Articles, Blog

How to Make Plans with Friends in English—Australian vs. American English

December 3, 2019

Hi, I’m Annemarie with Speak Confident English and welcome to this week’s Confident English lesson where I’m
joined by Kelly. Kelly is going to chat with me today about making plans with
friends in English and we’re going to compare Australian English and American
English but before we get into that, for those of you who have not joined me for
Fluency School this year or if you’re not in one of my courses then Kelly
might be new to you but she is not new to Speak Confident English. She actually
joined us back in March and Kelly works with me in Fluency School and in the
Advanced Conversation course. So Kelly before we start talking about how we
both make plans with friends in English and compare your Australian English and
my American English will you give us a quick overview of who you are.
Absolutely, yeah. Well I’m, um, as well as being a language teacher I’m a
passionate language learner, so I spent a long time learning Chinese and I’m
learning Italian at the moment. And I lived in China for a long time where I
taught English and lived there about nine years altogether. So I
live back in Australia now and I’ve been teaching in the university, teaching
English there and I’m so happy to be part of Speak Confident English. I’ve
met so many lovely students so far I look forward to meeting many more.
Absolutely, well it’s been super fun to have you and I love that our students
get to experience these two sides of English, so today we thought it would be
fun to share with our Confident English Community some of the differences
between Australian and American English. So we’re going to focus on three things
today: we’re going to talk about the language that Kelly and I use for making
plans and then what we say when we want to agree to a plan, when something sounds
good to us, or what we say when we’re too tired or too busy or we just can’t do
something. So those are our three focus areas—if you enjoy this lesson, if you
find this one helpful and you like this kind of interaction with Kelly and I
and you want to see more lessons about Australian versus American English, be
sure to let me know. The best way that you can do that is to give this a thumbs
up on YouTube, share it on Facebook or comment at the end of the lesson below
the video. Those are three perfect ways to let me know that you enjoyed this
lesson and found it useful. So Kelly let’s dive in and let’s talk about what
we both say if we’re going to try to make some plans with friends for the
weekend or maybe next month, so my first question is for you how do you prefer to
do it do you use text email phone calls what do you do I am a texter
yeah I’m notorious for texting but also now I use voice messages so Whatsapp and
things like that because I feel like with voice messages I can say
everything that I want to say I can have my you know my tone is clear I sound
friendly there’s no misunderstanding and people can listen to it whenever they’re
free rather than calling them I feel like I call someone they might be busy I
might be interrupting them yeah what about you do you normally call or text?
Yeah I am definitely a texter I haven’t gotten on the Whatsapp train yet… I’m not… I know it exists I know people love it I just haven’t done it I’ve never
done a voice message or voice whatever you call it but that’s me everyday yeah
I don’t do I text all the time and I actually don’t love phone calls so I
don’t call people very often only if I have to so so if you’re texting or doing
a whatsapp voice message what do you say when you want to make friends or with make
plans with a friend? So normally this is usually the case for me I’ll say
something like it’s been ages because you know I’m usually so busy that I
don’t see people so it’s been ages I’d love to catch up are you free this week
anytime this week or this weekend okay so I heard you use the phrasal verb
catch up I’d love to catch up which I would use as well what does that mean so
catch up really does mean you want to hang out with someone which is another
phrasal verb but that you want to spend time with someone and in fact I don’t
know if you say this in America as well but let me say a catch up—we are overdue for
a catch up as well. Do you say that? Maybe I’m not sure,
it’s not something I would say but perhaps (it might be one of the Aussie ones).
No I don’t know that I’ve heard it but it doesn’t sound that strange to me.
If someone said it I would definitely understand what they meant but that’s
interesting it’s I think if I were texting someone the first thing I would
say is I would kind of test the waters as we would say and I would just check
in to see if they’re actually free so I’d probably say something like: “Hey what
are you up to this weekend?” just to find out if they’ve already got plans or not
before I even suggest the idea that we should do something I don’t know do you
do you use anything like that? Yeah I think so I like the way you explain
“test the waters” because you really want to see where where do we stand for this
weekend but sometimes when I receive a message like that I’m not sure if the
person is just seeing what my plans are just or if they actually then want to
make a plan with me so sometimes I’m confused if I get a text like… if you
send me a text like that… does she want to catch up or does she just want me to tell her all the things
I’m doing? So let’s say that someone responds and you’ve asked them to catch
up or they say oh I’m totally free this weekend what would be your next step,
what would you say? I’m not very good at making decisions about what to do with
them so I would put the ball in their court and say okay great what what do
you want to do? What should we do? Should we do dinner or what are you up for? Yeah
what are you up for interesting okay and I heard you say I put the ball in their
court, so that’s a great idiom what does that mean? Yeah so just like in the game
of tennis when someone has the ball they have a control, so because I’m terrible
