Slang Words for People


This is one of the biggest categories, as there are many slang words for people based on their experience, character, and behavior.


Dude and guy are general words for a man, and gal and chick are general words for a woman. We often use these words when we don’t know who the person is (though not necessarily, as in the last example).

 “I asked a guy on the street if I could borrow his phone to make a call.”
“That dude in the red shirt is totally drunk.”
“Who’s the tall blonde chick over there talking to Brian?”
“My sister’s more of a city gal, as for me I prefer the countryside.”

Guy and gal are probably a little more common; dude and chick tend to be used more by men (though not always).

For family, we have:

bro and sis for brother and sister, although they can also be used for very close friends
pops or old man for father
gramps and gran/granny for grandfather and grandmother
My folks for “my relatives” or “my parents”
The whole tribe/clan for your entire family, especially extended family


“Happy birthday to my big sis!” (big sis = older sister; little sis = younger sister)
“My gramps is 84 but he still loves to play tennis.”
“Sorry, I can’t hang out this weekend – my folks are in town.” (= my parents are here in my city visiting me)
“Do you see your family much?” “Not really. Every August the whole clan gets together for an end-of-summer barbecue, but that’s about it.”

Slang words for “friend” include buddy, pal, and chum, and the group of your typical friends can be called the crew. We also have the word peeps (short for “people”) which can mean people in general, or your group of friends (“my peeps”).

“Peter is one of my old pals from college.”
“I went to the amusement park with the crew.”
“I’m gonna invite all my peeps to my going-away party.”

If two people are buddy-buddy, it means they are good friends or have a close relationship. This word can also be used for trying or appearing to have a close relationship, as in the second and third examples:

“My brother’s wife is an actress, she’s not so famous herself but apparently she’s buddy-buddy with some of the top directors in Hollywood.”
“I don’t understand how someone can be all buddy-buddy with their ex-boyfriends. I never want to see any of my exes again!”
“How can you expect to be all buddy-buddy with me after what you did?!”

The slang words homeboy, homegirl, and homie, are also used for friends – these are more African-American or hip-hop style. They are usually used with “my.”

My homeboy won first place in the karate competition!
I went to the mall with my homegirl.
I had an awesome weekend with my homies from the soccer team.

The words bud/buddy and dude can also be used for addressing a person (a man) who you don’t know in a slightly hostile way, like when a fight is about to start:

What’s your problem, dude?
Hey bud, stop staring at my girlfriend!
Look, buddy, I’ll give you till the count of five to get out of my way.

Some older, more “refined” slang words for “man” include chap, fellow, and gent (short for gentleman – a good, courteous man).

My sister’s boyfriend is a friendly chap. Everyone likes him.
He’s a handsome fellow with blue eyes and dark brown hair.
Fred spent six hours helping me move into my new apartment. What a gent!

A funny, kind of ironic way to refer to yourself is yours truly – often when calling attention to something good involving yourself:

This whole party was organized by yours truly.
Check out the photo of yours truly in today’s newspaper!

© Shayna 2017

SOCIAL ENGLISH – in the country



Useful expressions:
• What’s the best way to get to the country?
• Is there a bus from here?
• How long does it take?
• Is there any place to eat there?
• Should we take some food?
• There’s a castle.
• The view from the top of the hill is breathtaking.
• The scenery around here is magnificent.
• You can visit the castle.
• Are there any good walks?
• It gets a bit touristy in August, but it’s great for most of the year.
• What’s a typical souvenir from here?
• Is there a guided tour?
• Do we have to tip the guide?
• How do we get to that restaurant?


Receptionist: Country Oaks Bed & Breakfast, how may I help you?

Thomas: Hi, I’m thinking of coming for a visit in the next few weeks. What’s the best way to get there from the city?

Receptionist: Take bus 35 from Appleton Street. Then, get off at the Cherry Turnpike, exit number 16. The house is the third one on the right, with a blue and pink sign.

Thomas: Is there any sightseeing nearby?

Receptionist: Well, there’s a town with a medieval castle about 20 minutes away. There are guided tours that leave in the morning and then again in the afternoon.

Thomas: Mmmm, that sounds interesting.

Receptionist: Yes, it’s really charming. It’s a great place to take the family.

Thomas: What about restaurants? Are there many nearby?

Receptionist: There are a few. There’s a nice little place in the village that sells traditional food.

Thomas: OK. That sounds great. Do you have two rooms with twin beds for the weekend of Saturday the 12th?

Receptionist: Erm… Let me check… Yes, we have two rooms available.

Thomas: Great!

Receptionist: What’s your name, please?

Thomas: Thomas Sanders.

Receptionist: All right, Mr Sanders. We’ll see you in two weeks.

Thomas: Bye.

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Verb Forms

shall not | shan’t 

BrE /ʃɑːnt/

NAmE /ʃænt/

Past Simple = should 

BrE strong form /ʃʊd/

NAmE strong form /ʃʊd/

should not | shouldn’t

1 – used with I and we for talking about or predicting the future

• This time next week I shall be in Scotland.
• We shan’t be gone long.
• I said that I should be pleased to help.

2 – used in questions with I and we for making offers or suggestions or asking advice

• Shall I send you the book?
What shall we do this weekend?
Let’s look at it again, shall we?

3 – used to show that you are determined, or to give an order or instruction

• He is determined that you shall succeed.

• Candidates shall remain in their seats until all the papers have been collected.

Grammar Point

shall / will

• In modern English the traditional difference between shall and will has almost disappeared, and shall is not used very much at all, especially in North American EnglishShall is now only used with I and we, and often sounds formal and old-fashioned. People are more likely to say:I’ll (= I will) be late and‘You’ll (= you will) apologize immediately.’ ‘No I won’t!’

• In British English shall is still used with I and we in questions or when you want to make a suggestion or an offer:What shall I wear to the party? Shall we order some coffee? I’ll drive, shall I?

Express Yourself

Offering to do something

There are various ways of offering and accepting help: 

• Would you like me to help you with that?
• Can I give you a hand?
• Can I help you with that?
Shall I carry that for you? (British English or formal, North American English)
Would it help if I spoke to Julie before you call her?
Let me take your bag.
If there’s anything I can do (to help), let me know.


• That’s very kind/​nice/​generous/​thoughtful of you.
Thank you.
It’s all right, thank you. I can manage/​do it.
Thanks. That would be very helpful.

Grammar Point

modal verbs

• The modal verbs are cancouldmaymightmustought toshallshouldwill and wouldDareneedhave to and used to also share some of the features of modal verbs.

• Modal verbs have only one form. They have no -ing or -ed forms and do not add -s to the 3rd person singular form:He can speak three languages. She will try and visit tomorrow.

• Modal verbs are followed by the infinitive of another verb without to. The exceptions are ought tohave to and used to:You must find a job. You ought to stop smoking. I used to smoke but I gave up two years ago.

• Questions are formed without do/does in the present, or did in the past:Can I invite Mary? Should I have invited Mary?

• Negative sentences are formed with not or the short form -n’t and do not use do/does or did.

P.S.: You will find more help with how to use modal verbs at the dictionary entries for each verb.

Word Origin

Old English sceal, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch zal and German soll, from a base meaning ‘owe’.

© Oxford University Press 2017