We help you speak English clearly.
Free Speech Lesson


English Communication: Modern Slang

English Communication: Modern Slang

In previous blogs, you heard about some slang terms and acronyms inspired by (or only used on) the internet and text messages.

But American slang doesn’t stop there.

shutterstock_182446319Every era has the same, funny pattern: the young people create new vocabulary of their own–to the dismay and confusion of their parents and grandparents. Depending on your point of view, these new words are either creative and fun, or they ‘corrupt the language.’ You can probably think of words in your native language that young people love, but that older generations dislike or simply don’t use.

Whatever your opinion of the merits of slang, it can be helpful to know these words in order to understand what people are saying.

Of course, while there’s no danger in understanding these words, be careful in using them unless you are confident that you know what they mean. Mistakes can be embarrassing!

Here are some slang words you might hear around town or on TV:

  • YOLO (Acronym for a sentence): ‘You only live once.’ Often used as a reason for deciding to do something–usually something enjoyable or irresponsible. For example, ‘I really should stay home and study… but I’m going to go to the party instead. YOLO!’ (Dr. Antonia’s opinion: Probably OK also for people over 25 years)

  • Peeps (Noun): People (especially your friends). For example, ‘What are you doing?’ ‘Oh, just hanging out with my peeps.’  (Dr. Antonia’s note: In American vocabulary, we describe the chirping sound of a baby chicken to be “peep, peep.”  Thus use this if you are young in your preteens or  teens or early twenties  and your friends are in their preteens or  teens or early twenties.)

  • Swag (Noun): This word has multiple possible uses, but a common meaning is ‘style: being cool in how you talk, dress, and present yourself,’ For example, ‘Look at those shoes. That guy’s got swag,’ (Dr. Antonia’s note: Youthful people have swag — teens, young adults.)

  • Fail (Noun or interjection) Used to express disapproval of something. For example, “My internet keeps cutting out. Comcast fail!” or “I left my phone at work. Fail!”  (Dr. Antonia’s opinion: Probably OK also for people over 25 years.)

  • Hater (Noun): Someone who is negative and criticizes others. For example, “Don’t be a hater. You’re just jealous.”  (Dr. Antonia’s note:  Sometimes you are with someone who has only negative things to say about other people.  That’s a downer for all. “Don’t be a hater.  You’re just jealous.”  That’s a relatively nice way to ask the other person to stop being so negative.  And a good time to change the topic of conversation…)

  • Meh (Interjection): Wikipedia rightly calls this term ‘an expression of indifference or boredom.’ For example, “Do you want to go to a movie?” “Meh. I’ll go if you want to.”  (Dr. Antonia’s note:  It is hard to know exactly how to pronounce “Meh” the interjection.   So listen for this in the media and among young native English speakers.)

  • Whatever (Interjection): Used to express “It doesn’t matter” or “I don’t care what you say.”  The second usage is usually rude or impolite.  For example, “I really wanted that job, and I didn’t get it. But whatever,” or A: “You need a haircut.” B: “Whatever, Mom.” (Dr. Antonia’s opinion: Probably OK also for people over 25 years.  Depending on tone of voice and body language,  this can communicate casual acceptance of fate or can communicate resentment about fate.)

So the next time you’re browsing the internet or watching TV, be on the lookout for these slang gems.  It’s never a bad idea to increase your English vocabulary and cultural literacy… and maybe gain a little swag while you’re at it.

Click here: www.cleartalkmastery.com/scheduler to sign up for a Free Sample Lesson with us!

Be sure to watch our English Speech Tips videos and Accent Reduction Tip videos  for more English pronunciation and accent reduction exercises.

Contributing editor: Amber McKinney, MA


Rerun from June 18, 2014

Tips for Teleconferences

Tips for Teleconferences

Speak clearly.

Identify yourself and your location when speaking.

Indicate when you are finished.


Rerun from 05/05/2014

English Communication: Internet Slang, part 2

English Communication: Internet Slang, part 2

Last time, I told you about common acronyms that are used on the Internet and in text messages (like TTYL, meaning ‘talk to you later’).  These acronyms are all fun new inventions of the internet age.

shutterstock_157720049But the internet hasn’t just influenced the way we type– it has also changed how we speak. Internet age slang words have made their way into most Americans’ mouths in recent years. You’ve probably used some of the following, common slang words:

  • To tweet: To write a post on Twitter. For example, ‘During the fire, people were tweeting updates on the size of the fire at different locations’

  • To Google: ‘Google’ started off as just the name of the search engine, but is now also a verb meaning to search for something on Google. For example, ‘I don’t know the answer.’  ‘Why don’t you google it?’

