Common American Phrases

by Richard A. Spears 1. Am I glad to see you! I am very glad to see you! (Not a question. There is a stress on I and another on you.) Bill: Well, I finally got here! John: Boy howdy! Am I glad to see you! Tom (as Bill opens the door): Here I am, Bill. What's wrong? Bill: Boy, am I glad to see you! Come on in. The hot water heater exploded. 2. Anything you say. Yes. I agree. Mary: Will you please take this over to the cleaners? Bill: Sure, anything you say. Sally: You are going to finish this before you leave tonight, aren't you? Mary: Anything you say. 3. As I see it (in my opinion; in my view) the way I think about it. Tom: This matter is not as bad as some would make it out to be. Alice: Yes. This whole affair has been overblown, as I see it. Bob: You are wrong as can be. John: In my view, you are wrong. 4. As we speak just now; at this very moment. (This has almost reached cliché status.) - "I'm sorry, sir," consoled the agent at the gate, "the plane is taking off as we speak." Tom: Waiter, where is my steak? It's taking a long time. Waiter: It is being grilled as we speak, sir - just as you requested. *** 5. Be my guest Help yourself. After you. (A polite way of indicating that one should go first, help oneself, or take the last bit of something.) Mary: I would just love to have some more cake, there is only one piece left. Sally: Be my guest. Mary: Wow! Thanks!

) Bill: The big show is tonight. "Call again. but they can be trained. Boys will be boys. Break a leg! 10." CLERK: Is that everything? JOHN: Yes. Mary: I am afraid that we've missed the plane already. Jane: Why don't you go first? 6.) "Thank you. I'll wait out here. Call again. Don't worry.Jane: Here's the door. Beat it! Go away!. so the performer is wished bad luck in hopes of causing good luck. Break a leg! a parting word of encouragement given to a performer before a performance. 7. CLERK: That's ten dollars even. JOHN: Here you are. but boys will be boys. CLERK: Thanks. (It is traditionally viewed as bad luck to wish a performer good luck. Jane: Break a leg. Get out! (Slang) Bill: Sorry I broke your radio. .. (Said by shopkeepers and clerks. Call again Please visit this shop again sometime. Bob: You'll do great. That's the kind of silly behavior that boys and men exhibit. Who should go in first? Bill: Be my guest. I hope I don't forget my lines. Bite your tongue! an expression said to someone who has just stated an unpleasant supposition that unfortunately may be true. Bill! Mary: I am nervous about my solo." said the clerk. Mary: Marry him? But you're older than he is! Sally: Bite your tongue! 8. They really messed up the living room. you kids! Go play somewhere else!" yelled the storekeeper. Boys will be boys That's the kind of thing that boys seem to do. Jane: Bite your tongue! We still have time. 9. Bob: Get out of here! Beat it! "Beat it. smiling.

Cut to the chase to get to the important matters. 14.) SUE: Why.) SALLY: Do you want some more carrots? MARY: Come again? SALLY: Carrots. TOM: That doesn't mean I like it." 16. "Come again?" 12. SUE: Come off it. Martin as she let Jimmy out the door. Come off it! Don't act so haughty!. Who do you think you're talking to? 13. (A little dated and folksy. Mary. Come again 1. MARY: I had a lovely time. "I'm late again. 2. I like the way you cut to the chase and don't waste my time. BILL: Come off it. 15. Dear me! an expression of mild dismay or regret. MARY: We are not amused by your childish antics. dear me!" fretted John. Stop saying that! (colloquial and familiar. Thank you for asking me. "Come again" said Mrs. SALLY: You're quite welcome. Stop acting that way! TOM: This stuff doesn't meet my requirements. Dig in! . Please repeat it. Cut it out! Stop doing that!. is this all there is? Mary: There's more in the kitchen. Do you want some more carrots? Uncle Henry turned his good ear toward the clerk and said. I think you have a crush on Mary! TOM: Cut it out! "Cut it out!" yelled Tommy as Billy hit him again. Sue: Dear me. Tom! This is exactly what you've always bought. Please come back again sometime. (usually Come again?) I didn't hear what you said. "Oh.11. Let's stop all this chatter and cut to the chase. Come again.

