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Top 10 Most Common English Filler Words

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The professor walks into the lecture hall.

“Okay, class. Umm, clear your desks. It is time for your pop quiz. So basically, it’s not as hard as the last test. Well… It could be depending on how hard you studied. Now let’s get started. We, like, don’t have all day.”

If you were a student in that lecture hall, could you take the professor seriously? The professor used almost every English filler word on the planet.

How often do you listen to your speech? Whether in professional or casual settings, do you pay attention to your spoken words? Or the ones you’re hearing?

Chances are that you routinely use filler words too. We all do.

You may naturally be aware of filler words in daily conversations, especially if you are the epitome of a skilled public speaker. Educational organizations, such as Toastmasters International or TED Talks, discourage filler words because when they are used excessively, they can distract from the main message and reduce credibility.

Man Giving a Public Speech

In today’s article, we will review the top 10 most common filler words in the English language.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in English Table of Contents
  1. What are Filler Words and Why Do We Use Them?
  2. Filler Word #1: “Like”
  3. Filler Word #2: “I mean…”
  4. Filler Word #3: “So basically…”
  5. Filler Word #4: “You know…”
  6. Filler Word #5: “…Umm/Uh/Er…”
  7. Filler Word #6: “Well…”
  8. Filler Word #7: “…Okay/So…”
  9. Filler Word #8: “Now…”
  10. Filler Word #9: “Or something (like that)…”
  11. Filler Word #10: “…I guess…”
  12. Pros and Cons of Filler Words
  13. How to Eliminate Filler Words
  14. Conclusion

1. What are Filler Words and Why Do We Use Them?

Filler words are commonly known as words used in speech to express hesitation or the need for more time to think.

There are a number of other uses as well. The following are also functions of filler words:

  • Speak indirectly to avoid conflict
  • Approach sensitive topics, such as politics
  • Emphasize opinions and ideas
  • Hint at emotions or behaviors
  • Express uncertainty

If you are a non-native English speaker, it is especially helpful to learn filler words. By learning filler words, you will be able to identify them by listening. You will also know when and when not to use filler words yourself. 

If you use the right filler word at an appropriate time, you will sound more like a native speaker. This especially helps as you are becoming familiar with English. Once you learn more vocabulary and advance in English, you will be able to lessen the amount of filler words you speak.

As you will notice, different English filler words are used for different purposes; they each have their own unique meaning and usage.

2. Filler Word #1: “Like”

MeaningWhen to UseExample
may or may not be truewhen you’re not exactly sure or have a hard time describing something“What was his name again?”
“It was, like, Justin or something.”
extra emphasis when comparingor describing thingswhen you want to exaggerate a comparison or description “COVID-19 is like something I never imagined.”
“Like” is an overused filler word in English, used in both formal and informal settings. It is commonly spoken by Generation Y, also known as millennials, and Generation Z

3. Filler Word #2: “I mean…”

MeaningWhen to UseExample
to express emphasis to a statementto strengthen your opinion or statement“ I failed the biology exam today.”
“I mean, you can always study harder for the next test.”
to make a correction (sometimes to lie)to correct oneself or lie“Where is he?””He went to the store. I mean, he went to school.”
“I mean” is generally said to emphasize how one feels about something. When it is used to express honesty, it can sometimes be quite brutal. Take this statement for an example.

I mean, I never liked your cooking in the first place.

It is mostly used while making corrections. However, it can sometimes be used to change the truth into a lie or vice versa. Therefore, the listener may not take the speaker seriously.

4. Filler Word #3: “So basically…”

MeaningWhen to UseExample
to give an accurate account of a situation or statementto give a more detailed explanation (generally used in the beginning of a sentence)“So basically… The man was kicked out of the aircraft for refusing to wear a mask.”
to give further instructionsto give instructions that are easier to understand“I can’t afford to give each of my 30 students a family pack of candy.”
“So basically… All you have to do is buy one family size bag of candy and distribute it evenly among the students.”
“So basically” is mostly used when telling stories or giving instructions. Therefore, when you hear someone begin a sentence with “So basically,” expect to get lots of details.

Man Giving His Side of the Story

5. Filler Word #4: “You know…”

MeaningWhen to UseExample
to refer to something already knownasking for confirmation“This book is a New York Times bestseller, you know?”
to prove something to someoneto help someone understand what you mean“You know, last night’s party was really lame and tiring.”
“You know” is said when the speaker assumes that the listener already knows something. It is also used to further explain how you feel or what you mean.

6. Filler Word #5: “…Umm/Uh/Er…”

MeaningWhen to UseExample
expressing hesitationwhen you don’t want to respond“Do these pants make me look fat?” “Uh…”
added pause in speechwhen you need more time to think about what you’re going to say*giving presentation at meeting* “Today, we are going to review last week’s…Umm…sales.”
“Umm,” “uh,” and “er” are used to fill awkward silence. It is spoken when either the listener doesn’t want to cause conflict with someone or needs more time to think.

7. Filler Word #6: “Well…”

MeaningWhen to UseExample
to think about your next wordsto get more time to think or stall“Well… Alright, I will extend the deadline by another week.”
to mark the end of a conversationto end a conversation“Well, it was nice talking to you! Bye!”
“Well” can be used when you want to make a quick decision but need to think about it first. It can also be a polite way to end a conversation.
Woman Thinking about Her Next Words

8. Filler Word #7: “…Okay/So…”

MeaningWhen to UseExample
marks the start of a conversation or ideato start a new topic“So why did the two singers argue at the Oscars?”
to give instructionswhen you want to give details or instructions“Okay, so let’s turn to page 78. Who wants to read the first paragraph? Okay, Jonathan?”
to give a summarywhen you prepare to summarize an event“So, yesterday, I went to Starbucks to study Korean, and the barista asked everyone to wear their masks.”
When someone is preparing to start a new topic, give instructions, or provide a summary, he or she starts a sentence with “So” or “Okay, so…”

9. Filler Word #8: “Now…”

MeaningWhen to UseExample
to give instructions or introduce an ideawhen you want to start a conversation“Now… What is the main idea of the story?”
to express confusionwhen you’re in wonder“Now how did my laptop end up on the bathroom floor?”
to give honesty on changes needed to something or someonewhen you need to be honest about a situation“Now you have to stop smoking. It is bad for your health.”
“Now,” as a filler word, is used at the beginning of a sentence. Like most filler words in English, it is used to lighten a statement to not cause offense. It is also a marker to the start of a conversation. Lastly, when something seems bizarre or confusing, the speaker may begin their statement with “Now.”
Man Scratching His Head in Confusion

10. Filler Word #9: “Or something (like that)…”

MeaningWhen to UseExample
to give similaritiesto provide examples“If you want to watch a sad romance, you should watch The Notebook or something like that.”
to give a guesswhen you’re not entirely sure what something is“Her job is IT-related and consists of coding or something like that.”
This filler phrase is usually used to keep a conversation active and interesting. 
“Or something (like that)” leaves the listener with many options of comparisons or guesses to what the speaker is referencing. Once the listener has a clear understanding, given the examples provided by the speaker, he or she is left with many options and choices.

11. Filler Word #10: “…I guess…”

MeaningWhen to UseExample
affirmation but without certaintywhen you’re not entirely sure about something“I guess he overslept, because he is an hour late for work today.”
to express no harm done or will be doneused as reassurance that everything will be fine“I guess it’s okay for you to use my car this weekend.”
“I guess” is used to make light of situations, in case it’s not true or harmful.

12. Pros and Cons of Filler Words

You now learned the top 10 most common English filler words, their meaning, and their usage. 

As you can see, filler words are not terrible. However, they are highly discouraged.

Here are the reasons why.

Pros

You appear gentle during talks of sensitive topics, such as politics and controversial issues.

Usage of some filler words like “I mean” and “okay/so” may lighten the mood during tense conversations. It’s understood that by using filler words, the speaker intends to speak with added politeness and respect and to minimize any perceived aggression. 

Take this conversation as an example.

Speaker 1: Did you see the first 2020 U.S. Presidential Debate? The moderator did such a poor job.

Speaker 2: I mean, he did the best he could. I doubt any other moderator could have calmed down the president.

Other than politics, conversations about other people or special events can be taken lightly, such as some of the sample sentences above.

People are more likely to understand what you say, whether you answer directly or not.

Usually, when people are direct, the listener may not understand where they are coming from. By using filler words like “or something like that” and “you know,” the listener is prepared to hear further details and comparisons.

Here’s a conversation as an example.

Speaker 1: It saddened me that Chadwick Boseman passed away.

Speaker 2: Who?

Speaker 1: He played Black Panther. You know, Black Panther is one of the Avengers from Marvel.

Speaker 2: Oh no! Black Panther passed away?! I’m so sad!

Filler words mark the start of further explanations, which are always helpful in conversations.

It makes you seem fluent in a language, because it is naturally used by native speakers in daily conversations.

Depending on your level in English, you could easily trick people into thinking you’re a native English speaker. Once you master the meanings and usage of English filler words, it will become second nature. You will begin using filler words like a pro!

Woman Who Can Speak Multiple Languages

Your first step can be to learn the filler words from the list above!

Cons

You will be seen as unreliable and dishonest.

Usage of filler words is not always natural. As the speaker, you want to display your true self and personality. When you use filler words, especially excessively, you appear unreal to your audience.

Female Employee Who Has No Idea What She’s Doing

Filler words have the disadvantage of making you seem distracted and dishonest. If someone wants an answer to a question or your opinion on a certain issue, it will be disappointing to hear you hesitate and fill your response with filler words.

It is especially upsetting during a speech. If you want the audience to understand your point of view, using filler words will not deliver your message clearly. It will cause the audience to lose interest and decrease your credibility.

It is unprofessional and puts you at the bottom of the hiring pool.

Employers often seek ideal employees with honesty and great speaking skills. By confidently speaking with little to no filler words, you impress the employer with your excellent communication skills. On the other hand, if you constantly hesitate or speak filler words during a job interview, employers will sense a lack of responsibility.

If you have an upcoming job interview, do yourself a favor and practice answering frequently asked questions beforehand.

Your speech will bore your listener(s).

Audience Bored during Presentation

Your goal as the speaker is to convey a message to your listener. Imagine the listener eager to hear what you have to say, but you use 1-2 filler words like “Umm” and “like” per sentence. It will create disappointment for the listener, because in addition to the heavy usage of filler words, you wasted his or her time by not having fluid speech.

13. How to Eliminate Filler Words

Like all bad habits, eliminating or reducing the number of filler words from your speech will not be easy. However, by following these three tips, you will become a better speaker and increase your charisma.

Awareness

Become aware of the filler words you use most often and how you tend to use them. Take a mental note of how often you speak them and which filler words you use the most. As you continue to have conversations, you will become more conscious of your speech and know to eliminate your filler words.

Woman Realizing She Said a Filler Word

For the moment, replace your filler words with pauses. Learn to be okay with pauses, but avoid holding long pauses of five seconds or more. If you sense a long pause in a casual conversation, prepare an honest excuse, such as “I apologize. I forgot what I was going to say.” On the contrary, if it is during a presentation, move onto the next part of the speech that you remember. The listeners will understand.

In order to prevent the pauses, consider the next two tips.

Role Play

Whether you have a presentation or job interview in the near future, role play in the mirror or with a trustworthy source (e.g. a mentor or close friend). Practice your speech or presentation as much as necessary, which will enable you to speak flowingly on the big day.

You can also go the extra mile and prepare answers for questions that you will likely be asked. That is one reason to have an audience during your practice rounds.

Increase Vocabulary

What is the word I am looking for? It’s on the tip of my tongue.

How often do you share that thought when speaking? It is possible that you actually lack vocabulary.

One surefire way to increase your vocabulary is by downloading apps that involve studying with spaced-repetition system (SRS) flashcards. SRS is a method in which you see a vocabulary word repeatedly during different intervals. It allows you to remember words and burn them into your brain. 
For example, you learn the word simultaneously. At first you will see the word again in a few minutes. Later, if simultaneously appears before you again and you remember the definition, you will see the flashcard again in a few days, weeks, or months.

Girl Studying Vocabulary with Flashcards

On EnglishClass101, you will find numerous vocabulary lists with different themes. Best of all, you can add these words to flashcard decks on our site to study with SRS.

Also, subscribe to Learn English with EnglishClass101.com on Youtube. Its Youtube channel includes ways to start conversations in English with phrases and vocabulary. Take the video “Learn Over 100 English Words for Daily Conversation!,” for instance. It features 100 English words for daily conversations, and a number of them are advanced, including the word “esoteric.” As you will learn from the video, esoteric means “something that requires specialized knowledge.”

As your vocabulary improves, you will cleverly replace filler words with them.

14. Conclusion

Believe it or not. 

Learning new languages will cause you to become more aware of how you speak. When learning a new language, you learn important factors, such as vocabulary, pronunciation, and grammar. 

That is where Innovative Language comes in!

By subscribing to Premium PLUS on EnglishClass101 or any of our 34 language courses, you will have access to your own personal teacher and assignments. From thousands of audio lessons to our Core Word Lists, you will learn a new language in an enjoyable way!

Start speaking a new language almost immediately by shadowing with our line-by-line audio. Take advantage of our free resources as well!

From learning about filler words to understanding blog entries, you have everything you need to learn about your target language at your fingertips!

Happy learning with EnglishClass101!

Were any of the filler words unfamiliar to you? What are some equivalent filler words in your native language? Let us know in the comments!

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Love Phrases in English to Improve Your Love Life

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The need for companionship runs deep. The desire for a hand to hold even as we grow old alters the way we lead our daily lives. The longing to find a person who embraces us completely—and whom we can embrace completely—burns within our hearts like an illuminated candle…until we meet that person and everything becomes so clear in the light of a roaring fire.

A Couple Running Along a Beach

But then we find ourselves tongue-tied! What do we say to win this person’s heart? And what about in English?

What you need, in this case, are some quick and easy-to-use love phrases in English.

Proper communication is key in any relationship. And this can be difficult in an unfamiliar country, speaking a language that’s not your own! If you struggle to find love or keep the romance alive in your relationship with an English speaker, you’ve come to the right place.

In this article, I’ll introduce you to English love phrases that you can start using when the time is right. In addition, I’ll provide you with other words and terms you should know about romance in the United States and information about American dating culture. 

Ready? Let’s get started.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in English Table of Contents
  1. Words and Phrases About Love & Romance
  2. Terms of Endearment
  3. Confess Your Affection
  4. Fall in Deeper
  5. Take it One Step Further
  6. A Handful of Love Quotes to Brighten Your Day
  7. Romance and Dating in American Culture
  8. Final Thoughts

1. Words and Phrases About Love & Romance

A Man and Woman Putting Their Foreheads Together in Understanding

Do you think these two are “soulmates”?

There are a lot of English love idioms and phrases, as well as specific words you’ll hear often in the context of romantic relationships. I won’t even try to cover all of them here, but I will introduce some of the ones you’ll see in this article. You can find several more on Grammar.YourDictionary.com.

LikeIf you “like” someone, it means that you have feelings for them, but not necessarily serious feelings. We can even use this term platonically between friends of the same or opposite sex. 
LoveIf you “love” someone, it means that you have serious feelings for them and care about them. We can use this term with both family and romantic partners. 
AdoreIf you “adore” someone, it means that you find them cute or admirable for some reason. The word “adore” is often used to show affection (e.g. “I adore you.”). This term is primarily used in romantic relationships. 
CherishIf you “cherish” someone, it means that you care about them, appreciate them, and hold them in high regard. This term is primarily used in romantic relationships.
TreasureIf you “treasure” someone, it means that you think highly of them, see their value, and care for them deeply. This term is primarily used in romantic relationships.

Fall in loveWhen you “fall in love,” it means that you develop romantic feelings for someone.
In love withWhen you’re “in love with” someone, it means that you have romantic feelings for them.
Have feelings forWhen you “have feelings for” someone, this refers to romantic feelings.

Get togetherWhen you “get together” with someone, it means that you spent time with or go on a casual date with someone. 
Go outWhen you “go out,” it means that you have a date with someone, usually in a public area like a restaurant or movie theater.
Are you free?If you ask someone “Are you free?” it means that you want to know if they’re doing anything during a specified time. If they’re not, you may ask them out for a date. Synonymously, you might ask, “Are you available?” although this sounds slightly more formal. 

SoulmateYour “soulmate” is the person you’re destined to be with, the person who knows and understands your soul. 
Love of my lifeIf someone is the “love of your life,” it means that you love them more than any other person, and will for the rest of your life.
Better halfYour “better half” is the person who not only completes you, but also represents the better qualities of the relationship. 

2. Terms of Endearment

A Man Showing His Girlfriend Something on His Phone

Honey, did you see this funny video yet?

A term of endearment is a word that’s used in place of someone’s name to show affection. In the case of romantic couples, these words often have a sweet or suggestive nature. Here are some of the most popular endearment terms, what they mean, and how to use them.

DescriptionExample
Honey / Hon / Hun“Honey” (or Hon / Hun for short) is a popular endearment term. By calling the other person “Honey,” you’re referring to the fact that you find them sweet. Honey, could you take out the trash, please?”

“Wait a minute, Hon.”

DescriptionExample
Baby “Baby” is a little less common, but still frequently used among some couples. It’s used almost like a diminutive, to refer to the other person in a “small” way. It can be used to show that you will take care of that person, though it can also have a more suggestive connotation.Baby, are you okay? Do you need to talk about it?”

DescriptionExample
BabeThis is a shortened version of “Baby,” and the two terms can be used interchangeably. “Babe” tends to be a little more intimate.Babe, are you almost ready? We have to go.”

DescriptionExample
Bae“Bae” (pronounced like “bay”) is mainly used by the younger generations. It stands for “Before Anyone Else,” referring to how important the other person is to you. It also sounds similar to “Babe,” which may account for its fast-growing popularity. “Dinner’s ready, Bae.”

DescriptionExample
Hubby“Hubby” is an affectionate term used to refer to one’s husband. It’s normally used when talking about one’s husband to others.“My hubby is the best. He brought me flowers and chocolate yesterday.”

DescriptionExample
Sweetie“Sweetie” is an endearment term used to show that you find the other person to be sweet or cute.“Oh, Sweetie, thank you so much for the gift!”

DescriptionExample
Darling“Darling” is used to show the other person that they’re precious or dear to you. It’s considered a bit more classy and traditional than many of the other endearment terms on this list. It can be used with or without the person’s name, depending on the context.“Linda, Darling, you look lovely today.”

“Where are you going, Darling?”

DescriptionExample
Dear“Dear” is another term that expresses how precious the other person is to you. Dear, have you paid the electric bill yet?”

DescriptionExample
(My) loveCalling someone “my love” is a very romantic and tender way to show that you cherish the other person.“George, my love, you’ve been gone so long.”

