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Conversational Phrases/W

Conversational phrases beginning with W. Select a phrase for more details.

wait a minute (1)

You can say this if you've just had an idea, or just noticed something.

wait a minute (2)

You can say this if you're questioning something or disagreeing with someone.

watch it! INFORMAL

You can say this to threaten somebody who has upset or angered you.

watch your mouth! INFORMAL

You can say this if someone has said something that's made you angry.

watch your tongue

You can say this if you want someone to stop using rude language or swear words.

watch yourself

You can say this if you want to warn somebody about a danger.

well done!

You can say this if you want to praise somebody for what they've done.

what a nerve! | you've got a nerve INFORMAL

You can say this if someone's being brave, esp. if they're challenging someone in authority or asserting their rights.

what a pity | that's a pity

You can say this if something disappointing has happened.

what about...?

You can say this when you're asking about, or reminding someone about, something or someone that hasn't been mentioned yet.

what are you waiting for?

You can say this if you want someone to do something immediately.

what do you do?

You can use this to ask someone what sort of work or study they do.

what do you know?

You can say this if you're surprised, or if you learn something you didn't know.

what do you mean?

You can say this if you're annoyed or surprised by what somebody has told you.

what do you mean? | how do you mean?

You can say this if you want somebody to explain something more fully.

what do you think you're doing? | what are you doing? INFORMAL

You can say this if you see someone doing something they shouldn't be doing.

what do you think? | what do you reckon?

You can use this to ask someone what they think about something, or if they think something's a good idea.

what do you want? | what is it? INFORMAL

This an impolite or rude way of asking someone why they've interrupted you.

what for?

You can say this if you want to know the purpose of something.

what is it now? | what now? INFORMAL

This an impolite or rude way of asking someone why they've interrupted you again.

what the hell! INFORMAL

You can say this if you're doing something you wouldn't normally allow yourself to do.

what were you thinking?

You can say this if someone's done something silly or made a mistake.

what's going on? INFORMAL

This is a more informal way of saying "What's happening?" or "What happened?".

what's got into you? | (don't know) what got into me INFORMAL

You can say this if someone's behaving badly or strangely.

what's it like? | what's he/she like?

You can say this if you want someone to describe something or someone.

what's that got to do with it?

You can say this if someone mentions something that you think is irrelevant, esp. if it annoys or offends you.

what's the big idea? INFORMAL

You can say this if someone's doing something, or has done something, that you think is wrong or bad.

what's the matter?

You can say this if someone seems sad, worried, sick, etc. and you want to know what's wrong.

what/where/who/why/how the hell...? INFORMAL

You can add "the hell" to a question if you're angry or upset.

whatever you do

You can use this for emphasis when telling someone not to do something.

when all is said and done

You can say this to put something into a larger perspective so that it doesn't seem so bad.

while you're at it INFORMAL

You can say this if you'd like someone to do something while they're doing something else.

who am I to...? | who are you to...?

You can use this to question whether you, or someone else, has the right or authority to do something.

who asked you? INFORMAL

This is a rude way of telling someone that you're not interested in what they think or say.

who can say? | who knows?

You can say this if no-one knows the answer to a question, esp. one about the future.

who cares? INFORMAL

You can say this if you think something isn't important or doesn't matter.

who says? INFORMAL

You can say this if you disagree with what someone has said.

who wants to...? INFORMAL

You can say this when suggesting something to more than one person.

who wants...? INFORMAL

You can say this when offering something to more than one person.

why not? INFORMAL

You can say this to show you agree with a suggestion or accept an offer.

why should I? | why should we? INFORMAL

You can say this if you're annoyed about being told to do something.

will do INFORMAL

You can say this to let someone know you'll do what they've asked you to do.

won't do British English FORMAL

You can say this if you think a situation, or someone's behaviour, isn't good enough or isn't acceptable.

would be better off

You can use this when giving advice, or when saying what you think someone should do.

would it be OK if I...? | would it be all right if I...? INFORMAL

This is an informal way of asking for permission to do something.

would just as soon

You can say this if you, or somebody else, would be just as happy doing something else instead of what was suggested or planned.

would you be so kind as to...? | would you be kind enough to...? British English FORMAL

This a very polite and formal way of asking somebody to do something.

would you mind if I...? FORMAL

This is a polite way of asking for permission to do something.

would you mind...? FORMAL

This is a polite way of asking somebody to do something.

wouldn't dream of | would never dream of INFORMAL

You can say this to emphasize that you, or somebody else, would never do something.

Contributor: Matt Errey