at making decisions about plans I will give them the control and put the ball
in their court, so they can decide what we will do and tell me. What about you, are you good at
suggesting what you would like to do? No I’m I’m kind of the same, I’m a
little bit indecisive so I’ll say something vague like let’s get, let’s get
coffee or let’s do dinner this weekend if you’re free or it might be something
really vague like well let’s make some plans and then it’s kind of pushing it
back on them which isn’t fair but I push it back on them to like get some ideas
of what we can do or organize something so… so let’s say that you’ve got a plan
made you’re both excited about getting together, you’re ready to catch up, you’re
both free for the weekend, maybe both have Saturday afternoon free and you
want to say yes let’s do this—what would you say? How do you agree to a plan?
Sounds good that’s my go-to. Sounds good. Sounds good. Great, let’s do it. If
something is usually if there’s something that’s a little unusual or
different maybe we’ve made plans that we wouldn’t normally do I would say “I’m
game.” Do you have that expression? Yeah yeah if for me to say that it would
have to be something quite strange like sky-diving or something, something really out there.
Probably most plans to me are yeah fine like any I’m willing to try any kind of
food or go anywhere but yeah I’m game or I’m up for that.
Yeah I’m probably more likely say “I’m up for that, I’m into that.” Yeah that’s
funny because I was just thinking as you were talking about the two other things
I would say in English that sound total like total opposites but they mean the
same—I’m up for that or yeah I’m down. So we’re using total
opposite words but they both mean yes, that sounds good. Yes I would like to do
that. Yes let’s plan for it. So I’m up for that, I’m down, I’m game or sounds good.. I’m down, in fact, in Australia we don’t use that so much yeah it sounds
quite American and I probably wouldn’t usually say that yeah I would more
likely say I’m up for that. If someone said I’m down I would get it but I think they’re
very young or they’re American… my age group, we probably wouldn’t say it that
way. Right, okay, there’s one more that just
came to mind and I don’t know if you use the same (we use a lot of different
prepositions)— I’m in. Especially if I, if I’m organizing
something with a lot of people or my friend is organizing a big dinner and
there’s a lot of people in the text message or a lot of people on the email
list, if I want to join, if I want to be available for that event then I would
say: Yeah, I’m in. Do you have that? Yeah and I would say also: count me in. Yeah
definitely we would use the same. Alright so, so far I think we have a lot of
overlap which is surprising to me actually. What about if you’re too tired,
too busy, or you have something else scheduled during that time? What would
you say? Yeah this is where I think we’ve got a few Australian sayings that maybe
you don’t have. Like we would say oh I’m flat chat which means I’m flat out I’m
busy. Do you say flat out and or flat chat… no what
did you say? I’m flat chat? I’m flat out, I’m too busy… I’m very busy.
Do you also say I’m flat out or is that also an Australian one? Uh I think that’s
probably more Australian if I heard I’m flat out I would understand it but if I
heard I’m flat chat, I would have no idea what that meant, so I’m glad you told me. Um, I would say I’m
totally worn out if I’m tired, I’m worn out or what else? I’m exhausted,
I guess it’s kind of boring, it’s not a slang word or anything but
yeah I’m worn out or I’m wrecked. I’m totally wrecked so if I said I’m
totally wrecked this weekend it would be 1. I’m probably have too much work to
do 2. I have too many plans there’s no way I could meet them and 3. I’m maybe a little
bit tired as well—I’m wrecked. What about you? Anything else other than I’m flat chat? Flat chat
really does mean that means you’re really busy, so if you say I’m flat chat
or this weekend is chokers. This is chokers which means it’s really full,
something really full, you’ve filled it all up. We definitely don’t have that in
American English. So again we could say this weekend is wrecked. Oh, wrecked means it’s
full? It could. It could just mean a lot of things like this weekend is just impossible
possible for me, for whatever reason either I’ve got too many things… I’m
trying to think maybe, more formally, I guess if I were talking to a colleague I
might say: my plate is full. That’s really not quite something I would use with friends
really. Oh, wouldn’t you? Oh gosh I would say with friends I’d say I’ve got a lot on my
plate at the moment. So can we do it next weekend? Yeah I’ve
got too much going on, that’s what I would probably say. So okay so those are
if you’re too busy, you’re tired, what if you just don’t want to or you have
something else planned, what would you say? I would pretend that I was busy. What would you say? I
would probably say something really general like this weekend just doesn’t
work for me, let’s try for another week. And then there’s not a real commitment
there, it’s just yeah as you said pretending that I’m too busy. Yeah
there’s also, there’s a phrase I really like: things are up in the air at the
moment, which you know really means that my plans are not really confirmed. You
know there might be something going on but I’m not sure, so you know oh you know
things are a little bit up in the air for this weekend, so can I get back to
you? We can talk about it later. Absolutely we have we have the same for
sure. So Kelly now that we’ve got: 1. how you and I both make plans with friends, 2. what
we say when we want to agree or 3. what we say when we want to tell someone were
too tired, too busy, we’re wrecked, we can’t make plans… I want to highlight
four more things that you and I discovered were big differences between
Australian and American English before we finish today’s lesson. So let’s
highlight those four examples. The first one deals with organising or making
plans and getting it fixed so what would you say? What was the example you had in
Australian English? Yeah I would say something like: it’s in the diary. So you
