Talking about LOVE in English ❤️❤️❤️ Idioms & Phrasal Verbs
Join me for a conversation with Mark Rosenfeld, Australia’s best-known life and dating coach for a conversation about love and relationships! You’ll learn new ways to speak about love in English (and get some of Mark’s tips for healthy, successful relationships!)
Find out more about Mark here:
Mark Rosenfeld on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCj43cUFiX39jaukd6UReQrQ
CLICK HERE to read the full lesson transcript.
Emma: Hello I’m Emma from mmmEnglish! like if a man that you meet, say on Tinder, He is a relationship expert, dating coach, life coach and we’ve been hanging out a little bit lately because Mark has a Youtube channel as well where he – you help primarily women in relationships and in difficult sort-of periods of their life to improve relationships with the people around them, right? Tell us a bit about what you do.
Mark: Exactly, exactly. So I’m a life, dating and relationship coach from here in Australia. I met Emma at a Sydney event and just loveliest, lovely woman. And my channel is about empowering women through growth, self-esteem and authenticity. And basically by that-
Emma: What does that mean, ‘authenticity’? What does that mean?
Mark: Yeah so it just means about being real. Being yourself.
Emma: So this is talking about the adjective ‘authentic’ as well. So ‘authenticity’ is related to the adjective ‘authentic’ which just means real. So talking about relationships and particularly between women and their partners, making them real and meaningful and honest, right?
Mark: Yes exactly. Honest. Open. Vulnerable. And connecting.
Emma: Oh my gosh so many good words there! We’re going to pop some of the definitions of those in the description box below this video. But today, since you’re a dating expert, a relationship expert, I wanted to talk to you about some of the phrasal verbs and the idioms that we use in English to talk about love and relationships.
So I want to be able to show my audience, you know, some really common language and expressions that they can use to talk about love.
Mark: Sounds fantastic. I love it!
Emma: So the first thing that I thought that I’d introduce is three phrasal verbs that are really common. Okay, so that would be ‘hang out‘, ‘catch up‘ and ‘hook up‘. So all of these phrasal verbs can be used to talk about relationships in some way. I want you to tell me what’s the difference between them, when would we use them?
Mark: Yeah. So ‘hang out‘, ‘catch up‘ and ‘hook up‘ – they can mean quite different things.
(to) hang out
Mark: ‘hang out‘ is a casual request to see you. So it’s a very basic request.
I say “Emma, I want to hang out with you.” That literally just means I’d like to see Emma and spend some time with you, spend some time with her.
Emma: So that could be a romantic relationship or it could be just with friends, right?
Mark: Yeah. Yeah and you have to know the context, like if a man that you meet, say on Tinder, on a dating app, says “hang out”, it could – it’s likely to be more a relationship context. Whereas me and Emma are friends, we’re hanging out now!
So ‘hang out‘ can be either – it basically means spend some time together, let’s see each other.
(to) catch up
Emma: Okay so what about ‘catch up‘?
Mark: ‘catch up’ is generally saved for people you already know. So if I don’t see Emma for a month, instead of saying “Let’s hang out“, I’d probably say “Let’s catch up“.
So it’s a similar term and it’s usually used with someone that you already knew previously. The majority of the time that someone say “Let’s catch up“, they’re saying “I want to reconnect with you after a period of time.”
Mark: And again, it could be friends or it could be a relationship.
Emma: But friends can also catch up, right? I can catch up with friends for coffee anytime I like!
Mark: Exactly. And because you already know your friends, you generally say “catch up” more than “hang out“
Emma: Well the other thing is if you haven’t seen someone for a while, then ‘catch up‘ is a really common phrasal verb as well that you’d use to say “Did you know, we haven’t seen each other for ages, we should catch up!“
So what about ‘hook up‘?
(to) hook up
Mark: So ‘hook up‘ is used in a romantic context.
Emma: You wouldn’t hook up with your friend.
Mark: You wouldn’t hook up with your friend unless you wanted to get romantic with your friend.
Emma: Which might get awkward!
Mark: So ‘hook up‘ – is often – it can refer to any number of romantic encounters. It could be “I hooked up with him at a bar.” which usually means “I kissed him” at a bar.
Emma: Yeah usually it means kissing, right?
Mark: If your friend says to you “I hooked up with him.” sometimes it can be just kissing, sometimes it can be more than that.
Emma: And also, ‘hook up‘, it doesn’t refer to a relationship that is ongoing. It’s like a one-off. Isn’t it?
Mark: No. That’s an important point. Yeah. It’s a casual, so a ‘hook up‘ is a casual term. Nothing is serious, at least not yet, in the person’s mind describing it.
If I say “I hooked up with someone“, it was a casual one-time encounter, it’s not to say I might not see them again, in my mind right now, it’s casual.
Emma: That’s quite interesting because a lot of my audience, you know the concept of like a casual hook up you know the concept of like a casual hook up you know, it’s not part of what they do. So if that’s the case for you, then ‘hook up‘ is probably not really language that is really relevant. It’s only, you know, quick, informal, non-serious relationships, right?
Mark: Yeah, exactly. Nailed it.
