I'm from New York, where we use a lot of phrases and idioms. The varieties we use are the same as you see in most American TV shows and Movies, so it's a pretty universal form of phrases and idioms to learn!
Here is a list of FIVE phrases that I hear my students mess up the most frequently. If you commit to learning these by heart, you will be on your way to sounding like a true New Yorker.
1. Don't arrive home-- Get home!
This is one thing that will give you away immediately as a non-native speaker. Luckily, people will understand what you mean, but if you want to sound like you are a born and raised New Yorker, don't use the verb arrive so often. If you listen, you notice its not such a common verb in daily speech for native speakers.
EXAMPLE: I got home late last night, so I fell asleep immediately. I won't get home until late tonight, so don't wait up for me!
BONUS: You can also say: Get back. EXAMPLE: I got back at 5, so I had some extra time on my hands.
2. Don't meet with your friends-- Meet up with your friends!
What a lot of students don't realize is how important that word 'up' is-- it changes the whole sound and meaning of the phrase! When you meet someone, you meet them for the first time. When you meet UP with someone, it is someone you already know!
EXAMPLE: I met up with some friends for a drink after work.
Don't forget the UP!
3. No more so-so! So-so is a very silly phrase that English textbooks teach you, but if you listen carefully, native speakers barely use it! What do we say? Sort of. Which sounds like "sorta."
EXAMPLE: Did you have fun? Sort of. Do you like the food? Sort of.
Sort of. Your new friend.
4. If you call someone and you successfully talk to them, congratulations, you got through! This will make you sound so much more natural than always using the verb 'to call.'
EXAMPLE: I was able to get through to the receptionist to schedule the appointment.
I wasn’t able to get through when I tried to call. Did you get through to the account manager to report the updates?
BONUS: To get through can also be used to mean communicate with someone emotionally, usually in intimate relationships. Or maybe in a conflict situation when emotional communication is necessary.
EXAMPLE: I can’t get through to you. I feel like I can’t get through to him. Can you try to get through to him?
5. You shan't use shall, except for this one case.
The last and final phrase I will leave you with today, until I make my next blog post, is:
Shall is that modal verb that nobody ever uses in daily speech. Just forget it exists, unless you want to study historical literature. No? Didn't think so. So here's the one time you can use shall, and it's kind of a joke.
If you are leaving a place with a friend, date, or group of people, and it looks like everybody is ready to walk out the door, and you need to motivate the crowd, say:
And if they understand the joke, they will say:
It basically means, let's go, but in a jokingly formal way. It works the opposite too. If someone says "Shall we?", now you know the answer.
Onward, language learners!