like in English conversation

The word like in English conversation. It’s like 🤩

Do you think the word like is used too much by young people?
Learn some different ways we use the word like in English conversation and informal spoken English and see the word like in action in a conversation with Super Agent Awesome.
One use that’s common with young speakers is the quotative like. That’s when they use ‘like’ instead of says or thinks to report someone’s words or thoughts.
Some people complain that the word like is used too much by young people and it’s sloppy English. But it isn’t just youthful slang and there are useful functions that like performs.
We’ll show you how like can signal approximation or exaggeration, how we use like as a discourse marker and also how like can be combined with a dramatic face to describe someone’s feelings.

Click here to learn the difference between ‘Do you like…?’ and ‘What’s it like?’
Click here to learn how to use ‘be like’, ‘look like’ and ‘be alike’.

Like in English conversation

‘Like’. This is such a common word in English, but do you know how it’s used in colloquial English? And do you know what it means in teenage slang?

Today we’re very lucky to have some help. Super Agent Awesome is here.
Thank you Vicki.

I’m Jay and I’m American.
And I’m Vicki and I’m British.
The word ‘like’ has several meanings in English.
It can be a verb. For example, ‘I like you’.
I like you too!
And it can also be a preposition.
So we could say ‘What’s it like? or ‘It looks like …’
I’ll put a link here to other videos we’ve made about that.
But today we’re looking at some colloquial uses of ‘like’ – in other words how we use it when we’re speaking informally.
And in slang. It’s a word that young people use a lot.
Luckily we have Super Agent Awesome to help us.
Let’s see an example.

The quotative like

Is there anything you complain about doing?
I will be like Mom, ‘I want to play Fortnite again. Please, please, please!’
So you complain about not playing Fortnite.
Yeah, I feel like everyone should play Fortnite!

Did you catch it?
He said ‘I feel like everyone should play Fortnite.’
Well he loves that game, but he also said this.
So he used ‘like’ to report what he’ll say to his Mom.
This use of ‘like’ is particularly common with young people.
We call this the quotative ‘like’ because it’s about quoting what people say and also what they’re thinking. So it has a more general meaning than just ‘say’. It can mean ‘think’ too because you can use it to describe inner feelings and thoughts.
Notice we always use the verb ‘be’ here. You can change the tense, so you can use the future ‘I will be like …’ Or the past, ‘I was like …’ but we always use the verb ‘be’.
Is this use of like just an American thing?
No. Though they think it started in California in the 1980s. But it’s used by English speakers all over the world these days.

Do you think like is used too much?

Some people complain that young people use the word ‘like’ too much. They think it’s sloppy English.
Sloppy. Sloppy means without care or effort.
Do you think it’s sloppy and lazy?
No. I think it’s very interesting because languages change over time and if you look carefully, you find ‘like’ has new and useful functions in English. It can signal what we say and think and it can signal other things too.
Then let’s look at another example.

More functions that like performs

Do you ever complain about having to go to bed at a certain time?
Yeah. So one time, I was watching a movie, um, it was like Hotel Transylvania III. And then there was this really dramatic action scene, and like the villain is about to beat the hero, or the hero is about to beat the villain, but then Dad stopped me and I had to go to bed.

Why did he say ‘like’ here?
Well he was remembering, but he wasn’t totally sure. Perhaps that was the movie, or perhaps it was a different one.
So ‘like’ signaled he wasn’t sure?
Yes and he said it again later.
Now the hero is the good guy and the villain is the bad guy.
And he couldn’t remember who was winning, so he signaled that by saying ‘like’
‘Like’ signaled he wasn’t sure.
Yes. This isn’t just a feature of young people’s speech. We use ‘like’ in the same way.
It signals uncertainty or that something is approximate.
For example, it’s like this big. And it could be this big or it could be this big.
‘Like’ signals an approximation.
It means what I’m saying might not be perfectly accurate. And it can also signal exaggeration. It’s like this big!
That sounds like a useful function!
And another way we use ‘like’ is as a discourse marker
What do you mean?
It’s a word we use to organize our speech. For example … Like … Well … So … We put like it at the start of a sentence when we’re thinking of what to say.
So it’s a filler. Like Errr … and Umm …..
Yes, it’s a word that fills a space and helps us speak more smoothly.
OK. Let’s hear another story.

Can you name something that you’ve had to apologize for doing?
Oh I know, I know, I know, I know. The time where I buried my Dad’s ring. I had to apologize for burying my Dad’s wedding ring.

Before we carry on, do you know the word ‘bury’.
It means to put something in the ground.
When people die we bury them. It’s a regular verb. Bury, buried, buried.
A dog could bury a bone in the ground.
We can bury treasure too.

I had to apologize for burying my Dad’s wedding ring. The reason why I did it was because I wanted to use the metal detector. Then I told my Dad and said ‘Dad, where’s the metal detector?’ Then my Dad was like your brother took it apart a couple of months ago, and then I’m like … Dad was like ‘Yo, what’s wrong?’ And then I was like Argh! I buried your wedding ring. And then my Dad was like … Oh! So that’s why you wanted to use the metal detector.

Did you understand everything?
He buried his Dad’s wedding ring in the yard.
Or in British English, the garden.
He buried it in the yard so he could try to find it with the metal detector.
But their metal detector was broken because his brother had taken it apart.
Did they ever find the ring?
No. I think it’s still lost. Let’s hear what his Dad said again.

And then my Dad was like … Oh! So that’s why you wanted to use the metal detector.

He’s lucky because his Dad is really nice.
He was very understanding.
OK, there was one more use of ‘like’ there that’s common and pretty funny.

Your brother took it apart a couple of months ago and then I’m like ….

So you can say ‘like’ and then make a funny face.
It’s very common.
And easy too. No words, just a dramatic face.
I want to say a big thank you to Super Agent Awesome for helping us make this video.
He was like … !
If you enjoyed this video, please give it a thumbs up and share it with your friends.
See you next week everyone. Bye.

Click here to learn the difference between ‘Do you like…?’ and ‘What’s it like?’
Click here to learn how to use ‘be like’, ‘look like’ and ‘be alike’.

disagree in English

How to Disagree like a Native Speaker

Disagreeing is tricky in any language. It means you’re saying someone else is wrong or different and linguists have found it’s a dispreferred response.
In this lesson we look at some steps English native speakers often follow when they disagree:

  • Hesitating
    Asking challenging questions
    Saying ‘yes but…’ and adding their objections

We note how the phrases I agree and I don’t agree are explicit and formal and hence have limited uses in everyday conversations, namely to report other people’s opinions and to clear up misunderstandings.

Click here to see our video on 12 ways to agree in English

Disagreeing in English

Is this the design?
Oh nice! You should do it in colour.
I like black and white.
No, you don’t. You’re only saying that because I suggested colour.
Well, you’re always wrong.
So whatever I say, you’re always going to disagree?
You know, you’re absolutely right.
Yep. Black and white is perfect.
You think so?
Yeah. Don’t change a thing.
Then I’m going to make it in color.
What just happened there?

Agreeing is easy in English and we’ve made another video about that.
Disagreeing is harder because people don’t like to disagree.
It can damage relationships.
So how do we disagree in English?
In this video you’ll learn some of the things we say, and some things we don’t say too.
Let’s start with that. Look at these phrases.
I don’t agree and I disagree. They mean the same thing.
But are they common phrases in spoken English?
They’re grammatically correct.
Yes, but are they things we often say?
I’m going to guess yes.
You’re wrong!
What do you mean, I’m wrong?!
My students say them a lot, but native English speakers don’t use these phrases much in normal conversation.
How do you know?
Well, these days we have big data banks with lots of examples of spoken English so we can look at things like this.
And, we don’t say these phrases much?
Not in everyday conversation.
Then what do we say?
We need an example!

