Do you ever feel that you don’t respond to what people tell you in English as naturally as you would in your own language? These 20 common colloquial expressions will help you to sort that out! (sort something out = arreglar).

In English, as in all languages, there are a series of idiomatic and colloquial expressions that are commonly used in specific situations and which help us to express our feelings or thoughts briefly regarding that same situation.

Below you will find 20 useful common colloquial expressions in English that will help you to express yourself more naturally in everyday situations.

Spanish version

¿Te sientes alguna vez como que no respondes en inglés con toda la naturalidad que lo harías en tu propio idioma?

En inglés, como en todos los idiomas, existen una serie de expresiones idiomáticas y coloquiales que se usan comúnmente en situaciones específicas y que nos ayudan a expresar nuestros sentimientos y pensamientos acerca de esa misma situación.

Debajo hallarás 20 expresiones coloquiales comunes en inglés que te ayudarán a expresarte con más naturalidad en situaciones del día a día.

1. A little bird told me

We use this expression when we don’t want to say who told us something or how we found out about something.


‘How did you know that?’ ‘I little bird told me

‘¿Cómo lo has sabido?’ ‘Me lo ha dicho un pajarito


2. Ah well. It can’t be helped.

Used to express that there is nothing that can be done to change a bad or unpleasant (desagradable) situation.


‘I really don’t fancy going to that meeting. Ah well, it can’t be helped

‘No me apetece nada ir a esa reunión. En fin, no se puede evitar


3. Are you off your trolley?

Use this expression if you just can’t believe what someone is telling you and you think they are crazy.

‘I think I won’t accept the promotion’. ‘Are you off your trolley?

‘Creo que no voy a aceptar el ascenso’. ‘¿Estás chiflado?


4. Be my guest

This expression is used to say YES when someone asks us for permission to do something, for example, borrow (pedir prestado) our mobile phone.

 ‘Can I use your stapler?’ ‘Be my guest’.

‘¿Puedo usar tu grapadora?’ ‘Adelante’.


5. Help yourself

This expression is usually used with food and drink, giving the person permission to take what they want.

‘Could I have some more coffee?’. ‘Please, help yourself’.

‘¿Puedo tomar más café?’ ‘Por favor, sírvete’.


6. I’ll keep my fingers crossed

Use this expression if you are wishing someone good luck (le deseas buena suerte).

 ‘I have a job interview on Thursday’. ‘I’ll keep my fingers crossed

‘Tengo una entrevista de trabajo el jueves’. ‘Mantendré los dedos cruzados por ti


7. I haven’t got a clue

The word clue means ‘pista’. When we answer with this expression, we are saying that we don’t know the answer.

‘Do you know at what time is the meeting?’ ‘I haven’t got a clue, I’m afraid’

‘¿Sabes a qué hora es la reunión?’ ‘Lo siento, pero no tengo ni idea


8. I’m all ears

This expression is used when we tell our interlocutor that we are interested in listening to what they have to say.

‘I’ve come up with an idea for the new marketing campaign’. ‘I’m all ears’.

‘Se me ha ocurrido una idea para la nueva campaña de marketing’. ‘Soy todo oídos’.


9. I’m not bothered

If someone gives you different options and which one you choose in unimportant to you (you don’t mind, no te importa), you say ‘I’m not bothered’.

‘Would you like to go to an Italian or a Greek restaurant?’ ‘I’m not bothered

‘Quieres ir a un restaurant italiano o uno griego?’ ‘No me importa (ir a uno u otro)’


10. It takes all sorts

This idiom is used to emphasize that there are many different kinds of people, with their own tastes (gustos), ways of behaving etc.

‘I never understand people who enjoy travelling by plane, but it takes all sorts, I guess’

‘No entiendo a las personas que les gusta viajar en avión, pero supongo que de todo hay de todo en la viña del Señor’.


11. Mind your own business.

If someone is being nosy (cotilla) this would be one appropriate answer!

‘Is it true that the negotiations were a total disaster?’ ‘Why don’t you mind your own business?’

‘¿Es cierto que las negociaciones fueron un complete desastre?’ ‘¿Por qué no te metes en tus propios asuntos?’


12. My lips are sealed

We use this expression to promise to keep a secret (mantener algo en secreto).

‘Please don’t tell anyone’. ‘Don’t worry, my lips are sealed

‘Por favor, no se lo digas a nadie’. ‘Tranquilo, soy una tumba


13. Nice one!

Answer ‘Nice one!’ whenever someone gives you good news.

‘We finally closed the deal this morning’. ‘Nice one!

‘Finalmente cerramos el trato esta mañana’ ‘¡Estupendo!


14. Oh dear!

This expression is used in response to bad news.

‘The network is down again’. ‘Oh dear!

‘La red se ha vuelto a caer’ ‘¡Vaya!


15. Thanks all the same.

Used when someone has been unable to help us but we still want to say thank you.

‘Could you tell me where Heneage Street is, please?’

‘I’m sorry, I don’t live around here’

OK. Thanks all the same

 ‘¿Me podría decir dónde está Heneage Street?’

‘Lo siento, no vivo por aquí’.

‘OK. Gracias de todos modos’.


16. Rather you than me.

Used if someone else has to do something you prefer not to do yourself.

‘I have to take inventory this weekend’ ‘Rather you than me!

‘Tengo que hacer inventario este fin de semana’ ‘Mejor tú que yo’ (¡De la que me he librado!)


17. That really takes the biscuit.

Use this expression when you find something annoying (molesto), or perhaps surprising.

‘And you are saying that he has lost another client? That really take’s the biscuit!

‘¿Y dices que ha perdido otro cliente? ¡Eso ya es el colmo!


18. That’s a rip-off!

This expression is used when we feel that someone has been overcharged (cobrar de más) for something.

‘I paid €50 for this t-shirt’ ‘That’s a rip-off!

‘Pagué €50por esta camiseta’ ‘¡Vaya timo!


19. The more the merrier

Used when someone asks permission to bring someone over to an event, such as a party or a dinner.

 ‘Do you mind if I bring a colleague of mine to the dinner?’ ‘The more the merrier!’.

‘¿Te importa si traigo a un compañero de trabajo a la cena?’ ‘¡Contra más mejor!’.


20. You’re taking the mickey!

A common expression that means ‘you’re joking’ (to joke, bromear).

‘The presentation has been postponed till next week’ ‘You’re taking the mickey!

‘La presentación se ha pospuesto hasta la semana que viene’ ‘¡Estarás de broma!


I hope you enjoyed learning about these 20 Useful Common Colloquial Expressions in English. 

If you have any questions, I invite you to leave a comment below and I will answer your doubts. 

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You will find lots of useful vocabulary and business English resources in this blog, such as Email Acronysms or Describing Trends (for presentations).

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