11 Super Common Conversation Expressions in American English

Chances are you’ve been in a conversation with a native English speaker when they used a few expressions that were pretty new to you.

You probably got the gist of what they were saying, but you still wanted to make sure that both of you were on the same page.

In fact, we use a lot of expressions to transition between ideas, move on to another point or change the subject, or even to refer to a specific moment in the conversation.

In this video, you’ll learn 11 expressions that we use to talk about talking, to talk about speaking well, and talk about connecting during conversations.

These are expressions that I personally use on a regular basis, and that’s why I feel they’re so important to share with you today.

Let’s get started!


Expressions About Connecting During Conversations

Let’s start off by looking at a couple of expressions that we use to talk about connecting during conversations.

After all, that is one of my favorite topics!

on the same page

If you were listening carefully at the beginning of this video, you probably noticed that I already used one of these expressions: on the same page.

When you’re on the same page with someone, you agree with them, or you share the same understanding.

You may have a different approach or perspective, but, ultimately, you agree.

If you don’t yet agree, you may need to get on the same page.

We also use this expression to talk about everyone having the same information.

For example, you may share the latest updates with your whole team to make sure that everyone’s on the same page.

Because it’s so important to understand one another, this expression is a great way to check in with someone.

Let’s look at some examples:

  • Now that we’re all on the same page, we can start to plan the conference.
  • We’re totally on the same page – I agree 100%.

on the same wavelength

A similar expression is on the same wavelength.

While this can also be used to say that you agree with someone, it’s more often used to say that two people deeply understand one another.

They probably share similar attitudes, perspectives, feelings, thoughts, and opinions, or they may share the same interests or hobbies.

Here are some examples:

  • As soon as we met, we realized that we’re on the same wavelength; it feels like we’ve known each other forever.
  • When I travel, I always seem to meet people who are on the same wavelength with me.

resonate with [someone]

Another expression we use to talk about connecting is resonate with [someone].

When an idea resonates with you or other people, it connects with your feelings and opinions.

The word resonate used to be used with sound or music, but over the past few decades, it started to be used with ideas as well.

(According to the New York Times, some people don’t appreciate this usage, but I personally resonate with this new meaning. ­čśë )

Writers, artists, even video creators want their work to resonate with you, or their audience.

Businesses want their products or their marketing to resonate with their customers.

Here are some examples with the word “resonate”:

  • I like watching her videos because her approach resonates with me.
  • That book wasn’t a best seller, but it resonated with the right audience.

Expressions That Describe Speaking Well

Let’s move on to a few expressions that we use to describe speaking well.

to be / sound articulate

Let’s take a look at to be or to sound articulate.

When someone’s articulate, they express their thoughts and ideas clearly and easily.

Their ideas are well-organized and well-presented, and they express themselves easily, in a way that often resonates with the right people.

I find that when people say that they want to sound more intelligent, what they actually mean is that they want to sound more articulate.

They’re not that concerned with coming across as super smart, but they want their ideas to sound good, and they want to express themselves clearly and easily.

Here are some examples:

  • I love listening to her explain her research; she’s so articulate and interesting.
  • The professor’s ideas are always so clear and easy to follow, which makes him sound really articulate.

well said

Next up, we have the expression “Well said.”

When you’re listening to someone’s ideas and opinions, and you like the way that they express themselves, you can respond by saying, “Well said!”

We usually use the expression “well said” when we agree with the other person.

The phrase “well said” emphasizes that the other person has expressed themselves in an articulate way, that they’ve clearly explained their ideas, and that they’ve spoken convincingly.

What I like about the expression is that you say it when there’s no need to add anything more to the person’s ideas.

For example:

  • Well said! You convinced us.
  • Well said. I couldn’t have explained it better.

Expressions for Talking About Talking a Lot

Now let’s look at some expressions we use when talking about talking a lot.

ramble

First up, we have “ramble.”

When someone rambles, they talk for longer than expected.

Someone can ramble without making a point or without connecting their ideas together.

