expressions in english

12 Useful Phrasal Verbs and Expressions in English

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Phrasal verbs are a combination of two or three words that belong to different grammatical categories.

Phrasal verbs seem to play a significant role in the English language and help maintain one’s fluency in conversations. 

Not only this, these verbs and expressions can dig out a whole new world of possibilities for you to speak English. Phrasal verbs are widely used in everyday conversation, and therefore, you must understand them.

This article will discuss some informal phrasal verbs and expressions that are believed to bring out a more relaxed tone in your message in English.

Usage of Informal Phrasal Verbs and Expressions in English

Phrasal verbs are mostly used in an informal setting, amongst friends involved in a relaxed conversation. Most of the time, messages with a formal language can be challenging to comprehend. However, the use of informal Phrasal Verbs makes it easier for two or more people to communicate effectively.

For example, ‘Beaver Away’ is an informal Phrasal Verb explaining prolonged hard work. 

Nonetheless, it is key to note that informal phrasal verbs or slangs are not added in formal or academic writing. For formal writing, you may want to consider looking into some formal phrasal verb options.      

List of Informal Phrasal Verbs and Expressions

1.To Butt In 

This phrasal verb’s literal meaning is to interfere or interrupt someone else’s ongoing conversation or activity. It is mainly used to metaphorically explain the act of interrupting. In contrast, ‘butt out’ is another slang phrasal verb that means ‘don’t interfere’.

Sentence Application: ‘My apologies, I didn’t mean to butt in on your conversation, but I think…’

2.Buckle-Down

‘Buckle down’ means to start working, studying, or doing something with dedication and commitment. 

Sentence Application: ‘Your exams are near; buckle down before it’s too late.’

3.Hit Me up (expression)

The use of ‘hit me up’ may sound like ‘beating’. However, it means to contact or get in touch with someone. HMU’ is an abbreviation for the phrase “hit me up.” It’s a request for a social invitation, often posted online to announce that you’re looking for something to do and to encourage others to reach out to you. In a one-on-one exchange, it’s an invitation for continued contact, meaning “text me” or “call me” or simply “let’s talk again.” (Acronyms Dictionary).

Sentence Application: «Sandra gave John her number and told him to hit her up within a week»

4.Hang Out

The term ‘hang’ may be mistaken for the literal meaning of hanging somewhere; however, it’s an informal way of saying to spend time. Two friends are more likely to label their meet up and interactions as hanging out. 

Sentence Application: ‘My parents are out; Wanna hang out at my place?’

5.Bite Your Tongue (expression)

expressions in EnglishThe phrase ‘bite your tongue’ is quite self-explanatory because its meaning is related to the use of the tongue. The expression means to ‘stay quiet’ or ‘stop speaking’. The exact meaning by the Cambridge Dictionary is: «to stop yourself from saying something that you would really like to say»…

So, there we are… better you shut up! hehe

Sentence Application: ‘Bite your tongue! He doesn’t want to hear your opinion about everything.’

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6.Dead Tired (expression)

The combination of using dead and tired together are typically to stress on the level of exhaustion. So, when a person says that they are dead tired, they simply mean they’re exhausted

Sentence Application: ‘I’m dead tired from today’s work out.’

More expressions in English to say one is tired ⇓

7.Take Down

The Phrasal Verb suggests bringing something from a higher position to a lower position. It also means to defeat or remove something or someone. The phrase reflects the act of overcoming something and taking a responsive action against its prevention. 

Sentence Application: ‘The cops were able to successfully take down the biker gang and took them into their custody.’

8.Pain in the Arse (🇬🇧) (Ass 🇺🇸) (expression)

This informal expression refers to someone or something being annoying or frustrating. The word pain describes the emotion of feeling negative. Another way to say it (quite less rude) would be ‘to be a pain in the neck’.

Sentence Application: ‘Oh God, James! You and your questions are such a pain in the arse.’

9.It’s on Me (expression)

It means to take responsibility for something, for example, paying the bill. Often, you may witness two friends fighting over the food bill, with each person saying, «It’s on me or My treat!» This reflects their willingness to pay the bill.

Sentence Application: ‘Just place your dinner order, don’t worry, it’s on me.’

More expressions in English to say ‘It’s on me’

10.Make Up Your Mind (expression)

It means to make a decision or decide on something that you may be unsure of. When one says to «make up your mind», it refers to the brain’s ability to decide on something. 

Sentence Application: ‘Call her if you make up your mind on entering the competition.’

11.Ditch/skip Class (expression)

This expression means to be absent from class without the teacher’s permission. Students often use this term when talking informally with their friends.

Some other expressions that mean the same are:

  • Play hooky (US)
  • Skip school 
  • Bunk off
  • Skive off (UK)

Sentence Application: ‘Julia and Ana ditched their class together. They went shopping.’ 

12.Teacher’s Pet (expression)

This expression is commonly used by students to refer to any favourite student of a teacher. 

Sentence Application: «Emma is the teacher’s pet as she always gives her good grades despite her poor performance»

Wrap Up…

By now, you must be familiar with some common informal phrasal verbs, expressions and collocations and understand how to use them in a sentence. There is no doubt that every language needs the right combination of tone and context to keep the conversation interesting.

Using informal expressions in your sentences helps you maintain effective communication without causing any confusion in the message.  

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