How native English speakers do it

Are you ready?
Well let’s go. …… What’s the matter?
Are you going to wear that shirt?
Yes. It’s my Phillies championship shirt. It’s my favorite.
Yeah, but it’s ten years old.
That’s when we won the championship.
Yes, but it’s got a hole in it! Throw it away.
No way, it’s my favorite!
You look a mess.
Stop nagging.
I don’t want to be seen with you in that shirt.
Well then I’ll go on my own.

OK, so what happened there?
Well the conversation followed some steps. Linguists have found that when we disagree it often goes in steps.
What did we say?
Well first of all, I didn’t say anything.

Are you ready?
Well let’s go. ……

You hesitated.
Yes, so first I kept quiet.
There was a pause.
And then what did I do?

Well let’s go. …. What’s the matter?
Are you going to wear that shirt?

You asked a question.
That’s very common. Instead of disagreeing we ask questions.
Challenging questions. And then what did you say?

Are you going to wear that shirt?
Yes, it’s my Phillies championship shirt. It’s my favorite.
Yeah, but it’s ten years old.
That’s when we won the championship.
Yes, but it’s got a hole in it!

You said ‘yes but…’ and raised an objection.
‘Yes but….’ means no!
Uhuh. ‘Yes but’ is the most common phrase we use to disagree.
And then after that, we got into a fight.
Yes, once it’s clear there’s disagreement, we say what we really think.
So there were four steps – hesitating, questioning, ‘yes but’ and then the fight.
We don’t always take every step, but it’s a typical pattern.
We start slowly and build.
Maybe you do this in your language too?

Disagreeing – a dispreferred response

Agreeing is easier. We can just say ‘You’re right’, and nobody gets upset.
Disagreeing is harder because we’re saying someone’s wrong or different.
Linguists call disagreeing a dispreferred response. We prefer to say ‘Yes, you’re right’.
How about if we say ‘I’m sorry but I disagree’ or ‘I’m afraid I disagree’.
So add an apology?
It softens the disagreement.
Yes, but again it’s not frequent in normal conversation. So it could sound weird. We normally say something like ‘Yes but…’ instead.

How to use I don’t agree and I disagree

So let’s go back to these phrases. Are there any situations where we do use them?
Perhaps a formal meeting. They sound formal.
‘Excuse me Ms. Chairperson. I disagree.’
Yeah, or if you’re taking part in a political discussion on a television talk show. Politicians often say them.

We can afford to make these investments. Now I know there are Republicans in Congress who disagree with my approach.
We can afford to make these investments. Now I know there are Republicans in Congress who disagree with my approach.

Notice what Obama did here. He used the verb ‘disagree’ to report other people’s opinions.
He wasn’t saying ‘I disagree with you’.
He was reporting what other people think. Here’s another example.

This is the camera we should buy.
Ooo, I see. And what does Kathy think?
She thinks we should buy this camera.
Oooo. So she doesn’t agree with you.
Yeah but Kathy doesn’t know anything about cameras.

So if we’re reporting someone else’s opinions, we’ll say they don’t agree or they disagree.
Yes, disagree is often a reporting verb. And we use it when we want to be explicit.
Being explicit means being extra clear about what we mean.
That might happen if there’s a misunderstanding.

So this camera costs $5,000.
Yes. It’s a high-end camera with all the features we need.
But this one only costs $2000.
Yeah, but it can’t shoot slow motion.
I don’t think we need that.
Exactly. We don’t need the cheaper camera.
No, I mean we don’t need slow motion. I don’t agree with you.
You think we should get the cheaper camera?

So we misunderstood one another there.
Yes, I had to be extra clear.
And that’s why you said I don’t agree with you.
Yes. These phrases are formal and explicit, so be careful. A lot of students over use them.
Don’t use them too much.
When we disagree we normally, hesitate, question, say ‘yes but’ and add that objection.
OK. Let’s see another example of that.

There’s something wrong with that thermostat.
You know, I’ve noticed that too. The temperature keeps shooting up.
Did you say up?
That’s weird. I thought it went down. It should be 75 degrees.
Why do you want it to be 75 degrees?
It’s a comfortable temperature.
Yes, for you. But I like it at 65.
Yes, but you can take your jacket off if you get too hot.
Why don’t you wear more clothes?
65 is freezing!

It is freezing! You agree with me, don’t you?
Feel free to disagree in the comments.
And that’s it for today everyone.
Is that all? We’re done already?
But we haven’t looked at how we can prevent arguments in English.
We’ll do that another day.
So make sure you subscribe to our channel everyone.
And hit the notification bell so you don’t miss it.
We hope you’ve enjoyed this video and find it useful.
If you have, please share it with a friend.
See you next week everyone. Bye-bye.

how to say thank you in English conversation

9 ways to say thank you in British and American English

Learn how to say thank you in English conversation – British and American.
You’ll see lots of examples of thanking in action and enjoy plenty of jokes along the way.

We’ll show you:

  • different ways to tell someone they’re nice
  • how to use the structure Thanks for -ing (with a gerund)
  • some formal phrases like I appreciate it and I’m grateful
  • some informal phrases like thanks cheers and ta
  • some ways to express your delight and say you love a gift
  • how to say thanks aren’t necessary
  • how to say you’ll repay someone
  • how to use the phrasal verb help out
  • how to exaggerate with phrases like You’re a lifesaver or You’re my hero.

Click here to learn more everyday English expressions

Click here to learn the difference between Thanks god and Thank god.

How to thank people in English

We have some very exciting news! We have a hundred thousand subscribers!

What a wonderful way to start the new year!

It’s so exciting and we want to say a big thank you to you all!

Or a hundred thousand thank yous to be precise!

Well, there are a lot of ways to say thank you. In fact, that’s what this video is about.

We’re looking at things we say to thank people today.

And also how to respond to thank you, because that can be tricky too.

Where shall we start?

Let’s have a story.

Hey, it’s looking good in here.

Yes, I’ve been getting the room ready for Kathy’s seminar.

You got all the chairs out.

Yes, I had to find eighteen of them.

And what’s this? Slides?

Yeah, I made a PowerPoint presentation for Kathy.

You’ve been working very hard.


You must be tired. Have you had lunch yet?

No, I’ve got to tell Kathy the room’s ready.

I can do that for you. Why don’t you go and take a break? You deserve it.

Well, thank you very much. That’s very nice of you.

You’re welcome.

We saw a very common way to thank someone there.

What’s that? We say the person is nice.

Well, thank you very much. That’s very nice of you.

You’re welcome.

I expect you say something similar to this in your language too.

All over the world we thank people in similar ways. We’ll use different phrases in different languages, but the ideas behind the phrases are often the same. This idea is saying someone is nice.

Or kind or thoughtful or good.


That’s very nice of you. That’s very kind of you. That’s very good of you. That’s very thoughtful of you.

I was very thoughtful to you in that story because I was caring for you.

Ah, but the story didn’t end there.

How did Kathy’s presentation go?

Oh very well. How was your lunch?



Oh Kathy, how did you like the PowerPoint slides?

They were excellent.

Oh good.

Thanks for making them, Vicki.

I’m so glad you liked them.

And thanks for getting the room ready. It was great.

My pleasure.

It’s nice to work with someone who’s so helpful and supportive. I really appreciate it.

But I made the PowerPoint slides and I got the room ready.

Yeah, thanks for doing that.

You were mean to me again!

Things aren’t going to change just because we have a hundred thousand subscribers.

I was afraid of that.

OK. Notice Kathy said ‘I really appreciate it’. If you appreciate someone or something, you’re grateful.

