Lesson Transcript

Hi, everybody! My name is Alisha.
In this lesson, I’m going to talk about expressions you can use in arguments. In this case, by argument, I mean a fight with words. I don’t mean like a nice verbal discussion, a nice regular discussion. I mean an actual fight.
So, these are some expressions that you can use when we argue with other people.
Let’s get started!
Okay. The first expression is “we need to talk.”
“We need to talk.”
This is a very well-known expression, and for most people, this is a scary phrase to hear. It means someone has a problem and they want to talk to you about it.
“We need to talk.”
So, this is most commonly used in romantic relationships, but you may also hear it in work situations or with friends, anyone that you have a fairly close relationship with. If there’s a problem and you need to be a part of the conversation, you may hear this, “we need to talk.” This is a common way to begin a serious discussion or maybe an argument.
“We need to talk.”
So, usually, the response is:
“Okay,” if you agree, or “not now.” It usually is not a good thing to say, but this is quite a serious expression, “We need to talk.”
Okay. So let’s talk about some common patterns in arguments.
The first one is:
“I can’t believe you [past tense verb]!” A past tense verb phrase here.
So, “I can’t believe you did something.”
So, this expression refers to a past action, a past thing that the listener did. So something bad happened in the past, the speaker is expressing shock or surprise.
So, here are a few examples of how we might use this expression.
“I can’t believe you forgot my birthday!”
And “I can’t believe you ate my lunch!”
So here, we’re using past tense verb phrases; “you forgot my birthday” or “you ate my lunch.” So, the speaker is upset, the speaker is angry about these past activities. We use past tense verb phrases.
You’ll also notice in these cases, for this lesson, for these examples, I’m focusing on “I” and “you,” as in, the speaker has a problem with the listener. But in some cases, you may want to express surprise or shock or feeling upset at someone else. You can change this “you” to like “he” or “she” or “they” like…
“I can’t believe he forgot my birthday!”
Or “I can’t believe she forgot my birthday!”
So, you can change this part right here to talk about someone else.
“I can’t believe he ate my lunch!”
So, this is an easy way to change the person you’re angry with, in this case.
So, “I can’t believe (something).” This “can’t believe” refers to shock or surprise.
Okay, let’s go to the next one. The next one is actually a question. So, you’re asking this question to get some information about the past.
The pattern is:
“Why didn’t you [infinitive verb]?” An infinitive verb phrase.
“Why didn’t you…?”
So that means this verb did not happen.
“Why didn’t you…?” So what is the reason you did not do this thing?
Some examples…
Some examples of this are:
“Why didn’t you call me?”
Or “Why didn’t you finish that report?”
So, that means the listener, you, you didn’t call me. I want to know why. What’s the reason? Maybe, I had an expectation you would call me or I thought you would call me, you didn’t, so why didn’t you call me?
You might also hear people use something that sounds like this. I’ve just added an exclamation point here after this question mark. This is an informal way that we write like surprised questions or shocked questions. We use a question mark and an exclamation point to do it. You can reverse the order too. That part does not matter. But you may hear this and you may see this in writing in informal situations like on the internet too.
So, this didn’t happen.
“Why didn’t you finish that report?”
I thought you were going to finish the report? Why didn’t you finish the report?
So, you’re asking for some reason that something did not happen. So, you might hear something like this at work. You might hear something like this in many situations. Why didn’t you call me?
So, this could be because the speaker is angry or upset. It could be because the speaker is worried too, like, “You needed help? Why didn’t you call me?!” So you can use it in that way too.
But this pattern is used to ask for a reason for something in the past. So, in this case, something that did not happen. Of course, you could make it a positive, like “Why did you (something, something, something)?” Like “Why did you do that?” You can use that too, if you’re looking for a reason for something that did happen. You can make it positive.
“Why did you (something, something)?”
Okay. So, let’s go to the next pair of expressions then. These are kind of follow-up expressions that you can use after you explain the problem.
So, to go back to this example:
“I can’t believe you forgot my birthday!”
So maybe we feel sad in that case. We might follow this sentence with this expression…
“You really hurt my feelings.”
“You really hurt my feelings.”
So, I’ve drawn this sad face here. So, “to hurt someone’s feelings” means to cause them to feel sad. So, feelings (plural here), “feelings” refers to someone’s emotions. And to hurt someone’s emotions or to hurt someone’s feelings means, like to damage their emotions in some way. So we use this when we cause someone to feel sad or like when we have been caused to feel sad or disappointed. Usually, we don’t use this for angry feelings. We use this for, like depressed, sad, like, lonely feelings. So, someone hurts your feelings, that refers to someone else’s behavior causing emotional damage to you. It causes you to be sad.
So, in this case:
“I can’t believe you forgot my birthday. You really hurt my feelings.”
So, I used “really” here. You can remove it, “You hurt my feelings,” that’s okay.
But, “You really hurt my feelings” shows that someone really made an impact on you in a negative way.
The next expression is a little bit different, the emotion that’s expressed here.
“That made me so mad!”
“That made me so mad!”
So, the idea here is anger. This is the key with this expression. That made me so mad. So, “made” means cause. “That caused me to be so mad.” So, “mad” means angry.
So, this might be used in response to something like this example:
“I can’t believe you ate my lunch!”
“That made me so mad!”
So, you feel angry because your co-worker or someone else ate your lunch.
“That made me so mad!”
So, again, we’re using past tense here and past tense here as well, hurt and made.
