Useful American Expressions

Published by Klint Ciriaco on

When I moved to the United States, even the most common American expressions confused me.

For example, my friend and I were texting each other one night then she said, “I’m gonna hit the sack.”

I immediately thought of the following:

  • Why would you want to punch a sack?
  • What sack?
  • Are you angry?

I asked her what she meant. She explained she was just tired and wanted to go to bed.


To avoid getting confused like I was, I’m sharing some useful American sayings to familiarize yourself with.

Practice them in your everyday casual conversations so you can get good at using them.

I also wrote some suggestions on How to Practice American Expressions at the bottom of this page so you can learn to use them after reading this post.

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Here are 58 Useful American Expressions You Can Use In Your Conversations:

1. How’s it going?
How are you?

2. I turned in my homework last night.
I submitted my homework last night.

3. I hear ya.
I know how you feel/I understand

4. I’ve got the crud.
I’m sick.

5. English may give you an edge in the marketplace.
English may give you an advantage in the marketplace.

6. Let’s get out of here. I have a bigger fish to fry.
Let’s get out of here. I have more important things to do.

7. Take it easy.

8. I don’t buy it.
I don’t believe it.

9. Are you for real?
Are you serious?

10. Got it.
I understand.

11. What have you been up to?
How have you been?

12. I’m beat.
I’m tired.

13. It’s been a long day.
I didn’t have a good day.

14. Can you give me a hand?
Can you help me?

15. Dinner’s on me.
I’m paying for dinner.

16. Chill.
Calm down.

17. You wanna hang out?
You wanna spend time together?

18. We need to catch up.
We need to give each other an update about our lives.

19. I’m not a big fan.
I don’t care much about it.

20. It’s not rocket science.
It’s not complicated.

21. I work the graveyard shift.
I work at night.

22. I’m coming down with a cold.
I’m getting sick.

23. I’m throwing the towel.
I’m giving up.

24. That car costs an arm and a leg.
That car is expensive.

25. I’m feeling under the weather.
I’m sick.

26. You have to think outside the box.
You have to think creatively.

27. I’m going to hit the books.
I’m going to study.

28. I need to get my ducks in a row.
I need to get organized.

29. Scoot over.
Move over.

30. Better late than never.
It’s better to show up late than to not be there at all.

31. I’m tired. I’m going to hit the sack.
I’m tired. I’m going to bed.

32. Hang in there.
Don’t give up.

33. Get your act together.
Do better/Stop making mistakes.

34. It’s late so let’s call it a day.
It’s late so let’s stop working.

35. Time flies when I’m with you.
I don’t notice how long the time goes by when I’m with you.

36. Let’s cross that bridge when we get there.
Let’s deal with that problem when it happens.

37. I can’t wrap my head around  this calculus equation.
I don’t understand this calculus equation.

38. Can I get the check?
Can I get the bill?

39. Don’t screw up.
Don’t make a mistake.

40. That runner was cruising.
That runner was fast.

41. I’m starving.
I’m really hungry.

42. I’m new so cut me some slack.
I’m new so don’t be so critical of me.

43. If you want your co-workers to respect you, don’t cut corners.
If you want your co-workers to respect you, don’t do your job poorly.

44. I need to get something out of my system.
There’s something important I need to tell you.

55. Our project failed so let’s go back to the drawing board.
Our project failed so let’s start over.

56. My bad.
I’m sorry.

57. No big deal.
It’s no problem.

58. That guy is ripped.
That guy is physically fit.

How to Practice American Expressions

1. Learn just 5 phrases a day

Choose 5 expressions to learn for the day. That’s it. You don’t have to overwhelm yourself by studying over 50 American sayings in one sitting.

Also, it shouldn’t take you more than 10 minutes to train.

2. Practice in private

Once you’ve chosen your 5 phrases, practice saying them in your room or somewhere free of distractions.

This will allow you to make mistakes without any consequences.

So, how do you know if you are making mistakes?

3. Record Yourself

You can either use an audio or a video recorder. This will allow you to listen to your mistakes and make adjustments.

4. Use them in conversations

If you find an opportunity to use an American phrase, use it.

You can also join an English learning group on Facebook and use the phrases you’ve learned when talking to people.

That’s it. Enjoy practicing.

Learn English and Speak Like an American


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