The International Student’s Guide to English Slang

If you stay in student housing, London’s finest slang might not be something you hear in the corridors and communal areas of your building. During my time here I had great fun making a list of my favourite phrases that I never found in my Oxford English Dictionary.

The first time I heard some very strange vocabulary that made me reach for the translation app on my phone was on a bus travelling back to my student housing. Londoners don’t often talk on public transport but this was a particularly friendly passenger.

He said, “I’ve been burning the candle at both ends and I’m so knackered that I had to skive off work today.”

I nodded politely and consulted my phone as soon as he got off the bus.

What I learned was that the man had been busy for long hours in the early morning and late at night so he was very tired. In fact he was so tired that he didn’t go to work today.

One of the best experiences you’ll have while you’re studying here is the chance to hear some of the informal and casual language that your teacher has probably never taught you.

Here are just a few of my favourites: see if you can spot them while you’re here. But don’t expect to hear them in your student housing. London language like this can only be found on the streets.

  • Loo (noun) – this is another way to say ‘toilet’.
  • Bloke (noun) – If you want to impress your English-speaking friends then refer to men as ‘blokes’.
  • Fancy (verb) – Want to find out from a friend if a girl likes you? Ask them if she ‘fancies’ you.
  • What are you on about? – You might hear this question if you get your words in the wrong order. It means ‘what are you talking about?’

And my Number One favourite:

  • Not my cup of tea – If you hear this phrase and you can’t see any cups of tea then it probably means that the speaker doesn’t like something. “I don’t watch football as it is not my cup of tea.” You can’t get much more English than that!

Slang is fun but when it comes to student housing London’s Britannia is proud to have a team that speaks plain English. Our commitment to find you the accommodation that suits your needs means that you can focus on studying and having fun while you are here. Let us know what you need and we’ll make sure you get it. Click here to enquire.

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