We can also say ‘I’m grateful’, but grateful is a more formal word. You might hear it in a formal speech. Or you might see it in writing, like in an email. But it’s less common in spoken English.

Also did you notice this structure? Kathy said it several times.

Thanks for making them Vicki.

I’m so glad you liked them.

And thanks for getting the room ready. It was great.

So after ‘thanks for’ we use a gerund. A gerund is a noun form of a verb. Just add -ing to the verb to form the gerund.

It’s a very common structure.

Thank you for helping me. Thank you for listening Thanks for watching our videos And thanks for subscribing.

Now is there a difference between ‘thanks’ and ‘thank you’?

They mean the same thing. Thanks is a little more informal.

We often say thanks for small things. Like if you give me a dollar, I’ll say ‘thanks’, but if you give me 500 dollars, I’ll say ‘thank you very much’.

In British English we also say ‘cheers’ and it means the same as ‘thanks’. It’s informal and it’s for small things.

We say cheers when we’re drinking and making a toast in American English.

We do that in British English too, but cheers can also mean ‘thanks’ for us. And we can also say ‘ta’.


Yes. Sometimes when parents are teaching their children to say thank you, they’ll teach them to say ta instead. Perhaps because it’s easier to say.

Ta. Ta. Ta. Ta. Ta?

OK, let’s look at another situation.

Happy birthday, Jay.

Oh, thank you. Oh, it’s a bow tie. Oh, thank you! I love it.

Oh I’m so glad you like it.

You didn’t like it?

No! But you did two things there that we often do. First you said ‘Oh’, so you expressed surprise and happiness. And then you said you loved it.

It was a great tie!

So if you receive a gift, you can say things like this.

Oh! I love it! Oh wow! It’s perfect! Oh my! It’s beautiful. It’s just what I wanted. It’s exactly what I wanted.

Let’s look at another one.

Happy birthday!

Yes, Happy Birthday!

Thank you. And presents! You didn’t have to get me presents!

You know, you’re right.

That’s how NOT to give someone a present. But did you notice what Kathy said? She said ‘You didn’t have to’.

So she’s saying that it wasn’t necessary to get her presents.

The idea is you didn’t have to do it, but you did it anyway, so you’re very generous.

Generous means you give gifts to help people, or to give them pleasure. If you say someone’s generous it’ a compliment.

And there’s another thing we say that’s similar. ‘You shouldn’t have’.

Oh wow! You’ve made some soup.


You shouldn’t have gone to all this trouble for me. Oh and some wine too. Are you having anything?

Often when we use ‘shouldn’t have’ it’s because we’re annoyed or angry.

Yes, like, ‘You shouldn’t have parked there. That’s my spot!’

‘You shouldn’t have eaten the cookies. They were mine’.

But that’s not what I meant there.

You shouldn’t have gone to all this trouble for me.

The idea here is you’re saying I was too generous again.

Yes, it means it wasn’t necessary to do all that work, but you did and I’m grateful. The soups was terrific, by the way.

You’ve bought me a present? You shouldn’t have. You’ve made me a cake? You shouldn’t have.

So you can just say the phrase ‘You shouldn’t have’. You don’t need to complete the sentence.

There’s another thing that can happen when we thank people.

What’s that?

We offer to repay them somehow.

So what would you like to drink?

No, no. I’ll get them.

No, let me.

OK, thanks. I’ll have a gin and tonic. I’ll get the next one.


So this means I’ll buy the next drinks. Good. You’re offering to repay me.

Yes, the idea here is to pay people back.

Thanks so much for the loan. I’ll pay you back as soon as I can. Thanks for the ride home. Anytime you need a ride, just ask me. Thanks for your help. I owe you one.

‘I owe you one’. That’s an interesting phrase.

Yes. The word ‘one’ here means a favour – so something you do to help someone.

When we do people favours, we help them out.

Help them out – that’s a useful phrase.

Oh damn!


I can’t remember where I saved this document.

Click ‘file’ and ‘save as’ and it’ll show you.

Oh thank you. You really helped me out a lot. This was an important document.

What is it? It’s a recipe for baked peanut butter and popcorn.


‘To help someone out’ is a phrasal verb. Its meaning is very similar ‘to help’.

We can use it when someone is in trouble or in a difficult situation and we help them get out of it.

Thank you! You really helped me out.

Now there’s another way we thank people that I think happens in some languages but not others. Let’s see an example.

Oh, can I give you a hand with that?

Thank you. You’re a star.

Sure. Where would you like it?

Over there.

So I said you’re a star here.

Like a movie star?

Yes. I mean you’re not really a star, but I was pretending you are.

So we say things that aren’t true.

We exaggerate.


Oh, are you going to the bank?

Yeah, and it’s pouring with rain.

I’ll give you a lift.

Oh thank you. You’re a life saver!

My pleasure.

You exaggerated again. You called me a life saver.

Yes, he didn’t really save my life. He just stopped me from getting wet.

But these are friendly ways to say thank you English. Someone will do us a small favour and we’ll exaggerate and say they’re a hero.

Thank you. You’re my hero! Thanks so much! You’re awesome! Thanks! You’re the best.

Do you say things like this in your language? I know it happens in some languages, but I’m not sure if it happens in all languages.

Well let’s see. Do you exaggerate like this when you’re saying thank you? Write and tell us in the comments.

OK, before we stop, we should look at some different ways to respond if someone says thank you to you.

We’ve seen some examples in this video.

Thank you. You’re a life saver! My pleasure.

My pleasure. So I was saying I was happy to help.

Yes. The idea here is you did it gladly.

My pleasure. Glad to help. Anytime! You’re welcome.

And another thing we sometimes do is say that thanks aren’t necessary.

I got you some water.

Oh thank you very much.

It was no trouble.

It was no trouble. It was nothing. Don’t mention it! Don’t worry about it. No worries. Not at all!

So if you say thank you and I say ‘not at all’ I mean ‘don’t thank me’.

So the idea here is that the thanks are unnecessary. And that’s it! Now you know lots of different ways to thank people in English.

And we have some important thank you’s to say now.

Oh yes.

We want to say thanks to all of you for watching our videos.

We’re thrilled to have hit the 100,000 milestone.

We really appreciate all your views and comments and subs.

Yes, cheers everyone. And many thanks to all the people who have made suggestions and translated transcripts for us.

You’re the best.

Our heroes.

You didn’t have to watch and subscribe but we’re really glad you did.

Bye now.


Click here to learn more everyday English expressions

Click here to learn the difference between Thanks god and Thank god.

How not to give a compliment in English

How NOT to pay a compliment in English (back & left-handed compliments)

In our last video we looked at six different ways to pay someone a compliment and you can see that video here:
In this video we’re looking how NOT to give compliments. We’ll show you examples of things that can go wrong, and suggest ways to avoid them.
For example:

  • Complimenting a woman on her appearance in the workplace could be seen as a sexual advance or even sexual harassment.
    There are gender differences in how we give compliments and we’ll pass on some research.
  • If compliments aren’t sincere, they can be seen as flattery and that can be a problem.
  • And finally, you want to avoid backhanded or left-handed compliments. These are compliments that are half insult and half compliment and nobody likes them. We’ll show you a variety of back and left-handed compliment examples so you can see if you can the spot what’s wrong with them.

Click here to see our video on how to give a compliment.
Click here to learn how we might respond to compliments differently in the US and UK.
Click here to learn more everyday English expressions.

How NOT to pay a compliment in English

Have you had your hair cut?
Yes, I’ve got a new barber. What do you think?
Oh it’s very smart. It’s so much better than it looked before.
Oh great.
Let me see the back. See! I like what he’s done with your bald spot.

