Lindsay McMahon
"The English Adventurer"

how to use American English slang

Do you use American slang words?

Slang words can help you connect immediately with a native speaker.

Today we’ll show you three awesome American slang words to connect with natives.


How important is it to use slang in English?

How often should you use it?

How can you use it properly?

What are some specifically American slang words that are common?

We’ll admit that slang can be a tough part of mastering the language.

We get that it’s hard enough to understand the basics, and then you add these unusual phrases with different meanings.


All Ears English TranscriptsMake sure you understand every word you hear on All Ears English.

Bring your English to the advanced level with new vocabulary and natural expressions.

Get the transcripts from today’s episode.

Learn to speak naturally with the American accent.

Click here to save 50% and subscribe to future transcripts!


Let’s start today with a quick role play

A: So Michelle when you were in grad school did you cram for exams a lot?

B: Yeah I had to. I had a part time job at this diner and my boss drove me up a wall. He’d make me work super late so I had to cram the night before every exam.

A: But how did you do usually?

B: Oh the tests were usually a piece of cake.


What slang words did we use in that role play?

  • To cram
  • To drive someone up a wall
  • A piece of cake


More slang words!

We found a fun little list of the 40 American Slang Words That You Need to Know.

Yes there are actually 40 or more American slang words.

That’s a lot, but one at a time you can master this.

Today we’ll pick three of the most relevant slang words.

These are the ones that we tend to use all the time.

Once you know what their double meaning is and how they work, then you can use them to connect.


Here are a few examples to show you slang and how it can work:

  • A Buck: This is a natural way of saying “a dollar.” I say this all of the time especially in the plural. 
    • A: How much was your ticket?
    • B: I don’t know, like 20 bucks?

**warning- don’t use “dollars” if you are using “bucks” it replaces it

  • To knock: This means to speak negatively, to disparage, or to badmouth.
    • A: Hey the subways have gone downhill lately huh?
    • B: Yeah but you can’t expect everything to be perfect.


  • To ride shotgun: This means to ride in the front seat of a car. Here is a quote from the article, “Riding shotgun is a statement of both position and status—a sort of second-in-command support position who works from a preferential vantage. The imagery invoked by the phrase comes from stagecoaches, specifically the person who rode in the seat next to the driver whose job was to fend off any would-be bandits with a shotgun.” I used to “call shotgun” by saying, “I call shotgun” when going to the car with my mom and brother. We say this as kids then it carries into adulthood.



Today we are pointing you to a list.

We warn you about vocab lists sometimes.

Don’t just blindly implement them.

Check them out and see if you hear those words.

Then learn how to use them and do so in a fun and effective way.

But do use slang words. Don’t be afraid of them.

Make them your own and get practice with putting them into conversation.

It can be a fun challenge.

It can also be a great way to immerse yourself into the language in a way that helps make you easy to relate to. 

Slang words may be a bit difficult to get the hang of it at first but after a little practice they are easy.

They make for a fun way to talk and you will instantly feel like a part of the culture.


What questions do you have today?

Let us know in the comments below.

  • Badges (1)
  • Badges-1 (1)
  • Badges-2 (1)
  • US_ListenOn_AmazonMusic_button_black_RGB_5X
  • App-Store-Button
  • google-play-badge
  • Badges (1)
  • Badges-1 (1)
  • Badges-2 (1)
  • US_ListenOn_AmazonMusic_button_black_RGB_5X