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Time Off to Vote: Voting and Elections on Election Day

One of the United States’ greatest attributes is its democracy, the ability for its people to vote in elections. Voting and elections in the United States follow specific rules and regulations, ensuring voting equality and fairness.

In this article, you’ll learn about voting on Election Day, including some information on how national elections work.

At EnglishClass101.com, we hope to make every aspect of your language-learning journey both fun and informative!

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1. What is Election Day?

When people talk about Election Day, they’re usually talking about the federal offices in the United States.

Is Election Day a national holiday in the US?

For most people in the United States, the Tuesday after the first Monday in November is a workday. This has been controversial for many years. Some people have advocated that Election Day be made an official federal holiday so that everybody has the day off to vote at their leisure.

But while Election Day isn’t a national holiday, people are required to have time off to vote in the election.

The United States does not vote on a popular vote system. The Electoral College determines the winner of a given state, which translates to a certain amount of electoral votes, making some states much more important than others to politicians.

2. When is Election Day in the United States?

The White House

Each year, the United States has its Election Day on a Tuesday in November, following the first Monday that month. For your convenience, here’s a list of Election Day’s date for the next ten years.

  • 2019: November 5
  • 2020: November 3
  • 2021: November 2
  • 2022: November 8
  • 2023: November 7
  • 2024: November 5
  • 2025: November 4
  • 2026: November 3
  • 2027: November 2
  • 2028: November 7

Keep in mind that some years are considered “off-years.” 2019 is such a year. Further, Presidential elections take place every four years.

3. What to Expect on Election Day

Dropping Off Ballot

Election Day in the United States means the end of long periods of campaigning, something which many Americans are grateful to see come about. It also means that polling places have long lines and that people sit by the TV, radio, or computer waiting to hear the results as soon as they’re turned in.

With elections held, the media in the United States covers Election Day like nothing else. In fact, this is one of the most competitive times of the year for media in general. All of the most popular and best known anchormen and women will be behind a desk with a map of the United States showing where the electoral votes of those states are going as soon as the results are available.

4. Why November?

Can you guess why the United States has always tried to position Election Day in November?

The November date of Election Day is due to the fact that the US was largely an agrarian society when the first elections were held. By November, most farmers had their produce harvested and could then make the sometimes long trip to town to vote.

5. Must-Know Vocabulary for United States Election Day

Pin that Says Vote

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

  • Washington D.C.
  • Politician
  • Election Day
  • Voter
  • Election
  • Candidate
  • Campaign
  • Ballot
  • Democratic Party
  • Government
  • Poll
  • Vote
  • Delegate
  • Front-runner
  • Did you vote?
  • Every vote counts!
  • Who are you going to vote for?
  • Lobby

To hear each of these vocabulary words pronounced, be sure to check out our Election Day vocabulary list!

Final Thoughts

We hope you enjoyed learning about United States Election Day with us! Did you learn anything new? Does your country have a similar day for elections? Let us know in the comments!

If you’re interested in delving further into U.S. culture, you may be interested in the following pages:

We know that English is a difficult language to learn, so we commend you for making the effort. At EnglishClass101.com, we aim to make your language-learning experience as fun and painless as possible.

Happy learning!

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Numbers in English: Learn English Numbers


It’s important to study numbers because no matter where you are, they’re a necessary and unavoidable part of life. This is especially true when it comes to buying things/shopping, telling time, reading calendars, and knowing how to communicate with others the concept of “how many/how much.”

If you plan on traveling to the United States or any other English-speaking country, it’s vital that you pick up at least the most basic numbers in English. From there, you can also begin learning how to write numbers in English as well as grasp the basics of the number system in English. Trust us, knowing these things will come in handy over and over again!

We hope to answer your questions and give you a good working knowledge of English numbers. For example, what are the numbers in English language? And what are the numbers in English grammar?

That said, let EnglishClass101.com guide you through English numbers, from numbers in English 1 to 100 and beyond. We’ll also show you these English numbers in words as well as how to pronounce numbers in English, so you have a full-encompassing knowledge on the topic. Learning numbers in English is one of the most valuable things you’ll do with your time as an English learner, so let’s get started with the numbers in English 0-10!

