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Celebrate International Talk Like a Pirate Day in the U.S.

What day is International Talk Like a Pirate Day? How can you take part? What on earth is a landlubber?

In this article, you’ll learn a little bit about a relatively new, U.S.-born holiday, dedicated to talking like a pirate. What fun would learning a language be without a little deviance from the usual, anyway?

At EnglishClass101.com, we hope to make every aspect of your language-learning journey both fun and informative! And today, we hope you walk away from this lesson with all the pirate-y conversation material you’ll need to celebrate International Talk Like a Pirate Day!

Let’s get starrrrted.

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1. What is Talk Like a Pirate Day?

On International Talk Like a Pirate Day, people are encouraged to talk like a pirate! This is a parodic, or silly, holiday, created in 1995. This holiday originated in the United States, and is the idea of two men from the state of Oregon: John Baur (who goes by the pirate name Ol’ Chumbucket) and Mark Summers (or Cap’n Slappy).

Like most good things in life, this holiday actually began as an inside joke between the two, but became publicized after they wrote to a humor columnist about it. People love an excuse to be silly, so it quickly caught on.

2. When is International Talk Like a Pirate Day?

Pirate Near the Shore

International Talk Like a Pirate Day takes place on September 19 each year.

3. International Talk Like a Pirate Day Activities

Talk Like a Pirate

While there are no set in stone activities for Talk Like a Pirate Day, the name says it all. On this day, anyone who wishes to participate should simply talk like a pirate whenever possible. This can refer to specific words and phrases (which we’ll go into detail about below) or even making one’s voice sound gruff and “pirate-y.”

For those who want to go all-out expressing their admiration for pirate speech, there may also be pirate-themed parties or get-togethers. During these, people may even dress up like pirates, with beards, pegleg, and eyepatches! Who wants to wait another month for Halloween, anyway?

Due to the rise in popularity of Talk Like a Pirate Day, many companies offer special promotions or events as well, related to piracy.

4. Vocabularrry for Talk Like a Pirate Day

A Treasure Map

Here are some International Talk Like a Pirate Day phrases that you’ll need to celebrate this fun holiday like there’s no tomorrow. ;)

  • Pirate: Pirates are known for stealing and violence upon the seas, and are depicted in various films and books.
  • Eye patch: An eye patch is some kind of material that covers one eye, usually because that eye is injured (or missing after a long-ago battle!).
  • Booty: This refers to some type of treasure or loot, something that many film pirates find themselves searching for.
  • Arr!: This is perhaps the most common and frequently used pirate expression, though sometimes people say this at other times year-round. You can say this just for fun, or when you’re upset about something, or even to agree to what someone said. It’s very versatile.
  • Ahoy, Matey!: This is a pirate-y way of saying “Hello, friend!”
  • Aye, aye sir!: This is something that pirates under a captain’s orders would say when accepting a task or agreeing to something. On International Talk Like a Pirate Day, you can say this whenever you’re agreeing to something, or agreeing to do something.
  • Shiver me timbers!: This is a funny pirate phrase, and it’s basically something you say when you’re scared or in awe of something. A” timber” is a piece of wood that supports the ship of a pirate, which would “shiver” when the sea and winds were strong.
  • Landlubber: A “landlubber” is one who dwells entirely on land, as opposed to living life largely in the sea like a pirate. You can call someone a “landlubber” on Talk Like a Pirate Day” to jokingly insult them.
  • Walk the plank: This may be the most popularized pirate phrase in movies. Usually, this phrase is used in movies when a pirate’s enemy (or an unlucky lower-rank pirate!) is captured. A “plank” is a slab of wood that hangs over the edge of the ship, so someone told to “walk the plank” must walk off the plank into the sea to drown. But on International Talk Like a Pirate Day, you can say this anytime just for fun.
  • Thar she blows!: Pirates would say this to let the other pirates onboard know that he’d seen a whale on the water’s surface. “Thar” means there, and the latter part of the sentence refers to the water blowing out of a whale’s blowhole when they go for air.
  • Aaaarrrrgggghhhh!: This phrase is basically the same as “Arrrr!!” but has the gg sound at the end, which makes it sound angrier. You can use this anytime for fun on International Talk Like a Pirate Day.
  • Avast ye matey!: Essentially, this is how pirates would tell other pirates to stop what they were doing, or “hold fast.” Again, you can say this any time on Talk Like a Pirate Day.
  • Me hearties: “Me” here really means my, and “hearty” or “hearties” is simply a way to address other pirates onboard.
  • Heave ho!: This is a phrase pirates would say when lifting up, or otherwise moving, something that was heavy or difficult.
  • Dead men tell no tales: This phrase is a pirate-y way of saying that those who die aren’t able to talk about their adventures (or their knowledge of something). It can be used many ways, but most especially as a threat (like if someone knows something they shouldn’t, a pirate could say this to warn them to keep quiet). But again, it’s just a fun phrase on Talk Like a Pirate Day (and the name of a famous pirate movie). ;)
  • Jolly Roger: Despite its name, this is not at all related to the Jolly Rancher candies. The Jolly Roger is the black pirate flag with skull and crossbones.
  • Davy Jones’ Locker: When people talk about Davy Jones’ Locker, they’re usually referring to where drowned bodies go, at the bottom of the sea.
  • Captain: The captain of a ship is the one who’s in charge of all its goings-on, and can give orders to the rest of the crew.
  • Peg leg: A peg leg is a false (or prosthetic) leg that pirates in movies are often depicted wearing, usually when they lose one of their legs.
  • Hook: The “hook” is another popular adornment of movie pirates. This is similar to the peg leg, but is an actual hook that is used in place of a hand. A famous pirate with a hook is the aptly named Captain Hook.
  • Treasure map: A treasure map is a map created specifically to give directions on how to find a treasure. In movies, pirates oftentimes find themselves using a treasure map to find hidden treasures.

To hear each of these vocabulary words pronounced, and read them alongside relevant images and example sentences, check out our International Talk Like a Pirate Day vocabulary list!

How EnglishClass101 Can Help You Master U.S. Culture

We hope you learned something new today, and that you’re able to get the most out of this holiday with the phrases you learned. Are there any fun, unique, or even silly holidays that are celebrated in your country? Do you know any pirate phrases in your language? Let us know in the comments!

To continue learning about United States culture and the English language, explore EnglishClass101.com. We provide an array of fun and effective learning tools for every learner, at every level:

  • Insightful blog posts on a range of cultural and language-related topics
  • Free vocabulary lists covering a variety of topics and themes
  • Podcasts to improve your listening and pronunciation skills
  • Mobile apps to learn English anywhere, on your own time
  • Much, much more!

If you’re interested in a one-on-one and personalized learning approach, be sure to upgrade to Premium Plus. Doing so will give you access to your own English teacher who will help you develop a learning plan tailored to your needs and goals. Yes, really!

English is a difficult language to learn, but know that your hard work and dedication will pay off. And EnglishClass101 will be here to help every step of your way to English mastery!

Until next time, Happy International Talk Like a Pirate Day!

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How to Read Body Language in the United States

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Body language says what words can’t, and it can serve as an effective maneuver around poor English skills—or difficulties in any other language for that matter! On top of that, body language complements verbal language; it acts a lot like slang in that it makes for more fluent and lively conversation.

However, in order to make this work for you, you need to know how to read body language. Nonverbal communications in English are just as important as they are around the world. This guide on body gestures in our English lesson will help you get a better grasp of American nonverbal communication.

Learn about body language in American culture, as well as an array of body gestures in English, with EnglishClass101.com, and prove yourself an avid language-learner through this unspoken language! Start with a bonus, and download your FREE cheat sheet - How to Improve Your English Skills! (Logged-In Member Only)

Table of Contents

  1. Body Language in the United States
  2. “Personal Space” in the United States
  3. Body Postures
  4. Hand Gestures
  5. Facial Expressions
  6. Different Physical Movements
  7. Bonus: Combinations of Body Language Signals
  8. Conclusion

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1. Body Language in the United States

Woman smiling and covering her mouth

Before you can learn how to read body language in the United States, it’s important that you know what it is and what it looks like.

First things first: What is body language?

Essentially, body language is how we communicate our thoughts and feelings through gestures or other movements—whether intentionally or not.

For example, most people begin to smile or laugh when they’re feeling happy; they don’t have to say, “I’m feeling happy,” you can just guess that based on their actions and the context.

Context is just as important in learning how to read body language as the actual movements. For example, let’s say that the person mentioned above was smiling and laughing, but you were in the middle of a big fight with them. They probably aren’t happy. Their emotions are just so chaotic that they’re smiling and laughing despite the negative tension.

From rude hand gestures in America to body language in American culture itself, there’s a lot to learn about how to read body language. It’ll take some time to truly master recognizing, reading, and mirroring these gestures and actions, so be patient with yourself and practice as much as you can!

We’ll do our best in this article to present you with relevant body language definitions and examples.

Now, let’s move onto another facet of English body language and gestures—the concept of personal space.


2. “Personal Space” in the United States

Two Men Shaking Hands at a Distance

Talking about body gestures in English requires that a quick glance at a common aspect of United States culture. Perhaps one of the first things you should know when it comes to body language in American culture is the concept of “personal space” that Americans possess. This is one of the most important concepts to understand when it comes to English body language and gestures.

More so than in many other countries and cultures around the world, Americans cherish their personal space (or as some people call it, their “personal bubble”). This personal space represents the distance that Americans feel others need to keep away from them, both physically and emotionally. And Americans definitely get uncomfortable or even annoyed if this space is invaded in the least.

In the United States, people like for other people to keep their distance—when talking, when walking, when waiting in line, when at home, and when out and about. Obviously, “rules” about personal space vary from person to person, and from relationship to relationship.

However, according to The Spruce, typical personal space rules in the United States are as follows:

  • Approximately 0 to 20 inches for intimate couples
  • Approximately 1-1/2 feet to 3 feet for good friends and family members
  • Approximately 3 feet to 10 feet for casual acquaintances and coworkers
  • More than 4 feet for strangers
  • More than 12 feet for speaking to a large group

As someone who’s new to the United States, you’ll probably be forgiven for not following these rules to a tee. But it’s definitely polite to try your best and stick to these norms; you’ll be a lot more likely to gain the favor of many an American.

That said, let’s look at some American body language gestures, and gain more insight into English gestures and body language.


3. Body Postures

You can tell a lot about how a person is feeling by their body posture, even if they’re not really doing anything. Let’s explore a few examples of American body language postures and what they mean.

1- Leaning Forward

  • Meaning: Leaning or bending forward while sitting down usually means that you’re interested (or even intrigued) by what the other person is saying. It shows attentiveness.
  • How to do: While sitting during a conversation, you can lean forward slightly from the bottom of your spine; don’t overdo this, as it can come across as rude or awkward.
  • When to use: This is probably best used in informal settings, and should be used sparingly. You can lean forward a little bit if you’re having a talk with a friend about something that interests you.
  • Example situation: You and your friend are out getting coffee together and she starts telling you about a police chase she saw on her way to the cafe. You lean forward slightly as she describes the details of this enthralling chase scene.
  • Additional notes: In addition to simply leaning slightly forward, some people also raise their eyebrows or put their hand to their chin as these can be indicators of deep thought or interest.

