Natural English Phrases: 10 Instructive Ideas To Make You Fluent
Natural English phrases
In this tutorial, we will learn about natural English phrases that we can use to sound more fluent and smooth in our speaking, and also some great small talk topics to perfect our conversational ability. What are some steps to take to speak English fluently? It is important to speak freely without worrying about making mistakes. Find out our instructive ideas and tips in this article!
What is natural English?
The definition of natural English is a complicated thing to explain, so we won’t go into huge depth here. Basically, it depends on what area of the world you are living in. If you have a phrase in common use somewhere, in another place it may sound strange. Even if we are just talking about native-speaking countries such as the USA and the UK - the natural English phrases used vary tremendously. British speakers may ask a friend, “Fancy a cuppa?”. While this expression may be used in the United States, it isn’t as common or natural as it is in Britain. On the other hand, an American speaker may say, “most everyone” when talking about most people.
In Many countries, this would not be natural. Most English speakers say “almost everyone”. Also, English is spoken in many countries that aren't considered “native”. They also have their own versions of the language and what they consider to be natural English phrases.
How can I make my English more natural?
Here are some instructive ideas about how to make your English more natural. First, try to mimic how native speakers of English talk. If you wish to sound natural using Canadian English, for example, then try to find people from Canada to talk with.
Also, watch Canadian TV and listen to and sing Canadian songs. The same goes for any region. It is worth noting though, that native speakers of English can generally understand each other pretty well. So, if you are fluent in English of the New Zealand variety, native speakers from other parts of the world will be able to understand you (as long as you do not have an extreme accent!).
10 English sentences used in daily life
Here we will look at some natural English phrases to talk about daily life, daily routine, and also some small talk topics in English. These are short sentences in English for daily use. They aren’t formal or for essay writing. They are also very suitable to be used with work colleagues. Here is the table, then we will check out how to use them in conversation.
How are you doing?
Beautiful day isn't it?
Did you catch the news today?
Any plans for the weekend?
How was your weekend?
Head over to
Drop by the office
What are you up to these days?
What are you up to?
Get up with the birds
Small talk topics in English:
1. How are you doing?
This is used as an English greeting and also a way to check someone’s condition.
A: How are you doing, Ava?
B: How are you doing, Robert?
2. Beautiful day isn't it?
This is a light and causal expression related to the weather. We usually answer with, “Yes, it is” We can also comment on bad weather in the same style. For instance, “Terrible weather today, isn’t it?”
A: Beautiful day isn't it?
B: Yes, it is.
3. Did you catch the news today?
Another small talk topic: the news. This natural English phrase is handy because most people know some news, so it is an easy subject to discuss. Especially if there is a big news story circulating.
4. Any plans for the weekend?
This is a great small talk question to ask on Friday at the office or at school. Most people consider the weekend to be the best part of the week and will likely be doing something, even if it is just staying home and relaxing.
A: Any plans for the weekend, Olivia?
B: Yes, I'm planning to visit my Aunt's house in London. How about you, Liam?
A: Oh, nothing much. I might go to the cinema, though.
Daily life sentences in English
5. How was your weekend?
Going on from asking about weekend plans, we can also ask how the weekend actually was. This is a friendly and casual English phrase. Great for getting a conversation going on a Monday morning!
A: How was your weekend, Emma?
B: Pretty good thanks. What did you get up to, Noah?
A: I went to the library to study for my English test.
6. Head over to
This natural and casual phrase means to go somewhere. Usually a place outside the house!
I’m going to head over to Daniel’s English Club!
I will head over to the library to catch up on some homework.
7. Drop by the office
This expression means that you visit your office, or an office you know, for a short period of time. It’s often used in an informal way, but it is also used for work or client visits, too.
I am going to drop by the head office later today.
She is planning to drop by the office on Friday
Daily routine sentences in English
8. What are you up to these days?
This is an expression to ask what we have done recently.
A: What are you up to these days, Timothy?
B: I have transferred. I’m now working in New York.
A: Wow, that’s exciting news!
9. What are you up to?
This simply means: What are you doing?
What are you up to response,
“Not much. I’m just reading a book.”
Also, it is sometimes used in an interrogative way. When we are suspicious of someone's behavior we might use this expression to ask exactly what someone is doing, when we feel it is inappropriate behavior. Here are two examples. The first is just a standard "what are you doing?" and the second one is asking in a suspicious manner.
A: Hi Charlotte. What are you up to?
B: Oh, nothing much. I am just catching up on some housework.
A: Theodore and Harper! What are you up to?
B: Nothing, mom!
