoid them. On your path to mastering English, it may feel like there’s countless rules and nuances holding you back, but don’t let hopelessness get the best of you! Keep studying, keep practicing, and keep believing in your ability to get better.

    EnglishClass101.com has tons of fun and effective lessons for learners at every level. Whether you want to focus on your speaking, listening, reading, or writing skills, we have your back. Sign up today for your free lifetime account, and learn English like never before. 

    Before you go, let us know in the comments which of these mistakes you have the hardest time with. Did this article help you with them at all? We look forward to hearing what you have to say.

    Happy English learning!

    Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in English

    Christmas in the United States: A Heartwarming Holiday

    No time of year lifts my mood like Christmas does. Maybe it’s all of the bright and colorful lights or the nonstop Christmas music on the radio. 

    Or maybe it’s all of the memories from my childhood Christmases that come flooding back: opening gifts from Santa Claus on Christmas morning, enjoying great food with extended family, baking cookies with my best friend…

    In this article, you’ll learn all about American Christmas traditions, the story behind the holiday, and much more.

    Let’s get started!

    Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in English

    1. What is Christmas?

    A Saint Bernard Dog with a Santa Hat Lying in a Living Room Decorated for Christmas

    Christmas is a holiday celebrated each year on December 25. 

    On Christmas Day, Christians commemorate the Biblical story of Mary and Joseph’s journey to Bethlehem and celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. According to the story, the Virgin Mary was visited by an angel and told that she would give birth to the Son of God. Around the same time, Caesar Augustus of the Roman Empire sent a decree that every person was to return to the place of their birth for tax purposes; this forced pregnant Mary and her husband Joseph to journey to Bethlehem. Once there, they were only able to find a stable to sleep in; it was there that Mary gave birth to Jesus. 

    While Christmas is traditionally a Christian holiday, many non-religious people also celebrate it. Christmas has become more secularized over time, with many people viewing it as a time to be joyful, compassionate, and generous toward others. There’s also a strong focus on family and friendship.

    Some people see this holiday as only one of many special days during the so-called “holiday season” or “Christmas season.” This is a cluster of holidays from the end of October to the beginning of the new year. Some of the holidays around Christmas include Halloween (October 31) and Thanksgiving (Fourth Thursday of November), as well as Hanukkah and Kwanzaa. 


    2. How Do Americans Celebrate Christmas?

    Because Christmas is celebrated both religiously and secularly, there are tons of different traditions and celebrations that take place. 

    Religious vs. Non-Religious Celebrations

    Common Christmas traditions among Christians include a candlelight service the night before and plays put on by the church depicting Mary and Joseph’s journey. In very religious families, the story of Jesus’s birth may be read from the Bible at home as well. Churches often organize other events to celebrate, such as get-togethers with food and sweets, and special events for children and teens.

    There are also many traditions that both the religious and non-religious take part in. 

    For example, during the month of December, many people like to count down how many days until Christmas. This can be done with an “Advent calendar,” which is a box of chocolates that depicts a calendar. There are little doors with the date written on them, and behind each door is a chocolate candy. Someone eats one of the chocolates every day until Christmas. 

    Gift-Giving

    (A Little Boy Dressed as an Elf and Carrying a Christmas Present

    Christmas is also associated with gift-giving. 

    Many parents teach their children about Santa Claus, a fat, jolly man who lives at the North Pole and delivers gifts to good children the night before Christmas. Children are also warned that, if they’re bad all year, Santa will leave them coal instead of gifts! 

    In some homes, children are encouraged to leave stockings hanging by the fireplace or to place their shoes right outside their bedroom door; if they do, Santa will leave candies or small toys in them. Many children buy or bake cookies to leave out for Santa Claus, and are excited to wake up the next morning to find nothing but cookie crumbs—it means that Santa really did come! 

    It’s common for family members, close friends, and lovers to buy Christmas gifts for each other, as well. Many businesses and shops have special deals and discounts available for the Christmas season, which entices people to buy more for their loved ones.

