AEE 1390: How to Alert Someone When You Have News That Will Surprise Them in English

Has somebody ever told you to “brace yourself” in English?

Is this a phrase that feels a bit confusing to you?

When it comes to a phrase such as this it’s all about preparing your listener for something you are about to say.

We’re going to look at this phrase, how to use it, and why this can be such an important part of conversation.

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Hi girls,

Hope you all are safe and well. I love your show, and I learn a lot from you. I have a question that I am hoping you can help me with. I hear people use the word “brace” and I feel unsure about this.

When a friend was about to send us a lot of pictures he said “brace yourself.” Does it mean bear with me for doing this? I just feel unsure of what this means or how to use it. What are other usages of the word brace?

Thanks for your help!

Sherry

Understanding This Common Phrase

The word “brace” is very common and so it’s a great one to discuss.

What does it mean when you say that you need to “brace yourself?”

It basically means to get ready for something, and it is usually something that you say to somebody else.

It may be something difficult you want to share with somebody, or it may even be something special in some way.

You might think of brace yourself as being a physical reaction in a way, like you may even feel yourself tense up when you hear it.

This is one of those phrases that can get an immediate reaction when you say it.

That means it has a significant impact and it can really be an important element of the conversation.

Looking At This Phrase In A Conversation

Perhaps you can’t visualize how to use this phrase and so some examples may help.

You can start to see how this phrase works and put it to work in your conversations as a way of preparing people.

“If you come to NY in the winter, you have to brace yourself for snow and very cold weather!”

“Now I have to tell you something, so brace yourself…your ex boyfriend is engaged.”

This is a phrase that can be used for positive things, but it’s not used in that way very often.

If you were to use it in a positive way, then it may be something like “Lindsay, brace yourself for an amazing dinner. Don’t eat too much beforehand because we have a ton of food!”

What does this short phrase do?

It prepares the person you are talking to for what you are about to say.

Therefore this is an important phrase to know and use, and it is one that you will want to get accustomed to.

There are other uses for the word “brace”, and perhaps that may be confusing initially.

  • Brace is also used to keep something in place, think of something like a back brace
  • Braces are the word for what is placed on your teeth as a kid to straighten them out

For the purposes of today though, we are looking at brace as something you have to do to prepare yourself.

This is a commonly used phrase and one that you want to use at the right time in your conversations.

How Else Can You Say This?

Though using the phrase “brace yourself” can work quite well, sometimes you want other options.

You are essentially trying to prepare the person you are talking to for what they are about to hear or find out.

This is a good thing because it ensures that they can get ready and it won’t come as a shock or surprise.

There are other ways to do this and ways to say this, and these phrases can be helpful as well.

  • Get ready! You want to say this in a certain way so as to draw suspense and to get this person prepared. This gets their attention and draws them in. You could say something like “Get ready- the boss says there will be a huge corporate meeting at 11am!”
  • Prep yourself! When you say prepare or prep yourself, this is likely the most direct way of saying what you want to say. It’s in the phrase what you want them to do. You might say “You have to prep yourself for the worst and hope for the best.”
  • Are you sitting down? This is a fun one and you can use it in that way. You may be saying it a bit more indirectly, but it works really well. You would say something like “I have to tell you something. Are you sitting down? I am moving to California.”

All of these phrases work quite well in the right context.

They help to prepare the listener for what you are about to say, and so they can help you with connections.

Try using one and see how natural it feels, and what a good reaction you get.

Takeaway

These phrases are helpful for preparing someone for something they are about to hear.

It’s almost a physical preparation and one that you can visualize, as well as being a mental one too.

Use these when you need to signal you are going to say something surprising or difficult.

This helps to soften what you are about to say or do so that people aren’t upset when it comes their way.

You will find that these phrases actually help with connection, so try the out and see for yourself!

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

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

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