DescriptionExample
(My) amour If you don’t know, amour is the French word for “love.” Many people find this version of “my love” even more romantic (because everything is more romantic in French or Italian). This version also has more a sexual connotation, and can be used to refer to lovers who are having an affair.My amour, I can never live without you.”

DescriptionExample
SexyWhen you call your partner “Sexy” it means that you find them attractive, especially to the point that they’re irresistible. This is often used between couples who have been together a while, and is considered a cute endearment term that can also have a sexual connotation. “Hey Sexy, where have you been all my life?”

DescriptionExample
Shortened version of first nameMany couples also refer to each other with a shortened version of their first name. For example, if a woman’s name is Cheryl, her S.O. may call her Cher. If a man’s name is Robert, his S.O.may call him Rob or Robbie. Cher, could you hand me the notepad please?”

Robbie! You’re looking handsome tonight.”

Keep in mind that endearment terms are not limited to those above. Couples can use any affectionate terms with each other, depending on their relationship, their history together, and a number of other factors. 

3. Confess Your Affection

So, you find yourself attracted to a new coworker, a schoolmate, or some other person you’ve recently met. How can you get their attention and let them know how you feel?

Generally speaking, it’s important not to come across as aggressive, pushy, or needy. In the United States, most people value their space and privacy, and flirting or asking someone out in an overt way can really make an American uncomfortable. 

Below are several English love phrases you can use to get the person’s attention, flirt with them, and eventually ask them out on a date.

Getting His / Her Attention

A Man and Woman Flirting while Working on a Laptop

I thought you did well on your presentation.

One of the best ways to get a man or woman’s attention is to offer them genuine compliments. If you don’t know the person well, you should make sure your compliments aren’t too personal or suggestive (though you can compliment their appearance as long as you’re respectful). 

I love your ___.I love your jacket.
I love your attitude.

You have a beautiful / handsome ___, you know?You have a beautiful smile, you know?
You have a handsome face, you know?

I thought you did well ____.I thought you did well on your presentation.
I thought you did well in the bowling tournament.

You’re such a ___ person.You’re such a cool person.
You’re such a sweet person.

Pick-Up Lines

A Man Flirting with a Woman from Outside a Window

Are you as beautiful on the inside as you are on the outside?

A pick-up line is a sentence someone says to indicate they like someone or want to go out with them. It’s important to note that most pick-up lines are silly and noncommittal. They’re often cleverly worded, but used far too often to really mean anything. 

Did it hurt when you fell from heaven?This indicates that someone is so beautiful or so kind that they must be an angel.

Do you have a name, or can I call you mine?This is a play on words. In English, we can call someone “ours” if we are in a serious relationship with them. In this pick-up line, the speaker uses “mine” as a placeholder for the other person’s name to indicate they “want” the other person.

I thought happiness started with an H, but mine starts with U (you). This is another play on words. The word “happiness” begins with the letter H, but the beginning of the speaker’s happiness begins with the other person (in this case “you” or U).

Are you as beautiful on the inside as you are on the outside?This phrase indicates that the speaker thinks the other person is attractive. In English, we consider someone “beautiful on the inside” if they are a good person. So this phrase is like saying: “You’re very beautiful / handsome. Are you also a good person?” Normally, a man says this to a woman.

If being in love was illegal, would you be my partner in crime?A “partner in crime” is someone who helps another person commit a crime, usually on an ongoing basis. This phrase is like asking if the other person is also in love with you.

What are you doing for the rest of your life? Because I want to spend it with you.This is a cheesy way to let someone know you like them, and maybe even love them. 

If you feel like making your English study time a little more fun today, you can head over to Pickup-Lines.net, where you’ll find tons of pickup lines in different categories. Great practice for understanding English wordplay and humor! You’re welcome. 😉

Asking Someone Out

A Man and Woman Having a Romantic Date at a Restaurant

You’ve gotten their attention…now, can you capture their heart? Here are some different ways you can ask them to go out on a date with you. 


Would you go out with me?This is a straightforward (but still polite) way of asking someone if they want to go on a date with you.

Would you like to have dinner with me?This is a slightly more specific way of asking someone on a date. It lets the other person know the activity you have in mind, making it easier for them to make a comfortable decision. You can replace “have dinner” with any other activity (“see a movie” / “walk” / etc.).

Are you free this weekend / evening?You can ask the person this question to hint that you would like to do something with them if they’re free. This is a set phrase, and it allows you to ask someone out in a light manner while allowing that person an easy way out if they’re not interested.

I would like to get to know you better.This phrase is a bit more serious in nature, indicating that you’re considering a relationship with that person. It’s a way of asking if they would like to go out with you, especially on a long-term basis.

I would like to spend more time with you.This phrase can be used similarly as the one above, though there’s a greater emphasis on “time” being important. 

Could we get together sometime?This is a basic phrase you can use to ask someone out in a generic manner. You could be asking for a romantic date or a more casual outing to get to know each other better. Either way, it indicates that you like the other person.

Can I have your number?In the United States, it’s fairly common to ask people for their phone number if you want to contact them again in the future. In the context of dating, asking for someone’s number is a way of showing that you’re interested in them and want to continue talking (and planning more dates). 

Are you on ___ (Facebook, Twitter, etc.)?Nowadays, asking for someone’s social media information is more common than asking for their phone number, especially among younger people. Asking this has the same meaning as asking for their number: you want to stay connected.

Did you have a wonderful first (or second) date? Then you may want to let the other person know that you enjoy spending time with them, and that you definitely have feelings for them. 

Did your date not go so well? There are a couple of polite ways you can let them know that, too. 

I had a great time last night. This is a great phrase to use the day after a date. It shows that you appreciate their time, and that you would like to spend more time with them.

I enjoy spending time with you.You can use this phrase to let the other person know that you enjoy their company and being with them.

I would like to do that again sometime.This is a straightforward way of letting the other person know that you would like to go on another date with them.

I’m sorry, but I didn’t really feel a connection.You can use this phrase to politely let the other person know that you’re not interested in future dates. Saying “I’m sorry” softens the blow and lets the other person know you respect them and their feelings. By saying you “didn’t really feel a connection” you’re letting them know you appreciate their time, but don’t see a future together.

I enjoyed spending time with you, but I don’t think we’re right for each other.You can use this phrase interchangeably with the one above.

Telling How You Feel

A Smiling Couple Holding Hands while Standing against a Wall

I think of you as more than a friend.

If you’ve had a few dates now and have gotten to really know each other, it may be time to start expressing how you feel. Here are some phrases you can use to let the other person know you like them.

I (really) like you.Telling someone this means that you have romantic feelings for them.

I have feelings for you.Like the phrase above, this one means that you have romantic feelings for the other person. Using the word “feelings” here gives it a more romantic feeling than only saying “like.”

I think of you as more than a friend.This phrase is a bit of a cliche. You can use this phrase when letting a friend know that you have romantic feelings for them, especially if you’ve been friends for a while.

I’m falling for you. / I’ve fallen for you.When you “fall” for someone, it means that you fall in love with them. In this context, it indicates that not only do you have feelings for them, but you’re starting to become infatuated with them.

I think I’m in love with you.If you’ve been seeing someone for a while, this phrase would be appropriate to use if you have strong feelings for them. Using “I think” at the beginning softens the impact of saying that you’re in love with them, so there’s no pressure for them to say the same thing to you. 

I can’t get over you.If you “can’t get over” someone, it means that you’re always thinking about them, wanting them, and wishing they were with you. 

You’re the object of my affection.This is a classier phrase, most often said by a man to a woman (though not always). When someone is the “object of your affection” it means that you give affection to them, or that they receive affection from you. It basically means that you cherish and care for them.

You can find even more romantic words to whisper in your partner’s ear in our list of 15 Love Phrases for Valentine’s Day

4. Fall in Deeper

A Man Holding His Girlfriend while Watching Autumn Leaves at a Park

We were made for each other.

You’re past the initial dating phase and have moved into a serious long-term relationship with someone. You can’t believe how lucky you are to have found this person, and to have them share your feelings. But what can you say to let them know how much you love them? Here are some cute English phrases to express love:

    ★ I love you.
    ★ You mean the world to me.
    ★ You are my everything.
    ★ I feel lucky to be with you.
    ★ We were made for each other.
    ★ We were meant to be.
    ★ You’re my soulmate.
    ★ You’re the love of my life.
    ★ I miss you (a lot, so much, already).
    ★ I can’t stop thinking about you.
    ★ You make life worth living.
    ★ You are my sunshine.
    ★ You are the light of my life.
    ★ I’ll always want you / need you.
    ★ There’s no one else I’d rather be with.
    ★ You’ll never know how much I love you.
    ★ I treasure / cherish you.
    ★ You’re my better half.
    ★ I can’t wait to see you again.
    ★ You make me (want to be) a better person (or man / woman).
    ★ I love you more than words can say.
    ★ I can’t imagine my life without you.

5. Take it One Step Further

You’re both madly in love, spend all of your free time together, and continue to develop your relationship into something deep and meaningful. But it’s not enough. You think it’s time to take some positive steps forward in your relationship, and want to discuss this with your partner. Here are some phrases for common life situations you can use!

Meeting the Parents

A Couple Entering a Family Home for a Holiday

In the United States, most people see it as polite to meet your partner’s parents, especially before you take any huge steps forward in the relationship. 


I think it’s time you meet my parents.This is a gentle way of approaching the topic. Saying “I think” at the beginning makes it sound more like a gentle suggestion than a demand. 

Have you met my parents yet?Asking if your partner has met your parents yet is an even gentler way of approaching the topic. 

Would you like to have dinner with me and my parents?You can use this phrase as an invitation for your partner to get to know your parents over dinner. 

I would like to meet your parents.You can use this phrase if you want to meet your partner’s parents. Do keep in mind that not all Americans are close with their parents, so it’s possible that your partner won’t want to introduce you.

Moving In Together

Several Moving Boxes Packed with Belongings

Many couples in the U.S. decide to move in together before getting married, and most people consider this a positive step forward if the relationship is going well. This is a major life decision, though, so make sure you approach the topic gently and respectfully. 

Do you think it’s time to move in together?You can say this if you’ve been dating the person for a while, and want to know their thoughts on moving in together at this point in your relationship.

Would you move in with me?This is a more straightforward way of asking someone to move in with you.

What do you think about living together?This question is a great way of asking for the other person’s opinion while expressing yours at the same time.

What would you say to moving in together?This phrase is similar to the one above.

Getting Married

A Man Proposing to His Girlfriend on a Bridge

If you know you’ve found the one, there may come a day when you want to propose and ask them to marry you. Here are some common phrases you can use during your marriage proposal. 


Would you marry me? / Will you marry me?This is the most common way to ask someone to marry you. 

I want to spend the rest of my life with you.This phrase indicates that you’re serious about your relationship and will love them forever.

I want to grow old with you.This phrase has a similar meaning as the one above, though there’s a greater emphasis on “growing old.” It means that you’ll stay with them for your entire life, and love them even in old age.

I wish I could give you everything, but I hope this ring is enough.This is a cheesy way of proposing. It means that you love the person so much that you want to give them everything, but because that’s impossible, you give them all of yourself and your life (as the ring symbolizes marriage and eternal love). 

I never want to be without you.This phrase shows that you always want to be with the other person, and that you never want to be in their absence.

Will you do me the honor of becoming my wife / husband?This phrase indicates that you not only want to marry them, but that it would be an honor to you if they said yes. It shows affection and respect for the person you’re proposing to.

Starting a Family

A Couple Playing with Their Child in the Ocean

Whether or not to have children is a huge decision that couples need to make, and it often requires a long and respectful discussion. I can’t guide you through the entire discussion, but I can offer you some opening lines. 

I want to raise a family with you.This simple statement is a great way to open a conversation about having children. 

I want you to be the mother / father of my children.This phrase is a little more intimate. It indicates that you know your partner well and trust them to be a good parent for your children.

There is no one else I would rather have be the mother / father of my children.This one is even more intimate, and there’s more emphasis on the fact that this person is the only person you would want to raise children with. 

In case you do both agree to start a family and raise children, you’ll need these Common English Phrases to Know About Having a Baby

6. A Handful of Love Quotes to Brighten Your Day

A Woman Smelling Flowers

Life is the flower for which love is the honey.

How would you describe love or romance? Here are some words on the topic from a variety of legendary figures. Do you agree with them?

    ★ Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all. – Alfred Lord Tennyson
    ★ Life is the flower for which love is the honey. – Victor Hugo
    ★ I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear. – Martin Luther King, Jr.
    ★ The course of true love never did run smooth. – William Shakespeare
    ★ At the touch of love, everyone becomes a poet. – Plato
    ★ Love is when the other person’s happiness is more important than your own. – H. Jackson Brown, Jr.
    ★ Love is blind. – Geoffrey Chaucer
    ★ Love is suffering. One side always loves more. – Catherine Deneuve
    ★ Passion is momentary; love is enduring. – John Wooden
    ★ To witness two lovers is a spectacle for the gods. – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

We’ve collected additional love quotes in our list of the top English Quotes About Love and in our recent blog article about The Best English Quotes for Every Occasion!

7. Romance and Dating in American Culture

A Man Surprising His Girlfriend with Flowers

To close, I did want to bring up a few key elements about romance and dating in American culture. (If you’re curious about dating in England, you can read this interesting U.S. dating vs. England dating article from BBCAmerica!) Let’s get to it.

As with many other aspects of American culture, dating traditions and ideals vary from region to region, and even from state to state. In more conservative regions, dating is taken more seriously and is often seen as the first step toward marriage. In more liberal regions, dating is taken less seriously in this regard and focuses more on the happiness of each individual in a relationship.

    There are nationwide similarities, though.

Throughout the country, popular date ideas include: having a nice dinner, going out for drinks, seeing a movie, and doing outdoor recreational activities (like hiking or kayaking). Additionally, most Americans find certain things particularly romantic when in a dating relationship: men buying women flowers and chocolate (or vice-versa), candlelit dinners, expensive wines, love notes, and doing small but meaningful things for each other.

    It’s okay for women to ask men on a date.

While it’s still more common for a man to ask a woman, it’s becoming increasingly common for a woman to ask a man. A lot of it depends on the region and the individuals themselves. 

    It can be hard to know what a date is.

Oftentimes, when one person is asked to go and do something fun with another person, they’re unsure of whether to consider it a date or not. In the U.S., it’s common for a man and a woman to have a platonic (non-romantic) relationship, in which they go out and do things together as friends. To avoid confusion, it’s best to make it clear from the beginning whether the activity is meant to be a date or not.

    Dating relationships aren’t necessarily exclusive.

This is especially true at the very beginning of a relationship (e.g. if you’ve only had one or two dates with the person). Younger Americans, in particular, may be “dating” more than one person for a little while, in order to speed up the process of finding the best candidate. Of course, if you do see your relationship lasting long-term, it may be a good idea to have a discussion with your partner about exclusivity to make sure you’re on the same page. Normally, once a relationship has been established, couples choose to be exclusive (only date each other). 

Final Thoughts

With all of the English love phrases, endearment terms, and other romantic words from this article, you should be much more prepared to woo your future lover. Which of these love phrases is your favorite, and why? Let us know in the comments!

The world of dating and romance is complicated already, and even more so when you’re trying to find love in an unfamiliar culture. Before you plunge headfirst into romance, it may be a good idea to get settled in your new home. EnglishClass101.com has just the resources for you:

Create your free lifetime account today and keep improving your English skills with us. The love of your life will thank you for it one day. 😉

We hope to see you around! <3

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Negation in English: The Art of Saying No

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Your friend is offering you cake, but you’re on a strict diet. There’s some creepy guy at the bar trying to ask you out, and you’re a little scared. Your new coworker wants to know about your likes and dislikes, but you don’t know what to say…

The world is full of situations that require us to say “no,” turn down offers, or negate a response altogether. 

In this article, I’ll show you how to properly use negation in English. Learning how to make negative sentences in English will empower you to stick to your goals, keep yourself safe, and express yourself effectively! 

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in English Table of Contents
  1. How to Negate a Positive Statement
  2. How to Give a Negative Response to a Question
  3. Telling Someone Not To Do Something
  4. Other Words and Phrases for English Negation
  5. Double Negatives
  6. Final Thoughts

1. How to Negate a Positive Statement

If you read my article on English Word Order, you know that a typical English sentence follows the SVO (Subject-Verb-Object) pattern:

  • I love wine.
  • Wendy has a dog.
  • They arrived together.

There are many ways you can negate a statement, but this is the most common pattern for sentence negation:

[Subject] + [Auxiliary Verb] + [Negative Word] + [Verb] + [Object or Complement]

For example:

  • I (S) do not love (V) wine (O).
  • Wendy (S) does not have (V) a dog (O).
  • They (S) did not arrive (V) together (C).

A Woman Snuggling a Kitten

Wendy does not have a dog…she has a cat!

There are two things you may have noticed: 

1) The auxiliary verb for each sentence is different:

This is because there are different conjugations of the auxiliary verb “to do” depending on the person, number, and tense. You may find it helpful to memorize this table:

PresentPastFuture
IDoDidWill do
You (singular)DoDidWill do
He / She / ItDoesDidWill do
WeDoDidWill do
You (plural)DoDidWill do
TheyDoDidWill do

As you can see, the conjugations are very consistent, and only the third person present tense differs. 

    → To learn more about the conjugation of English verbs, you can read my article all about English Verb Conjugation

2) The main verb in the last two sentences changed from the original statement:

This has to do with the fact that the auxiliary verb indicates the tense, and the tense may require a different form of the verb to ensure subject-verb agreement. 

2. How to Give a Negative Response to a Question

What if someone asks you a question and you want to respond in the negative? 

1) Giving a General Negative Answer

The basic pattern for giving a negative response to a question is:

[Negative Word]* + [Negative Phrase] + [Complement or Reason]

*The negative word at the beginning of your response is usually optional. You can also respond with only the first negative word, though this is sometimes seen as rude.

Here are some questions and their most appropriate negative answers.

  • Do I love wine? / No, I do not love wine.
  • Does Wendy have a dog? / No, Wendy does not have a dog.
  • Did they arrive together? / No, they did not arrive together.

Note that after the first negative word, the rest of the sentence is exactly the same as when you simply give a negative statement. Sometimes this sentence pattern is used to add clarification. For example, perhaps the person who posed the question could not hear your response clearly. They may ask again to clarify.

  • Speaker A: Oh, you do love wine?
  • Speaker B: No, I do not love wine.

2) Turning Someone Down or Refusing an Offer

A Man Scratching His Head in Uncertainty

No, I’m sorry. I have to…

What if someone asks you if you would like to go out with them on a date or offers you something you don’t want? There are three patterns you can use to turn someone down or refuse an offer:

[Negative Word] + [Thank You]

[Negative Word] + [I’m Sorry]

[Negative Word] + [Thank You / I’m Sorry] + [Reason or Complement]

It can be as simple as saying: “No, thank you” or “No, I’m sorry,” but most people will appreciate it if you give them a reason for your answer. Of course, you don’t have to give a reason; the other person should respect your decision anyway. But it is considered polite to have a reason or excuse for why you’re saying no. 

