One of the things English learners want most is to sound like a native speaker. And just like any language, there are phrases that native speakers use that aren’t taught in any textbook. These are informal phrases that have been adopted over time.
In the U.S. there are different phrases and meaning depending on the region you live in. But some are widely used throughout the U.S.
So here’s a list of a few colloquial expressions that native speakers say.
It’s been a minute.
This phrase means that it’s been a good amount of time since you’ve seen someone.
For example, if you meet a friend for lunch, and it’s been a few months since you’ve seen him, you might say, “How are you? It’s been a minute since we’ve seen each other.”
This slang word means “I understand.” It comes from a combination of the words “got” and “you”, meaning you “get” or understand what someone is saying. It’s often used in informal conversation when someone is explaining something or talking and you just want to let them know you’re still listening.
In the same vein (as something).
This phrase is used to mean that the idea you are talking about is closely related to something else you want to talk about. You may use it to transition to a new idea that is related.
For example, if you are talking about English grammar with a friend, you might say, “In the same vein as that, how are you doing with idioms?” The ideas are related: you’re still talking about the English language, but they’re also different.
Back at ya (you).
This is a phrase you use when you mean to say, “Same to you” or “you too”. Americans often don’t pronounce the word “you” at the end of phrases like this. So phrases like “Back at ya” or “Gotcha” have the same sound as “father”.
If your friend tells you to have a good night, you could say “back at ya” to mean “Have a good night too.”
There you have it. Four phrases that native speakers use regularly that you probably won’t learn in a textbook. If you’re looking for one on one lessons with a native English speaker, contact me for more information.
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