11 Advanced English Expressions for Casual Conversations 😎

Lesson Overview

Lesson Summary 

Use these 11 Advanced English conversation expressions to sound natural when you speak!
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In this lesson, I’ll teach you some cool idioms and phrasal verbs that will help you to sound more natural during English conversations… Do you know them all?

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You’ve got to do *more* than just watch this lesson… Practice using the new expressions you learn in the comments

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CLICK HERE to read the full lesson transcript.


Video Transcript
Section 1
Hello I’m Emma from mmmEnglish. Welcome to the first mmmEnglish lesson of 2020.

Today I want to inject some new expressions into your vocabulary, expanding your knowledge with some new idioms and some phrasal verbs. You’re about to learn some advanced expressions that will help you sound smart and interesting in English conversations but watching this video is not enough. You need to put them into practice so get ready to type. I’ll be inviting you all the way through this video to write sentences in the comments below.

Before we get started, a quick shout out to our friends at Lingoda who’ve made it possible for us to bring you today’s lesson. If you’ve already decided that 2020 is the year to take your speaking skills to the next level, then why not jump right in and get it done faster by joining the next Lingoda Language sprint? I can’t think of a better way for you to start the year, especially if you register for the Super Sprint, which is a massive thirty classes a month for three months. And if you complete every class,Lingoda will reward you with a 100% refund of your payment.

Now if you don’t have enough time for the Super Sprint, you also have the option to do the regular Sprint, which is fifteen classes a month, also for three months, very achievable! And if you complete every class, you’ll get a 50% refund.

Guys, this is an awesome race that I would love to see you win, you’ll accelerate your speaking skills your confidence and your fluency in a short space of time and set yourself up for a really fantastic year ahead. I’ve taken this challenge before and you’ve probably heard me say that it was one of the best things that I ever did for my confidence to speak Spanish.

It’s not just that the classes are available 24/7 or that they have native teachers and recognised certifications. For me, it was really about being held accountable. It was urging me to show up every single day and keep improving my Spanish speaking skills. And you can do the same in English, business English German and French too.

Registrations for the Sprint are closing on the 27th of January so as always, I’m gonna put the link in the description below. If you use this code right here you’ll get a cool ten euro discount at the checkout. Alright, let’s get started with these advanced English expressions that you can use in everyday conversations starting with…

1. On the whole

Now this is a really useful expression when you’re generalising about something and you’re coming to a conclusion. So once you’ve considered everything, the good and the bad, you know we generalise and we say that this is generally how we feel about the situation.

Sometimes, my brother and I have disagreements but on the whole, we get on really well.

So considering the good and the bad we mostly get on well.

On the whole, it was a great speech.

Yeah there were a couple of things that could be improved but on the whole, the speech was quite good. So with this expression, it’s not necessary to go into detail about the negative things, you don’t have to because the expression already tells us that something wasn’t or isn’t perfect. And let’s face it, not many things in life are perfect right?

So this expression is a really useful one to know.

2. On second thoughts

Now we use this one when we change our mind about something and it’s usually only used in spoken English. It’s not very common to see it in written English because it’s a tool to help you change your mind in the middle of a conversation, to change whatever it is you just said usually to the opposite.

I’ll meet you at the office after lunch. On second thoughts, let’s just go there now.

So can you see how we use this as a tool to change what we said in the middle of a conversation, to change your mind.

Imagine if someone offered you a beer and you said “No thanks, but I’d love a coffee.” But then you quickly changed your mind.

Actually, on second thoughts I’d love a beer!

3. At the end of the day

This is such a good expression to know and to use. We use it to summarise what’s most important in the end.

At the end of the day, what matters most is that we’re all together.

So it doesn’t really matter whatever else has happened before. Perhaps there was chaos and there was arguments within the family but when everyone sits down to share a meal, at the end of the day, what’s most important is that we’re here together. We usually use it when we’re talking about what happens or what’s important after a whole series of events or considerations.

Even though it was the children who caused the damage, at the end of the day, the teacher is responsible for what happens in the classroom.

4. Off the top of my head

This is a really useful expression to use when you respond to something immediately without thinking too much about your answer.

So if someone asked “What percentage of the population lives in the city?”
Off the top of my head, I’d say about 70%.

How many hectares of forest and bushland were burned in the bushfires?
Off the top of my head, I think more than six million hectares have been burned so far.

Now you can also use this expression in the negative when you’re trying to think of something but you can’t remember.

There’s a really great Italian restaurant. I can’t think of the name off the top of my head.

