Language is forever changing. What is currently acceptable or popular may be replaced by something else in years to come, and the use of slang is a strong testament to that. Slang is just an alternative way of saying something. It is sometimes hard to identify what is slang and what is not. Slang and colloquial expressions are often acceptable in informal writing because they are used in communication in movies, newspapers, radio, television, and other mass media The more you learn, the more you will know when to use or not to use them in your formal writing. No matter what, knowing these common everyday expressions is a plus for all ESL learners.
e.g. He lost his re-election by a long chalk.
Get wise to: discover; realize.
e.g. Soon you’ll get wise to what is really happening under the roof.
Go the whole hog: go through thoroughly.
e.g. The prosecutor went the whole hog when he inspected the murder weapon.
Alive and kicking: in good health.
"How is your grandmother doing?" "Very much alive and kicking."
For a song: very cheaply.
e.g. I got that piece of antique for a song.
Head above water: out of debt.
e.g. Nowadays, it is not easy to keep your head above water.
e.g. Can I borrow a little mean-green from you?
All that jazz: all that sort of thing; etcetera.
e.g. He was telling everyone about his success in real estate investment and all that jazz. Well, we all heard that before.
In a jiffy: soon.
e.g. The manager will see you in a jiffy.
Next to nothing: hardly anything.
e.g. “Did she leave you anything at all?” “Well, next to nothing.”
Copyright© by Stephen Lau