20. Sue: Do you want me to save this spoonful of mashed potatoes? Jane: No. Sue: I hate to waste it. Bob: Wow! This stuff looks good! Alice: It sure does. Do you want to step outside? an expression inviting someone to go out-of-doors to settle an argument by fighting. What do you think it's worth? Mary: That's my aunt's house. Grandfather said. 21. but I guess you heard.Please start eating your meal (heartily). Sally: Enough is enough! Sue. When we were all seated at the table. drop it! Sorry I asked. Enough is enough! That's enough! I won't stand for any more! Sue: That color of lipstick is all wrong for you. I thought you were on a diet. you're gaining a little weight. John: Drop dead! Bob: All right. I've had enough out of you. Sally. Don't sweat it! Don't worry about it. It isn't worth it. everybody. don't bother. Mary: Good grief! I just stepped on the cat's tail. "Dig in!" and we all did. and it is too much trouble. Just what did you want to know about it? Bill: Oh. Drop it! / Drop the subject! Do not discuss it further! Bill: Yes. You want to step outside? Bill: So. Don't bother Please don't do it. (Slang) Bill: I think I'm flunking algebra! Bob: Don't sweat it! Everybody's having a rough time. you're mad at me! What else is new? You've been building up to this for a long time. Sue: Don't sweat it! The cat's got to learn to keep out of the way. Mary: Should I put these in the box with the others? Bill: No. It is not necessary. don't bother. Bob: Do you want to step outside and settle this once and for all? Bill: Why not? 18. Sue: Dig in! 17. Sally: That's enough! Drop the subject! Bill: That house looks expensive. get lost! . Sue: Sit down. 19.

I'm sort of surprised. I'm still here. Guess what! a way of starting a conversation. "Give me a break!" cried Mary to the assistant director. consolation. Mary: Give me a break! Sing something I know! "Give me a break!" shouted Bob. Bob: No." 2. Please give me another chance! Bob: I know I can do it. Bill: Gee. Alice: Gee.Sue: I was just trying to help. Jane: Well then. The brief intonation pattern accompanying the word may indicate sarcasm. I really want to go. sternness. why not?" whined Billy. Mary: Well. They always go the extra mile. My teacher goes the extra mile to help us. go ahead and go! John: Gee. etc. Let me try again. disagreement. caution. surprise. Bob: Enough is enough! I'm leaving! Bill: What on earth did I do? Bob: Good-bye. "I know I can handle the part. Alice: Guess what! Bob: I don't know. What? Alice: I'm going to Europe this summer. disagreement. . Tom: You shouldn't be. to do more than one is required to do to reach a goal. I'm going to sing a song about the hill people in my country. I don't know. gee an expression of disappointment. Tom. 22. Stop bothering me! Tom: Now. Bob: Give me a break! Mary: Well. 25. I thought you were gone. I like doing business with that company. I have had enough! Drop this matter!. or other emotions. go the extra mile to try harder to please someone or to get the task done correctly. (Words such as this often use intonation to convey the connotation of the sentence that is to follow. "Go away and stop bothering me!" 24. Please give me a chance!. 23. a way of forcing someone into a conversation.) "Gee. okay. Give me a break! 1.

Hold your horses! Slow down! Don't be so eager! Mary: Come on. 30. Bob. Be patient. Mother led the little troop of my friends to the kitchen table. Henry: It does look challenging. for a minute. hold your horses! Don't be in such a rush! . Please take what you want without asking permission. that's great! 26. Mary. Jane: Hang in there. Bill: Hold it! Bob: What is it? Bill: Sorry. "Help yourself". Try your hand at it. that stick looked like a snake. Things will work out. Hold it! Stop right there. things will work out. Sally. Tom: Here. Hang in there. Sally: Can I have one of these doughnuts? Bill: Help yourself. 29.Bob: That's very nice. Sue: Hang in there. Bob: Everything is in such a mess. I can't seem to get things done right. let's get going! Sally: Oh. Alice: Wow! This is fun! Bob: Can I have a go at it? Tom: I am having a good time painting this fence. which was covered with cups of juice and plates of cookies. 27. Henry: Thanks! 28. Tom: Hold it! Mary: What's wrong? Tom: You almost stepped on my contact lens. Oh. Things will work out. John: Jane: John: Jane: Guess what! What? Mary is going to have a baby. Have a go at it. It takes a lot of skill. Mary: Sometimes I just don't think I can go on. Give it a try. have a go at it. she said. Help yourself.