5. (to be) in/out of the loop

This is a really interesting expression. The loop is about being informed and knowing what’s happening so if you’re in the loop then you know what’s going on, you’re good. But if you’re out of the loop, you don’t know what’s going on.

I wasn’t in the office last week so I feel like I’m out of the loop. What’s been happening?

And we commonly use it when we’re instructing someone to tell us information and we often use it with the verb ‘keep’ so we say:
“Can you please keep me in the loop?” Or “Paul needs to be kept in the loop. Make sure you tell him what’s going on.”

6. (to) be out of touch

Have you heard this one before? It’s used to describe someone who doesn’t really have current or up-to-date knowledge about something, anything, so this is quite a negative expression. It’s really common to hear it used in a political context or even when children are talking about their parents because it’s when they think that someone doesn’t really understand the present issues because they’re stuck in an older way of thinking.

Many young people feel that politicians are out of touch.

I’m getting quite touchy here.

7. (to) touch base

A Belgian friend of mine once told me that he was really weirded out by this expression, like it sounds creepy which I never really thought of before but I guess it kind of does sound a little creepy but the meaning is not creepy. If you touch base with someone, you simply connect with them or you reconnect with someone that you already know.

So usually you’re reconnecting about a particular topic or about a particular issue. So for that reason, it’s really commonly used in the workplace. So when you’re working on a project with someone and you’re gonna do some research separately before you come back together to write your report, this would be really useful.

Why don’t we get started on our research, and then touch base again later in the week?

Do you have to touch base with anyone when you’re at work? Like where you do things separately but then you come back together to share what you’ve been doing.

What types of things do you have to touch base about? See if you can share some of them in the comments below.

8. (to be) struck by

This is a really great way of explaining that something has impressed you.

I was struck by how beautiful the forest looked at dawn.

So I’m suggesting that the beauty of the forest stopped me. I was mesmerised for a moment.

When you visit a city and you notice something interesting or unusual, then this expression will help you to sound really intelligent when you share it.

I was struck by just how few trees and parks there were in the city.
In the wake of the bushfires, we were struck by how resilient the community was.

Now this phrasal verb has another common use because it can mean to be hit by something.

The cyclist was struck by a passing car.

And commonly this is how it’s used in the news, so if you read the English news quite a bit, then I’m sure you’ll see this phrasal verb in use.

9. (to be) sure of (one’s self)

If you’re sure of something, then you’re quite certain about it right? You’re confident that it’s true but did you know that you can also use this expression to talk about how a person feels about themselves? It means that you’re quite confident in your own ability. You’re very sure of yourself but usually, it’s an observation that you make about someone else. If they seem confident like they know what they’re doing, then they’re very sure of themselves. So the way to use this expression is with the be verb.

She is quite sure of herself.

But probably even more often, we use the verb ‘seen’ or ‘appear’.

He seems quite sure of himself.
Or they appear to be quite sure of themselves.

10. (to) hang in there

Now we use this expression when we’re trying to tell someone that they need to remain persistent and determined in really difficult circumstances.

So this expression is a really good one to use when you’re offering sympathy or encouragement to someone who is having difficulties. So when you use it, you’re telling them keep going, you can do it!You know, persist. I know that it’s difficult right now but you’ll make it through so it’s a really reassuring expression.

If your friend is having some difficulties at work, maybe their boss is frustrating them or they’ve started talking about quitting for some reason you could say Hang in there, mate. You’ll be right!”

That was a really Australian expression.
Hang in there mate. You’ll be right!”

‘You’ll be right’ means you’ll be okay.

11. (to) get your head around (something)

When you get your head around something, you understand it.

It’s taken me a while to get my head around it but now I’ve got it.
It’s been difficult for all of us to get our head around the scale of the Australian bushfires.

Have you got your head around these different expressions yet? It might take you a little while. They’re quite advanced English expressions and it’s definitely challenging to use them fluently in conversations. There’s lots of idioms, lots of phrasal verbs so they’re going to take a bit of practice. But you’ll get there, hang in there.

Alright so here’s your challenge. If you can use five of these expressions together in a paragraph, I want to read it in the comments below. I want you to practise writing a little story that focuses on bringing a few of these expressions together in one place.

Like I said at the start of the lesson, watching is not enough. To remember these expressions you need to put them into practice and actually use them.

I hope that you enjoyed this lesson and that you subscribe to my channel just down here. I’ve got new lessons every week. 2020 is here and I’m excited to help you improve your speaking skills throughout the year ahead. So to keep practising with me right now, you know where to find me.

Links mentioned in the video

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