Here are a few examples of negation in this context:

  • “Would you like to go out?” / “No, I’m sorry.”
  • “Would you like some cake?” / “No, thank you. I’m on a diet.”
  • “Can you watch my kids this Saturday?” / “No, I’m sorry. I have plans that day.”
  • “Could you come into work early tomorrow?” / “No, I’m sorry. I have to drop my kids off at school.”

Want more? We have a vocabulary list of Ways to Reject an Invitation. Check it out!

3. Telling Someone Not To Do Something

A Man Holding Out His Hand to Say Stop

Stop bothering me.

Has someone made you uncomfortable or upset you with something they’re doing (or thinking about doing)? There are a few ways you can ask or tell someone not to do something. In some cases, we will use the imperative/command verb form. In other cases, we will form gerunds. Here are a few common patterns:

Do not ___.

This one is the most basic way to ask someone not to do something.

Please, do not ___.

This one is a little bit more polite, and also denotes a greater sense of desperation (like you really want them not to do that thing). 

Stop ___.

This one is most commonly used when the person saying it is frustrated or upset about something. 

For example:

  • Do not walk on the grass.
  • Do not mess with me.
  • Please, do not do anything stupid.
  • Please, do not move things around in the kitchen.
  • Stop bothering me.
  • Stop ignoring everything I say.

You can learn more about forming commands in our beginner lesson.

4. Other Words and Phrases for English Negation

A Woman Crossing Her Arms and Thinking

What’s the best word for my negative sentence?

While “no” and “not” are the most common negative words in English, there are actually several others you can use depending on the situation, as well as set phrases.

BarelyHe barely eats anything. (He eats very little.)
HardlyShe hardly spends time with me. (She doesn’t spend much time with me.)
NeverEva never smokes or drinks.
No moreThere are no more carrots in the fridge.
No longerVicky no longer enjoys going out.
Not anymoreA: Are you still stressed about the exam?
B: Not anymore. I studied a lot this week.
Not reallyA: Do you like pineapple?
B: Not really. The flavor is too strong.
Not recentlyA: Are you still practicing the piano?
B: Not recently. I’ve been very busy.
Not at allA: I’m sorry, have I disturbed you?
B: Not at all. Come in.
NobodyNobody was prepared for what happened.
NowhereHe looked for the missing cat all day. It’s nowhere.
NothingShe has done nothing wrong.
NoneNone of us enjoyed the party.
Neither… Nor…I like neither beets nor radishes.
I doubt it.A: Will Jim show up on time for the meeting?
B: I doubt it. He’s always late.

5. Double Negatives

Many languages use double negatives, and English is one of them…sort of

There are certain situations and contexts where using a double negative makes sense. However, there are also cases where double negatives are considered improper grammar. Let’s break it down.

1) When Can You Use Double Negatives?

In English, double negation is appropriate when you’re:

  • Answering a question in the negative.
    • No, Wendy does not have a dog. ✅
    • No, I have not seen him lately. ✅
    • No, the restaurant does not have a bathroom. ✅
  • Making a “negative prefix” word more or less meaningful. 
    • It’s not uncommon for it to rain in the summer. ✅
    • I don’t dislike him, but I do find him annoying. ✅
    • He doesn’t disapprove, he’s just worried about you. ✅

You can find more information about negative prefixes in our lesson!

2) When Can’t You Use Double Negatives?

A Bald Man Shouting in Anger

Bob doesn’t have any patience…

You can’t use double negatives when you’re:

  • Trying to make a sentence more negative.
    • I don’t have nothing.
    • She isn’t going nowhere.
    • Bob doesn’t have no patience.

When you use double negatives like this in English, the second negative word cancels out the first one, making it a positive statement (in theory). For example, these sentences would really mean:

  • I have something.
  • She is going somewhere.
  • Bob has patience.

Instead, these sentences should be:

  • I don’t have anything. ✅
  • She isn’t going anywhere. ✅
  • Bob doesn’t have any patience. ✅

There are situations where you’ll hear people use improper double negatives, as this is simply a feature of spoken English in some areas. It tends to make the speaker sound uneducated, though, so it’s best to avoid them!

If you want to learn more about when to use an “any” word versus a “no” word (anything vs. nothing, etc.), we recommend our lesson Are You a Slave to American Coffee? It contains useful information on when to use one or the other so you can avoid these double negative mistakes.

6. Final Thoughts

Now you have a better idea of how to make negative sentences in English, give negative responses to questions, properly use double negatives, and more. 

Do you feel more confident in your ability to use negation in English, or do you still have some questions or concerns? Let us know in the comments, and we’ll do our best to help!

If you enjoyed this lesson, be sure to visit EnglishClass101.com often and take advantage of our numerous free resources and vocabulary lists. To get the most out of your learning experience, we recommend creating a free lifetime account to gain access to tons of video and audio lessons for learners at every level. 

We hope to see you around!

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Why learn English? Here are 10 reasons.

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If you’re reading this article, odds are you know quite a bit of English already. 

Still, everyone hits that point while learning something new where they get tired and want to quit. If this sounds like you, you may be wondering: Why learn English? Is it really worth continuing?

The short answer is a resounding ‘Yes!’ There are plenty of reasons why learning English is important. Today, I’m going to talk about the top ten. 

Keep reading for the motivation you need to continue your studies and reach complete fluency!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in English Table of Contents
  1. English has immense worldwide popularity.
  2. The English language has far-reaching influence.
  3. Learning a second language is great for your brain.
  4. Learning English will make learning other languages easier.
  5. Learning English makes you more perceptive of other cultures.
  6. An aptitude for English offers higher education and career opportunities.
  7. Basic English knowledge will make traveling easier.
  8. Knowing English can improve your relationships.
  9. Studying a second language makes life more exciting.
  10. Today’s technology makes language learning easier.
  11. Why is English Easy to Learn?
  12. Final Thoughts

1. English has immense worldwide popularity.

Hands Holding a Small Globe

Learning English can put the world in the palm of your hand.

Did you know that there are several countries around the world that have majority English-speaking populations? These include the United States, the United Kingdom, New Zealand, Canada, and Australia. In addition, you can find second-language English speakers in just about every other country in the world. 

While English is only the third most-spoken language in terms of native speakers, it’s the most spoken when counting those who speak it as a second language. In fact, ESL learners (750 million) outnumber native English speakers (375 million)

This means that by learning English, you’ll be able to communicate with people from all over the world!

2. The English language has far-reaching influence.

Cartoon Drawing of Mickey and Minnie Mouse

Disney is a great example…

In addition to being a widely spoken language, English influences aspects of daily life in nearly every corner of the world. 

Many science and medical journals are published in English—even those written in countries where English is not the majority language. English is also used as a lingua franca in most parts of the world, and is considered the official language of aviation and a variety of other fields. 

And, of course, you can’t forget all of the English-language media being released worldwide! Regardless of where you live, I’m guessing you’ve seen at least one Disney movie, either in English or dubbed in your native language. Add to that the sheer volume of other media released on a regular basis in English: video games, TV  shows, movies, books, magazines, music…the list goes on.


3. Learning a second language is great for your brain.

An Old Man Pointing to His Head

Keep your mind sharp.

Learning a second language is fantastic for your brain! 

Recent studies have shown that young adults who know two or more languages score better on “focus” tests than those who only know one language. Language learning is thought to improve one’s ability to concentrate, increase creativity, cause a greater volume of gray matter in the brain (responsible for making connections), and create new pathways (and strengthen existing ones). Oh, did I mention that learning a new language can even help you fight off Alzheimers? It can! 


4. Learning English will make learning other languages easier.

A Businessman Leaning Back in His Chair and Smiling

Learn your next language with a smile on your face.

Because of the exercise and training your brain goes through while learning a second language, it becomes more flexible—this means you’ll be able to learn additional languages more easily! 

While you’ll be able to pick up any language more easily, this will be especially true for languages that are similar or related to English. Some examples include German, Dutch, Afrikaans, and French! 

If your native language is very different (like Japanese or Arabic), English will be a bit more difficult for you to pick up. But think of it this way: You’ll be taking the first step toward being able to learn many other major languages and reap the benefits of knowing English at the same time. 


5. Learning English makes you more perceptive of other cultures.

An Image of Manchester

What does culture in the U.K. look like…?

When you learn a language, you’re not just learning words and grammar rules. You’re also getting a glimpse of the culture and history behind that language! 

Learning English will introduce you to the cultures of the most prominent English-speaking countries. Whether you’re planning to work in the U.S., move to the U.K., or visit Australia next summer, this cultural awareness will greatly benefit you. 

Better yet, once you open up to learning about English-speaking cultures, you’ll also be open to learning about all kinds of other cultures. The more you know, the more you’ll want to know.  

In the same vein, when you learn English, you’ll constantly be comparing it to your own language—this is good! The connections and contrasts you draw up will not only reinforce the language you’re learning, but help you understand your own language better. 


6. An aptitude for English offers higher education and career opportunities.

an Indonesian Man Getting Ready for College

Learn English for better chances at getting into your dream school!

Yes, I’m talking about life! All those things you need or want to do may require a basic knowledge of English. 

Many companies prefer hiring people who speak English, even in countries where English is not the official language. This is due to the language’s massive popularity; English is a major lingua franca and it’s preferred in the majority of business contexts, especially for trade or negotiation purposes. 

Knowing some English is also a plus if you plan on going to a  college or university in an English-speaking country. More and more people are traveling West for their higher education, and for good reasons: namely, schools in the U.S. and U.K. account for the vast majority of top-ranked colleges in the world


7. Basic English knowledge will make traveling easier.

A Woman Walking on Stones Over a River

Want to travel? English will really get you places!

As if you needed any more reasons to learn English, this language is great for travel! Like I mentioned earlier, English is a lingua franca and is spoken as a first or second language in most countries. 

Wherever you’re traveling, there’s a very good chance that the people you run into will speak at least a little English—regardless of what their native language is! A basic knowledge of English can really be useful in a stressful situation (like needing to find a bathroom or asking for directions). 


8. Knowing English can improve your relationships.

A Man Giving His Girlfriend a Gift

Give the gift of learning their mother tongue.

Does it ever feel like you and your significant other are speaking different languages?

Jokes aside, there are many good reasons for learning English when it comes to relationships:

  • It gives you more dating options. Considering the fact that so many people around the world know English, and that the majority of dating websites are in English, it just makes sense to learn the language if you’re currently looking for that special someone. 😉
  • It opens the door to new friendships. Imagine making a new friend during your vacation in an English-speaking country, or finding a penpal who speaks English. Sometimes, these are the friendships that mean the most, so don’t miss your chance to make it happen.
  • It can strengthen your current relationships. Do you have a spouse or close friend who speaks English? They’ll appreciate your efforts toward mastering English, and they’ll know that you seriously care for them and your relationship. 

Oh, and do you know how romantic it would be to propose to your special someone in their native tongue? (Very romantic!) Check out our list of Marriage Proposal Lines in English, pick your favorites, and know that we’re wishing the best for you. <3

9. Studying a second language makes life more exciting.

Two Children and Their Mother Building a Snowman

Bring back that spark of childlike wonder.

Do you remember the sheer joy and excitement from your childhood when you discovered something new? The first time you saw it snow? The first time you remembered a dream? The first time you found out how something works?

You can bring that kind of excitement back into your life when you start learning a new language. Here are just a few ways that learning English can make your life more exciting:

  • It challenges you and stretches your limits. 
  • It provides you with new perspectives.
  • It shows you language patterns you may not have thought about before.

The best part is that there’s something in English for everyone! 

Like I mentioned earlier, tons of media around the world is produced in English, so you can find TV shows, movies, music, YouTube videos, and books in English in a variety of genres. If you’re not really a media-guru, you can always look at language-learning as a simple pleasure in itself, or as a means to forge new relationships with people around the world.


10. Today’s technology makes language learning easier.

A Man Falling Asleep at His Computer

Hey, I said easier, not easy…

Why not learn English? 

It’s one of the most useful second languages to pick up and today’s technology makes it easier than ever before. You’ve already come a long way. By using today’s technology to your advantage, you can reach full mastery of English faster than English learners of the past.

There are tons of apps, websites, and online courses dedicated to language learning, and even a few that are designed solely for English learners. In addition, with social media and other forms of long-distance communication, you can find an English teacher online from anywhere in the world and learn even faster. Let’s not forget the power of friendship either: If you have online friends or visit English-learning forums, you have the added benefit of a large English-speaking community, no matter where you are. 


11. Why is English Easy to Learn?

A Group of People Cheering

Join a diverse community of English learners.

Now you know the importance of learning English. If you’re still not sure about whether to continue your studies, you’re probably wondering how hard it will be to reach mastery and if it’s worth it.

I won’t lie to you: English is complex and sometimes difficult. But you’re reading this article; you obviously have a strong determination and are looking for reasons to keep learning. Believe it or not, there are plenty of things about English that really aren’t so hard.

  • The alphabet. English uses the Latin alphabet, consisting of twenty-six letters (each one having an uppercase and lowercase form). If you speak a language that uses the same alphabet (or one that’s similar), this will be second nature to you. 
  • Articles. An article is a small word that comes in front of nouns. In English, there are two indefinite articles (“a” / “an”) and one definite article (“the”). Our articles do not change for number or gender, as they do in languages like Spanish (el, la, los, las). 
  • Gender. In English, the vast majority of our nouns do not have gender. The only exceptions are words that relate to certain professions (waiter vs. waitress / actor vs. actress), and pronouns (he / she / his / hers). Otherwise, our nouns are gender-neutral and therefore don’t need to be conjugated for gender.

Other things that make English easy to learn include the convenience of learning with today’s technology, the easy access to the language through media, and the huge community of other English learners out there. 

    → See my article Is English Hard to Learn? for more details about what you might struggle with while continuing your studies. 

12. Final Thoughts

A Group of People Holding Each Other’s Wrists

There’s power in numbers – find your English learning community today!

Which of these ten reasons did you find most relevant, and why? What are your reasons for learning English? We would love to hear from you in the comments! 

If you’ve made it this far in your English studies, we want to congratulate you. Not everyone has the courage or determination to study a second language this extensively, so keep up the good work. 

There may be challenges ahead as you keep learning, but know that EnglishClass101.com will be here with useful resources and encouragement on every step of your journey. If you’re feeling alone in your studies, we highly recommend you check out our Facebook page to connect with fellow English learners who may be facing the same struggles that you are. As they say, there’s power in numbers.

We’re wishing you the best. Until next time, happy English learning!

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An Overview of English Tenses

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Does this title make you feel a bit…tense? (Yeah, me too.)

Jokes aside, tenses are an important part of English grammar. They allow speakers to clarify the timing of an action so that there’s no confusion. 

In this article, I’ll briefly explain each English tense and show you how it affects verb conjugation. 

Let’s get started.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in English Table of Contents
  1. What are Tenses?
  2. Present Tense
  3. Past Tense
  4. Future Tense
  5. Irregular Verbs
  6. Time to Practice!
  7. Final Thoughts
  8. Answers

1. What are Tenses?

A tense indicates the timing of an action. There are three basic tenses in English: present, past, and future.

Verb tense is formed based on a sentence’s main verb and the auxiliary words around that verb. 

Now, there are four aspects of each tense:

SimpleExpresses a simple fact.

Tony runs quickly.

He runs, in general, declarative terms. 
ProgressiveExpresses something that takes place during a limited period of time. 

Tony is running quickly.

He is running right now, in this moment. 
Perfect Expresses something that occurred in the past, but is linked to another point in the future. 

Tony has run quickly.

Tony ran in the past and up until the present moment. 
Perfect ProgressiveExpresses something that began in the past, but continues into the future. 

Tony has been running quickly.

Tony started running in the past, up until the present moment. This emphasizes the duration of the past action. 

These aspects affect how the verb is conjugated, as well as which auxiliary words are used in the sentence (if any). 

Don’t worry if this seems too complicated. Many native English speakers struggle with this, too. The good news is that some verb tenses are more common than others. We’ll start with those. As you continue learning English, you can delve into more complex English verb tense forms to express more specific ideas.

In this article, I’ll be covering only the simple aspect for each tense. If you want to get a more in-depth look at all of the English tenses and aspects, though, see my article on English Verb Conjugation. (And while you’re at it, you can learn The 50 Most Common Verbs in English!)

2. Present Tense

A Woman Taking a Whole Chicken Out of the Oven

I cook.

The present tense is used to refer to something that is happening now, in the present. It can also be used to describe something that occurs on a regular basis (or is generally true, like facts and information). 

To form the simple present, you simply take the infinitive form of the verb and remove the word “to” to create the base infinitive. Most conjugated verb forms will look identical to the base infinitive form.  

The only exception is in the third person (he / she / it). In this case, you must add an -s to the end. 

See this table of English tenses to understand how the infinitive verb “to cook” is conjugated for each person in the simple present tense:

PersonPresent Tense Verb (“To Cook”)
ICook
You [singular]Cook
He / She / ItCooks
WeCook
You [plural]Cook
TheyCook

Easy, right? The only thing you have to remember is that the third person requires the -s at the end. In this audio lesson from EnglishClass101.com, you can learn more about how the simple present tense works in a real-life situation. 

Of course, you can make these sentences longer and more specific by adding time words/phrases. These are words that indicate exactly when the action is taking place. 

Common Time Words & Phrases for Simple Present Tense

TodayShe cooks today.
Every dayI cook every day.
OftenThey cook often.
SometimesSometimes, you cook.
At ___We cook at night.

Do you need more words and phrases? Check out EnglishClass101’s free vocabulary list for Essential Adverbs of Frequency and Time!

3. Past Tense

A Man Putting a Hand to His Ear

He listened.

The past tense is used to refer to something that happened previously, in the past. 

To form the simple past, you take the infinitive form of the verb (in this case, “to listen”), take away the word “to,” and add -ed to the end of the root verb:

PersonPast Tense Verb (“To Listen”)
IListened
You [singular]Listened
He / She / ItListened
WeListened
You [plural]Listened
TheyListened

This is even easier than present tense, right? 😉 As you will notice, all subjects take on the same verb form, even the third person singular. Their conjugation is identical. 

If you want a more detailed explanation or some examples, check out this video lesson where Alisha teaches you how to form the simple past. 

Common Time Words & Phrases for Simple Past Tense

YesterdayWe listened yesterday.
EarlierI listened earlier.
A few hours agoThey listened a few hours ago.
Last weekYou listened last week.
Last yearHe listened last year.

4. Future Tense

A Businesswoman at Her Computer, Shrugging

You will work.

The future tense is used to refer to future actions or, in some cases, probable future actions. 

