Lindsay McMahon
"The English Adventurer"

Have you heard people talk about a visit that they had in English?

Do you feel as if there are a lot of other words and phrases used to talk about a visit?

This is what we are talking about today, as you will find that there are several other options of what you can say in this area.

You will learn what the difference is between a visit and something like a “stop by”, and then you can see which phrase to use in each conversation and situation.

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We have a great question from a listener that may be very helpful to you.

Hey there!

Thanks for all content! I’ve been living abroad for a year now, “living and working in English” for the first time, and your podcasts are quite helpful.

When I think about living in English, I learned that it appears that natives don’t like the word visit. I hear they use all sorts of phrases, verbs, and some slang instead of simply saying the word “visit.” I hear options such as “pop by”, “pop over”, and “stop by/over.”

So I’m wondering, do all those words mean exactly the same, or are there nuances? And what other verbs and slang can we use with similar meanings or applications?

Thanks again and hope you all stay healthy!

Fabio Rosas from Brazil

Understanding This Word and Similar Phrases

Do you use the word visit or hear it used often in conversation?

Sure you may say things like “I’m visiting my parents next week.”

When you hear the word “visit” it tends to be about something more long term in nature.

So for example, you wouldn’t say “Want to visit later?” because it feels a bit awkward.

In the example above, Fabio asked about a few different phrases that he hears used about a visit.

  • Pop by/pop over: This is usually used to talk about a quick visit. There’s not much of a difference between the two, and so they can be used interchangeably. You can use them in the following ways as they both work well. You might say “I’m going to pop by later to give you back your book.” You could also say “I’m going to pop over to the grocery store to get some stuff for dinner.” One thing worth noting is that you can use “to” with pop over, but it doesn’t sound right with “pop by.” Pop by sounds more like to someone’s house , pop over can be either?
  • Stop by, stop at, stop over: This also works to talk about a quick visit or stop as the word indicates. It talks about something quick, but they work much in the same way. You will find that “stop by” can be used by itself. You may say something like “Can I stop by later to meet your new puppy?” You wouldn’t really use that with “stop at”, and this talks about something specific like a set location. You could say “I need to stop at the bank to deposit this check.” When it comes to stop over though, you might think of this as more associated with a flight. You might say “There’s a stopover in Paris for two hours.”

So you can see how these options work, and they are used often in conversation.

There’s nothing wrong with visit, but when you are talking about something quick or in the short term then these may work really well.

They are worth trying out so you can see how each one feels, and then you have the best options in each situation.

Other Options In This Area

There are other phrases that you can use that work well in this area.

It’s always great to have options, and in this case you may find one that fits better depending on the circumstance.

It’s a great idea to practice with these, and then you can find what works well for you in the conversation you are in at the moment.

  • Swing by: It’s another way to talk about a quick stop at a certain location. It often means that you have a specific purpose in mind. You might say “Can I swing by later to pick up my Tupperware?”
  • Drop by: It is like saying you are just going to drop in. You won’t stay, and you will come take care of something or just make an appearance. You could say “I’ll drop by later to give you the notes.”

Overall these are more about quick visits, and there may be a specific reason attached to the visit.

You will see that some sound more like they are designated for a person’s house, while others tend to sound more like an errand.

Visit is a bit different, as it feels more natural to use it for longer stays.

It can be helpful to practice with these and get a feel for what feels natural in each situation.

Roleplay To Help

In this roleplay, Lindsay and Michelle are friends trying to figure out some logistics and plans.

Lindsay: “Ok, so what time do you think you’ll stop at the party supply store?”

Michelle: “Well, I have to pop over to school first to get my laptop. So I’ll probably be there at 6.”

Lindsay: “That works. If you can swing by my place , I can pay you then.”

Michelle: “Thanks! I’ll pop by right after.”

Lindsay: “Great- and when you drop by, I also have some cake for you from Paul’s party!”

Michelle: “Yay thanks.”


When you use the word “visit”, it is a bit different than the other options.

You will find that the other phrases are great for talking about things like tasks and quick visits.

Every word and phrase has its place, so don’t shy away from the word visit overall.

This is a great thing to practice, and then you will get used to when each phrase feels comfortable to you in conversation.

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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