  • To friend: ‘Friend’ was traditionally a noun, but can now be used as a verb with a new meaning –to add someone as a friend on Facebook. ‘I friended him on Facebook right after I met him.’

  • Selfie:  A picture that you take of yourself. For example, ‘There was no one to take my picture so I just took a selfie.’

  • To photobomb: To appear in a photograph that was not intended to have you in it. For example, ‘I would have gotten an awesome picture of Kate and Emma, but my brother photobombed it.’

Notice a pattern in some of these? English really likes to take words that start as nouns (tweet, google, friend) and turn them into verbs.  Once this happens, context is the key to knowing whether the verb meaning or the noun meaning is intended.  What’s next–to selfie? To youtube? Who knows!  In slang, no noun is safe from getting verbed.

Click here: www.cleartalkmastery.com/scheduler to sign up for a Free Sample Lesson with us!

Be sure to watch our English Speech Tips videos and Accent Reduction Tip videos  for more English pronunciation and accent reduction exercises.

Contributing editor: Amber McKinney, MA


Rerun from 06/11/2014

Rule of 60%

Rule of 60%


Only 60% will show up.   So set up chairs for a presentation for only 60%. Keep extra chairs available.


Rerun from 04/28/2017

English Communication: Internet Slang

English Communication: Internet Slang

 Slang. You hear it on TV, on the street, in conversations with your friends and colleagues. It’s fun to know slang in order to better understand the communication around you.  It’s fun to use current popular phrases and words!

Beware though, in using slang.  Make sure you know what the words or phrases mean so that you are not making a faux pas or big mistake which is embarrassing to you.  My opinion is that it is better to NOT use slang than to use it wrongly.   It can cause too much embarrassment.

shutterstock_134993387Also, some slang is more appropriate For instance, in the North American culture of the United States, an awful lot of people use the slang “suck”  as in “suck it up.”   That slang means to persevere even when an activity is distasteful.  An example: “I hate to work seven days a week from 5:30 am to 10 pm at night. Too much, too much.  But you do what you’ve got to do.  So I just suck it up.”  That is a proper use of the slang “suck it up.”   Usually, I don’t recommend that women use the phrase “suck it up.”  It is too coarse and not “lady like.”   In the North American culture of the United States, “suck it up” is used frequently by males in all kinds of circumstances… casual and formal.  It is a great phrase because it gets your attention.

You probably already use slang or colloquial expressions:

  • What’s happening?

  • How’s it going?

  • Way to go!

  • Arm candy (a good looking woman accompanying a guy)

  • Drop dead gorgeous (a very good looking person)

But you probably didn’t learn much slang in your ESOL (English Spoken as an Other Language) or any other English class.  Hey, not even Clear Talk Mastery teaches slang formally… yet!.

Now we have a whole new slang vocabulary, thanks to the magic of the internet.  That new slang has even spread beyond the internet to everyday speech.

When people chat via text messages, they love acronyms.  What’s an acronym?  These are letters which stand for words.  You already know a bunch from the cinema and your reading.

  • FBI  for Federal Bureau of Investigation

  • CIA  Central Intelligence Agency

  • ASAP  As soon as possible

  • VIP Very Important Person

  • NSF National Science Foundation

Here are some of the most common internet-age acronyms, used mostly in texting and online chat. You’ve probably seen many of these:

  • BTW: ‘By the way.’ For example, ‘I just got home. Btw how did the interview go?’
  • LOL: ‘Laughing out loud.’ For example, ‘Did you see the video I posted?’ ‘Lol yeah it’s hilarious.’
  • JK: ‘Just kidding.’ For example, ‘I lost my wallet again… jk I just found it!’
  • TTYL: ‘Talk to you later.’ For example, ‘Ok ttyl, I’ve gotta go!’
  • FTW: ‘For the win.’ This phrase is used as a cheer or celebration and usually follows a thing or person.  For example, ‘He gave me a ride from the airport. Brian, ftw!’ Or: ‘I forgot the ticket but I looked it up on my email. iPhone, ftw!’

Click here: www.cleartalkmastery.com/scheduler to sign up for a Free Sample Lesson with us!

Be sure to watch our English Speech Tips videos and Accent Reduction Tip videos  for more English pronunciation and accent reduction exercises.

Contributing Editor: Amber McKinney, MA



Rerun from June 4, 2017