English two-word phrases


In spoken English, we often use two-word phrases, such as "bye-bye". Here are some of the more common two word phrases.

so-so = OK: "How was the meeting?" "So-so – it was nice to see everyone, but we didn't get anything decided."

on-off = not constant: "They have a very on-off relationship."

love-hate = having feelings for someone / something which swing from love to hate: "I have a bit of a love-hate relationship with my car."

mish-mash = when things are combined together and so appear untidy: "The new policy is a bit of a mish-mash of the last two policies we've had."

riff-raff = quite a 'snobby' expression to describe people you think are lower in class than you: "Lets send out invitations for the party. We don't want the town's riff-raff turning up and eating all the food."

chit-chat = small talk or unimportant conversation: "He asked us to stop our chit-chat and get on with our work."

knick-knack = an ornament: "She's got a lot of knick-knacks – I'm always afraid I'm going to break one."

ship-shape = everything in its right place: "I want to leave the place ship-shape when we go on holiday."

zig-zag = diagonally: "He lost control of the car and it zig-zagged across the road."

ding-dong = an argument: "They've had a bit of a ding-dong and they're not talking to each other at the moment."

higgledy-piggledy = in a mess: "That bookshelf is all higgledy-piggledy!"

wishy-washy = weak opinion, argument or person: "His argument is a bit wishy-washy – I don't get the impression that he really knows what he wants to think."

easy-peasey = something that children often say to emphasise how easy something is: "This program is easy-peasey – I understood it in half an hour!"

flip-flops = rubber sandals with a thong that goes between your big and second toe: "I lived in my flip-flops when I was staying on the beach."

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 English pound has see-sawed against the American dollar for the last two weeks."


If you enjoyed this article, please say thanks with a +1




Your Name


Your Email (not published)


Your Comment






Get FREE English Updates


Like to learn English? Join 12,800+ readers who get our newsletter.
We won't share your email address and you can unsubscribe any time.