Basic English Learning: Phrases to Instantly Improve Your English

Basic English Learning: Phrases to Instantly Improve Your English

Basic English learning phrases and tips to improve your English conversations instantly. Expand your vocabulary and make your dialogue sound natural.
December 02 2021 Speak English

Many of us who are learning English often search for new ways to express ourselves. We tend to say the same thing over and over again - there must be a way to learn more basic English phrases and improve our conversations!

In this blog post, you’ll learn some basic English phrases that will instantly take your conversations to a new level. They will also give you more confidence to express yourself, and even bring out your own personality when speaking to someone else in English. Whether you’re looking to improve your English to communicate better with English speaking colleagues at work, or you’ve moved to a new country where English is the primary language, we’ll give you a step-by-step guide that includes the phrases you need to get started. Before you know it, you’ll be having the best conversations you’ve ever had in English.

Do you already know some basic English conversation vocabulary?

Let’s test your knowledge before we begin! See if you already know these (very) basic English phrases that are used in typical English conversations - if you do, then this blog post is for you and you’re ready to learn more. 

If you don’t, you’re probably not ready yet and will need to brush up on your English first. Don’t worry - you can learn English through the Memrise app!

Do you know these phrases?


/ Hi!


How are you?
/ How are you?


What’s your name?
/ What’s your name?


My name’s…
/ My name’s…


/ Yes


/ No


/ Maybe


Of course
/ Of course

Ready to learn more English words to improve your conversations? Let’s go!

So, you’re all set to add to your vocabulary and improve your conversation skills. Great! Whether you’re a student learning English or someone looking to have better dialogue with English speaking colleagues at work, you’ll instantly improve your conversations with these phrases. 

On this page, we’ll focus on words and phrases that will help with conversation topics for adults. To make it even better for you, we’ve grouped these phrases into themes of real-life situations, that way you can just click to the section that relates to you the most. 


Show interest in the conversation

It’s important to show the person you are talking to that you are just as interested in the conversation as they are. Here are some phrases you can use to show that you are engaged: 


What are you interested in?

/ What are you interested in?


What do you do?
/ What do you do?


Where do you live?
/ Where do you live?


That’s a good question!

/ That’s a good question!

Phrases that will buy you time

There’s no shame in needing more time to find the right words during a conversation when you’re not native to the language. The following phrases are great for when you need to buy yourself some time, or ask the other person to speak slower so you can process what they’re saying to you: 


I don’t understand
I don’t understand


Can you repeat that please?
/ Can you repeat that please?


Can I ask you a question?

/ Can I ask you a question?


Can you speak slower please?

/ Can you speak slower please? 


For conversations at work and at the office

These phrases are very handy to know when speaking to colleagues or clients. Whether you want to build better friendships with English speaking colleagues, or trying to set up a meeting, these phrases are good to know:


What time suits you?
/ What time suits you?


I'm off tomorrow, but I'm back in on Monday

/ I'm off tomorrow, but I'm back in on Monday


How long have you worked there for?
/ How long have you worked there for?


Shall we go for drinks after work?
/ Shall we go for drinks after work?


We'll be in touch
/ We'll be in touch


Thank god it's
/ Thank god it's Friday!


It's a win-win situation

 It's a win-win situation


Correct me if I'm wrong
/ Correct me if I'm wrong 




For students having conversations at school

Here are some phrases that students will find helpful during conversations with other students on campus:


What do you study?
/ What do you study?


Is there a discount for students?
/ Is there a discount for students?


I won't be at school tomorrow

/ I won't be at school tomorrow


I have to write an essay

/ I have to write an essay


A step-by-step guide to learning basic English 

Knowing more words and phrases is great, but it’s only the first step to successfully improving your conversations in English. Here is our step-by-step guide on how you can make your conversations in English even better:

Step 1: Learn basic English words and phrases that will help you have a dialogue with native speakers

The phrases we’ve just listed will enrich your everyday dialogue in English. This is a good start, but you’ll want to continue expanding your vocabulary and reviewing words that you find tricky to remember. Using an app like Memrise will help you go further with your English learning and retain words better and for longer. Download the app and start using it now!

Step 2: Practice these phrases and say them out loud.

Don’t be shy! The best way to remember phrases you’ve just learned is to say them out loud. Say them loud in private places, like in your car on your way to work, to build your confidence. The more you express them out loud, the less shy you’ll become and the more confident you’ll be to say them in front of other English speakers.

Step 3: Immerse yourself! Netflix is your friend. 

You’ll find it very helpful to be surrounded by English when you are learning the language - what better way to do that than enjoying yourself in front of the television? Movies and TV shows are great for anyone learning a language, so make time to watch some of your favourites in English. As you listen to more and more English, you’ll naturally learn more subconsciously. You’ll start seeing the English phrases you’ve learned used in context, and even start picking up on how people would respond!

Step 4: Go speak! Find any opportunity you can to practice your phrases. 

The final step is to be brave and use any opportunity you have to practice. If you know people you can practise your English with, take as many opportunities as you can to speak with them. You’ll only get better if you put your language skills to practice. If it’s hard for you to find someone to practice your English with, the Memrise app has a pronunciation mode that will encourage you to speak out loud and even tell you if you’re pronouncing the phrases right. 

What about different English accents and pronunciations?

English is one of the most widely used languages in the world - while the basics are all the same, there are many variations of the language across the world with subtle differences. For example, if you are going to America or speaking to an American, you’ll find their accents and pronunciations for certain words different from those who are from the UK. You’ll need to develop listening skills that are specific to those regional accents as well as learn specific words and phrases.

An app like Memrise is very helpful when it comes to learning a variation of English specific to a region. It’ll teach you the vocabulary, grammar, and pronunciation (including vowel sounds) you’ll need to know that’s specific to American or British English. It’s also full of features, such as games and pronunciation exercises, that’ll help make your learning easy and fun!

Want to get started on learning English? Start with US English or UK English on Memrise now!

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The best English learning strategies involve being immersed in the language

Search the internet now, and you’ll find endless websites that all claim to be the best way to learn English. It can be confusing, but here is our advice: don’t focus too much on figuring out how to learn or perfect English grammar. Instead, learn just enough English vocabulary that can get you started on having a basic conversation, and then look for opportunities to immerse yourself in the language.

This is the best way to learn a language, whether you’ve been studying it for a while or consider yourself a foreigner to the English language, take what you know and fully immerse yourself in the language. Find as many opportunities to speak as you can. Yes, grammar is important, but once you have a grasp of basic English grammar, it’s more important to practice and connect with real life human beings. The more you learn, the more confident you’ll become!

Want to learn more? We have a great English learning aid for you (no, not worksheets!)

We’ve learned a lot of basic English on this page that will help you converse better in English, but there’s still a lot of learning to do. If you are serious about learning English, using a learning aid like Memrise, an app that’s built to help you learn and retain English, will really enhance your learning experience and will quickly boost your English vocabulary.

Memrise teaches you real-world language the locals actually use. We use audio and video clips of real locals speaking in different situations, plus proven memory techniques, to give people like you, the language skills they need to survive – and thrive – in the real world. This immersive form of language learning helps you develop real-life language competency – and is fun, fast, and addictive.

Ready to learn more? 


Learn English now