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Gabriella: Hi, I’m Gabriella.
Gina: And I’m Gina. The Top Five Must Know English Phrases.
Gina: In this lesson, we will tell you about five phrases that you may not have heard in the classroom, or read in a text book.
Gabriella: But they are phrases you will hear daily in native English conversations.
Gina: They are! This is more informal and conversational English than what is usually taught to learners.
Gabriella: It’s more real, I think.
Gina: I think so. So let’s start with the first phrase!
Gabriella: And the best place to start is with a greeting, right? I’m sure our listeners know the standard greetings of “good morning”, “good afternoon” and “good evening” and those greetings are fine, but they aren’t what you would say to a friend.
Gina: No, they’re far too stiff and formal for that.
Gabriella: A simple “hello” is fine, but usually we’d be even more casual and just say “hey!” or “hi!”
Gina: Yeah, a light and happy sounding “hey!” or “hi!” is far more standard between friends.
Gabriella: It doesn’t have to be happy though! If you’re having a bad day, you can say it more like “hey” [lower, sadder sounding], and then people will instantly know you’re having a bad day.
Gina: I never have bad days so I’m always light and happy!
Gabriella: Lucky you!
Gina: Okay, what’s the next phrase?
Gabriella: We started with a greeting, so let’s move onto saying goodbye. Of course, “goodbye” is fine but “see you” is better between friends.
Gina: I like “see you” better. I like it because you can also add a time or day to it.
Gabriella: That’s right, you can say “see you tomorrow” or a more generic “see you later”, which just means you’ll see them again.
Gina: You can also shorten “goodbye” into “bye” and say that. Well, I say shorten but “bye” is usually stretched out a bit when it’s said, so it’s more like “byyyyyeeeeeee!”
Gabriella: That took longer to say than “goodbye” does!
Gina: I know!
Gabriella: You can double up “bye” too, so it becomes “bye-bye”. You would say that quickly, and it’s a cuter way of saying goodbye.
Gina: I think we should move onto the next phrase quickly before our listeners think we’re saying goodbye to them and ending the lesson early!
Gabriella: Good idea. Next we have “sorry?”
Gina: Hmm? Sorry? Can you repeat that?
Gabriella: That’s what “sorry” means in this case. If you don’t hear what someone says, or need them to repeat it, you can say “sorry?” and they will say it again.
Gina: And there’s an audible question mark there, right?
Gabriella: There is. Although you are, in a way, apologising for not hearing what has been said, it’s not a straightforward apology, so it doesn’t need to be said in the same serious tone as it does when you’re apologising. You lift the final syllable to make it into a one-word question.
Gina: There is another, even more informal way of showing that you didn’t hear or understand, isn’t there?
Gabriella: That’s right. In really casual situations, or with friends, you can say “what?”. Sometimes, depending on accents, the final “t” is dropped so it sounds more like “whaaa?”
Gina: That’s really casual!
Gabriella: It can sound a little demanding and rude, so only use that with close friends. “Sorry?” is far more acceptable and in more formal situations or with strangers, use “pardon me?”
Gina: Yes, “pardon me?” is far more polite. I always forget to use it though!
Gabriella: Me too! Let’s carry on with some really informal and casual phrases, you know?
Gina: Ah, the next one is “you know?”
Gabriella: It is! This can be used at the end of a sentence to check the listener’s understanding of what you’re saying, or why you’re saying it. The listener doesn’t need to respond with “I know” or anything like that, just a nod of the head is fine, or even no reaction at all is okay.
Gina: It’s used in the middle of sentences a lot too.
Gabriella: I guess, you know, it is. Now that sentence probably doesn’t make too much sense, and that’s because in that context, “you know” doesn’t really mean anything. It’s just an interjection, the same way as “um”, “er” or “uh” is. It’s thinking time.
Gina: You won’t really see “you know” used in written English, would you?
Gabriella: Not at all. Another word that is used a lot in British English for this purpose, especially with younger people, is “like”. Sometimes every other word in a sentence can be “like”!
Gina: “I was, like, you know, late for the bus and, you know, was, like, late for work”.
Gabriella: (laughs) Yeah, you could easily hear something similar to that between friends. Half of the words in that sentence have no meaning at all.
Gina: Some people speak like that, some people don’t, but it’s good to know!
Gabriella: It is. Shall we move onto our final phrase?
Gina: I think we should!
Gabriella: The final phrase, or word, is “mate”.
Gina: Ah, I hear this a lot.
Gabriella: Definitely! “Mate” is a casual word for friend and you’ll often hear people say that they are “best mates” instead of “best friends”, for example. It can be used in sentences to refer to people directly, instead of using their name. A note, though - this word is basically limited to British and Australian English.
Gina: Can you give us an example?
Gabriella: “Of course I can, mate!”
Gina: That sounds really casual.
Gabriella: It does. It’s a handy word to use when you don’t know someone’s name, too. You can meet strangers in an informal setting too, such as the pub or at a party, and “mate” is really useful there. In this scenario it may mainly be used by men.
Gina: It’s a very versatile word.
Gabriella: I think so.
Gina: So that was our five phrases that you may not have necessarily heard before in your English learning.
Gabriella: We hope it was useful and will help when you listen to English conversations.


Gina: Ok, everyone. I think that’s all for this lesson.
Gabriella: Thank you for listening everyone. See you next time!