1-2y Use of Language

What is it?

Expressive language means your child’s use of language, e.g. learning to say new words and putting them together. This can also include non-verbal communication, such as use of gestures. As children develop, they grow their vocabulary and use longer, more complex sentences.

What to expect?

By 2 years old, children will usually:

  • talk!
  • use around 50 or more single words, like ‘juice’, ‘car, ‘biscuit’,‘mummy’, ‘swing’, and ‘ball’
  • words might not all be clear to everyone
  • start to put short sentences together with two to three words, such as ‘more juice’, ‘bye-bye daddy’, and ‘my car’
  • start to ask simple questions such as “What that?” or “Who that?” They might do this quite a lot!

Information & advice

You can help your child by:

  • Talking with them and commenting on what is happening – this teaches them new words
  • Sharing books and nursery rhymes with them
  • Playing with sounds and words, e.g. making animal noises in play, or rhyming words
  • Repeating back and adding one word to what they say, e.g. if they say ‘dog’, repeat back, ‘big dog’.


  • Spending time outside talking as you explore together and listening to the sounds you hear
  • Singing nursery rhymes and songs together
  • Sharing books and talking about the pictures