Table of Contents

  1. English Numbers 0-9
  2. English Numbers 10-100
  3. English Numbers up to 1000
  4. How to Give Your Phone Number in English
  5. Shopping: How to Use Numbers When Shopping
  6. Conclusion

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1. English Numbers 0-9

English Numbers

To learn English numbers, the first ones you’ll need to learn are 0-9. From these basic numbers, you can ultimately build and expand to make any number. Here’s a basic cardinal numbers list in English, along with how to write the numbers in English:

  • 0 - zero
  • 1- one
  • 2 - two
  • 3 - three
  • 4 - four
  • 5 - five
  • 6 - six
  • 7 - seven
  • 8 - eight
  • 9 - nine

2. English Numbers 10-100

1- By Tens

Next, we’ll learn how to count by tens in English. This is a simple way to count up to larger numbers from 10 to 100. Afterward, we’ll teach you how to form all of the numbers in-between (it’s easy once you get the hang of it!). For now, here are numbers from 10-100 by tens:

  • 10 - ten
  • 20 - twenty
  • 30 - thirty
  • 40 - forty
  • 50 - fifty
  • 60 - sixty
  • 70 - seventy
  • 80 - eighty
  • 90 - ninety
  • 100 - one-hundred

Once you have these memorized, you’ll find that counting by tens will become more and more simple. Now, let’s learn something a little trickier: how to form and write all of the English numbers in-between.

Man Holding Up Auction Sign with Number 28

2- The Numbers In-between

To make any of the numbers in-between, you simply use the formula: Tens Number + Number from 0-9. For example, the number 47 would be said “forty-seven,” and the number 83 would be “eighty-three.”

Here’s a numbers in English exercise to test your understanding and help you to incorporate numbers in English grammar. Choose the correct reciprocal for each number below:

  • 26
    • Sixty-two
    • Thirty-six
    • Twenty-six
    • Forty-nine
  • 95
    • Ninety-five
    • Fifty-nine
    • Sixty-five
    • Fifty-six
  • 52
    • Sixty-four
    • Fifty-two
    • Thirty-two
    • Twenty-five
  • Seventy-eight
    • 87
    • 68
    • 78
    • 88

Here are the correct answers:

  • 26 = Twenty-six
  • 95 = Ninety-five
  • 52 = Fifty-two
  • Seventy-eight = 78

1. Special Cases

The rule we mentioned above applies to most numbers between 10-100. However, from number 11-19, the rule changes and (unfortunately) is not consistent across each of these numbers.

Here’s what we mean:

  • 11 - eleven
    12 - twelve

As you can see, the numbers 11 and 12 are spelled very differently from any other number. Perhaps a good way to remember these is to think about elves when counting just after 10, as those same letters are used in both words. Plus, the “1″s kind of look like pointy elf ears. Just a fun idea. :)
The rest of the numbers up to 20 follow a pretty similar pattern as follows:

  • 13- thirteen
  • 14 - fourteen
  • 15 - fifteen
  • 16 - sixteen
  • 17 - seventeen
  • 18 - eighteen
  • 19 - nineteen

With the exception of thirteen and fifteen, each of these numbers is Number 0-9 + “Teen.”

Thirteen ends the same way, but begins with “Thir” instead of “Three,” as in the word “Third.”

And fifteen also ends the same way, but begins with “Fif” instead of “Five,” as in the word “Fifth.”

These special cases aside, every other number from 10-100 follows the exact same pattern as laid out above.

3. English Numbers up to 1000

Are you ready to learn how to count big numbers in English? Let’s go over how to read and write numbers up to 1000. Once you have this mastered, you’ll have an easier time mastering the numbers 1000 to 2000 in English, all the way up to one-hundred thousand, and beyond (even though we won’t be going into that in this article). So let’s go ahead and start learning to count by hundreds.

1- By Hundreds

  • 100 - one-hundred
  • 200 - two-hundred
  • 300 - three-hundred
  • 400 - four-hundred
  • 500 - five-hundred
  • 600 - six-hundred
  • 700 - seven-hundred
  • 800 - eight-hundred
  • 900 - nine-hundred
  • 1000 - one-thousand

2: To Make Numbers In-between

Mathematician Thinking in Front of Black Board with Numbers

To make any number in-between the hundreds, simply use the formula: Hundreds Number and Tens Number (+ Number from 0-9). For example, the number 827 would be said “eight-hundred and twenty-seven” and the number 203 would be said “two-hundred and three.”

Here’s another numbers in English exercise to help you test your understanding. Choose the correct reciprocal for each number:

  • 143
    • Three-hundred and Forty-one
    • One-hundred and Forty-three
    • Four-hundred and Thirteen
    • Four-hundred and Thirty-one
  • 937
    • Nine-hundred and Thirty-seven
    • Nine-hundred and Seventy-three
    • Seven-hundred and Ninety-seven
    • Three-hundred and Seventy-nine
  • 728
    • Eight-hundred and Seventy-two
    • Seven-hundred and Twenty-eight
    • Seven-hundred and Eighty-two
    • Two-hundred and Eighty-seven
  • Three-hundred and Fifty-four
    • 543
    • 453
    • 345
    • 354

Here are the answers:

  • 143 = One-hundred and Forty-three
  • 937 = Nine-hundred and Thirty-seven
  • 728 = Seven-hundred and Twenty-eight
  • Three-hundred and Fifty-four = 354

How did you do? This can be confusing at first, so if you need to review this section before moving on, there’s nothing wrong with that. Because next we’ll be going over how to give your phone number in English!

