What is more correct and why? I heard few British people speaking "in slang" and some of them said that unofficial language is named "slang."

Additionally, is "slang" official/polite word?

1 Answer 1


Slang is a type of language rather than a language in itself, so one would ideally say that someone was using slang. 'Speaking in slang' is not really correct. 'Is it slang?' would be better, but to play it safe you might say 'is it an example of slang?'

A closely related term is the noun 'colloquialism', the adjectival form being colloquial. You would say:

He used colloquial terms.

The term is a colloquialism.

Addendum: as colloquial language generally comprises relaxed grammar rather than a set of informal words, the terms are not necessarily interchangeable--as kiamlaluno rightly pointed out below.

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    Slang is not a less formal term; in fact, the word is used from the dictionaries when describing a word. There is a difference between slang and colloquialism; wheels can be used as slag for car, but it is not a colloquial term.
    – apaderno
    Jul 28, 2011 at 13:29
  • Yes, you are right. I agree that there is a distinction between an informal lexicon and a relaxed grammar. I spoke imprecisely and I have edited my answer accordingly.
    – AM Douglas
    Jul 28, 2011 at 13:35
  • "Wheels can be used as slag for car" was supposed to be "wheels can be used as slang for car."
    – apaderno
    Jul 28, 2011 at 14:02
  • Ha, yes I guessed; it is unfortunate that there is not a 'one character edit' privilege even for someone of your reputation level.
    – AM Douglas
    Jul 28, 2011 at 15:14
  • If I had noticed the typo in the five minutes timeframe, I could have edited the comment; after 5 minutes the comments are not editable anymore. It's not a matter of editing a single character, which is always allowed to whom has the privilege of editing any posts. It's just a matter of my attention level. :-)
    – apaderno
    Jul 28, 2011 at 15:19

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