5 American Idioms and Phrases that Americans Use in their Daily Lives
English is seen as the world’s lingua franca, but the way people speak English can vary from place to place. Americans have their own version of English and this may cause you to feel confused when talking to a native speaker if English is not your first language. One of the ways to sound natural and become fluent in American English is to speak with clear pronunciation, but you also need to use common American idioms and phrases to enrich your conversations with other fluent speakers.
Thanks to American TV shows and movies, most of us have heard a few common phrases, but using them in your daily life can be a challenge.
This phrase is definitely one of the most used words in American English daily conversations. It’s a very simple way to say “OK,” or “that’s fine.”
When you say this phrase, be sure that the first word is stressed and reduced to a because the r sound turns into one sound, so you never hear the l sound:
“ALL right” (aright)
American Idioms 2: For Real
You can use this phrase to express your approval or state that something is real. For real can mean both “I agree” and “True”. To give an example, when your friend is complaining about someone and you also feel the same, you can show your approval by saying: “Oh, for real.”
You can also ask “Are you for real?” to be sure that what you heard was true. It’s very similar to say “Are you telling me the truth?”
Now that you’ve learned the real meaning of this phrase, it’s time to practice pronunciation.
For real has two r sounds following each other; therefore, instead of repeating the same sounds, you should combine them into one r sound and say “fureal”.
“Are YOU for REAL?” (Are you fureal?)
American Idioms 3: The Real Deal
“The real deal” is a popular phrase in American English if you want to say that a person is real and genuine. It can be especially useful when you want to convince someone that you’re not lying.
To give another example, when you are in a job interview and share your qualities and experiences, your interviewers can say: “You’re the real deal!” to show that you are the person they’re looking for.
This phrase can also be used in your romantic relationship. When your partner is a really kind person, treats you very well, and loves you with his or her whole heart; you can say that your partner is the real deal.
Let’s practice the sentence below and pay attention to the stressed parts while pronouncing:
“He SEEMS like the REAL DEAL.”
American Idioms 4: Ride Shotgun
You may have heard this phrase from movies or TV shows, but do you know what it actually means? Here is our answer. Ride shotgun simply means “to sit in the front seat of a car”. For instance, when someone wants to give you a ride, he or she may ask “do you wanna ride shotgun?” to know if you want to sit next to that person.
When you’re saying this phrase, make sure you’re pulling your tongue back and pushing your lips forward to make the r sound in “ride”.
Now, repeat this sentence with correct pronunciation and word stress:
“Do you WANna RIDE SHOTgun?”
American Idioms 5: Rock and Roll
“Let’s rock and roll!”, this phrase may sound familiar to you from your school or workplace. It is usually used to show eagerness to do something or start a new task. A very motivating phrase.
You may have seen this phrase as “Rock’n roll”, it’s because the “and” is reduced to the n sound to make it easier to pronounce. Let’s practice the following sentences and pay attention to the stressed words and the n sound:
“ARE you READy?”
“ALL right, let’s ROCK’n ROLL!”
Now that you’ve learned some of the most popular American English phrases, you can use them in your conversations with other fluent English speakers to make them more fun and meaningful.
At ChatterFox, we are here to help you speak in American English naturally so you can have great conversations. Do not hesitate to contact us whenever you need!