4. How to Give Your Phone Number in English

Message and Phone Number on Napkin

In the United States, phone numbers consist of three groups as follows: (xxx) xxx-xxxx where the numbers in parentheses are the “area code” which indicates where in the United States someone lives. For example, someone may tell you their phone number is (360) 111-2222.

Different people say their phone number aloud differently, with some choosing to do it number-by-number and others grouping the numbers however they see easiest. One important thing to note is that regardless of how they group/say the number, most people pause for a second or two after saying the area code, and then where the dash is.

1- Number by Number

In the above example number, the person would say it as follows: (three-six-zero) one-one-one - two-two-two-two.

You may find number-by-number the easiest way to both give and receive someone’s number due to its simplicity.

2- Grouped

Typically, when people give their phone number by group, it will sound something like this based on the above example: (three-six-zero) one-eleven - twenty-two twenty-two.

Also keep in mind that many people, instead of saying “zero” simply call this number “O” for short. So instead, it may sound like this: (three-six-o) one-eleven - twenty-two twenty-two.

Also, some people refrain from giving their area code, and simply give you the xxx-xxxx part of the number (it’s not usually necessary to give the area code if most of your friends live in the same area as you). If you do need their area code, you can simply ask for it.

5. Shopping: How to Use Numbers When Shopping

1- Prices

Using the example above, let’s say you’re at the mall purchasing a new shirt. The cashier may tell you, “That amounts to twelve dollars and ninety-nine cents.” You’ll know that this means the shirt costs $12.99.

If you want to know how much something costs, you can ask “How much does this cost?” and you’ll be given an answer as in the format above.

Also keep in mind that bartering isn’t very common in the United States, unless you’re shopping someplace that’s run by an individual (say, a local farmers’ market instead of a large chain store). So asking for a reduced price isn’t that common.

Family Grocery Shopping Together

2- Counting

When shopping, you use counting more often than you’d think. Typically, this will be used either if you’re asking for a certain amount or portion of something, or if you’re telling someone you have that amount or portion of it.

1.) Let’s say you’re at the butcher and need 2 pounds of beef. You can say, “Can I please have two pounds of beef?”

2.) You’re at the checkout line at the grocery store and have something very heavy in your cart that you can’t lift onto the conveyor belt. You can tell the cashier, “I have one [item] in my cart,” so that they’ll know it’s there and can scan it. (You can also give the hand sign for “one” while saying this.)

6. Conclusion

We went over a lot of numbers, rules, and additional information on how to learn numbers in English as well as how to use them. A lot. But we hope that you enjoyed the learning process and really did get a better understanding of English numbers in this English lesson. You’ll definitely be glad to have this information when you visit (or move to!) the United States.

So, what did you learn about numbers in English vocabulary? Let us know!

If you want even more information and guidance for your English-learning journey, be sure to visit us at EnglishClass101.com. We offer an array of helpful blog posts, free vocabulary lists, and even an online community where you can discuss lessons with fellow students. And if you prefer a one-on-one learning approach, you can download our MyTeacher app and get your very own English teacher.

In the meantime, be sure to keep studying numbers in English as well as the number system in English (especially when it comes to those pesky “teen” numbers). Numbers in English writing can be difficult, but with enough practice and determination, you’ll be counting to 1000 in English and making in-person transactions like a boss! Good luck!

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Halloween USA: Halloween Activities & Events

Each year, Americans celebrate Halloween—a holiday dedicated to everything spooky, dark, and disturbing. While this Halloween celebration is relatively new in the U.S., many Americans actually look forward to it all year long!

In this article, you’ll learn about the most common Halloween activities, the holiday’s possible origins, and popular Halloween sayings you can start practicing today.

At EnglishClass101.com, we hope to make every aspect of your learning journey both fun and informative!

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1. What is Halloween in the United States?

Halloween is a time for celebration in the USA. It’s become the second most popular holiday in the nation over the years. Halloween is known for its oftentimes scary costumes, elaborate parties and events, horror film festivals, and its many Gothic trappings. This holiday was a latecomer to the US, and only became popular in the early twentieth century.

