As you begin the process of learning how to speak English with a neutral standardized accent, don’t be surprised if you suddenly become more keenly aware of social cues and how you interact with friends, family, and co-workers on a regular basis. Are you naturally friendly and quick to greet people with a “hello” or “good morning.”, even if you don’t know them? Or are you an introvert, refusing to utter even a single word in acknowledgement of the new day until you’ve had a rejuvenating cup of coffee?

Indeed, working on how to speak English more clearly involves more than just conditioning your lips and tongue to work together to produce specific sounds at a moment’s notice. It also requires an individual to do a complete self assessment of their personality and how it is communicated to others through their accent, while also considering the current state of their English vocabulary. Regardless of how well you are able to express your thoughts and ideas in English it always pays to be aware of slang terms from other languages and dialects. Here are 12 terms common to British English.


how to speak English - CheerioA way of saying goodbye.

Example: I’m running late for my next appointment, so cheerio for now.

Cheesed off

The British counterpart of “pissed off”.

Example: I am extremely cheesed off that he stood me up for the second time this week.



Example: I was really chuffed with the way she behaved today.

Clear off!

Get lost!

Example: He asked the rowdy boys to clear off and threatened to call the cops.


What Americans would refer to as baloney.

Example: What she’s saying is a load of codswallop. She doesn’t even have any evidence to prove her claim!


Something that cannot be trusted.

Example: It’s a good thing they warned her that the area was dodgy before she could pay the deposit for the house.



Example: She’s still engaged at the moment, so I’ll call her back later.



Example: Why did he have to filch when his parents are actually well off?


Two weeks.

Example: I had to wait for a fortnight before the director got back to me about my audition.

Full of beans

Full of energy.

Example: That kid is so full of beans, it’s amazing how his parents catch up to him.


Horseplay or fooling around.

Example: His grandmother threw them out of the house the instant they started gallivanting. how to speak English - Gallivanting


To look around.

Example: It’s my first time here at the flea market, so I’ll go out for a gander.

How to Speak English: British phrases series

Accent Pros has a number of ongoing article series on how to speak English, including information on common British 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