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Common Phrases and Expressions in English

Here are a few common phrases and expressions used by native speakers of English in their everyday speech. To suggest another or ask a language related question, click here.

Word/Expression: to wolf something down
Quick translation: to eat something quickly
Example: "I wolfed down that sandwich so quickly."
My interpretation: Wolves are known for eating their food quickly, for fear that another wolf will get to it before them. So to "wolf something down" is to eat as quickly as a wolf does.

Word/Expression: gotta
Quick translation: to have to/to need to
Example: "I gotta leave now."

Word/Expression: to go (expression used where food is sold)
Quick translation: to carry out/to take out with you
Example: a waiter or salesperson may ask "Would you like (your food) to go?"

Word/Expression: sick (when used to describe a person's mind or an event)
Quick translation: strange or perverted
Example: "That person is sick!" or "What he did to her is sick!"

Word/Expression: What's up?
Quick translation: a very casual way to say "Hi" or "How are you?" or "What is happening here?"

Word/Expression: handy
Quick translation: very useful, very industrious, or able to fix things themself
Example: "Her husband is very handy around the house."

Word/Expression: to catch a taxi / cab
to hail a cab/taxi
Quick translation: to get a taxi / cab
Example: "Let's catch a taxi to the restaurant."

Word/Expression: to catch a TV show/newstory/conversation
Quick translation: to hear or see something
Example: "Did you catch the news last night?"

Word/Expression: to have time
Quick translation: to have sufficient available time
Example: "If we have time, we can stay at the bar until 11:00 p.m."

Word/Expression: to threaten to kill someone
Quick translation: to be very mad with someone
Example: "I'm going to kill her when I see her."

Word/Expression: "Whatever floats your boat."
Quick translation: whatever pleases you
Example: "I'd prefer to go on Sunday." Response: "OK, whatever floats your boat."

Word/Expression: shaky/sketchy
Quick translation: unsafe, unclear, not a good idea
Examples: "I'm not sure what my boss wants me to do. His directions were a bit sketchy." OR "Should you go there? Isn't that neighborhood a bit shaky/sketchy?"

Word/Expression: "I'm outta here" (I am out of here)
Quick translation: I am leaving now

Word/Expression: guy/guys
Quick translation: a man/a group of men or a group of men AND women.
Examples: "Hi guys (men and/OR women)... what's up?" "That guy (man only) is strange." "Those guys (men, or group of men and women) are also coming with us."
Further clarification: Guy (singular) can only refer to a MAN. Guys (plural) can apply to a group of men and/or women.

Word/Expression: to double-check
Quick translation: to re-check or verify
Example: "You should double-check our bank account balance before we plan our vacation trip."

Word/Expression: "You gotta be kidding me."
Quick translation: "You must be joking." OR "What you are saying cannot be true."

Word/Expression: gonna (pronounced like "gunna")
Quick translation: going to ....
Example: "I'm gonna clean the bathroom today."


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