A: Really? Why is the cookie jar open, then?
A: So sorry!
10. Get up with the birds
This saying means to get up early in the morning, just like the birds do.
If you would like to learn some more animal-related idioms, have a look at Top 25 Beginner Animal Idioms To Use Right Now
I like to get up early with the birds and get all the housework done before 9 in the morning.
Plus an extra phrase for talking about bedtime: hit the sack
Hit the sack meaning: This saying is used when you are going to sleep or bed. You tell someone:
“I’m going to hit the sack.”
What is speaking fluency?
To understand how to improve speaking fluency, we first need to get a picture of what it means. According to Oxford:
“The quality of being able to speak or write a language, especially a foreign language, easily and well”
What this means in real life is that a person can speak a language without long delays when thinking about what to say. Or, without long delays when answering a wide variety of questions. The actual definition of English fluency is a little vague. In simple terms, if we can speak and answer smoothly, then we have a good level of fluency. If we can combine a good level of fluency with natural English phrases, then our English ability will take a step forward.
What are the 5 steps to speak English fluently?
Have you ever asked yourself this: How can I speak fluent English without hesitation? Or, have you wondered: How can I be fluent in English like a native? Well, unfortunately, there is no silver bullet or secret weapon! Below though, you will find 5 steps to speak English fluently that actually work. They may not make a difference in one day, but over time with enough practice and consideration, they will boost fluency.
1. Have a chat
One of the key ways to boost our English fluency is simply speaking. Have a chat. If you have a friend or family member available, great!
2. Learn sayings and phrases instead of singular words.
If you can remember longer sayings than simple one-word answers, you will sound more fluent in your English. This is because there will be fewer stops or pauses in your speech. Here is a useful post on some natural sayings we can include in our speaking.
3. Use the phone or video call
If your friends are far away, don’t worry. With the amount of free calling apps these days, it is quite simple to get in contact with friends and relatives both near and far.
4. Don’t try to be perfect
One of the pieces of advice I give to my students here at Daniel’s English Club is that they should not be overly concerned with correct grammar. If they think about accuracy too much, the actual speed of conversations can grind to a halt. Correct grammar is important, but it is not the priority when we are thinking about language fluency. It is a very worthwhile topic for another day, though! Have a look at How to improve grammar and English skills
5. Review and reflect
Closely connected to point 4 - when we make mistakes in past conversations such as overly long pauses, inappropriate vocabulary, or grammar errors, we should deeply think about them and plan alternative ways to speak in the future. An example is in the table below:
Sentence example 1
Sentence example 2
On the weekend I went to shopping.
On the weekend I went shopping.
Mistake: we don’t need “to” with shopping because it is an activity and not a place
Revised phrase: On the weekend I went shopping
Is business writing formal?
Business Engish is almost always formal, particularly when it comes to writing. While we can use plenty of natural English phrases in formal business writing, they are different from conversational sayings. For example, we might ask a friend, “How was your weekend?” But, in a business email, we would need to include a more formal style of question. An example would be, "I trust you had a relaxing weekend?” Here is a table for some more examples:
Formal business writing
How are you doing?
I trust you have been well
What are you up to?
What are you doing?
I’m gonna head over to the city
I plan to visit the city
Can I ask a favor?
Would you be able to assist me?
Can I write an idiom in an essay?
It is a common question of students around the world: Can I write an idiom in an essay? Are we allowed to use natural English phrases in our writing? My simple advice would be to avoid difficult or confusing terms in your essay writing. The reasons are that idioms and the like are colloquial, so fit better in speech rather than in writing. We also run the risk of alienating other readers who may have less advanced abilities in the English language. The point of an essay is to discuss an idea, but if we limit the number of people who can understand that idea, it defeats the object of writing.
Don’t use difficult expressions if you don’t need to! Some idioms for essays can work, though. Very common and simple idiomatic expressions will be accepted by many tutors or examiners. Some examples include “turn on the light” and “look around” the room. As you can see, they are very basic.
Instructive examples of natural English phrases
Beautiful day, isn't it? Do you have any plans for the weekend? I hope these and more natural English phrases have been of use to you today on your journey to gaining English fluency. We also looked at some instructive examples for improving fluency such as making it a point to speak In English as much as possible, without worrying about making grammar errors. Also, don't forget to recognize the difference between casual and formal English. We are going to say "What are you up to" instead of "What are you doing?" in a casual English conversation. This kind of thing affects other people's perception of your fluency. Please review all the tips in this post. If you have any questions or comments, I will be happy to answer in the comments section below.
Cheers and have a great day!
Daniel from DEC English school