“Oh, hi Charles. I swear, I was just about to call you!”

English Lesson: Oh, hi Charles. I swear, I was just about to call you!

Your client calls you on the phone. You've been meaning to call him for a while, and planned to do it this morning. You tell him this so he knows that you haven't forgotten about his account.

Oh, hi Charles. I swear, I was just about to call you!

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This is a sound that people make when they've learned something that surprises them, or something that they didn't know before.

Oh, you're not coming? I thought you were.

A: Excuse me, miss. We're closing in five minutes.

B: Oh, OK.

Oh, I guess we're both going the same way, huh?

I swear (clause)!

If you're saying something that's a little hard to believe or sounds like an exaggeration, you can put "I swear..." in front of it. It means "I promise that this is true". For example:

I caught a fish yesterday, and I swear it was as long as my arm!

That aerobics class was brutal! I swear, I've never sweated so much in my life.

One confusing point is that people sometimes say "I swear" even though they really are exaggerating:

I swear, the line at the coffee shop this morning was like an hour long!

English speakers are also likely say "I swear..." when they're angry, to show that they're serious about a threat that they're making:

I swear, if you don't be quiet, I'm going to slap you!

I was just about to (do something).

Use this expression to talk about something that you were planning to do next. For example, at work:

A: Hey, are you busy?

B: Actually, I was just about to leave. What do you need?

This expression is useful in situations where you're a little bit late doing something:

A: Hey, can you send me those sales projections?

B: Yes, sorry. I was just about to do that.

This makes it seem like you were already planning to send them soon, even if this person didn't remind you.

Hi (someone).

"Hi" and "Hello" mean the same thing, but "Hi" is more casual.

Use "Hello" when you meet someone for the first time in a formal situation:

Hello, pleased to meet you. My name is Arjun.

When you meet someone for the first time in a casual situation, like when a friend introduces you to someone, "Hi" sounds more friendly.

Hi Sara, nice to meet you.

When you greet someone who you already know, "Hi" is more common. "Hello" is OK too, but it seems more formal. If you always say "Hello" to someone it might seem like you don't feel comfortable with that person. So use "Hi" most of the time with friends, coworkers, your boss, your neighbors, and other people who you know.