Crying over spilt milk? Hard cheese, poor old thing

Click to follow
The Independent Online
CONTINUING our series of easy English phrases for foreigners and tourists, today we bring a cornucopia of interestingly different ways in which the British express regret and sympathy.


Oh dear.

Dear oh dear oh dear.

Oh, deary, deary me.

Oh, no]

No, surely not?

Poor you.

Poor old you.

You poor old thing.

You poor old thing, you.

What a shame.

What a bleeding shame.

What a pity.



Oh well.

Oh well, then.

Never mind.

Never mind, eh?

Still and all, can't be helped.

There you go.

Well, there you go.

Hard cheese.

Tough titty.

Tough luck.

Too bad.

Can't win 'em all.

Can't win all the time.

Win some, lose some.

Look on the bright side.

Mustn't cry over spilt milk.

Cheer up.

Can't make an omelette without breaking eggs.

Every cloud . . . .

It'll be all right on the night.

It may never happen.

Least said, soonest mended.

Plenty more where that came from.

Another along in a moment.

One door closes and another opens.

Well out of it, if you ask me.

Lots more fish in the sea.

Bigger fish in the ocean.

All for the best.

Non, je ne regrette rien.

Keep on trucking.

That's the spirit]

Chin up]

No hard feelings, then?

Sufficient unto the day.

No need for tears.

Chance would be a fine thing.

It's an ill wind . . .

Frankly, it could have been a lot worse.

Seven years' bad luck.

Do you want the good news or the bad news first?

We thank you for your application, but. . . .

British Rail regrets to

announce . . .

British Airways announces the delay . . .

The editor regrets . . .

Due to unforeseen circumstances . . .

Due to circumstances beyond our control . . .






What can I say?

It's awful.

It's too awful.

It's too, too awful.

It's too awful for words.

Goodness, how sad.

We all feel for you.

This must be a very testing time.

I'm sorry.

Look, I'm sorry.

Look, I've said I'm sorry.

Look, what can I say after I've said I'm sorry?

I'm very sorry.

I'm so sorry.

I'm so very sorry.

Oh, my God, I'm sorry]

Oh, God, what have I done]

Oh, my God, what HAVE I done]

Mea culpa.

Are you all right]

Are you ALL RIGHT?

Can you hear me?

Oh, oh dear.

At this point one can go back to the beginning and start again, or, of course, just shrug and walk on.

Coming soon: Gangway], or 100 ways of asking people to let one pass.