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Useful phrases in British English

A collection of useful phrases in British English, a variety of English spoken in the UK, recorded by Simon Ager, the author of this site. Although I grew up in Lancashire in the northwest of England, my accent is closer to RP (Received Pronunciation), with some regional influences.

If you can provide these phrases and/or recordings in other varieties of English (including regional accents), please contact me.

Jump to phrases

See these phrases in any combination of two languages in the Phrase Finder. If you can provide recordings, corrections or additional translations, please contact me.

Key to abbreviations: frm = formal, inf = informal.

Phrase British English
Welcome Welcome
Hello (General greeting) Hello
Hi (inf)
Hello (on phone) Hello
How are you? How are you?
How are things? (inf)
How's it going? (inf)
Alright? (inf)
Reply to 'How are you?' Fine thanks, and you?
Not bad, and yourself? (inf)
Okay, and you? (inf)
Long time no see Long time no see
I haven't seen you for a long time
I haven't seen you for ages
What's your name? What's your name?
What are you called?
My name is ... My name is ...
I'm called ...
Where are you from? Where are you from?
Where do you come from?
I'm from ... I'm from ...
I come from ...
Pleased to meet you Pleased to meet you
Nice to meet you
A pleasure to meet you
Good morning
(Morning greeting)
Good morning
Morning
Good afternoon
(Afternoon greeting)
Good afternoon
Afternoon
Good evening
(Evening greeting)
Good evening
Evening
Good night Good night
Night night (inf)
Sweet dreams
Good night, sleep tight
Good night, sleep tight, hope the bedbugs don't bite
Goodbye
(Parting phrases)
Goodbye
Farewell (frm)
Bye
Bye bye
See you
See you later
Good luck! Good luck!
Break a leg!
(said before a musical/theatrical performance)
Cheers! Good Health!
(Toasts used when drinking)
Good health!
Cheers!
Bottoms up!
Down the hatch!
Have a nice day Have a nice day
Have a lovely day
Have a pleasant day
Have a good day
Bon appetit /
Have a nice meal
Enjoy your meal!
Enjoy!
Bon appetit!
Bon voyage /
Have a good journey
Bon voyage!
Have a good journey!
Have a good trip!
I understand I understand
I see
I get it
I don't understand I don't understand
I don't get it
Yes Yes
Yeah (inf)
No No
Nah (inf)
Maybe Maybe
I don't know I don't know
I dunno (inf)
Dunno (inf)
Please speak more slowly Please speak more slowly
Could you speak a bit more slowly?
Slow down please
Please say that again Please say that again
Could you say that again?
Please repeat that
Please write it down Please write it down
Could you possibly write it down?
Could you write it down?
Would you mind writing it down?
Do you speak English? Do you speak English?
Can you speak English?
Yes, a little
(reply to 'Do you speak ...?')
Yes, a little
Do you speak a language
other than
Do you speak a language other than English?
Besides English, what languge(s) do you speak?
What language(s) do you speak besides English?
Speak to me in English Please speak to me in English
Would you speak to me in English, please?
Could you possibly speak to me in English?
Would you mind speaking to me in English?
How do you say ... in English? How do you say ... in English?
What's the English word for ...?
What's the English for ...?
Excuse me Excuse me
How much is this? How much is this?
What does this cost?
How much does this cost?
Sorry Sorry
I'm sorry
Terribly sorry
Awfully sorry
I apologise
Please Please
Thank you Thank you
Thank you very much
Thanks a lot (inf)
Thanks (inf)
Ta (inf)
Cheers (inf)
Reply to thank you You're welcome
You're very welcome
Don't mention it
No problem
No worries
Where's the toilet / bathroom? Where's the toilet?
Where's the loo?
Where's the bathroom?
Where's the gents?
Where's the ladies?
Where's the bog? (inf)
This gentleman will pay for everything This gentleman will pay for everything
This lady will pay for everything This lady will pay for everything
Would you like to dance with me? Would you like to dance with me?
Would you like to dance?
Would you care for a dance? (vfrm)
Do you want a dance?
You dancing? (inf)
I miss you I miss you
I love you I love you
I adore you
Get well soon Get well soon
Go away! Go away!
Scram!
Get out of it!
Get lost!
Leave me alone! Leave me alone!
Help! Help!
Fire! Fire!
Stop! Stop!
Call the police! Call the police!
Christmas greetings Merry Christmas
New Year greetings Happy New Year
Easter greetings Happy Easter
Birthday greetings Happy birthday
One language is never enough One language is never enough
My hovercraft is full of eels
Why this phrase?
My hovercraft is full of eels

Notes

  • RP or Received Pronunciation is a prestige accent of English that originates in the south of England and can be heard throughout England and Wales. It is spoken by about 2% of the UK population.
  • The phrase 'Where's the bathroom?' is more commonly used in American English, however in the UK it might be used when visiting someone's home.

More information
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Received_Pronunciation
http://www.bl.uk/learning/langlit/sounds/case-studies/received-pronunciation/

Download the audio files (Zip format, 7.85MB)

If you would like to make any corrections or additions to this page, or if you can provide recordings, please contact me.

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