(to) fall in love
(to) fall for (someone)
Emma: So one other aspect that I want to talk to you about is the way that we use the verb ‘fall’ in expressions about love, because we say “fall in love” and we say “fall for someone“. What does that sort of mean? Why are we using that expression?
Mark: It’s really about – you were saying before we chatted – it’s literally about falling, is where the phrase originally came from. And it’s about losing control of your feelings. And losing control of things, so if I say “I fall for you“, it means without my control, without wanting to, I’m just falling. So when you say “fall for someone“, it’s generally a bit more casual, than “falling in love“.
Mark: When you fall for someone, that could be after a few days, “I’m really falling for her. I’ve been on four dates with her. I’m really falling for her.“
Emma: And often used with ‘starting’ – “starting to fall“
Emma: So it’s often right at that initial period in a relationship.
Mark: “I’m starting to get a lot of feelings.“
Mark: “I’m falling for her. She’s amazing.“
Emma: It’s a good thing to be falling for someone or to be falling in love, it’s a really, really positive way of talking about a relationship.
Mark: Yeah exactly and the next “falling in love” comes along a bit later when things are more serious and you’ve really got to know the person, you form those deep bonds, say “I’m falling in love with him.” or even “I’ve fallen in love with him.”
Emma: Right, so we’re changing tense there.
Mark: “I fell-” I actually said that wrong! “I fell in love with him.“
Emma: “I fell in love with him.” in the past. Yeah but no, “I have fallen in love.” That tense, the perfect tense, is the correct one to use then, because it’s an action that started in the past, and is still relevant in the present.
If you said “I fell in love with that person“, by using the past tense, it’s sort of suggesting that maybe it’s an action that’s finished in the past. So if you’re still in love with that person, then using the perfect tense is right. “I have fallen..“
Mark: Yeah. “I fell in love.” kind of means I’m not in love anymore.
Emma: Yeah or it was something that happened in the past.
Mark: Ages ago. Yeah.
Mark: Good pick-up. See why you’re good at what you do?
Emma: Okay so, once you’ve fallen in love, things have sort of got pretty serious, right?
Emma: So around the time when things start getting serious in a relationship, we’re talking about engagements and marriages, right?
(to) pop the question
Emma: Expressions like “pop the question“. So, if you heard someone say “He popped the question.” You might be thinking ‘What question, what’s it about?’
What are they talking about, Mark?
Mark: So ‘popping the question‘ is just a common colloquial term to getting down on one knee, and asking for a hand in marriage. So usually it’s the man. And you’ll often hear at maybe a family event, the people will be talking with each other, and they will say – often to the woman – “When is he going to pop the question?“
Emma: That’s it. That’s the question.
Mark: Or “Oh my god, when did he pop the question?” Or maybe “How did he pop the question?“
Emma: Or “It’s about time he popped the question.“
Mark: Good one. Yeah. So it’s all about asking basically that person for marriage.
Mark: Popping the question.
Emma: So “the question“, by ‘the’ is making it the only important question in the world, “the question” is about marriage. “Will you marry me?” Okay and yeah for some reason, we use the verb ‘pop’ in that expression, “to pop the question“.
Then we say “Okay, so he’s popped the question, when are you going to tie the knot?”
(to) tie the knot
Mark: So “tie the knot” literally means get married. Walk down the aisle, as it were, and then you tie the knot and have your wedding.
Emma: Do you know, where that expression came from was because
Mark: It’s this thing, right?
Emma: Yep, or I thought it was a piece of string that usually before, you know, it was gold and it was silver, the string around the finger symbolised the promise.
Mark: Really? Okay I thought that you cross your arms and they do that thing and they do that thing.
Emma: I think that’s an extension of it, it’s the same kind of idea so it’s about tying some material or some string to connect two people together. Nice!
Mark: That’s beautiful.
Emma: Okay so, tying the knot is lovely. Then hopefully there is a happy marriage and relationship forever. But we know that that’s sometimes not always the case.
Mark: Of course.
(to) drift apart
Emma: So, in relationships, in romantic relationships with people, we often, not we often, but we sometimes you know, change our ideas or our dreams that we have for our future together and maybe we want different things. And when that happens, usually we “drift apart“. Okay. We sort of – we’re not as close as we used to be. We sort of – we’re not as close as we used to be. Have you drifted apart from someone?
Mark: Of course, yeah. I’ve had it with clients, and I’ve had it in my own life too. And there’s a couple of ways this can happen. Sometimes it’s because the feeling, the “falling”, isn’t so much there anymore. Or sometimes it’s because the way you want to take your life is different to the way the other person wants to take in their life. And so you literally drift apart because you know, maybe I want to have kids.
Emma: Travel! I want to travel.
Mark: I want to have kids here in Brisbane. And my partner wants to travel and doesn’t want to have kids and slowly but surely, we realise we have different goals, and we know that there’s a wedge between us or there’s a – we feel separate from each other and we slowly drift apart with our different goals. Values, different values.
