You’ve probably been in a situation where you’re talking to someone online and all of a sudden their video freezes, your internet stops working, or you have some other problem.
Whether you’re catching up with family, meeting a foreign client, or taking an online English lesson, situations like these are never fun! Plus, what are you supposed to say when you’ve reconnected to the call? “Sorry, my internet isn’t working”?
Below, we’ve listed 10 popular expressions native English speakers use to describe internet issues. Next time your internet stops working, you’ll know exactly what to say!
1. Connection (n.)
The easiest way to let people know you're having internet issues is to say you have a “bad (internet) connection.”
- It looks like I’m having a bad connection today. Could you say that again, please?
- Sorry, I think the connection is bad. Can you hear me?
If you want to be more descriptive, you can use other adjectives such as “unstable,” “awful,” or “terrible.”
- Unfortunately my connection is terrible today.
- Our connection seems to be unstable.
2. Reception (n.)
“Reception” is the noun form of “receive.” For example, if you’re in a tunnel, you won’t be able to receive phone or internet signals and you’ll have “bad reception.”
Another adjective that’s often used to describe reception is “spotty.” This means that there are certain “spots” (parts) that have good reception and others that don’t.
- Sorry, I’m in the countryside and there’s really bad reception here.
- My train is going through an area with spotty reception, so we might have some connection issues.
3. Lag (v.)
English speakers use the phrase “lagging behind” to describe someone who’s not as fast as they should be. When applied to the internet, “lagging” means to receive delayed signals from the other side of the call. For example, your friend might say something but you only hear it five seconds later.
- I think I’m lagging. Let me quickly switch to a different Wi-Fi network.
- Sorry, my computer lags a little whenever I start a call. Please bear with me.
You’ll also hear people say “laggy” as in “my internet is laggy.”
4. Break Up (phrasal v.)
You can “break up” a big rock into smaller rocks. We can also use this phrase when someone is having internet issues. If you can only hear bits and pieces of what they’re saying, you can say they are “breaking up.”
- Could you say that again? You’re starting to break up.
- I’m sorry, but I think you’re breaking up.
5. Choppy (adj.)
“Choppy” describes small, rough waves that are hard to sail through. Similarly, we use this word to describe internet issues, such as a video freezing every other second.
- Sorry, my internet is choppy, so your faces aren’t loading properly.
- You sound kind of choppy. Is your internet OK?
6. Act Up (phrasal v.)
“Acting up” is used to describe children who are misbehaving or acting in an unusual way. Nowadays, English speakers also use it to describe internet issues. For example, if your internet is laggy or choppy, you can say it is “acting up.”
- Sorry, I took so long to join the call! I think my internet is acting up.
- Just a heads-up that I might suddenly disappear from the call. My Wi-Fi is acting up.
7. Get Disconnected (v.)
If your internet is acting up, you might be suddenly “disconnected” from the call. After you’re reconnected, you could say something like:
- Could you repeat what you just said? Sorry, I got disconnected for a second.
- We keep getting disconnected. Shall we try a different app?
8. Drop (v.)
Another way to say that you got disconnected is to say that your internet “dropped.” This means that it stopped working. You can also use “dropped” to describe a call that suddenly ended on its own, even when nobody hung up.
- Sorry, my internet keeps dropping. Let me move closer to the router.
- The call dropped in the middle of your question. What were you saying?
9. Cut Off (phrasal v.)
“Cut off” means to interrupt or stop something. For example, if you’re talking and someone interrupts you, they “cut you off.” And just like people can cut us off, so can the internet!
- Sorry, what were you saying before you got cut off?
- We seem to have been cut off.
10. Lose (v.)
You can “lose” people during calls. For example, if you’re in a group call and your friend Jane suddenly gets disconnected, you can say, “It looks like we lost Jane!”
- We lost a few people just now. Let’s wait for them to rejoin the call.
- Did we lose Mark? Oh, looks like he’s back.
How to Learn More Useful English Phrases
If you found these phrases helpful, you’ll like online English lessons on Engoo. As one of the largest English learning platforms, we’ve helped hundreds of thousands of students speak English with confidence. Learn more about us here.