2. When is Halloween?

Full Moon for Halloween

Each year, the United States celebrates Halloween on October 31. However, there have been recent petitions to change the Halloween date to the final Saturday in October. In time, we’ll see if this becomes the case. ;)

3. Halloween Events, Celebrations & Common Themes

The Basics

People in the USA typically carve pumpkins into scary jack o’ lanterns, use Halloween decorations to make their houses spooky inside and out, and wear a variety of Halloween costumes to celebrate. Some people believe that these aspects of Halloween have roots in Celtic and European myths and traditions.

Halloween Music & Moves

Today, popular horror films and Halloween movies have also influenced the cultural traditions that surround Halloween. The monster movies of the early twentieth century are significant contributors to the look and feel of modern Halloween celebrations in the USA! Check the local theaters and TV stations around Halloween, and you’ll find plenty of scary stuff to watch!

Another favorite for lovers of this holiday is Halloween music. From basic haunting tunes to pop-culture classics, there will be some kind of spooky music playing just about anywhere! To get a taste, why not listen to one of the most popular examples of classic Halloween music: The Monster Mash.

Trick-or-Treating, Haunted Houses & Hayrides

Trick-or-treating started at the beginning of the twentieth century to curb the vandalism and destruction that once characterized this holiday in the USA. Today, Halloween is a night when the streets are full of families getting treats from their neighbors, and vandalism and other problems are rare.

Some families and social groups set up elaborate haunted houses and invite people to go through for free or a donation. Hayrides and other nighttime events are also very popular in rural areas.

Halloween Costumes

Over the years, Halloween costumes in the USA have become more varied. Some people, particularly younger participants, forego the dark Gothic theme of the holiday and dress up as movie characters, their favorite characters from books, or even important figures from the past.

4. Samhain: The Original Halloween?

Trick or Treating

Do you know where the U.S. may have borrowed the tradition of dressing up?

Samhain is considered by some to be a significant influence on current Halloween celebrations in the United States, though this is disputed by some scholars. Samhain was—and still is, to some extent—celebrated in Scotland and Ireland. It’s associated with the final harvest of the year more than it is with scary ghouls and goblins, though spirits do play a part!

The dressing up was originally done to scare malicious spirits away, or to trick them into thinking that you were one of them to avoid harm.

5. Essential Halloween Night Vocabulary

Scary Jack-o-Lantern

Here’s the essential vocabulary you should know for Halloween in the United States!

  • Candy
  • Witch
  • Spider
  • Pirate
  • Pumpkin
  • Bone
  • Jack-o ‘-lantern
  • Scary
  • Skull
  • Halloween
  • Bat
  • Broom
  • Costume
  • Vampire
  • Ghost
  • Frankenstein
  • Black cat
  • Boo!
  • Goblin
  • Mummy
  • Monster
  • Haunted house
  • Trick-or-treat
  • Spooky
  • Werewolf
  • Zombie
  • Skeleton
  • Devil

We have a lesson dedicated to these must-know Halloween words on our website; why not check it out?

EnglishClass101: The Best Guide to English & U.S. Culture

We hope you enjoyed learning about Halloween with us! Did you learn anything new? Are you excited to participate in some of these Halloween activities? Let us know in the comments; we always love hearing from you!

To learn more 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 numerous topics and themes
  • Podcasts and videos to improve your listening and pronunciation skills
  • Mobile apps to learn English anywhere, on your own time
  • Much, much more!

To really make the most of your learning journey, 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 based on your needs and goals.

English is a difficult language to master, but at EnglishClass101, we believe you can do it! And we’ll be here with help and encouragement every step of the way.

Happy Halloween!

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How to Make an Apology for Poor English, and More!

There are few things in life more frustrating than having difficulty communicating with others, and this is pretty inevitable when you move to a country that speaks a different language than your mother tongue.

Anyone learning a new language is sure to stumble sometimes, and apologies are the best and simplest way to brush off frustration and embarrassment. Knowing how to say “sorry” in English conversations when necessary is a vital skill to learn. Whether you’re looking to say sorry for your English or want to know another word for “sorry” in English, you can find exactly what you need on EnglishClass101.com.

Learn how to make an apology for poor English and other ways to say “sorry” in English with EnglishClass101.com and our guide to “sorry” in common English. Start with a bonus, and download your FREE cheat sheet - How to Improve Your English Skills! (Logged-In Member Only)

  1. What is an Apology?
  2. Most Important “Sorry” Words in English
  3. Making an Apology for Poor English
  4. Apologizing for Other Small Inconveniences
  5. How to Apologize for Something More Serious
  6. How to Accept Blame for a Mistake
  7. Formal/Business Apologies
  8. Offering Condolences
  9. Body Language
  10. Conclusion: How Can EnglishClass101.com Help You Learn More English?

