English Phrases To Learn
Learn common English phrases used in everyday conversational English. In today's podcast, along with a lot of useful English vocabulary, we learn an English phrase which you won’t find in a dictionary.
One of our guiding principles here at Adept English is the need to focus on what’s useful to learn and learn that first. We work backwards from good understandable English conversational English, specifically the vocabulary, idioms and phrases you might encounter. And we only use everyday English in our lessons.
We encourage you to listen to the audio and work through the free and full English transcript we provide with every lesson, so you can familiarise yourself with the conversational English you would expect right now today in any part of Britain.
It’s a simple problem really, you can try to learn all 171,476 (Oxford Dictionary) English words starting with ‘A’ and ending in ‘Z’ or you can focus on the words you would need to hold a typical conversation in English right now today in the streets of London.
Only 500 common English words make up 80% all English conversations, so learning those 500 words would probably be a good start, then you need to learn more specialised vocabulary so you can converse in specific topics, like about computers or maybe science or holidays. The point is: "learn those words where you get the most value for your learning effort first”.
Most Unusual Words:
heatwave familiarise countdown
Most common 2 word phrases:
Listen To The Audio Lesson NowThe mp3 audio and pdf transcript for this lesson is now part of the Adept English back catalogue . You can still download and listen to this lesson as part of one of our podcast bundles.
Transcript: English Phrases Not In The Dictionary
Hi there and welcome to this short podcast from Adept English. Welcome to you all, English language learners! Welcome to Adept English, where you can listen to real, authentic, spoken English, learn about new subjects and have English lessons, in the form of podcasts. I was going to say that I hope that if you’re in the northern hemisphere, you’re having a good summer. However, the news is that perhaps over much of Europe the summer is a little bit too hot! There’s a heatwave. This may have happened by the time you hear this podcast, but this weekend, Madrid is supposed to have 40C, 39C in Berlin – and even 33C in London on Saturday. I’m going to be in London on Saturday. I shall take water with me, I think!
An example of a phrase in English, not in the dictionary!
Anyway a short podcast today. How about I share with you a phrase which I keep hearing? I’ve noticed my daughters say this a lot. I’ll give you some examples of the types of conversations where you may hear it used.
- So I might say to my 16 year old daughter ‘Have you applied for your provisional driving licence yet?’ And she’ll say ‘Oh, no, I haven’t done it yet. I must do that!’
- And I’ll reply, because we’ve had this conversation several times ‘When your 17th birthday comes in a few week’s time, you’ll want to start your driving lessons straight away’. And she’ll say ‘Oh yeah. One hundred percent!’.
So that’s a typical mother-daughter conversation, isn’t it? To my knowledge, she’s still not put in her application for her provisional driving licence,. That’s the one you use, when you’re learning to drive. But the point of telling you this? Well, that last sentence. She says ‘Oh yeah. One hundred percent!’
So what does that mean? Well, I think what she is saying is that she is 100% in agreement with me. She will want to start driving lessons on her 17th birthday. So it may be obvious to you, what this phrase ‘one hundred percent’ means. She’s saying ‘Yes, absolutely’ or ‘Yes, very much so’.
What is ‘percent’?
But just in case you’re not sure – what is ‘percent’? Well, you’ll have this in your language because it’s mathematics. The sign for percent or percentage is a slash / with a little circle above on the left and another little circle down on the right (%). If you’re not sure what I’m describing here, have a look at the transcript at adeptenglish.com. You’ll soon see it then!
A photograph of a man holding a baby you cannot tell the gender of the baby. Used to help explain English grammar she, he and they.
So when we say one hundred percent – it’s as though we’re using an adverb, it’s an adverbial phrase and that means ‘completely’. A percentage is what you might receive as your mark, after an exam or a test. People might say ‘What did you get?’ and the reply is ‘Oh, I got 75%’ or ‘I got 46% - it was a pass’. So mathematically, we are talking about ‘If we made the total possible score 100, how many did you score?’. What percentage did you get?
Percentages are also useful when we’re talking about statistics. Earlier in the week, in the podcast about diabetes, I was saying things like ‘Well, apparently only 10% of people with diabetes, that’s 1 in 10, have Type 1 and 90% of people with diabetes have Type 2’ etc, etc. So another way of saying 10% that we use, is to say ‘one in ten’ or for 90%, we might say ‘nine out of ten’. There’s a really well-known comedy show on UK television called ‘8 out of 10 Cats’. There’s also ‘8 out of 10 cats does Countdown’, which is even better, actually. If you live in the UK, you might know that one. So ‘8 out of 10 cats’ is the same as saying ‘80%’ of cats. Why do we have a TV programme called ‘8 out of 10 cats’? Well, it’s after an advert for cat food – Whiskas cat food actually! And the line was ‘8 out of 10 owners said their cat preferred Whiskas’. Quite why that’s the title of a comedy programme, I’m not sure. But it is. Anyway, I digress!
When do you say ‘percent’ and when do you say ‘percentage’?
So, when do you say ‘percent’ and when do you say ‘percentage’? Well that’s a confusing question for English language learners. If you’re talking about a specific number – so it might be 120 percent, or 5 percent or 85 percent, you use either ‘percent’, P-E-R-C-E-N-T or that little percentage sign (%), that I described to you. And the word ‘percent’ doesn’t have a hyphen or a space in the middle. It’s one word, P-E-R-C-E-N-T. And you would use percentage, P-E-R-C-E-N-T-A-G-E, you’d use that as a noun, when you’re talking about percentage, without a specific number. So you might say ‘a higher percentage of students are living in private rental houses this year’ or ‘a large percentage of people have cars’. So percentage is when it’s general and there’s no number attached. And when you’re using a specific number, we say ‘percent’. I hope that’s cleared that up?
More examples of 100%
So what about some more examples of where you might hear ‘one hundred per cent’, said to mean ‘I’m incomplete agreement’? It’s sometimes used instead of a simple ‘Yes’, but it tends to mean ‘Yes, and I’m full of enthusiasm for it!’. ‘Enthusiasm’ is a noun, which means that feeling you get when you really like something or you really, really want to do something. Like I have enthusiasm for Adept English, for example!
- Are you going to the party tonight? One hundred percent – I’ll be there!
- Did you enjoy the film? One hundred percent – it was brilliant
- Do you think that the girl in the corner is pretty? One hundred percent. I wish I looked like that!
And so on. I’m sure you get the idea!
Download The Podcast Audio & Transcript
Anyway, that’s a phrase for you and some input on the terms percent and percentage, which you may come across in your English language test. It’s the sort of thing sometimes that you have to discuss in those tests, so it’s useful to know!
If you like what we’re doing, but you find the podcasts difficult, have a look at our 500 Most Common(ly) Words Course. This course is aimed at those people who just need to bring up the level a little to be able to do the podcasts. This course can be bought easily, immediately on our website at adeptenglish.com and will give you practice at the most commonly used words in English. Once you know these words well enough to be able to use them, to speak them yourself, then you are really beginning to be good at the language!
Enough for now. Have a lovely day. Speak to you again soon. Goodbye.
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