2- Leaning Back

  • Meaning: Leaning back in your chair while sitting down usually indicates that you’re very relaxed, and can even be a way of showing satisfaction or relief.
  • How to do: There’s no set way to do this. Basically, you lean slightly backward instead of sitting straight, often ridding yourself of tension in your back. Some people also put their legs out in front of them, crossed or uncrossed; others hang their arms over the chair/sofa in relaxation, or put their hands to the back of their head in a stretch.
  • When to use: You can use this any time you’re feeling relaxed, relieved, or laid-back about something (or any of those things in general).
  • Example situation: Let’s say you’re sitting at your computer and you just finished a huge project that’s due tomorrow. You save and close the assignment, turn off the computer, and lean back in your chair as an outward show of relief.
  • Additional notes: While this posture usually indicates relief about something or general relaxation, you should be careful about when you use it. For example, leaning back in your chair during a school lecture or during a business meeting will indicate that you’re uninterested or just don’t care enough to sit straight—not a good impression to make on people in your professional life. Some people also consider this a “defensive posture.”

3- Crossed Legs (at the knee)

  • Meaning: Crossing one’s legs while sitting is basically just a comfortable way of sitting. It usually denotes relaxation and ease.
  • How to do: While sitting down straight, move one of your legs (it doesn’t matter which one) so that it’s on top of the other one. Usually, your mid-thighs and knees will overlap, while the calf of the leg you put on top hangs slightly over your other calf.
  • When to use: You can use this just about anytime and anywhere, but it’s typically best suited to more informal occasions. If you’re hanging out with friends at a coffee shop, reading a good book at home, or at any type of informal social gathering, it’s completely acceptable to use this posture while sitting. But you should be very cautious about sitting this way during business meetings or other events where you’re expected to be professional.
  • Example situation: You’re out getting pizza with some friends, and you’re all sitting around a table together. If you start to feel uncomfortable sitting straight and “proper,” you can shift your weight in a way that’s more comfortable to you by crossing your legs.
  • Additional notes: While this is one of the most common sitting positions in the United States (and quite convenient and comfortable), there’s a lot of debate around it. Many people are starting to claim that this posture is bad for you, and that sitting straight and proper is best. On the other end of the spectrum, there are people saying that there may actually be health benefits to sitting this way.

Another thing to keep in mind is that when a woman crosses her legs at the knee, it’s sometimes considered an alluring posture—this depends on various factors, though, such as what she’s wearing and who she’s with.

4- Arms Crossed

  • Meaning: More often than not, having one’s arms crossed usually denotes anger, frustration, or insecurity.
  • How to do: To cross your arms, begin bringing your arms together just under your chest. Arrange them, as you’re bringing them toward your chest, so that your left hand will rest under the crook of your right arm, and vice-versa. Your left arm will rest on top of your right arm where they intersect.
  • When to use: Crossed arms can technically be used in any situation, but it’s best used sparingly as it usually has a negative connotation. You can use the crossed arms posture when you’re feeling angry or “put off” with someone, or when you’re in a situation that makes you uncomfortable (crossing your arms can feel almost like giving yourself an extra layer of protection, and is often done unconsciously for this reason).
  • Example situation: You and a coworker are arguing over the best way to complete a project, and in a moment of frustration you cross your arms.
  • Additional notes: Crossed arms can be used for more emotions and situations than listed above, though the ones listed above are the most common and standard. Crossed arms can also be used when you’re feeling chilly, and even for no other reason than more comfortable posture when standing for a long time.

Woman Crossing Arms

5- Slouching

  • Meaning: Slouching is usually received negatively, and often indicates laziness or other negative characteristics. It’s also considered bad posture in general, and can be done standing or sitting.
  • How to do: Though you probably don’t want to slouch, this is usually done by slumping your back and/or shoulders, so that you’re no longer standing or sitting straight. This is different from leaning forward or backward because when you slouch, your overall posture is very bad and the act of slouching usually involves your shoulders (as opposed to only a slight change in the position of your back).
  • When to use: Slouching can be done anywhere and at any time. It should be especially avoided during formal occasions.
  • Example situation: You’re sitting at your desk working, and suddenly realize that your back and shoulders are drooping or hunched over; you quickly correct your posture.
  • Additional notes: As mentioned earlier, slouching should be avoided as much as possible (though it’s easy to find yourself in this position by accident). It’s considered rude and has an overall negative connotation, not to mention slouching is terrible for your postural health.


4. Hand Gestures

A list of body language examples wouldn’t be complete without covering popular hand gestures. Here’s a list of some of the most common hand gestures in America and what they mean.

Hand Gestures

1- Thumbs-up/down

  • Meaning: A thumbs-up means “okay,” or a similar positive word. A thumbs-down usually means “no,” “not good,” or a similar negative word.
  • How to do: To do a thumbs-up hand gesture: Turn your hand sideways (usually your right hand), so that your thumb is on the top side. Then, curve all of your fingers so that they’re curled in your palm and extend your thumb out in an upward position.

    To do a thumbs-down hand gesture: Turn your hand sideways (usually your right hand), so that your thumb is on the bottom side. Then, curve all of your fingers so that they’re curled into your palm and extend your thumb out in a downward position.

  • When to use: The thumbs-up gesture is often used in place of the word “okay,” and can also be used as a general sign of approval. The thumbs-down gesture is the opposite, and is used as a general sign of disapproval.
  • Example situation: Let’s say you and a friend are out shopping together, and you stop by the food court. Your friend asks if you would like to get food from the Panda Express window; you give the thumbs-up gesture and nod to show that you would like to eat there.

2- High-five

  • Meaning: A very American hand gesture, the high-five is a way of expressing congratulations or excitement, usually for a job well done. It’s one of the most common hand gestures in America.
  • How to do: As the linked video shows, there are several different ways to do the high-five. But here, we’ll just go over the basic, most common high-five. To do this, you and another person hold your palm out flat, fingers spread. Then you both raise the arm you’ll be high-fiving with, and thrust them toward the other person’s arm so that your outstretched hands will hit each other and make a clapping sound. (The video will make this make a lot more sense.)
  • When to use: The high-five is typically used in order to express congratulations or excitement about something, and is best used with friends in informal settings.
  • Example situation: Let’s say your friend applied for their dream job, waited weeks for a response, and then comes over to tell you they got the job. You might be so happy for your friend that you initiate a high-five (and then go out for ice cream together).
  • Additional notes: High-fives can be notoriously tricky, and even people who have been high-fiving their entire life mess it up sometimes. It’s not complicated, but unless both people are completely prepared for the high-five it might not go as planned. Be patient with yourself while you learn this one, and realize that you’ll probably never have it down 100%.

3- Wave

  • Meaning: Waving is basically a way of greeting someone, usually from afar.
  • How to do: While there are several types of “waves” you could do, we’ll go over the most basic greeting one. To do this, extend your arm (usually your right arm) into the air so that the person you’re waving to can see it, and move your wrist from left to right several times.
  • When to use: Waving is typically used to get someone’s attention and greet them from a distance.
  • Example situation: You’re in the checkout line at the grocery store and you spot someone you know in the line next to yours. You look in their direction, and start waving if they happen to be looking in your direction too.
  • Additional notes: Sometimes just waving isn’t enough to grab someone’s attention; in this case, you can also say their name while waving so that they’ll hear you and maybe come over to talk.

Waving

4- Extending Hand

  • Meaning: Extending your hand to someone almost always means that you want to shake their hand (though it could have other meanings that we’ll look at later).
  • How to do: To extend your hand to someone, simply extend your arm in their direction, usually with your hand sideways and loosely held.
  • When to use: This is usually used when you first meet someone, especially a new colleague or a friend of a friend.
  • Example situation: You’re at work and a new colleague is introduced to you. The first thing you’ll probably do is shake their hand.
  • Additional notes: Oftentimes, when shaking someone’s hand, you’ll also exchange names and say something like “Nice to meet you,” or “Pleasure to meet you.”

Extending your hand can have more meanings than simply wanting to shake someone’s hand. For example, you may extend your hand to someone if they’ve fallen down and you want to help them up. You can also extend your hand to someone if you want them to take it while walking together, such as a man may do to a woman he’s courting.

Man Reaching Out

5- Waving Toward Yourself

  • Meaning: You may wave toward yourself if you want someone to come closer to you.
  • How to do: Extend your arm outward, then sweep it toward yourself (usually just once or twice).
  • When to use: You can use this any time you see someone you know at a distance and want to chat with them or otherwise have a conversation with them.
  • Example situation: You’re walking down the street and see someone you know. You catch their attention and wave toward yourself so that you can say hello.
  • Additional notes: You can also use this gesture if you want someone to follow you; if done in this context, you’ll usually be walking or running a certain direction, and will wave more in the direction you’re going than actually at yourself.

6- Pointing Index Finger Away from You

  • Meaning: Pointing your index finger away from you usually means one of two things: 1.) It’s a way of telling someone to go in the direction you’re pointing, or 2.) You’re pointing toward something as a way of indicating what/who you’re talking about. (The meaning is usually indicated by the context.)
  • How to do: Extend your arm in front of you, and then fold all of your fingers except for your index finger.
  • When to use: You can use this as a way of indicating that you want someone to go in that direction, or if you need to show the person you’re talking to what or who you’re talking about.
  • Example situation: You tell your friend that their crush is just a few feet away, and you discreetly point toward him/her to show your friend.
  • Additional notes: Keep in mind the old adage that “It’s rude to point.” While it’s sometimes okay to use this gesture as described above, it’s best not to point directly at a person (especially if there’s a good chance they’ll see you!). And if you’re pointing in a general direction or at a specific place, it’s good practice to make sure there’s no one around who will think you’re pointing at them. In order to get around this, some people use their arm as a whole to do this gesture, not using a finger to point.

Kid Pointing

7- Raise Hand

  • Meaning: When you raise your hand, you’re almost always indicating that you have something you want to say during a group discussion of some kind.
  • How to do: This is usually done while sitting in a group, though it can also be done while standing. Simply extend your arm (usually your right arm) upward above your head. Make sure that your fingers are pressed together (not spread apart or in a fist).
  • When to use: You can use this gesture to catch the main speaker’s attention (for instance, a teacher or professor in a classroom) so that they’ll “call on you,” or allow you to speak/ask a question. You can also use this during any group discussion where taking turns talking is mandatory; raising your hand indicates you have something to say or a question you want to ask.
  • Example situation: Your bioscience professor is talking about a very complicated topic and you have a couple of questions about something he said. You can raise your hand as described above, and your professor will address you either by allowing you to speak or letting you know you can ask questions after the lecture.
  • Additional notes: Raising your hand can also be done if you have a request during a group meeting, especially in a classroom setting. For example, if you need to use the bathroom during class or have to leave early for some reason, you can raise your hand to attract the teacher’s or professor’s attention so you can tell them.

Crowd Raising Their Hands

8- Clapping

  • Meaning: Clapping can mean multiple things depending on the context, but is usually a form of applause.
  • How to do: The most common way to clap is to slap your palms together several times to make a “clapping noise.”
  • When to use: Clapping is very common after a performance or show of some kind, as a way of applauding or congratulating the person or people for a job well done.
  • Example situation: You attended a concert put on by local bands; you really like the music they’re playing, and so you clap along with the rest of the audience after each performance.
  • Additional notes: Keep in mind that clapping can also be done sarcastically. Let’s say your friend tries performing a magic trick for you and totally messes it up; you can clap as a way of warmly teasing your friend about it.

Also, clapping can have other meanings and purposes. For example, a lot of people clap their hands together when they’re trying to remember something (or a loud, single clap once they’ve remembered it or had a great idea). Clapping can also be used while dancing or otherwise enjoying music, such as clapping your hands to the beat.