Hi I’m Vicki and I’m British.
And I’m Jay and I’m American.
Our last video was about compliments and when I posted it, Jay was a bit worried.
Well you didn’t tell everyone what we DON’T say if we’re giving a compliment.
I didn’t want the video to be too long. I’ll put a link here if you haven’t seen it yet. And we’re going to talk about compliments that don’t work now.
So what was your problem?
Well there are compliments that guys can’t give. I might compliment you on your appearance because we’re married, but I’d be very careful about complimenting the appearance of another woman, especially at work.
But I could compliment a female colleague on her appearance – if she looked nice.

Hi everyone.
Hi Geri. Your hair’s looking very pretty today.
Thank you. I just had it cut.
It’s gorgeous. And you have such beautiful brown eyes.

That was creepy.
Yes, men have to be careful. If we compliment a woman on her appearance we could make her uncomfortable.
We could think you’re trying to make a move on us.
Exactly! And it’s sexual harassment if we do it in the workplace in the united States. We could lose our jobs.
So it’s serious.
Yes, don’t do it guys! Not in the US.
There’s a lot of linguistic research on compliments and they’ve found the kinds of compliments that men and women give are often different. Men are more likely to say things like ‘Good job’ or ‘Nice work’. Their compliments are more impersonal.
That sounds right to me.
And women give more compliments to other women than men give to other men.
That makes sense too.
Well women are very nice.
I think another important thing with compliments is that you can’t lie. You have to tell the truth.

Oh officer. Is there a problem?
Yes, you can’t park here.
I’m just going to move it.
You’re too late. You should not have parked here.
Oh officer. Oh my, what beautiful brown eyes you have.
Flattery will get you nowhere.
You know, I’ve got some doughnuts in the car. Perhaps I could give you the doughnuts and you could throw away that ticket?
That’s not flattery. That’s bribery.

Well that didn’t work. I tried flattery but you saw through me.
Yes, flattery is praise that we don’t really mean.
When we flatter someone, we try to persuade them to do something by saying nice things about them.
But flattery isn’t sincere. It’s just a show.
Yes. And what about bribery?
Oh well, that’s when we give someone something to do what we want and it breaks the rules.
So it’s something dishonest
Or illegal.
OK, there’s another thing we have to do right to give a good compliment, and it’s very important.
What’s that?
We have to be totally positive. You can’t mix in any negative things.

Oh nice jacket. Is it new?
Yes, I bought it last week.
I love the way you go your own way instead of following the fashions.
Oh, well.
And it hides your belly well too.

That was not a compliment!
I know. I said something nice because I said you go your own way, so you’re independent.
But you also suggested I’m not fashionable.
Yeah. That’s not nice.
And then you drew attention to my belly!
Yeah. Definitely not nice!
So it was a compliment and an insult at the same time.
We have a term for this. In British English we call it a backhanded compliment. But you have a different name for it in American English.
Yes, we call it a left-handed compliment. It’s when it’s half compliment and half insult.
We had a request to talk about backhanded compliments from a viewer called Nick. Great idea Nick!
Then let’s look at another one.
Yeah. Watch another example and see if you can recognize the compliments and the insults.
Yes, try to spot what’s nice and what’s rude here?

Well, that was an interesting meeting.
Mmm. Where do you get the energy to talk so much?
Oh thanks. Do you think I talked too much?
Oh no, I love listening to your ideas Jay.
Oh good.
Listening to you makes me feel so intelligent.

So I said ‘Where do you get the energy to talk so much?’ That could be a compliment because it means I think you’re energetic.
Yes that’s positive, but you also said I talk so much. Maybe you meant too much.
And then there was another. I said I liked listening to your ideas. That’s positive. But then you said they make you feel intelligent. I was drawing a comparison between your ideas and my ideas
And suggesting yours are more intelligent than mine.
I was being a smart-arse there.
A smart-ass is someone who behaves as if they know everything.
Yes, we say smart-arse in British English.
Smart-ass in American English.
Your arse – or ass- is a slang word for your bottom. If you want to be more polite you could say smart aleck
A smart aleck thinks their very clever and they’re very annoying.
Let’s have another example.

Oh and here’s a picture of me and my brother.
Oh wow. Is that handsome guy you?
You look great. I nearly didn’t recognize you.
Yeah, it doesn’t look like you at all.

So I said two nice things here. ‘You look great’ and I called you handsome.
Yes, but the problem was you also said the guy in the photo didn’t look like me, so that implies that I don’t normally look great or handsome.
Yes. So it’s really important. If you’re paying someone a compliment, you have to stay 100% positive. You can’t add negative stuff.
If someone pays you a left-handed compliment, what should you say?
I’ve no idea. How should you reply?
I don’t know either. But if anyone has any ideas about that, please write and tell us in the comments.
Perhaps you should say nothing.
And then go and find some new friends.
I find responding to normal compliments hard sometimes too.
A lot of people do.
Let’s make another video about that.
OK. Next year perhaps. If you liked this video please share it with a friend.
And don’t forget to subscribe to our channel so you don’t miss our future videos.
Bye everyone.

Click here to see our video on how to give a compliment.
Click here to learn how we might respond to compliments differently in the US and UK.
Click here to learn more everyday English expressions.

easy ways to pay compliments in english

6 Easy Ways to Pay Compliments in English

Learn 6 easy ways to pay compliment in English a make the world a happier place!

We’ll show you lots of compliment examples and talk about which compliments mean most to us. (They have to be genuine and can’t be manipulative!)

We’ll also show you six easy grammar structures for compliments:
look/be + adjective
love/like + noun
Good job/work
nice + noun
What + adjective + noun
good at + noun, good at + gerund

Click here to learn how we might respond to compliments differently in the US and UK.
Click here to learn some more everyday English expressions.

6 ways to pay compliments in English

Hello everyone. I’m Vicki and I’m British.
And I’m Jay and I’m American.
And today we want to help you make the world a happier place.
We’re going to look at compliments and how we tell people what we like about them in English.
The grammar is pretty easy. You can learn the structures you need very fast.
And we’ll show you lots of examples.
So you can find some nice things to say to people you like.
Let’s start with some vocabulary. We can give a compliment or pay a compliment. It means the same thing. Pay and give collocate with the word compliment.
What does collocate mean?
It means we often use the words together. So we often say the verbs ‘pay’ and ‘give’ with the noun ‘compliment’. They’re common collocations.
OK. Let’s get cracking now and see some compliments in action.
Yes, we have a story for you. See how many compliments you can spot.

Oh let me help you.
Oh no, I can do it.
No, no, let me help. Oh this artwork looks great. It’s really beautiful. Did you do this?
Yes. I just need one copy.
Oh I can do that.
Ah. It’s jammed. You have to take the paper out at the back. Oh. It’s stuck. Where are you going? Help, help.
Help, oh, you’ve saved me! Thank you.
You’re welcome
Who are you?
I’m photocopier man.
Oh you’re so brave and so strong. Those are really big muscles!
Well, I don’t know about that.
Oh and you’re so handsome. I love your smile.
Well I’d better get going now. Bye.
Oh. Where did you go? You’ll never guess who was here.
Photocopier man.

You gave photocopier man lots of great compliments there.
Well, he was very cute!
Like me.
Let’s look at the grammar. What structures did we use?

Oh this artwork looks great. It’s really beautiful. Did you do this?

Here’s a very common structure for giving compliments. We use the verb ‘look’ or the verb ‘be’ with an adjective. And we can add emphasis with ‘really’.
We often use the adjectives great, beautiful, pretty, nice and good. They are all very common.
But there are lots more like wonderful, cool, cute, clever. Compliments are about spreading love so be positive.
In the UK we often say brilliant and it means very clever. ‘That’s a brilliant idea.’ ‘You’re brilliant’.
In the US we often say awesome. ‘You’ve done a really awesome job’.
We say awesome in British English now too.
Mmm. We got it from the US.
OK, let’s look at another common structure now.

