American Phrases

  1. Act your age!Behave more maturely! (a rebuke for someone who is acting childish. Often said to a child who is acting like an even younger child.)
    Jonny was squirming around and pinching his sister. His mother finally said, “Jonny, act your age!”
    Child: Aw, come on! Let me see your book! Mary: Be quiet and act your age. Don’t be such a boy.
  2. After while(, crocodile)Good-bye till later; See you later. (The word crocodile is used only for the sake of the rhyme. It is the response to See you later, alligator.) 
    Mary: See you later. Bill: After while, crocodile.
  3. Age before beautya comical and slightly rude way of encouraging someone to go ahead of oneself; a comical, teasing, and slightly grudging way of indicating that someone else should or can go first. 
    As they approached the door, Bob laughed and said to Bill, “Age before beauty.” “No, no. Please, you take the next available seat,” smiled Tom. “Age before beauty, you know.”
  4. All in all and all things considered; on balance a transition indicating a summary, a generalization, or the announcement of a conclusion.
    All in all, this was a fine evening.
    “Our time at the conference was well spent, all in all,” thought Fred.
    Bill: How did it go? Alice: On balance, it went quite well.
    Bob: Did the play turn a profit? Fred: I suppose that we made a nice profit, all things considered.
  5. Allow me and Permit me – a polite way of announcing that one is going to assist someone, unasked. (Typically said by a man assisting a woman by opening a door, lighting a cigarette, or providing support or aid in moving about. In Allow me, the stress is usually on me. In Permit me, the stress is usually on mit.) 
    Tom and Jane approached the door. “Allow me,” said Tom, grabbing the doorknob.
    “Permit me,” said Fred, pulling out a gold-plated lighter and lighting Jane’s cigarette.
  6. All right already! and All righty already!an impatient way of indicating agreement or acquiescence. (The second version is more comical than rude. Dated but still used.
    Alice: All right already! Stop pushing me! Mary: I didn’t do anything!
    Bill: Come on! Get over here! Bob: All righty already! Don’t rush me!
  7. All systems are goan indication that everything is ready or that things are going along as planned
    Bill: Can we leave now? Is the car gassed up and ready? Tom: All systems are go. Let’s get going.
    Sally: Are you all rested up for the track meet? Mary: Yes. All systems are go.
  8. All the more reason for doing something and all the more reason to do somethingwith even better reason or cause for doing something. 
    Bill: I don’t do well in calculus because I don’t like the stuff. Father: All the more reason for working harder at it.
    Bob: I’m tired of painting this fence. It’s so old it’s rotting! Sally: All the more reason to paint it.
  9. And how!an enthusiastic indication of agreement
    Mary: Wasn’t that a great game? Didn’t you like it? Sally: And how!
    Bob: Hey, man! Don’t you just love this pizza? Tom: And how!
  10. Any friend of someone(‘s) (is a friend of mine)I am pleased to meet a friend of someone. (A response when meeting or being introduced to a friend of a friend.) 
    Fred: Well, nice to meet you Tom. Any friend of my brother is a friend of mine. Tom: Thanks, Fred. Nice to meet you too.
    John: Thank you so much for helping me. Sally: You’re welcome. Any friend of Sue’s.
  11. Anything new down your way? – Has any interesting event happened where you live? (Rural and familiar) 
    Bill: Anything new down your way? Bob: Nothing worth talking about.
    Mary: Hi, Sally. Anything new down your way? Sally: No, what’s new with you?
  12. (Are) things getting you down?Are things bothering you? 
    Jane: Gee, May, you look sad. Are things getting you down? Mary: Yeah. Jane: Cheer up! Mary: Sure.
    Tom: What’s the matter, Bob? Things getting you down? Bob: No, I’m just a little tired.
  13. (Are you) going my way?If you are traveling in the direction of my destination, could I please go with you or can I have a ride in your car? 
    Mary: Are you going my way? Sally: Sure. Get in.
    “Going my way?” said Tom as he saw Mary get into her car.
  14. (Are you) leaving so soon? and You leaving so soon? – a polite inquiry made to a guest who has announced a departure. (Appropriate only for the first few guests to leave. It would seem sarcastic to say this to the last guest to leave or to one who is leaving very late at night.) 
    Sue: We really must go. Sally: Leaving so soon? Sue: Fred has to catch a plane at five in the morning.
    John(seeing Tom at the door): You leaving so soon? Tom: Yes, thanks for inviting me. I really have to go. John: Well, good night, then.
  15. (Are you) ready for this?a way of presenting a piece of news or information that is expected to excite or surprise the person spoken to. 
    Tom: Boy, do I have something to tell you! Are you ready fro this? Mary: Sure. Let me have it!
    Tom: Now, here’s a great joke! Are you ready for this? It is so funny! Alice: I can hardly wait.
  16. (Are you) sorry you asked?Now that you have heard (the unpleasant answer), do you regret having asked the question? (Compare to You’ll be sorry you asked.) 
    Father: How are you doing in school? Bill: I’m flunking out. Sorry you asked?
    Mother: You’ve been looking a little down lately. Is there anything wrong? Bill: I probably have mono. Are you sorry you asked?
  17. (as) far as I know and to the best of my knowledgea signal of basic, but not well-informed agreement with an indication that the speaker’s knowledge may not be adequate. 
    Tom: Is this brand of computer any good? Clerk: This is the very best one there is as far as I know.
    Fred: Are the trains on time? Clerk: To the best of my knowledge, all the trains are on time today.
    Bill: Are we just about there? Tom: Far as I know.
  18. (as) far as I’m concerned 1. from my point of view; as concerns my interests
    Bob: Isn’t this cake good? Alice: Yes, indeed. This is the best cake I have ever eaten as far as I’m concerned.
    Tom: I thing I’d better go. Bob: As far as I’m concerned, you all can leave now.
    2. Okay, as it concerns my interests
    Alice: Can I send this package on to your sister? John: As far as I’m concerned.
    Jane: Do you mind if I put this coat in the closet? John: Far as I’m concerned. It’s not mine.
  19. As I see it and in my opinion; in my viewthe way I think about it. 
    Tom: This matter is not bad as some would make it out to be. Alice: Yes. This whole affair has been overblown, as I see it.
    Bob: You’re as wrong as can be. John: In my view, you are wrong.
  20. As it is the way things are; the way it is now 
    “I wish I could get a better job,” remarked Tom. “I’m just getting by as it is.”
    Mary: Can we afford a new refrigerator? Fred: As it is, it would have to be a very small one.


  1. Thank you, it was an enjoyable and informative read.

    I didn’t get what “Age before beauty” means and how it’s used.

    And also, I once read “All systems go” in PC Magazine. Was it a typo?

    Liked by 1 person

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