A Pair of Hands Clapping

9- Snap Fingers

  • Meaning: The meaning of snapping your fingers is similar to the secondary reasons for clapping your hands.
  • How to do: Join together your thumb and middle finger on either hand (or both hands). Then, press your middle finger harder on your thumb and simultaneously swipe it downward. If done correctly, this should produce a snapping sound.
  • When to use: You can snap your fingers to the beat of music, after you’ve remembered something or have a good idea, or when you’re trying to remember something.
  • Example situation: You’re telling a friend about an interesting person you met at a party, but you can’t remember their name. You start rapidly snapping your fingers as you try to remember, out of frustration and a sense of urgency to remember.
  • Additional notes: Some people also use snapping their fingers as a way of establishing dominance over someone (such as when someone snaps for someone to bring them something), or as a way of being “sassy” or “fierce.” In these cases, it’s usually only a single snap and you can tell the intention based on the context.

10- Cross Fingers

  • Meaning: Crossing your fingers can have two basic meanings: 1.) You’re wishing or hoping desperately for something, and 2.) If done behind your back, it means you plan on breaking a promise you’re making (this is sometimes referred to as “crossies”).
  • How to do: In order to cross your fingers, simply lay your middle finger on top of your index finger.
  • When to use: You can use this when talking to someone and wishing them luck, or when you’re making a promise you don’t plan on keeping (but this is obviously rude and frowned-upon).
  • Example situation: Your friend is talking to you about a promotion they would like to get. You can cross your fingers as a sign that you hope they get it.
  • Additional notes: Most of the time when someone crosses their fingers, they’ll also say the words “fingers crossed,” in a hopeful voice. On some occasions, people will say “fingers crossed,” but not actually cross their fingers.

Girl Crossing Her Fingers

11- Thumb to Index Finger

  • Meaning: This gesture usually means “okay,” “good,” or “very good.”
  • How to do: Simply join your thumb and index finger so that it forms a circle.
  • When to use: This is common to use when eating, as a way of indicating that the food is good. It can also be used similarly to the “thumbs-up” gesture.
  • Example situation: You’re eating at your favorite restaurant with some friends, and they ask you how your food is. You do the thumb-to-index finger gesture to indicate that it’s very good.
  • Additional notes: While doing this gesture, it’s also common to actually say the words “okay,” “good,” or “very good,” though you don’t need to.

12- So-so

  • Meaning: This gesture indicates that something is “so-so” or just okay.
  • How to do: Hold your hand (usually your right hand) in front of you and tilt it from side to side.
  • When to use: You can use this gesture if someone asks you how something was or how you liked something, and you don’t have a particularly strong opinion about it either way.
  • Example situation: Your significant other asks you to watch a movie with them that you’re not particularly interested in. After the movie, they ask you what you thought of the movie. You do the “so-so” gesture to tell them it wasn’t great, but you’ve seen worse movies.
  • Additional notes: When using this gesture, it’s common to also say the words, “It was okay.”

13- Middle Finger

  • Meaning: Also called “flipping someone off,” giving someone the middle finger is a very rude way of indicating anger, frustration, or strong disapproval.
  • How to do: Stick out your middle finger and turn your hand over so that your wrist is facing upward. Point your finger in the direction of the person you’re flipping off.
  • When to use: It’s best not to. But if you really feel the need to, this rude gesture is used most often when driving once “road rage” kicks in or when someone’s driving very badly or dangerously. It can be used in various other contexts too, but as mentioned earlier, it’s best not to.
  • Example situation: You’re running late to work, traffic’s really bad, and someone pulls out in front of you unexpectedly and you almost collide. You honk your car horn and give that driver the middle finger.
  • Additional notes: This gesture should be used very sparingly, if at all. And above all else, never use this gesture toward someone of authority or high status, such as a teacher, professor, boss, or police officer. This is one of the most rude hand gestures in America.

14- Clenched Fist

  • Meaning: Clenching your fist usually shows that you’re angry, though some people also clench their fists as a show of frustration or fear.
  • How to do: Curl all of your fingers tightly around each other in the shape of a fist, with your thumb either inside the fist or outside.
  • When to use: This gesture is usually used when someone is angry or frustrated, whether at a specific person or at a situation they can’t control.
  • Example situation: For instance, let’s say your friend finds out that they’re going to be laid off from their job. If they feel like this is unfair or have other negative attitudes toward the company/their boss, they may start clenching their fists while telling you about it.
  • Additional notes: Sometimes, people repeatedly clench and unclench their fists, usually as a show of great distress or frustration.

15- Index Finger to Lips

  • Meaning: This gesture indicates that you want someone to quiet down or stop talking entirely, or that you want them to keep a secret.
  • How to do: Put your index finger (usually your right index finger), pointing upward, to your lips.
  • When to use: Use this gesture to tell someone to be quiet or to keep something you told them private.
  • Example situation: You and your friend are talking about something in private, and someone you know starts approaching. You’ll quickly look at your friend and put your index finger to your lips to let them know to stop talking.
  • Additional notes: When doing this gesture, a lot of people also make the “shh” sound, otherwise known as “shushing.”

Man Shushing Someone

16- Air Quotes

  • Meaning: This gesture is meant to represent quotation marks, and means that you’re either quoting someone/something, or are sarcastically saying something.
  • How to do: Keep all fingers curled except for your index and middle finger; keep those two fingers close together. While you’re saying the quote or the sarcastic phrase, bend the top parts of those two fingers on each hand up and down.
  • When to use: Use this gesture when you’re either quoting someone/something or saying something in a sarcastic manner.
  • Example situation: You and your significant other are at the store, and they say that they’re going to buy a chocolate bar for you. “Oh,” you’ll say, “you’re buying a chocolate bar [air quote] for me [air quote]?” But you know full well they want the chocolate more than you do.

17- Star Trek’s “Live Long and Prosper”

  • Meaning: This very American gesture is a way of saying “Live Long and Prosper,” which is a famous line (and gesture) from the popular Star Trek series.
  • How to do: Separate your thumb from the rest of your fingers. Then, split your remaining four fingers so that your index and middle finger are joined and your ring finger and pinky are joined together. It should form a “V” shape.
  • When to use: This is best used in informal settings, and can be used as a nerdy way of wishing someone well.
  • Example situation: You and a friend are about to part ways after spending the day together. Before you leave, you tell your friend “bye” and use this gesture. This is best used with friends who have watched Star Trek and know what this means.
  • Additional notes: Not everyone is able to make this symbol with their hand, and even for those who can, it’s harder for some than for others. So if you’re not capable of doing this, it’s really nothing to worry about.

Star Trek Gesture


5. Facial Expressions

In American body language, there’s an array of facial expressions to learn about and explore for yourself. Body language, when speaking in English, consists of many of the following facial expressions:

1- Doubt

  • Meaning: When someone makes a face that expresses doubt, it means that they aren’t entirely sure about something—this can be something you said, information they heard, or uncertainty about a situation.
  • How to do: Oftentimes, people express doubt through shifting their mouth to one side, raising their eyebrows, and looking hard at someone or something.
  • When to use: You can use this type of facial expression whenever you’re unsure of something.
  • Example situation: Your friend tells you that they spend two hours at the gym every night. You give them a doubtful expression because you don’t believe them.
  • Additional notes: There can be multiple ways of expressing doubt through facial movement. What I outlined above just represents what’s most typical based on my own experiences.

2- Confusion

  • Meaning: When someone makes a face that expresses confusion, it means that they are visible confused about something or have no idea what’s going on.
  • How to do: Oftentimes, people express confusion through widened eyes, scrunched eyebrows, and putting their hand to their chin or other place on their face.
  • When to use: This type of expression is often used when someone’s having a hard time understanding something or when they’re told new information that doesn’t match up with what they know already.
  • Example situation: In an economics class, you’re told that it’s a bad idea to change insurance companies because it will lower your credit score; you’re later told by the same teacher that sometimes it’s good to change insurance companies. You make a confused face and then raise your to hand to ask for clarification.
  • Additional notes: As with expressing doubt, there are many ways to express confusion. What’s outline above is just the most typical way of doing so based on my experience.

3- Anger

  • Meaning: When someone makes a face that expresses anger, it shows that they are angry, frustrated, or just sick and tired of the person they’re with (or situation they’re in).
  • How to do: Oftentimes, this is done through scrunched eyebrows, the face reddening, tightened lips (or a snarl), and sometimes a distant or overly focused look on the face.
  • When to use: You may use a facial expression similar to the one above without even realizing it when you’re angry.
  • Example situation: You just found out that someone you trusted with a secret told someone else about it. When you confront the person about it, you make an angry face.
  • Additional notes: Different people express anger differently, and so there really is no set way to express anger. (For example, there’s “hot” anger and “cold” anger which are expressed quite differently.)

Angry Woman About to Throw Laptop

4- Clenched Teeth

  • Meaning: Clenched teeth usually mean one of two things: 1.) It can mean that the person is angry, or 2.) It can mean that you’re cold.
  • How to do: This is done by clamping down on your jaw so that your teeth are clenched together.
  • When to use: You can use this when you’re feeling angry (or particularly if you’re trying to keep from saying or doing something you’ll regret while angry), or when you’re feeling cold (as this is often an automatic reaction).
  • Example situation: You’re getting more and more upset with someone for doing something that annoys you. You’re definitely angry, but trying not to say anything rude or mean, so you’re clenching your teeth.
  • Additional notes: Clenched teeth can honestly mean a multitude of different things, though the two mentioned here are the most common. For example, some people also clench their teeth when nervous or when focusing intently on a task.

5- Sticking out Tongue

  • Meaning: When someone sticks out their tongue, it’s usually a way of saying something along the lines of, “So there,” or “Whatever,” in a sarcastic manner. It shows mock anger or frustration.
  • How to do: Stick your tongue out of your mouth at someone; this is usually done along with squinting your eyes and giving a mock sigh of contempt.
  • When to use: You can use this facial expression after someone does or says something that mildly annoys you.
  • Example situation: You just lost a card game five times in a row to a friend, and now they’re gloating about it. You stick out your tongue at them to playfully let them know they should stop gloating.
  • Additional notes: There’s a slightly similar facial expression where someone opens their mouth and points with their finger into it; this has a different meaning and is usually a sign of disgust with someone or something.

Girl Sticking Tongue Out

6- Raised Eyebrows

  • Meaning: Raised eyebrows can have a variety of meanings. Usually, raised eyebrows are used in expressions of doubt, surprise, or even frustration.
  • How to do: To do this, you just raise both of your eyebrows.
  • When to use: You can use this in a variety of situations, but most especially if you’re surprised or in doubt about something.
  • Example situation: Someone tells you a bit of news that you’re not sure is true, so you raise your eyebrows to let them know you’re in doubt.
  • Additional notes: There’s also the gesture of raising one eyebrow, which can have the same meaning as this, or can be used to appear more charming.

7- Eye Roll

  • Meaning: An eye roll is the epitome of sarcasm. It basically means, “Yeah, right,” “Whatever,” or “I don’t care.”
  • How to do: This can be done with your eyes open or closed. Simply take a moment to roll your eyes in a circular motion.
  • When to use: Usually, an eye roll is used when someone is telling you something and you’re frustrated or angry with them. It can also be used if you don’t believe what you’re being told, if you don’t really care, or if you’re frustrated about a situation in general.
  • Example situation: A child is pulled aside by his parent to be scolded for rude behavior. He rolls his eyes while his parent is talking (and gets in even more trouble for it).
  • Additional notes: As in the above situation, keep in mind that it’s never a good idea to use the eye roll toward someone who’s superior to you in any way (though this is usually when it’s most tempting to do so!). Do you best to only use it in informal situations, and use it sparingly.

8- Avoiding Eye Contact

  • Meaning: When someone avoids eye contact, it usually means that they’re feeling insecure (either because they’re shy or they’re being dishonest about something).
  • How to do: Avoiding eye contact is simply done through focusing your sight on something besides another person’s eyes (or that person in general, depending on the circumstances).
  • When to use: This is usually used when you’re feeling insecure about something or aren’t being honest.
  • Example situation: You’re asking a friend an important question and you notice that they won’t look you in the eyes while they’re answering. You suspect they may not be telling you the whole truth.

