Five American SLANG Words that You Need to Know to Speak Like a Native

Do you want to sound more natural as you speak and more like a native speaker? Do you ever hear common English phrases and think, “what does that mean?” Figuring out what someone is trying to say is one thing, but when it’s in another language, like English, it can be even more challenging, especially when the language is not your native tongue. In this article, we are going to take a look at 5 common American slang words or phrases, their meanings, and how you can use them to sound more like a native speaker. If you’re ready, let’s get started!

#1 “No brainer”

Saying it’s a no brainer, means it’s an easy decision. For example, if you get offered a job that pays more money than your current job, it’s a “no brainer” to take the job. Who wouldn’t like to be making more money? It’s a no brainer!

When saying, “brainer,” the [ai] makes a 2 part sound= no br [a]-[i] ner.

Now you try, “That’s a no brainer!”

#2 “Keep the ball rolling”

When saying, keep the ball rolling, this means that you want to continue to do something. If you feel like something you have been working on, for example, a project has stopped, but you need to continue working on it, you can say, “I need to keep the ball rolling.”

The [ll] in ball and the [r] in rolling get linked together. “Keep the ball-rolling.” Try saying that a few times, linking the [ll] and [r] together.

#3 “The jury’s still out”

This phrase means that something is still undecided. For example, if someone asks if most people in the U.S. love the president, you might answer by saying, “the jury’s still out.” Why? Some people feel that there is still a lot of disagreement about this issue.

In the words jury’s still, the s sounds get linked together as they sound the same. “The jury’s-still out.” Now you try, but remember to link the s sound together.

#4 “A loose canon” 

A loose cannon is an unpredictable person. If you know someone that’s unpredictable in a bad way, you can say, “he’s/she’s a loose cannon.”

The word “canon” makes what is called a schwa sound. The stress is on the first syllable, with the second syllable making an [uh] sound. can [uh] n. “He’s/She’s a loose cannon” Now you try!

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#5 “Rise and shine”

If someone says to you, “rise and shine,” they mean wake up, get excited and start the day. The “and” gets reduced to a “n” sound. For example, “rise [n] shine. Try practicing reducing the “and” to a “n” a few times.


Now that you’ve had the chance to practice a few common American slang words and phrases, ChatterFox has a question for you. Do you like to “rise and shine” or prefer to sleep in? Tell us what you think!

Learning American English can be a challenge, but with daily practice and hard work, it is possible. Improving your speaking and American pronunciation skills will put you on the right path to sounding like a native.

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