So, you thought you were good at English and spoke like an American… until you came to study in the US.
Yes, spoken American English is really THAT different from what you were taught at school.
It’s ok – all international students go through this.
Here is a short dictionary of real American English for you.
Learn these 20 most confusing slang words and you’ll prevent hundreds cases of misunderstanding.
Speak Like an American and Learn Real English
So, here’s your brief dictionary, which can save you during the first weeks in the States:
- My bad is pretty close to ‘I’m sorry’. Americans use it when they don’t catch a ball or they step on somebody’s toes.
- Come in handy means useful. This dictionary will come in handy to you.
- To hit the nail on the head – to fully understand something;
- All sometimes means ‘very’: Michael saw snow for the first time in his life and got all emotional.
- All ears is someone who promises to listen very carefully. E.g. I am all ears.
- Around-the-clock is 24/7. For instance, our live support is glad to hear from you around the clock – at any time of day or night.
- Dead – very, extremely, totally. E.g. I was dead wrong.
- Killer - great, amazing. E.g. It was a killer strategy.
- Booze - alcohol – please, please, say ‘no’ to this one if you are under 21.
- Call it a day – stop some kind of activity. E.g. We’ve worked for 12 hours already. Let’s call it day.
Speak Like an American and Blow Everyone Away
These words could be your secret weapon. Don’t be surprised if you use them and then hear behind your back: “Hm, s/he speaks like an American.”
- Blow someone away means to greatly impress somebody. E.g. Use these words and you will blow everyone away.
- Nerd - someone who prefers studies to social activity. If you are here, we are certain that you are not a nerd.
- Doze off – fall asleep. E.g. You’d better not doze off during a boring lecture.
- Eye-opener – something that makes you realize how things really are. That evening was an eye-opener. I realized that Santa Claus doesn’t exist.
- Freebie – an important one – it means that you are going to get something for free and don’t have to pay for it. E.g. Enjoy our freebies – a free online game and a killer essay writing guide.
Did you know that some phrases used by Americans can mean just the opposite of their initial meaning? Check this brief phrasal book to be sure that you are ready to speak like an American.
By the way, are we missing something in this list? Feel free to add your favorite phrases in the section below.