    The purpose of Christmas gifts is twofold: In religious homes, giving gifts is a symbol of recognition for the gift of Jesus’s salvation. In non-religious homes, gift-giving is seen as an act of generosity and has simply become a tradition with time.


    Christmas Feasts

    Like Thanksgiving, Christmas is often viewed as a great excuse to eat lots of food

    In the morning, some families like to prepare special Christmas breakfasts or brunches. This could be a breakfast casserole with eggs, meat, and hashbrowns, or something simpler like pancakes or scrambled eggs. Other families may treat Christmas breakfast the same as any other breakfast.

    For dinner, some families prepare large meals. These often include turkey or ham as the main course, and then sides of potatoes, green beans, and yams. But every family is different, and some people just eat a simple dinner or go out to a nice restaurant. 

    Children and adults alike look forward to a variety of sweet treats on Christmas. These include Christmas cookies, puddings, pies, cakes, flavored baked bread, and eggnog. 

    Decorations

    A Decorated Christmas Tree with Gifts Underneath

    Christmas is one of the most vibrant holidays in the United States, with many people doing elaborate Christmas decorating each year. 

    The most popular symbol of Christmas is the Christmas tree. Traditionally, this was an actual conifer tree that people would either chop down themselves or purchase from a Christmas tree shop. Nowadays, many people opt for plastic or other artificial “trees” that are much more convenient, don’t drop nettles on the floor, and can be used year after year. Some of these artificial trees can even change color! 

    Once the tree is set up, people hang all kinds of small decorations on it; these include Christmas lights, tinsel, and small trinkets that can be store-bought or hand-made. Usually, an angel or a star is placed on top. 

    On some homes, you’ll find a wreath hanging on the front door and tons of Christmas lights strung over the exterior. Some people go above and beyond, spending lots of time and money to make their house decorations the best on the street. Some families like to drive around different neighborhoods at night during the Christmas season to see all of the amazing Christmas light displays. 

    Other Traditions

    Christmas is a heart-warming time to be spent with family, friends, or other loved ones. There are several activities that people enjoy partaking in for the holiday! 

    Many Americans look forward to snow on Christmas Day. Children often hope to look out their window on Christmas morning and find snow on the ground. This is the perfect time to go outside and play: building snowmen, making snow angels, and having snowball fights. Of course, they won’t be outside too long—it’s cold outside, and there are presents to be opened!

    Some families like to make gingerbread houses and gingerbread men. These are model figures of houses and people that are made using gingerbread cookie, frosting, candy, and other sweet ingredients. Once they’re done, people break apart the gingerbread houses and men and eat them piece by piece. 

    Another common Christmas tradition is that of the mistletoe. It’s said that when two people are under a mistletoe on Christmas Day, they have to kiss each other. Lovers and married couples often stand under the mistletoe intentionally. 

    Finally, it’s not uncommon for workplaces to host Christmas or Christmas Eve parties. These are festive get-togethers for coworkers to celebrate the Christmas season together with food, drinks, and games. 


    3. Christmas in Boston

    There’s one American city that didn’t welcome the celebration of Christmas for a long time: Boston! 

    In 1630, the Puritans settled in the New World and formed the Massachusetts Bay Colony. The Puritans were a group of people who, like the Pilgrims, sought a new form of religious structure. They believed that they could worship God as a separate entity from the Church of England while still being governed by it. 

    In short, Puritans believed that Christmas was a blasphemous holiday since the Bible never mentions the actual date of Jesus’s birth. In addition, they didn’t like the traditional pagan celebrations that Christmas took place around. In the mid-1800s, the Christmas ban was finally lifted and Massachusetts could once again celebrate the holiday. 

    Today, Boston is known for its lavish Christmas decorations and celebrations! 

    4. Essential Christmas Day Vocabulary

    A Snowman

    Let’s review some of the key vocabulary words from this article! 

