Learn English Phrases – Having second thoughts / On second thought

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Everyday English Speaking Course

Hello students, this is Shayna, your teacher at EspressoEnglish.net, and today’s phrase of the day is having second thoughts.

To explain what this expression means, I’m going to give you an example situation. Imagine that you have two friends, Jack and Jill, and Jack and Jill have just recently started dating each other. Now Jack is really in love with Jill, and, in fact, he wants to marry her, so he takes her out on a nice romantic dinner, and it’s wonderful. And, during this dinner, he asks Jill to marry him. And Jill, in the emotion of the moment, says “Yes”.

But then later, Jill starts reconsidering that decision. She starts wondering if maybe the relationship is too recent, and she shouldn’t have accepted Jack’s proposal to marry her. In this case, you could say “Jill is having second thoughts about the engagement.”

So, having second thoughts means you are reconsidering, or rethinking, a decision or opinion, or something that you already thought about once in the past. And, having second thoughts means that you’re reevaluating that, and considering again whether it was right or wrong, whether to continue with your same opinion or same decision, or to change it.

The expression “second thought” is also used in the phrase “on second thought…” and this can be used while you are speaking to immediately present a reconsideration, or a change from a previous decision.

For example, let’s say you and your friends are discussing weekend plans, and you say “Let’s go to the mall” and they agree. During the conversation about what time to meet to go to the mall, you remember that the mall is really crowded on the weekends. You could say “On second thought, let’s go to the movies instead because the mall is going to be really crowded.”

So, right there in the conversation, you said “on second thought”, and then you presented the modified opinion. You reconsidered the previous decision to go to the mall, and changed it. You’re going to go to the movies instead.

Those are our two expressions for today: having second thoughts, meaning to reconsider something that you previously decided, or previously considered, and the phrase on second thought… which you can use directly in conversation to present your change of opinion.

Thanks for watching the phrase of the day, and tomorrow I’ll post a new video with more English phrases and expressions.

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

Learn English Phrases - Having second thoughts / On second thought Espresso English

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