Expressions | Thousands of Common Expressions in English

Last Updated on November 20, 2023

Expressions are the spices of language—they add flavor, color, and personality to our conversations. They can be idioms, phrases, or sayings that often cannot be understood literally but convey emotions, attitudes, and cultural nuances. Mastering these expressions can help you sound more like a native speaker and enrich your understanding of English-speaking cultures.

English Expressions

What are English expressions?

English expressions, also commonly known as expressions, are words, or group of words that when used in a certain way convey a certain meaning. Expressions come in many forms, for instance, some of them are collocations, others are common phrases, while others idioms or even phrasal verbs. Here is a closer look at each of these kinds of expressions.

Common Phrases

The English language has many phrases, and these are used fairly often by most English speakers and are therefore understood by most English speakers.

For example:

Phrasal Verbs

As per their name, phrasal verbs consist of a verb and a particle. A particle is a preposition or an adverb. This combination ends up creating a new word or phrase.

For instance:

  • I‘m fed up (be bored) with my job.
  • I’m sorry; I’m not with (agree with) you on this point.

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What are common sayings in English? 

An English saying is a common expression that usually conveys certain wisdom and advice. These sayings include proverbs and even idioms. Sayings can also refer to expressions that are related to a certain person. For instance, Solomon’s sayings on youth.


An idiom is a set of two or more words that have a meaning beyond the literal meaning of the individual words. Idioms also include colloquial expressions.

For instance: “when he heard the news, he went bananas“.

Usually, when it comes to the English language, idioms are different from proverbs as far as sayings go based on the fact that they will be shorter.

While proverbs are complete sentences, idioms are usually short incomplete statements. Examples of idioms that make up sayings include the following: at the drop of the hat, beat about the bush.

In general, idioms need to be combined with other words in order to convey their meaning properly.

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The word proverbs is often considered synonymous with the word sayings. They are usually part of every culture, and they have a very rigid structure, whereby missing out a single word can completely change their meaning.

Some common English proverbs include: actions speak louder than words, every cloud has a silver lining, a picture is worth a thousand words, better late than never and so forth.

The Importance of Learning Common Expressions and Sayings

Learning English expressions and common sayings is very important for any English speaker. For one thing, these statements make it easier to put across some points without having to use many other words.

Additionally, the use of expressions and sayings is something that you will find in any language. Therefore, you cannot be said to have an adequate grasp of any language without having to master some of these expressions and sayings.

Furthermore, learning English expressions and sayings is important because it means you can understand what people are saying without misunderstanding them. Expressions and sayings often use words that convey a certain meaning beyond what the words themselves mean.

For instance, “kick the bucket” does not literally hit a bucket with your foot, but rather means someone has passed on. Therefore, without learning English expressions and common sayings, you would consistently misunderstand what many experienced speakers are saying.

Also, learning expressions and sayings can help you improve your critical thinking skills, as you will get some wisdom from what some of these expressions say. For instance, the saying, “I never learned from a man who agreed with me” would help you understand that taking criticism constructively is a good way to improve your learning by identifying and working on your mistakes.

Thousands of Common English Expressions

When you listen to the English language, you are sure to hear many expressions that may not make sense on first hearing. But that is OK as we have a selection of great articles to show you exactly what to listen out for.

In short, an expression is a word or a phrase which expresses a thought, idea or feeling. In the English language, expressions are used very commonly and there are some which might appear to make little or no sense. For example, don’t put all your eggs in one basket. You may think that the speaker is talking about eggs but in reality they are trying to say that you should not rely solely on one thing. This shows us that when your hear an expression being used in an English conversation, it is not always a literal phrase.

Since this type of speech is used very frequently in day to day conversation, and also in written text, it is important for you to gain a good knowledge of some of the most common expressions that native English speakers might use. As you continue through your English learning journey, you will no doubt pick up more and more expressions along the way. Take a look through some of these common ones and take a moment to try and work out what you think it means before looking at the definition. It may surprise you when you find out that things are not always as they seem.

English phrasal verbs. 

English Idioms.

Common phrases in English. 

53 thoughts on “Expressions | Thousands of Common Expressions in English”

  1. I am looking for an explanation of the expression “Baking smaller bread.” I have an idea of what it means (something like setting more modest goals) but I want to make sure I have got it right.

    • You’re on the right track! The phrase “baking smaller bread” isn’t a standard idiom, but it suggests the idea of scaling down ambitions or efforts to more manageable levels. It implies focusing on achievable tasks rather than aiming for something too large or challenging to handle at the moment. It’s a metaphor for taking on tasks or goals that are more suited to one’s current capacity.


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