5 Common Phrases You Didn't Know You Needed

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:

"Shall we?"

And if they understand the joke, they will say:

"We shall."

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.

We shall.

Onward, language learners!

Rebecca










January 30, 2018
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Rebecca Wild Nelson

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Rebecca is a writer and editor in New York. She speaks Spanish and English fluently. She holds a Bachelor's Degree in English, and a Master's Degree in Writing. She is a published author who loves literature and is currently writing a collection of short stories. She lived in Colombia for five years, which is a long story. . . . . . . . . . . . . . I have a Master's Degree in Writing because my life is about language, communication, and words, so it's not incidental that I'm an ESL teacher in addition to being a writer. . . . . . . . . . . . . . I've been teaching on Verbling for five years now, which feels like forever! It's given me five years worth of customized teaching materials that I have developed through real people and real relationships with my students. . . . . . . . . . . . . . I always use a google document for each student. This way, I never forget anything about you or your lessons. Even if one month or one year go by in between your classes, I will still remember that you are an architectural engineer from Peru-- because I wrote it in the document, and took notes about everything you told me. . . . . . . . . . . . . . You are always able to access your personal document between classes to study and ask me questions. . . . . . . . . . . . . . Yes! I am a grammar nerd, language nerd, and I love vocabulary lists and pronunciation lists, and I always give homework assignments. Luckily you don't get a grade, so the homework is always optional. We are all adults here. . . . . . . . . . . . . . Which brings me to kids-- I'll teach older kids (11+) if they are self-motivated and want to learn, but not if they aren't excited about learning English. . . . . . . . . . . . . . I listen very attentively, and I will never pretend that I understand you if I do not understand you. I listen to every single word you say and I will stop you if there is even one word that I did not understand, and use visual aids to clarify your meaning and help you learn to improve your understandability. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . My most popular classes are in: Writing, Pronunciation, IELTS Test Preparation, Personal Statement Support for University Applications, and Medical Professionals and Students needing support for the language-based aspects of Medicine. . . . . . . . . . . . . . Surprisingly, not a lot of students have taken advantage of my Spanish fluency-- I promise I really am fluent having lived in Colombia for five years! Try me. . . . . . . . . . . . . . Honestly, some students just need to talk about their lives and ask for advice, because it's hard living in a new country and understanding a new culture. I've made a lot of great friends on this site in that way, and their English always gets better because of these friendships. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . I speak with a clear, comprehensible New York accent (a North American 'TV accent') . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Specialized Services . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Medical Students and Professionals: USMLE Step 2 CS Clinical Skills Exam Preparation Medical Residency coaching, support in the language-based aspects of effective case presentation, handovers, and patient history taking. Editing Services for Medical Research Papers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . University / College Students: Coaching and Editing for Personal Statements Essay Coaching and Editing GRE Preparation Academic and Cultural Support . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Business Professionals: Presentation Editing and Coaching Interview Preparation Editing Promotional Materials Resumé and CV Editing Services . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Spanish Speakers: Classes for beginners who speak Spanish but no English. I can provide Spanish to English Translation. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Inclusive of all countries, religions, cultures, ethnicities. LGBTQ Friendly. I aim to make my classes a safe, judgement-free space of support. . . . . . . . . . . . . Come hang out and talk. I promise you'll learn something. Warmly, Rebecca . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Want to read my stories and get updates on my writing life? You can follow me on twitter at wildbirdbecca. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . My trial lessons take anywhere from 15-30 minutes. I use them as a time to get to know each other, assess your English level, introduce you to my class structure and teaching style, design our lesson plan for our classes, and to answer any questions you have. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Lateness Policy: I will wait for you for 15 minutes, and if you still have not arrived, then you lose your class, sorry. If you know you can't make it, please use Verbling's cancel feature. If I am five minutes late, it means that I am either preparing for your lesson or with another student, so please be patient. Thank you.
Flag
English
globe
United States
time
3.579
Speaks:
English
Native
,
Spanish
C2
,
French
A1
Rebecca is a writer and editor in New York. She speaks Spanish and English fluently. She holds a Bachelor's Degree in English, and a Master's Degree in Writing. She is a published author who loves literature and is currently writing a collection of short stories. She lived in Colombia for five years, which is a long story. . . . . . . . . . . . . . I have a Master's Degree in Writing because my life is about language, communication, and words, so it's not incidental that I'm an ESL teacher in addition to being a writer. . . . . . . . . . . . . . I've been teaching on Verbling for five years now, which feels like forever! It's given me five years worth of customized teaching materials that I have developed through real people and real relationships with my students. . . . . . . . . . . . . . I always use a google document for each student. This way, I never forget anything about you or your lessons. Even if one month or one year go by in between your classes, I will still remember that you are an architectural engineer from Peru-- because I wrote it in the document, and took notes about everything you told me. . . . . . . . . . . . . . You are always able to access your personal document between classes to study and ask me questions. . . . . . . . . . . . . . Yes! I am a grammar nerd, language nerd, and I love vocabulary lists and pronunciation lists, and I always give homework assignments. Luckily you don't get a grade, so the homework is always optional. We are all adults here. . . . . . . . . . . . . . Which brings me to kids-- I'll teach older kids (11+) if they are self-motivated and want to learn, but not if they aren't excited about learning English. . . . . . . . . . . . . . I listen very attentively, and I will never pretend that I understand you if I do not understand you. I listen to every single word you say and I will stop you if there is even one word that I did not understand, and use visual aids to clarify your meaning and help you learn to improve your understandability. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . My most popular classes are in: Writing, Pronunciation, IELTS Test Preparation, Personal Statement Support for University Applications, and Medical Professionals and Students needing support for the language-based aspects of Medicine. . . . . . . . . . . . . . Surprisingly, not a lot of students have taken advantage of my Spanish fluency-- I promise I really am fluent having lived in Colombia for five years! Try me. . . . . . . . . . . . . . Honestly, some students just need to talk about their lives and ask for advice, because it's hard living in a new country and understanding a new culture. I've made a lot of great friends on this site in that way, and their English always gets better because of these friendships. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . I speak with a clear, comprehensible New York accent (a North American 'TV accent') . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Specialized Services . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Medical Students and Professionals: USMLE Step 2 CS Clinical Skills Exam Preparation Medical Residency coaching, support in the language-based aspects of effective case presentation, handovers, and patient history taking. Editing Services for Medical Research Papers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . University / College Students: Coaching and Editing for Personal Statements Essay Coaching and Editing GRE Preparation Academic and Cultural Support . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Business Professionals: Presentation Editing and Coaching Interview Preparation Editing Promotional Materials Resumé and CV Editing Services . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Spanish Speakers: Classes for beginners who speak Spanish but no English. I can provide Spanish to English Translation. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Inclusive of all countries, religions, cultures, ethnicities. LGBTQ Friendly. I aim to make my classes a safe, judgement-free space of support. . . . . . . . . . . . . Come hang out and talk. I promise you'll learn something. Warmly, Rebecca . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Want to read my stories and get updates on my writing life? You can follow me on twitter at wildbirdbecca. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . My trial lessons take anywhere from 15-30 minutes. I use them as a time to get to know each other, assess your English level, introduce you to my class structure and teaching style, design our lesson plan for our classes, and to answer any questions you have. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Lateness Policy: I will wait for you for 15 minutes, and if you still have not arrived, then you lose your class, sorry. If you know you can't make it, please use Verbling's cancel feature. If I am five minutes late, it means that I am either preparing for your lesson or with another student, so please be patient. Thank you.
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