know, we’ve made the time, I’ve written it in my diary. I was surprised when I said
that to you, you said that wasn’t what you would say. I probably started
laughing because for us, in American a diary is where you write all your
secret notes like when you were a teenager and you’ve got your special journal and you
write your thought, your love you know who you have a crush on… so a diary from me is secret, it’s
all my secret ideas and thoughts but… I promise that’s not what I’m writing it in. It’s
not… But we would say something like: I’ve got it down. So if it’s confirmed, if it’s
in my calendar, on my calendar I’d say I’ve got it down or it’s it’s on my
calendar. It’s noted down or something like that, so that’s what we would say as
opposed to I’m writing… if I was writing it my diary I’d be like: Dear diary, I’m so excited
that I have plans with Kelly this week. It’s very very different. So another one that we noticed
was if you were going to make plans with someone at a specific time of day you
have an abbreviation in Australian English that I’d never heard before. We
do and we use it a lot. So instead of afternoon we say “arvo.” So we would say,
for example, for this afternoon we’re too lazy to say this afternoon, we say
‘z’arvo. Z’arvo? So there’s a /z/, you cut off the /th/ in ‘this.’
So z’arvo? Yeah, z’arvo. Wow. We run it together.
If I were in Australia I would have no idea what that meant.
We don’t shorten this afternoon at all… But it’s so long… Maybe another English person can check me out on that but I don’t think we have anything. So
you would text the whole word ‘afternoon?’ Would you write the whole word out in
the text message? It’s so long. You know maybe in a text, if I wanted it to be
really short, I would say “are you free in the p.m.?” but that would be rare for me. I don’t think that… yeah I’ve seen it, maybe once or twice I’ve used it but
it’s not common for me. I would just say “are you free in the afternoon?” Yeah it’s
funny though I even with my closest friends, my sister, my husband I would
still write afternoon. I won’t… there’s… I don’t have a real…
I can’t think of a shortened phrase so if someone’s watching this and you’re an
American I would love to know if you’ve got something similar to ‘arvo.’ You can share it in the chat
below. I’d love to know what it is. So another fun one that you and I found was
different was asking someone to reach you by telephone.
What would you say? Yeah we have a lovely phrase: give us a bell. Give us a bell or
give me either way give us… give us a bell or give me a bell, which means
call me. And for some reason we say us even though I am a single person.
So interesting. Yeah, American English we would say give me a ring or give me a
call. And most of the time, if it’s just for me, I would say give me a ring. I
would only use ‘us’ if some other family or couple were making plans with me and
my husband or with me and someone else and then I would say give us a give us a
ring this weekend but only if it’s inclusive with my my whole family but if
it’s just me it’s definitely give me a ring. I think we have a habit in
Australia of using us when it’s just yourself. Even if somebody had something
that we wanted we might say: give us that (which is rude)
It’s kind of really… yeah with family members: give us that. I don’t
know why we do that. It’s super interesting. Very strange. I’ll look it up after this.
If I heard that, I would try to figure out… to who? Which
person because it is plural. I would have no idea. That’s fascinating.
So the last one for today, for this lesson, is making plans specifically to
have a drink, a specific kind of drink. So what would you say? So if I wanted
somebody, for example, to come over maybe and have a cup of tea, we would say: hey
you want to come around for a cuppa? A cuppa.
So that’s short for a cup of tea? Tea always. It doesn’t mean coffee but when
you get to my house, if you want coffee you can have coffee. I won’t force you to
have only tea but it really refers to cup of tea… a cuppa.
Okay so would you say that tea is more common in Australian culture?
Are people more likely to drink tea than coffee? I think historically tea was more common
but now coffee has far overtaken anything, especially in Melbourne. Yeah. So
you… but you would still say cuppa as in a cup of tea and then once they came
over you could switch it to coffee. Yeah it’s just kind of a very quaint Australian
thing to say like: “pop over for a cuppa.” Pop over. So we don’t have pop over in American English…
well, I mean people use it but it’s not, I don’t think it’s typical American
English to say pop over. If I hear that I assume that they’re using British or
Australian English, it’s really the American English to say pop over.
We would say: come on over. Come on over for a cup of coffee and for us it’s
always… like it’s sort of… for you always a cup of tea and then you can switch to
coffee if you want, we always assume it’s a cup of coffee and we don’t have an
abbreviation for it. Some people might say some like come over for a cup but in
it insinuates coffee but most the time: Why don’t you… why don’t you come over for a
cup of coffee this weekend? I’ve heard cup of joe. Do people really say that ? Oh yeah, cup of joe.
Definitely. Yeah and you go to coffee shops and there’s always… I mean
there’s coffee shops and the name of the shop is “Cup of Joe” or they’ll have some
sign in the shop with cup of joe. I have no idea honestly where that came from I
should have done some research and looked into that so but we definitely
say that I’ll have a cup of joe. Yeah. Well Kelly thank you so much for doing
this lesson with me today. It was super fun and I’m excited for the whole
Confident English community to get to know you a little bit since you’re a big
part of Speak Confident English. So for those of you watching, if you enjoyed
this week, again, be sure to like it on Facebook, share it on YouTube and
Facebook, those are great ways to let me know that you enjoyed this lesson. Kelly
thank you and I look forward to seeing you again very soon.