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1. What is an Apology?

Apologies are one of the most important aspects of communication in any language. Saying “sorry” (and meaning it!) is a humble way of admitting you made a mistake, or admitting when you might have accidentally inconvenienced or hurt someone.

1- The Importance of Apologizing

How to say sorry when learning English is one of the most important things you’ll learn. Knowing how to apologize or say you’re sorry in English language isn’t just convenient, it’s necessary.

For one, apologizing is an expectation in most cultures and countries around the world. It’s considered rude and unruly to refrain from admitting your mistakes and asking forgiveness, no matter where you are. This is especially true in the United States, where there’s more and more focus on individual happiness.

Furthermore, apologizing right away (particularly for smaller issues) helps to avoid and minimize any conflicts down the road. This helps to keep resentment or anger from welling up in a relationship, and strengthens trust and respect between both parties.

And never forget that apologizing for your missteps and errors not only helps the other party—it really does benefit you just as much. When apologizing, you’ll make yourself feel more comfortable and at ease. You’ll also provide yourself with the ability to pinpoint your own error, take note of it, and improve your English.

What else? Apologizing can serve as a gateway for being understood. With trust and respect gained after an apology, there’s often room for digging to the root of the issue. While the point of an apology is never to make excuses for your actions or brush them off entirely, you may find that once the words, “I’m sorry,” have fallen from your lips, there’s forgiveness on the other side. And from there, understanding can be gained—even if it only helps you understand yourself better.

Now that we’ve talked about the why, let’s continue forward by learning some of the most important “sorry” words in English.

2. Most Important “Sorry” Words in English

3 Ways to Say Sorry

Before we’re able to move into the nitty-gritty details of how to say that you’re sorry in English, we need to take a look at a few of the most common and important words and phrases.

  • “Apology”: As discussed above, an “apology” is a way of expressing your sorrow for a mistake you made and asking forgiveness, or a pardon, for it. However, it’s not very common these days to actually use the word “apology” or “apologies” in English when saying you’re sorry (except in formal situations). In most day-to-day cases, this is simply a phrase to describe the act of saying “sorry”.

    By the way, if you want to know how to apologize in English, you may find our apology audio files and word list helpful! Here, you’ll find more information on how to say sorry in American English.

  • “Sorry”: This is the most common word for apologizing in English, and it can be used in numerous ways for any number of circumstances. This essentially serves as the “keyword,” or most often used word, for apologizing in English. We’ll go into more details about the different ways to use this below.
  • “Accident”: The majority of apologies are for minor occurrences, or “accidents”. For instance, your first instinct is probably to say “sorry” when unintentionally stepping on someone’s foot or interrupting them when they’re talking.
  • “Mistake”: For the purpose of this article, a “mistake” is typically more serious than an accident. For instance, if you make a “mistake,” it could be a situation where you messed something up at work that caused big issues, or even that you made a poor moral choice that caused someone pain.
  • “Forgiveness”: When you apologize, you are more often than not seeking forgiveness. You want for the other party to pardon your action(s) and take part in moving forward from it. This is most often reflected in the phrases, “Please forgive me,” or “Will you forgive me?”

Now that you know some of the important English words related to apologizing, let’s learn how to apologize for poor English.

3. Making an Apology for Poor English

One of the first things you’ll likely find need to apologize for in the United States is poor English. Communication is vital to anyone and everyone, but it can certainly be difficult when you’re in a new country that speaks a different language. Frustration may start to grow for both you and the person/people you’re trying to speak with.

But, if you know how to make a quick apology for poor English, you’ll find that frustration turns into a quest for a solution. This is where knowing how to say, “Sorry for my English,” can be a lifesaver.

For example, let’s say you’ve just moved to the United States for a job that you just couldn’t pass up. You know enough English to get around, but you find that discussing a big project with English-speaking colleagues is just plain difficult.

Group Project

If you’re having a hard time keeping up or sharing your own thoughts, if you make an apology for poor English, you’ll find that you and your colleagues can find more efficient ways of communicating based on that information.

Here are some phrases you can use to apologize for your poor English:

  • “Sorry for my English.”
  • “Sorry about my English.”
  • “Sorry for my bad English.”

Above are some of the simplest ways to make an apology for poor English, and each one has about the same meaning. Any of these phrases will be well-accepted and understood in just about any environment or situation.

If you want to make a more formal or elaborate apology for poor English, the phrases below work well too.