To form the simple future, take the infinitive form of the verb (in this case, “to work”), remove the word “to,” and add the word “will” in front of the root verb. In this case, “will” indicates a future event. 

As you will notice, “will” does not take on a special conjugation. The same form is used for all verbs. 

PersonFuture Tense Verb (“To Work”)
IWill work
You [singular]Will work
He / She / ItWill work
WeWill work
You [plural]Will work
TheyWill work

Watch this video lesson to hear a detailed explanation of how the simple future tense works.

Common Time Words & Phrases for Simple Future Tense

TomorrowI will work tomorrow.
SoonThey will work soon.
Next weekYou will work next week.
In a few daysWe will work in a few days.
Next yearShe will work next year.

5. Irregular Verbs

Everything we’ve covered so far has been pretty easy, right? All you have to do is memorize the conjugations—and there’s not even that much to memorize! 

But we haven’t talked about irregular verbs yet. These are verbs that don’t conjugate the same way as regular verbs (like the ones we saw above), which means you’ll have to remember separate conjugation rules for them. 

In this section, I’ll show you the conjugations for the most common irregular verbs: “to be,” “to do,” and “to have.” The good news is that once you get past the present tense, the irregular conjugations for past and future are still pretty consistent and easy to remember.

Let’s go! 

A- Present

A Man Yawning while Eating Breakfast

He is tired.

PersonPresent Tense Verb (“To Be”)Example Sentence
IAmI am tired.
You [singular]AreYou are tired.
He / She / ItIsHe is tired.
WeAreWe are tired.
You [plural]AreYou are tired.
TheyAreThey are tired.

PersonPresent Tense Verb (“To Do”)Example Sentence
IDoI do a lot of cooking.
You [singular]DoYou do a lot of cooking.
He / She / ItDoesShe does a lot of cooking.
We DoWe do a lot of cooking.
You [plural]DoYou do a lot of cooking.
TheyDoThey do a lot of cooking.

PersonPresent Tense Verb (“To Have”)Example Sentence
IHaveI have a cat.
You [singular]HaveYou have a cat.
He / She / ItHasHe has a cat.
WeHaveWe have a cat.
You [plural]HaveYou have a cat.
TheyHaveThey have a cat.

B- Past

A Couple Sitting, Facing Opposite Directions

They were angry.

PersonPast Tense Verb (“To Be”)Example Sentence
IWasI was angry.
You [singular]WereYou were angry.
He / She / ItWasShe was angry.
WeWereWe were angry.
You [plural]WereYou were angry.
TheyWereThey were angry.

PersonPast Tense Verb (“To Do”)Example Sentence
IDidI did karate.
You [singular]DidYou did karate.
He / She / ItDidHe did karate.
WeDidWe did karate.
You [plural]DidYou did karate.
TheyDidThey did karate.

PersonPast Tense Verb (“To Have”)Example Sentence
IHadI had some coffee.
You [singular]HadYou had some coffee.
He / She / ItHadShe had some coffee.
WeHadWe had some coffee.
You [plural]HadYou had some coffee.
TheyHadThey had some coffee.

C- Future

A Woman Sleeping

I will be asleep.

PersonFuture Tense Verb (“To Be”)Example Sentence
IWill beI will be asleep.
You [singular]Will beYou will be asleep.
He / She / ItWill beThe cat will be asleep.
WeWill beWe will be asleep.
You [plural]Will beYou will be asleep.
TheyWill beThey will be asleep.

PersonFuture Tense Verb (“To Do”)Example Sentence
IWill doI will do my job.
You [singular]Will doYou will do your job.
He / She / ItWill doShe will do her job.
WeWill doWe will do our job.
You [plural]Will doYou will do your job.
TheyWill doThey will do their job.

PersonFuture Tense Verb (“To Have”)Example Sentence
IWill haveI will have more money.
You [singular]Will haveYou will have more money.
He / She / ItWill haveHe will have more money.
WeWill haveWe will have more money.
You [plural]Will haveYou will have more money.
TheyWill haveThey will have more money.

6. Time to Practice! 

Do you have it now? Then let’s practice. 

I’ll give you three regular verbs to conjugate according to the tense. See if you can do it, and I’ll show you the answers at the end of this article.

A- Present

“To Walk” (Present Tense)
You [singular]
He / She / It
We
You [plural]
They

A Couple Taking a Stroll Together

They ___. [present tense]

B- Past

“To Play” (Past Tense)
You [singular]
He / She / It
We
You [plural] 
They

A Little Kid Jumping on the Bed

He ___. [past tense]

C- Future

“To Bake” (Future Tense)
You [singular]
He / She / It
We
You [plural]
They

A Woman in a Yellow Dress Reaching into the Oven

She ___. [future tense]

7. Final Thoughts

A University Student Arriving on Campus

Are you ready to keep learning?

See? The simple English tenses are pretty easy to master after all!

Of course, things get a little more complicated when you look at the other aspects (not to mention those pesky irregular verbs), but even then, the conjugations tend to be consistent. With enough study time, dedication, and practice, you’ll be able to master all the English conjugations.

I hope this English tenses lesson has been helpful for you! How do you feel about English tenses at this point? Do you need more time to review what we covered in this article, or are you ready to move forward? Let us know in the comments, and we’ll do our best to answer any questions you have. 

At EnglishClass101.com, it’s our goal to help you learn English in the most fun and effective way possible. Sign up for your free lifetime account today, and gain access to tons of audio and video lessons, word lists, and your very own set of flashcards. We hope to see you around! 

8. Answers

“To Walk” (Present Tense)
walk
You [singular]walk
He / She / Itwalks
Wewalk
You [plural]walk
Theywalk

“To Play” (Past Tense)
played
You [singular]played
He / She / Itplayed
Weplayed
You [plural]played
Theyplayed

“To Bake” (Future Tense)
will bake
You [singular]will bake
He / She / Itwill bake
Wewill bake
You [plural]will bake
Theywill bake

How did you do?

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How Long Does it Take to Learn English Fluently?

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Learning a language can feel like climbing a huge mountain. It’s not so bad when you start, but the higher up you get, the more difficult the terrain becomes. You’re tired, you’re out of breath, and you don’t know if it’s worth it to keep going. Things aren’t going well, and you’re getting discouraged.

When this happens, it can really help to have a more realistic sense of the work involved and the direction you must take. This way, you can prepare yourself for the road ahead and regain your energy. And I have some good news: If you’re reading this article, you’re almost there! You just need to keep pressing forward. 

In this article, I’ll talk about how long it takes most people to learn English and give you some advice on how to learn English fast!

Let’s get started.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in English Table of Contents
  1. First, a Few Factors to Consider
  2. Reaching Beginner Level (CEFR A1 – A2)
  3. Reaching Intermediate Level (CEFR B1 – B2)
  4. Reaching Advanced Level (CEFR C1 – C2)
  5. Final Thoughts

First, a Few Factors to Consider

From Start to Finish

So how long will it take, really? It depends on who you ask.

According to English UK, it generally takes 120 hours for each level of English fluency. But if you ask Cambridge ESOL, it takes closer to 200 hours per level. 

One thing professionals agree on is that there are certain factors that influence how difficult English will be for you. (We covered a few of these points in our recent article titled Is English Hard to Learn? You can check it out for more information.) 

  • How similar your native language is to English.

If you speak German, Spanish, or French, you’ll likely have an easy time learning English! But if you speak a very different language, particularly a language that does not belong to the Romance language family (like Chinese, Japanese, or Arabic), learning English will be a lot harder for you. 

  • What other languages you know.

If you already know more languages than your mother tongue, learning English won’t be nearly as difficult (no matter what your native language is). This is because you’ve already trained your brain to pick up new language patterns. In other words, once you learn a new language, every subsequent new language is easy to learn. And if the language(s) you learned are similar to English, that’s even better.

  • How much time and money you’re able to invest in learning.

If you spend six or more hours a day learning English, you’re going to pick it up much faster than someone who only studies for an hour or less. In addition, investing in language courses or better learning tools can significantly help your learning process!

  • How dedicated and motivated you are.

If you don’t have an end-goal or aren’t really passionate about the language, you probably won’t get very far. It’s important to have a goal (or series of goals) to help you along, and it’s even better if you can find ways to love learning English.

  • Your everyday exposure to the language.

The more exposure to English you have each day, the faster you’ll learn. If you’re struggling to make progress, you might want to start implementing English-language content into your daily routine. Listen to English-language music, read books, stream movies on Netflix, or find an English YouTube channel to follow! 

  • How effective your learning tools and methods are.

When you’re using the best tools available to you and learning in a way that works for you, you’ll absorb so much more information! I recommend doing a little research on learning styles, so you can make more effective study decisions based on how you prefer learning.

  • How old you are.

Children tend to be much more effective language-learners than adults. Their brains are more adept at acquiring new information in general, while the adult brain has more difficulty learning new things. My advice: If you’re young and want to continue improving your English, take advantage of your youth while you can. 😉 But if you’re learning English as an adult, don’t despair: You can still make progress and even perfect your language skills! It will just take a little longer. 

1. Reaching Beginner Level (CEFR A1 – A2)

A Man Tired While Hiking

Level A1

Time: Approximately 70 hours of regular study time. 

Language points and abilities: 

  • Understand basic phrases
  • Greet and introduce yourself
  • Engage in short conversations (when the other person talks slowly and clearly)

Level A2

Time: Approximately 180-200 hours of regular study time. 

Language points and abilities:

  • Understand frequently used phrases
  • Exchange basic information
  • Talk about things of immediate relevance without too much trouble

How to Learn Faster

  • Set a clear goal. What do you want or need from the language? Make sure your goals are manageable and that they line up with your reasons for studying. 
  • Make flashcards. The flashcards you create should have something to do with your goal. In this case, you’ll probably want to memorize words that have to do with basic conversations and everyday life. 
  • Practice listening. In addition to EnglishClass101’s podcasts and video lessons, I recommend you do some passive listening. Watch TV shows in English, listen to songs in a genre you like, or tune into a podcast that interests you. A few minutes a day can really add up. 

Relevant Lessons

Daily Conversations in English for Beginners. 

This lesson series provides five and a half hours of native English dialogue. In each of the twenty-five lessons, you’ll learn a new aspect of everyday English conversations, from common phrases to verb tenses. 

Also see the following blog posts about basic conversations:


2. Reaching Intermediate Level (CEFR B1 – B2)

Someone Climbing a Mountain at Dusk

Level B1

Time: Approximately 350-400 hours of regular study time.

Language points and abilities:

  • Understand main points about familiar things
  • Possess the vocabulary needed for travel
  • Produce simple text
  • Express dreams, plans, and events

Level B2

Time: Approximately 500-600 hours of regular study time.

Language points and abilities:

  • Understand more complex texts (abstract + concrete + technical)
  • Participate in increasingly fluent conversation
  • Write clear text 
  • Express and support opinions

How to Learn Faster

Are you wondering how to learn English properly at this stage? Here are a few tips for you. 

  • Continue expanding your vocabulary. Make more flashcards and study them regularly. You may find it beneficial to label items in your home or office with their English name. This will expose you to the vocabulary all day, every day, and help you associate the word with what it is.  
  • Practice listening and writing. Listen to things in English that have to do with your interests and language goals, and write in English whenever you can. Do you want to open a restaurant in the U.S.? Listen to cooking podcasts and start a food blog in English. This will help you learn words and phrases that match up with your goals. 
  • Practice reading. Start with simpler texts and work your way up. It’s also important to read things that you’re interested in, and in a format you feel comfortable with. If you enjoy reading magazines in your native language, you should try reading them in English; if you like reading fiction novels, try your hand at a shorter English novel. 
  • Work on your pronunciation. If you haven’t yet, now’s the time to get serious about your pronunciation. Even with a strong vocabulary, your speech will falter if your pronunciation isn’t right. A good way to start is by reading vocabulary words out loud and checking your pronunciation against that of a native speaker. 

Relevant Lessons

In our Ordering Pizza lesson series for lower-intermediate learners, you’ll learn what to expect during a casual phone call. You’ll also learn things like:

    ❖ How to use the modal verb “would” for polite requests
    ❖ How to use wordplay and humor in conversations

Each lesson in this series also includes 1) a transcript so you can read along with the lesson, 2) a printed version of the conversation, and 3) a vocabulary list that you can study, practice, and add to your flashcard deck. 

I also recommend checking out the following series and lessons:


3. Reaching Advanced Level (CEFR C1 – C2)

A Man Who Has Reached the Top of a Snowy Mountain

Level C1 

Time: Approximately 700-800 hours of regular study time.

Language points and abilities:

  • Understand longer, more complex texts and their implicit meaning
  • Have fluent/spontaneous communication with others, and express yourself
  • Use the English language in a flexible manner
  • Produce clear and detailed text with excellent command of all grammatical aspects

Level C2

Time: Approximately 1000-1200 hours of regular study time.

Language points and abilities:

  • Understand just about everything you hear and read in English
  • Be able to summarize texts or conversations
  • Reconstruct arguments
  • Perfectly incorporate linguistic nuances in spontaneous communication

How to Learn Faster

You’re so close to total mastery! Here’s some advice on how to learn English effectively as you approach the advanced level. 

  • Write longer texts and listen to longer-form material. Take notes when needed, make flashcards, and look words up in a dictionary if you need to. As you increase the amount of writing and listening you do, you’ll become more comfortable with it and get a better understanding of nuances.  
  • Quiz yourself and take mock quizzes. One of the funnest ways to learn something is to play games with yourself. In this case, you can quiz yourself throughout the day (or once a week) on things you’ve recently learned, read, heard, or even said! Additionally, you can find pre-made quizzes online to help you find areas for improvement. Some of them can even help you prepare for major English tests like the IELTS
  • Think in English. This can be the hardest part! I’m currently learning Spanish and Korean, and it’s so unnatural for me to think in those languages. It will take practice, but it will be very worth it. Thinking in English will make the language feel more natural to you over time.
  • Learn English-language nuances. Every language has its own nuances that foreigners find difficult to learn. By familiarizing yourself with little-known grammar rules, spelling exceptions, and turns of phrase, you’ll be one step closer to full English mastery. 
  • Practice speaking with native speakers. One of the best ways to really test yourself is to have practice conversations with native English-speakers. This will expose you to real, everyday language and give you someone to help correct your mistakes. If you’re not living in an English-speaking country, you can always find online chat groups, language-learning forums, or even pen pals to practice speaking with! 

Appropriate Lessons

EnglishClass101.com has plenty of audio and video lessons for advanced learners to help them hone their skills. For example, this lesson about Michael Jackson’s song Thriller provides learners with cultural information, more complex sentences to study, and an interesting topic to listen to. 

I also recommend the following series and vocabulary lists:


Final Thoughts

A Helping Hand

I hope this article has shown you that becoming fluent in English is totally doable, even if there are some aspects of the language that seem insurmountable now. 

Now that you know some of the milestones you can look forward to, are you wondering how to learn English more effectively? 

At EnglishClass101.com, we understand that English has its tough points, and that you might be tempted to give up. We want you to know that you don’t have to make this journey alone! 

Here are just a few of our features:

We’re dedicated to making English an accessible language for everyone, and that’s reflected in our themed lessons for beginners, intermediate learners, and advanced students. There’s always room for growth, and we’ll be here to help on every step of your journey. 

If you’ve read this entire article, it means that your English is already really good! But if you’re not satisfied with your current level, you can work on improving key areas (such as speaking, pronunciation, or grammar). Everyone needs a helping hand sometimes, so we hope you’ll stick with us.

Before you go, do you have any tips for fellow English-learners? Or maybe a question about something in this article? We’d love to hear from you in the comments.

Happy learning with EnglishClass101.com! 🙂

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45 Proverbs in English to Start Using Today

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I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard that “every cloud has a silver lining” when I was sad. Or that “curiosity killed the cat” when I asked too many questions. Or, my least favorite as a child, that I should “never put off until tomorrow what I can do today” when I wanted to play video games instead of finishing my homework. 

These are only three of the most commonly used proverbs in English, but I swear I’ve heard these hundreds of times! 

I’m sure that you’ve heard similar proverbs and sayings over and over again in your native language. These words of wisdom can give us a new perspective, reinforce good habits, and give us something to say when we’re at a loss for words. And for you, as the avid language-learner you are, using these proverbs well will help you sound more like a native English-speaker! 

In this article, I’ll show you forty-five popular English proverbs, what they mean, and how to use them in a given context. You might know some of these already, but do you know all forty-five?


Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in English Table of Contents
  1. Life
  2. Success
  3. Love and Relationships
  4. Family and Friendship
  5. Health and Beauty
  6. Religion and Virtues
  7. Final Thoughts

1. Life

A Kitten Meowing with Its Eyes Closed

Curiosity killed the cat.

Life can be crazy or calm, joyful or sorrowful, busy or relaxed. Whatever stage of life you’re in, there’s certainly a proverb in English you can use to describe or add spice to it. 

Here are a few of the best English proverbs about life. You can start using these right away and in a variety of situations! 

1 – Actions speak louder than words.

What it means: 

It’s easy to say that you’ll do something or that you believe something, but there’s no reason for people to believe you unless you act accordingly. 

How to use it:

Your significant other says that he or she is sorry for doing something that hurt you. But later, they do that thing again and then apologize for it. At this point, you could tell them: “Actions speak louder than words.” Meaning that if they want you to believe them, they need to show their remorse through their actions, not their words alone. 

2 – Curiosity killed the cat.

What it means:

Trying to learn more about something can sometimes cause more harm than good. 

How to use it:

Parents often use this phrase toward their children, especially if the child is trying to do something dangerous as a result of curiosity. For example, a child sees that the oven is turned on and wants to take a look inside, the child’s parent may keep them away from the oven, and warn: “Curiosity killed the cat.” This is because if the child touched the oven, they could burn themself.

3 – Don’t bite the hand that feeds you.

What it means:

If someone is providing for you or helping you in some way, don’t treat them badly or betray them. The imagery here refers to how a dog or cat will sometimes bite the hand of someone who’s trying to feed it.

How to use it:

This is another proverb that parents tell their children often. For example, if a parent has offered to do something nice for their child (like let them stay over at a friend’s house), and their child begins to misbehave in the meantime, the parent may say: “Don’t bite the hand that feeds you.” This is a warning that the privilege can be taken away at any time. 

4 – Every cloud has a silver lining.

What it means:

Even negative things that happen can have a more positive aspect to them. (Just as clouds are perceived as gloomy, but when you look closely, you can see the sun peeking through the edges.)

How to use it:

A friend has told you that they just lost their job. Trying to comfort them, you may say: “Every cloud has a silver lining. Maybe there’s a better job out there for you.”

5 – Every man has his price.

What it means:

Every person has a price point where they become willing to turn their back on what they believe in or what they value.

