20 Expressions with “Say” in English

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In everyday English, various expressions using the word “say” enrich our conversations and writing. This post explores 20 common idioms and phrasal verbs that feature the word “say,” providing their meanings and examples to help you understand and use them effectively.

Expressions with “Say”

1. Say your piece

Meaning: To say what you are eager or determined to say.

Example: Go ahead and say your piece, we are all listening.

2. Say the word

Meaning: To give a command or an instruction; just ask.

Example: If you need help, just say the word, and I’ll be there.

3. That is to say

Meaning: In other words; clarifying something previously mentioned.

Example: He was late, that is to say, he missed the first part of the meeting.

4. Say no more

Meaning: Indicates that one understands what another is implying without needing further explanation.

Example: I understand the situation perfectly—say no more.

5. You don’t say!

Meaning: An expression of surprise in response to a statement, often used sarcastically.

Example: “I actually met the author in person last week!” “You don’t say!”

6. Say cheese

Meaning: Used to tell someone to smile just before taking a photograph.

Example: Everyone, look here and say cheese!

7. Never say die

Meaning: Never give up hope.

Example: We might be losing now, but never say die!

8. Say goodbye

Meaning: To bid farewell.

Example: It’s time to say goodbye to all our guests.

9. Easier said than done

Meaning: More difficult to do than to talk about.

Example: Starting your own business is easier said than done.

10. Say your prayers

Meaning: Used to imply that someone is in such trouble that only divine help can save them.

Example: We’re completely unprepared for this test—say your prayers!

11. Say it ain’t so

Meaning: Used to express hope that something is not true.

Example: “They’re canceling the show next month.” “Say it ain’t so!”

12. Say for certain

Meaning: To state with confidence or assert something as fact.

Example: I can’t say for certain if they’ll arrive on time.

13. What do you say?

Meaning: A way of making an invitation or suggestion.

Example: We’re going to the beach this weekend. What do you say?

14. Goes without saying

Meaning: Obvious or self-evident.

Example: It goes without saying that honesty is the best policy.

15. I must say

Meaning: Used to express strong feelings, surprise, or admiration.

Example: I must say, your work has greatly improved.

16. Say your name

Meaning: To formally present oneself.

Example: As you enter the interview room, don’t forget to say your name.

17. Can’t say I do

Meaning: To not remember or not know.

Example: “Do you recall meeting him at the event?” “Can’t say I do.”

18. Who’s to say?

Meaning: Used to express uncertainty about something.

Example: Who’s to say what the right decision is in this case?

19. Say what you will

Meaning: No matter what you say; suggesting allowance for differing opinions.

Example: Say what you will about his methods, but his results are impressive.

20. Having said that

Meaning: Used to introduce a statement that contrasts with what has been said before.

Example: He tends to be quite serious. Having said that, he can be really funny in the right company.


10 Idioms Starting with “DON’T”

Expressions with “Say”

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