  • “I apologize for my poor English.” or “I’m sorry for my poor English.”: Adding the pronoun “I” to your simple apology adds an extra layer of sincerity and meaning; it shows that it comes from you, and that you mean it.
  • “I’m sorry, but I don’t speak English very well yet.”: This is similar to the phrases mentioned above, but uses a few additional words. Apologizing for poor English in this way shows that while you’re not yet fluent in the language, you really are trying and putting effort into learning.
  • “Please be patient with me, my English isn’t very good.”: This apology is a little bit different than the others. You begin by asking the other party to be patient, which shows that you understand their potential frustration. Then, you explain that your English isn’t very good; this gives the other party a fair warning that there may be some difficulties in communicating.
  • “My English isn’t very good. I’m sorry for the inconvenience.”: This is similar to the previous apology. In this case, you begin by explaining your poor English, and then you apologize for how it may inconvenience the other party (by frustrating them or making the task at hand more difficult).

You can also add to your apology, so as to give further explanation or make suggestions to help further your communication. For example:

  • “My English isn’t very good yet, but I’m learning.”
  • “I apologize for my poor English. Maybe we can talk about this project over email instead.”

Now that you know a few ways to make an apology for poor English, let’s move on to talking about how to apologize for other small inconveniences.

4. Apologizing for Other Small Inconveniences

Annoyed Woman

No matter who you are or where you live, you’re going to do something that bothers or annoys someone at some point. Are you getting mean stares from someone because you’re biting your nails too loudly? Are you walking too slowly for the person behind you? Did you accidentally bump into someone walking on the sidewalk?

Though things like this are pretty insignificant, it’s still polite to apologize. Here are some common apology sentences and phrases in English that you can use for situations like this:

  • “Sorry.” or “I’m Sorry.”: This is the most common and informal way of apologizing for a minor inconvenience. You can use one of these two phrases in just about any circumstance.
  • “Oh, I’m sorry.”: When you add the “Oh,” to the above apology, it usually shows more humility or surprise. (But keep in mind that your tone of voice is important here, as this can also be interpreted as sarcasm, depending on the circumstances. Make sure it’s clear that you’re sincerely apologizing.)
  • “Sorry about that.”: This apology is usually used when you’ve made some kind of minor error or miscalculation. For example, if you told someone a piece of information that you later found out was incorrect, you can say something along the lines of, “Oh, I just remembered that it costs five dollars, not two. Sorry about that.
  • “Sorry to bother you.”: How to say “Sorry to bother you,” in English is pretty standard across situations. It’s typically used when you interrupt someone, or cause them some mild inconvenience. It can be used before or after the actual interruption happens: “Sorry to bother you. I have a quick question,” or “Thank you for answering my question. Sorry to bother you.
  • “I’m so sorry.”: This is something you should probably say if you, for example, ran into someone on accident and made them drop something they were carrying. (And, if it’s not too much trouble, picking it up for them is always a nice thing to do while saying it.)
  • “Sorry for my mistake.”: How to say “Sorry for my mistake,” in English depends on the severity of the situation. In general, this phrase tends to be a more serious apology than the others in this section, but is still informal enough to use for smaller-scale apologies. Use it when you’ve made a mistake, and wish to apologize for any harm it’s caused.
  • “My bad.”: If you’re looking for another word for sorry in English, this phrase is increasingly common to use after making a minor error, especially among younger generations. It literally means “(it’s) my fault.'’ Much like “I’m sorry,” this phrase can be used for most situations, but is even less formal. Its origins are fairly blurry.

5. How to Apologize for Something More Serious

Little inconveniences happen, and they happen often. Most people learn to let them go, and forgive easily. But things can get a lot messier when you (or someone you know) makes a far more serious mistake.

Couple Fighting

We’re all people, and none of us are perfect. For this reason, it’s important to learn how to make a serious and heartfelt apology (and how to accept them, but we’ll get to this later).

If you know you’ve really messed up or have deeply hurt or offended someone, whether it was intentional at the time or not, a meaningful apology is often the first step in restoring a relationship. It can be difficult to humble ourselves enough to do it, and more difficult still to gain the courage to. But once you’re ready to try and make amends, here are some phrases you can use for saying sorry to someone you hurt in English language:

