Sound like a native with these intermediate English phrases
Are you starting to feel more confident with your English?
Once you’re past the beginner stage, you can learn some more natural phrases to use in conversation.
These phrases will help you move from using very functional language to being able to have a more fluent conversation. They will also help you to understand when native English speakers use phrases that are normal to them, but perhaps not to learners of English.
So, read on and get your memory into gear so you can learn and practice these useful intermediate phrases.
English intermediate Greetings
Hello, how are you? Yes, you know this one. But how many times have you heard a native English speaker actually say this? Here are two more natural ways to ask someone how they are.
How’s everything? Don’t worry, the person won’t tell you EVERYTHING about their life. A good way to answer this is: everything’s fine/great, thanks.
What have you been up to? This means what have you been doing since I saw you? Though you might get the answer: same old, same old (as in, nothing new), other people will take it as a chance to have a conversation.
So, use the first phrase if you don’t want a long conversation, and the second if you’re really interested in that person!
General phrases in English
Here are some general phrases which might come in useful.
It’s really common in English to say Do you fancy…? instead of do you want…?
This is a great phrase to learn as you can use it in almost any situation. Do you fancy going to the Indian restaurant tonight? Or, Do you fancy a coffee?
Hang on! This is what you say when you want someone to wait. You can also say: hang on a minute!
Can you give me a hand? is a natural way to ask for help.
You might want to give more detail and say: Can you give me a hand with this bag? for example. Don’t worry, no native speaker will try to romantically hold your hand if you say this.
You can also say: Can I ask a favour? and then ask someone to help you. For example: Can I ask a favour? I’ve got an English exam tomorrow and I need someone to practice my speaking with.
Saying you don’t know in English
Of course, you can just say: I don’t know. But there are other, natural ways to say the same thing.
If someone asks: What time is the next bus?
You say: Sorry, I’ve no idea.
Or when someone asks if you can help them look at their broken down Peugeot, you can say: I don’t know anything about cars, sorry.
Accepting and refusing in English
We are offered things every day and sometimes we want to say yes, and sometimes we want to say no. Here are some ways to do that (without using the words yes and no!).
First, let’s accept some offers:
Do you want to come to the cinema tonight?
I’d love to.
Do you fancy cycling along the river today?
Yeah, sounds good!
Would you like another biscuit?
To say no politely you can try these two phrases.
Would you like to come out with us?
Thanks for the offer but I’m busy tonight.
Do you want to come to the party tonight?
I’ll have to pass. I’ve got an exam tomorrow.
Asking for and giving advice in English
You are now at the stage in English where you have moved past simple exchanges and you might want to ask and even give advice to your English-speaking friends.
Here are some common ways to do that.
I’m moving house on Saturday but I can’t do it alone! What do you think I should do?
I’d suggest asking Mark to give you a hand. He’s got a truck.
My boss has changed my working hours and I’m going to be late for lessons every day. What would you do in this situation?
If I were you, I’d write to the school and explain.
I’m thinking about learning English. What do you reckon?
You should start as soon as possible!
So what do you reckon?
Are you going to try to use some of these phrases in your next English lesson?
Or are you going to take them out into the wild and try them on your English-speaking friends?
Put your new intermediate phrases to the test and book a class with a native speaking teacher. Practise makes perfect!