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Colloquialism: Definition and Examples (PDF)


Today, we embark on a journey to explore the fascinating world of colloquialism in the English language. Colloquialism, also known as everyday language, plays an important role in understanding and connecting with native English speakers in informal settings.

By mastering colloquial expressions, you will improve your ability to engage in natural conversations and truly grasp the nuances of everyday English. In this article, we will define colloquialism, discuss its importance, and provide you with practical examples to expand your linguistic skills. Colloquial language used in your conversations with family and neighbors.

What is Colloquialism?

Colloquialism refers to the informal and relaxed way people communicate in everyday spoken language. It is characterized by regional phrases, idiomatic expressions, and everyday vocabulary specific to certain social groups or dialects. Colloquial language allows for a more casual and familiar tone, making conversations feel authentic and relatable. Remember everyday colloquial language is the opposite of formal language.

Mastering colloquialism is essential for ESL learners as it enables effective communication in informal situations. Understanding and using colloquial expressions will help you build rapport with native English speakers, showcase cultural awareness, and improve your overall fluency. It allows you to connect on a deeper level and truly immerse yourself in the language.

Examples of Colloquialism

Y’all: It’s a shortened form of “you all.”
Example, “Are y’all coming from Kansas huh?”

Buzz off: It’s used to say someone to go away in a rude way.
Example: Buzz off! I am very busy, can’t you see?

Feeling blue: It means feeling sad.
Example, “My sister has been feeling blue all day.”

Gonna and wanna: These are colloquial contractions for “going to” and “want to.”
Example, “You’re gonna wanna see this!”

Go nuts: It means to go crazy.
Example, “Your mom is gonna go nuts when she sees what you’ve done to your room.”

Being chicken: It refers to being scared.
Example, “Don’t be a chicken, just go and ask her out.”

Ain’t: It’s a colloquial form of “is not.”
Example, “I ain’t going anywhere from here.”

Ace: It means something really good.
Example, “Have you heard her dance? She’s ace!”

Cheers: Can be used as a “thank you” or “goodbye”.
Example, “Cheers for the drinks!”, “Cheers! I see you tomorrow.”

What’s the buzz: It’s a colloquial way of asking if there is any news to report.

Bae: It’s a more recent colloquialism used to refer to a boyfriend, girlfriend, or spouse.
Example, “I’m really bored at home, I wish my bae was here now.”

English colloquialisms for Different Countries

United States of America
Ain’t – Same as isn’t
Ballpark – Something that is close but not exact
Rain check – Rescheduling plans for a later date

Deadset – True
Flat out – Extremely busy
What’s the John Dory? – What’s up; what’s the gossip?

Bloody – Something like “very”
Knackered – Exhausted, very tired
Rubbish – worthless, untrue, or nonsense
Wicked – Perfect or excellent

Click – A kilometer
Double-double – A coffee with double cream and double sugar
Toque – Warm cap or beanie

Colloquial Expressions List

Colloquial ExpressionFormal EquivalentMeaning
WannaWant toWant to
GonnaGoing toGoing to
KindaKind ofKind of
GottaGot toHave to
LemmeLet meLet me
Y’allYou allYou all
Ain’tAm not / Is not / Are notAm not / Is not / Are not
DunnoDon’t knowDon’t know
OuttaOut ofOut of

Remember that colloquial expressions are primarily used in informal speech and should be used appropriately based on the context and the relationship with the person you are communicating with. As an ESL student, it’s important to familiarize yourself with these colloquialisms to improve your understanding of everyday English conversations.

Common Colloquialisms PDF

  Common Colloquialisms PDF – download

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Thank you so much for all your useful information.

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