10 Slang Phrases English Learners Need to Start Using
English has a ton of set expressions that have their place in day-to-day communication.
But why would you use slang yourself?
- When the setting is not super formal, slang helps you appear more friendly and chill.
- It makes you sound more easy-going, which can help create trust and prevent conflict.
- It helps you level with the native speakers and break down the language barrier.
And so, here are 10 slang phrases that you are likely to hear in day-to-day life.
If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it — don’t try to change something that’s already working well. In short: don’t mess with it, just leave it as is.
— I was thinking about redesigning my website. Maybe changing the color scheme a bit and adding new sections to the home page. What do you think?
— Listen, man, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. You’ll only confuse your users.
Be careful, though, because outside the scope of this phrase, “broke” typically means “having no money”.
— Are you planning on going back to college?
— No dude, I’m too broke.
“Ain’t broke” is of course not proper English grammar, the “correct” way to say this would be “if it’s not broken, don’t fix it”.
I’ll give you that — I have to acknowledge/admit that something is true.
Very often used in arguments and debates, especially when you want to point out that part of what your opponent said is true, but not all of it.
Ashton Kutcher is a good-looking guy, I’ll give you that, but he’s not that great of an actor.
— I freaking hate McDonald’s.
— Yeah, I know what you mean, Their ice cream is pretty good though, you have to give them that.
Earn/get/score brownie points — get praise or social approval for doing something good
Brownies are a classic, delicious dessert, but earning the praise and respect of other people will give you fictional brownie points.
Running errands for your boss won’t score you any brownie points
(You’re) golden — synonym of “good to go” / “you’re set” / “you have nothing to worry about”. Used as an encouragement to say that someone is doing the right thing and “everything will be alright”.
Just make sure you close that deal, and we’re golden.
If you land that offer, you’re golden.
I’m not feeling it = I don’t like it / I’m unenthusiastic about something.
— This place has a great atmosphere, doesn’t it?
— I don’t know, I’m not really feeling it
— How about playing this song at the party?
— I’m not feeling it
I feel you (I feel your pain) — I empathize with you / I understand what you’re going through. “I feel you” is a common slang expression to show that you agree or relate to someone.
— There are so many games I want to play, but I can’t afford them because I’m broke
— I feel you, man
“I feel your pain” on the other hand can be used in both humorous and serious contexts.
— I was saving those cookies for myself, and my sister ate them.
— I feel your pain, bro.
I want to say to everyone who is going through a tough time right now that I feel your pain. We’re in it together, stay strong.
I don’t buy that / I’m not buying that — I don’t believe that.
Typically used to say that you’re not naive or silly enough to believe that something is true.
He couldn’t text you because his phone died? That’s a very unconvincing argument, I’m not buying it.
They say this fitness tea will make you lose weight fast, but I don’t buy that.
If you believe in a certain idea or plan, you can say “buy into (an idea or plan)”, this phrase is mostly used with a negative meaning.
Don’t buy into this fitness tea scam.
I don’t know who could possibly be stupid enough to buy into this idea.
Sick burn — a smart cutting insult.
In slang, “burn” means an insult, and “sick” means “excellent”.
— I got a new jacket.
— Did you travel back to the 1980s to buy it?
— Wow…sick burn.
Yadda yadda yadda — etc / so on, so forth. Used to say that no further details are necessary.
He told me I could move to that city, get a job there, find an apartment to share with someone yadda yadda yadda.
More power to you — an expression of admiration and support (pronounced with a stress on the “to”).
If you want to be a stay-at-home mom, I don’t have a problem with that. More power to you, as far as I’m concerned.
— Can you imagine he quit a secure job to focus on his YouTube career?
— What’s wrong with that? More power to him
Knowing when to use formal and informal communication styles is an important skill for any business professional. We dive into this topic more deeply in our English For IT: Communication course as well as other topics such as effective email writing, demos, meetings, leveraging LinkedIn, etc. Join in!