Speaking September: 7 English phrases you can use TODAY!

Everyday English Speaking Course

Are you tired of using the same old words to express yourself?

Want to learn some new English phrases that you can put into practice immediately?

I’d like to call this the month of “Speaking September” – every week, I’ll teach you seven new English phrases, and challenge you to use them today in YOUR English!

Respond to the questions in the lesson by saying a statement aloud or writing down your own sentence using the new expression. This is the best way to personalize and remember the expressions.

So, without delay, here are the first seven phrases. Remember to respond to the questions in red by speaking English aloud.

#1 – a pain in the neck

If something is very annoying, you can describe it as “a pain in the neck” or simply as “a pain.” Remember, this idiom in context refers to something that bothers or annoys you, not to literal physical pain.

“Going through security at the airport is a pain in the neck – you have to take off your belt, keep all liquids in a bag, take out your laptop… it’s so inconvenient.”

“You can get a student visa in this country – but it’s a real pain. There are tons of forms to fill out, and the whole process takes at least six months.”

Describe something in your own life or experience that is a pain in the neck.

#2 – back to the drawing board
back to square one

If you do a project that tries to accomplish a goal, but it isn’t successful, then you’ll have to go back to the drawing board or back to square one – this means to start over with a new project/attempt, because the previous project didn’t work.

“The architect didn’t approve the plan for our new house, so it’s back to the drawing board.

“I thought I’d get the job after my great interview, but I didn’t. Now it’s back to square one.

Talk about a time you had to go back to the drawing board.

#3 – call the shots

Someone who calls the shots is the person who makes the decisions. This person has the power to decide things without needing permission or approval from anyone else.

“I make the money, but my wife is the one who calls the shots when it comes to financial decisions.”

Who calls the shots at work? Who calls the shots in your family?

#4 – down to the wire

If something is down to the wire, it means there is extremely little time left to finish it before the deadline.

“The paper was due at 4 PM and I worked on it right down to the wire – I handed it to my teacher at 3:55.”

Describe a time when something you were working on was down to the wire.

#5 – have time to kill

To have time to kill means you have extra time before something happens, so you need to find some way to occupy or entertain yourself.

“We got to the airport five hours early, so we had time to kill before the flight.”

When was the last time you had time to kill?

#6 – rack your brain

When you’re trying very hard to remember something, and having difficulty remembering or thinking of it, you are racking your brain.

“I racked my brain trying to recall the name of the book.”

When was the last time you racked your brain?

#7 – smooth sailing

Smooth sailing means easy progress, without any major problems or difficulties.

“It was a little tricky finding the right highway, but once we were on it, then it was smooth sailing.” (= easy to drive to the destination)

Talk about a time that a process was smooth sailing.

Learn Real English Phrases For Daily Life

Speaking September: 7 English phrases you can use TODAY! Espresso English

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