Essential Two Word Phrases for English Conversations


In everyday conversation, two-word phrases are widely used to express various ideas and situations. These phrases often carry a specific meaning that may not be immediately apparent from the individual words alone. Let’s explore some common two-word phrases and their contexts in spoken English.


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Two Word Phrases in English


Here are 15 of the most common two word phrases:


  • So-so = OK.

How was the movie?

It was so-so – the plot was interesting, but the pacing was a bit slow.


  • On-off = not constant.

Their internet connection is so on-off – it’s frustrating when it cuts out randomly.


  • Love-hate = having feelings for someone / something which swing from love to hate.

I have a love-hate relationship with summer – I love the sun but hate the heat.


  • Mish-mash = when things are combined together and so appear untidy.

The new restaurant menu is a mish-mash of different cuisines, offering everything from sushi to burgers.


  • Riff-raff = quite a ‘snobby’ expression to describe people you think are lower in class than you.

Let’s keep this event exclusive, we don’t want any riff-raff causing trouble.


  • Chit-chat = small talk or unimportant conversation.

During the meeting, there was a lot of chit-chat before we got down to business.


  • Knick-knack = an ornament.

Her shelves were filled with knick-knacks collected from her travels around the world.


  • Ship-shape = everything in its right place.

Before guests arrive, I want the house to be ship-shape with everything in its proper place.


  • Zig-zag = diagonally.

The motorcycle navigated the winding road with sharp zig-zag turns.


  • Ding-dong = an argument.

After the disagreement, there was quite a ding-dong between the neighbors.


  • Higgledy-piggledy = in a mess.

The toys in the playroom were all higgledy-piggledy, scattered everywhere.


  • Wishy-washy = weak opinion, argument or person.

Her stance on the issue seemed wishy-washy and indecisive.


  • Easy-peasey = something that children often say to emphasise how easy something is.

Learning to ride a bike was easy-peasey for him – he got the hang of it in no time.


  • Flip-flops = rubber sandals with a thong that goes between your big and second toe.

I packed my flip-flops for the beach vacation to walk along the sand.


  • See-saw = something that goes up and down (like the piece of wood in a playground – a child sits on each end and these ends go up an down).

The prices of the stock market have been see-sawing over the past month.



From describing relationships to expressing opinions, these expressions offer a fun and effective way to enhance your English vocabulary. So, go ahead and start using these phrases – you’ll be surprised at how much they can brighten your conversations!


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