Slang Expressions

Electronic communication helps to spread slang, jargon, and buzzwords around the world. Popular words and expressions appear and disappear quickly. Advertisers, politicians, commentators, bloggers, business people, and educators can start and spread trendy, slang expressions, for example: dysfunctional, parenting, syndrome, ethnicity, viable, entrepreneurial, crunch time, proactive, tipping point, walk the walk, and cutting edge, in addition to nouns used as verbs, such as dialogue, leverage, author, impact, and Google.

Most people who write formal reports, research papers, academic assignments, and essays avoid slang and buzzwords. For example, in an analysis of the political, military, and economic conflicts in the Middle East, it would be inappropriate to talk about heavy‐duty problems or describe the situation as the pits. Writing about the injuries of accident victims, you wouldn't say they grossed me out or that the paramedics' response was totally awesome. You wouldn't describe the president of Argentina as hot, cool, or adorable. Although you might use these expressions when talking to a friend, in your formal writing, you must use words that are appropriate to the purpose, audience, and tone of your written piece.

Sometimes slang or jargon can be used appropriately in writing. In dialogue, for instance, it can characterize a speaker. In a humorous piece, a slang word like freak (as in neat freak) might work. Remember that slang words can quickly become outdated—the cat's pajamas, keen, swell, hip, groovy, and so on.