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British English video: love and romance and Happy Valentine’s Day


In this lesson I explain the celebration of St. Valentine’s Day and discuss useful English expressions to do with love and romance. Please see explanations and resources below.


See a visual of 12 love idioms here.


Story of Saint Valentine and St. Valentine’s Day

The day is named after Bishop Valentine, who was alive in ancient Rome. He betrayed the Emperor by conducting illegal weddings for couples in the name of love. He was arrested and fell in love with the jailer’s daughter. Before he was executed, he gave a note to his love saying “From your Valentine”, which founded the whole meaning of the current celebration.



St. Valentine’s Day (14 February)

14 February every year is the celebration. Couples will often celebrate it, but some people do not like it as they think love is special every day.

It is normal for couples to give each other presents and greeting cards. (If the man forgets, he will be in trouble!)

This year it is on Thursday 14 February, 2013.


Valentine’s Day vocabulary

The common greeting expression is: “Happy Valentine’s Day”.

To my / from your: love; Valentine; darling; sweetheart

Similar words: honey; baby







Ex-girlfriend / boyfriend / wife / husband


Other half / better half


Romance / court (archaic / old-fashioned verbs)

To romance or to court someone are fairly outdated verbs which mean to approach someone romantically.


Go out with someone (phrasal verb)

This is a hugely popular modern slang / phrasal verb which means to date or be in a relationship with someone.


“She went out with that ex-boyfriend for four months.”

“They’ve been going out for a while now.”

“Will you go out with me?” (Very common way to say “Will you be my boyfriend / girlfriend?)


Flirt (verb / noun)

To flirt describes when someone is behaving like they are attracted to a person.

“Flirt” as a noun describes a person who flirts a lot.


“If you don’t like him, why do you keep flirting with him?” (Verb.)

“He’s such a flirt.” (Noun.) This example means “He flirts a lot.”


Date (noun / verb)

“Date” as a noun refers to one particular romantic meeting, so a couple will probably have many dates in total.

“Date” is also a verb which means that two people are going on dates / in a relationship.


“They’ve been on a lot of dates in the last two weeks.” (Noun.)

“They’ve been dating for two weeks.” (Verb.)


Fancy (verb)

Slang verb which means you find someone attractive.

“She’s nice and funny, I think I fancy her.”


To have got a crush on (phrasal verb)

Phrasal verb which means the same thing as “fancy”, so if you have got a crush on someone, you fancy them.

“I’m in trouble. I’ve got a crush on my best friend’s girlfriend.”


To be with someone (phrasal verb)

To be “with someone” can mean you are in a relationship in some contexts:

“He’s been with her for two years.” (They’ve been in a relationship for two years.)


To be into someone (phrasal verb)

If you are “into someone”, you find them attractive:

“You should ask her out, I’m pretty sure she’s into you.”


Chat up (verb)

Phrasal verb which means that you talk to someone so that they will like you.

“Where’s he got to?”

“He’s still at the bar, trying to chat up that girl.”


Fit / hot (slang adjectives)

Slang adjectives to describe people who are physically attractive, possibly having a particular athletic look to them. Synonyms for “sexy”.


Cute (adjective)

Can be used to describe males or females who are attractive. I would suggest it is a synonym for “pretty”, but is often used to describe males.


Fall for someone (phrasal verb)

Fall for someone means fall in love with them. (Note the use of the verb “fall” in these expressions.)

“She always falls for guys who don’t really care about her.”


Blind date (noun)

A blind date means that you go on a date and you do not know who the other person is.


Mr Right / Miss Right (noun)

If you are looking for or have found Mr Right or Miss Right, it is describing the person who is right for you (the “one”).


Get back together (phrasal verb)

If two people were in a relationship previously but broke up and then start going out again, they get back together.


Get engaged (phrasal verb)

When one person (usually the man) proposes to their partner (asks them to marry them) and the other says “yes”, they get engaged. They become “fiancés”.


Get hitched (phrasal verb)

This means getting married.


Be hung up on someone (phrasal verb)

You are attracted to someone, thinking about them, “hung up” on them.


Patch up a relationship (phrasal verb)

If there are problems in a relationship but they get resolved, the relationship gets “patched up”.

“They were having some arguments but they seem to have patched things up.”


Pop the question (phrasal verb)

This means to propose. (Ask your partner to marry you.)

“He got down on one knee and popped the question.”


Those three little words (noun)

“Those three little words” are “I love you”.

  1. 17/02/2013 at 2:30 PM

    Good post, lots of useful stuff, but ‘popping the question’; is that a phrasal verb? It’s an idiom, isn’t it? As are a few expressions labelled as phrasal verbs, such as ‘get engaged’.

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