Lindsay McMahon
"The English Adventurer"

Have you heard somebody say “hands down” in English?

Is this one of those phrases that sounds a bit confusing in natural conversations?

In this episode we’re going to help you to understand what this phrase means, how to use it, and even other related phrases that can work well too so that you can have more interesting conversations with native speakers

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Today we have a listener question about this useful and fun phrase:

Hi Lindsay and Michelle, how are you?

I have a suggestion for an episode about two expressions that I encountered recently and I could use some clarification. They are “Hit home” and “Hands down”. Actually, I saw them both on the same newscast.

It was a CBS News report on the wildfire that devastated Paradise City, in California. When a firefighter was questioned by a reporter he said: “Everyone on our task force that we’re on has family here, houses are gone and whatnot, so, yeah, this one definitely hit home more than any fire I’ve ever been on, hands down.”

This is a bit confusing to me, so I hope you like my suggestion for this as a topic to discuss on the show.

Thanks for your inspiring work.
Eduardo from Brazil

Understanding This Common Phrase

Today we are going to focus on “hands down” as a starting point.

This is a phrase that you will hear often, and so understanding what it means and how it can be used in conversation is helpful.

Though both are used, we’re going to look at “hands down” as you may hear that quite frequently.

So what is hands down and what exactly does it mean?

It basically means without question.

You might also say that it means absolutely or 100% or it’s guaranteed.

It is used to show certainty and emphasize the point that you are trying to make.

Using This Phrase In Conversation

This is one of those phrases that fits nicely into conversation without much effort.

You will see when there’s a point to use it for clarity or to emphasize a point.

Here are a few examples:

  • “She is hands down the best worker we’ve ever had. We have to give her a raise.”
  • “That was hands down the best movie I’ve seen this year.”
  • “He is hands down the most frustrating guy I’ve ever dated.”

This phrase allows us to show our enthusiasm and our confidence.

It shows others that we are confident in our opinion.

Are you ever really confident but then someone doesn’t like your suggestion?

This can be frustrating however, it is still a good phrase to use because it will make the other person really believe what you are saying.

It can be used for good or bad, and so it works really well for either positive or negative.

Other Ways To Express This Feeling

How else can you show this confidence when you are talking about opinions, suggestions, or even competitions?

There are other phrases that can work quite well if “hands down” is not the phrase you want to use in a conversation.

Try these other phrases out and see how they work for you.

  • Without/there’s not a doubt in my mind: There is nothing that can change your opinion or how you think of this. You feel strongly and you can’t be convinced otherwise. “She’s going to be hired–there’s no doubt in my mind.”
  • For sure: This is going to happen without a doubt. You know with certainty that this is the situation or occurrence. “This is for sure the best restaurant in the neighborhood.”
  • No competition: There is nothing better or that could beat this option. This is the winner or the best, and you feel very strongly in your conviction. “Their customer service is the best–no competition. That’s why I always buy from them.”

Though hands down works quite well, these other phrases can work just fine in conversation too.


These phrases are extremely helpful when you want to instill confidence in your opinion or assessment of a situation.

You can also use it when there’s been a sports game–they won the game hands down.

Today we are focused on showing confidence to others, and this can really help there.

The way that you say this and show confidence through the right phrase is so important.

This is really helpful in building connections!

If you have any questions, please leave them below in the comments section.

We’ll get back to you as soon as we can.

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