    • Present [n]
    • Christmas 
    • Snow [n]
    • Wreath [n]
    • Snowflake [n]
    • Sled [n]
    • Christmas Day [n]
    • Chimney [n]
    • Holly [n]
    • Christmas tree [n]
    • Candy cane 
    • Decoration [n]
    • Fireplace [n]
    • North Pole
    • Elf [n]
    • Bell [n]
    • Stocking [n]
    • Snowman [n]
    • Santa Claus
    • Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
    • Reindeer [n]
    • Mistletoe [n]
    • Gingerbread house [n]

    Remember that you can find each of these words, along with their pronunciation, on our list of Must-Know Christmas Day Vocabulary

    Final Thoughts

    For many, Christmas is one of the busiest and most beautiful holidays in the United States. While it has a different meaning for everyone, the vast majority of the U.S. population looks forward to this day all year long.

    What are your thoughts on Christmas Day traditions? Do you celebrate Christmas in your country? We look forward to hearing from you in the comments!

    If you enjoyed this article and would like to learn more about U.S. culture and the English language, there are several blog posts on EnglishClass101.com we think you’ll love:

    For more excellent content at your fingertips, create your free lifetime account today. We regularly upload audio and video lessons on a variety of topics, add themed vocabulary lists, and provide other useful materials for learners at every level. 

    Happy learning and Merry Christmas from the EnglishClass101 team!

    Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in English

    The Most Common English Questions and How to Answer Them

    Thumbnail

    Asking questions is one of the most effective ways for getting to know someone on a personal level. People tend to be curious about things, and as social creatures, this often applies to the people around us. Knowing the top ten English questions and how to answer them will help you get to know the people around you, and help them know you better in exchange!

    In this article, I’ll introduce you to the most essential English questions and answers for beginners and intermediate learners. For each question, there will be:

    • A breakdown of the most popular form of the question.
    • A list of alternative ways to ask the question (if any).
    • A table of possible answers to common English questions, with examples and additional notes if needed.

    Let’s dive in! 

    Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in English Table of Contents
    1. Question Words in English
    2. What’s your name?
    3. Where are you from?
    4. What do you do?
    5. Do you have any brothers or sisters?
    6. How long have you been studying English?
    7. How are you?
    8. What time is it?
    9. What are you doing?
    10. What’s wrong?
    11. What’s the weather like?
    12. Final Thoughts

    1. Question Words in English

    Before I discuss questions and answers in English conversations, I’ll briefly cover an important topic: question words in English. 

    In English, there are six main words that we tend to use when asking questions. These are:

    • What: Used when asking for information about something.
    • Where: Used when asking about location.
    • When: Used when asking about time.
    • Who: Used when asking about a person or people.
    • Why: Used when asking about motive or intention.
    • How: Used when asking about the means by which something happened.

    We almost always put these words at the very beginning of a question.

    You’ll notice that all of these words begin with a “W” except for the last one. When children are learning English, these question words are often referred to as “Five W’s and an H” to help them remember. There are additional question words, but these six are used most often, especially in journalism.

    As you read this article, you’ll also see that “what” is the most commonly used question word. This is because it’s extremely versatile, and can be used to ask a variety of question types. 

    2. What’s your name?

    First Encounter

    When you first meet someone, usually the first question they ask is “What is your name?” Before we learn how to answer, let’s break down the question:

    Question Word“To Be” VerbSecond-Person Possessive PronounWhat You’re Called
    Whatisyourname?

    As you can see, the question begins with a “question word.” This is the word a person uses to show that they want some kind of information, and they usually go at the beginning of a question. 

    The question word is followed by a “to be” verb, in this case, the word “is.” This indicates that the person is inquiring about the status or definition of something.

    Next is the word “your,” which is the possessive form of the second-person pronoun “you.” They’re asking about the name that belongs to you, and no one else.

