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7 important English expressions that can cause real problems

Learn these English words if you’re planning to visit or live in London.

Planning to start a new life in London or maybe you’ve just arrived and need to learn a bit of English before you start interacting with native speakers? Cultural differences and language barrier can’t be neglected or avoided and it’s better to learn them sooner rather than later. So, don’t pretend you know English and learn these expressions thoroughly to avoid any misunderstandings.


  1. A tenner, a fiver, quid, K

English is a difficult language to learn mainly because of the variety of different accents. And one of them =>BBC English is widely considered as the most popular and proper way of English pronunciation so you must have listened to it few times. Colloquial English, conversational, informal and sometimes falsely called ‘street language’, is a type of English language people usually use to communicate on daily basis, for example in a shop, at home or even in the office.

Sadly, colloquial expressions are hardly ever discussed during language learning, unless you’ve been learning the language in an English speaking country, for that reason it’s crucial to understand at least few examples, especially if they refer to MONEY!

As you probably know the proper words to describe monetary currency in the UK are either pound, sterling. However, the words you are likely to hear from shop assistants or your workmates (mate= colloquial word that means colleague) are:


a fiver = five pounds (e.g. Can I borrow a fiver sis?)

a tenner = ten pounds ( e.g. The car wash on North Circular Road charges a tenner for a basic service.)

quid = pound (e.g. English tea, also known as white tea, costs a quid.)

K = thousand ( The annual salary of a bus driver is anything between £30 to £35K.)

  1. Rains cats and dogs, showers, blazing sun

Planning a short holiday in London? Prepare for any eventuality! Equip yourself with an umbrella, sunglasses and gloves. Whether it’s summer or winter, the weather in London is very changeable, one minute it might be raining, very often it rains cats and dogs (it means it rains heavily), sometimes you might experience showers (short but heavy outbursts of rain, other times the blazing sun (very bright sun) blinds your vision and you need a pair of sunglasses ad hoc.


  1. Oyster card, off peak, peak, busy

London’s transport links are unlike any other. Efficiency, promptness and speed are just a few of the benefits of public transport the city offers. But these come at a price as weekly travel card for zone 1-3 costs about £35. When coming to London you’d need to make sure you have an oyster card topped with some credit/money, otherwise use your contactless debit or credit card. Travelling off peak costs less so avoid busy rush hours ( peak times -> Peak fares apply Monday to Friday (not on public holidays) between 06:30 and 09:30, and between 16:00 and 19:00 to pay reduced transport fare.


  1. Tube, underground, overground, DLR, TFL

Transport for London (TFL) is the institution responsible for managing major means of transport in London. That includes the underground, also known as the tube (not metro),  overground – trains, DLR – other types of trains, buses and taxis. Travelling by bus is the third most affordable and cheapest way to commute in London, next to a bike and your feet. Whenever in London and planning to go from south to north or west to east of London always check your route either on TFL website or Citymapper one.


  1. Pebble beach

After a whole week of monotonous routine London’s served you a well deserved rest at the seaside might interest you. Forget white, sandy beaches you’ve seen in Spain or Italy prepare for a totally different ‘beach’ experience. Bare in mind that most of the beaches are located within 50 miles proximity from London and they are not sandy ones but rather pebbles one (pebbles are little stones). The most popular seaside destination is Brighton, and this will be the first place you might see pebble beach.


  1. Tastecard, Travelzoo,, Meerkat Offers 

Although London might seem to be quite expensive there are loads of offers and promotions you can use that give you 50% off on restaurant meals or 2 for 1 movie tickets. Loyalty cards are another example you can save some money too.

Here’s a list of essential cards to get:

Tastecard- gives you 50% off or 2 for 1 deals in many restaurants in London

Travelzoo- not only can you book your holiday here but also find out about deals in fine dining restaurants in London – great website to buy cheap theatre tickets

Meertkat Offers – movies and meals for half the price


  1. Humid, damp, mould

Last but not least, you’ll probably renting a room or a house somewhere I London, our advice is to avoid basement or ground floor flats as these due to humidity and poor ventilation may cause some problems. During a viewing check corners and wardrobes for any signs of damp or mould, as these are indications that there’s something wrong with the flat’s ventilation system, which by the way is very common in the UK.