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Free English Lesson: Useful British Slang!

Written English is always important, but do we really talk in the same way that we write, with our friends and family? Of course not! Whether you realise it or not, we are always using a form of slang – the informal language we usually use in speech. The English language has lots of types of slang – here are a few popular British picks, for you to try out when you’re in Britain!

 1.     Bloody

One of the most commonly used words in slang, you can use this to emphasise another quality. It doesn’t matter if something is good or bad – just add ‘bloody’ before anything, for a uniquely British way of expressing yourself!

E.g. ‘That film was bloody awful!” or “That film was bloody brilliant!”

 2.     Mate 

Another very common word – this is used when you are referring to a friend, but also if you are trying to be less formal with someone unfamiliar.

E.g. “Excuse me, mate, can you grab me a paper, please?”

 3.     Taking the mickey 

If you have any British friends, you’ll know that Brits’ odd sense of humour can be a little frustrating at times – especially when you can’t tell if they’re being serious or not! This phrase is used when you think something is silly or unbelievable.

E.g. “I couldn’t believe the price for a cup of coffee! They must be taking the mickey!”

 4.     Piece of cake 

You can use this phrase to show when something is really simple and easy.

E.g. “That exam was a piece of cake.”

Quick practice

Which pieces of slang might you use in these situations?

  1. You are asking your friend to do you a favour.
  2. You found your driving test really easy.
  3. You are describing a really exciting tennis match to someone.
  4. Your tutor has lost all your coursework – and tells you to do it again.

Your turn

 There’s no better way to learn to use slang than putting it into practice! So why not make a conversation between friends and try to use each phrase? Remember that some words can be used in differe