Lindsay McMahon
"The English Adventurer"

Do you ever get lost when you speak with natives in a natural English conversation? Do you get confused? Do you miss details that people say?

In today’s episode we’ll show you what you can say in these situations to get yourself back into the conversation quickly.

We’re going to understand the various meanings of these words in different context and how to use the phrases that are appropriate in each situation.

A listener asked us about a question having to do with trains and tracks that may help.


This is Reem from Saudi Arabia. I’m really big fan of your show.

I have a question I’m hoping you can help me with. 

Can you explain this expression–“I lost my train of thought.”

Are there any expressions that have the same meaning?

Thank you so much for your amazing show and how great you all are at helping me to learn and also make me laugh at the same time.

Thank you a lot,


Literal Meaning and Related Phrases

Have you heard any expressions related to “tracks” or “trains”?

There are actually quite a few of them.

Sometimes when there is a literal meaning for these words.

If you are talking about riding a train or the tracks the train is on, then that’s literal.

There are also related phrases that use these words in different ways.

You want to understand the differences and the potential uses.

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Uses and Phrases That Include These Words

Though they may use the same two words, they can have quite different meanings.

Once you understand these phrases, you can use them to make connections.

These phrases are all quite common and so there are times to use them all.

  • I lost my train of thought: This means that you forgot what you were saying.
    • It’s as if there was a train going and then you lost your way and everything was paused.
    • “Sorry I lost my train of thought. What was I saying?”
    • Check out an example in Episode 408.
  • Let’s get back on track/stay on track: This happens in conversations all the time, like when you go off on a tangent.
    • It’s like the train went in a totally different direction. It’s as if you went somewhere completely different in your conversation.
    • “Let’s stay on track. We only have five more minutes to get this done!”
  • I lost track of ______________ (time, schedule, item): This means that you can’t find something or that it is lost. It could also mean that you are running behind if you lost track of time.
    • “Wow I lost track of time–it’s 5:00 already?”
    • “I lost track of my keys, can you help me find them?”
  • Keep track of something: This means that you want to stay up to date on something.
    • It means that you may be in charge of something so you have to stay on task or stay organized.
    • “Make sure you keep track of how many RSVP’s we get so we are sure to get enough food.”

The overall theme with these phrases and words is organization.

Think of how a train stays on the track and this relates to things staying in order in life too.


Though there is a literal meaning for “train” and “track”, there are also other uses for these words as well.

Using train or track in the other sense often relates to organization.

Understanding these phrases can help you to use them in everyday conversation.

This is a great way to integrate yourself into conversations in English.

This is also how you make connections with people!

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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