The English you learn in class is usually not the English you will hear native English speakers use. Why? Well, your English studies are probably based off English grammar or textbooks which contains formal English.
So unless you’re at a graduation ceremony or a funeral, you’ll probably hear people use informal English. This includes contractions, slang, different pronunciation, idioms and expressions, and time-savers. Let’s examine each one so you can speak like a native English speaker.
English speakers are pretty lazy, so we tend to use one word instead of two or three. And this is exactly what contractions do. A contraction is a word made by shortening and combining two words. Here are some common examples:
- “I’ll” instead of “I will”;
- “Didn’t” instead of “did not”;
- “Can’t‘ instead of “cannot”;
Slang words or expressions are very informal and typically only used amongst friends – so avoid using slang words on a job interview. Because language is ever changing, it can be really tough to keep up with slang terms. The term YOLO was very popular not too long ago, but now it’s hardly ever used. So how can you possibly keep up-to-date with all these terms? Just remember to be observant, and try to learn about new terms you hear people use. Here are a few slang terms that stay relatively consistent:
- “Awesome“; this means that you find something or someone wonderful/great/amazing. It can also mean that you agree with an idea.”How did you like your dinner?”
“It was awesome!” (Or, you thought it was great).
“I’ll pick you up for the movie around nine o’clock.”
“Awesome!” (Or, you agree).
- “Hang Out“; this usually means that somebody wants to spend time with you, or that you are currently spending time with someone.”Let’s hang out sometime.”
“Sure, let’s go to the movies on Friday.”
“What are you doing?”
“Oh, just hanging out with John.”
3. Different Pronunciation
Although we know the proper pronunciation of words, we still say things differently sometimes. For example, we usually pronounce a “T” as a “D”.
Instead of saying little, we would say “liddle“.
“We only have a liddle bit of chocolate left!”
4. Idioms & Expressions
If you don’t know the meaning of idioms and expressions, they can be very confusing. Like, why is your friend telling you to break a leg before your big exam? Weird, right? Idioms can be confusing, but we use them all the time. Here are a few examples:
- “break a leg“; despite how awful this sounds, this idiom actually means ‘good luck‘ and you’re wishing someone well.
- “hit the books“; this idiom doesn’t mean you punch through your English textbooks. It really just means you’re going to study. This may be an expression you’ll be using a lot!
- “when pigs fly“; have you ever seen a pig fly? Hopefully not, because this idiom means that something will never happen.
5. Time- Savers
As I mentioned before, native English speakers are lazy – so we tend to say as much as we can with as little effort as possible. We often simplify our sentences by combining words or eliminating letters. Here are a few examples:
Instead of saying, “what are you doing?”,
We would say, “whatchya doin’?”
Instead of saying, “walking/talking”,
we would say, “walkin’/talkin’“.
Instead of saying, “give me”,
we would say, “gimme“.
English can be confusing, and hard to learn. But keep up your hard work, apply these tips, and you’ll sound like a native English speaker in no time. Thanks again for reading!