9- Biting Lip

  • Meaning: Biting one’s lip can have multiple meanings. Some of the most common are uncertainty, being deep in thought, or thinking about what to say.
  • How to do: This is usually done one of two ways: 1.) Digging slightly into your lower lip with your top teeth, or 2.) Digging slightly into your upper lip with your bottom teeth.
  • When to use: You can use this facial expression to tell someone that you’re not sure about something or need to think before you respond to what they said.
  • Example situation: You’re at the library with your crush, returning a book that they suggested to you. They ask you if you read all of it and what you thought. You bite your lip, then reveal that you really didn’t care for it and only got a couple of chapters in.
  • Additional notes: Some people also find it endearing and charming when someone bites their lip.

10- Wink

  • Meaning: A wink usually indicates either a secret between two people, or is a way of acting cute or flirting.
  • How to do: Blink only one of your eyes in the direction of another person; this can be done either discreetly or more openly, depending on your reasons for winking at them.
  • When to use: You can wink at someone as a lighthearted way of quietly bringing up a secret between the two of you, or if you’re trying to be cute in front of someone you like.
  • Example situation: Your waitress at a restaurant helps you find a better deal on the menu than what you were going to order. You thank her. She winks and replies, “No problem.”

Woman Winking

11- Funny Face

  • Meaning: A “funny face” has no actual, solid meaning.
  • How to do: There’s no set way to make a “funny face.” It can literally be anything you do to your face that doesn’t look like a “normal” expression.
  • When to use: Funny faces are usually used when taking selfies, either alone or with friends. They make for interesting and often hilarious memories.
  • Example situation: You’re at a family get-together, and someone decides to take a group photo. They might ask for one “normal” photo where everyone’s smiling, and then ask for a “silly” photo, where everyone makes a funny face of some kind.
  • Additional notes: Funny faces can be used outside of picture-taking as well, such as when you’re discussing something funny with a friend or feel the need to be extreme or sarcastic about expressing your emotions on something.


6. Different Physical Movements

Aside from the gestures and postures mentioned above, there are a few other movements that you should know about. Let’s take a look at these English body gestures.

1- Nodding

  • Meaning: Nodding can have multiple meanings. Usually, it’s used as a way of saying “yes.” It’s also used to show someone that you’re listening to them while they’re talking.
  • How to do: Simply bob your head up and down. If you’re using it to say “yes,” you should do this a little bit faster than if you’re simply using it to acknowledge that you’re listening.
  • When to use: Use this if you want to tell someone “yes,” or give them your approval about something. You can also use it during a conversation in which the other person is doing most of the talking. These both can be used in just about any situation.
  • Example situation: Your friend asks if you would like to go get sushi with them. You nod your head and say, “Yeah, that sounds great.”
  • Additional notes: On occasion, a single nod is also used to indicate “yes,” as opposed to nodding multiple times.

2- Shaking Head

  • Meaning: This is usually used as the opposite of nodding, and can also be used as a general expression of disappointment or disapproval.
  • How to do: Move your head from right to left or vice-versa.
  • When to use: Use this in place of saying “no,” or use it to show that you’re disappointed or disapprove of something.
  • Example situation: After you’ve had sushi with your friend, they ask if you’d like to see a movie as well. You shake your head, then explain that you need some down time.
  • Additional notes: Sometimes when this is used as a way of showing disapproval, people use the “tsk” sound while doing it.

3- Shrug

  • Meaning: This usually means “I don’t know,” or “I don’t care.”
  • How to do: This is usually done by lifting your shoulders, with your hands lifted to just above your stomach, palms up.
  • When to use: You can shrug when you’re asked a question that you don’t know the answer to, or that you don’t really care to answer.
  • Example situation: Your friend asks you what toppings you would like on the pizza you’re going to share. You shrug, and say “Whatever you want.”
  • Additional notes: Shrugging is often accompanied by tilting one’s head, shifting their mouth (or pouting), raising their eyebrows, or similar gestures.

4- Fidgeting

  • Meaning: Fidgeting can mean a variety of things, though it usually indicates boredom or stress. Sometimes, fidgeting gestures are also referred to as “tics.”
  • How to do: There’s no set way to “fidget” as this can look different from person to person. We’ll talk about some examples below.
  • When to use: Fidgeting is usually done when someone is bored or as a way of relieving stress.
  • Example situation: You’re really stressed about a project you’re working on, and after working on it for several hours you realize that you’ve been tapping your foot and touching your face a lot.
  • Additional notes: Some common examples of fidgeting gestures or tics include, but aren’t at all limited to: biting your nails; playing with your hair in any manner; tapping your foot; clicking a pen; tapping on your desk; cracking your knuckles or other body part; picking at your skin; looking around too much; excessive stretching; and the list goes on.

There are certain situations where engaging in a fidgeting gesture is especially rude, such as in most professional settings. Though most fidgeting gestures are a force of habit and are very difficult to break, it’s always good to do your best to avoid them in settings like this. (Or if you’re around someone who’s particularly annoyed with your fidgeting.) This is definitely not a very desirable American body language in business.


7. Bonus: Combinations of Body Language Signals

Woman shrugging and Smirking

As you may have noticed above, there are times when someone will use multiple body language signals and gestures at the same time. While these sometimes combine well and make perfect sense, it can sometimes be confusing to understand why they’re using the gestures they’re using.

Instead of giving you a long list of possible gesture combinations and what they could mean (which would be impossible to finish!), I’ll just point out that it’s totally fine if you can’t always follow someone’s body language signals.

While some gestures come naturally to just about everyone and make perfect sense almost universally, it’s important to remember that everyone is unique and so their way of expressing themselves is too. Just do your best to learn some of the basics outlined here to get a good idea of what to expect while in the United States, and how to mirror what the people around you are doing.

Good luck!


Conclusion

We went over so many American body language and gestures! We hope that you learned a little more about how to read body language in the United States and what you can expect during your visit (or your stay!). Further, we hope that you now understand why human body language in learning English is so important and how it can enrich your communication.

If you want to learn even more about the English language and the United States, be sure to visit us at EnglishClass101.com. We offer a good variety of vocabulary lists as well as insightful blog posts on various topics. You can discuss various topics with other English-learners using our online community, and don’t be shy to download our MyTeacher app for a one-on-one learning experience as well!

We wish you the best in your language-learning journey and hope that you’ll continue practicing these body gestures until you’re a pro. Learning American gestures and body language can be hard, but we believe in you. :)

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A List of the Best English Internet Slang and Text

At EnglishClass101, we show you how to use the basics of the language correctly, with loads of aids and easy-to-use tools! Yet learning the slang words and phrases, as well as the texting acronyms of any new language, will greatly increase your ability to chat with native speakers. They often serve to enhance conversation and add color to what you need to say online, without using many words.

Slang language is defined, according to Google dictionary, as “a type of language consisting of words and phrases that are regarded as very informal, are more common in speech than writing, and are typically restricted to a particular context or group of people.”

So, you should be able to see that if you want in with any community of English locals, it’ll be helpful to get to know their slang.

That said, some slang is universal, and is widely used on the internet. The most popular online spaces include forums and social media platforms such as Reddit, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and so on.

Internet slang or text abbreviations appear in the form of acronyms (shortening a sentence or phrase by writing only the first letters of the words), which was made popular on platforms like Twitter, where you can post only a limited number of characters.

For instance, “lol” comes in handy, when you don’t have space to write out “laugh out loud.”

Another form of internet slang is specific words or short phrases that have a meaning other than what they normally do in English. Sometimes, they convey a feeling, or take the place of facial expressions, such as “facepalm,” to depict embarrassment or exasperation.

In other cases, they are completely new words with unique uses. As they say, sometimes just one word tells a whole story—the internet has a whole lingo of its own like that.

In this blog, we offer you a list of the most-used text abbreviations in the form of acronyms, as well as internet slang. So be sure to add these to your arsenal of English vocabulary!

  1. Acronyms
  2. Internet Slang
  3. Conclusion

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1. Acronyms

Internet-specific acronyms started appearing almost as soon as social media did. They’re written in capital letters or lowercase, your choice. Scroll through these popular text slangs and chat abbreviation, and start practicing!

1- DSL—Don’t Stay Long/Dumb Stupid Loser

This acronym can have many meanings, but these two are the most commonly used. Not very polite to call someone a “dumb, stupid loser,” so use with discretion.

2- IKR—I Know, Right

This is an American expression mainly used in casual conversation. You use “IKR” to indicate that you fully agree with someone.

This is one of the older internet slang acronyms, so you may want to read up on its history and learn more about its usage.

3- LOL—Laugh Out Loud or Laughing Out Loud

This is one of the first internet slang or text acronyms to find its way onto our screens. We’ve been LOL-ing for decades on social media in reaction to funnies.

However, “LOL” is considered rather outmoded…you’d be more modern if you use the following acronym.

4- Lulz—Laughs

As you can see, “Lulz” is sort of derived from “LOL,” and in addition to indicating that you’re laughing about something, it can also mean “just for laughs.”

Laughing Girl

5- LMAO—Laugh My Ass Off

The same goes for this one, also an oldie. If “LOL” isn’t strong enough, and you’ve practically ruptured your spleen laughing at something because it’s so funny, “LMAO” is the way to make this known on social media.

Of course this is just an expression; it doesn’t mean you’re literally laughing so hard your backside slides off.

6- ROFL—Roll On Floor Laughing

“ROFL” is similar to “LMAO,” meaning you need to express strongly that something is so hysterically funny, you can barely remain standing.

7- WTF—What The F***

Your chance to swear without offending anyone. This is another abbreviation from long ago that denotes surprise and astonishment, usually in response to something shocking, hugely surprising, or negative.
8- Dafuq—(What) the F***?!
WTF’s more elaborate, non-acronym cousin, which is used in exactly the same way. It’s a new word, really, of which the meaning only becomes clear once you pronounce it.

Distraught Man Looking at Car

9- FML—F*** My Life

Still on the topic of legitimate expletives, “FML” is a way for you to comment on something unfortunate that’s happened to you. Also an old text slang acronym, it can be used this way:

“Just had my car professionally wax polished, cost a fortune; drove out and two birds pooped on it. FML.”

This text acronym even has its own website, where people share their misfortunes to be rated.

10- IDGAF—I Don’t Give A F***

A rather crass way to state emphatically that you don’t care.

11- NSFW—Not Safe/Suitable For Work

Some photos and material on the internet is sensitive in nature, meaning that it contains nudity, graphic images, or foul language. This acronym signals that you should take care when viewing the material, as it’s not for everyone’s eyes and might offend someone.

12- NSFL—Not Safe For Life

The former acronym means it’s OK to view the material when you’re not in a work or formal environment. Not “NSFL.” This means the material is particularly graphic and can even be emotionally or mentally scarring. It’s not as often used as “NSFW.”

13- PAW—Parents Are Watching

Probably more popular among teenagers, “PAW” serves as a warning that parents are around.

14- BRB—Be Right Back

This simply is what it says—you’re informing your chat-mate that you need to take a break from the conversation, but will be back soon.

15- MIRL—Me In Real Life

Often used to make fun of yourself, and is usually accompanied by a pic, reaction GIF, or a video.

16- NVM—Nevermind

This one’s pretty self-explanatory, meaning “No need to mind it any longer” or “Don’t worry about this topic.” In English, “Nevermind” as an expression can have a negative connotation, though, and it’s sometimes used as a sort of passive-aggressive brush off. So don’t use it during a fight with a lover!

17- IDK—I Don’t Know

Exactly what it says.

