Real English: Break time!

Things we say at  break time (note interesting phrases in bold)
Have you had your break yet?
I need to go on break (e.g. in shops and restaurants etc. where staff may may be unpaid/legally required).
I didn’t have time for breakfast but I got a sandwich from the shop for lunch.
I’m getting myself a coffee. Do you fancy one?
I’m making a sandwich.
I’m going to make my lunch.

Real English: Getting to work

Pay particular attention to the sections in bold:
1. I’ve just got to work (very recently).
2. I’m on time 🙂
3. Sorry I’m late. / Sorry I got in late. I overslept because my alarm didn’t go off.
4. I got in at 8am.
5. Let me just go and get changed/get my uniform on.
6. I didn’t have time for breakfast but I got a sandwich from the shop for lunch.
7. I got the bus to work.
8. I biked/cycled to work.
9. I drove to work.

Asking for repetition

A few polite expressions for asking someone to repeat what they said:

  • Sorry? 
  • US not UK: Excuse me?
  • Sorry, could you repeat that, please?
  • Sorry, can you say that again, please?
  • Sorry, I didn’t (quite) catch that.
  • Sorry, can you speak up a bit, please? (On the telephone if the phone line is bad)
  • Sorry, can you speak a bit more slowly, please? (If there’s a language problem)

Real English Greetings

Informal British Real English greetings:
1) Hiya! (Meaning: ‘Hi’)
2) Alright? (Meanings: either ‘Hello!’ or ‘How are you?’)
Common answer 1: I’m alright thanks! Y’alright?
Common answer 2: Alright?’ (Depending on the situation, it can just mean ‘Hi!’ so you don’t need to state if you are okay or not :-))
3) How you doing? (Meaning: How are you?)
4) What’ve you been up to today? (Meaning: What have you been doing today in general)
Common answer: ‘I’ve just been at work … nothing special!’

Some examples of future grammar variation

Present continuous (for the future), going to & will

1. What are you doing this evening? [present continuous for the future]

I’m teaching a group of students this evening

I’m ____________________ this evening.

2. Where do you think you’ll be in 5 years’ time? [will]

I think I’ll be living in the countryside in 5 years’ time?

I think ____________________ in 5 years’ time?

3. What are you are looking forward to doing on holiday? [present continuous for the future]

I’m ____________________ on holiday.

4. How do you think technology will be different in ten years’ time? [will]

I think we’ll all be robots in 10 years’ time.

I think ____________________ in 10 years’ time.

5. What are you going to do at Christmas? [going to]

I’m going to stay in Cambridge at Christmas.

I’m ____________________ in Cambridge at Christmas.

6. Where are you going to visit next in the UK? [going to]

I’m going to visit London next in the UK.

I’m ____________________ next in the UK.

Wet weather words

a) It’s dull/damp.
b) It’s drizzling.
c) It’s just a shower.
d) It’s raining heavily.
e) It’s pouring down.
f) It’s chucking it down.
g) There’s torrential rain.
h) There’s a storm/thunderstorm.
i) There’s a flood.

lit (UK) lighted (US)

UK: lit US: lighted(adjective) to mean burning

UK: a lit candle
US: a lighted candle

Please note: These posts are as a result of personal observations of common differences in the use of English between the US and UK speakers. There will be significant variation according to the situation and background and personality of the speaker/writer, wherever they’re from. There will sometimes be crossover too depending on the context.