Oh and you’re so handsome. I love your smile.
Well, I’d better get going now. Bye.

Again it’s simple. Just use the verb ‘like’ or ‘love’ and then say what you like or love. ‘I love your dog.’ ‘I like your hair.’ ‘I love your sense of humour.’
And again you can say ‘really’ to add emphasis. ‘I really love your smile’.
I really like your new glasses.
Thanks. You know there’s another structure that I use a lot. Well it’s a phrase really.
What’s that?
Good job! When someone does something well, I say ‘Good job’. Or ‘Great job’.
So for example, if they hit a golf ball into the hole.
Yes, good job. Or if you park the car in a small space.

We finished on time and on budget.
Well done everyone. Good job!
Yeah, nice work!

Nice is similar to good. We can say ‘Nice work!’ ‘Nice job!’
Or ‘Nice phone!’ ‘Nice computer! Nice – anything really.
And there’s another very simple structure like that. We say ‘what’!

Come in. Come in.
What a lovely apartment!
Thank you.
What a beautiful piano. It’s so pretty.
It’s a pretty colour, isn’t it?

So we just say ‘what’ and then the thing
‘What a lovely apartment!’
‘What a beautiful piano!’
‘What a great team we are!’
‘What a beautiful baby!’
So the grammar is very simple again.
Yes, I think forming compliments is pretty easy. Thinking of nice things to say is more difficult because you want to find things that matter to the other person and they have to be true.
What can we give compliments about?
There are lots of things, aren’t there? We can compliment people on how they look. Their clothes, their hair.
And their possessions. ‘What a great looking car.’ ‘What a nice yard.’
I’d say nice garden in British English. But what do you think are the nicest compliments to give to people?
What do I think?
Well, they’re probably not about appearance. How you look is how you look. And clothes and possessions – they’re just material things. Maybe the nicest compliments are about their achievements, about the things they do.
For example?
Well maybe they give a good presentation and you say ‘You did a really great job. or ‘You’re really good at giving speeches.’
Yeah or if they create something, like some artwork. Or their cooking. We often compliment people on a meal they’ve cooked.

This soup is delicious. Did you make it?
Yes, it’s a family recipe.
I love it!

Another nice compliment is when we can say something positive about someone’s character or personality, like, ‘You’re always so helpful’. Or ‘You’re very thoughtful’.
Or ‘You’re very imaginative’, or patient, or ‘You’re really well organized’.

You did a great job on this event Vicki.
Thank you!
You’re so well organized. It’s been a pleasure working with you.
You too!
But I organized this event!
Yes. I really love working with you too.

I like these compliments because they’re about skills. They’re saying ‘You’re good at your job’.
That’s another useful structure: ‘good at’. You’re really good at giving speeches.
Or you’re really good at English.
Notice what follows ‘good at’. It’s always a noun. If we want to use a verb, we have to add -ing to turn it into a gerund – a noun form of a verb.
So you’re really good at giving, -ing, – giving speeches.
Let’s have one more example.

You know you’re so good at making coffee Jay.
Thank you!
Could you make me another cup?

But that wasn’t really a compliment.
I know. I just wanted more coffee. But it illustrates the most important thing about giving compliments. They have to be true.
That’s right. If you lie, people might think you’re trying to manipulate them.
They might think you’re lying in order to get them to do what you want.
Compliments have to be truthful.
We’re making another video about how not to give compliments, because some compliments don’t work.
So make sure you subscribe to our channel so you don’t miss it.
And if you’ve enjoyed this video, please share it with a friend.
And see you all next week everyone. Bye.

Click here to learn how we might respond to compliments differently in the US and UK.
Click here to learn some more everyday English expressions.

things to say if you make a mistake

7 things to say when you make a mistake

What do we say when we make a mistake? Maybe it’s an expletive. (Did you you know the pronunciation of expletive is different in British and American English?) In this video we look at some swear word alternatives like bother, shoot and damn.

You’ll also learn the phrasal verb screw up and the more polite phrasal verb mess up.

We also look at the expressions ‘by mistake‘ meaning by accident and ‘It’s my fault‘, meaning I accept responsibility. And you’ll see examples of the word fault as a countable and uncountable noun.

Click here to learn some rules for when we use make and when we use do.
Click here to learn more everyday English expressions

Things to say when you make a mistake

Welcome to the Good Morning show. In today’s program we’re going to be talking to Hillary Clinton. Oh, I’m sorry. That’s the wrong picture. We’ve clearly made a mistake.

Hi everyone, I’m Vicki and I’m British.
And I’m Jay and I’m American.
And this lessons about things you can say when you make mistakes.
Where should we start?
Well the first thing we say is often an expletive.
She means expletive.
Expletive. The pronunciation’s different in British and American.
Say expletive.
An expletive is a word that shows you’re angry or upset.


Argh! Oh….
The next thing you’d say is not polite.
Yeah, expletives are generally rude words. I’m sure you know these ones. They’re common curse words.
Be careful though because they are very rude.
Yes, don’t say them to your boss or peoplke you don’t know well.
What are some polite alternatives?
Hmm. I’ve heard some people say ‘oh bother’, but that’s normally if it’s a small thing.

Oh bother, I’ve spilt my tea.

‘Bother’ sounds very British. In the US we might say ‘shoot’.

Oh shoot, I left my wallet at home.

Again, we say this for small mistakes.
Yes, if you want to add some emotion, I think ‘damn’ is a useful word.
Is it rude?
It’s a little rude but it’s better than the curse words if you’re at work or something, and it shows you’re upset.

Oh damn. I forgot to put petrol in the car.
Damn. I just made a mistake.
I just sent everyone the wrong dates for the meeting.

Notice that Jay said ‘I just made a mistake’. We use the verb ‘make’ with mistake.
In some languages it’s do a mistake’, but not in English.
Yes, so don’t make that mistake with mistake! ‘Make’ and ‘mistake’ both start with the letter m. Perhaps that will help you remember.
OK. Now are there other ways to say ‘I’ve made a mistake’?
Yes. We often use phrasal verbs. Let’s see one in action.

Oh no, I’ve screwed up again!
What have you done?
I forgot to press save before I closed the document.
He’s always screwing up like that.

The verb is ‘screw up’. It’s slang and it’s a bit rude.
Again, you probably don’t want to say it to your boss. But there’s another verb you could use instead – mess up.

Can I try it?
OK but be careful. It took me ages to get this far. Don’t mess it up. …
Oh sorry

Mess up means to do something badly.
It’s a phrasal verb again and it’s a little more polite than screw up.
And another phrase you can use is ‘by mistake’.

I drank your coffee by mistake. How much sugar is in that?
5 teaspoons. I like it sweet.

So ‘by mistake’ means ‘by accident’.

Hi. Your pay check has arrived.
Oh good. Hey! Somebody’s already opened this.
Yeah, sorry, I opened it by mistake. You didn’t earn as much as me last month.

So by mistake – by accident.
By mistake means you didn’t intend to do it. Or did you?
Now the word mistake is a noun here, but it can be a verb too. And then it means you think one thing is another.
For example, you have to keep your pills safe because children might mistake them for candy.
Mistake is an irregular verb – mistake, mistook, mistaken.

Oh Mary.
Do we know each other?
Oh sorry, I mistook you for someone else.
No problem.

I mistook you for someone else means I thought you were one person, but you were another.
Yes, it sounds a little formal to me. I think normally I’d say it differently.

