If you want to communicate with confidence, you need to speak like a native does. Today I will show you 5 common British phrases that you can use to speak more like a native. They will also help you understand native speakers in more situations so it is a win-win.

British Idioms To Help you Sound More Natural

Knock into shape

This British idiom means to take some kind of action to improve a situation or to get someone to improve or act in a better way.

For example:

  • After my English teacher knocked our class into shape, all of our test scores got better.
  • We need got to knock this trip into shape – it has been proper boring so far!

Like it or lump it

This phrase means that you need to accept a bad situation because there is nothing you can do to change it

For example:

  • Like it or lump it, if you want to live in the UK, you need to learn British English.
  • I know you are sad, but you have to get over it. Like it or lump it, she left you and she’s not coming back.

To run its course

This one basically means something has naturally come to an end. Someone hasn’t chosen to end it, it has just naturally come to an end on its own.

You can say things like:

  • The doctor advised me to let the fever run its course. Just recover in bed.
  • They both agreed that their relationship had run its course and decided to split up.

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Go down like a lead balloon

This British idiom is great when you said or did was not very well received or liked. It was a complete failure

For example:

  • I tried to tell a joke during my presentation and it went down like a lead balloon.
  • Their new album has gone down like a lead balloon with their fans.

To lick your wounds

To spend time trying to recover from a bad situation. This can be physical like an injury or it can be emotional like bad experience.


  • He was licking his wounds after his all of his test results were less than 50%
  • The team spend the week licking its wounds after getting battered by their rivals in the final.

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