- Bamboozle – to deceive
- Bo bananas, or go nuts – go insane or be very angry
- Wanna – want to
- Gonna – going to
- Y’all – you all
- Be blue – to be sad
- Buzz off – go away
However, writers use such expressions intentionally too, as it gives their works a sense of realism. For instance, in a fiction story depicting American society, a greeting “what’s up?” between friends will seem more real and appropriate than the formal “How are you?” or “How do you do?”
(Henry V by Shakespeare)
When you’re dead, they really fix you up. I hope to hell when I do die somebody has sense enough to just dump me in the river or something. Anything except sticking me in a goddam cemetery. People coming and putting a bunch of flowers on your stomach on Sunday, and all that crap. Who wants flowers when you’re dead? Nobody.
A colloquialism will be understood by nearly all of your fellow countrymen. This differentiates colloquialisms from slang and jargon, which refer to words used in specific regions (e.g., New York, the South West England) or in certain groups (e.g., the police, teenagers).
Often, a colloquialism will mean something other than its literal meaning, making it an idiom.
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These expressions are extremely common in speech, but they pose important problems in academic writing. First, as with clichés, these expressions lack specificity of meaning. Second, and even more problematically, because idioms cannot be understood literally, using them risks misinterpretation of your meaning by readers without the necessary language skills.
Informal English includes conversational language. Contractions such as can’t, won’t, and I’m. Contractions are not used in formal English. Formal English is carefully worded as in academic or professional writing. Word choice is important in formal English.
- Raining like cats and dogs.
- Like a pig in mud.
- Over the hill.
- In the dog house.
- Back against the wall.
- Under the gun.