10+ Helpful Phrases to Learn Before You Study in USA

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helpful usa phrases

The USA is one of the most popular destinations to study abroad. Every year thousands of students visit the USA to pursue their education. However, students often face a small hurdle of language in the USA. Even though English is a global language known to many yet there are some native phrases that are difficult for international students to understand. The blog is curated to provide you with helpful USA phrases you must know before visiting the country. Continue reading the blog for more information. 

Also Read: MBA in USA for Indian Students

General Phrases

The following are some general helpful USA phrases that students should know:

  • Get Your Ducks in a Row – It is quite a common phrase used by Americans. Getting your ducks in a row means getting your affairs or tasks in order. It implies the sense of being organized with whatever task you are handling to make sure the details are managed responsibly. For example, Before planning your weekend getaway, you should get your ducks in a row.
  • Piece of Cake  – If you have related the meaning of the phrase with something sweet or actually getting a piece of then the meaning of the phrase will take you back a moment. The actual meaning of “A piece of Cake” is something, a task or action that is quite easy to do. For example, Writing an essay on ‘struggles of a student’ is a piece of cake. 
  • Cost an Arm and a Leg – Be assured that the meaning of this phrase is nowhere near related to cutting and selling your arm and a leg. No, the meaning of the phrase denotes something that is quite expensive. For example, 
  • Hit the Nail on the Head – Hit the Nail on the Head implies the sense that you have captured something precisely or have done something in the exact right way. The phrase denotes the rewarding feeling of swinging the hammer and the hit the nail on the exact spot. For example, Yes you have hit the nail on the head with this task. 
  • A Dime a Dozen – It is used to describe something that is cheap and common. It generally describes something that is easy to find and easily obtained. For example, Software engineers in Silicon Valley are a dime and a dozen. 
  • Hit the Books – Hit the books simply translates to going to study. For example, I am going to hit the books as exams are approaching.
  • Putting the Cart before the Horse – This phrase refers to rushing into something without thinking. It implies that the action is done out of order. For example, Investing in stock without prior research is putting a cart before the horse.
  • Playing the Hardball – The meaning of playing hardball is that you are going to use tactics and not going to take it easy to win. For Example, you are playing hardball to win this deal. 
  • Under the Weather  – This is quite a common phrase that is used to describe that someone is not feeling well. For example, I will miss today’s session as I am feeling a bit under the weather.
  • Think Outside the Box – Thinking out of the box means thinking in a unique way, to think creatively,  that is not standardized or boring as usual. For example, You must think out of the box to write this story 

Also Read: Top Universities in USA for Higher Education

The Phrase You Might Use With Your Friends

The following phrases are more commonly used by students or in a conversation with friends:

  • Put up Your Dukes – To be prepared to fight by holding up your wrists
  • Shoot the Breeze – To indulge in frivolous talk i.e that is not important 
  • It’s Not Rocket Science – It’s not rocket science means something that is not as difficult to understand as rocket science: something that is easily understandable 
  • Break a Leg  – It is generally used to wish someone to be great in their course of action
  • For the Birds – For the birds implies something that is worthless or trivial
  • Behind the Eight Ball  – The phrase behind the eight ball is used to describe that someone is in a difficult situation
  • Monday Morning Quarterback  – Monday morning quarterback is the term used for people who generally second guess their actions or decisions 
  • Don’t Cry Over Spilt Milk – Simply, the phrase implies the sense of not worrying about something that cannot be fixed
  • Jump on a Bandwagon – This phrase means that someone is joining or supporting an action because of the popularity of the activity or the trend
  • To Hang out  – It is a highly popular phrase among students that is used to ask someone to spend some leisure or chill time together. 

Also Read: English Vocabulary – Ways to Improve


What are the popular American phrases?

The following are the popular American phrases:
Shoot the Breeze
What’s Up
A piece of Cake

How can I improve my knowledge of American phrases?

The following are the ways to improve your knowledge of American phrases:
Read books written by American authors
Watch American shows and movies
Follow American content on youtube

What are the common American phrases among students?

The following are the common American phrases among students:
Wanna Hang Out
Put Up Your Dukes
It’s Not Rocket Science

We hope that this blog has provided you with relevant information on 10 Helpful Phrases to Learn Before You Travel to Study Abroad in USA. And if you wish to study abroad, contact Leverage Edu for full assistance. You can also call us at 1800572000 and book a free session today!

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