Oh Mary.
Do we know each other?
Oh sorry I thought you were someone else.
No problem.

That sounded more natural.
Yes, and there’s another thing we often say when we’ve made a mistake.
Let’s look at how we do that.

Who designed these calendars?
Oh I did. Do you like them?
How many copies did you print?
I don’t know.
I ordered 500. Is there a problem?
Yes. Look at February. There are 30 days.
Oh, that’s a mistake.
I’m so sorry Kathy. It’s my fault. I didn’t notice.
It’s my fault too. I didn’t check it before it went to the printers.
We’re both at fault.
30 days!

Now here’s a very useful phrase. When we say ‘it’s my fault’, we’re saying we’re responsible.
We accept the blame for what went wrong.
We admit we did the wrong thing. And if we don’t want to accept responsibility, we can use the negative.

You need to do this again.
It’s full of spelling mistakes
It’s not my fault. My spell checker doesn’t work
Then use a dictionary.

So ‘it’s not my fault’ means it’s not my responsibility. Don’t blame me.
Fault is an uncountable noun here, so it has no plural form. But the word fault has other meanings where it’s countable.
For example?
Well, people can have faults.

Good luck with your presentation. Are you nervous?
No, I’m going to be fantastic. They’ll love me.
Jay may have some faults, but lack of confidence isn’t one of them.

So here faults is plural and it means the bad or weak parts of someone’s character.
I don’t really have many faults.
Yeah right. And faults can also mean other things that are wrong. Machines can have faults. Faults are things that stop them working correctly.
A fault in the design.
A structural fault.

You need to use the other copier. This one’s not working.
Really? Why not?
They think it’s an electrical fault.
Told you.

OK, I think it’s time to review, don’t you?
Yes, let’s see what you can remember. When we make a mistake, the first thing we say is often an expletive.
Or an expletive.
An expletive is usually a swear word or curse word. But there are some more polite alternatives. For example in the UK we could say ‘Oh bother!’
And in the US we could say ‘Oh shoot!’
Here’s a really useful one: Oh damn!
We usually use the word mistake with the verb make.
And we use phrasal verbs too like ‘I’ve screwed up’.
And we can also say ‘I’ve messed up’.
If we think we’re responsible for a mistake we’ll say ‘It’s my fault’.
And if we think we’re not responsible we’ll say ‘It’s not my fault’.
And that’s it. Now you know what to say when you’ve screwed up and made a mistake.
If you’ve found this video useful, please share it with a friend.
And make sure you subscribe to our channel.
See you next Friday everyone. Bye Bye.

Click here to learn some rules for when we use make and when we use do.
Click here to learn more everyday English expressions

British and American compliments

Are Brits or Americans more polite? Let’s see!

The US and UK have a rather different style of politeness. You’ll learn about them both in this video.

In American English it’s often important to show warmth and friendliness. That’s true in British English too, but there we sometimes place more emphasis on not intruding or interfering.

It’s not that one style of politeness is better than the other, but it can lead to some funny differences on when we give compliments and how we receive them.

There’s a branch of linguistics called pragmatics which studies the hidden or secret meanings behind the words we choose. It looks at the intentions behind words and, as a result, it has prompted a lot of research and discussion about linguistic politeness.

This video looks at some ways that face issues impact politeness when it comes to compliments.

We haven’t tried to go into the technicalities of positive and negative politeness, but we show some issues in action that we think will be useful for English learners.

If you’ve enjoyed this video, here are two more we’ve made on some pragmatic features of English:
Why it’s hard to understand English speakers:
3 ways to get what you want in English:

British and American compliments – different styles of politeness

Yes, I’ll see you at three thirty then. OK. Cheers!
I just love your accent.

This video was inspired by a great comment we had from a viewer called Toure Malone. Have I said his name right?
I don’t know.
Toure, tell us if we got that wrong.
Here’s what he said.
Americans are notorious for saying “Oh my god I love your accent”. I’m one of them! Does it irritate you? He also said ‘We can’t help it. British accents are divine’
We’d better explain what notorious means.
It’s similar to famous, but it’s when you’re famous for something bad.
Yeah. A notorious criminal.
A notorious computer hacker.
And he says British accents are divine – so wonderful, beautiful.
He’s right.
You think my accent’s divine too?
No, I mean it’s true that Americans often say this to you. Are you irritated by it?
Not now because I’m used to it. I like it now, but at first I felt uncomfortable. It was awkward.
I didn’t know how to respond.
OK. See you soon. Bye.

I just love your accent.
Well everyone speaks like this where I come from.

That’s terrible! It’s like you’re calling him an idiot.
I know. I should be nicer.

OK. See you soon. Cheers.
I just love your accent.
And I just love your… dental work.

That’s terrible too! What’s your problem?
It’s less common to give compliments to strangers in the UK. We have a different way of being polite.
What do you mean?
Well, there are two sides to politeness – two parts. One part is about being inclusive and warm and friendly and agreeable.
Like me.
I’m American and we’re famous for being friendly.
But the other part of politeness is about being leaving people alone.
That’s polite?
Yes, so you don’t interfere. You let them do whatever they want and you don’t disturb them. You don’t intrude.
You don’t want to be intrusive.
Uhuh. Not intruding is polite too.
Well that makes sense.
Both these sides of politeness are important in all cultures, but people give them different weight, different importance, in different parts of the world.
Let me guess. In America being warm and friendly is more important.
Yes. It’s important everywhere, but it’s very important in the US. And in the UK, we think it’s important to stand back and leave people alone a bit more.
We can do that too. But this is about different weightings.
Exactly. If you think about the stereotypes of British people and Americans, it’s sort of connected.

Hi, I’m British and I’m rather reserved. If we meet somewhere like a railway carriage, I probably won’t talk to you. I think it’s polite to leave people alone so they can go about their business without me getting in their way.

Hi! I’m American and I’m super friendly. When we meet for the first time, I’m going to tell you my entire life story in the first five minutes. I’m polite so I won’t hold back. I’m going to share and be open.

Those are stereotypes. They’re not real.
But when you think about the two sides of politeness, you can see where they come from. You know, sometimes my students ask if American friendliness is fake.
So not real?
Yeah, is it fake?
After living here a long time, I don’t think it’s fake either. It’s just the politeness style – it emphasizes friendliness.
Ok, so let’s go back to Toure’s example. When we say ‘I love your accent’, We’re being friendly. What’s wrong with that?
Well it’s also intrusive because it means you’re judging me.
But I said something nice.
Yeah, but what right have you got to judge me?
That’s such a funny way of looking at it.
And there’s another problem. If you say something nice to me, then I might feel that I have to repay you and say something nice back.
Oh, so it sounds like I’m fishing for compliments.
It’s a possibility.
Why can’t you just say thank you?
Ah. If I accept the compliment and then you might think that I’m big headed.
Big headed is a British expression.
It means you think you’re more intelligent or more important than you really are.
You don’t want people to think you’re conceited.
Exactly. You want them to think you’re modest. That’s when you don’t talk about your achievements. Being big headed is bad. Being modest is good.

And that’s it. Thank you everybody.
Wow. I just loved your presentation. It was awesome.
Thank you. Erm… I made some mistakes.
It was really good.
I forgot some things.
I didn’t notice. You were terrific.
Thanks Erm. I really should have practiced more.
But…. but it was interesting.
No, no.
No, really!

