How to use idioms and slang in English conversation | Speak New York

Idioms and slang are an integral part of any language, including English. They help to add color and character to a conversation and make it more interesting. However, using idioms and slang can be tricky, especially if English is not your first language. In this blog post, we will explore how to use idioms and slang in English conversation and some tips to help you master them.

What are Idioms and Slang?

Idioms are phrases or expressions that have a figurative or metaphorical meaning, rather than a literal one. For example, “break a leg” means “good luck” in English. The literal meaning of “break a leg” is to fracture one’s leg, but in this idiom, it means something entirely different. For example, “chill” is a slang term that means to relax or take it easy.

Using Idioms and Slang in Conversation

Using idioms and slang in English conversation can be challenging, but it is a great way to make your language sound more natural and fluent. Here are some tips to help you use idioms and slang effectively:

  1. Learn the most common idioms and slang words

There are thousands of idioms and slang words in the English language, so it is impossible to learn them all. However, you can start by learning the most common ones. Some of the most common idioms in English include “bite the bullet,” “costs an arm and a leg,” and “hit the nail on the head.” Similarly, some of the most common slang words in English include “cool,” “awesome,” and “dude.”

  1. Understand the context

It is essential to understand the context in which an idiom or slang word is used. For example, the idiom “hit the hay” means to go to bed. If you use this idiom in a conversation about farming, it will not make sense.

Similarly, slang words can have different meanings depending on the context. For example, the word “sick” can mean “cool” or “great” in some contexts, but it can also mean “ill” or “unwell” in others.

  1. Use idioms and slang in the right situations

Idioms and slang should be used in the right situations to avoid sounding out of place or inappropriate. For example, it may not be appropriate to use slang in a formal setting such as a job interview or a business meeting.

Similarly, idioms should be used with caution in international contexts, as they may not be understood by people from other cultures.

  1. Use idioms and slang sparingly

Using too many idioms and slang words in a conversation can be overwhelming and make it difficult for the listener to understand. It is best to use them sparingly, particularly if you are speaking with someone who is not a native English speaker.

  1. Practice, practice, practice

Practice is key to mastering idioms and slang. You can practice by listening to native speakers, watching TV shows and movies, and reading books and articles in English. You can also try using idioms and slang in your own conversations and asking native speakers for feedback.

Examples of Idioms and Slang in Conversation

Here are some examples of idioms and slang in English conversation:

  1. “It’s raining cats and dogs” – This means it is raining heavily.
  2. “I hit the jackpot” – This means I had great success or good luck.
  3. “That’s cool” – This means something is impressive or pleasing.
  1. “I’m beat” – This means I am tired or exhausted.
  2. “She’s a real pain in the neck” – This means she is annoying or difficult to deal with.
  3. “I’m in a pickle” – This means I am in a difficult situation.
  4. “He’s a real catch” – This means he is a great catch or a great catch as a romantic partner.
  5. “I need to hit the sack” – This means I need to go to bed.
  6. “She’s a piece of cake” – This means she is easy to deal with or accomplish.
  7. “I’m not feeling myself today” – This means I am not feeling well or I am not acting like my usual self.


Using idioms and slang in English conversation can be a great way to make your language sound more natural and fluent. However, it is important to use them in the right context and sparingly to avoid confusion or misunderstandings. With practice and patience, you can master the use of idioms and slang in English conversation.

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