I have been learning English since I was 8. So when I came to the United States I was able to communicate without major difficulties. Of course, Americans don’t use all the phrases I learned back home, which sometimes made my life harder.
As I found out later, many of those phrases I learned are more commonly used in British English (what I was taught in class). For example, I have never heard Americans say “I took a fancy to something” to say they like something. Or in American you will hardly ever hear – “I’ll ring you.” Instead you’ll hear “I’ll give you a call” or “I’ll call you.”
Although I knew many English phrases that Americans didn’t use, I also came across phrases that I hadn’t heard before, yet they were used in the U.S. Here are the top five American phrases that I’ve learned in the past month.
Meaning: a term that describes something pleasant. It can be replaced by ‘cool.’ I have first read it in an email at work and had to ask my colleagues what it meant.
For Pete’s sake
Meaning: a synonym of “For God’s sake” or “For Christ’s sake.” People say this phrase when they are annoyed or surprised with something. I heard this phrase first in Minnesota.
Meaning: a euphemism to say ‘crap’ or ‘shoot.’ My colleague uses it a lot!
Meaning: a phrase to say when you are surprised. I’ve heard synonyms before, such as Holy Cow. Once again, I heard this phrase at work.
Take a whiff
Meaning: to sniff something. I learned this phrase from my husband.