  • “I owe you an apology.”: If you aren’t sure how to begin your apology, this is often a good way to start it. It gets to the point, and serves as an opener for anything else you have to say about the issue. By saying that you owe someone an apology, it shows that the hurt you caused them has put you in debt to them, and the price is a sincere apology.
  • “I’m very sorry for _____.”: Using the word “very” shows that there’s more substance to your apology than there would be for a smaller error. Here, you can also fill in the blank to explain exactly what it is you’re sorry for; this helps the other person realize that you know your mistake and are owning up to it. It also helps you come to grips with whatever it is you did so that you can do better in the future.
  • “I’m really sorry I did that.”: This is similar to the above phrase, but is a little more generalized.
  • “I’m sorry for hurting you.”: Sometimes it’s not enough to explain what you’re sorry for. It’s important to acknowledge not only that it happened, but the fact that it hurt the person you’re apologizing to. People need to feel understood, and an apology goes much further when the offended party’s pain is properly acknowledged. This also shows that you understand the weight of your mistake.
  • “I’m very sorry for hurting your feelings.”: Similar to the above apology, this is a way of acknowledging the emotions of the other party. However, this apology is best used after you’ve said some harsh words to (or about) somebody. In some cases, it can also be used after you’ve done something that hurts their feelings, though this is less common.
  • “I know that what I did was wrong, and I’m sorry for it.”: This is a slightly more elaborate apology. It not only apologizes, but also shows the other party that you know you did, indeed, make a mistake (as opposed to simply “saving face,” which is less favorable in the United States than it is in some other countries).

Once you’ve stated your initial apology, it’s also a good idea to assure the other party that you won’t make that mistake again. For example, you can say something along the lines of: “I’m sorry for hurting you. I’ll never ____ again. Will you forgive me?” (In the blank space, state what it is you did to hurt them.)

But it doesn’t end there. After a meaningful apology, it’s important to put words into action. Do your very best to keep your promises and show that your apology was really sincere.

6. How to Accept Blame for a Mistake

Knowing the above English apology phrases is important and is sure to prove helpful. But how do you actually go about accepting blame for something you’ve done wrong?

Well, to begin with, this is a matter which must be dealt with in your heart. Until you’ve thought about it, and decided in your heart that you really did mess up and an apology is owed, accepting blame is impossible and any apology you make will be empty.

Once you get to this point and have accepted for yourself that you made a mistake, it’s time to let the other party know that you realize this. Accepting blame is a little bit different than apologizing (though you can do both together).

Essentially, when you decide to accept blame for (or “own up to” ) your mistake, you’re taking fault away from the other party or the surrounding circumstances. You’re no longer looking to make excuses.

Here are some phrases you can use when admitting that you made a mistake and are at fault:

  • “I made a mistake.”: This is one of the simplest ways to admit a mistake. It’s straight and to-the-point, and an apology can easily be added to it.
  • “This is (all) my fault.”: This phrase is usually better used for larger issues, especially if you include the word “all,” which indicates that a lot has happened or a lot is on the line.
  • “I caused this.”: This is similar to the above phrase, but not used quite as often.
  • “I know that I messed up.”: This is a simple, humble way of admitting to someone that you did something wrong. “Messed up,” indicates that what you did caused some kind of trouble, whether in the immediate situation or on an emotional level.

You can also add one of the apology phrases you learned to these, in order to turn it into a more formal and sincere apology. For example, you could say, “This is all my fault. I’m really sorry for everything.

7. Formal/Business Apologies

As in most places, apologies differ a bit once you reach the business world (or even just the office). These differences involve both language and overall manner. In this section, we’ll go over how to say sorry in business English, as well as the mannerisms that usually accompany business apologies in English.

1- Language

You know how earlier we said that the word “apology” is rarely used in the apology itself? Well, the few occasions that it is used, it’s usually in business or work environments. How to say “sorry” in English (formal) is all about professional language and conciseness.

Here are common phrases used when companies make apologies to the public (take note of the use of the word “we” as the company apologizes as a whole):

  • “We offer our deepest apologies.”: When a company messes up, it needs to make sure the public knows that it recognizes this. It also needs to make sure that the public sees its apology as genuine.
  • “We are deeply sorry for ___.”: This is similar to the phrase above, but a little bit less formal (which, depending on the company and the circumstances, is sometimes an effective approach).
  • “We apologize for ___.”: Typically, a company will use a phrase like this for two reasons: 1.) To apologize for a smaller error that didn’t have too many negative consequences, or 2.) To apologize for something without sounding too desperate or over-the-top.
  • “We would like to apologize for/to ___.”: This is a little bit more formal than the above phrase.
  • “We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience this has caused.”: This phrase is very often used by companies when a slightly larger error or mistake has occurred (particularly if it in any way makes life harder for its customers/consumers). For example, this phrase is likely to be used if a phone company’s service had an outage.
  • “Please be patient with us as we strive to resolve this issue.”: Companies know that people have limits to their patience, and that there’s always a competitor around the corner. It’s important for them to let customers know that they recognize the error and that they will fix it.

