英会話のコツ:Some helpful little words and phrases

Sometimes I hear students say some phrases in Japanese without realising it. There are things you can say in English though as well to make yourself sound more fluent.

 

When you understand something:

Sometimes, when the teacher is explaining something and you finally understand you can say:

  • "I see" 
  • "I get it now"
  • "I understand"
  • "ah, ok"
  • "ah right" (this last one sounds quite British!)

When you are not sure or you have doubts about something:

  • "I`m not sure"   : I`m not sure he wants to come with us/I doubt he wants to come with us
  • "I doubt it"
  • "I think" :  I think the bus station is over there, but I can`t remember exactly.
  • "Maybe" : "Why are they late?" "I don`t know, maybe the train is delayed"

When you are confused or you don`t understand

  • "I don`t understand" 
  • "I`m confused, can you say that again"
  • "I`m not sure I know what you mean"
  • "I don`t know what you mean"
  • "I don`t follow you"
  • "What does that mean?"
  • "Can you explain that again, please?"

When you really don`t understand anything:

  • "I`m completely lost" 
  • "I have no idea what you mean"

When you are very happy about something

  • "(that`s) great/fantastic/wonderful!" : "I have done my homework!" "(That`s) great!"
  • "I`m happy to hear that" :  "I really like the present you bought for me" "I`m happy to hear that"
  • "cool" (used a lot by the younger generation) : "Cool, the film I want to see just came out."
  • "awesome" (used by the younger generation): "I got a signature from my favourite baseball player" "that`s awesome!"

When someone else is upset

  • "that`s a shame":  "The concert was cancelled last night" "That`s a shame"
  • "I`m sorry to hear that" : "My pet died last week" "I`m sorry to hear that"
  • "That`s too bad": "I didn`t get a place at University" "That`s too bad"

When you`re surprised/shocked

  • "Oh my God!": "I had a car accident last week" "Oh my God, are you ok?"
  • Some people also use "Oh my gosh" and "Oh my goodness" in the same situation.
  • "wow!" : "Wow! These fireworks are amazing!"

When you are thinking

  • "Hmmm....."
  • "Let me think..."
  • "Well....."

When you are trying to remember something:

  • "What was it (again)?"

 

When you can`t remember at all:

  • "I can`t remember"
  • "I`ve forgotten"
  • "I`ve completely forgotten"
  • "My mind has gone blank"

When you`re angry:

  • "Argh!" (you may see this in comics) 
  • *"Damn!" (pronounced "dam")
  • *"Dammit"
  • *"Bloody hell!" (very very British)
    *These can be quite strong so don`t use them in polite situations!There are many others but I probably can`t write them here :)

 

I hope this helps!

 

David