Wow, that was awkward. It felt like YOU were fishing for compliments.
I know. I was just trying to be modest and you wouldn’t let me.
Well, you kept criticizing yourself so you forced me to say something nice.
When I first came to the US, I had conversations like that. It was really embarrassing. The Americans were embarrassed. I was embarrassed.
But it’s not a problem now.
Errr. Not so much. I’ve learnt to be careful not to criticize myself.
She’s very modest.
No. It’s not that we’re really more modest in the UK. It’s just more important for us to behave as if we’re modest.
It’s a different style of politeness.
Exactly. And I’m wondering, what politeness is like in YOUR culture. Is it more like the US or the UK?
Write and tell us in the comments. That’ll be very interesting.
And if you’ve enjoyed this video, please share it with a friend.
See you all next week everyone.

things you shouldn't say in English

5 Things You Shouldn’t Say in English (if you want to be polite)

Translation is dangerous! Sometimes words and phrases that work in one culture are rude in English.
This video is about cultural differences and how to be polite in English. We look at 5 things you shouldn’t say in English unless you want to be rude or get a black eye.

  • Grandma and grandad/granddad
    Aunt and aunty
    How old are you?
    How much do you earn?
    You’re looking fat.

We talk about cultural differences that can cause problems if you translate and also the importance of giving people the benefit of the doubt if you want to be polite.

Click here to see more videos on everyday English
Click here to learn how to use the phrase ‘of course’ politely

Things you shouldn’t say in English

Are you saying things you shouldn’t in English? We need to talk.
Hi, I’m Vicki
And I’m Jay.
And this video’s about things you SHOULDN’T say in English.
So it’s about what NOT to say.
That’s right. There are some things that might work in one language and one culture, but when you translate them into English they become rude.
Give us an example.
Yeah, and Grandad. Like that comment we had on one of our YouTube videos.
Right. I know the one you mean. It was funny.
Yeah. Let me explain. We love getting comments on our videos. Usually people say really nice things and thank you all for that.
It’s very motivating for us. But we had a funny comment a while ago. Someone wrote and they said ‘I just love your video, Grandma.’
Technically speaking they were correct. I am a grandma. And I love being a grandma. But grandma also has another meaning in English. We use it informally as an insult to talk about people we don’t know.
So it’s a rude thing to say.
Exactly. An insult is when you say something that’s rude in order to offend someone or to upset them.
Grandma can imply that someone is very old and feeble
Feeble means weak and ineffective. We might call someone grandma when we think they’re mentally or physically slow.
Grandad or grandpa is similar. It’s also used as an insult.
So if an old person is taking too long to do something we might say ‘Oh hurry up grandma.’ Or ‘Get out the way Grandma.’
So what did you think when you read that comment?
I wasn’t sure what to think. Obviously we are a little old for YouTubers, but still… Then I thought maybe it’s just an English mistake.
So not an insult?
So what did you say to them?
I just wrote ‘thank you’.
You didn’t ask them what they meant?
No. Perhaps I should have asked. I wanted to know what they meant, but then I thought, don’t feed the trolls.
‘Don’t feed the trolls’. This is a useful expression. There are trolls on the internet.
Trolls are people who make rude or nasty comments because they want to get an emotional reaction.
Don’t feed the trolls means don’t respond to them.
Yes. But in this case I didn’t know if the comment came from an internet troll or not. I probably should have asked.
But then another viewer did ask.
Yes, they came to my defence. That was nice. They said, hey, why are you calling her grandma? Be more polite. And then first viewer wrote back and explained. In their culture, for them, Grandma was a term of respect and admiration.
So they were trying to be respectful?
Yes, maybe grandma means experienced and wise. But in some cultures you can use grandma and grandpa to show respect to people you don’t know.
So there was a happy ending to this story.
A very happy ending. It’s good to give people the benefit of the doubt.
That’s another useful phrase – the benefit of the doubt.
Yeah. If you think someone might be doing something bad, but you’re not sure, you can decide, hey, I don’t know so I am going to presume you’re not being bad and you’re being nice.
You give them the benefit of the doubt.
Yes, and if you want to be safe, don’t call people grandad or grandma in English.
Unless they’re YOUR grandma or grandpa. Then it’s OK.
Yes, or unless you want a black eye.

Get out of the way, grandma.

A black eye is a dark area of skin around your eye that you get if someone hits you.
Now there’s another term like grandma, that’s dangerous in English.
What’s that?
Aunt or Aunty. Be careful how you use these words.
I pronounce them Aunt or Aunty. In English an aunt is a family member – it’s the sister of your mother or father.
Yes, but there are cultures where it has another use and people call lots of older women aunt. It’s a term of respect again and also affection.
Usually we only call blood relatives aunt in English.
Yes, there might be a very close family friend that children call aunty, though it’s not usual in British English.
It’s unusual in American English too.
But here’s the thing. Sometimes people I hardly know contact me on the internet and they write Dear Aunt or Dear aunty.
That sounds very weird in English. Why do they do that?
I think they’re translating and trying to signal affection, but it doesn’t work
It sounds too familiar.
Yeah. It suggests we have a personal connection that we don’t have so it’s uncomfortable.
OK, so aunty is another thing you shouldn’t say in English.
Yes. Don’t use it. And I have some more.
Oh tell us.
Well, sometimes people ask us questions that don’t work in English because they’re too intrusive and too direct.
Can you give us some examples.
OK. ‘How old are you?’ is one, and another one is ‘How much do you earn?’
Wow, they’re very intrusive questions….. much too direct. People really ask these questions?
Yes. In some cultures you might ask them to get to know someone, so they’re more friendly then because they show you’re interested in them.
And they’re not rude?
Well no because you expect vague answers. Vague means not clear, not detailed.
But they just don’t work in English. They’re really rude.
Yes, they’re way too personal. Don’t ask them. Don’t go there.
‘Don’t go there’ means don’t bring up that subject of conversation. You’ll get a very bad reaction if you do.
Or a black eye!
Any more questions?
No, but I’ve got one more thing you shouldn’t say in English.
What’s that?
This happened to a friend of mine. He was travelling in China and he met someone he hadn’t seen for a while and they greeted him with ‘You’re looking fat’.
He was horrified, really shocked.
Well of course. We all want to look slim, like me. Why did they say that?
It was a direct translation that didn’t work. I think they meant to say you’re looking healthy and prosperous.
So they meant to say ‘You look well’ or ‘You look healthy’.
Exactly. We’d say something like ‘You look great. Jay, you’re looking good.
Thanks, of course I do. So the important lesson here is to be careful how you translate.
Yes. And also remember that when we’re communicating with people from other cultures, these translation mistakes happen so we have to give people the benefit of the doubt.
That sounds like great advice. What do you think?
Perhaps you know more things that don’t translate well into English from your language. Write and tell us in the comments if you do.
And if you’ve enjoyed this video, please share it with a friend.
Don’t forget to subscribe to our channel and see you next week everyone. Bye.

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to agree in English

How to agree in English – 12 different ways

In this lesson we look at how to agree in English and we’ll spice up your vocabulary with 12 different words and phrases. We’ll show you common words and phrases in action and explain what they mean.

If someone gives an opinion or makes a suggestion that we like, we can say ‘I agree with you’. This phrase is clear, but be careful. If you use it too often, you might sound a little formal and unnatural. In everyday conversation, we signal agreement in lots of other ways that are easy to learn.

We’ll also look at some very common mistakes like ‘I am agree’ so you know what NOT to say as well. So start watching now to to learn how to agree in English.

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How to agree in English

How many ways can you think of to say ‘I agree’? In this lesson we’re going to spice up your English with different phrases and we’ll fix some common mistakes.
If someone gives an opinion or makes a suggestion that we like, we can say ‘I agree’. Let’s see the phrase in action.

You know, I think we should buy a big new camera.
Oh what a good idea!
We want one with high resolution.
I agree.
Very high resolution.
Yes, you’re right.
And we want one that films in slow motion.
Oh yes, I agree with you. You always have such wonderful ideas. Wake up. Wake up. Did you fall asleep again, Jay?
Err no, no.
Because we need to talk about the equipment.
Oh right. I think we should buy a big new camera.
What? That’s a terrible idea.

