If you want to learn more about slang, you've come to the right place. In this article, you'll learn everything you need to know to understand what it is and when you can use it.
This guide is part of our free online Grammar Book.
Slang constitutes words or phrases that form part of informal language. You tend to find it more often in speech than in writing, and it can be challenging to keep up with, as it changes frequently. In other words, it's very trendy; most slang words currently being used weren't used just a few years ago, and they will no longer be used in another few years.
Here are some examples of slang you rarely hear anymore or would be considered "uncool" or "dad joke":
Slang has a certain exclusivity to it as it is often specific to certain groups of people. Depending on your age group, ethnic background, or social class, you might use different words.
As stated by the Encyclopedia Britannica:
A new slang term is usually widely used in a subculture before it appears in the dominant culture.
Social media has played a big part in popularizing this type of language in recent years, and it's mostly used in oral communication because it's considered informal. That's not to say that you won't ever come across it in literature, however, since many authors will use slang to help establish their characters' culture or personality. You'll rarely find it in academic writing.
Let's take a look at some examples of slang words or phrases that have been used widely over the years.
Have you seen Ben's new ride? (car)
He really screwed us over on that one. (cheat/betray)
Nah, I'm not really into gardening. (no)
I don't see why you're getting so upset; it's just a bit of banter. (affectionate jokes)
That's a lil' too close for my liking. (little)
Don't talk to Jude right now, she's hangry. (hungry/angry)
She's getting so much work done right now; she's in the zone. (concentrating/performing well)
I've booked a weekend spa retreat; I'm so bougie. (bourgeois)
This place is dope! (cool)
I'm all ears; tell me everything. (listening)
Colloquialisms are also a type of informal speech used and understood by specific subgroups and used in casual conversation. But the difference with slang is that colloquial language, on the other hand, is considered standard English, so it's here to stay. What's more, it's bound by the usual grammar and syntax conventions.
Here are some examples of common colloquialisms:
Jargon refers to technical terminology that's specific to a particular industry. In theory, only those working in that industry can understand the jargon unless you're particularly knowledgeable for whatever reason. You can find jargon in almost every industry.
Here are some examples of computing jargon:
That concludes this article on slang. I hope you found it helpful.
Let's summarize what we've learned:
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