    Finally is the word “name,” which is the piece of information the person is after. When you put the question together, they’re basically asking what you are called, or what name belongs to you. 

    Alternative Questions

    Here are two other ways of asking the same question:

    • “What’s your name?” 
    • “What can I call you?”

    Possible Patterns & Answers

    There are four basic sentence patterns you can use to answer this question. In each one, simply fill in the blank with your name. 

    PatternAnswerAdditional Note
    My name is ___.My name is Tom.
    My name is Alisha.
    More formal
    You can call me ___.You can call me Tom.
    You can call me Alisha.
    More formal
    I’m ___.I’m Tom.
    I’m Alisha.
    Less formal
    ___.Tom.
    Alisha.
    Less formal

    3. Where are you from?

    Learning where someone is from can be very exciting, and many people in the United States love to learn about other places. The next question you’re likely to hear is “Where are you from?”

    Question Word“To Be” VerbSecond-Person PronounPreposition Referring to Origin
    Whereareyoufrom?

    This question structure is very similar to the one above. It begins with a question word for location, followed by a “to be” verb and second-person pronoun. The last word, “from,” indicates that the speaker wants to know your original location, or where you lived before. 

    Possible Patterns & Answers

    The simplest way to answer this question is with the pattern “I’m from ___.” You just need to put the name of your home country in the blank. If you want, you can also include the name of the state, city, or town you’re from, like in the last example.

    PatternAnswer
    I’m from ___.I’m from Norway.
    I’m from the U.S.A.
    I’m from Germany.
    I’m from Lublin, Poland.


    4. What do you do?

    An Accountant Looking Over an Invoice

    In the United States, people love talking about their jobs and hearing what other people do for a living. While you’re getting to know someone, you’re going to hear the question “What do you do?”

    Question WordPerform Action OfSecond-Person PronounPerform Action Of
    Whatdoyoudo?

    This question begins with the question word “what,” followed by the word “do,” which means to perform an action. Next is the second-person pronoun “you,” also followed by the word “do.”

    Alternative Questions

    Here are two more ways of asking the same question:

    • “What do you do for a living?”
    • “Where do you work?”

    Possible Patterns & Answers

    PatternAnswerAdditional Notes
    I am a(n) ___.I am a teacher.
    I am a programmer.
    I am a writer.
    I am an accountant.
    Fill in the blank with your job.
    I work as a(n) ___.I work as a teacher.
    I work as a programmer.
    I work as a writer
    I work as an accountant.
    Fill in the blank with your job.
    I work at ___.I work at the elementary school.
    I work at Google.
    I work at home.
    I work at a large company.
    Fill in the blank with your place of work.


    5. Do you have any brothers or sisters?

    Brother and Sister Play Fighting in the Kitchen

    Once a new acquaintance starts getting to know you better, they’ll probably want to know if you have any siblings. A common way to ask this question is: “Do you have any brothers or sisters?”

    Perform Action OfSecond-Person PronounTo OwnIndefinite PronounMale SiblingsWord Referring To Another PossibilityFemale Siblings
    Doyouhaveanybrothersorsisters?

    This question has a few more words than the other ones we’ve looked at, and doesn’t begin with a “real” question word. The word “do,” when used at the beginning of a question, is sometimes called a “dummy” question word—it’s a word that can indicate a question despite not technically serving that purpose in English grammar.

    When you put the above question together, it shows that the other person is asking if you have siblings. The indefinite pronoun “any” leaves the question slightly open-ended, so you can answer more specifically about how many siblings you have, what gender they are, and even whether they’re older or younger than you.

    There are three basic patterns you can use to answer.

    Alternative Questions

    Here are two other questions in English that basically ask the same thing:

    • “Do you have any siblings?”
    • “Are you an only child?”

