Lindsay McMahon
"The English Adventurer"

Does it make you sound less intelligent if you use slang or idioms in the United States?

Today we have a great question from our listener from Iran.

Thanks a million for your great job. God bless you both.

I’m your everyday listener from Iran. I always listen to your podcasts on my way home to work.

I wonder how are you recording podcasts while you are on the trip around the US !! :d.  Thanks again. I really need to learn more about American people and their customs and culture because I’m immigrating to the US next year.  🙂 and I’m going to land in Texas.

Lindsay, I’d like to ask you a question and I’ll be appreciate it if you answer in your next podcasts.

How can a person sound wise and educated when he/she speaks English? not a redneck or punks. Should he/she really avoid using idioms and slang and try to use difficult and formal vocabularies?


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This is a great question!

In our opinion it’s not just using big words that makes you sound intelligent.

If you use big words inauthentically it will be obvious and you will sound silly or fake and that’s even worse than sounding uneducated if you are trying to build connections with people.

Your goal should not be to memorize a bland list of vocab words.

Instead, if you want to sound wise or educated then you should immerse yourself in educating material and people.

Try to be the “least intelligent/worldly/wise” person in the room and it will “rub off” on you.

Join clubs/groups where wise people hang out.

Remember the famous quote by Jim Rohn- “You become the average of the five people you spend the most time with”


Download smart podcasts :

  • This American Life
    • I recently listened to an interesting episode about the human tendency to make the wrong choice and to follow through with that when we know it’s wrong. This topic is fascinating and the episode will pull you in so that you won’t feel like you’re studying.
  • Invisiblia
    • Recommended episode: The Problem with the Solution. In this episode they ask the question, “Are there problems that don’t need to be solved?” They discuss the American tendency to find a solution for everything and how that can be detrimental when dealing with certain mental illnesses and other problems in society.

Others to check out:

  • Stuff You Should Know
  • The Podcast History of Our World
  • Philosophize This
  • Choose your niche

When you listen to smart radio/podcasts/tv shows not only will you be hearing great vocab words but you will also have topics to discuss and things to say at the next party that you attend.

With these topics you’ll build confidence when you’re around intelligent and wise people and you’ll become one of them.


Pro tip to sound wise:

Don’t swear.

Don’t badmouth people.

It makes you sound bitter and people won’t want to be around you.

Yes, some slangs will make you sound uneducated but it depends on the ones you choose.


Remember, it’s better to focus on input rather than memorizing a list of empty “educated” vocabulary words because when you focus on quality and educating input you will hear, learn, and use those high-level words naturally.


Let us know your thoughts!

Leave them in the comments below.

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