Slang Corner

Every language has tons of slang! Slang is fun to learn because it makes the speaker feel like "one of the gang". It's also very useful for understanding movies, TV shows, and conversational speech. Here is just a sample of some popular American slang.

"How are you?"

The common question "How are you?" takes many forms. Here are some common ones you might find, with a typical response behind.

"How are you doing?" (fine, good, OK, not bad)
"How's it goin'?" (fine, good, OK, not bad)
"What's up?" (not much, nothing much, nothing)
"What's goin' on?" (not much, nothing much, nothing)
"What are you up to?" (not much, nothing much, nothing)

Positive Situations

There are lots of slang words that we use in a positive situation. For example ...

"You got a new car? That's cool."
"The new kid can play the guitar really well. He's so cool."
"I love Lord of the Rings. What an awesome movie!"
"My birthday party is going to be awesome."
"I'm going to Italy for vacation." "Really? That rocks!"
"I can't believe I got an A on my test. That rocks."

Negative Situations

There are also plenty of words to describe a bad situation.

"I'm sorry you didn't pass the class, man. What a bummer."
"You can't come with us to the concert? Bummer!"
"My girlfriend dumped me... It stinks."
"You crashed your new car? Man, that really stinks."

For People

Guys is a word that just means "people." They can be all boys, all girls, or a mix of both.
If you walk up to a group of your friends, you might say:
"Hi guys! What are you guys doing?"

"Come on, guys. We have to decide what movie we're going to see."
"I think we're lost. Let's ask those guys over there if they know where we are."

It's useful to use "you guys" if you want to be clear that you're talking to more than one person.
"I'd like to eat Chinese food tonight. What about you guys?"

If you're just talking about one guy, it means a man or a boy. You wouldn't use "guy" to talk about a girl.

"Do you see that tall guy over there? Don't you think he looks like an actor?"
"I know a guy who can fix anything."

You can also use dude to refer to a guy.

"Go ask that dude over there if he has change." "He's a cool dude."

Guys have many words they use to talk about girls, like babe and chick.

"Do you see that really cute chick over there?"
"Yeah, she's a babe."
"Let's go to the beach and look for babes."

You know the kind of person who is usually really smart, but socially awkward? Maybe they wear glasses and have braces on their teeth. Maybe they love computers and Star Trek and science fiction. They know everything about physics and chemistry but nothing about how to get a date. For this kind of person, we often say nerd or geek.

"Bill Gates is a computer geek."
"Yeah, I love Star Wars and Star Trek. I'm kind of a nerd."


If something is strange, the most common word we use is weird.

"My car is making really weird noises; I think something is wrong with it."
"My brother is acting weird today. I wonder what's going on."
"I don't like that new song on the radio. It's too weird."
"We've had some really weird weather lately."
"I don't know about your new haircut ... It makes you look kind of weird."

If something is disgusting, the most common word you'll hear is gross.

"My brother loves to eat peanut butter and pickle sandwiches. It's so gross."
"That boy has gross, dirty clothes on."
"I can't stand eating sushi. I think it's gross."
"My brother likes to do gross things - like eating worms."
"Do you like horror movies? I can't watch anything with blood. It grosses me out."

For describing food that tastes really good, you can say it's yummy. For food that tastes really bad or disgusting or gross, you can say it's yucky. Yummy and yucky are often used by children, but adults use these words too!

"I made a yummy chocolate cake today!"
"You made the most delicious chicken! I can't wait to eat it. Yum!"
"Don't eat dirt. That's yucky."
"Mom made brocoli for lunch. Yuck!"

Losing Control

Situations of panic call for good slang. Here are some common phrases for losing control.

"I lost my keys and now I'm freaking out! I can't be late again!"
"My sister really freaked out when I jumped out and scared her."
"I have to tell you something. Don't freak out, ok?"
"I have a test in one hour! I'm flipping out!"
"Don't freak out, just calm down. Chill out."
"My dad really went off the deep end when I said I had a boyfriend."
"My dog goes bananas when I give him bacon."
"I lost my wallet and my phone ... I'm going crazy!"
"Every time I borrow my sister's clothes, she goes berserk!"

Texting and Chatting

There are tons of shortcuts and abbreviations you can use when texting or chatting. Here are a few common ones:

OMG - Oh My God. Use it when you are surprised.
LOL - Laugh Out Loud. Use it when something makes you laugh.
ROTFL - Roll On The Floor Laughing. Use it when something REALLY makes you laugh a lot.
BRB - Be Right Back. Use it when you will be away from the computer for a few minutes.
BTW - By The Way. Use it when you want to say something related to the topic.
CU - Means "See You."
TTYL - Talk To You Later

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