(to be) on the rocks
(a) rocky relationship
Emma: That’s it. Yeah. The other thing that might happen in a relationship The other thing that might happen in a relationship uncomfortable. Maybe people are frustrated in their jobs, or they’re – and they start taking it out on each other. And you know, they’re often having arguments, or they’re disappointed in each other, and so one expression that we say is that a couple is “on the rocks”. Or their relationship “is rocky”.
Emma: So why do we use the word ‘rock’? So why do we use the word ‘rock’? What’s your opinion?
Mark: So “on the rocks” originally comes from the ships. When the ships would go towards the rocks and they’d say-
Mark: “She’s on the rocks” – it’s not a good thing. When a couple is on the rocks, it means that those challenges – whatever they may be, whether they’re not connecting in some way, whether their values, they drift apart, it’s meaning that one of them, at least, is feeling hurt. There’s arguments happening. And they’re constant. And this level of arguing means they may soon break up. And that’s basically when we say a couple “drift apart”. “Drift apart” is not as aggressive as “on the rocks“
Mark: “Drift apart” means they’re kind of heading in different directions-
Mark: Yeah but they still have a a good – not a good relationship – they still respect each other. They still like each other, they’re just drifting apart. They’re going in different directions. Whereas a couple that’s on the rocks, when that expression is used, there’s usually a lot of resentment and arguing starting.
Emma: So it’s problems.
Mark: Yeah. And couples that drift apart will often end up on the rocks because they start fighting a lot. They start fighting about their different values and the fact that they’re drifting apart will obviously make them sensitive because they could be losing this person. They’re literally drifting apart and that sensitivity will cause arguments.
(to) get over (someone)
(to) be over (someone)
Emma: So then you know, let’s think about when a couple or two people in a relationship, they separate and there’s always a period where they have to come to terms with or you know, get used to the new situation, right? And often that’s not always easy. So we use “get over” and “to be over someone” in this situation.
So you know, for past boyfriends that I’ve had, you know, maybe it took a little while for me to get over him. To “get over” the relationship which means sort of recover from the relationship, right?
Mark: Exactly, exactly. And I coach a lot of clients through this. And it’s basically about putting the resentment or the dislike aside, so moving that, putting that behind you. And then opening your heart again. Eventually to a new person.
Mark: So, you’ve got to take that time to get over someone because that means that you can eventually open your heart to someone new. Whereas if you don’t get over someone, you can jump to the next relationship very quickly, and not take the time to process that pain and really let go of that person so you can be fully open to the new person. That pain will still be there in the new relationship.
Emma: And would you say, that to get over someone, usually, that’s talking about the process of becoming okay with that new situation? To be over someone means that you’ve already gone through that process, right?
So if I said “I’m still trying to get over my ex.” that’s different to saying “I am over my ex.” which means I’ve been through the difficult period and I’m ready for a new relationship now, right?
Mark: Exactly, exactly. You’re getting over someone while you’re in that period.
“I need to get over this girl. I need to put that behind me, get used to the new situation and put away my disdain for it.“
And sometimes this can take a long time. One of my relationships took me over six months to get over. Sometimes it happens quite quickly. Depends on the relationship. But once I say “I’m over her” then it’s like, it’s done. It’s in the past. I’m ready to move on and I’ve accepted the situation as it is.
Emma: So I think, I mean, that’s all been really fascinating hearing about these different expressions and how they’re used in relationships. And I think what I would love to recommend for you to do is if you are in a relationship with an English speaker, particularly with an Australian but with any native English speaker and you’re feeling a little unsure or vulnerable about that relationship, then I would really encourage you to check out Mark’s channel because he’s got a lot of really great content, interesting videos talking about relationships, talking about how to manage those important relationships in your life.
Not to mention, there is a lot of really interesting vocabulary to help you talk about relationships. Relationships are such a huge part of our lives, aren’t they? Whether they’re romantic or not, but expanding your vocabulary and building on your knowledge of these topics will really, really help you with your conversations in the future.
So let us know where we can find you.
Mark: Thank you. So there will be a link in the description to my channel. You can also type my name which we’ll put in the description too. Or you can search “Make him yours“. Either, or.
Emma: Right so we should just clarify that with Mark’s channel, he primarily works with women, right?
Emma: Focusing on their relationships with men. You have worked a little bit with men too though, haven’t you?
Mark: I’ve worked with men a lot in the past. Yep.
Emma: Okay. But the channel is mostly focused on women.
Mark: The channel’s now aimed at women.
Emma: Perfect. Alright so ladies, I would really encourage you to check out the channel and find out a little bit more about how you can improve the important relationships in your life. Mark, it’s been awesome!
Mark: Yeah, thank you.
Emma: So if you would like to keep watching and keep practising with some of my other language lessons I’m going to put them up on screen right now, right on Mark’s face. Over there. So if you need to follow up with any further language, grammar, vocabulary lessons, check these ones out. Thanks for watching and I’ll see you next week. Bye for now!
Links mentioned in the video
5 Phrasal Verbs with BLOW! 🌬 Vocabulary Lesson | Practice English
50+ COMMON ENGLISH PHRASAL VERBS (with workbook!)
Phrasal Verbs & Idioms with WRAP 🎁 Learn English Vocabulary & Expressions