The smartphone is like a lifeline for international students: it allows you access to an English dictionary when you are shopping and don’t know an important word; it allows you to take photos of your incredible time in San Diego or San Francisco; it provides you with the opportunity to text friends for your next social outing, and it allows you to keep in touch with your family while you are away from home. Leaving home without it makes us feel like we are missing something!

The language regarding smart phones is as important as their use. Do you know the collocations that are used when talking about texting and messaging and emailing? Here are some of the more useful expressions and collocations that you need to know.

Language for Texting and Messaging

“SEND” is the most common verb used with messaging.

  • Send me a WhatsApp.”
  • Send me a message on WhatsApp.”
  • Send me a message.”
  • Send me a text (message).”

With text messages, we can also simply use “TEXT” as a verb.

  • Text me.”

With “SKYPE,” we often use the word as a verb or we use the expression “ON SKYPE.”

  • Skype me.”
  • “Call me on Skype.”


Other Important Expressions and Terms 


  • Short for “applications,” these are the things like Skype, WhatsApp, and Facebook that you download to your phone.


  • This is the verb that you use

Hang up

  • To end a call.


  • This is the British term for a cell phone. American English uses the word “cell.”
    • “Call me on my cell.”


  • The quality of the signal you have on your phone.
    • “I don’t have good reception here.”
    • “I have full bars.”
    • “I only have one bar.”

Of course, smartphones are also a great way to improve your English: there are many apps designed to help you with vocabulary and listening skills! We suggest the Serial podcast for upper-intermediate learners. Check out the Serial podcast here.