English Idiomatic Expression: “You know what I mean?”

By Robby

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If you think that the phrase “You know what I mean?” doesn’t warrant a second glance and is one of those overused phrases that one should rather eliminate from one’s vocabulary – you’d better think twice!

This expression allows us deal with situations when we’re stuck for words and we just can’t finish off a sentence, for example. If you think it’s better to say nothing and just stare at your conversation partner than say “You know what I mean?” – good for you!

Personally I will go for “You know what I mean?” over an awkward moment of silence any day, and while this phrase can indeed be overused if you get into the habit of saying it after every sentence, it’s still a great way of implying that both you and your conversation partner know what you’re talking about anyway, and any further explanations can be omitted.

Chat soon,

Robby 😉

English Idiomatic Expressions

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  • What you’re talking about is the opposite end of the scale – foreigners who CAN speak non-stop. Here on this blog I’m focusing on people who CAN’T speak fluently and get stuck for words all the time!

  • metta8

    You may want to let them know that, sometimes, pauses in speaking can be helpful. Non-stop talking can get tiresome. What you are saying does kind of explain why I have seen some foreigners seem to talk so much that it seems like they never take a chance to breathe.

  • Well, please understand that while you might not fear the moments of silence, the vast majority of us, foreigners, who are struggling with English fluency, are dreading those moments, so for us it’s definitely better to say SOMETHING!

  • metta8

    I disagree. I moment of silence is much better. I don’t fear silence but the overuse of: “You know what I mean?” is annoying.