In this lesson today, Learn English Fun Way wants to inject some new expressions into your vocabulary, expanding your knowledge with some new idioms and some phrasal verbs. You’re about to learn some advanced expressions that will help you sound smart and interesting in English conversations. However, reading his article only is not enough, you need to put them into practice as much as you can.
Now, let’s get started with these advanced English expressions that you can use in everyday conversations!
1, On the whole
This is a really useful expression when you’re generalising about something and you’re coming to a conclusion. So once you’ve considered everything, the good and the bad, you generalise and say generally how you feel about the situation. In this case, you can use the phrase “on the whole”.
- Sometimes, my brother and I have disagreements, but on the whole, we get on really well.
- So considering the good and the bad we mostly get on well.
- On the whole, it was a great speech.
- There were a couple of things that could be improved but on the whole, the speech was quite good.
So with this expression, it’s not necessary to go into detail about the negative things, you don’t have to because the expression already tells us that something wasn’t or isn’t perfect.
And let’s face it, not many things in life are perfect right? So this expression is a really useful one to know.
2, On second thoughts
We use this one when we change our mind about something and it’s usually only used in spoken English. It’s not very common to see it in written English because it’s a tool to help you change your mind in the middle of a conversation, usually to change whatever you just have said to the opposite.
- “I’ll meet you at the office after lunch. On second thoughts, let’s just go there now”
So can you see how we use this as a tool to change what we said in the middle of a conversation, to change your mind.
- Imagine if someone offered you a beer and you said “No thanks, but I’d love a coffee.” But then you quickly changed your mind. “Actually, on second thoughts I’d love a beer!”
3, At the end of the day
This is such a good expression to know and use. We use it to summarise what’s most important in the end.
- At the end of the day, what matters most is that we’re all together.
So it doesn’t really matter whatever else has happened before. Perhaps there was chaos and there was arguments within the family but when everyone sits down to share a meal, at the end of the day, what’s most important is that we’re here together.
We usually use it when we’re talking about what happens or what’s important after a whole series of events or considerations.
- Even though it was the children who caused the damage, at the end of the day, the teacher is responsible for what happens in the classroom.
4, Off the top of my head
This is a really useful expression to use when you respond to something immediately without thinking too much about your answer.
- “What percentage of the population lives in the city?”
- “Off the top of my head, I’d say about 70%.”
- “How many hectares of forest and bush land were burned in the bushfires?”
- “Off the top of my head, I think more than six million hectares have been burned so far”.
Now you can also use this expression in the negative when you’re trying to think of something but you can’t remember.
- There’s a really great Italian restaurant. I can’t think of the name off the top of my head.
5, To be in or out of the loop
This is a really interesting expression. The loop is about being informed and knowing what’s happening, so if you’re in the loop then you know what’s going on, you’re good. But if you’re out of the loop, you don’t know what’s going on.
- I wasn’t in the office last week so I feel like I’m out of the loop. What’s been happening?
And we commonly use it when we’re instructing someone to tell us information and we often use it with the verb ‘keep’.
- “Can you please keep me in the loop?”
- “Paul needs to be kept in the loop. Make sure you tell him what’s going on.”
6, To be out of touch
Have you heard this one before? It’s used to describe someone who doesn’t really have current or up-to-date knowledge about something, anything, so this is quite a negative expression. It’s really common to hear it used in a political context or even when children are talking about their parents because it’s when they think that someone doesn’t really understand the present issues because they’re stuck in an older way of thinking.
- Many young people feel that politicians are out of touch.
7, To touch base
If you touch base with someone, you simply connect with them or you reconnect with someone that you already know. Usually you’re reconnecting about a particular topic or about a particular issue. For that reason, it’s really commonly used in the workplace.
So when you’re working on a project with someone and you’re gonna do some research separately before you come back together to write your report, this would be really useful.
- Why don’t we get started on our research, and then touch base again later in the week?
- Do you have to touch base with anyone when you’re at work? Like where you do things separately but then you come back together to share what you’ve been doing.
- What types of things do you have to touch base about?
8, To be struck by something
This is a really great way of explaining that something has impressed you.
- I was struck by how beautiful the forest looked at dawn.
- The beauty of the forest stopped me. I was mesmerised for a moment.
When you visit a city and you notice something interesting or unusual, then this expression will help you to sound really intelligent when you share it.
- I was struck by just how few trees and parks there were in the city.
- In the wake of the bushfires, we were struck by how resilient the community was.
This phrasal verb also has another common use because it can mean to be hit by something.
- The cyclist was struck by a passing car.
And commonly this is how it’s used in the news, so if you read the English news quite a bit, then certainly you’ll see this phrasal verb in use.
9, To be sure of one’s self
If you’re sure of something, then you’re quite certain about I, right? You’re confident that it’s true but did you know that you can also use this expression to talk about how a person feels about themselves? “I am sure of myself” means that “I am quite confident in my own ability”.
This phrase is usually used when you make an observation about someone else. If they seem confident like they know what they’re doing, then they’re very sure of themselves.
So the way to use this expression is with the ‘be’ verb.
- She is quite sure of herself.
But probably even more often, we use the verb ‘seem’ or ‘appear’.
- He seems quite sure of himself.
- Or they appear to be quite sure of themselves.
10, To hang in there
We use this expression when we’re trying to tell someone that they need to remain persistent and determined in really difficult circumstances.
This expression is a really good one to use when you’re offering sympathy or encouragement to someone who is having difficulties. So, when you use it, you’re telling them “Keep going. You can do it! I know that it’s difficult right now but you’ll make it through”. It is a really reassuring expression.
For example, if your friend is having some difficulties at work, maybe their boss is frustrating them or they’ve started talking about quitting for some reason you could say “Hang in there, mate. You’ll be right!”
11, To get your head around something
When you get your head around something, you understand it.
- It’s taken me a while to get my head around it but now I’ve got it.
- It’s been difficult for all of us to get our head around the scale of the Australian bushfires.
It is the end of our lesson today! Have you got your head around these different expressions yet? It might take you a little while. They’re quite advanced English expressions and it’s definitely challenging to use them fluently in conversations. However, “practice makes perfect”, you’ll get there, hang in there. You can practice by writing a little story that focuses on bringing a few of these expressions together in one place. To remember these expressions you need to put them into practice and actually use them.
We hope that you enjoyed this lesson. In order to get further explanation and practice your listening skills also, watch the video below. Thank you for reading and see you in the next writing!
Credit: Youtube Channel “mmmEnglish”