    Possible Patterns & Answers

    PatternAnswerAdditional Notes
    I have (a) ___.I have a sister.
    I have a brother.
    I have a younger sister.
    I have an older brother.
    I have three sisters.
    I have one older sister.
    You can also indicate whether your sibling (or siblings) is older or younger than you by using the appropriate adjective.
    I have ___ and ___.I have two brothers and one sister.
    I have three sisters and one brother.
    Use if you have siblings of different genders. 
    No, I don’t. I’m an only child.Use if you don’t have any siblings.


    6. How long have you been studying English?

    Introducing Yourself

    Your conversation partner is very impressed so far with your English speaking and communication skills. They ask “How long have you been studying English?”

    Question WordAn Amount Of TimeSecond-Person PronounGerund Form Of The Word “Study”The English Language
    HowlonghaveyoubeenstudyingEnglish?

    This is another long question, but it does a better job of following the usual question format. Before we move on to possible answers, please note the words “have” and “been.” Even though there’s a word separating them, it’s important to see how these two words work together. 

    When someone says the phrase “have been,” it indicates that something has been going on for a certain amount of time. So, in this question, they want to know the amount of time that you have been studying the English language.

    Possible Patterns & Answers

    PatternAnswerAdditional Notes
    I’ve been studying for ___.I’ve been studying for one month.
    I’ve been studying for two years.
    Most formal.
    For ___.For five years.
    For three weeks.
    Less formal.
    ___.Nine months.
    A few years.
    Least formal.


    7. How are you?

    Two Women Chatting Over Coffee

    Congratulations! You’ve officially made a new friend, and you’re getting coffee together a week later. The moment you see each other again, they ask “How are you?”

    Question Word“To Be” VerbSecond-Person Pronoun
    How areyou?

    This is one of the most basic English questions that family, friends, and even colleagues ask each other all the time. As you can see above, it’s simply a question word followed by the “to be” verb “are,” and then the second-person pronoun “you.” Basically, they’re asking about your status—how you’re feeling or how your week has been. 

    Alternative Questions

    You may also hear the question asked this way:

    • “How are you doing?”
    • “How have you been?” 

    Possible Patterns & Answers

    PatternAnswerAdditional Notes
    I’m doing ___.I’m doing fine.
    I’m doing pretty good.
    While the word “doing” is used in this answer, it doesn’t refer to a specific action. It instead refers to how you’re feeling or how life is going for you.
    I’m ___.I’m okay.
    I’m great.
    This is basically the same as the above pattern, but shorter.
    I’ve been ___.I’ve been well.
    I’ve been alright.
    Using this pattern indicates that you’re answering about how you’ve been feeling over a longer period of time. 
    For example, if you haven’t seen someone in a few months, and they ask you this, you’ll tell them how you’ve been over the last few months.


    8. What time is it?

    Man Running Late to Work

    Another very frequent question you’re likely to hear is “What time is it?”

    Question WordThe Current Time (Hours/Minutes)“To Be” VerbPronoun Referring to the Word “Time”
    Whattimeisit?

    In this question, you can see that the question word “what” is placed at the beginning of the sentence, followed by the information being requested (“time”). Next is the “to be” verb “is” and the pronoun “it,” which in this case refers to the earlier-used word “time.” The person is simply asking you for the current time, usually in hours and minutes.

    Alternative Questions

    You may also hear the question asked this way:

    • “Do you have the time?”

    Possible Patterns & Answers

    PatternAnswerAdditional Notes
    It’s ___ o’clock.It’s twelve o’clock.
    It’s three o’clock.
    Most formal.
    It’s ___.It’s two-thirty.
    It’s nine-fifteen.
    Less formal.
    ___.Ten.
    Four forty-five.
    Least formal.


    9. What are you doing?

    a Couple Playing Video Games Together

    Whether you’re having a casual conversation over text message or a coworker wants to know what task you’re performing, the question What are you doing? is going to come up a lot. 

    Question WordTo Be VerbSecond-Person PronounTo Be Performing An Action
    Whatareyoudoing?

