Isn’t that a question? – “I’m saying” “I’m telling you” “How about that?” and more, meanings & usage

Today’s phrases: I’m saying / I’m telling you / Isn’t that something? / How about that? / What do you know?

Listen to the audio version while you read, or click here to listen to just the audio for a challenge and practice your listening skills!

Charles lived in a city where sports touched everyone’s lives. Football, baseball, and even hockey were the sources of everyone’s joy, not to mention the logos on their clothes. The time of the season was basketball, and the entire city was excited about tonight’s game. The citizens were all one big mob of die-hard fans waiting for the next game to cheer on. Charles didn’t really have enough contacts to get him into a game, or even a tailgate, for that matter. But he did have one place that he could retreat to when his sporting vein started to pump. The bar.

Pearl Street was the main road near his house. Along the street were dozens of cool restaurants, bars, and eateries to choose from. He decided to go to this quiet looking sports bar at the end of Pearl. Once he got there, much to his surprise, the place was filled to the brim with fans yelling and cheering for their team. Charles nearly closed the door and left.

I’ve gone too far. If I leave now I’ll look like a lost idiot.

So, he decided to go in and have a seat at the bar. His stool was a little wobbly, but, what did it matter? Everyone’s eyes were glued to the TV screens set up throughout the place. The energy there was electric, and it seemed like the local team couldn’t score one basket without the whole block exploding into excruciating applause. Charles looked on in agony; basketball wasn’t a popular sport in his home country, and he was completely lost about the rules of play. 

Number 3 dribbled down the court … he faked a pass, making the defender fall on his back … he shot the ball up … and he scored a critical three-point shot! The crowd of spectators nearly tore down the bar with their excitement. The celebration was so strong that the lady sitting next to Charles spilled a bit of her drink in his lap. 


Charles made an annoyed sound at her.

Oh, my– I’m so sorry! Isn’t that about a b–, the lady started to say.

No, that’s okay. Everyone’s excited so, no worries, Charles replied.

But the lady shook her head in protest.

No, it’s not okay. I didn’t mean to spill my beer on you, dude. Please, I’m so sorry. Every time I come to this place I end up spilling my drinks on someone. Ain’t that something?

Charles watched as she turned her head back to the game. But didn’t she just ask him a question?

Excuse me, he caught her attention once more. —What was I supposed to answer to your question? I’m not sure.

Huh? The woman looked confused. —Did I ask a question? 

Then her bell rang. 

Oh! I asked, Isn’t that something? It’s just a silly way to confirm what I already said, I guess because it was a little ironic, or maybe just a foolish thing I did. I guess it has no real meaning. I could look at this game and, after number 3 shoots a three-pointer, I could say, “Isn’t that something?” It’s just a way to show something is a coincidence, ironic, or a little silly, abnormal even. Some people say, How about that? or, What do ya know? It’s all kinda the same. 

So if I tell you my name is Charles, and you say, “Hey, I have a brother named Charles,” then I could say, “Well, isn’t that something?” Or, maybe, “Well, how about that?” 

-Wow, you learn quick! 

At that moment, a man who appeared to be a stranger made a comment about number 22’s performance so far in the game. It could have only been a criticism since that player hadn’t done anything good the entire game. 

I’m saying … 

What’s that? Charles asked again.

Huh? Oh, forgive me my man. I was just answering this guy over here. 

I know, but it sounded like you told him, “I’m saying,” and you didn’t say anything else after. I have a feeling I didn’t understand it right.

Sounds like I’m gonna be your teacher today! I used to study pedagogy before I went to state college, so I guess I’m qualified. 

The man next to the lady laughed lightly at her comment, repeating, —Oh no. She said “pedagogy.” Ha.

I’m saying. My momma woulda said, I’m telling you. It’s just another way to agree with someone when they speak. My momma also woulda used it to say that something is a shame, but I don’t use it like that. If you say that number 15 has some really nice shoes, I might say, “I’m saying …” Just ‘cause I agree with you.

I get it now. 

Charles sat up happily and grabbed a sip of free iced water. Another three-point shot was scored, and the spectators shook the entire building once again. He might have gotten a little beer spilled on his arm, but who cares? The home team was on top!

Can I get a Sprite with tonic? he asked the bartender. 

Hey, are you a Jehovah’s Witness or what? the lady asked while giving him a playful nudge in the ribs. 

No. I used to drink too much, actually. I just decided to quit last week.

Hmm. Well, isn’t that something?

1 thought on “Isn’t that a question? – “I’m saying” “I’m telling you” “How about that?” and more, meanings & usage

  1. Pingback: Isn’t that a question? (audio version) | CultSurf

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