English - Some common spoken words and their usage

Keep going
  • Meaning: Continue
  • Usage: keep going. You need the exercise.

 Drop by
  • Meaning: Visit for short time
  • Usage: I dropped by the camera store to pick up our photos.

 In charge of
  • Meaning: Responsible for; supervisor of
  • Usage: He is in charge of training new staff.
  • Note: sometimes in charge of + _ing

Running short of time
  • Meaning: Getting close to a deadline
  • Usage: I’d love to finish this meeting soon. Let’s move on to the next point because we’re running short of time.

Get a move on
  • Meaning: Go faster
  • Usage: We have to get a move on if we want to finish by Wednesday.

Ahead of/ on/ behind schedule
  • Meaning: Faster than planned / as planned / slower than planned
  • Usage: Please drive faster. We’re behind schedule.
  • Project is going fine. Everything is on schedule.

Tied up
  • Meaning: Busy doing something that you can’t stop
  • Usage: I’m tied up now, but I’ll be free in an hour.

Held up
  • Meaning: Delayed
  • Usage: I got home at 10 o’clock last night. I was held up at the office doing paperwork.

No wonder
  • Meaning: Now I understand why
  • Usage: I didn’t study. No wonder I failed.

It slipped my mind
  • Meaning: I forgot
  • Usage: I was supposed to meet my friend last night, but it slipped my mind.

Under a lot of pressure
  • Meaning: Feeling stress
  • Usage: Students are under a lot of pressure at exam time

Put up with something
  • Meaning: Accept something bad
  • Usage: my office is freezing, but I put up with it because I love my job.

Right away
  • Meaning: Immediately; now
  • Usage: The client is waiting. He needs the report. I’ll get it right away.

It’s not the end of the world
  • Meaning: The situation is not very bad
  • Usage: I hurt my knee, but it’s not the end of the world. I can still play golf.

In the same boat
  • Meaning: In the same situation
  • Usage: We all lost money last year. We’re all in the same boat.

Can I take a rain check?
  • Meaning: Can we change the plan to another time in future?
  • Usage: I have to cancel our plans for lunch today. Can I take a rain check?

On top of that
  • Meaning: In addition to; also
  • Usage: I’m very busy. I have two children, I work full time, and on top of that I take evening classes.

For good
  • Meaning: Forever; permanently
  • Usage: I’ve tried to quit smoking before, but this time I’m quitting for good.

I heard it through the grapevine
  • Meaning: Someone told me something as gossip or a rumour
  • Usage: He lost his job. I heard it through the grapevine.

Better off doing something
  • Meaning: Say this to show a better choice
  • Usage: the bus takes five hours. I’m better off taking the train.

Run into someone
  • Meaning: Meet someone unexpectedly
  • Usage: sometimes I run into him at the bank. We both go on Mondays.

We don’t see eyes to eye
  • Meaning: This is a polite way to say we don’t agree
  • Usage: we both agree on the problem. But we don’t see eye to eye on the solution.

Play it by ear
  • Meaning: Do it without a plan
  • Usage: Don’t book a hotel room. Play it by ear. Look for a hotel when you get to the city.

Come off
  • Meaning: Become detached
  • Usage: I bought a cheap suitcase. The wheels came off after one week!

Give someone a hand
  • Meaning: Help someone
  • Usage: He had to photocopy 100 pages, so I gave him a hand with the job.

Get by
  • Meaning: Manage but with difficulty
  • Usage: we don’t have much money, but we can get by if we don’t spend much.

Can’t make it
  • Meaning: Not able to attend
  • Usage: He’s working late. He can’t make it to the movie.