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Everyday English expressions with SAY

Hi there! How many times a day do you say “say”? Well, if you speak English, then you must use the word quite a lot. In today’s lesson, we’ll look at 16 commonly used, everyday English expressions with SAY.

The expressions are as follows:

  • I would say
  • I must say
  • Having said that
  • Say when
  • That is to say
  • Wouldn’t say boo to a goose
  • It goes without saying
  • To say the least
  • Say no more
  • You don’t say
  • If I may say so
  • Whatever you say
  • Well said
  • Easier said than done
  • Something says a lot about something/someone
  • Say something (straight) to someone’s face

Everyday English expressions with SAY

I would say

Use the phrase to give your opinion.

  • I would say the woman is in her forties. I’m not quite sure from this distance though.
  • The party last night was very well organized, except for the food, I’d say. 

I must say

Use the phrase to emphasize.

  • I must say your offer is quite tempting.
  • I must say that the news made me really sad.

Everyday English expressions with SAY

Having said that

Use it to say that something is true despite what you previously said.

  • My grandpa is becoming forgetful. But, having said that, he remembers our birthdays.
  • Of course, you should exercise and eat healthily. Having said that, however, don’t forget to relax and have fun from time to time.

Say when

Use it to tell someone to stop pouring a drink into your glass or serving food.

  • I’ll put some buffet food on your plate. Say when (you want me to stop).
  • I’m pouring coffee into your mug. Say when!
Everyday English expressions with SAY
Everyday English expressions with SAY

That is to say

Use it to give more details or to correct a previous statement.

  • Our relatives, that is to say, our uncle and aunt, are meeting us in front of the theatre.
  • Sorry, but I must correct you – that tennis player has never won any championships, that is to say, he’s never been a tennis star.

Everyday English expressions with SAY

Wouldn’t say boo to a goose

This expression describes a shy person.

  • Alice is so quiet and shy that she wouldn’t say boo to a goose.
  • Back in high school, Peter wouldn’t say boo to a goose. He’s a  popular rock star now; who’d say it’s the same person?

It goes without saying

Use the phrase to say that something is clear without explanation.

  • Of course, it goes without saying that we will pay you for all your overtime work.
  • It goes without saying that we all must obey the law and teach our children to do so.

To say the least

Use it to say that something is more serious than you suggested.

  • The citizens were surprised by Mayor’s speech, to say the least.
  • What you did was quite thoughtful, to say the least.

Everyday English expressions with SAY

Say no more

Use it to tell someone that you understand and there is no need to explain any further.

  • “When we get to the party, don’t talk about work”, “Say no more. I’ll talk about the holiday.”
  • “Have you seen Clare?” “She asked me if I’d seen her umbrella a few minutes ago.” “Say no more. She’s left for work.”

 You don’t say

Use the phrase to show you’re surprised.

  • Have you heard that there was a horrible accident last night?” “You don’t say! Where was it?”
  • I saw Sandra holding hands with another man.” You don’t say! Who was he?”

Everyday English expressions with SAY

If I may say so

Use the expression to be polite after you’d said something that could be offensive.

  • You are not exactly a person we’re looking for this job, if I may say so. We need someone more experienced.
  • If I may say so, that information is incorrect.

Whatever you say

Use the phrase to tell someone that you agree with their suggestion, especially if you don’t want to argue.

  • “I think it’s a good idea to visit my mother for the weekend. I haven’t seen her for quite some time.” “Whatever you say.
  • “Will you please, change the channel? I want to watch the film.” “Whatever you say.

Everyday English expressions with SAY

Well said!

Use it to say that you approve and agree with what someone said.

  • “Very well said, Tom!” said the teacher. “I couldn’t agree more.”
  • “I think the negotiations are the best way to go.” “Well said, Malcolm. Any other suggestions?”

Easier said than done

Use it to say that something is complicated or difficult to do.

  • Finding good and cheap accommodation in August on the Mediterranean coast is easier said than done.
  • It is so difficult to lose 10 kilos in a month on this diet. It’s easier said than done. Besides, it may not be very healthy.

Something says a lot about something/someone

Use the phrase to express or show something clearly.

  • Ryan is an eager student and a kind and polite person, which says a lot about him.
  • Tess believes that people’s horoscopes say a lot about them.

Everyday English expressions with SAY

Say something (straight) to someone’s face

The phrase refers to saying something unpleasant directly to someone.

  • Her dressing style is terrible, although I’d never say it to her face.
  • If you have something to say, say it straight to my face; don’t go around and gossip about me.
Everyday English expressions with SAY
Everyday English expressions with SAY

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