18- YOLO—You Only Live Once

One context in which you would utilize this acronym is when you want to encourage someone to do something they wouldn’t normally do. For instance, if you’re trying to convince a friend to join you for a midnight party in the streets on New Year’s, or go paragliding in the nude, or snort wasabi sauce. ‘Cause “YOLO,” you know?!

19- MTFBWY—May The Force Be With You

This is a well-known phrase from the Star Wars movies, and it’s a way to wish someone good luck.

Bored Man

20- TL;DR—Too Long; Didn’t Read

Quite self-explanatory. Appropriate to use when you get sent a link to a lengthy article, for instance.

21- TNF—That’s Not Funny

Another self-evident acronym. For instance, if someone had to share that notorious Logan Paul YouTube video with you, thinking it’s hilarious, you would respond appropriately with a short “TNF.”

22- WBU—What ‘Bout You

This is an acronym of dialectic slang. Some communities, usually young people, say “’bout” instead of “about.” The rest is easy to derive—ask this if you’re inquiring about someone’s opinion, or how they’re doing in general. For instance:

“Done with homework, off to shops. WBU.”

23- ICYMI—In Case You Missed It

Another self-explanatory acronym to use as a preamble to sharing the latest news on a burning topic.

24- OMG—Oh My God

Another golden oldie, “OMG” now almost has a status as an independent word. Used as a way to express astonishment, surprise, or delight, this is the more positive cousin of “WTF.” Probably somewhat less offensive too, to some.

In very religiously conservative communities, “OMG” may be seen as inappropriate to use, so be sure to exercise discretion when using this popular texting abbreviation.

25- GTG—Got To Go

Mostly used as a terse way to announce your imminent departure from the conversation, or to say that you just have to go somewhere—you feel compelled to visit a place or attend a concert or meeting, etc.

If it’s used to excuse yourself, it could be polite to follow with: “Chat again soon!”

26- OOTD—Outfit Of The Day

Fashion bloggers’ favorite Instagram acronym. It’s useful when you feel the need to share your fashion choices of the day with the world.

27- IMO OR IMHO—In My Opinion or In My Honest/Humble Opinion

An expression often used in conversation. It doesn’t really mean anything, except to announce that you’re about to give your sincere opinion.

That said, hopefully you offer only honest opinions in general, so this is not really a qualifier.

28- IMMD—It Made My Day

This internet slang is used to indicate that something really lifted your spirit, and made you feel good. For instance:

“Tx for the cake you brought to work today. IMMD!”

29- Tx—Thanks

The “x” is used as a placeholder after “T” for the rest of the word, “Thanks.” Often used, it has also been in circulation for ages.

30- AMA—Ask Me Anything

Touted to have originated on Reddit when an authority started using this to open topics for questions, an “AMA” is now a thing. Apparently, even public Question and Answers (Q&As) are now being referred to as “AMAs.” There’s even a “The Best Reddit AMAs of all time” article.

31- Bae—Babe or Before Anyone Else

Be informed and know that Bae in Danish means “poop.” So, now that your innocence is forever spoiled, will you ever again be able to call a loved one your “Bae” with a straight face?!!

On the internet, this text slang is often used as a mockery in memes and such.

32- DM: Direct Message

Taking over from “PM,” which means “Private Message,” “DM” has been gaining traction over the past few years. It’s a way of asking someone to contact you directly and/or privately. You can use it to say, for instance:

“DM with your email plz!”

33- DAE—Does Anyone Else?

Apparently huge on niche forums, Reddit, and some discussion groups, “DAE” is used as a prefix to a question. Like in: “DAE feel the Venus retrograde transit is a killer this week?”

34- ELI5—Explain Like I’m 5

Apparently huge on Reddit, this is a way to ask someone to dumb down a topic so you can understand it in layman’s terms. Or, you could use this to ask a specialist to explain something to you in a simple way: “ELI5: How does mitosis work?”

Kids Studying

35- FTFY—Fixed That For You

If you make an unintentional mistake on a media platform, someone can “FTFY,” quite literally. It’s also used sarcastically, such as saying:

“Microsoft is better than Apple Mac.”
“Apple Mac is far better than Microsoft. #FTFY”

36- IRL—In Real Life

The internet is not real life, so sometimes it’s necessary to state when you’re talking about it.

37- JSYK—Just So You Know

Remember “FYI” (”For Your Information”)? This is its cooler replacement and most often used. FYI will make you seem somewhat obsolete on social media, JSYK.

38- TBT—Throwback Thursday

An Instagram favorite, hashtagging “TBT” on a Thursday, with a photo of you when you were cute and chubby, will get you more comments and likes than simply posting the pic.

39- BFF—Best Friends Forever

Well-known and popular, this is used to show you really like someone, or that they’re actually your best friend.

Women Talking

40- YMMV—Your Mileage May Vary

When you’re chatting about a product or your experience with something, you could add “YMMV” to relay that experiences may vary from person to person. For instance: “No issues with today’s Windows update. YMMV.”

41- SMH—Shakes/Shaking My Head

Used to convey a feeling of disappointment, exasperation, or disapproval. Also consider using some of the internet slang terms below, as these have close to the same meaning.


2. Internet Slang

Some phrases and words are synonymous with social media. They serve to communicate an array of things. You may find that these internet abbreviations are just what you need to show others just how you feel.

1- Facepalm

When we’re very embarrassed—sometimes with ourselves, sometimes with another—we instinctively cover our face with our hand(s). Use “facepalm” to express a serious “Oops!” or even exasperation.

Facepalming Woman

2- Headdesk

If you’re super exasperated and don’t suffer fools gladly, you probably feel like banging your head on the desk with frustration. Convey this in internet conversations with one word.

3- Squad Goals

When you see a group of friends together, acting in a way you wish your posse could, you would announce this with a pic and #Squad Goals. It could also mean that you wish you were part of that group, or that you aspire to be part of a group like that. The “squad” obviously refers to your group of friends or the people you hang with.

Teamwork

4- On Fleek

This is a brand-new internet slang phrase with no reference to another word or expression in English. It simply means you or someone else is being super cool, on point, perfect, or amazing. Such as saying: “Rihanna’s eyebrows are on fleek.”

5- Thirsty

Saying you’re “thirsty” for something means you really want it, almost desperately. Like in: “I’m thirsty for that jacket!”

6- Slay

This slang has nothing to do with killing anything or anyone. Used in a sentence, it’s usually to strongly say that someone’s amazingly good at something, or that something’s fantastic. Like in: “Imagine Dragons new album, slay!”

7- I Can’t Even

This phrase is used when you find yourself at a loss for words to express something adequately, either good or bad. Such as: “Lady Gaga’s movie, I can’t even!” It’s also a way of saying: “I’m speechless!”


3. Conclusion

We hope that our internet slang dictionary has been more than helpful for you. Use these as often as possible, and soon you’ll have them memorized. With these internet slangs and English slang words to use when you text message, you’ll sound like a native online too!

To fast-track your learning, make use of Learn-on-the-go apps, with over 1630 audio and video lessons. EnglishClass101 makes many tools available for free.

We also place emphasis on teaching languages as it’s spoken by natives, so you can hit the ground running when you’ve mastered the basics! The large online community associated with our school offers you the perfect training crowd, so you can practice your newly-acquired skills.

Innovative Language really slays online language learning, so don’t wait, enroll today!

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5 Common Problems English Learners Face (And How to Overcome Them)

5 Common Problems English Learners Face (And How to Overcome Them)

As a common lingua franca for business and tourism all over the world, it’s no wonder why English is one of the most widely spoken foreign languages around the globe. While English is the most popular foreign language, that doesn’t mean that is the easiest.

How difficult English is to learn will depend largely on the native language of the student. The closer a student’s native language is to English, the easier time they will have learning the language. Conversely, the further one’s native language is to English, the harder time they will have in mastering the language.

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In this post, we look at five of the biggest challenges students of English face, and we also share some practical tips on how to overcome them.

1) Phrasal verbs

Verb

Phrasal verbs are a common base for the English learner. In linguistic terms a phrasal verb is a verb that is used in conjunction with a particle, and often a preposition, to form a short phrase. Individually the words in these short phrases don’t make sense, it’s when they appear together that they take on their meaning.

Some examples include: to “carry on” (continue), to “check out”, to “get by”, or to “give up”. These types of phrases can be very difficult for non-native speakers to remember and use correctly in a speech.

Often times the only way to cement phrasal verbs into your vocabulary is to memorize them. A great way to do this is to utilize a flashcard based spaced repetition tool. Spaced repetition allows you to focus your time and energy on the flashcards you have the most trouble remembering, and it’s a great technique to help you learn more efficiently. Anki is a free spaced repetition flashcard deck that is worth looking into. On Anki, it’s easy to customize your flashcards to include pictures, audio, and anything else that might help you remember the trickiest phrasal verbs.

2) The gap between listening and reading

Girl Reading

There’s a lot of languages out there which are fairly phonetic, meaning words are spelled the way they sound and vice versa. If a language isn’t spelled exactly how it’s spelled, often times there are a set of clear rules or exceptions to common pronunciations.

In English, this simply isn’t the case. The word you hear can differ greatly from the word you read. Students of the language are often thrown off by spellings such as “red, read (past), and read (present)” or “there, their, and they’re”. The importance of learning a language holistically through reading, writing, listening, and speaking, is often stressed in the language learning community, and this couldn’t be more important for English learners. For English learners, the gap between what you hear and what you see on a page can be frustrating.

The best way to overcome this obstacle is to simply get used to using the language. Learning tools which include audio and accompanying transcripts (like EnglishClass101), will be very helpful here. Try listening to an English audio resource (like a podcast). Listen to it several times without looking at the transcript for the episode. Then try your best to write down what you think you heard. This will not only help you get used to the different spellings of words, but it will also help you develop your listening skills.

You can also take the exercise and do it the opposite way. Read the transcript of an episode and do your best to read out loud with the correct pronunciation. Listen back to the native audio to double check what you said.

3) Listening comprehension

Listening

You can have an excellent command of a foreign language, and be able to express yourself with relative ease. However, this does not necessarily mean that you will be able to understand native speakers when they talk. A common problem for students of English is listening comprehension. There are a few reasons for this.

Depending on where a student learned English, they may not have been exposed to native speakers. If they learned English in their native country their teacher likely spoke English with a foreign accent.

Another common issue is which variant of English a student learned. Students in and around Europe are likely to learn English with a British pronunciation, while others may learn American or even Australian. The difference behind the diction and pronunciation can vary widely between continents.

Listening comprehension in a foreign language is a lot like a muscle. If you want your skill to grow you have to exercise it. The best way to do this is to listen to native audio or even better real-life native speakers. The more time you spend actively listening (that is trying to squeeze out all the meaning you can from the English you here), the more comfortable you will become with listening and comprehending what you hear.

4) Tenses

Tenses

English has a lot of verb tenses. Twelve in the active mood to be exact. Other languages, like say Russian for instance, have significantly less. Native speakers of these languages will have a tougher time picking up on the subtleties between the different tenses in English.

One great way of overcoming this obstacle is to engage with the language in the context of a conversation or situation. This means, versus simply reading through a list of examples in a textbook, try engaging with English in a way that is more natural. A great way to do this is by watching an English tv show or movie with English subtitles. The situation in a particular scene will provide a lot of context as to the language and words that are spoken. This will help you see firsthand how the tenses are used, and how they aren’t used.

Another useful tool is EnglishClass101 audio or video episodes. The episodes are built around a recorded conversation between native speakers. The context is given for each lesson, and more often than not the episode covers some realistic situation you’re likely to encounter in everyday life.

