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 Elementary, My Dear Watson

Definition: It means that something is easy to understand or solve.

Example: The solution to this problem is very clear. It’s elementary, my dear Watson. how to speak English

Origin: The line was used in movies featuring Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s most beloved character, Sherlock Holmes. Although the actual line was not used in any of the books, Holmes does address his assistant as “my dear Watson” in several instances. The phrase was first used in 1915 in Psmith, Journalist by P.G. Wodehouse.



How to Speak English Name Phrase 2 – Jerry-rigged

Definition: To fix something carelessly or without thorough planning.

Example: He jerry-rigged the machine just so it can be used temporarily.

Origin: During World War II, “Jerry” was a slang term used to refer to Germans. Because time and equipment were a luxury during those times, they often ended up making things work in unconventional ways using whatever they can find. This is how those who found these carelessly repaired machines started saying that things were “jerry-rigged.”  how to speak English


How to Speak English Name Phrase 3 – Don’t know from Adam

Definition: To say that you are unacquainted with a person or would not know anything about them.

Example: He greets me everytime I see him in the hallway, but I don’t know him from Adam. how to speak English

Origin: The origin of this term remains unknown although there are a number of similar idioms used over the years, all with the same meaning. Some variations include “not know from Adam’s off ox” or “not know from Adam’s housecat.” The use of the name “Adam” gives reference to any man as taken from Adam’s role in the Bible. The phrase in itself shows distance from the person that you may have no inkling about who they are, where they came from, or how you are related.

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[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]