So in Jay’s dream, you heard me agreeing several times. Now, I have a question. Is this phrase correct too? NO!!! And what about this one? NO!!! Agree is a verb in English, not an adjective. To make questions and negatives use ‘do’. So ‘Do you agree?’ or ‘I don’t agree.’
In many languages the word for ‘agree’ can be a verb AND an adjective. Think about it. If you translate, can you say ‘I am agree’ in your language? In English you can’t because agree is always a verb, so we don’t use it with the verb ‘be’.
However, the word agree does have an adjective form in English. See if you can spot it.

So are we all agreed?

Did you catch it?

So are we all agreed?

So in this question agreed, with a d, is an adjective and we use the verb ‘be’. But this is an unusual thing to say. You’ll only hear it in very formal situations, maybe a business meeting but only if it’s very formal. I don’t think you need it, so let’s forget it.
Just remember, ‘agree’ is a verb. Make questions and negatives with do.
Now, while we’re talking about mistakes, there are some other things I’ve heard students say that don’t work in English.
They’re all translations from other languages. Don’t say them because they’re all wrong in English! Let’s throw them out too and talk about things you CAN say. ‘I agree’. This phrase is very clear, but be careful not to use it too much. Students often overuse it so they sound a little formal and unnatural. In normal conversation, English speakers will signal agreement in lots of other ways, often more informal ways, so let’s look at some in a conversation. While you watch, see how many agreement phrases you can spot.

OK. The 10 best old movies. Let’s write a list.
How about ‘The Godfather’?
Definitely. It’s the best.
Absolutely. Write it down. And ‘Star Wars’.
Oh totally!
You bet.
May the force be with you.
Hey, ‘ET’. That was a fantastic movie.
You’re right.
You can say that again. Now what about an Alfred Hitchcock movie?
He made such scary movies.
You’re dead right there. Write down ‘Psycho’.
And ‘The Terminator’.
‘The Terminator’?
Arnold Schwarteznegger. I’ll be back…

In that conversation we signaled agreement in eleven different ways. Yes, eleven! How many did you spot?
Let’s go through them. The most common way to show you agree in English is to say yes, or something like it.


So that’s easy. And of course you can say people are correct or right.

You’re right.
You’re dead right there.

Notice the word dead here. In many situations dead means ‘not alive’. For example, a dead flower. But in other situations dead can mean completely or exactly. So dead silence, is complete silence. If something is dead centre it means it’s exactly in the middle. And if you say ‘you’re dead right’ it means you’re exactly or completely right.
There are other ways to say this:


You can use all these words to add emphasis and indicate you think statements are completely correct and accurate.
Now, what about this idiom?

You can say that again.

It means you’re so completely right, you can repeat it. I don’t know why repeating it helps, but it’s just something we say. And just one more expression.

You bet.

‘Bet’ is an interesting word. It can mean to gamble, so to risk money on a race or something. We might bet money on a horse we think is going to win, or bet money at a casino. But in this expression it just means ‘You’re right’. It’s informal and we say it when we want to emphasize that someone has made a good suggestion.
So these expressions are all very positive ways to signal we agree. They short and easy to learn and they’re going to make your English more natural and colloquial.
Now what about if we don’t agree? Well, that’s more complicated because people don’t like to disagree in English, or in any language. Disagreements can damage relationships, so we have to overcome that problem. We’re working on another video about that so make sure you subscribe to this channel so you don’t miss it.
If you’ve enjoyed this video please share it with a friend and why not write and tell us what your favourite old movie is.
It’s the terminator, right?
Goodbye everyone.
We’ll be back, next week.
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hope wish saying something nice

How to wish someone something nice in English – wish or hope?

Learn how to use the verbs wish and hope to give good wishes and say nice things to someone in English.
We use the verbs wish and hope differently. Wish is more formal so when someone is wishing someone something it’s more likely to be written English. When we’re talking about future possibilities we generally use ‘hope’. It’s the verb we commonly use to give good wishes.
In this video you’ll see lots of examples and learn some other common ways to wish people nice things, like ‘Have a nice day‘ and ‘Have a great weekend‘.

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How to give good wishes: wish or hope?

There’s a mistake English students often make when they want to give good wishes to someone. They muddle up wish and hope. Today we’re going to fix that and we’ll also show you some other ways to say nice things to people in English.

I’m off
Oh, where are you going?
To the dentist’s. Wish me luck.

‘Wish me luck’. Notice that structure. To wish somebody something.
We might write this message for a bride and groom when they get married. Or maybe a colleague is retiring from work. We might write this in their card. They’re nice things to write.
But they’re for written English and they’re quite formal. Someone might say them in an official speech at an important occasion. But if we want to wish someone something, we usually say ‘hope’ instead. So, ‘We hope you have a great life and lots of fun together’, or ‘I hope you have a wonderful retirement’.

I’m off
Oh, where are you going?
To the dentist’s. Wish me luck.
Have you got a problem then?
Yes, I’ve got a toothache.
I hope it’s nothing serious.

Jay said ‘Wish me luck’ and I said ‘I hope it’s nothing serious.’ I didn’t say ‘wish’. That would sound funny.
So if we’re making a wish, we don’t say wish. We say hope. Wow, sometimes English is weird. What’s going on?
Wishes are magical things. The idea is that if we think of or imagine something enough, it will come true. But we all know magic isn’t real. When we want to talk about things that are real possibilities, we use hope instead of wish.
This means that we say wish when we’re talking about the action of wishing. But if we’re actually doing the action and giving good wishes to someone, it’s different. We don’t normally say wish when we’re talking about real possibilities.
It’s tricky so let’s look at some more situations. Imagine you’re saying goodbye to someone at an airport. What will you say to them?
These sentences are both grammatically correct, but I wish you a nice flight is very formal. We don’t normally say it. We say ‘I hope you have a nice flight’, or just ‘Have a nice flight.’ We often use the verb ‘have’ when we’re wishing people things.

  • Have a nice day.
    Have a great vacation.
    Have a nice trip.
    Have a great weekend.

OK, another situation. Your friend is sick. You call them and what do you say?
You say ‘I hope’, of course. When we’re doing the action of wishing we use hope not wish. And often we just say ‘Get well soon.’
OK. Another situation. Someone calls to wish your friend a happy birthday. But your friend is out so you take a message. What do you say to your friend when they return?
Which one? Let’s see it in action.

Thanks for calling. Yeah, I’ll tell him. OK. Bye now. Oh.
Who was that?
Uh oh. What did she want this time?
She called to wish you a happy birthday.
Oh that was nice of her.
And she wants you to work late tonight.

So which sentence did I say? I said wish. I was talking about a wish, not doing the action and making the wish.
If I wanted to make the wish, I’d do it like this.

Hey Jay, happy birthday.
Oh thank you.
I hope you like them.
Oh I’m sure I will. It’s hair curlers?
Yes. Can I borrow them some time?
Errr. Sure.
Thank you!

So to make the wish, I just said ‘happy birthday.’ And did you notice what I said about the hair curlers?
We can say ‘I hope you like them’ or ‘I hope that you like them’. Both are correct. We often we skip ‘that’ when we’re speaking.
Great. So now you know how we use ‘hope’ to give good wishes, and you also know about this structure and when to use it.
But this structure is just the start. There are other structures we use with ‘hope’ and ‘wish’ so we’re making more videos about them.
Make sure you’ve subscribed to our channel and click the notification bell so you don’t miss them. And maybe your friends would like to learn about hope and wish too. Why not share this video with them? See you next Friday.
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