5) Patience

Learning

Patience is something all language learners have to grapple with, whether their learning English or another language. The language learning journey is full of ebbs and flows. Sometimes it feels like progress comes quickly and you see real improvement in your abilities. Other times, it feels like you hit a brick wall and no matter how hard you work you don’t see any progress.

A great language learner keeps pushing through the hard times as well as the rewarding ones. You can learn the English language. Sometimes it just takes a bit of perseverance. Keep your head up! When you hit plateaus try changing up your method of practice or study. Sometimes routines get dull and you need a fresh way to engage with the language.

Final thoughts

Learning English isn’t always easy, but the reward of learning a new language is always worth it. Hopefully, this article will help you identify and overcome some of the most common problems learners face when studying English. Best of luck!

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The Fourth of July: Independence Day in the United States

In the United States, the Fourth of July is one of the most important holidays and is the country’s National Day. It commemorates the end of the American Revolution, and the July 4, 1776 passing of the Declaration of Independence, which freed the United States from British rule.

From Fourth of July fireworks to singing the National Anthem, Americans use this day to be thankful for our freedom and to remember those who sacrificed to help us attain it.

In learning about this significant U.S. holiday, you’re examining the very roots of U.S. culture as it is today. And as any successful language-learner can tell you, understanding a country’s culture is vital in mastering the language.

At EnglishClass101.com, we hope to make this learning adventure both fun and informative!

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1. What is Independence Day in the United States?

Independence Day dates back to 1776, which was the day the Continental Congress approved the Declaration of Independence for the United States. However, it wasn’t until 1781 when the states started to pick it up as a state holiday, and Massachusetts was the first state to do so.

The very first celebration of Independence Day was in Maine in 1820, and Congress made the Fourth of July an official federal holiday in 1870. However, federal employees did not receive pay for the day off until 1838.

2. When is Independence Day?

Fourth of July

Each year, the United States celebrates its Independence Day on July 4 (which is why this holiday is often called the Fourth of July). July 4, 1776, marks the day that the United States finally gained its independence from Britain.

3. How is the Fourth of July Celebrated?

1- Fourth of July Fireworks

The Fourth of July, or United States Independence Day, is typically celebrated by fireworks displays all over the country.

Some of the most-watched fireworks displays include those at the National Mall and at Mount Rushmore. Many towns and locales have their own fireworks displays on the evening of the fourth, and Americans also enjoy setting off fireworks themselves, although this is banned or restricted in many parts of the country.

In some areas, there are so many fireworks being set off by private residents that police can do little, if anything, to enforce the law, which they put in place for safety reasons.

2- Fourth of July Desserts & Other Popular Foods

Americans typically have backyard barbecues and celebrations in honor of their country’s independence. Some of the most common American foods on this day include hot dogs, hamburgers, shish kabobs, steaks, and potatoes.

Since Independence Day is a celebration, after all, Americans also love their Fourth of July desserts. Something Americans often do with any kind of dessert on this day is make them using the colors red, white, and blue as these are the colors of the United States Flag. For instance, if Jello is served, it’ll be red, white, and blue; if it’s cake or cookies, it’ll have red, white, and blue frosting!

3- Other Activities

The week, especially the weekend, around the Fourth of July is typically a very busy travel day in the United States because many Americans travel to see friends and family, making a long weekend out of the holiday. Boating and camping are two activities often enjoyed for Independence Day.

4. The Roots of Many Independence Day Traditions

Sparkler in front of U.S. flag

Independence Day has been celebrated since the very first days of the formation of the United States.

On the first anniversary of the Fourth of July, it was marked with a thirteen-gun salute in honor of the thirteen colonies that became states. The guns were fired twice on that day: once in the morning and once at nightfall. The gun salute was held in Rhode Island.

In Philadelphia, we see the beginnings of other major traditions for this holiday, including a dinner held for Congress, more thirteen-gun salutes, parades, and more. General George Washington marked the day in 1778 by giving his troops a double ration of rum.

5. Useful Vocabulary to Know for the Fourth of July

Declaration of Independence

Here’s some vocabulary you should know for Independence Day in the United States!

  • Sign
  • United States of America
  • White
  • Red
  • Blue
  • Picnic
  • Independence Day
  • Philadelphia
  • Firework
  • Flag
  • Declaration of Independence
  • Thomas Jefferson
  • Pride
  • National Anthem
  • July 4th
  • Independence
  • Freedom
  • Barbeque
  • American Revolution
  • 1776
  • Parade

To hear each of these words pronounced, check out our U.S. Independence Day vocabulary list.

Conclusion

What do you think of the Fourth of July traditions in the United States? What does your country do on its National Day? Let us know in the comments! We always love to hear from you!

To continue learning about U.S. culture and the English language, visit us at EnglishClass101.com. We provide an array of fun and practical learning tools for every learner, including free English vocabulary lists and more insightful blog posts like this one! On our website, you can also chat with fellow English learners or ask for help on our community forums, and with a Premium Plus account, you can begin using our MyTeacher program!

Know that your hard work in learning English will pay off, and you’ll be speaking, reading, and writing English like a native English-speaker before you know it!

Happy Fourth of July!

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Learn How to Confidently Introduce Yourself In English

Thumbnail image

Start off the year by learning how to introduce yourself properly in English! Learn easily with EnglishClass101 in this four-minute video!

Table of Contents

  1. 10 Lines You Need for Introducing Yourself in English
  2. Important Tips for Introducing Yourself
  3. Video - How to Introduce Yourself in English
  4. Why EnglishClass101 is Perfect for Learning all about English Introductions

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1. 10 Lines You Need for Introducing Yourself in English

First impressions are absolutely everything! Right? No, wrong - who you are every day is much more important. But first impressions are definitely not unimportant either. Make sure to introduce yourself correctly, as it could mean the difference between getting a job offer or a polite refusal from an employer. EnglishClass101 shows you how to read, write and pronounce these self-introductions and conversation-starters like a native speaker!

But first, a tip - wait to be asked before offering personal details such as your age. Good conversation is about unspoken reciprocity, and giving too many personal details too soon can be embarrassing for your American friend. Rather use phrases that encourage your friend to talk about him or herself - most people like doing that! Also, it shows you take real interest in other people.

1- Hello, it’s nice to meet you.

This phrase is an excellent way to start an introduction. It is a greeting that immediately expresses interest in the other person.

2- My name is Jenny.

Self-explanatory - just replace ‘Jenny’ with your own name! Also, pay close attention to what your new American acquaintance’s name is. Remembering it will make them feel that you are really interested in him/her as a person!

Countries

3- I’m from U.S.

Sharing something about yourself is a nice conversation starter. It shows that you’re willing to engage meaningfully with the other person. In an informal setting, you can expect the other person to respond in kind. At work, this is probably information you need to volunteer only if asked. Again, remember to replace ‘U.S.’ with your own country of birth!

4- I live in Washington D.C.

Same as above - replace ‘Washington D.C.’ with your town or city of abode!

5- I’ve been learning English for a year.

Say this only if it’s true, obviously. And prepare to dazzle your audience! If you have indeed worked faithfully at your English for a year, you should be pretty good at it! Use this phrase after your introduction - it is likely to indicate that you wish to engage in English conversation.

Two people talking

6- I’m learning English at EnglishClass101.com.

This will be the best reply if anyone asks (Very impressed, of course!) where you study English! Simply volunteering this information, especially in a casual conversation, could make you sound like a salesperson, and you want to avoid that. Often, an employer will want this information though, so best to memorize and have this phrase handy!

7- I’m 27 years old.

This is a line that may just get you a ‘TMI!’ look from a stranger if you volunteer it without being asked. He/she may not be willing to divulge such an intimate detail about him/herself right at the start of your acquaintance, so don’t force reciprocity. However, it’s a good phrase to know in a job interview; again, probably best only if your prospective American employer asks. Also, remember to give your true age!

https://s3.amazonaws.com/cdn.innovativelanguage.com/sns/em/blog/19/08_self-introduction/first_encounter/English_first_encounter-01.png

8- I’m a teacher.

You’re still offering information about yourself, which lends good momentum to keep the conversation going! Replace ‘teacher’ with your own occupation - and learn the related vocabulary with EnglishClass101!

People with different jobs

9- One of my hobbies is reading.

Your hobby is another topic with lots of potential for starting a good conversation! People are often eager to talk about their hobbies, and why they like them!

10- I enjoy listening to music.

If you’re still talking about your hobbies, this would be a good line to go with the previous one. Otherwise, wait for your conversation partner to start talking about what they enjoy doing!

2. Important Tips for Introducing Yourself

Introducing yourself

A correct English introduction will make a good impression upon meeting a person for the first time. Why is this first impression important? Simple - it gives an indication of who you are as a person. So, while you want to be truthful when representing yourself, you also need to be prepared to put your best foot forward!

First impressions are often lingering and difficult to change. In addition, it’s easier to make a negative impression than a good one, often without intending to. So, how can you make sure that your self-introduction will impress American natives?

1- Research: First, research the culture! Different cultures have different social rules, and you will be halfway towards making a great first impression if you know the proper American customs for self-introductions. It will also help you avoid social mistakes - sometimes, what is acceptable in one culture is insulting in another, such as making eye contact, or giving a handshake. In your culture, what is appropriate when a person introduces him or herself?

Also, be sure to distinguish between introductions in different situations, such as a formal and a social situation. There are bound to be differences in how you address people! The internet can be an important tool for this endeavor. Alternatively, you could visit your local library to search for books on this topic, or you could ask American friends to explain and demonstrate their cultural habits for introductions. Honoring someone’s culture shows that you respect it, and as we know - a little respect can go a very long way in any relationship!

Someone studying

2- Study the Correct Phrases and Vocabulary: Be sure to learn English phrases and vocabulary that tell people who you are, and that encourage them to engage in conversation with you. Each situation will determine how to address the person you want to introduce yourself to. Also, make sure your pronunciation is correct! It would be most valuable to have English-speaking friends who can help you with this. Or read on for a quick phrase and video lesson on English introductions right here at EnglishClass101!

3- Appearance: This is pretty obvious - if you want to make a good impression introducing yourself to anyone for the first time, you need to be neatly dressed and well groomed! A shabby, dirty or careless appearance and bad body odor are to be avoided at all costs; in most cultures, these will not impress!

Also, make sure to dress appropriately, not only for the occasion, but also for the culture. For instance, bare shoulders or an open-necked shirt is an acceptable gear in many Western countries. Yet, in some cultures, dressing like this could deeply offend your host. No amount of good manners and properly expressed introductions is likely to wipe out a cultural no-no! So, be sure to know how to dress, and take care with your appearance when you are about to introduce yourself to someone for the first time!

Following are some neat phrases with which you can introduce yourself in English, and get a conversation started too!

3. Video - How to Introduce Yourself in English

Good, you read and perhaps even memorized the preceding phrases to successfully introduce yourself in English! Watch this short video now to get a quick lesson on English grammar for these introductions, as well as how to pronounce them correctly. You will sound like a native when you can copy the presenter perfectly!


4. Why EnglishClass101 is Perfect for Learning all about English Introductions

  • Culturally Focused Lessons: All our material is aimed not only to help you learn perfect English, but also to introduce you to the American culture! Learn here, for instance, a list of favorite American foods. Or, how about exploring the American business culture in these 12 introductory lessons? Alternatively, listen to these audio lessons on American culture! Studying through us could be very valuable before visiting English speaking country for any purpose.
  • Accurate and Correct Pronunciation & Inflection: Our hosts and voice actors are native English speakers of the best quality! It is important for us that you speak English correctly to avoid embarrassing misunderstandings and miscommunications. If you practice and can copy these presenters well, you will sound just like English natives and your introduction will be easily understood!
  • State-of-the-Art Lesson Formats and Methods: Efficacy in learning is our highest priority. You will have access to learning tools that were carefully developed by learning specialists over more than a decade! We use only well-researched, proven lesson formats and teaching methods to ensure fast, accurate, fun and easy learning! Millions of happy subscribers can’t be wrong! Create a lifetime account with EnglishClass101 for free access to many learning tools that are updated every week.

