Hello students!

In this video lesson I’m going to teach you expressions that contain the word ‘so’.

We use this word every day in a variety of ways. Learning when and how to use the word ‘so’ can really advance your vocabulary and give you confidence in your day-to-day conversations.

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Today’s lesson: Ways to use the word ‘so’

In today’s lesson, we discover a variety of phrases and situations where you might want to use the common word ‘so’.

The aim of this lesson is to provide you with some great examples so that you can confidently start using this simple word in ways that are much more interesting and varied.

After this lesson, you’re going to raise the level of your vocabulary and sound much more advanced in your English.

So… are you ready to discover the different ways you can express yourself using the word ‘so’?

How to use “so-so”

The phrase “so-so” is used as an adjective to describe an experience or thing. If something is “so-so,” it’s kind of in the middle. But the energy of the phrase is towards the negative side, which gives it the same effect as saying, “not bad”.


Person A: “How was the film?”

Person B: “It was so-so”.

Person A: “How are you today?”

Person B: “so-so.”

When to use “I don’t think so”

You’re probably already using this phrase in your English. You can use it as a disagreeing response to a question that you’re asked.


If somebody asks, “Does this bus go to the city centre?” and you don’t think it does, you can say, “No, I don’t think so– not this bus”.

We also have another way to use it, often used by “sassy” teenagers to express a strong rejection.


Imagine if someone you would never go on a date with, comes and asks you out for a date. You could say, “No, I don’t think so!” 💁.

When to use “If you say so…”

We use this when we disagree with or want to be dismissive about something someone has said. People often say this when they just can’t come out and directly disagree.


Person A: “Mr Smith teacher is the nicest teacher I’ve seen in my life.”

Person B: “If you say so…”

This means, no, I don’t think the teacher is quite as brilliant as you’ve described.

Using “I hope so”

This phrase is used when you’re saying you don’t know for certain yet, but you hope something will happen. Using this phrase is much better than promising something that might not happen.


Person A:“Will I see you at the weekend?”

Person B: “I hope so.”

Using “is that so?”

This phrase can sound a bit formal. It is a rhetorical question (one that doesn’t expect to be answered). We say this phrase when we have been told some surprising information.


Imagine that you just heard your ex-girlfriend or boyfriend is getting married. Somebody tells you that. You can say, “Is that so?”

Be mindful of the tone of voice you use to say this phrase. It will convey the emotion you feel about the surprising information, and whether it is good news or bad news to you.

Using “so it seems” / “so it would seem”

This is a response to a negative observation that somebody has made.

The use of this phrase also has a distancing effect. You can use this phrase when you want to appear calm in a  stressful situation.

For example, if you’re on a car trip, and you didn’t fill up the petrol tank. Your passenger says to you:

“We’re going to run out of petrol. We’re in the middle of nowhere. How long until we find the garage to fill up? We’re going to run out of petrol!!” You can say, “So it seems” or “So it would seem.”

Secretly, you’re panicking too, but this phrase is going to make you seem calm and in control.

Why do people use “or so they say…”

This expression is often used after we have reported some information that people in general say. You can use this phrase to distance yourself from the information, especially when you’re passing on gossip, a rumour, or saying something that reflects a stereotype.

You don’t want to give your own opinion, so instead you pass on the general opinion of others. If we spread rumours, that doesn’t make us look good, so this is why a distancing phrase like this might be used. You are still gossiping of course, but this little language trick makes it appear as if you are not!


Northerners are more trustworthy than Southerners. People from the North are more trustworthy than people from the South– or so they say”.

Here we are suggesting, I don’t know for certain. I’m just telling you what people say.

Parents using “because I say so” & “because I said so”

When a child asks ‘why?’, this phrase is usually used by parents who do not wish to explain themselves.


“Why do I have to do my homework? I don’t want to do my homework.” The response would be, “Because I said so.”

Formal uses of “and so on” or “and so forth”

“And so on” or “And so forth” share the same meaning as ‘et cetera’. These phrases are used when at the end of a list of things. They indicate that the list continues in a similar manner.

These phrases here are used in very formal speech. When a person has a formal manner of speaking or in academic contexts.

Instead of making a long list. You can list two or three things and then say, “and so on” or “and so forth”.


“The study included people of different ages, genders, social classes, and so forth.”

“And so forth” is a little bit more formal than saying “and so on”.

Polite use of the word ‘so’

We use this phrase when you are politely asking someone to do something for you. However, it is not commonly used.


“Would you be so kind as to open the door for me?”

This phrase is a little bit old-fashioned now. Unless you are a very polite and elegant kind of person, it might sound a little bit too posh.  You could otherwise just say, “Could you help me by opening the door?”

Saying goodbye with “so long”

This phrase is simply another way of saying goodbye, farewell.

“So long, until the next lesson”

I will finally say “so long” to you students!

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Jade Joddle grows your confidence and skill to shine when speaking English.

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