What to say when you get stuck in a conversation in English

You meet a native English speaker.

You start speaking and it goes well for the first few minutes.

Then at some point, your thoughts become disorganized.

You start saying things that don't make sense, or you get stuck because you can't find the exact English words or phrases to convey your thoughts.

It happens to all of us.

It happens because you get nervous. It happens because you're putting too much focus on yourself and what you want to say.

Whenever you get stuck in an English conversation, try saying these phrases. Acknowledge and admit that you can't quite say what you want to say, and change the subject or ask a question so as not to disrupt the flow of the conversation.


When you're stuck, use these phrases


I lost a train of thought. 

It means you forgot what you were talking about.

“Sorry, I lost a train of thought. What were we talking about?”


It's on the tip of my tongue. 

It means something is about to be said or almost remembered.

“What was his name… His name is on the tip of my tongue!”


I'll get back to you when I remember it. 

You forgot something at the moment, but you promise to tell it once you remember it.

“And we went to this amazing restaurant… I forgot what it was called. I'll get back to you when I remember it.”


Tell me about the time when you got stuck speaking in English. What happened? What did you do?


About Josh

뉴욕 출신 일본계 미국인. 현재: 비즈니스 영어 강사로서 활동. 전: 서울교육대학교, 파고다 어학원, 현대백화점, 인천도시공사, 동시통역사. 출연: EBSe, JEI 재능, 한국일보. 영어, 한국어, 일본어 가능. 좋아하는 음식은 타코스. Read more »

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