  • Learn to Read and Write in English: We don’t only teach you to speak, you can also learn to read and write in English! This way you can express your English introduction in more than one way and be thoroughly prepared.
  • A Learning Plan that Suits your Pocket: EnglishClass101 takes pride in making learning not only easy and fun, but also affordable. Opening a lifetime account for free will offer you a free seven-day trial, after which you can join with an option that suits your needs and means. Learning English has never been easier or more affordable! Even choosing only the ‘Basic’ option will give you access to everything you need to learn English effectively, like thousands of audio and video lessons! However, if you need to learn English fast, the Premium and Premium Plus options will be good to consider, as both offer a vast number of extra tools to ensure efficient learning. This way you can be sure that you will reach your learning goal easily!

Whatever your needs are for learning English, make sure to do it through EnglishClass101, and you will never have to google: “How do I introduce myself in English” again!

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How to Celebrate Father’s Day in the United States

What day is Father’s Day?

Similar to Mother’s Day, Fathers Day gives children and entire families the opportunity to show love and appreciation for their fathers. In the United States, people are understanding more and more how important the father role is in a family, and in society. Using this special holiday to honor and thank fathers is the least we can do in return for all they do, round the clock, in their own subtle and fatherly way.

Learn what makes Fathers Day in the United States unique, and how Americans celebrate their fathers and father-figures on this day. In so doing, you’re getting a glimpse into American culture and values, a vital step in learning American English.

At EnglishClass101.com, we hope to make this learning experience both fun and informative!

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1. What is Father’s Day?

Father’s Day is a day to honor one’s father (or father-figure), and to let him know how much you appreciate him. The United States has been celebrating Father’s Day since the early 1900s, supposedly after a mining accident which resulted in the deaths of many men who were fathers.

The role of a father in a child’s life is immeasurable, and his job unending. Americans recognize this—especially during a time when traditional fatherhood is faltering—and so make a point of praising the efforts of fathers in raising their children. And children show their love and gratitude, often through gifts or quality time.

2. When is Fathers Day?

Father's Day Takes Place on a Sunday

Father’s Day in the United States takes place on the third Sunday of June each year. The date varies by year, so when is Father’s Day this year? For your convenience, we’ve provided a list of this holiday’s date for the next ten years.

  • 2019: June 16
  • 2020: June 21
  • 2021: June 20
  • 2022: June 19
  • 2023: June 18
  • 2024: June 16
  • 2025: June 15
  • 2026: June 21
  • 2027: June 20
  • 2028: June 18

3. How Do Americans Celebrate Father’s Day?

Son Giving Father a Card

Father’s Day celebrations vary from family to family, though gift-giving is a common thread throughout the United States. In fact, Big Business tends to take advantage of this holiday for profit—around this time, you’ll find advertisements for Father’s Day gifts, Father’s Day gift ideas, and other pricey Father’s Day ideas to show your father how much you love him.

Other common Father’s Day ideas include taking Dad for a meal out, writing Father’s Day cards that express the full extent of your love and gratitude, and just taking time to join him in activities he likes.

Truly, the bond between child and father is like no other, and when that bond is allowed to flourish, society is all the better for it.

4. Origins of Father’s Day

The idea for Father’s Day in the United States first began in 1909, after a woman named Sonora Dodd shared the idea of honoring fathers following the 1907 West Virginia mining accident. The idea never really caught fire, and over time grew stagnant, until several years later when Dodd finished art school and could once again get the idea circulating.

It took a long time for Fathers Day to become the established holiday it is today, but the time and effort proved successful in the long run. It’s become nearly as popular (from a commercial perspective) as the holiday it was shaped after: Mother’s Day.

5. Useful Vocabulary for Father’s Day in the U.S.

Coffee, Donut, and Greeting Card

Here’s the most important vocabulary you should know for Father’s Day in the United States!

  • Sunday
  • Father
  • Son
  • Daughter
  • Present
  • Dinner
  • Father’s Day
  • Love
  • Greeting card
  • Celebrate
  • Gift certificate

To hear each of these words pronounced and accompanied by relevant images, check out our Father’s Day vocabulary list.

Conclusion

What do you think of Father’s Day in the United States? Does your country celebrate a Father’s Day, and if so, are celebrations similar or very different? Let us know in the comments!

To learn more about culture and holidays in the United States, and of course the English language, visit us at EnglishClass101.com! We provide practical learning tools for every student, and seek to make learning English both a fun and informative experience!

Read more insightful blog posts like this one, study our free English vocabulary lists to expand your word knowledge, and chat with fellow students on our community forums. You can also upgrade to a Premium Plus account to begin using our MyTeacher program, and learn English one-on-one with your own personal teacher!

All of the hard work you put into learning English will pay off, and you’ll be speaking like a native before you know it. And EnglishClass101 will walk with you on each step of your journey to English mastery.

Oh, and Happy Fathers Day! :)

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5 Great British Movies to Learn English With

Learning English with EnglishClass101 is fun and easy, we guarantee it. Want to know what else is fun? Watching English movies to improve your language skills! Here are some tips to improve your pronunciation while watching movies in English.

Ways to improve pronunciation

Table of Contents

  1. Why Watch English Movies to Improve Your English?
  2. 5 English Movies for Your Entertainment and Learning
  3. Why Enroll with EnglishClass101.com?

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1. Why Watch English Movies to Improve Your English?

Movie genres

We advise that you watch English movies while learning English, as they provide great tools for mastering the language. These include:

  • Learn to Speak the Way Natives Do. Watching movies and listening to radio shows will help train your ear to accents, pronunciation, and expressions native to the language.
  • Movies Give Cultural Insight. You’re very likely to pick up a lot about the culture associated with a language in movies—a good idea if you plan to travel or work in another country. You can also learn a lot about the history of a culture this way.
  • Gives You Something to Talk About. Movies provide great topics for conversation. And imagine how impressed your English friends will be when they learn that you watch their movies!
  • Watching Movies is Entertaining. Films provide a great break from books and formal learning, which makes the process more enjoyable. Also, we learn more easily when we enjoy the process!
  • Watch The Actors’ Mouths as They Speak. Another definite plus is that you get to watch the faces and mouths of native speakers as they talk. This could give you an idea of how to pronounce certain words and sentences, as well as the context for some idioms and slang.

What are your favorite movies in your language?


2. 5 English Movies for Your Entertainment and Learning

Find these English movies online for streaming, or rent or buy a copy. We also picked out the most famous quotes from these movies to share with you—see if you can spot them while watching! Here are the most common common English vocabulary that you may find in the movies.

Top verbs

Without further ado, here are some of the best English movies to watch while learning the language. Some of its characters are well-known and loved across the world, such as Rowan Atkinson of the Mr. Bean and Johnny English series.

1. Johnny English Movies

A James Bond movie spoof, the Johnny English three-movie series depicts the bungling of an espionage agent with the same name. English is a hapless and error-prone guy, and like Mr. Bean, Atkinson’s other beloved character, Johnny English is famous for his very humorous uselessness in general. This is a great film if you’re into English action movies with a penchant for humor.

Of course, all three films are littered with hilarious, quotable quotes, but this particular line hails from the second Johnny English movie—Reborn (2011):

“I may not know much about golf, Tucker, but I know how to hold the bat.”

2. The Apostle

If you have a taste for something darker, The Apostle is a good choice. Another British-American cinematic collaboration, it’s set in early 19th century Britain. The film relates the strange and disturbing story of a girl who gets held for ransom on a remote island by a religious cult, and her drifter brother Thomas Richardson’s journey to rescue her.

Thomas, played arrestingly well by Dan Stevens, uncovers heinous secrets about the island community, the cult, and its leader, Prophet Malcolm. Not for the faint of heart!

This quote is from the lips of Thomas:

“The promise of the Divine is but an illusion. Nothing in this world is pure…except for Jennifer, my sister.”

3. Love Actually

After watching The Apostle, you may find that you need to sweeten your spirit a bit! That can certainly be accomplished with this captivating, London-based romantic comedy, which has gained a sort of cult-status since its release in the early 2000s.

Sporting a star-studded cast, Love Actually is touted to be a “charming treatise on romance,” and it tells ten interwoven tales of love. A real heart-warmer that’s spot-on for the coming Christmas season, too.

Predictably, this movie is filled with many worthy quotes on love. Here’s one of the most famous, on which the title is based:

“If you look for it, I’ve got a sneaky feeling you’ll find that love actually is all around.'’

4. The King’s Speech

Another feel-good film is this historical drama based on the character of King George IV, who had to step into the role of the British monarch after his brother abdicated the throne. The movie garnered twelve Oscar nominations, and won four. After delivering a beautifully nuanced performance as the reluctant king with a severe speech impediment, Colin Firth won the award for Best Actor.

The movie’s script is excellent and has many memorable quotes. This one trips from the lips of the king’s speech therapist, Lionel Logue:

“Long pauses are good: they add solemnity to great occasions.'’

5. The Full Monty

A golden-oldie British comedy that’ll keep you grinning all the way is this cult classic about a bunch of amateur male strippers.

Set in Sheffield, England, it follows the story of six unemployed Brits who venture into striptease-dancing for urgent cash. Although dealing with rough-around-the-edges characters and half-naked dancing, the film nevertheless manages to steer clear of cheap indelicacy, while remaining hugely entertaining and grounded.

As the guys dance, the ladies in the audience call for ‘’Full monty!'’, which refers to full nudity. But watch and see if they get their wish. Most certainly a don’t-miss!

Addressing the group’s dance teacher, the main character Dave asks:

“We want to know about dancing, that’s all.'’

Replies dance teacher Gerald:

‘’Dancers have coordination, skill, timing, fitness, and grace. Take a long, hard look in the mirror.'’


3. Why Enroll with EnglishClass101.com?

We hope that you found a couple of movies to suit your interest on our USA movies list. Memorizing the quotes and watching these entertaining English movies a few times will help you immensely in getting used to the spoken language. However, while this is a great tool, it won’t sharpen your technical and grammatical skills.

For this, you’ll need:

  • Vocabulary learning tools and spaced repetition flashcards
  • Over 1,630 audio and video lessons
  • Detailed PDF lesson notes
  • A lively community forum and lesson discussion
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  • Mobile apps for iPhone & iPad
  • Even free eBooks!

All of this can be yours through EnglishClass101.com, so don’t wait—enroll now! It takes just seven seconds to sign up for a Free Language Learning Course to see what we’re about. You won’t be sorry…

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

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Learn English Easily with these USA TV Shows!

Page Description: Watching TV shows is a very entertaining way to sharpen your English language skills. Read on for EnglishClass101’s list of the best USA TV shows!

When learning a new language, one of the challenges is to understand and communicate with native speakers. The ability to read a language doesn’t guarantee that you’ll understand it when it’s spoken!

For this purpose, watching USA TV shows and movies is an excellent strategy to train your ear. You also get to watch the movement of people’s lips and faces as they talk, offering you further clues as to how a word or phrase is pronounced. Use this tool to perfectly complement your learning with EnglishClass101.com! We hope our list of TV series to learn English proves helpful to you!

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Table of Contents

  1. The Big Bang Theory
  2. Modern Family
  3. The Good Place
  4. Schitt’s Creek
  5. Brooklyn Nine Nine
  6. Black-ish
  7. Game of Thrones
  8. The Haunting of Hill House
  9. Suits
  10. How to Get Away with Murder
  11. Conclusion


1. The Big Bang Theory

If you’re looking to watch American TV shows for a good laugh, The Big Bang Theory is a good place to start.

