How to Speak English Tips

Many of our clients at Accent Pros, who are interested in learning how to speak English with an American accent, have advanced degrees and have excellent command of the English language. Given the evolving state of the English language; however, they may not understand informal slang and phrases that are regularly used in the workplace, and on various popular social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter. Occasionally our clients will understand the meaning of an idiom, but use it in an improper context, which could potentially have embarrassing consequences when learning how to speak English. In our continuing efforts to feature only the most relevant and practical terms when helping you on your accent reduction goals, here are three commonly used American name phrases that have become standard shorthand in the workplace.


How to Speak English Name Phrase 1 – Average Joe

Definition: This is a phrase used to describe an average and ordinary citizen.

how to speak EnglishExample: What do I know about living a grand life since I am just an average Joe and I am happy with it.

Origin: The phrase “average Joe” is sometimes used in different forms like “Joe Sixpack.” This phrase came to be because “Joe” refers to the average man and the word “average” was added to drive home the point. It originated from the 19th century.


How to Speak English Name Phrase 2 – Chatty Cathy

Definition: This is a term that is used to refer to people (usually women) who tend to talk a lot.

Example: She really dominated the conversation today! Who knew that quiet-looking girl is actually a chatty Cathy? how to speak English

Origin: This term has a very funny origin because it came from a toy. In 1959, the toy company Mattel came out with a doll they called Chatty Cathy. The doll was programmed to spit out phrases at random when the string at its back was pulled. There really is no clear record of when the phrase was first used to refer to overly chatty people but it had to be after 1959.


How to Speak English Name Phrase 3 – Cool Hand Luke

Definition: The term is used to denote when someone is a social deviant, or is acting contrary to what society accepts.

how to speak EnglishExample: That guy really does unusual things; he’s the Cool Hand Luke of our day!

Origin: The term came about from a film starring Paul Newman that came out in 1967. In it, Paul Newman plays a guy who is sent to jail for stealing the heads off meters. He is standoffish and aloof but he wins over people anyway and thus earned the “cool” label among his fellow inmates.

How to Speak English name phrases series

Accent Pros has a continuing series on how to speak English tips, including common English phrases and American idioms.  Be sure to check out other blog posts to find your favorites. Ready for a complimentary accent reduction tutorial or a free accent screening?  Check out our on-line accent reduction courses  available to students with accent reduction goals all over the world. For consistent access to our idioms series and other how to speak English tips Like us on Facebook or Follow us on Twitter