How to use it:

Someone you know took a shady job because it paid more than their old one. You may say to yourself: “Every man has his price.”

6 – Give them an inch and they’ll take a mile.

What it means:

If you give someone just a little bit of something, they’ll expect for you to give them a lot more. 

How to use it:

Your friend is talking to you about someone who’s been manipulating them into doing things for them all the time. You may say: “Give them an inch and they’ll take a mile.” This would serve as a warning that your friend should stop doing things for that person before it gets more out of hand. 

7 – Good things come to those who wait.

What it means:

When you’re patient, it creates a calmer environment that may cause good things to happen. (And if you’re impatient, things will take longer to happen!)

How to use it:

There are two ways you can use this proverb: seriously and jokingly. 

To use it seriously, imagine that a family member is complaining that nothing in their life is going right. You say: “Good things come to those who wait.” This lets them know that something good may be coming in the future if they’ll just be patient for it. 

To use it jokingly, imagine that your child is waiting for cookies to come out of the oven and they are being impatient. You may say to them: “Good things come to those who wait.” (Though this might make them more impatient…)

8 – If life gives you lemons, make lemonade.

What it means:

When bad things happen, try to make the best of them or use them for good. You can change your thinking and create a positive situation out of a negative one. 

How to use it:

Your friend is complaining that the mall is closed. You tell your friend: “If life gives you lemons, make lemonade.” This will suggest that there might be something even better they can do than go to the mall. 

9 – As you sow, so shall you reap.

What it means:

The actions you do now will affect the outcome of a project or situation. A more common variation is: “You reap what you sow.”

How to use it:

Your friend wants to start a business. They’ve been doing a lot of research on how to succeed, but are still worried about failing. To reassure them, you might say: “You reap what you sow. Your research and diligence will help you succeed.”

10 – All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.

What it means:

It’s important to have fun in life, instead of just working all the time. If you only work, you won’t have time for personal growth or fulfillment. 

How to use it:

Your sibling has been working on an essay for several hours now, and you’re worried about them. You may tell your sibling: “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.” This would suggest to them that they should take a break and do something fun.

2. Success

A Man Multi-tasking

Don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today.

The need to be successful can really drive a person forward and help them achieve their most important goals. But what things contribute to success? What does success look like, and how can you get there? Here are some of the most popular proverbs in English about success. 

    → What does success mean to you? Do you think you’re successful right now? Let us know in the comments, and be sure to study our list of the Top 11 Quotes About Success for more inspiration!

11 – A chain is only as strong as its weakest link.

What it means:

Even the strongest chain will be useless if just one link is weakened, missing, or broken. Likewise, a business, project, or idea can’t succeed unless even its weakest link is strong enough to help support it. 

How to use it:

You and a friend are eating at a restaurant that has great food but terrible service, and you decide not to go there again. When you’re leaving, you tell your friend: “A chain is only as strong as its weakest link.” This indicates that the great food meant nothing because the service was so bad.

12 – A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.

What it means:

Even the greatest successes and accomplishments started with taking the first step toward it. 

How to use it:

A family member has told you that they want to start a business, but are afraid to begin making preparations because they might fail. You can tell them: “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” This should help encourage them to take the first step toward their business.

13 – A stitch in time saves nine.

What it means:

Taking an action as soon as it’s necessary, or fixing a problem right when it happens, will save you time and effort in the future.

How to use it:

Your friend feels ill, but they don’t want to go to the doctor because it may be nothing. You may say to your friend: “A stitch in time saves nine.” This refers to the fact that going to the doctor now may keep things from getting worse later.

14 – Don’t bite off more than you can chew.

What it means:

Don’t take on more responsibilities than you’re able to handle.

How to use it:

A friend is telling you that they just took on a second job and have started volunteering part-time. They look tired, so you say: “Don’t bite off more than you can chew.” This indicates that you think they’re doing too much to be productive and stay healthy.

15 – Don’t cast pearls before swine.

What it means:

Don’t show or give something that’s valuable to someone who won’t treasure or take care of it.

How to use it:

A friend tries out to make it onto a dance team. You think they did really well, but they didn’t get a place on the team. You tell your friend: “Don’t cast pearls before swine.” This indicates that you think your friend was too good to be on the team anyway.

16 – Don’t put all of your eggs in one basket.

What it means:

Don’t rely too much on one thing to lead you to success. Instead, you should diversify. (If you put all your eggs in one basket, they’ll all break if you drop the basket, and you’ll have no eggs left.)

How to use it:

Your friend has spent all their time and effort trying to get into one college. You might warn them: “Don’t put all of your eggs in one basket,” and encourage them to apply to more colleges in case they don’t get into that one.

17 – Never put off until tomorrow what you can do today.

What it means:

If you have the time and means to get something done today, you should! This will make your workload the following day much easier (and tomorrow is never guaranteed, anyway).

How to use it:

Imagine a mother asks her son to take out the trash, and he says that he’ll do it “later.” The mother may say: “Don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today.”

18 – Rome wasn’t built in a day.

What it means:

Big things take time and effort to accomplish. 

How to use it:

You’ve been trying to write a novel for the past several years, and you’re ready to give up. While you’re talking to a friend about it, they may tell you: “Rome wasn’t built in a day.” In other words, writing a novel is a huge task so you can’t expect it to be fast or easy. 

19 – The early bird catches the worm (but the second mouse gets the cheese).

What it means:

“The early bird catches the worm” means that those who start something early will be rewarded for their diligence. 

The second part (“but the second mouse gets the cheese”) is a fun addition to the traditional phrase. It refers to how a mousetrap will kill the first mouse that tries taking the cheese, allowing the next mouse that comes by to take it for himself. It means that sometimes it’s better to wait and be patient, instead of trying to be first all the time. 

How to use it:

Your significant other asks you why you get up so early on the weekend. You say “The early bird catches the worm,” meaning that waking up early gives you more time to get things done. They may reply with: “But the second mouse gets the cheese,” in a light gesture, to mean that the second person will benefit from the first’s work (a clean home, freshly brewed coffee, etc.)

20 – Haste makes waste.

What it means:

Trying to get things done too quickly often results in poor-quality work. 

How to use it:

Your child finished their math homework super-fast so they could play video games earlier than usual. But you warn them: “Haste makes waste.” In other words, they’ll probably regret doing their homework so quickly because there will be more mistakes.

3. Love and Relationships

A Couple Hugging at the Airport

Absence makes the heart grow fonder.

Where would you be without your best friend or lover? Learn some of the sweetest (and strangest) English proverbs about love. 


21 – Absence makes the heart grow fonder.

What it means:

When you love or care about someone, those feelings become even stronger when that person is far away from you, especially for long periods of time. 

How to use it:

Your significant other needs to leave for a week-long work conference. You may say: “Absence makes the heart grow fonder.” This will let them know you’ll miss them. 

22 – All’s fair in love and war.

What it means:

Just like war can bring out the worst in people, so can love when it becomes a battle. In another sense, we can interpret this to mean that there are no rules, both in terms of love and war. 

How to use it:

This is most often used when two people are trying to attract the same person for a romantic relationship. It basically means that anything goes, since the two people are “at war” for the other person’s heart. 

23 – Grief divided is made lighter.

What it means:

When you have someone to share your grief with, it doesn’t feel quite as bad. 

How to use it:

You see that your best friend looks sad, so you ask them what’s wrong. If they seem hesitant to share what’s wrong, you might say: “Grief divided is made lighter,” to encourage them. 

24 – No man is an island.

What it means:

Islands are small, isolated pieces of land. This proverb means that no man should isolate himself this way. Instead, it’s important for people to be part of a community. 

How to use it:

Someone you know has been withdrawing more and more from their friendships and relationships. In this case, you could say to them: “No man is an island.” This would be a way of encouraging them to maintain their relationships better, and of letting them know you’re there for them.

25 – Never let the sun go down on your anger.

What it means:

When you’re angry with a friend, family member, or other loved one, it’s important to resolve the issue as quickly as possible. 

How to use it:

Your friend is telling you that they had a fight with their significant other, and they want your advice. You may say: “Never let the sun go down on your anger,” to encourage them to resolve the issue quickly. 

26 – Happy wife, happy life.

What it means:

This is normally used jokingly. It means that it’s important to keep one’s wife happy, otherwise said wife might make your life miserable. 

How to use it:

If you’re a woman, imagine your spouse brings home a chocolate bar for you after work. You thank them for it, and they say: “Happy wife, happy life.” This means that by doing something that made you happy, everyone at home is able to live more peacefully. 

27 – The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.

What it means:

This one is often used jokingly as well. It means that the best way to win a man’s heart (or keep it) is to cook delicious food for him.

How to use it:

Women often use this proverb when talking with each other about the men in their lives. For example, one woman may be talking about a new recipe she tried that her husband liked, to which another woman may respond: “Yes, the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.”

4. Family and Friendship

A Group of Girls Hugging from Behind

Birds of a feather flock together.

Whether you’re single or in a whirlwind romance, your friends and family likely hold a huge part of your life and heart. Here are some common proverbs in English about family and friends. 


28 – Blood is thicker than water.

What it means:

Here, “blood” refers to blood relations (i.e. one’s family). The proverb means that the relationship one has with their family is more important than any other relationship they have. 

How to use it:

Your friend is talking to you about a dilemma they’re facing. They have to choose between spending a week with their family in another country, or spending that week with their significant other instead. You say: “Blood is thicker than water,” to encourage them to spend that time with their family. 

29 – Birds of a feather flock together.

What it means:

Just like birds of the same type will flock together, people with similar personalities or interests also tend to spend time with each other. 

How to use it:

Your friend says something about how much time you two spend together. You say: “Well, birds of a feather flock together.” This means that you spend so much time together because of how similar you are. 

30 – Great minds think alike.

What it means:

Often used jokingly, this proverb implies that when two or more people think the same way, it’s a sign that they have “great minds.” 

How to use it:

You and your sibling are having a conversation about something, and you both happen to say the same thing at the same time. In this case, you may say: “Great minds think alike.”

31 – The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.

What it means:

Here, the “apple” refers to a child, and the “tree” refers to that child’s parent. This proverb means that children often end up being a lot like their parents. This can be used both positively and negatively.

How to use it:

You’re telling your grandmother about how much you enjoy crocheting. Because your mother also likes to crochet, your grandmother might say: “The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.”

32 – Children are a poor man’s riches.

What it means:

Children are of great value to their parents, especially if their parents have very little. 

How to use it:

Two fathers are talking about their children, and one of them mentions how proud he is that his daughter graduated college with honors. The other father may say: “Yes, children are a poor man’s riches.”

5. Health and Beauty

A Mother and Her Young Daughter Laughing

Laughter is the best medicine.

In the United States, people tend to view health and beauty as two of the most important things a person can possess. Following is a list of English proverbs on health, beauty, and how to maintain both! 


33 – An apple a day keeps the doctor away.

What it means:

If you eat things that are good for you and live a healthy lifestyle, you won’t have to see the doctor as often. 

How to use it:

People may reference the proverb while literally eating an apple, or else, eating healthy food that will hopefully lead to good health in the long term. 

Note:

People often play around with this proverb by replacing the words “apple” and “doctor” with other words that make sense in a given context. For example: “A smile a day keeps the sadness away.”

34 – Laughter is the best medicine.

What it means:

Sometimes, nothing can make you feel better than having a good laugh.

How to use it:

Your friend seems sad, so you suggest that you watch a funny movie together, and say: “Laughter is the best medicine.”

35 – You are what you eat.

What it means:

The foods you eat on a regular basis can say a lot about you. Also, the foods you eat can affect your health.

How to use it:

Your significant other asks why you didn’t have a bowl of ice cream after dinner. You say: “You are what you eat.” This implies that you skipped eating ice cream because it’s not very good for you. 

36 – Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

What it means:

Beauty is subjective, meaning that what one person thinks is beautiful, another person may not. 

How to use it:

You’re telling your friend about a poem you thought was really beautiful, and they tell you that they didn’t like that poem very much. You say: “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.”

37 – Beauty is only skin-deep.

What it means:

Even if a person is beautiful or handsome on the outside, this doesn’t say anything about what the person is really like on the inside. 

How to use it:

Your friend is reading through a fashion magazine, and says she wishes she looked like one of the models. You might say: “Beauty is only skin-deep.”

38 – Don’t judge a book by its cover.

What it means:

This proverb means almost the same thing as the one above. You can’t really tell what a person is like (or a book, or a movie, etc.), just by looking at them. 

How to use it:

You just cooked a new recipe for dinner, but it doesn’t look very appetizing. Your significant other says so, and you reply: “Don’t judge a book by its cover.” This means that while it might not look good, it will probably taste good. 

6. Religion and Virtues

Someone Washing Their Hands with Soap and Water

Cleanliness is next to godliness.

I’ll end this list of commonly used proverbs in English with a handful of proverbs related to religion, virtues, and morals. 


39 – Cleanliness is next to godliness.

What it means:

This proverb implies that keeping yourself and your environment clean is extremely important. 

How to use it:

Your child didn’t wash their hands after using the bathroom. You ask them to go back and wash their hands, saying: “Cleanliness is next to godliness.”

40 – God helps those who help themselves.

What it means:

This proverb is mainly used in religious contexts. It means that unless you take initiative and work hard to make change yourself, you can’t expect God’s help. 

How to use it:

A distant relative of yours says that they’ve been praying for something to happen, but nothing has happened yet. You might say to them: “God helps those who help themselves.” This would encourage them to take action instead of just hoping that God will take care of the problem. 

41 – Honesty is the best policy.

What it means:

Whatever situation you’re in, it’s best to tell the truth. 

How to use it:

Imagine you’ve made a big mistake that you’re afraid you’ll get in trouble for. You confide in a friend, and they tell you: “Honesty is the best policy.” This would encourage you to be honest about your mistake with the affected party. 

42 – Practice what you preach.

What it means:

If you tell someone that they should do something or live a certain way, you should also be doing that thing or living that way. Otherwise, you’ll be a hypocrite and the person you’re “preaching” to won’t take you seriously. 

A popular equivalent is: “Take your own advice.”

How to use it:

This is normally used in a negative way. For example, imagine that a mother and her daughter got into a fight about something. The mother told her daughter not to stay up too late, but her daughter replied with: “Why don’t you practice what you preach?” This implies that if the daughter has to go to bed early, so should her mother. 

43 – Two wrongs don’t make a right.

What it means:

When someone hurts you or does something that you think is wrong, hurting that person back won’t make the situation right. 

How to use it:

You’re telling your friend that a coworker said something mean to you the other day, and that you want to say something mean in return when you get a chance. But your friend warns you: “Two wrongs don’t make a right.”

44 – Before you judge a man, walk a mile in his shoes.

What it means:

To “walk a mile in someone’s shoes” means to look at things from the other person’s perspective, and to imagine what it’s like to live life through their eyes. This proverb means that you should do this before you judge someone for their attitude or actions. 

How to use it:

You hear a family member complaining about someone they don’t like, but you know the person they’re talking about, and think your family member is being close-minded. You might say: “Before you judge a man, walk a mile in his shoes.” This would encourage your family member to look at things from the other person’s perspective.

45 – People who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.

What it means:

This one is a bit more complex.

“Throwing stones” refers to the act of stoning someone, or condemning/judging them. And a “glass house” refers to something that’s both delicate and completely see-through. 

If you live in a “glass house,” it means that your own life is completely visible to others (so they can see if you’re being hypocritical or not). And, of course, throwing stones against glass will cause the glass to shatter (just as your life can shatter if your own wrongdoings are found out). 

So this proverb means that you shouldn’t judge or condemn others so long as people can see your life and actions. It also implies that you may be in a particularly vulnerable position, and you should especially not judge when you may need to seek the mercy of others. 

How to use it:

Your friend sees someone smoking outside a restaurant, and starts complaining to you about why that person shouldn’t be smoking. But you happen to know that your friend has a problem of spending too much money. So you say: “People who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.” 

Note:

Do be careful when using this proverb, as it can easily hurt someone’s feelings or make them upset with you. There is a time and a place to use it, but be cautious and considerate of others’ feelings. 

7. Final Thoughts

I do want to end on a quick word of caution here: 

While proverbs can make your speech seem more fluent and add depth to a conversation, you shouldn’t use them too often. Proverbs are like salt: a little bit can make your meal more flavorful, but too much will cause you to gag or get sick. Use them sparingly for the best results.

I hope that with this quick guide, you have a better idea of how and when to use some of the most common English proverbs. But if there’s anything you’re uncertain about, feel free to ask us in the comments! We’ll get back to you with useful information as soon as possible. 

How many of the sayings on our English proverbs list did you know already? Which ones were new to you? Drop us a comment down below, and let us know.

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The Very Best Places to Visit in New York City

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If you plan on visiting the United States, you can’t pick a more iconic location than New York City. 

With a population of over 8 million people, NYC received over 65 million tourists in 2018! Compare this to other major U.S. cities such as Los Angeles, California (50 million tourists) or Seattle, Washington (40.9 million tourists). 

So what makes New York City such a desirable tourist destination? 

NYC is known for being welcoming to any and all visitors, and the city also has quite a diverse population. NYC is known to have the largest population of Jews outside of Israel and the largest population of native Chinese outside of Asia. In addition, roughly a quarter of all Native Americans in the U.S. reside in New York City. 

NYC also boasts a rich historical background, tons of fascinating buildings and structures, high-end restaurants and wineries, and wide-open spaces for nature-lovers in the form of public parks. 

In this article, I’ll outline the top ten places you need to experience if you’re visiting New York City for the first time, depending on the length of your trip. Let’s get started!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in English Table of Contents
  1. But Before You Go…
  2. Must-See Places for a 1-3 Day Trip
  3. Where to Go if You’re Staying Longer
  4. Bonus: Dining and Beverages
  5. Survival Phrases
  6. Final Thoughts

But Before You Go…

Before you visit New York City, make sure you’re well-prepared. Here are some travel tips and a convenient list of things you should bring with you.

Travel Tips

Someone Making Online Reservations for a Hotel

If you’re visiting New York City for the first time, there are a few things you should keep in mind before heading out on your big adventure! 

  • Plan a budget in advance. New York City can get pricey fast! Unless you happen to have a load of cash available, we recommend that you set a budget before your trip. Your budget should include things like plane tickets, taxi transportation, lodging, food, souvenir shopping, and maybe a little emergency money. 
  • Plan your trip based on the time of year. Depending on when you visit, you may have limited activity or tourism options. If you know exactly where you’d like to visit within NYC, make sure those places will be available (and practical) during your visit. 
  • Book and reserve everything you’ll need well in advance. New York City is a major tourist hotspot, and it gets crowded fast. If you wait until the last minute to get your plane tickets or hotel room, there’s a good chance you’ll be too late! By booking way in advance, you’re sure to have a much more enjoyable and smooth trip. 
  • Get a New York CityPASS (or other pass option). Like we said, NYC can get expensive. But you can definitely visit New York City on a budget using a New York CityPASS, which will help you save forty percent on several of NYC’s most popular attractions and avoid long waits in line. Of course, the New York CityPASS may not be for everyone. There are several options to choose from, so do your research before making a choice! 

