Sometimes we don't feel well and need to go to the doctor's. When this happens, it's especially important that we know how to communicate what is wrong so that the doctor can help us.

In the tables below, we've collected lots of useful phrases that you will hear as well as be able to use when at the doctors. Take a look at them and feel confident next time you need English at the doctor's!

At the Front Desk: Arriving

When you first arrive at the doctor's you'll need to give your name, the reason for your visit, and show your insurance information. The phrases below will you help you do this!
Good morning, how can I help you today?
I'd like to see a doctor.
I'm here for a check-up.
Do you have an appointment?
I have an appointment at 2:00.
I'm here to see Dr. Richards.
Could you fill in your medical history on this sheet, please?
Please have a seat.
The doctor will be with you shortly.

Questions: Doctor

Once you finally meet with a doctor, you'll need to be able to explain what's wrong and talk about any medication you might be taking. Have a look at the questions below, which are common questions that you'll need to be able to answer.
What have you come in for today?
What symptoms have you had?
When did the fever start?
How long have you been feeling like this?
Have you been taking any medication?
Are you on any sort of medication?
Do you have any allergies?

The Examination

After the doctor has an idea of what's wrong, they'll begin their examination. You'll most likely hear some of the phrases below during an examination.
Where does it hurt?
Does it hurt if I press here?
Could you open your mouth, please?
I'm going to take your blood pressure.
Your heart rate is normal.
Could you cough, please?
We need to take an x-ray.
We have to take a blood sample.


After an examination, a doctor will usually suggest some sort of treatment. Here are some examples of what he might say to you.
I'm going to give you an injection.
I'm going to prescribe you some medicine.
I want you to see a specialist.
You should stop smoking.
If it gets worse, call me.
You should be better in a few days.

At the Front Desk: Leaving

Before you leave the doctor's, you'll need to stop by the front desk one more time to check out. Here you'll be able to make another appointment or ask general questions.
Do you need to make another appointment?
Do you need a doctor's note?
Please call us if things get worse or if you have any questions.
Feel better soon!

Answers to the Most Common Questions

What are the most essential English phrases I should know when at the doctor's?
  • Do you have an appointment?
  • I have an appointment at 2:00.
  • What symptoms have you had?
  • You should stop smoking.
  • How long have you been feeling like this?
  • Are you on any sort of medication?
  • If it gets worse, call me.
  • Do you need to make another appointment?
What is medical English?
Medical English is a very technical form of English that is generally only used in the medical field. So it's not really necessary to learn medical English unless you want to be a doctor. Otherwise, you will be to make yourself understood with just a few phrases, like the ones in the tables above, as well as some key vocabulary. If you are at the doctor's and don't understand what you are being told, don't be afraid to ask questions!
What are the main aspects of going to the doctor's?
Going to the doctor's is like a process with many stages. First you have to make an appointment with a doctor. This is usually done over the phone or online. On the day of your appointment you first check in at the front desk where you will fill out paperwork and show your insurance card. Afterwards you will go in for your examination with the doctor. At the end of the examination the doctor will then suggest some kind of treatment. Finally, before you leave you usually have to check out at the front desk and arrange any further appointments with the doctor if necessary.