How to say you feel ill in English

Everyday English – How to say you feel ill in English

So this week I feel ill!
I’ll be ok – it’s just a bad cold and a chesty cough! I haven’t been to the doctor because generally The British don’t like to disturb the doctor unless they are at death’s door! I’ve taken a couple of paracetamol and I will ‘soldier on’ in true British style ๐Ÿ™‚ I also wouldn’t like to bother anyone else with my illness so these are the English phrases I might use if someone asks if I’m ok:

Ooh, you sound poorly.

Oh I’m fine, just a bit under the weather.

Wow, you sound rough!

Oh, it’s just a cough. I’ll live!

Oh, poor you. You sound awful!

You mean my cold? It’s nothing a good night’s sleep won’t fix.

Are you alright?

Yeah yeah, it’s just the sniffles.

Ooh, you should go home and rest.

Oh no. I’ll be fine once the paracetamol kicks in!

These are all typical ‘real English’ responses. If you can, practise these mini-dialogues with a willing partner. Person A (yellow) should be very worried and use a sympathetic tone of voice. Person B (blue) should be ‘brave and uncomplaining’! Then you will sound like a native English speaker!
Of course, if you want to take a day off work (skive or pull a sickie as we say), you would use very different English vocabulary ๐Ÿ™‚ I will write a post for you on that soon!

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Nicki is a Cambridge qualified, experienced English teacher for foreign learners. She loves helping English learners to learn real English and communicate with confidence!

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