Essential Three Word Phrases for English Conversations


The English language is rich with various three-word phrases that are commonly used in everyday conversations. Understanding and using these expressions can make your speech more natural and engaging. Let’s explore some of these popular three-word phrases and how they are used in context.


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Two Word Phrases for English Conversations


Three-word phrases in English


Here are ten common English expressions, along with an explanation and example sentence.


  1. Black and white
  2. Dos and don’ts
  3. Haves and have nots
  4. Ins and outs
  5. Kiss and tell
  6. Odds and ends
  7. P’s and Q’s
  8. Pros and cons
  9. Rights and wrongs
  10. Tried and tested


  • Black and white = something which is extremely clear.

The contract was written in black and white, leaving no room for interpretation.


  • Dos and don’ts = the rules.

The safety manual outlines the dos and don’ts of operating the machinery.


  • Haves and have nots = people who are rich and those who are not.

The divide between the haves and have nots is becoming more apparent in society.


  • Ins and outs = the details.

I’m still learning the ins and outs of this new software.


  • Kiss and tell = when someone sells a story of themselves and a famous person.

The gossip magazine published another kiss and tell story about a couple.


  • Odds and ends = small pieces of various items.

I cleared out the attic and found a bunch of odds and ends I’d forgotten about.


  • P’s and Q’s = manners (such as please and thank you).

He was raised to mind his P’s and Q’s and always be respectful.


  • Pros and cons = advantages and disadvantages.

We weighed the pros and cons carefully before deciding to move to a new city.


  • Rights and wrongs = all the good points and bad points of a situation.

It’s important to consider the rights and wrongs of a situation before making a judgment.


  • Tried and tested = something which has been well tested.

Baking soda is a tried and tested remedy for heartburn.


Here are ten more expressions:


  1. Ups and downs
  2. Come and go
  3. Back and forth
  4. Dribs and drabs
  5. Said and done
  6. Cat and mouse
  7. Trial and error
  8. Flesh and blood
  9. Down and out
  10. By and large


  • Ups and downs = very good times and very bad times.

She anticipated both ups and downs in her entrepreneurial journey.


  • Come and go = use somewhere as your base.

Visitors are welcome to come and go as they please during the open house event.


  • Back and forth = not to stay still, but to keep traveling between two places.

The children were shuttled back and forth between school and home.


  • Dribs and drabs = not a steady amount of something.

The donations came in dribs and drabs, but eventually, they reached their fundraising goal.


  • Said and done = to have the final word on something.

Once said and done, the decision cannot be reversed.


  • Cat and mouse = doing something in the same way that a cat plays with a mouse.

The spy played a cat and mouse game with the enemy agents.


  • Trial and error = to do something new by making experiments and occasionally failing.

Learning to cook involves a lot of trial and error before you perfect a recipe.


  • Flesh and blood = your family.

He would do anything to protect his flesh and blood.


  • Down and out = someone who has no money at all who has to live on the street.

After losing his job, he felt like he was down and out with nowhere to turn.


  • By and large = generally.

By and large, the feedback on the new product was positive.


Further ten expressions:


  • Up and running = in operation.

The website is now up and running smoothly after the maintenance.


  • Noughts and crosses = a game where you take it in turns to put your symbol (either a nought or a cross) into one of nine spaces. The idea is to have a row of either three noughts or three crosses, but your opponent tries to block you.


  • Bring and buy = a fair where people try to raise money for a cause by bringing something that other people might want to buy.

Don’t forget to bake something special for the annual bring and buy event at the community center.


  • Hide and seek = a children’s game where one child hides and the others try to find him / her.

The kids loved playing hide and seek in the spacious garden during the family picnic.


  • Around and about = a vague phrase to avoid saying where you have been exactly.

I’ve been around and about all day, running errands and catching up with friends.


  • To and fro = another way of saying “back and forth”.

The kids were running to and fro in the playground, full of energy.


  • Over and out = something you say to show you have come to the end of your message.

This is the control tower, over and out.


  • Done and dusted = properly finished.

Once the exams are done and dusted, we can finally relax.


  • Dead and buried = something that will not happen.

The rumors of a company merger are now dead and buried.


  • Wine and dine = to entertain someone lavishly.

We were wined and dined by our clients at a fancy restaurant.


  • Bread and butter = your main source of income, or the most important issue.

Our bread and butter is providing high-quality customer service.


  • Spick and span = very tidy and clean.

The kitchen was spick and span after she finished cleaning.


  • Wheel and deal = to make deals when buying and selling things.

He’s a skilled wheeler and dealer, always getting the best deals.



By incorporating these expressions into your speech, you can sound more fluent and natural while conveying your thoughts effectively. So, remember to practice these phrases and incorporate them into your daily interactions to become a more confident English speaker!



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