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  • Reply Noghanvadara Axay October 17, 2018 at 11:01 am

    Thank you so much My dear coach

  • Reply Luna Marius October 17, 2018 at 11:05 am

    Thank you very much
    You are incredible my teacher❣️

  • Reply Aparecido FERREIRA VAIS October 17, 2018 at 11:32 am

    Hi Annie Marie I love your videos I learn a lot from them
    Have a nice day or night my dear teacher 😉

  • Reply Rabee Motar October 17, 2018 at 1:23 pm

    Hi my my beautiful teacher , miss you very much
    God bless you ,
    Rabee from Iraq

  • Reply Dulat Bolysbekov October 17, 2018 at 5:52 pm

    Hi Annemarie! Thank you so much for making this lovely video. I deeply appreciate your continues assistance in making our English much more fluent and confident!
    I definitely like your today's lesson and would like you to consider the possibility to have interviews with native speakers especially. In my view, this would essentially help us to boost our vocabulary and use those natural expressions in a daily conversation. I would be very much grateful if you could make your next lesson with British English speaker!

  • Reply Dinho Break October 17, 2018 at 8:18 pm

    hi my dear teacher its me again dinho break from brazil i dont get tired of the watch your video they are great for my learning i really love your english class i hope you have a wonderful day and thanks for everything pardon my bad english too bye

  • Reply Tarik Morocco October 29, 2018 at 1:16 am

    Thanks a ton for your sweet lesson

  • Reply Tiong Ching November 8, 2018 at 5:17 am

    English lesson like this one is really helpful, I hope we can have more lesson of real English similar to this one, thanks a lot

  • Reply Tony KarlG November 27, 2018 at 11:06 pm

    Give me a bell… Liked it.. I remembered abba. ring ring why don't you give a call… REALLY NICE!!
    Yes I'm down and feeling blue

    And I don't know what to do, oh-oh

    Ring, ring, why don't you give me a call?

    Ring, ring, the happiest sound of them all

    Ring, ring, I stare at the phone on the wall

    And I sit all alone impatiently

    Won't you please understand the need in me

    So, ring, ring, why don't you give me a call?

  • Reply Sabina indrias February 25, 2019 at 11:23 pm


  • Reply TECDESIGNS March 17, 2019 at 3:12 pm

    Hi Anemarie!
    Good lesson !!
    Very very interesting the difference between culture when they use the same language!!
    I can also share the same on my portuguese from brazil and Portugal.
    See ya!

  • Reply Regina Doria April 14, 2019 at 8:41 am

    I really learn a lot in your conversation because I'm in aussie right now and kinda not knowing all those words that the ausies talk. Nice video thanks.

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