We may also ramble when we’re talking passionately about a subject, or when we’re sharing lots of extra details when telling a story.

You may ramble about your favorite movies, or ramble on and on.

If you realize that you’ve talked for longer than expected, you can say something like, “Oops! I’m rambling,” or, “Sorry for rambling. You can tell I love talking about this.”

It’s a good way to acknowledge that you’ve talked at length before giving the other person a chance to respond.

Here are some examples:

  • He started rambling about all of the changes he thinks we should make.
  • When I talk about plants, I always end up rambling.

to go off on a tangent

Next, let’s look at the expression “to go off on a tangent.”

Sometimes we’re talking about one topic, and then we switch over to another that isn’t that related.

This is called going off on a tangent.

When you go off on a tangent, it may be hard for other people to understand how the ideas are connected.

At some point, you may realize that you’ve taken the conversation in another direction, so you can use this expression to acknowledge that:

  • Wow, I went off on a tangent.
  • That was quite a tangent, but hopefully it was interesting.

Here are some more examples:

  • He went off on a tangent, but shared some interesting ideas.
  • She went off on a tangent about her favorite vacation when we were just talking about the weather.

long-winded / long-winded version of the story

Next up, we have long-winded, which is often used in the expression “the long-winded version of the story.”

Some people tend to provide a lot of details when telling stories or sharing opinions.

A long-winded person provides a lot of extra information.

Some people like hearing all the details, while others don’t. It really depends on the situation.

When we give someone the full explanation with all of the details, we may call it “the long-winded version of the story.”

We often summarize the main point and then say something like, “Let me know if you want to hear the long-winded version of the story.”

Here are some examples:

  • That professor tends to be long-winded. His lectures can be a little boring.
  • I don’t have time to tell you the long-winded version of the story, but the good news is it all worked out.

long story short

A related expression is long story short.

If you realize that you’ve been rambling, or telling a long-winded version of the story, you may need to summarize so that your main point is clear.

You can say something like, “Long story short, she got the job. Or, “Long story short, we got the contract.”

You may also use this expression when you don’t want to share all the details.

You’re basically highlighting the end result.

Let’s look at the examples:

  • Long story short, he got fired.
  • Long story short, we need more time to finish the project.

Cliffs Notes version

Another similar expression is the Cliffs Notes version.

Cliffs Notes are a brand of books or study aids with notes summarizing longer, more complex books.

High school and college students often use Cliffs Notes in order to help them remember details, or remember the main ideas.

When we give the Cliffs Notes version of a story, we’re summarizing the most important points and leaving out all the extra details.

You may ask someone to give you the Cliffs Notes version if they tend to be long-winded, or you don’t have time to hear the whole story right now.

(You may hear people say “Cliff Notes,” because that’s easier for our mouths to say, but since it is a brand name, you should say Cliffs Notes with the “s” in the middle.)

Here are some examples of how we use this expression:

  • I can’t wait for you to tell me the whole story, but give me the Cliffs Notes version right now.
  • Let me give you the Cliffs Notes version of what happened.

get the gist

One more related expression is get the gist.

When you get the gist of something, you understand the central idea, even if you don’t understand all the details.

You can get the gist of an idea, concept, opinion, hypothesis, movie, book, and so on.

We often use this expression when letting someone know that we understand the general idea, especially if they’re concerned that their explanation was too technical, complicated, or detailed.

Or we can use it if we didn’t fully understand a book, movie, or even a discussion, but we did understand the most important points.

Here are some examples:

  • Don’t worry, I got the gist.
  • I didn’t understand the whole book, but I feel like I got the gist of the main argument.

Your Turn

Now that you’ve learned quite a few expressions that we often use in conversations in American English, remember to practice.

Try using one of these expressions in your next conversation.

And be sure to notice when you hear other people using these expressions.

You’ll probably notice that they’re quite common when people are having interesting conversations in English!

Leave a comment with any other conversation expressions that you’ve heard that you’re curious about.

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