10 informal English expressions I’ve used recently

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Native English speakers use a lot of informal expressions in day-to-day life! Lately, I’ve been paying attention to my own conversations – and today I’ll teach you 10 English expressions I’ve used in recent situations.

1. “Can we just drop it?”

My friend and I were debating an issue we had different opinions on. The issue wasn’t really that important, and I didn’t want to spend the whole time talking about that topic, so I said, “Can we just drop it?” To “drop” a topic of conversation means to stop talking about it.

2. “That’s beside the point.”

I was discussing politics with my dad, and he mentioned something that wasn’t related to the main topic, so I commented “That’s beside the point.” This expression means that something is not relevant or not important.

3. “I just want to give you a heads up.”

I referred a student to another English teacher friend of mine, and I contacted the teacher and said “I just want to give you a heads up that one of my students might get in touch with you.” To “give (someone) a heads up” means to give them an alert.

4. “That class is not for the faint of heart.”

In a conversation about different types of fitness classes available at my gym, I saw one that’s especially intense and said “That class is not for the faint of heart.” If something is “not for the faint of heart,” it means it’s not good/appropriate for people who are disturbed by unpleasantness or challenge. You need to have courage and strength in order to endure it.

5. “They make you jump through a lot of hoops.”

I was describing a long and complicated bureaucratic process, and remarked that “They make you jump through a lot of hoops” – to “jump through hoops” means having to do a lot of ridiculously difficult/complicated things in order to achieve your goal. This expression is often used when a process is unnecessarily complicated.

6. “You need to stand your ground.”

My friend was in a difficult situation where her family wanted her to do something, but she didn’t want to. Her family continued to pressure her, and she wasn’t sure whether to give in just to please them. I told her, “You need to stand your ground.” To “stand your ground” means to stay firm and strong in your beliefs and actions, and resist attempts to make you change your position.

7. “You’re in for a treat.”

We were going to eat a particular food that my husband had never tried before, and I told him, “You’re in for a treat.” A “treat” is something special (it’s not part of your normal routine; you only have it occasionally) that is good and enjoyable. The expression “You’re in for…” is an informal way to say “You’re guaranteed to have…” or “You’re going to have…”

8. “A lot of other companies are following suit.”

I was talking about a website that started free shipping on its products, and said that “a lot of other companies are following suit” – to “follow suit” means to follow someone else’s example, to imitate; to do the same thing as someone else. So this phrase means that many other companies are also adopting the policy of free shipping.

9. “Hopefully it won’t be a problem down the line.”

In a conversation about dental care, I said I was going to wait a little while to have a procedure done, and said “Hopefully it won’t be a problem down the line.” The expression “down the line” is an informal way to say “in the future.”

10. “We crossed paths a couple of times last year.”

My mom asked me about how often I’ve seen a particular person, and I replied that last year “We crossed paths a couple of times.” To “cross paths” with someone means to meet the person (or be in the same place as the person) by chance; it wasn’t a planned encounter.

You’ll learn hundreds of conversational English expressions in this course:

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