What to Bring

Someone Packing Lots of Clothes for Their Upcoming Trip

Packing for any long trip can be stressful, but especially so when visiting a foreign country. Here’s a quick list of things you should bring with you to New York City:

  • Any necessary visas or travel documents
  • A bag or backpack (should be light and comfortable)
  • Good walking shoes
  • A portable charger 
  • A camera (or a cellphone with a high-quality camera)
  • An umbrella
  • Toiletries (toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, shampoo, etc.)
  • Versatile and comfortable clothing
  • Bug spray + sunscreen
  • First-aid kit
  • Cash (in case a store or restaurant doesn’t accept credit or debit cards)

Remember that the currency in the United States is the US Dollar (USD).

Weather – When is the Best Time to Visit New York City?

The weather in New York City varies throughout the year, though it’s known to be rather cloudy and drizzly year-round. Temperatures tend to be mild (25°F to 85°F, based on the time of year), so you can comfortably visit any time of year depending on your preferences. However, if you come from a warm climate, you may want to bundle up, especially during winter months. If you visit between the months of November and March, there will likely be snow. Therefore, plan your wardrobe accordingly. 

  • From early June to mid-September, NYC experiences its warmest days (usually in the high 70s). 
  • From early December to mid-March, NYC experiences its coldest days (usually below 50°F). 

You can review this information and get a more-detailed look at NYC weather on WeatherSpark.com

There are some activities in New York City that are seasonal (such as the Queens Botanical Garden), so keep this in mind while planning.

Also be sure to pack versatile clothing that you can wear in any weather condition, and dress in layers while you’re there! 

Must-See Places for a 1-3 Day Trip

If you’re going to be in New York City for a limited time (one to three days), you’ll probably want to see the most popular attractions first. Here are three major tourist attractions in New York City we highly recommend! 

Empire State Building

The Empire State Building

The Empire State Building is famous for being one of the tallest buildings in New York City. Actually, it used to be the tallest building in the world, until 1970 when the World Trade Center was built. 

To visit, you must buy tickets either online or in-person once you arrive. Tickets cost anywhere from $42 to $160, depending on how much access to the building you want. The Empire State Building is one of the priciest locations on our list, but it’s also the most popular NYC destination for tourists. 

You can visit the Empire State Building year-round and enjoy its observation decks, beautiful interior, and maybe even the exciting Annual Empire State Building Run-Up

Central Park

An Ice Rink in Central Park, New York City

Central Park opened in 1857, and today receives around 42 million visitors a year. Here’s why you should be one of them:

First of all, this may just be the most budget-friendly location on our list. It’s completely free to enter Central Park, though you’ll need to pay for food, souvenirs, and certain park activities. Inside the park, you’ll find that there’s something for everyone:

  • Kids will love the Central Park Zoo, running around in the grass, and watching the ducks in the ponds.
  • Solo travelers can enjoy a variety of activities and dining experiences.
  • Central Park is a popular place for proposals, weddings, and romantic picnics
  • The park accommodates larger-sized groups, especially for picnics! 
  • There are even “designated quiet zones” throughout the park to help you get peace and relaxation. 

Central Park can certainly be a breath of fresh air from the hustle-and-bustle of New York City. 

Statue of Liberty & Ellis Island

A Ferry Boat Going to Ellis Island, with the Statue of Liberty in the Background

The Statue of Liberty was created over the course of several years throughout the 1880s. It came to be seen as a gateway to the U.S. for immigrants on ships going to Ellis Island. If you’re interested in U.S. history or happen to be a history buff, you need to visit these two iconic locations! 

You must purchase tickets and reservations well in advance, but it’s really not too expensive. The ferry ride is just under $20 for adults, with additional charges for access to the Crown of the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Hospital Tours. 

Keep in mind that this location is not completely kid-friendly. If you’re traveling with little ones, you may have limited access to the statue and hospital tours for safety purposes. 

Where to Go if You’re Staying Longer

If you’re spending more than three days in NYC, there are several other locations you’ll have time to visit! 

Times Square

Times Square in the Evening

If you’ll be staying in New York City a little longer, you absolutely need to visit Times Square! This iconic location is where you’ll find Broadway shows, fantastic dining, and an array of seasonal events. 

Perhaps the most popular Times Square activity is the annual New Year’s Eve celebration. Times Square becomes crowded with people from around the country—and the world—who anxiously anticipate watching special celebrity performances, counting down until midnight together, and watching the famous Ball Drop! 

It’s free to enter Times Square, though activities inside the gated area may be a bit pricey. 

The Bronx Zoo

A Panda Bear in a Zoo Enclosure

If you’re traveling with kids, the Bronx Zoo is a must. 

Year-round events and educational talks, plus an astounding variety of animals, make the Bronx Zoo the perfect location for families to spend a few hours. 

Entry into the zoo is roughly $40 for adults, though you should expect to pay extra fees for parking and bringing a stroller. 

Queens Botanical Garden

The Queens Botanical Garden is a gorgeous place to take a stroll, especially if you’re fond of flowers and other plant life. But keep in mind that it’s only open part of the year, from November to March. 

It’s free to enter and enjoy! 

Museum of Modern Art

A Couple Looking at Paintings in an Art Museum

The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) features modern artwork from artists around the world. On its website, MoMA boasts a collection of over 200,000 works of art (nearly half of which are available to view online). 

Modern art isn’t for everyone, but if you’re into that kind of thing, MoMA is a must! The museum hosts fun and educational events year-round, such as workshops and lecture panels. Whether you’re traveling alone, with your significant other, or with kids, MoMA has something for everyone! 

Entry into MoMA costs roughly $25 for adults (and is free for kids under sixteen years old). 

Decaying World’s Fair Buildings

In 1964, eighty nations took part in a World Fair based in New York City. The 1964 World Fair was a time for many different peoples to come together and share with each other the most prominent aspects of their cultures. A variety of ethnic restaurants, shops, films, and statues graced the Flushing Meadows and Corona Park area of NYC. Perhaps the coolest part about this area today is the time capsule, set to be open in the year 6964! 

The area is free to visit, and it’s perfect for anyone interested in finding hidden gems. 

You can read some interesting insights on the decaying World’s Fair Buildings on Forgotten-NY.com

The High Line

The High Line is supported by a nonprofit organization in New York City.  It’s a railroad track that once supported trains carrying dairy, meat, and produce, designed in the 1930s to make for a safer West Manhattan area. 

Beginning in the 1960s, trains ran this track less and less frequently as trucking became more popular. In 1999, an order was signed to have the decaying track demolished, but New York citizens and other interested parties from around the world got involved to make sure the track was here to stay. 

Today, this tourist attraction hosts a variety of events, boasts an art collection, and possesses a lovely garden of wildflowers. In addition, you can find tasty restaurants nearby. 

It’s free to check out The High Line, but donations are always appreciated. 

Coney Island

An Amusement Park with a Cotton Candy stand and Ferris Wheel

Coney Island is one of the most iconic locations, not only in New York City, but in the United States as a whole. This area has a long history, having been colonized by the Dutch in the seventeenth century and being the source of several land-related disputes since then.

In the 1800s, Coney Island was transformed into an amusement park with numerous rides and amenities. By the late 1800s, it was the largest amusement in the U.S.

Today, Coney Island consists of two parks and a number of independently-owned rides and amenities. Coney Island USA, a nonprofit organization, hosts a variety of events here year-round. The most notable of these may be the Coney Island Mermaid Parade.

Bonus: Dining and Beverages

A Reserved Table Laid Out at a Nice Restaurant

New York City has plenty of fantastic places to dine! However, there are three places in particular we recommend you visit.


Delmonico’s

Delmonico’s was the first fine-dining restaurant in the United States, created in 1837. This steakhouse features a variety of top-notch meals, wines, and desserts, and it’s so fancy you need to wear business casual attire to enter! 

Delmonico’s is a bit pricey, but depending on your budget, we think it’s totally worth it for the experience. This is one of the most famous restaurants to visit in New York City, and one of the most iconic. 

Lombardi’s

While in NYC, you have to try NYC-style pizza! And there’s no better place than in the United States’ first-ever pizzeria, Lombardi’s

Lombardi’s is a little less expensive than Delmonico’s and has several locations, so wherever your NYC travels take you, you’ll be sure to find one close by. 

Astor Wine & Spirits

Are you a wine connoisseur? Or maybe you just enjoy a good beer now and then? 

Then we highly recommend you visit Astor Wine & Spirits during your visit. This eco-friendly business, created in 1886, offers free wine and spirit tastings on an ongoing basis. You can purchase bottles of the wine you taste at a 20% discount (and a 10% discount for other drinks you taste). Perfect for relaxing in your hotel room after a long day of roaming NYC. 

Did I mention they even sell sake

Survival Phrases 

Here are the most important phrases you should know before your trip!

1 – Greetings

A Woman in a Tank Top Waving Hi to Someone

Hello.Say this when you first meet someone.
Good morning / afternoon / evening.Say this when first meeting someone, depending on the time of day.
Nice to meet you.This is a polite phrase to use when someone introduces themself to you.
My name is ___.This is how you can introduce yourself. Simply fill in the blank with your name.
Goodbye. Say this when the conversation ends, right before parting ways. 

Learn how to say Hello, Introduce Yourself, and say Goodbye in English! 

2 – Transportation

A Subway Station in Manhattan, NYC

Where is the bus / train station?Ask someone this to learn where the nearest bus or train station is. 
When does the next bus / train arrive?Ask someone this to learn when to expect the bus or train.
Does the bus / train go to ___?Ask someone this to learn if the bus or train will go to your destination.
How much is a ticket to ___?Ask this to the ticketmaster to learn the price of a ticket to your destination.
A ticket to ___, please.Say this to order a ticket. 

Here’s a more comprehensive list of Phrases You’ll Need at the Bus or Train Station

3 – At a Hotel

A Large Suite in a Hotel

I have a reservation.Say this to the hotel clerk at the front desk if you’ve already booked a room.
What is your availability?Ask the hotel clerk this to learn what rooms are available.
I would like to book a room.Say this to the hotel clerk if you haven’t booked a room yet, and would like to do so.
What time is breakfast?Ask the hotel clerk this to learn what time the hotel’s breakfast is. 
Do you have Wifi?Ask the hotel clerk this to learn whether or not the hotel offers free Wifi.
What is the Wifi password?If so, you can ask the clerk this for the Wifi password.

Also see our vocabulary list of useful Hotel words you should know!

4 – Shopping

A Woman Asking a Store Clerk if She Can Try on a Yellow Dress

How much is ___?Ask a store clerk this to learn how much something is (assuming the price isn’t obvious). 
Do you accept ___?Ask a store clerk this to learn if they accept a certain payment method. For example:

Do you accept credit cards?

Or:

Do you accept cash?
Do you have ___?Ask a store clerk this to learn if the store has something specific you’re looking for. For example:

Do you have a bigger size?

Or:

Do you have any purses?
I like this. / I don’t like this.Use this phrase to let the store clerk (or your shopping buddy!) know that you do or do not like something.
I would like this. Use this phrase to let the stork clerk know that you would like to purchase an item.

Do you think you’ll need more Shopping vocabulary? Check out our vocabulary list! 

5 – Asking for Directions

A Woman Giving a Man Directions

Where is ___?Use this phrase to ask someone where something is.
For example:

Where is the hospital?

Or:

Where is the Museum of Modern Art
How can I get to ___?Use this phrase to ask for more specific directions to a location.
How far away is ___?Use this phrase to ask how far away something is from you.
For example:

How far away is Delmonico’s?

Or:

How far away is the nearest bus stop?
Is ___ close or far from here?Use this phrase to ask whether a location is nearby or far away from you.

Check out our vocabulary lists of helpful Direction / Position words so you can understand the answers you get! 

6 – Essential Questions

Two Women Chatting on the Bus

Do you speak ___?Use this phrase to ask if someone speaks a certain language. For example:
Do you speak Spanish?

Or:

Do you speak Indonesian?
Can you help me, please?Use this phrase to ask someone for help in a polite way.
Where is the bathroom?Use this phrase to ask someone where the bathroom is. 
Can you say that again?Use this phrase to ask someone to repeat what they said if you didn’t hear or understand them.
Can you write that down?Use this phrase to ask someone to write something down for you. 
What is this called?Use this phrase to ask someone what something is called if you’re not sure.

You may also find the following vocabulary lists helpful as you make your way through NYC:


Final Thoughts

Which NYC location sounds the most fun to you, and why? Let us know in the comments! 

We hope our guide on the best places to visit in New York City was helpful to you, and that you have a good idea of what to expect. 

If there’s any way we can be of more help to you before your visit, let us know. But in the meantime, you may find these pages on EnglishClass101.com useful: 

May you have safe travels and a wonderful adventure!

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An English Learner’s Guide to American Culture

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As an individualistic country that’s home to people of numerous cultures, the United States has not one cultural identity, but many. 

Learning about American culture, values, and lifestyle is a great way to immerse yourself in the English language. Whether you’re just curious about what life in the United States looks like, or you plan on moving to the country soon, the information in this article will help you better understand what to expect. 

You’ll learn about a variety of topics, from religion to food, and walk away with a clearer image of the American culture basics. 

Let’s get started.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in English Table of Contents
  1. Values and Beliefs
  2. Religion in the United States
  3. What is an American Family?
  4. American Work Culture
  5. Art: The Gateway to Self-Expression
  6. Food
  7. Traditional Holidays
  8. Final Thoughts

1. Values and Beliefs

The American Flag

Every country was built upon values and beliefs that define it. There are many values that Americans hold near to their hearts, so, here, I’ll outline the most prevalent ones.

Keep in mind that while these are American ideals, the United States is a melting pot of cultures, religions, and ideologies. As such, these basic values of American culture may be experienced differently from person to person.

IndividualismAmericans take pride in being unique individuals. In addition, we tend to focus our attention on personal happiness and satisfaction, as opposed to what’s better for others. 
IndependenceThis applies to the country as a whole, and to individual Americans. As a country, America strives to be independent from other countries; as a people, Americans value independence in other areas of life (such as caring for one’s own needs).
DemocracyDemocracy is a cornerstone of American culture. In a democracy, people vote for representatives who will work for the people. In our democracy, everyone over the age of eighteen is allowed to vote, and the majority wins. 
JusticeJustice means that people get what they deserve. If someone does good, they should be rewarded. If they do wrong or commit a crime, they should be punished according to that injustice or crime. 
EqualityThough America has had a rocky past in terms of equality, this is a value that’s becoming more and more prevalent in the country. We believe that every person, regardless of race, sex, age, or any other factor, should be treated with the same dignity and respect as anyone else.
CompetitionAmericans are very competitive. Our schools and workplaces are practically built around competition, with those who work the hardest, get the best grades, and put in the most time, are rewarded with honors or higher positions. 
CapitalismCapitalism is an economic system that promotes personal wealth accumulation, the owning of private property, and an individual’s ability to attain more wealth and belongings.
YouthIn the United States, it seems that everyone is obsessed with youth—that is, the ability to look and feel young and healthy. Some people spend a lot of money on makeup, lotions, medications, cosmetic surgeries, and special foods or vitamins that they think will help them achieve this. 
Self-expressionThis is sort of a step further than individualism. Americans, especially the younger generations, think of self-expression as a thing to be cherished and taken full advantage of. They often express themselves through the clothes they wear and the opinions they give.

Want to learn more about American culture and society? See our lesson on the Top Five Things You Need to Know About American Society

2. Religion in the United States

An Old Man with Glasses Reading the Bible

The United States is a country founded on the principle of religious freedom. This gives U.S. citizens the freedom to believe any religion (or no religion) and to worship according to their beliefs. As such, the United States doesn’t identify with a single religion, and you’ll find people of just about any religion here! 

That said, Christianity is the most prominent religion in the United States. Just under half of U.S. citizens identify as Protestant Christians, and around twenty percent identify as Catholic. There are also plenty of Christians who don’t identify with a single denomination (non-denominational) or who belong to a smaller subset of Christianity. 

Because the United States is such a melting pot of peoples and cultures, there are also many people who identify as Hindu, Buddhist, Jewish, Islamic, Mormon, and a handful of other religions.

Lately, there’s been a growing trend toward atheism (no belief in a god or gods) and agnosticism (the doubt that a god or gods exist). This is especially true of the younger generations, generally those under the age of thirty. 

In American culture, religion is a common topic of discussion and many people see their religion as part of their identity. You can read more about the religious demographics of the United States on WorldAtlas.com.  

3. What is an American Family?

A Family at a Park Flying a Kite Together

The average nuclear family.

Over the years, what a “typical” family looks like has evolved. Several decades ago, the average family was labeled the “nuclear family,” consisting of a father, a mother, and their children. 

Recently, there are more and more families across the United States that don’t look like this. This is due to a number of factors, including:

  • Higher divorce rates
  • Fewer couples having children (or having fewer children)
  • An increase in single-parenting (where one mother or one father raises their children alone)

In light of these changes, there’s also been an increasing trend toward “step families.” This happens when a couple with children divorces, and one or both of the divorced parents remarries. Children in situations like this receive a “stepparent” (the new spouse of their biological parent), as well as step-siblings (if the new spouse also had children from a previous relationship). 

In addition, the United States is becoming more and more open to what families, romantic relationships, and marriages should look like: 

  • Many couples in the U.S. choose to live together before they marry. 
  • Some couples choose not to marry at all.
  • LGBTQ marriages and civil unions are largely accepted in thirty-seven states.

In the United States, gender roles are quite flexible, and becoming even more flexible over time. There are plenty of working women and men who stay at home to take care of the children (though the latter is less common). In many households, both the man and woman work. 

Children in the U.S. are expected to attend school. The ages that a child must attend school varies from one state to another, but it’s generally from the ages of seven to eighteen. Educational opportunities vary. Most children attend public or private schools. Some private schools have a religious affiliation, but not all. Some children are even homeschooled (taught at home, usually by a parent), although specific regulations regarding home schooling vary from state to state. 


4. American Work Culture

A Bunch of People Working at Computers in an Office

There’s no single type of work atmosphere in the United States, though most companies and workplaces do share a few things in common:

  • There’s generally a clear structure of hierarchy.
  • It’s important to be punctual for all work-related activities.
  • Formality levels and dress codes vary greatly depending on the company/workplace. 

Americans often feel that their job should be fulfilling, and many also believe that their work defines who they are. Perhaps this is why many Americans, especially the younger generations, tend to change jobs often

In addition, many Americans feel the need for achievement and competition in their work. The American workplace practically revolves around competition, especially in larger companies. Coworkers may try to outdo each other in work performance or put in extra hours to impress their superiors. This is usually done in hopes of getting a promotion or a raise in their salary.

