15 Witty Phrases You Can Use To Sound Smart In Conversations

15 Witty Phrases You Can Use To Sound Smart In Conversations

Want to give a witty impression? You can easily do that by using these 15 smart-sounding phrases that you can use in everyday conversations. 

We all have that moment when we need a little bit of confidence boost to get our goals done. One of the commonly-used confidence boosts is by using smart words to revamp the listener’s good impression.

If words are not enough, you can use a handful of phrases that make you sound smart. Using witty phrases is an easy way to make you feel confident in your speaking skills. 

A listener’s initial impression is affected by communication barriers.

These barriers include having a heavy accent or the use of unnecessary jargon in a conversation.

Although these phrases can give you a little bit of confidence, there is no substitute for gaining confidence from practicing your language.

To learn new terms and train other language skills, JustLearn is an excellent place to start. 

Without further ado, here are 15 witty phrases that you can use in daily conversations. 

15 Phrases That Make You Sound Smart 

Did you know that having confidence can help you succeed in business even without a degree?

According to the Harvard Business Review, the best way to become confident is to practice doing things you’re unsure of.

And one of those practices is to add more to your conversational language vocabulary and phrases.

1. “Let me elaborate further.”

The phrase “Let me elaborate further” is a fancier way to say: “let me explain.” Elaborate is the key detail used in this phrase. When you need to explain something in a very detailed manner, you can use this phrase to sound smart. Here, let me elaborate further by giving an example.

Example: 

Marie: Hey, can you explain the solution to this math problem? 

Cynthia: Sure. Let me take a look.

Marie: I can’t understand why the answer is y = 8.

Cynthia: That’s because you need to multiply this part to get the answer.  Let me elaborate further. 

2. “It’s a conundrum.”

“Conundrum” is a word used to describe a complicated problem that has a very tricky solution. You can use “conundrum” when you have a head-scratcher question that often confuses people. Here’s how you can use “conundrum” in a conversation. 

Example: 

Marie: So that’s how you get the answer! I wouldn’t have figured it out by myself. 

Cynthia: Yeah, it’s a total conundrum. 

3. “To put it simply...” 

This phrase is a better and smarter way to say, “basically.” Use this phrase if you want to explain something clearly and simply. It’s a great way to emphasize that you don’t want to elaborate further on a given subject matter. You can also use this phrase as a way to clarify something. 

To put it simply, here are some examples.

Example: 

It’s a long story. But to put it simply, Marco’s design lost due to accusations of plagiarism. 

A lot of rallying and protests are happening all at once. To put it simply, everything is a mess in the town hall. 

4. “... a cookie-cutter approach.” 

When you describe a method or approach as “cookie-cutter,” it means it's a standard one that people use all the time. The doer of the approach does not account for specific differences that might occur from user to user. As long as it works, it should work for everyone, just like how the cookie-cutter tool works. The size of the cookies made by a cookie-cutter usually fits for every eater. 

Example

TV and radio advertising is not as popular now as they were before. This change is due to the method being considered as a cookie-cutter approach by consumers nowadays. 

A t-shirt produced by a cookie-cutter approach in a factory is cheaper, but tailored shirts are more comfortable to wear. 

5. “Touche.”

The word “touche” can be used as a whole sentence. It is an expression used to acknowledge a good point from another person during a debate. “Touche” can also be used to praise a witty retort. To put it simply, it is a fancy way to say, “That’s a clever point.” 

Example

“Touche” was all Mr. Hanma could say after Baki came up with a remarkable comeback to the debate. 

Discussions are not fights that you need to win. It is a way to seek knowledge from other people’s experiences. It's only fair to say “touche” to a well-crafted argument. 

6. “...not a priority for me at this time.” 

Saying “no” can be intimidating, as most people view this act as being rude.

Fortunately, there are smart ways to decline something if you’re not interested. One of the best ways to do so is by using the phrase, “It’s not a  priority for me at this time.” It is a better option other than saying, “I don’t want that,” “I’m not interested,” or just plainly saying “no.” 

Example

Patrick: Hey, Bob! Do you want to go skydiving this Sunday? 

Bob: Hello, Patrick. Sorry, skydiving is not a priority for me at this time. Maybe next month, when things slow down at work. 

7. “...one of his/her idiosyncrasies.” 

“Idiosyncrasy” means a habit or behavior that relates to a specific person or a place. It happens when you see a certain characteristic that reminds you of a particular spot or a person you know. This word is commonly used to describe a very distinctive or peculiar behavior.

Example

Margaret is dipping her fries in ice cream. That’s just one of her idiosyncrasies that I don’t understand. 

Nutella Pizza? You wouldn’t believe me if I tell you that’s just one of his idiosyncrasies when it comes to food. 

8. “...reassess the situation.” 

When the phrase “reassess the situation” is used in a sentence, it means re-evaluating a judgment regarding a specific scenario. By doing so, you or your team might come up with a new solution to your predicament.

You will also sound smart by giving a good suggestion and a badass line. 

Example:

Marketing has a big conundrum with some advertisement policies at the moment. Let’s reassess the situation to find a solution to this problem. 

Can we reassess the situation first? We’re going in full circle for about an hour now. 