I cannot exceed that. an expression indicating that the speaker has been heard but implying that there is agreement. 31. That is all right as far as I'm concerned. I'll take it. Clerk: This one will cost twelve dollars more. Bob: Thanks a lot. 33. I can live with that That is something I can get used to. 32. I hear you! Bill: I think it's about time for a small revolution! Andrew: I hear what you're saying. Henry: That was really great. "What a great joke! I can't top that". Thank you for doing something that benefits me. (Usually a bill for a meal or drinks) As the waiter set down the glasses. I owe you one. now I owe you a favor. Bill: Let me pay for it. John: Check. Bill: I can live with that.. Sue: Thanks. said Kate.. still laughing. Bob: I put the extra copy of the book on your desk. "It's on me" and grabbed the check. please. I will pay this bill. I hear what you're saying / I hear you. It's on me. that was really good. Tom: Time has come to do something about that ailing dog of yours. Bob: I can live with that. I owe you one. I owe you one. Sue: I want to do this room in green. Fred said. Mary: I hear what you're saying. I can't beat that. Rachel: Yes. I cannot do better than that. (I) can't beat that / (I) can't top that. John: The prices in this place are a bit steep. John: I hear what you're saying. . Jane: Man. 35. I know exactly what you mean. 34. 1. Jane: It would be a good idea to have the house painted."Hold your horses!" said Fred to the herd of small boys trying to get into the station wagon. no 2.

Tom: Hi. I chose the lesser of two evils and watched television. so I voted for the lesser of two evils. Let's get out of here. Where have you been keeping yourself? Fred: Good to see you. John: Wow! Those sales meetings really wear me out! Jane: I know what you mean. Bob! Bob: Hi. 38. I have not seen you in a long time. It was the . Long time no see.Bill: No. 40. 37. Sue: These employment interviews are very tiring. Sue: Let's call it a day. that's the end of the reports. I know exactly what you are going through. Tom. I know exactly what you are talking about. Let's get down to business. Let's call it a day. Let us end what we are doing for the day. 41.) John: Hey. Sue: All right. John. I've been there. Knock it off! Bill: Yeah. We have not seen each other in a long time. it's on me this time. Long time no see. I guess we got a little carried away. the lesser of two evils the less bad thing. lull before the storm a quiet period just before a period of great activity or excitement. I've been there.. I'm tired. Nothing else to do. It was very quiet in the cafeteria just before the students came in for lunch. 36. Fred. Stop that noise! (Slang. Knock it off! Be quiet!. Given the options of going out with someone I don't like or staying home and watching a boring television program. you guys! Knock it off! Bob: Sorry. Tom: Me too. Mary: Well. Bob: I know it! I've been there. of a pair of bad things. Bill: Sorry. I didn't like either politician. Long time no see.. John: It's Bob! Hi. 39. Bob: Let's call it a day.

lull before the storm. Bill: I think I'll rent out our spare bedroom. . Over my dead body! a defiant phrase indicating the strength of one's opposition to something. AND Run it by (me) again. now. now.") Sally: Alice says she'll join the circus no matter what anybody says. 45. 46. 42. everything will work out all right."Now. don't cry. Sue: Over my dead body! Bill (smiling): That can be arranged. Shame on you! .. I'll tell her exactly what I think of it. the clerks prepared themselves for the doors to open and bring in thousands of shoppers. 44. so it does not matter. I'm going to study harder than ever. Bill: Now you're talking! John: When I get back to school. In the brief lull before the storm. Run that by (me) again. Mother: Now you're talking! 43. Father: Over my dead body! Sally: Now." said the mother to the tiny baby. You know how she is. says you! 47. now. Run that by me again. Bill: I think you're headed for some real trouble. (A joking response is "That can be arranged. now a calming and consoling phrase that introduces good advice. Jane: I'm so upset! Andrew: Now. I really didn't understand what you said. Bob: Says you! Fred: Says who? Ton: Says me! Fred: Aw. (Slang) Alice: Do you understand? Sue: No. Now. Please repeat what you just said. Please go over that one more time. Now you're talking! Now you are saying the right things. Tom: I won't put up with her behavior any longer. Says you! It is just you who are saying that. if you don't mind.

So much for that." he muttered.) John: I think I broke one of your figurines. "So much for that.. We will not be dealing with that anymore. 48. (Typically said to a child or to an adult for a childish infraction. Mary: Thanks. of course.a phrase scolding someone for being naughty. Mary: Shame on you! John: I'll replace it. . I sort of liked it. fishing through his drawer for another. John tossed the stub of a pencil into the trash. That is the end of that.

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