Released in 2006, this is America’s longest multi-camera comedy show ever aired. It showcases the relationships, lives, and foibles of six brilliant but socially awkward scientists, and their ‘ordinary’ but very grounded friend.

Season twelve was recently released, and will see the end of The Big Bang Theory, unfortunately. Nearly all the actors gained considerable fame through the series, and are greatly in demand for other projects. This is especially true for Jim Parsons, who plays Sheldon Cooper, a character so popular that he now has his own prequel show titled Young Sheldon.

USA TV Show Trivia

Mayim Bialik, who plays Amy Farrah Fowler, is the only cast member with a real PhD, which she received in 2008 for neuroscience.


2. Modern Family

Another wildly popular, and award-winning American TV show is Modern Family, which was released in 2009 and airs on ABC (American Broadcasting Company).

Modern Family depicts the inner workings of a (very) blended family. The show features the Pritchett-Dunphy-Tucker family and follows them through their personal struggles in making their family situations work.

This kaleidoscope of a family comprises of Jay and his much-younger Latina wife Gloria (each with a child of their own, which they’re raising together), another couple with three grown children (the eldest of whom still lives at home), and a homosexual couple who have adopted a child from Vietnam. As can be imagined, each character experiences an array of difficulties and struggles throughout the course of the show.

Modern Family is certainly a fitting name for this show, as it reflects the increasing number of similarly blended families in the United States today. Seeing as blended-family life certainly comes with its hardships, Americans have come to love this show as it sometimes touches on their own struggles.

USA TV Show Trivia

Luke Dunphy, played by Nolan Gould, is the family dunce and often the target of pranks and jokes. However, in real life, Gould is a Mensa-member genius, with an IQ of 150.


3. The Good Place

If you like slightly quirky and offbeat television shows, The Good Place will probably be a good fit for you! The show sports some well-established and well-loved actors, including Ted Danson and Kristen Bell.

Eleanor Shellstrop, played excellently by Bell, wakes up to find herself dead and in The Good Place, as opposed to the Bad Place. Initially relieved, she soon finds out that she’s not supposed to be there. Of course, much hilarity and drama ensues.

USA TV Show Trivia

During the first season of The Good Place, the characters eat what seems like gallons of frozen yogurt. However, on set, the yogurt was actually mashed potatoes!


4. Brooklyn Nine Nine

Another USA network TV show, Brooklyn Nine Nine was first aired on Fox TV in 2013. This hilarious police show is a multiple award nominee, and winner of two Golden Globes.

The show deals with the brilliant but immature and goofy detective, Jake Peralta, working in Brooklyn’s 99th Precinct, who’s constantly at odds with his commanding officer, Ray Holt.

USA TV Show Trivia

In the show, the characters of Jake and Gina are childhood friends. Interestingly, the actors who play these roles have actually known each other since childhood!


5. Schitt’s Creek

If you’re looking to watch English TV shows that had a strong start, this is another hugely entertaining, popular family sitcom, aired for the first time in 2015. It tells the story of the Rose family, who suddenly finds themselves utterly broke after patriarch and video-store magnate Johnny Rose, loses everything. Definitely not used to being so poor, they move to a small town called Schitt’s Creek to deal with their misfortune, and remake themselves and their world.

The show has won numerous ACRA awards, and has been nominated for over twenty-four.

USA TV Show Trivia

Goodwood, Ontario, is a small town where all the outside scenes of the series are shot. The locals have embraced the series and all became “proud citizens of Schitt’s Creek,” says Eugene Levy, who plays John Rose, and is one of the creators, “They had a minor league kind of baseball team there that actually changed their name from the Goodwood Bears to the Schitt’s Creek Bears for an entire month.”


6. Black-ish

This African American TV show deals with an African-American family living in a predominantly white, upper middle-class neighborhood. While they don’t struggle financially, the family battles to find and keep their cultural identity, often with very funny effects.

While a sitcom, the show doesn’t shy away from difficult topics such as racial slurs and police brutality.

USA TV Show Trivia

Show creator Kenya Barris claimed that the series is semi-biographical, with some very direct parallels between his own life and those of the fictional Johnson’s lives. For instance, Rainbow Johnson, the show’s matriarch, is a biracial anesthesiologist. Just like Barris’ real wife—an anesthesiologist with a black mother and a white father, whose name is also Rainbow.


7. Game of Thrones

No list of great TV shows in the USA would be complete without mentioning Game of Thrones! Based on George R.R. Martin’s best-selling book series, “A Song of Ice and Fire,” this fantasy epic show has captured the hearts and minds of millions across the globe. The plot is Shakespearean and simple—two powerful families locked in a feud for the Iron Throne and control of the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros.

Replete with acts of unbelievable violence and shocking discoveries, this is not a bedtime story for the faint-hearted.

USA TV Show Trivia

Remember the Lord of the Rings trilogy, and the well-loved character Gandalf? Well, a replica of Gandalf’s famous sword has found a home in the Iron Throne on the Game of Thrones set!


8. The Haunting of Hill House

Currently considered one of the best American TV shows on Netflix, The Haunting of Hill House follows the story of the Crain siblings who were raised in a very strange house, and its disturbing effects on them even years afterward.

Based on the famous novel with the same title by Shirley Jackson, this series will keep you nailed to the couch episode after episode. It sports accomplished stars such as Oscar-winning Timothy Hutton, and also draws outstanding performances from the child actors.

USA TV Show Trivia

Stephen King, a well-known author of horror and thriller novels, called The Haunting of Hill House “close to a work of genius.” Watch the eerie trailer, and be sure not to miss the series!


9. Suits

For tension of a different kind, Suits provides high drama against the backdrop of corporate law in Manhattan. Following the story of Harvey Specter and his team, this enduring series continues to fascinate and enthrall with a sharp script and relatable themes of betrayal, crime, and, of course, secrets.

Currently, in its mid-season break, Season Eight’s Episode 11 is expected to air next year.

USA TV Show Trivia

Until Season Seven, the character of Rachel was played by the lovely actress Meghan Markle, the new wife of England’s Duke of Windsor, Prince Harry.


10. How to Get Away with Murder

How to Get Away with Murder follows the story of brilliant Annalise Keating, a law professor at a prestigious Philadelphia university. After becoming involved in an accidental murder with her students, their wits and viewers’ nerves are tested in a tightly-scripted relationship drama currently in its fifth season. If you want to watch an American drama, you’re bound to enjoy this one.

Annalise Keating is played by Oscar- and Tony award-winning actress Viola Davis.

USA TV Show Trivia

It’s a little known fact that Viola Davis, the show’s brilliant lead, grew up in extreme poverty and often had to rummage through dumpsters for something to eat.


11. Conclusion

So, now you know that learning English can be very entertaining and relaxing! Allow yourself to be captivated by interesting stories, while your ears grow used to how the language is spoken.

You can even try memorizing the script, and rewatching scenes while ‘acting’ with the actors! This way, you get to practice your accent too. You’ll soon sound like a native!

We truly hope that our list of American TV shows of 2018 has given you a good place to start, so that you can effectively watch TV to learn English.

Alternatively, you can also listen to the audio books made available for free on EnglishClass101.com. The more you expose yourself to spoken English, the sooner you’ll understand natives, and speak like one too.

You can also power your studies with the Innovative Language TV channel, or an Android app to build your vocabulary.

Our goal is to help you learn English correctly, easily, and in the most fun ways possible. Don’t wait; sign up today!

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How to Celebrate Star Wars Day: May the Fourth Be with You.

Star Wars: A sci-fi trilogy that was first scoffed at before proving to be a creative success—and one that would continue to be successful for many years.

Each year, National Star Wars Day is celebrated (unofficially) as a day to commemorate the Star Wars series and the rich world that embodies it. A film trilogy that went beyond what was normal and enriched the life of many a viewer, Star Wars leaves those familiar with it “quotable” quotes and iconic characters (like Princess Leia).

But what day is Star Wars Day, really?

Let EnglishClass101.com teach you all you need to know about this ever-growing United States holiday. We hope to make it both fun and informative. So let’s get started!

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1. What is Star Wars Day?

Star Wars Day. May the Fourth be with you…

In the United States, fans of this sci-fi trilogy celebrate Star Wars Day, for no other reason than the aforementioned phrase. You see, one of the most popular phrases in the trilogy is, “May the Force be with you,” which can be altered to reflect the date May Fourth. And so someone with too much time on their hands to think about this made Star Wars Day a thing (one of the first times the Fourth was mentioned this way was in 1979!).

True fans of the Star Wars trilogy also use Star Wars Day to celebrate the creation of these movies and “nerd out,” if you will. And people everywhere will repeat the notorious phrase…

2. When is it?

A Galaxy Far, Far Away

Each year on May 4, National Star Wars Day is observed (May the fourth be with you!).

3. How is it Celebrated?

Yoda with Lightsaber

As Star Wars Day is an unofficial holiday in the United States, there’s no established way to celebrate it (and some people forego it altogether!).

If you’re in the U.S. on May 4, though, expect to be greeted with a hearty “May the Fourth be with you,” at every turn. Aside from this phrase, celebrations may include Star Wars-themed parties, watching a Star Wars marathon, playing Star Wars games, or baking cookies shaped like Star Wars characters. Further, social media is bound to be filled with hashtags galore about Star Wars Day!

4. Additional Information: George Lucas

Did you know that the creator of Star Wars, George Lucas, faced numerous struggles during the creation process? In particular, he was notorious for writing poor dialogue; he grew frustrated that he needed help, thus limiting his creative abilities. On top of this, he faced strong criticism concerning Star Wars as a whole; people thought it wouldn’t market well.

But despite these struggles and frustrations, Lucas managed to create a very successful trilogy—one worthy of having its own special day each year, upheld by diehard fans.

Hopefully Lucas’s struggles and successes will give you encouragement and boost your confidence. You don’t have to be perfect to truly make a mark and reach your dreams.

5. Must-know Vocab

Chewbacca

Here’s some vocabulary you should know for Star Wars Day!

  • Spaceship
  • Galaxy
  • Planet
  • Star Wars
  • Darth Vader
  • Jedi Knight
  • Luke Skywalker
  • I am your father.
  • These aren’t the droids you’re looking for.
  • Use the Force!
  • May the Force be with you.
  • Yoda
  • Lightsaber
  • Han Solo
  • Stormtrooper
  • Chewbacca
  • Trilogy
  • I’ve got a bad feeling about this.
  • A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…
  • I find your lack of faith disturbing.
  • Do. Or do not. There is no try.
  • Princess Leia
  • Traitor!
  • Obi-Wan Kenobi
  • Darth Maul

To hear each vocabulary word pronounced, check out our Star Wars Day vocabulary list, where you’ll find each word accompanied by an audio file of its pronunciation. You’ll also find images of these unique (and sometimes fictional) words!

Conclusion

What do you think about National Star Wars Day? Does your country celebrate Star Wars Day too, or maybe a similar secular holiday? Let us know in the comments!

To learn more about culture in the United States and the English language, visit us at EnglishClass101.com. You’ll find just the study materials you need to master English and start speaking like a native! From insightful blog posts to free vocabulary lists to strengthen your word knowledge, we have something for every English learner. You can also use our forum to discuss lessons with fellow students, or gain a one-on-one learning experience with our MyTeacher program!

Know that your hard work and determination will soon reap benefits, and it’s all worthwhile. EnglishClass101.com will be for every step of your language-learning journey!

Until next time, Happy National Star Wars Day!

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