American phrase words - letter Z
American phrase words starting with letter Z

Expressions Beginning with Z

In this lesson, we cover essential American phrases and expressions that start with letter Z with examples. You can use them in your daily conversations. Just follow examples and write them down a few times to learn them very well.

Expression Recap

In our previous lesson, we covered American Phrases Beginning with Y.


Word of the Day: X/Y/Z


x marks the spot: this is the place where you can find something.

A: Where are we supposed to dig?

B: Over there. X marks the spot.


you bet / you betcha: 1. yes; you’re right; absolutely. 2. you’re welcome (this expression has two different meanings depending on the situation).

A: Thanks for helping me.

B: You bet. (2)


A: Is Sarah really going to do what she said she would do?

B: You betcha she is. (1)


you bet your life: you’re correct (this expression is very similar to “you bet.”)

A: Wow, she’s hot.*

B: You bet your life she is.

* hot: attractive; good-looking


you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink: you can’t force a person (or an animal) to do something.


you can say that again: I agree with you; that’s correct.

A: That jet is moving really fast.

B: You can say that again.


you can’t make an omelet without breaking a few eggs: some things are going to go wrong, or mistakes will be made when you want to accomplish a goal.


you can’t take it with you: when you die, you can’t take your worldly possessions: money, jewelry, electronic stuff, etc.

Some people try to spend every last dime before they die because you can’t take it with you.


you can’t win them all: you can’t win every single time there’s a competition; you can’t always expect success.

Jennifer was disappointed that she lost her tennis match, but you can’t win them all.


you get what you pay for: the amount of money that you pay for something often matches the thing or service that you receive.

A: This vacuum cleaner doesn’t work.

B: Well, you only paid about $30 for it. You get what you pay for.


you never can tell: it’s hard to predict the future; identifying something isn’t easy.

When you go to a casino, you never can tell if you’re going to be lucky and win a lot of money or be unlucky and lose a lot of money.


you’re telling me: I agree with you.

A: That’s a big fish!

B: You’re telling me!


your guess is as good as mine: I’m not sure; I don’t know.

A: What kind of a duck is that?

B: I don’t know. You’re guess is as good as mine.


you said it: you’re right; I agree.

A: He has a great hand!

B: You said it!

hand: cards (This is a word commonly used when playing poker. If you have a good hand, your cards are good.)


you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours: if you help me, I’ll help you.


zero in on: to identify; to mark a point in the distance.

Once he zeroed in on the enemy, he fired his weapon.


zoom in on someone or something: get closer, usually with a camera; look over there and try to get closer.

Hey, zoom in on that girl in the blue shirt. She’s hot.


Related Expression Lessons


English Expression Outline

If you wish to see all HiCafe lessons related to English expressions and phrases, you can visit the Popular and Practical American Phrases page.