English is full of bizarre (very strange) sayings, phrases and words that can vary depending on where you are in the English-speaking world! What they say in the South of England may be completely different to how they express the same idea in the North.
This can even cause issues for native speakers, however, there are some phrases that are generally used wherever you are and can really help to express an idea or concept that you’re struggling to explain. Often times, there will be an equivalent saying in other languages – Can you figure out the meaning in Japanese? Answers at the end of the blog!
Let’s start really simple – Students tend not to use these phrases enough but they are very useful.
1.) That’s too bad!
Oh, you failed the test again? That’s too bad!
Oh, the restaurant is fully booked and you will have to go somewhere else?! That’s too bad!
Oh, your hot date had to cancel on the last minute!? That’s too bad!
2.) It can’t be helped!
This expression is quite similar to that’s too bad. We often use it, even talking to ourselves, to offer encouragement. Don’t get down about it, keep moving forward! It can’t be helped, let’s continue the day!
I forgot my ICOCA card and I have to buy a ticket, how troublesome! Oh well, it can’t be helped.
Oh, you forgot to return my book to me, again, you have been borrowing it for 2 years. Urgh, well it can’t be helped.
It’s a nice phrase to help us mentally let go of situations that are annoying, bothersome and frustrating.
Ok, let’s make it A LITTLE more difficult, not much, just a little.
3.) Time flies! (when you’re having fun)
We often say time flies when we are having a lot of fun and forget about the time, we check our watch and realise that it’s already the end of the class! Time flies when you’re having fun! Actually, you don’t need to say “when you’re having fun” but it’s implied, even if you don’t actually say it.
4.) I’m still on the fence (about that!)
What do you think about my new idea? Do you like it?
Hmm, I’m not sure yet. I’m still on the fence!
We can use this expression when we haven’t made up our mind yet. We haven’t made a clear choice yet. Imagine someone sitting on a fence trying to decide which side he likes better! We can also use it when we don’t really want to continue a discussion about something. It’s a good way of shutting down an uncomfortable conversation where someone is asking for your opinion.
Please check here for the Japanese meanings of these phrases – Were you correct?
1）それは残念！ 2）しょうがないよ！ 3）あっという間だね！ 4）まだ迷ってる。
OK folks, please try out some of these phrases in your English classes this week! Your teacher will probably be impressed, good luck!