So, you can use present tense like, “Ah! That makes me so mad!” if this action is happening now, like “I can’t believe you’re eating my lunch!” in present, like present progressive.
“I can’t believe you’re eating my lunch!”
“That makes me so mad!”
That’s fine to use too.
These are in a past tense, but either is fine. You can use either, depending on what’s happening in the situation now.
Okay, let’s go to the next pattern.
The next pattern is:
“I [past tense verb phrase] + because of you!”
So, this past tense verb phrase will be some negative results, some negative outcome and then we use “because of you.” This is an expression that we often use to put blame on someone for something. So, a negative thing happened and we want to say it was this person’s fault. This person is the reason this negative situation happened. So, “because of you.”
Some examples of this:
“I missed my flight because of you!”
“I missed my flight…” Here is my past tense verb phrase, “I missed my flight.” So, this is the past tense of the verb “miss.” So, “my flight” means like my airplane flight. I missed my airplane, because of you. So, something the listener did, caused the speaker to miss his or her flight. The speaker is angry and says I missed my flight because of you. So this shows the listener is to blame. It was the listener’s fault in this case.
Another example:
“I lost a customer because of you!”
“I lost a customer because of you!”
So, in this case, maybe, the listener is at a restaurant or bar and is having like- is doing something bad like they have bad behavior and the customer leaves, so the speaker might say, “I lost a customer because of you!” It’s your fault that customer went away, like I’m so angry with you. So, be careful, this “because of you” has a negative feel about it, in most situations.
Okay, let’s go to the last expression then.
“I found out you [past tense verb phrase].”
“I found out you (something, something, something).”
So, again, past tense here, “I found out.”
So, to find out in the present tense means to discover, to discover something and when we use find out or found out in the past tense, it’s like we learn something that was a secret, like that someone wanted to hide, maybe because it was bad or maybe it was special and just like a nice secret, but to find something out means it’s something that was supposed to be a secret. In this case, we use it to talk about a negative activity someone wanted to hide.
Some examples of this:
“I found out you stole money from my bag!”
“I found out you stole money from my bag!”
So, in this case, the listener, you, the person who stole the money wanted to keep it a secret, stealing the money, but the speaker discovered this.
They say:
“I found out you stole money from my bag!”
Another example:
“I found out you lied to me last week!”
“I found out you lied to me last week!”
So, “to lie” means to say something that is not true.
So, both of these, “lie” and “stole,” these are past tense verb phrases.
“You lied to me last week.”
“You stole money from my bag.”
So, I discovered these things, I want to tell you I discovered these things.
So, after you’ve maybe shared the information here or maybe you’re hearing, maybe you’re the listener in this case, perhaps, what are some responses to these?
First of all, “I’m sorry.”
So, if you are the listener and you know you did something wrong, you forgot someone’s birthday or you ate someone’s lunch, of course, you can just say, “I’m sorry.” In many cases, that’s probably the best- the best response to choose, “I’m sorry.”
You could say:
“I forgot.”
“I forgot.”
This is a good answer for something like this, like…
“Why didn’t you call me?”
“I forgot.”
Or, “Why didn’t you finish that report?”
“Sorry, I forgot.”
You could also use this one:
“I was busy.”
But please be careful. Sometimes, if people use “I’m busy, I’m busy,” too much, it’s like we don’t believe them anymore. We just don’t believe that they’re always so busy. So, I would recommend using “busy” only a couple of times. And also, when you say “I was busy,” many times, the listener hears…hears this phrase and thinks, “Oh, so I’m not important to you.” That’s kind of the feel here, “I was busy.”
So, “Why didn’t you call me?”
“Sorry, I was busy.”
So, maybe on a busy day at work, we can understand sometimes, but if you always use this, it’s not so good.
Okay, another one is:
“I won’t do it again.”
“I won’t do it again.”
So remember, “won’t” is “will not” and this means I will not do that thing one more time.
So, for example:
“I found out you stole money from my bag!”
“I’m sorry, I won’t do it again.”
“I’m sorry, I won’t do it again.”
Finally, then, if you do not want to apologize and you don’t want to give an excuse, and you want to continue the argument, these are some expressions you can use.
First is “No, I didn’t!”
“No, I didn’t!”
So, for example:
“I found out you lied to me last week!”
“No, I didn’t!”
“No, I didn’t!”
So, you reject it. You’re saying I didn’t lie to you.
This “I didn’t” connects to the thing in the previous sentence.
So, “I found out you lied to me last week!”
“No, I didn’t!” means no, I didn’t lie to you.
So, this will kind of continue the discussion and maybe you need to find the truth and story there together.
Another thing, if you really want to level up the fight, is to return the statement from the first person with another problem.
For example:
“Well, you [past tense verb phrase].”
You will hear this in fights that are escalating. So, people just share problems back and forth, things they’re angry about and then might use an expression like this.
Like “I can’t believe you forgot my birthday.”
So like, “Well, you didn’t pick me up at the airport.”
So, people will kind of trade arguments in this way and they’ll use “you” to talk about that, like they’ll use “you” like an emphasized way to show that the other person is not perfect either. So, use this expression if you want to keep the fight going, if you want to continue the fight for some reason.
So, these are some expressions that you can use in arguments, hopefully, to end the argument quickly, but if you need to know some other expressions to kind of argue back, these are a few things that you can use.
So, I hope that this lesson is helpful for you. Thanks very much for watching this lesson and I will see you again soon. Bye-bye!