9. “This matter needs imperative attention.” 

Sometimes, using the word “ASAP” or the phrase “As soon as possible” is not that thrilling. Maybe because the term is overused, or maybe you want a little bit of smart-sounding words to add to your emails or speech.

In that case, you can use “This matter needs imperative attention.” The meaning is similar to ASAP, but there are more urgency and smartness on the phrase. 

Example:

I need this report on Monday. This matter needs imperative attention.

Social media sites tend to make you forget about matters that need imperative attention. Maybe it’s a good idea to take a break from it once in a while. 

10. “On the contrary...”

The phrase “on the contrary” means the exact opposite of a thing (whether a material thing or an idea).

Some speakers use this phrase to signify opposition in some form of thought. It can also pertain to a situation that can happen instead of an anticipated scenario. 

Example:

We all thought the Hawks would win the game. On the contrary, they lost because of miscalculated moves. 

It’s not that I don’t like KPop songs. On the contrary, I love listening to Black Pink and Super Junior. But sometimes, you’re overdoing your fanfare a little bit. 

11. “What’s your insight about this?” 

When trying to get somebody’s opinion about something, people often use “What do you think?” Although this question does the trick, it gets old after a while.

Take note: changing some wordings can sometimes get a better reaction from people being asked. You can use “what’s your insight about this?” instead of asking the same question over and over again. 

Example

The office management plans to implement the bring-your-own-coffee policy. What’s your insight about this change? 

We’re getting the data any time soon. I want to hear your insight into the result. 

12. “... a body of work.” 

“A body of work” refers to all the creations made by a particular writer or an artist. For example, The Beatles’ full discography can be considered their body of work. It can also refer to the final result of research (majorly for academic research, but not always). 

Most usage comes from an academic or creative community. 

Example:

The Mona Lisa painting is still the most recognizable among Leonardi da Vinci’s body of work. 

After years of gruesome work, the research about Artificial Intelligence is finally complete. Interested individuals can check the body of work on the researchers’ website. 

13. “The plan of action for today is...” 

“The plan of action for today is” simply means the organized work to do on a given day. This phrase is useful in two situations: 

  • If you’re relaying important plans and information to your team
  • If someone asked you what’s your plan for today. 

You can use it for casual talks or when working with a team on daily projects. 

Example

Okay, team, the plan of action for today is getting more information about competing products and potential partners. 

Hey! How are you doing? What’s your plan of action for today? 

14. “ ...think laterally / lateral thinking”

Lateral thinking, or to “think laterally” means to tackle a problem with an ingenious idea. It is the way of thinking where you’re searching for a solution that is not very obvious or original, yet very effective in handling a situation. 

Example

Larry’s educational background might not be high, but his lateral thinking makes him a valuable asset in the company. 

One of the best feelings in the world is when you solve a challenging problem by thinking laterally. 

In these hard times, you need to think laterally to get additional income. 

15. “All things considered”

“All things considered” is a more formal-sounding way of saying “all the things have been thought of”. You can use this phrase to tell someone that all-important points (both good or bad) have been taken into account. 

Example

All things considered, the TV adaptation is not that bad compared to the movie ones which was released a few years ago. 

The result was not on par with the standard. But all things considered, it’s the best thing we can do right now. 

Final Thoughts 

Whether you’re practicing conversational English or polishing your professional speaking skills, it’s crucial to learn something new daily.

I hope you will find use with these witty phrases on the list.

If you’re interested in expanding your English vocabulary even further, consider these excellent online learning resources: Kick off your journey with Babbel, offering user-friendly, engaging lessons tailored to fit seamlessly into your daily schedule. If you want something more in-depth, there's a great English course on Coursera that covers everything from the basics to more advanced topics. For a more personalized learning experience, connect with native English tutors on Preply, enhancing your speaking and comprehension skills. Take advantage of a 50% discount on your first Preply session by using this link.

What phrases can you use to sound smart in conversations?

Let me elaborate further, It’s a conundrum, To put it simply, a cookie-cutter approach, Touche, not a priority for me at this time, one of his/her idiosyncrasies, reassess the situation, This matter needs imperative attention, On the contrary, What’s your insight about this, a body of work, The plan of action for today is, think laterally / lateral thinking, All things considered

How to use the phrase Let me elaborate further?

The phrase “Let me elaborate further” is a fancier way to say: “let me explain.” Elaborate is the key detail used in this phrase. When you need to explain something in a very detailed manner, you can use this phrase to sound smart. Here, let me elaborate further by giving an example. Example: Marie: Hey, can you explain the solution to this math problem? Cynthia: Sure. Let me take a look. Marie: I can’t understand why the answer is y = 8. Cynthia: That’s because you need to multiply this part to get the answer. Let me elaborate further.

What does Touche mean?

The word “touche” can be used as a whole sentence. It is an expression used to acknowledge a good point from another person during a debate. “Touche” can also be used to praise a witty retort. To put it simply, it is a fancy way to say, “That’s a clever point.” Example: “Touche” was all Mr. Hanma can say after Baki came up with a remarkable comeback to the debate. Discussions are not fights that you need to win. It is a way to seek knowledge from other people’s experiences. Its only fair to say “touche” to a well-crafted argument.

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