Lindsay McMahon
"The English Adventurer"
Michelle Kaplan
"The New York Radio Girl"

Are there certain expressions that you hear used that may be a bit confusing in English?

Are there some expressions that you want to understand so that you can start using them on your own?

One such expression might be “to a tee”, which may be something that you have heard used before.

This is a great expression and element to add to your conversations, so that you can sound like a native.

Today we’re going to talk about this expression, and you will figure out how to add “to a tee” to your conversations in English.

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Breaking This Down

Have you heard the expression “to a tee” used in your conversations?

Have you ever tried to use it yourself or do need a bit of clarification?

So let’s start by understanding what this expression means and then how to use it.

When you use the expression “to a tee” it basically means that what is being said is very accurate.

It’s as if you are saying something like “exactly” or “perfectly”, but in a more interesting way.

When you say that something is “to a tee” it means that it matches you exactly or it fits the description in the best way possible.

Sure you can use something like “perfect” to describe it, but an expression like this adds more personality.

This is a great addition to your conversations, and it helps you to take your speaking to another level.

This sort of phrase means that you know the person that you’re talking to quite well.

This adds some familiarity, but also adds some personality in a really fun and unique way.

Examples and Other Ways To Say This

As with anything, examples always help here to demonstrate how you might use such an expression.

Let’s take a look at a few additional examples so that you can really get a feel for how this expression works and how you may use it.

“This dress is exactly what you are looking for to a tee. You have to come check it out!”

“This apartment ad describes what you have been looking for to a tee. Let’s go see it!”

“This school has what you need to a tee. You should consider applying!”

These examples really help you to see how to use this and why it might be the perfect addition to your conversations.

There are also other helpful expressions that help you to convey the same sort of thing.

Let’s take a look at these expressions that can work in the same way in your conversations to say the same sort of thing.

  • Spot on: This is very natural, and it may actually be used more than “to a tee.” This may be used more in situations and also includes the idea of being right. It’s like an affirmation of sorts and works in a similar way. You may say something like “Your answer was spot on. Why did she not give you credit?” Another example could be “That performance was spot on. She’s going to win, I think.”
  • On the nose: This is another similar type of expression, and you can almost visualize it. This is to say that you hit it head on or that you completely understood the situation at hand. You might say “You were right. There are 30 people here on the nose.” Another example may be “That fortune teller was totally on the nose with what she told me. I really did get my job after three more months!”

There are nuances to these, but we gave you the basic idea today.

These expressions convey the same sort of thing, and it’s nice to have some options here.

These have way more personality than saying that something is “exact” or “perfect.”

These are fun, useful, and very natural sounding.

Roleplay

In this roleplay, Lindsay and Michelle are looking at shoes in the store.

Lindsay: “Do you like these ones?”

Michelle: “They are ok, but these ones look like your style to a tee.”

Lindsay: “They definitely are my style! But I think I want to change it up a bit.”

Michelle: “Ok that’s fair.” 

Lindsay: “But THESE look perfect for you.”

Michelle: “Wow, Lindsay. You’re spot on! I love them.”

Lindsay: “Good! I knew I was on the nose with that suggestion.”

As you end on this roleplay, here are a few conversation questions to consider.

Thinking through these can help you to use these expressions perfectly in your conversations.

Is important to know what you want to a tee in life?

What is one thing that you did in the past that was spot on preparing you to achieve  your future goals.?

Have you ever made any guesses that were on the nose?

Takeaway

These expressions are very useful, and so you want to try them out and see for yourself.

They are better than saying things like exactly or perfect, and they add something to your conversation.

These offer something with more personality, and therefore make for a more interesting addition to your conversation.

This is a great example of how to use something that sounds less like a textbook and more like real life conversation–so this is something helpful to try out and get used to.

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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