But despite the competitive nature of work in the United States, most Americans agree that work isn’t everything. We definitely enjoy our time off! Whether this means going out with friends after a long day, staying at home with a glass of wine in the evening, or planning fun weekend activities with family, Americans highly value relaxation and entertainment.

That said, the United States is surprisingly behind the rest of the world in terms of vacation days and paid time off. Only three-quarters of employers offer their employees vacation days, and those that do, don’t offer nearly as many as employers in other countries do! Generally, American workers are allowed more days off per year the more years they’ve worked at a particular company (starting with ten days off after one year).


5. Art: The Gateway to Self-Expression

Perhaps due to our love of self-expression, Americans tend to enjoy many different types of art. Here, I’ll outline what you should know about various artforms in the United States.

A- Painting

A Paint Brush and Different Colored Paints

In the eighteenth century, paintings in colonial America were largely influenced by British painters and aesthetics. During this time, most artists were self-taught and their work usually illustrated historical and religious subjects. 

Painters in the nineteenth century began focusing more on rural scenes as the United States underwent exploration and expansion. In the later years of this century, American artists received influence from French artists, particularly in the form of Impressionism.

The twentieth century saw Realism and controversy find its way into American paintings. At this point in time, American artists began to turn their back on what was considered the “right” way of making art, and individuality began to emerge during this era’s paintings. One of the most famous paintings from this time is called American Gothic by Grant Wood. This century was also a time of growth and change in the country itself, and made way for abstract art and art by African Americans

Today, there’s no one style of art that’s considered the best or most popular. This falls in line with the American culture of individualism, and is thought to be the result of cultural pluralism.

You can read a more detailed review of art in the United States on Wikipedia

B- Literature

A Librarian Putting Books Back on a Shelf

The United States has a rich literary history, and it’s become a melting pot of literary styles, tastes, and voices. I can’t cover everything, but I’ll outline the basics for you. 

Most Famous American Writers of the Past

Most Famous WorksAdditional Notes
Benjamin Franklin
(1706-1790)
Poor Richard’s Almanack
Father Abraham’s Sermon
The Way to Wealth
He often wrote under the pseudonym Richard Saunders.

Many popular modern-day adages are attributed to him. 
Edgar Allen Poe
(1809-1849)
The Raven
The Tell-Tale Heart
The Fall of the House of Usher
He wrote mostly poetry and short stories.

Poe is known for his dark, psychological, and often grotesque writing style and themes.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
(1803-1882)
Divinity School AddressEmerson is known for his strong transcendental themes and philosophies. 
Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens)
(1835-1910)
Old Times on the Mississippi
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
His real name was Samuel Clemens, but he wrote under the pseudonym Mark Twain.

Twain’s work was both highly controversial and well-admired. 

He often used elements of humor in his writings about darker topics.
Ernest Hemingway
(1899-1961)
The Old Man and the Sea
The Sun Also Rises
A Farewell to Arms
Hemingway wrote using a style he coined the “iceberg theory.”

Much of his writing focused on naturalism and gender issues.
F. Scott Fitzgerald
(1896-1940)
The Great Gatsby
This Side of Paradise
Tender is the Night
Fitzgerald’s work largely covered the Jazz Age of the U.S.

Many people call his book, The Great Gatsby, “The Great American Novel.”
John Steinbeck
(1902-1968)
Of Mice and Men
The Grapes of Wrath
Tortilla Flat
Steinbeck won a Nobel Prize in 1962. 

His work has been described as “imaginative” and “socially perceptive.”
Harper Lee
(1926-2016)
To Kill a Mockingbird
Go Set a Watchman
Lee won the Pulitzer Prize for her novel To Kill a Mockingbird in 1961. 

In 2015, the novel’s sequel Go Set a Watchman was published. Later, it was found to actually be the first draft of To Kill a Mockingbird.

Famous Poets

Most Famous WorksAdditional Notes
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
(1807-1882)
Paul Revere’s Ride
The Song of Hiawatha
Evangeline
The Courtship of Miles Standish
Longfellow was a member of The Fireside Poets, a group of poets who gained much popularity and associated themselves with New England.

He translated Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri.

His poetry was both lyrical and versatile.
Emily Dickinson
(1830-1886)
The Poems of Emily Dickinson
(poetry collection, 1955)
Most of Dickinson’s work wasn’t published until after her death. 

Her poetry often employed the use of dashes and capital letters. 

Much of her work focused on the concept of death.
Walt Whitman
(1819-1892)
Leaves of Grass (poetry collection, 1855)
Song of Myself
Whitman was known for writing very sensual poetry.

Much of his work employed free verse and cadence. 

Leaves of Grass wasn’t published until after his death, because he revised it continuously until then.

American Literature Today

In the United States, reading tastes vary greatly from person to person. A few popular genres include:

  • Mystery / Crime
  • Sci-fi / Fantasy
  • Horror
  • Romance
  • Historical Fiction
  • Action / Adventure
  • Classic Literature

Popular names today include Stephen King, James Patterson, J.K. Rowling, Ray Bradbury, Danielle Steel, Dean Koontz, and Nora Roberts. And you can’t forget the fantasy giants J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis, whose works are much-beloved even today. 

C- Music

An Ameteur Rock Band Playing in a Garage

Like in its other artistic endeavors, American music is not bound by a single element or genre. Globalization has added to the United States’s melting pot of musical styles, and one can find just about any type of music being played on the radio, on music streaming sites, or even on the streets. 

Some of the most popular music genres in the United States include:

  • Rock 
  • Classic Rock
  • Pop
  • Country
  • Rap
  • Hip-Hop

Other genres include, but are not limited to:

  • Folk
  • Metal
  • Classical
  • Opera
  • Blues
  • Reggae
  • Indie/Alt Rock
  • Jazz

It’s not uncommon to find today’s artists mixing different musical genres to create more unique sounds, and to better express a point they’re trying to make or feelings they want to express. 

In the U.S., younger generations have also developed quite a liking for K-Pop music, and other types of music from other cultures! 

D- Architecture

A Series of Skyscrapers in Los Angeles, California

American architecture tends to be innovative, and there’s no one style that defines it. 

Our architecture draws influence from a number of other cultures and time periods, most notably European, English, Spanish, and Greek. 

Perhaps above all else, the United States is known for creating the first skyscraper. This building was called the Home Insurance Building, and it was built in Chicago in the mid-1880s. At 138 feet tall, this building led the way for the creation of even taller, more impressive skyscrapers in the United States and around the world.

Some famous buildings in the United States include:

You can read more about these buildings and their creators on MentalFloss.com! 

E- Body Art / Self-Expression

A Woman with an Arm Tattoo and Nose Piercing Crossing Her Arms and Smiling

Self-expression and individuality are core characteristics of American culture. Today, many people—especially the younger generations—tend to express their individuality through body art. 

Body art is a fairly vague term, but it refers to using one’s body as a way of reflecting who they are and what they feel. Tattoos, body piercings, hairstyles and colors, and clothing choices are just a handful of ways that Americans typically do this. 

The concept of body art has become so popular in the United States that there are even body art competitions on TV

A cultural tip: If you’ve never been to the United States before, and you’re from a culture that doesn’t prioritize individualism in the same way the US does, you may experience some culture shock. And that’s okay. Just remember that in the United States, it’s generally considered rude to stare, point, or call someone out for dressing or looking a certain way. 

6. Food

A Hamburger on a Sesame Seed Bun

Like every other aspect of U.S. culture, our cuisine consists of elements from a variety of cultures and countries. A lot of our foods are dishes that have been adapted from other cultures, or “Americanized.”

One notable feature of American food culture is our love for fast food! Americans tend to keep busy and don’t like “wasting” time waiting on food to be prepared (or cooking it themselves), especially around lunchtime. Whether grabbing a breakfast burrito through the McDonald’s drive-thru before work, heading to Burger King for a quick lunch, or getting a Popeye’s chicken sandwich over the weekend, you can see Americans going through drive-thrus all day, every day! It’s cheap, fast, and addicting. 

Perhaps the only thing we love more than a quick bite to eat is actually sitting down in a nice restaurant and having someone cook for us. This is a bit pricier, but the quality and dining experience are worth it! 😉 

Of course, it’s still fairly common for families and individuals to cook and eat at home, especially for dinner on weekdays. 

Some of the most popular American foods include burgers, hot dogs, apple pie, and chocolate chip cookies. Many Americans also enjoy a variety of drinks and beverages with their meals; some of the most popular options are soft drinks, fruit juices or other fruit-flavored drinks, and alcoholic beverages (wine and beer, especially). In the morning, many Americans love a cup (or seven) of coffee, and some people consume milk or other dairy products with breakfast as well. 

You can read more detailed information about current U.S. eating trends on this official government website


7. Traditional Holidays

In the United States, we celebrate lots of holidays, both religious and non-religious. 

A- Religious

As mentioned earlier, most Americans identify as Christian, so two of our biggest holidays are associated with Christianity. These are Christmas and Easter, both of which are also celebrated secularly. 

Christmas

A Warm Christmas Scene with a Christmas Tree and Fireplace

Christians celebrate Christmas as the day that Jesus was born. Popular activities include going to a Christmas Eve service the evening before, reading Bible stories associated with Jesus’s birth, and giving gifts to family members and other loved ones. 

In addition, many families will put up a Christmas tree in their home a couple of weeks before the holiday and decorate it with ornaments, tensile, and sometimes a star or angel on top. Around Christmastime, you can expect to see people’s yards decorated with things like inflatable snowmen and Christmas lights. All of the radio stations will play nonstop Christmas music and carols, and companies do a lot of marketing around this time. 

Most U.S. children are told the story of Santa Claus, and they wait all year long to receive presents from him on Christmas Day (if they’ve been good all year, that is). 

Many families will have a special Christmas dinner, prepare seasonal desserts, and invite extended family over to celebrate the holiday together. 


Easter

An Easter Image with Green Grass, Easter Eggs, and a Rabbit

Easter is celebrated as the day that Jesus was resurrected three days after his crucifixion. It’s common for there to be a sunrise service on this day, during which Christians hold a service outdoors, sing worship songs, and read Bible passages related to Jesus’s resurrection. 

For some, Easter is strictly a religious holiday. For others, Easter is celebrated separately from specific religious practice. 

Other activities include painting eggs, putting candy or money inside of plastic eggs and hiding them for children to find, and simply enjoying the spring weather. 

The Easter Bunny is a fictional character associated with Easter, and children believe that this character is the one who hides the eggs. 


B- Non-Religious

There are plenty of non-religious and secular holidays in the United States as well. These include, but aren’t limited to:

Halloween (October 31)

A Group of Children Dressed in Costumes and Trick-or-treating

Halloween originates from a pagan holiday that used to take place around the same time. 

On this day, many children dress up in costumes (usually scary, but sometimes cute or ones that look like a favorite superhero/character). On Halloween night, they walk around their neighborhood, knock on people’s doors, and say “Trick or Treat” to get candy or small toys. 

People like to decorate their homes and yards with things that are spooky, such as fake spiderwebs, jack-o-lanterns, and witches or zombies that can talk and move. Oftentimes, local community centers or libraries will hold special Halloween events for kids and adults. 


Independence Day (July 4)

A Sparkler in Front of the U.S. Flag

This is the date in 1776 that the United States gained independence from Great Britain. 

Americans often celebrate this day by hanging the American Flag, having barbeques with friends and family, and watching firework displays that night. In some places, people are allowed to buy their own fireworks to set off, in addition to sparklers and similar products. 

    → Learn more about the Fourth of July in this blog post, and pick up some relevant vocab while you’re at it!

Thanksgiving (Fourth Thursday of November)

A Family Eating Thanksgiving Dinner

On Thanksgiving, Americans are encouraged to be grateful for what they have. 

On this day, Americans prepare a large Thanksgiving dinner and eat with family or friends. Sometimes, families with young children will have everyone at the table take turns saying what they’re most grateful for. 

New Year’s Eve (December 31)

Four Glasses of Champagne behind a Clock

On New Year’s Eve, Americans prepare for the New Year. 

We stay up late that night, until midnight or later, usually at a special New Year’s party or with family. Americans often indulge in champagne and other alcoholic beverages to celebrate, and the celebrations reach their peak right at midnight. 

In New York, many people gather to watch the famous Ball Drop (and people who couldn’t make it to New York may watch it on the television). 


Memorial Day (Last Monday of May)

A Small American Flag in Front of a Veteran’s Tombstone

On Memorial Day, Americans remember those who lost their lives in service to their country. 

Many people visit the graves of loved ones who have died, and place flowers on or around their tombstone. In addition, families may gather together in remembrance of departed loved ones, and there are honorary parades in some cities.

Super Bowl Sunday (Early February)

Football Players Tackling Each Other

Super Bowl Sunday is all about American football! 

This is when the NFL (National Football League) holds its annual championship football game. On this day, family and friends often get together at home to watch the game on TV. People eat on this day like they do on Thanksgiving! Popular foods on Superbowl Sunday include buffalo wings, chips and dip (especially guacamole), nachos, beer, and soft drinks. 

8. Final Thoughts

American culture and traditions are not easily defined, as you can probably tell by now. Due to the strong presence of individualism, every person you encounter will have their own set of values, beliefs, preferences, and experiences. 

How does American culture compare to your country? Share your thoughts with us in the comments, and see what your fellow English-learners have to say! 

We only scratched the surface here, and there’s a lot more to learn about American culture and lifestyle. Luckily, EnglishClass101.com caters to your curiosity with hundreds of fun, accessible lessons. Create your free lifetime account today, and start learning English like never before with our audio and video lessons, free vocabulary lists, and insightful blog posts like this one. 

We hope to see you around. 😉

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The Best American Food: All of the Dishes You Have to Try!

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According to Reference.com, Americans eat thirteen billion hamburgers every year, about 3 billion pizzas, and 2 million tons of french fries. Holy moly. 

In the United States, we really do love our American fast food (and our Mexican fast food, Chinese fast food, and all other types of fast foods…). 

That said, not all typical American food is super-unhealthy or purchased at a drive-thru window. American food culture is rather versatile, including a mix of all-American classics, meals passed along from Great Britain, and even traditional foods from other cultures. 

Exploring a country’s food and eating habits is a fantastic way to learn about that country and its people. In this article, I’ll introduce you to:

  • Several popular American foods
  • Foods that are hard to find outside the United States
  • Useful food-related vocab
  • Three American recipes to make at home

Let’s get started.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Let's Cook in English Table of Contents
  1. Must-Try Dishes in U.S. Restaurants
  2. Overseas vs. Authentic U.S. Food
  3. Unique U.S. Cuisine
  4. Food-Related Vocabulary
  5. Bonus: American Food Recipes You Can Make at Home
  6. Final Thoughts

1. Must-Try Dishes in U.S. Restaurants

Trying out new restaurants is my favorite part of traveling, How about you? In the following sections, I’ll show you a few of the most famous American foods you should try during your travels in the U.S. 

A- Breakfast

There are so many American breakfast foods that I couldn’t possibly list them all here. While it’s true that many Americans skip breakfast altogether or eat a simple bowl of cereal, there are three breakfast dishes that you need to try during your visit! 

Biscuits & Gravy

Biscuits and Sausage Gravy

I grew up eating my grandma’s biscuits & gravy recipe, so I had to include this one. It’s breakfast comfort food at its finest. 

Biscuits & gravy (sometimes called gravy & biscuits) is exactly what it sounds like: biscuits with gravy. The biscuits can be made from scratch, though they can also be the kind you pop out of a can and put in the oven. The gravy is usually a thick, creamy combination of flour, milk, some kind of animal fat, and meat (sausage is the most popular). 

Biscuits & gravy is especially popular in the southern United States, so do be sure to order this dish while eating out in the southern U.S. Just about any cafe or breakfast chain should have this on the menu.

Eggs & Bacon 

Eggs and Bacon with Sausage, Hash Browns, and Toast

This is another classic American breakfast dish, also named after its sole components. Generally, the eggs are either fried or scrambled, and the bacon is fried in a pan. Growing up, I always ate this breakfast with the eggs fried in bacon fat (very unhealthy, but so good). 

From my personal experience, “eggs & bacon” usually comes with other sides. These can vary based on where you are, but toast, grits, and fresh fruit are common. 

I recommend this dish because it’s simply an American staple and so tasty. 

Chicken & Waffles

Chicken and Waffles

This is another popular breakfast item in the south (though it can also be eaten for lunch or dinner). As this recipe continues to grow in popularity throughout the United States, one can find many variations of it. 

Traditionally, the dish, known as “chicken & waffles,” consists of fried chicken, waffles, and maple syrup. Some varieties are made with grilled chicken, a chicken salad mixture, and different kinds of waffles. 

I recommend this dish because of its growing status in the United States, and its increasing availability in breakfast chains across the country. 

B- Lunch / Dinner

Food palates, eating habits, and local ingredients vary widely from one area of the U.S. to another. For this reason, I struggled to keep this list short. Following are some examples of lunch- and dinner-time American food items you need to try next time you’re at a restaurant! 

Cobb Salad

Cobb Salad
Photo by Elizabeth under CC BY 2.0

The Cobb salad is a classic American dish, dating back to the 1920s or 1930s. This is a salad that’s generally made with four types of salad greens, tomatoes, bacon, hard-boiled egg, chicken, and cheese (usually Roquefort). 

I recommend this dish because it’s a semi-healthy American food classic, super-tasty, and something you probably won’t find outside the United States. Give it a try (and learn how to make it yourself at the end of this article)! 

Pizza

New York Pizza

While pizza is not “classic” American food, the United States does have two very unique takes on this dish: New York-style pizza and Chicago-style pizza.

The New York version is quite similar to the traditional Italian version, with a thin but wide crust, a little tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese, and sometimes additional ingredients. 

The Chicago version, on the other hand, is very different. It comes in a few different varieties, but its most defining feature is a very thick crust. There are a few different types known as “deep-dish,” “stuffed,” and “party-cut thin-crust.”

Of course, you can always order a simpler pizza from American food chains like Domino’s or Pizza Hut, both of which you can find just about anywhere in the country. 

If you’re surprised at how many pizza varieties the United States has, it’s simply because of our long-time love affair with pizza…

Philly Cheesesteak

The Philly Cheesesteak (also called the Philadelphia cheesesteak), is an all-American sandwich that originated in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in the 1930s. The main ingredients in this dish are beef, onion, and cheese, put on some sandwich bread. 

This is a fantastic comfort food, especially if you want some decent American fast food. You can generally order the philly cheesesteak in different varieties, such as one made with chicken instead of beef; there’s even a vegan version. 

Fish Tacos

Fish tacos are most popular in the state of California, so if you plan on visiting Cali, do try its famous fish tacos. 

