Essential English Phrases for Zoom Native Speakers Use


It can be difficult to know which words and phrases to use when talking to people online. It can be quite specific! Here you'll learn some essential phrases that you've got to know if you're a frequent Zoom user. You'll also learn which language not to use! Video conferencing can already be quite awkward and uncomfortable, so don't get caught out by using unnatural language! 

Want more practice on this topic? Want to learn which words and phrases you shouldn't learn? Check out our bonus content for a worksheet and the answers! 


  1. catch something (verb)

    → [transitive] To hear or understand something

    Sorry, I didn't quite catch what you said.

    I didn’t quite catch what you said as your screen froze. Would you mind saying it again?

    Sorry, I didn’t catch you. I think my internet’s playing up.

  2. (on) mute (adjective)

    → Having the mute button pressed on a device so that it does not produce any sound

    Place your phone on mute or vibrate or turn it off completely when in an exam.

    Advertising annoys me; I put the TV on mute during every ad break.

    You’re on mute grandma, I can’t hear you! Have you not used Zoom before?

  3. unstable (adjective)

    → Not staying constant

    My connection is unstable because of the storm, I think, let me rejoin this meeting!

    Is your internet connection unstable? You keep freezing. Let’s restart Zoom.

    I can’t work in that cafe as the WIFI connection is pretty unstable.

  4. play up (verb)

    → If a machine plays up, it does not work as it should

    The starter motor was playing up again.

    The car's playing up again so I don’t think I’ll be able to make it tonight.

    How annoying, my computer’s playing up again!

  5. freeze (verb)

    → [intransitive] When a computer screen freezes , you cannot move any of the images, etc. on it, because there is a problem with the system

    It’s so frustrating when his screen freezes, we can’t have a proper conversation.

    I was actually thankful my screen froze as I had to sneeze. Sneezing on camera is always so awkward and embarrassing!

    Has your screen frozen or are you just not moving?

  1. Do you enjoy Zoom meetings as you can enjoy the comforts of your own home? Or do you find it awkward and unnatural?

  2. Has anything embarrassing happened to you during a Zoom meeting?

  3. Do the older generation in your culture use Zoom and other video conferencing platforms?