The best way to learn British slang

The English language can be very confusing. Especially if you are learning British English. In Britain, we use a lot of slang. Slang is informal words, phrases and expressions that originate from groups of people or different regions. Slang is more common in conversational English than it is in written English. One of the reasons slang is so confusing for English learners is because there are so many variations regionally. For example, slang used in Manchester is very different from slang used in London.  Also, the slang commonly used in American English is very different from what you find in British English.

If you want to become a proficient communicator in English, an understanding of slang is essential. Even if you are at a beginner or lower intermediate level, some knowledge of slang will help you to understand and follow conversations better.

In this blog post, I am going to give you some tips on how to learn slang and provide you with cool resources that will help you to learn British slang naturally like native speakers do.  

What’s the best way to learn slang?

One of the best ways to learn slang is the way English speakers do it – by watching TV!  By watching British TV series, you can learn lots of new slang. There are countless British TV series that you can watch online.

​Here are a couple of shows I recommend for you to watch. (plus, they’re really funny)


This hilarious British comedy focuses around four students at the fictional Rudge Park Comprehensive school who struggle to deal with issues facing today’s youth


Skins” is a wild ride through the lives of nine high school friends stumbling through the mine field of adolescence… and stepping on most of the mines as they go. Be it sex, drugs, the breadth of friendships or the depth of heartbreaks, “Skins” is an emotional ride that slams through the insanity of teenage years.

Peep show

A British sitcom about the lives of Mark and Jez a couple of twenty-something roommates who have nothing in common – except for the fact that their lives are anything but normal. Mayhem ensues as the pair strive to cope with day-to-day life

Gavin & Stacey

The comic tale of love between an Essex boy and a Welsh girl Another fantastic way to learn slang is to listen to new pop music, and read the lyrics as the song plays.  If you hear a word or phrase you don’t understand, you can look it up on Urban Dictionary.

You can also visit many great websites that have lists of British slang. This way can be quite boring and I recommend that you learn by watching and listening to TV series, as this is a more natural way to learn. You will also find it easier to understand and remember the new slang you learn In my opinion there seems to be no end to slang. Like I mentioned at the beginning, slang is quite different in other regions. My advice to you learning slang is to learn what we class as common slang at first. This is the slang that is mostly used in the whole of the UK.
To use slang correctly you must practise it in general conversations. It can be quite daunting using slang at first as it’s easy to say the wrong thing. But don’t worry it’s normal to make mistakes that’s how we learn. Try to practise with an English-speaking friend on online forums, Facebook groups etc. As, these are more informal settings where it’s acceptable to use slang. Plus, somebody can provide you with feedback on your use of slang’
Here at Online English we provide conversation classes where we can teach you how to use slang correctly. We help you incorporate slang naturally into your daily conversations. Our teachers can provide you with the right guidance and feedback on how to use slang.  Why not arrange a free assessment class with our teachers to find out more about how they can help you with your speaking?

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