The content of a fish taco can vary, though it’s generally some kind of fried, breaded white fish topped with cabbage and a special sauce, placed in a corn tortilla. As far as American food goes, fish tacos are actually pretty healthy. 😉

BBQ

A BBQ with Meat and Veggies

Though BBQ is not uniquely American, we do have our own barbeque varieties, and many American neighborhoods smell of barbeque during summer…

The kind of barbeque you can expect to find depends on where in the United States you are. Each region, and each state, has its own special varieties. Generally, a barbeque meal consists of meat (usually pork or beef), which is cooked with smoke from a grill and served (or prepared) with special seasonings or sauces. 

Clam Chowder

New England Clam Chowder

There are several varieties of clam chowder in the United States, though the two most popular are New England clam chowder and Manhattan clam chowder. 

The New England variety is often a thick chowder made with milk or cream, and also contains potatoes, clam meat, and onions. The Manhattan variety is quite different, having a tomato base; it’s thought to have been the creation of Portuguese immigrants in the U.S. 

C- Dessert

When on vacation, you can’t skip the dessert. Here are three of the most popular and widespread American desserts. 

Apple Pie

Apple Pie with a Slice Taken Out

Apple pie is considered the most American food out there (even though it originated in Britain…), so it’s a must. 

Generally, an apple pie consists of a handmade pie crust, in which there’s a sweet apple compote, sometimes with cinnamon and brown sugar. It’s served warm, and more often than not, with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top.  

Banana Split

A Banana Split

The banana split is a classic dessert, enjoyed by Americans for many, many years. Despite its simplicity, it never fails to amaze the taste buds! 

A banana split is usually served in a long dessert dish. One or two bananas are split in half, placed in the dish, and covered with scoops of ice cream and other toppings. If you’re into cold, creamy desserts, do try a banana split! (Learn how to make one at home at the end of this article.)

Cheesecake

Cheesecake with Raspberry Topping

Not everyone likes cheesecake, but you should definitely give it a try. 

Despite its name, cheesecake is actually more similar to a pie in appearance. It usually has a soft, crumbly crust, and a sweet-sour creamy filling. I don’t know what to compare it to, because it has such a unique flavor and texture. Served cool, it’s very refreshing during the spring and summer! 

2. Overseas vs. Authentic U.S. Food 

It’s no secret that many “American” foods are not purely American. The United States is well-known for snatching recipes and food ideas from other countries, though some of these “overseas” foods were slowly integrated into American culture over time. 

I will note that many “American” foods actually originated from England, and came to the Americas as Europeans began to settle in the present-day U.S. So some foods that even Americans consider authentic may actually have origins in England! 

Below are two lists of food: those brought to America from other countries (mentioned in parentheses), and those that are generally considered authentically American. 

A- Overseas Food

  • Burritos / Tacos (Mexico)
    • Americans love Mexican food! We’ve Americanized a lot of it, and we eat it all the time
  • Hot Dogs / Burgers (Germany)
    • Two of the most American foods are actually thought to have originated in Germany…
  • Pizza (Italy)
  • Fried Chicken (Scotland)
    • Considering the vast number of fast food chains dedicated to making the best fried chicken, it’s a bit disappointing to learn that our fried chicken likely originated from Scotland (and not the  state of Kentucky). 

B- Authentic Food

Here’s a breakdown of four very popular and well-loved foods that are (supposedly) all-American. 

Meatloaf

It’s a loaf of meat. Usually, ground beef (or turkey) is combined with onions, tomato, and savory spices. Then, it’s placed in a loaf pan (usually used for bread), baked in the oven, and served in slices with various sides. 

Macaroni & cheese

Lovingly called “mac & cheese” or “mac ’n’ cheese,” this is made with macaroni noodles, a variety of cheeses, and sometimes additional ingredients. The ingredients are put in a casserole dish, baked in the oven, and served. 

‘Smores

The word “s’more” (sometimes spelled “smore”) refers to the fact that you’ll always want “some more.” 

S’mores are usually made outdoors, often when camping. A marshmallow (roasted over an open fire until golden-brown or burnt) is placed on a graham cracker, topped with some chocolate, and then eaten like a sandwich with another graham cracker on top. 

Chocolate chip cookies

Chocolate chip cookies are made by mixing flour, sugar, butter, egg, vanilla, baking soda, and chocolate chips together in a bowl, laying out individual portions of the mix onto a baking sheet, and baking them until they achieve the desired consistency. An American favorite. 

3. Unique U.S. Cuisine

Bourbon

Bourbon in a Glass Next to a Pitcher

Bourbon is an authentically American whiskey, originating around the nineteenth century. While its origins are murky, the state of Kentucky is often credited as being where bourbon originated. 

This type of whiskey is bottled and sold at around forty percent alcohol by volume, and is used both for drinking and cooking (usually in BBQ dishes).

It is exported to other countries, though much of it remains in the United States.

Cream Cheese

A Bagel Smeared with Cream Cheese

Cream cheese is a favorite condiment to some Americans (and a least favorite to others). We often spread cream cheese over bagels and sometimes use it when cooking or baking creamy dishes. 

Technically, cream cheese originated in Europe, though the United States was the first country to begin its mass production. 

Peanut Butter

A Jar of Peanut Butter Surrounded by Peanuts

I just found out that most countries don’t have peanut butter readily available. I can’t even imagine, because peanut butter is such an American staple. 

Peanut butter is a semi-creamy, semi-solid substance that’s generally made using peanuts and certain oils. 

We use it to make peanut butter & jelly sandwiches and peanut butter cookies, we eat it by the spoonful, and it’s the best part of a Reese’s peanut butter cup.

Thanksgiving Dinner

A Typical Thanksgiving Table

While this isn’t a single food, and you can find most of the basic Thanksgiving foods in other countries, the entirety of the average Thanksgiving dinner is uniquely American. 

Popular food items for Thanksgiving dinner include:

  • Turkey + Ham (usually roasted whole and then sliced)
  • Mashed potatoes
  • Twice-baked potatoes
  • Deviled eggs
  • Green beans (or green bean casserole)
  • Beans
  • Bread rolls
  • Sweet potato casserole 
  • Ambrosia (fruit salad)
  • Pie of all kinds (apple, pumpkin, pecan, berry, chocolate)
  • Alcoholic beverages of all kinds
  • Other “odd” dishes and desserts

This is just what I could think of off the top of my head! I’m sure there’s more.

Check out our list of Words for Thanksgiving Day in the United States to learn more food names and other useful words! 

Do you have any major feasts in your country? If so, what are the most popular foods eaten for these feasts? Let us know in the comments! 

4. Food-Related Vocabulary

A- Describing Food

Grilled Chicken Breasts with Veggies

This chicken is fantastic!

Here are some common words we use to describe food, from taste to texture! 

DefinitionIn a Sentence
SweetTasting of sugarBanana splits are sweet.
SaltyContaining much salt; tasting of saltI thought the fish was too salty.
SavoryContaining many flavors, usually complexI would like a savory steak for dinner.
RichHaving a strong flavor or textureThe cake was a little bit too rich
BlandHaving a weak flavor or texture; flavorlessIt’s bland; add more salt next time.
CreamyHaving a smooth, silky, or milky texture; containing creamThe sauce is really creamy.
SmoothNot crunchy; lacking rough or crunchy texturesKeep stirring to get the gravy smooth.
CrunchyNot smooth; containing rough or crunchy featuresI like my peanut butter crunchy.
SpicyHaving a strong spice elementJill doesn’t like spicy foods.
MildHaving little or no spice elementThe dish was mild.
GreasyContaining a lot of grease, fat, or oilWhy is the pizza so greasy?
DeliciousAlmost synonymous with each other; all positive ways of describing a food or dishThis pie is delicious!
TastyThe meal you made was really tasty.
DelectableWhat a delectable dessert! 
FantasticThis chicken is fantastic
WonderfulThe breakfast we had was wonderful.
Mouth-wateringCapable of making your mouth water (salivate) in anticipation of eatingLook at that bread, so mouth-watering
OkayA word you can use to describe a dish you didn’t like very much, but thought was decentDinner was okay, but I liked yesterday’s dinner more.

You can also see our list of the 50 Most Common Adjectives if this list isn’t enough for you. 😉

B- Ordering Food

A Couple Ordering at a Restaurant

I’ll have ___, please.

Here are some phrases you can use to order food at a restaurant and effectively communicate with your waiter. 

PhraseWhen to use it
Can I see the menu?Use this phrase after you’re seated to ask your waiter for the menu. (But usually, a menu will be provided already.)
Can I see the wine list, please?If you would like some wine with your meal, you can ask your waiter to see the restaurant’s wine list. 
What do you recommend?In the United States, it’s very common to ask your waiter what he or she recommends. You can do this if you’re not sure what to order, and want to know what’s popular or particularly tasty. 
What’s today’s special?Some restaurants will have a “special” for each day of the week. This is a particular meal or meal combination that you can get for a lower price on that day only.
What is the soup / salad of the day?Similarly, some restaurants will have a particular soup or salad that they’re serving only on that day. You can order this to go with your meal. 
Can we have a bottle of wine with our meal, please?Are you eating out with your spouse, best friend, or in a large group? In some restaurants, you can ask your waiter to bring an entire bottle of wine to the table (this can get pricey, though!). 
Do you have any ___ dishes?If you have any dietary restrictions or are in the mood for something specific, you can ask your waiter about the menu. 

For example, you could ask: 
  • “Do you have any vegetarian dishes?”
  • “Do you have any seasonal dishes?”
Does it contain ___?This is another useful phrase if you have dietary restrictions. 
  • “Does it contain dairy?”
  • “Does it contain nuts?”
How spicy is it?If you’re not sure how spicy something will be, it’s always a good idea to ask! 
I’m allergic to ___.If you have a severe allergy to something, it’s good to inform your waiter about it right away, before ordering. 
  • “I’m allergic to shellfish.”
  • “I’m allergic to nuts.”
I will have ___, please.When you’re finally ready to order, you can use this phrase. Just fill in the blank with the menu item you want! 

C- Cooking

A Woman Chopping Veggies

Do you enjoy cooking at home? Here are some words for American food staples and food preparation! 

    → Also see our Cooking vocabulary list to hear the pronunciation of these words!

Ingredients and Foods

DefinitionIn a Sentence
IngredientSomething that is used in combination with other things to create a whole entityI can’t make the cake; I’m missing an important ingredient.
SaltA seasoning that brings out the flavor in different foodsThe soup needs more salt.
PepperA seasoning that adds flavor to food; black, and a little spicyCan you pass me the pepper?
Cooking oilAny oil that’s used to cook withPlace 1 Tablespoon cooking oil in the pan.
ChickenThe meat from a chickenChicken is my favorite meat.
PorkThe meat from a pigPork is my least favorite meat. 
BeefThe meat from cattleI love eating beef stew.
FishAny kind of fish that’s prepared or cooked for consumptionI think I’ll make fish tomorrow.
EggUsually refers to the egg of a chicken, though it can also refer to quail, ostrich, goose, or even fish eggsHenry cracked the egg into a bowl.
VegetableThe root, stem, or leaf of a plant that’s used in cooking (or sometimes eaten raw)What’s your favorite vegetable?
FruitThe part of a plant that bears seedsFruit is very refreshing.
RiceA type of grain that’s simmered in water until softI make rice with almost every meal.
BreadMade from flour, sugar, and similar ingredients, and bakedHow do you bake bread so well?

Preparation and Cooking Methods

Potatoes and Carrots Simmering in a Pan

DefinitionIn a Sentence
PrepareTo get something ready, in this case, the foodI need to prepare dinner.
Set the ovenThis phrase is used a lot in recipes, and it simply means to turn on the oven and set it for a specified temperatureSet the oven to 400 degrees F. 
ChopTo use a knife in order to cut something, usually into many piecesChop the carrots evenly.
SliceTo use a knife to cut something, usually in order to make a thin layer or small pieces of itWill you slice the turkey, please?
CubeTo cut something into cubes; often used to describe how to cut meat in recipesNext, cube the chicken breast.
SeasonTo put seasonings on somethingHow do you season the salmon?
Stir-fryTo fry several ingredients together in a pan, while stirring oftenStir-fry the veggies in olive oil.
BakeTo cook something by putting it in the ovenBake the casserole for thirty minutes.
BoilTo get water or another liquid hot enough that it bubbles rapidlyBring the water to a boil.
SimmerTo let something cook on low heat, usually in a hot liquidLet the meat simmer.
Let coolSome recipes are best served after cooling; this phrase is sometimes used in recipes when this is the caseLet cool before serving.

Cooking Utensils and Tableware

A Metal Spatula

DefinitionIn a Sentence
StoveUsually a surface on top of an oven, containing burners used to cook foodTurn on the stove, please.
OvenA cooking device used to cook, bake, or roast food at a specific temperature by placing the food insidePut the dough in the oven.
PotA cooking utensil that’s usually deep, and used for meals that contain a lot of liquid (soups/stews) or to boil waterFill the pot with water.
PanA cooking utensil that’s usually shallow, and used to cook foods that don’t require much liquid; especially popular for stir-frying or sauteing. Coat the pan with olive oil.
SpatulaA utensil used to handle food with while it’s hot or still cooking; it usually has a flat, slightly curved end, with or without slots in itStir the veggies using a spatula.
Cutting boardFood is placed on a cutting board to be cut, chopped, or slicedOn a large cutting board, chop the tomatoes.
ColanderA utensil that’s shaped like a bowl and has many holes in it; used to drain something of liquid, usually noodlesDrain the noodles with a colander.
BowlA dish with raised sides, usually with a round shape; often used to hold soups, stews, salads, and other meals that are best eaten from a bowlMix the ingredients in a bowl.
PlateA shallow or flat dish that food is often served onServe the meal on a plate.
SpoonA utensil that’s used for eating food that’s liquidy (like soup) or of a semi-liquid nature (like yogurt)I dropped my spoon on the floor.
ForkA utensil that’s used for eating solid foods; it contains prongs at the end to stab food withThis fork is dirty.
KnifeA utensil that’s used for cutting food, either during preparation or during consumptionCan you get me another knife?


5. Bonus: American Food Recipes You Can Make at Home

A Couple Cooking in the Kitchen Together

Do you want to try American food, but don’t yet have a trip planned? No worries! Here, I’ll show you how to make American food yourself at home.

A- Biscuits & Gravy

Makes 8 servings, and ready in 15 minutes. 

Ingredients:

  • 1 16-ounce can of refrigerated jumbo buttermilk biscuits (or you can make your own!)
  • 9.6 ounces of crumbled pork sausage 
  • ¼ cup flour
  • 2 ½ cups milk
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

1. Bake the biscuits according to the package directions.

2. Cook the sausage in a large pan over medium heat for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Stir in the flour. Gradually add in the milk, and stir constantly until the mixture comes to a boil and thickens. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Season with salt and pepper.

3. Split the biscuits in half. Spoon the gravy equally over each set of biscuit halves (there should be 2 halves per plate). 

This recipe is adapted from one on Allrecipes.com. You can read the original recipe (and some rave reviews) if you need more guidance.

Enjoy! 

B- Cobb Salad

Makes 4 to 8 servings, and ready in 45 minutes.

Ingredients:

  • 8 slices of bacon, chopped
  • 4 large eggs
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 6-ounce chicken breasts (boneless and skinless)
  • Zest in wide strips, and juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 sprigs of thyme
  • 1 tablespoon black peppercorns
  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
  • ½ shallot, minced
  • 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Pepper, freshly ground
  • 2 avocados
  • 2 tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 large head Bibb lettuce, torn into pieces
  • 2 heads romaine lettuce, cut into pieces
  • 4 ounces blue cheese, crumbled

Directions:

1. Cook the bacon in a medium-sized skillet over medium heat, stirring until crisp (15 to 20 minutes). Drain on paper towels.

2. Meanwhile, place the eggs in a saucepan and cover them to about 1 inch in cold water. Bring it to a simmer over medium-high heat, then cover; remove from heat, and let stand about 10 minutes. Drain, and run under cold water to cool. Peel the eggs while under running cold water, and then peel and chop them; season with salt. 

3. In a medium saucepan, combine the following ingredients: chicken, lemon zest and juice, bay leaves, thyme, peppercorns, and a pinch of salt. Add enough cold water to cover the chicken by ½ inch. Over medium heat, bring it to a bare simmer (do not boil) and cook for about 7 minutes; the chicken is done when a thermometer inserted into the deepest part of it reads 160 degrees Fahrenheit. Move the chicken to a cutting board and let cool for about 5 minutes.

4. While the chicken rests, make the dressing. In a serving bowl, whisk the following ingredients together: vinegar, shallot, mustard, and ½ teaspoon salt. Next, whisk in the olive oil until emulsified (blended), and season with pepper. Dice the chicken. In a separate bowl, toss the chicken with 1 tablespoon of the dressing.

5. Halve, pit, and dice the avocados. Season the tomatoes with salt. Add Bibb and romaine lettuce to the serving bowl, on top of the dressing. Arrange the bacon, eggs, chicken, avocados, tomatoes, and blue cheese atop the salad in rows. To serve, toss the salad and season with salt and pepper. 

You can check out this recipe on FoodNetwork.com

C- Banana Split

Makes 1-2 servings (a single banana split), and ready in 15 minutes. 

Ingredients:

  • 1 banana (split lengthwise)
  • 1 scoop vanilla ice cream
  • 1 scoop chocolate ice cream
  • 1 scoop strawberry ice cream
  • Chocolate syrup
  • Marshmallow creme
  • Whipped cream
  • Chopped, lightly toasted nuts
  • 3 maraschino cherries

Notes:

1) The ingredients in italics are for garnish, and are optional. You can remove any of these ingredients, or even add your own that aren’t listed! 

2) If it seems like too much to buy three different tubs of ice cream, you can just buy Neapolitan ice cream. This is ice cream that’s a blend of vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry flavors. 

Directions:

1. Gather the ingredients.

2. Place the banana slices against the sides of a long, narrow dish.

3. Place the ice cream scoops in a row between the banana slices.

4. Drizzle vanilla and strawberry ice cream scoops with chocolate syrup.

5. Spoon some marshmallow creme over the chocolate ice cream scoop.

6. Now add the whipped cream, nuts, and cherries.

This banana split recipe is originally from TheSpruceEats.com. Check it out! 

6. Final Thoughts

A Man Who Ate Way Too Much

You’ve reached the end of this massive article, congratulations! 

Which of the must-try American foods I listed do you want to eat first, and why? Are there any foods I forgot to mention that you’ve already tried, and think other readers would enjoy? Let us know in the comments! 

If you want more detailed articles like this one, fun and educational video/audio lessons, and exceptional vocabulary-learning tools, create your free lifetime account with EnglishClass101.com today. We look forward to having you and helping you reach your English-learning goals!

Until next time, happy learning from the EnglishClass101 family.

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