The U.S. population uses slang terminology every day. Webster defines slang as: 1) language peculiar to a particular group as argot or jargon; 2) an informal nonstandard vocabulary composed typically of coinages, arbitrarily changed words, and extravagant, forced, or facetious figures of speech. Freelance writers may want to limit the use of slang because it’s possible only U.S. citizens will understand the message. If you’re goal is to reach a global audience then you want to be mindful of the words you use.
Freelance writers may use slang words (guilty of this — my bad) in their writing, but how many people will understand the meaning? U.S. readers will understand what the words mean, but readers from other countries may not understand. Or, you could end up offending readers. Remember that certain words and signs (thumbs up) have different meanings in other countries. What the U.S. considers acceptable may not apply to other countries.
Slang terms can make writing more colorful, but you may want to save it for your best-selling novel. If readers don’t understand what you’re saying, you could receive many emails from readers asking for an explanation. Of course, this is a good way to get dialogue going between you and your readers.
List of slang terms
Cut it out!
Dude (still used today)
Sometimes slang can “cheapen” writing. You may be trying to be cool, but the execution of your use of slang could make your writing look amateurish. If you’re trying to revive your writing, consider taking a writing workshop or attending a conference. You can learn a lot from the speakers and other writers.
If you’re writing dialogue for a character in a novel or screenplay then you may want to consider using slang if it’s appropriate for the character. Otherwise, be professional in your writing and forgo using slang. Sometimes it just happens. When it does recognize it and find another word to use. Think of it as a challenge or a form of exercise for your brain!
If you’re a writer who doesn’t use slang, you deserve some props!
How many times have you used “slang” in your writing? Share your experience.