I could do with

“I could do with….”

There are some English phrases that you probably won’t find in a text book or hear about when you study English at school but they are used often by native speakers in everyday dialogue and ‘I could do with’ is one of those. If you can use it in conversation in an appropriate situation, it will make your speaking sound very natural!


We use I could do with….. to talk about something that we want or something that would make our lives easier/better in that moment.


Here are 5 natural examples:

Perhaps you are cutting a loaf of bread and the knife is blunt so it’s hard work so you say to your boyfriend “I could do with a sharper knife really. Can you pass me one from that drawer.”
Perhaps you are in a clothes shop with your friend so you say to your friend “I could do with a new pair of black trousers for work. My other ones are looking a bit old now.”
Perhaps you are confused about how your new laptop works so you say to your grandchild “I could do with your help when you’ve finished your homework!”
Perhaps you are spending too much time in the office at the moment and you feel tired and in need of a break so you say to your wife “I could do with having some time off work. I’ll speak to the boss about my holiday allowance tomorrow.”
Perhaps you are cooking and you ask your brother to taste the sauce and he says “It’s not bad but it could do with a bit more salt.”


Notice the structure of this phrase:
I could do with + noun (a sharper knife, some new trousers, your help)
I could do with + ing verb (having some time off)
It could do with + noun (a bit more salt)



Is there anything that you need/want in your life right now? I’d love to hear your example, post it in the comments below 🙂


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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!

6 thoughts on ““I could do with….”

  1. Hi Teacher,
    I have never heard about phrase ” I could do with…..”.
    I have been studying English for a year but now I could do with Nickie.

    1. Haha! I love this example 🙂 you’ve used the phrase perfectly too!

  2. Hi! At this moment, 7am, I could do with a couple more hours of sleep haha.
    Instead, I have to drive kids to school and start the day

    1. Haha, that’s a perfect example of this phrase in context! I love it….and it’s how I feel most mornings! Thanks for sharing Gaby 🙂

  3. It does mean:It or he or she need.
    My example:
    I could do with studying English hard.

    1. You are on the right lines Hend. I would say it’s somewhere between ‘a want’ and ‘a need’ or something that would make your life better/easier in that moment (e.g. I could do with a holiday!). Your example is good but sounds slightly unnatural, possibly due to the lack of context. I think a noun would make it sound more natural. How about ‘I could do with some English lessons’ or ‘I could do with a week of intensive English study’? If you wanted to use a verb, perhaps ‘I could do with spending a few weeks just focusing on my English’ would express what you mean?
      I hope that helps. Thanks for trying my challenge. Feel free to post comments on any of my blogs to have more practice 🙂

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