Apologies that take place on the job or in the office, while not as far-reaching, are still formal. Whether you’re an employee apologizing for not doing a thorough enough job, or an employer admitting a mistake, it’s important to promptly and professionally make apologies as necessary.

2- Manner

People, as individuals and inside relationships, tend to become deeply emotional, especially where apologies are involved. Companies, while manned by people, tend to take a less emotional approach when apologizing.

This said, most companies today strive to maintain a sense of “humanness” in their doings, and this includes making apologies. As you can see in the above examples, companies tend to use some of the same phrases that people do when making sincere apologies (though they make them more formal). And, of course, it’s important that companies follow through on their promises, too.

8. Offering Condolences

Say Sorry

Saying sorry can go beyond apologizing for one’s own errors or mistakes. One can also apologize for the wrongdoings of someone else, or for a loss that someone has suffered. Knowing how to say, “Sorry for your loss,” in English can give you the ability to console someone going through a difficult loss, and show them you care.

Here are some examples of phrases that you can use to offer condolences in English:

  • “I’m (so) sorry for your loss.”: This is the most common way to offer condolences for someone’s loss. Simple and to the point, this phrase shows that you sympathize with this person’s feeling of loss.
  • “I’m (so) sorry that you suffered this loss.”: Similar to the above phrase, this is used to show sympathy and compassion for someone who’s lost a loved one or something else of immense importance to them.
  • “I know that this is hard for you.”: This phrase goes a step further, and can be added to one of the above phrases. It acknowledges that you understand the pain that this person is feeling, even if you’re not experiencing it yourself.
  • “I’m sorry this happened to you.”: This phrase can be used when a person has been struck with some kind of disaster or has been wronged in some way. It shows deep sympathy and validates the person’s mourning over the situation.
  • “I know that this person meant a lot to you.”: This phrase can be used to try and console someone who has lost a loved one. It acknowledges the significance of the event and the pain it caused.
  • “My condolences.”: This may be the simplest way to offer someone your condolences. This is best used when offering condolences to someone you don’t know well, or when you really don’t know what else to say. Though simple, this phrase is well-accepted and appreciated.
  • “I offer my condolences.”: This is a slightly more elaborate way of saying the above phrase, and has the same connotation.

9. Body Language

We’ve gone over a lot of words and phrases, haven’t we? It’s because, as people, we make a lot of mistakes. ;)
But oftentimes, the body language you use while apologizing is just as important (if not more so) as the words you use.

Let’s go over some important body language and gestures to use while apologizing, based on how severe the apology is.

1- Smaller Apologies

When it comes to making a smaller apology, there’s not too much to know about body language.

If you’re apologizing to a close friend or family member, a small apology is usually well-received if you make eye contact, and devote your attention to them during the exchange. (Of course, in the United States, if it’s something really petty, you can just say “Sorry,” or “My bad,” without eye contact.)

Eye contact is especially important if apologizing to a stranger for something small, as this shows sincerity. In the U.S., people greatly appreciate sincerity in any apology, even small ones; lowering one’s eyes or avoiding eye contact is often seen as a sign of insincerity or lying.

Two People Talking

2- Larger Apologies

Eye contact is also important for larger apologies. However, also keep in mind that if you’ve done something that really hurt or offended this person, they may want some distance from you; don’t try to force eye contact or close proximity if they don’t seem interested.

Be sure to focus your full attention on the person you’re apologizing to, as this is a sign of respect and also reflects the fact that you’re taking this situation seriously.

Sometimes, especially when you’re apologizing to a family member, you can gently take their hand in yours while apologizing as a way of consoling them and showing that you mean what you say. This can also be a sign of affection, or even desperation for forgiveness.

10. Conclusion: How Can EnglishClass101.com Help You Learn More English?

Now you know some different ways to say sorry in English, no matter how severe the situation. Be sure to practice saying these phrases as much as possible, and incorporate body language (especially eye contact) when you can. Apologizing allows for growth and healing, both for the person you’re apologizing to, and for yourself.

Do you have a better idea of how to say sorry in different ways in English? Are there any creative ways to say sorry in English that we missed? Let us know in the comments!

If you’re interested in learning even more English (and in a way that’s entertaining and efficient), be sure to visit us at EnglishClass101.com. Here, you’ll find all the tools you need to grow more confident in your English language abilities, and can even learn more about the culture in the United States. This includes vocabulary lists, helpful blog articles, and our MyTeacher app which offers you one-on-one guidance in your English-learning journey.

We wish you the best in your pursuit to learn English, and hope this article was of great help to you! With enough practice, you’ll be speaking like an English native before you know it!

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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


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.


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!


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.


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


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


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


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


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.


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

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!


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!


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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