    The question word “what” begins the question, followed by the to-be verb “are.” Next comes the second-person pronoun “you” and the word “doing,” which refers to an action being performed. The person wants to know what action you’re performing. 

    Alternative Questions

    You may also hear the question asked this way:

    • “What are you up to?”

    Possible Patterns & Answers

    PatternAnswerAdditional Notes
    I’m ___.I’m thinking.
    I’m writing.
    I’m watching TV.
    I’m working out.
    Simply fill in the blank with the gerund form of the action you’re doing. 
    Nothing much.Use this if you’re not really doing anything important, or if you don’t feel like sharing what you’re doing.

    This is a common answer between friends or in other casual conversations.


    10. What’s wrong?

    Woman Asking Her Crying Friend What’s Wrong

    Have you made a close friend in the U.S.? If so, they may ask you the question “What’s wrong?” if you seem sad or hurt about something, or if something doesn’t seem right. 

    Contraction of “What” and “Is”Upsetting You / Not Right
    What’swrong?

    Because this question is most commonly used between close friends or family members, the contraction “what’s” is almost always used. This is the contraction of the question word “what” and the “to be” verb “is.” Next is the word “wrong,” which refers to something that’s not correct, or something that’s upsetting you. 

    Alternative Questions

    You may also hear the question asked like this:

    • “Is something wrong?”
    • “What’s the matter?”
    • “Are you okay?”

    Possible Patterns & Answers

    PatternAnswerAdditional Notes
    I’m ___.I’m tired.
    I’m sad.
    I’m sick.
    I’m stressed.
    Simply fill in the blank with an adjective that describes how you feel.
    Nothing.You can use any of these three phrases if you don’t feel like talking about what’s wrong, or if there really is nothing wrong.
    Nothing’s wrong.
    I don’t want to talk about it.


    11. What’s the weather like?

    Huge Lightning Strike on Dark Night

    You’ll most likely hear the question “What’s the weather like?” during a conversation with someone you don’t know very well, especially if you’re trying to get to know each other. 

    Contraction of What and IsDefinite ArticleReferring to Weather Conditions or ClimateA Word Used for Comparison or Description
    What’stheweatherlike?

    Like we saw in the previous question, this question begins with the contraction “what’s,” meaning “what is.” Next is the definite article “the,” followed by the word “weather,” which refers to things like temperature and climate. At the end of the sentence is the word “like,” which in this case is a word that’s used for making comparisons or adding a description to something. The person wants to know how you would describe the weather. 

    Alternative Questions

    Here are two other ways you may hear this question asked:

    • “How’s the weather?”
    • “What’s the weather like in ___ [the place you’re from]?”

    Possible Patterns & Answers

    PatternAnswerAdditional Notes
    It’s ___.It’s sunny.
    It’s rainy.
    It’s cloudy.
    Used for one adjective. 
    It’s ___ and ___.It’s hot and humid.
    It’s cold and dry.
    Used for two adjectives.
    It’s ___ in ___.It’s warm in Florida.
    It’s hot in Indonesia.
    It’s cold in Russia.
    Use this pattern if someone asks you what the weather is like where you’re from. 
    The first blank is the weather adjective and the second blank is where you’re from.


    12. Final Thoughts

    In this article, we covered a mix of common English questions and answers. Some of them are important for new language-learners to master, and others are essential for anyone planning a vacation (or move) to the United States. 

    But this is just the tip of the iceberg—there are many more question and answer patterns you should know as you continue learning the language. For detailed lessons on even more essential questions for English-learners, we recommend that you go through our 25 Questions Lesson Series

    One of the best ways you can prepare to use these questions and answers is to start practicing today! Whether you want to write all of them down on a piece of paper to take with you places, or practice only one a week as much as you can, any amount of real-life usage is going to help you get the hang of it. 

    Before you go, why not leave us a comment with answers to some of these questions? We always love hearing from you, and look forward to learning more about you. 

    Happy English learning! 🙂

    Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in English