Speaking English: Talking about relationships

Everyday English Speaking Course

This week’s theme for Speaking September is relationships and romance! Here are seven English phrases and expressions that you can use when talking about this topic:

#1 – have a thing for / have a crush on

To have a thing for someone is an informal and indirect expression to say you are romantically interested in that person. Another, more direct way to say it is that you have a crush on someone. These expressions are used when you feel attracted to the person, but you’re not sure yet if the other person is attracted to you.

“I have a thing for a guy in my class, but I’m too shy to let him know.”

“I think Peter has a crush on you – he’s especially nice and friendly when he’s around you.”

Talk about a time you had a thing for somebody, or had a crush on somebody.

#2 – crazy about

If you’re crazy about someone, that means you like or love somebody very much. You can be crazy about someone who doesn’t share your feelings, or you can be crazy about someone you’re already in a relationship with.

“He’s crazy about her, but she won’t even give him the time of day.”
(= she won’t even speak to him)

“Jen and Chris have been together for six years and they’re still crazy about each other.”

Have you (or one of your friends) ever been crazy about someone?

#3 – get serious with someone

If things are getting serious between two people, it means the relationship is getting deeper and is not just a casual thing. Two people who are “getting serious” might decide to be exclusive (date only each other, not date other people), or move in together (begin to live together), or discuss marriage.

“My brother’s never had a long-term relationship, but it looks like he’s getting serious with his current girlfriend.”

In your past relationships, how long has it taken before you got serious with the person?

#4 – pop the question

To pop the question is an informal way to say “ask someone to marry you.” The typical verb used for this is propose.

“You’re engaged – congratulations! So, how did he pop the question?

In your culture, what are some traditions around popping the question (or creative ways to pop the question)?

#5 – have an affair

If a married person has an affair, it means he or she has a lover outside their marriage. They are romantically or sexually involved with someone who is not their husband/wife. “Have an affair” is usually only used for married couples; the more general term “cheat on (someone)” can be used for both married couples and boyfriends/girlfriends.

“Travis discovered his wife was having an affair with someone at work.”

“Lisa said she’d leave her boyfriend if he ever cheated on her.”

Why do you think people have affairs or cheat on their partners?

#6 – dump someone

To dump someone is to end a romantic relationship with that person. If you dump someone, it means YOU decided to end things (and the other person wanted to continue). If you are dumped, it means the other person decided to end things.

“Erin dumped her boyfriend because she said he was too controlling.”

Have you ever dumped someone, or been dumped? (Or has it happened to a friend of yours?)

#7 – soulmates

If two people in a relationship are extremely compatible in their personalities and values, meaning that they will probably stay together for a long time (or even forever), they can be called soulmates.

“I dated a lot of guys before finding my soulmate – and we’ve been married for 25 years so far.”

Do you know a couple who seem to be soulmates?

Learn the real phrases used by native English speakers

Speaking English: Talking about relationships Espresso English

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