10 Informal English Expressions

Here are some common informal English expressions and their meanings – with examples in short conversations!

1. stay in touch

= to continue having contact with someone even though they are at a distance

“I really enjoyed meeting you, Mark.  It’s too bad you can’t stay in Brazil for a few more days.”

“I know. You are a wonderful person, Asa. Don’t worry, I’ll make sure to stay in touch with you by Skype and email.  Who knows?  Maybe we can arrange another visit soon!”

2. jump to conclusions 

= to make assumptions about a person or situation before you have learned all the details.

A: “Have you seen the way she dresses? I wouldn’t be surprised if she was trying to steal your boyfriend.”

B: “Oh Ana, don’t jump to conclusions! They’ve been friends since childhood and you don’t even know her.”

3. sleep on it 

= take some time (especially a night and day) and think about something before making a decision.

A: “Are you going to come to Peru with me over the Christmas holiday?”

B: “I’m not sure yet. I need to sleep on it before giving you an answer. Can I let you know by next week?”

A: “Sure – but don’t wait too long. We have to buy our tickets.”

4. what a small world! 

= an expression used when you realize you have a lot of things in common with someone, or something is an interesting coincidence

A: “Well, it’s really unusual nowadays, but I come from a family of eight children.”

B: “What a small world! I have seven brothers and sisters, too.”

A: “Seriously? That’s funny. Are you the oldest, youngest, or somewhere in between?”

5. never mind

= an expression used to tell someone to forget about something because it is not very important

A: “Did you pack a toothbrush, toothpaste, soap, deodorant, and your shower cap?”

B:  “Oh no! I forgot the toothpaste!”

A:  “Never mind. We will just but some at the gas station when we get into town.”

6. come on 

= an exclamation used in different ways to express disbelief/frustration, or to encourage someone to do something

Example 1: Disbelief/frustration

A: “Oh, come on!

B: “What’s wrong?”

A:  “I’ve been on the phone for an hour, on hold with my bank, and now they disconnected me!”

Example 2: Encouraging someone to do something

A: “I don’t really feel like going out tonight.”

B: “Come on, Sheila. The band’s really great. You’ll love it.”

A:  “Okay. I guess it would be nice to get out of the house.”

7. it slipped my mind 

= a response you give when you have forgotten to do something

A: “Did you remember to make copies of all the documents, George?”

B:  “I’m sorry, it slipped my mind.  I’ll make sure to do it by the end of the day.”

You can also say it totally slipped my mind or it completely slipped my mind to give more emphasis to the fact that you forgot 100%!

8. I owe you one

= a statement that you make when someone has done a favor for you that you want to repay

A: “My laptop’s broken, and I need to type up a document. Is there any chance I could borrow your computer tonight?”

B: “ Sure. No problem.”

A:  “Thanks. I owe you one.”

In fast spoken English, it sounds like: I owe ya one.

9. hang in there 

= an expression used to encourage someone to keep going and to not give up, when the person is facing prolonged difficulties

A: “How was your interview today?”

B: “I think it went okay. This is my third interview this month. I really need a job.”

A:  “Hang in there, Stella.  I know you’ll get the job that’s right for you.  Everything will work out.”

10. it’s up to you 

= use this expression to tell the other person that they can make the decision; you don’t have a strong opinion

A: “What movie do you wanna watch?”

B:  “It’s up to you. I don’t really have a preference.”

 

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

Everyday English Speaking Course

Learn more about the Speaking Course

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