Hi everybody, today we have another Slanguage Lesson.  Today’s slang terms are: Gnarly, Dude, Shady.

The other day, a student asked me, “Why should we learn slang?” Good question. Well for starters, I think that learning slang allows you connect with people of all generations and it keeps your speaking ability fresh and current as well. And as an English learner, your ultimate goal is to be able to communicate, connect and be understood in all aspects of your life. Not just textbook stuff right? You know, your personal life, social life and your professional life. Understanding slang means you’re able to understand all the different variations within a language, which include different dialects and contexts depending on where the person is from.  Does that make sense?  I really believe that slang is good for English language fluency. 

Alright, so let’s begin the lesson below…

Gnarly = originally a term that surfers used to describe the size or intensity of a wave.  But now this word has been adapted to everyday language. So basically, it means something extreme or severe.  AND the meaning can have a positive or a negative context. For example, have you ever seen a fucking awesome guitar solo where the guitarist is rocking out hard?  Well this case, you’d say, “Man, that’s some gnarly guitar playing!” 

Or in a negative/fun way, imagine waking up in the morning and you hair is like Poof! Like me in the morning.  You wake up and your family takes one look at you and they say, you’ve got some crazy gnarly hair this morning. You better fix it up.

Dude = I’m pretty sure you’ve heard this one.  Personally, I use it all the time. Now when the word dude is used as a noun, it simply means, FRIEND.  So its basically a very informal way to refer to a person. Now DUDE can also be used to express shock or disbelief.  So for example, imagine you’re cruising down Sunset Blvd in LA and you wanna get some burritos at this popular place and you can’t find a parking space.  So you say, “fuck it” and you park your car at some random location. After you get your take out burrito you come back to the car and low and behold, you have a fucking parking ticket on your car windshield.  So you’re like, “DUDE, no fucking way!” And then you look at the parking ticket fine and you say again, “DUDE, this parking ticket costs $84 dollars!” DUDE, I ain’t got money for that!

Shady = So when English learners hear the word shady, they might think of a large tree on top of a hill with huge branches supplying 10 feet of shade where you can sit down for a picnic.  WRONG! In California, shady means something completely different. Now if you love hip-hop like I do, you might know Slim Shady or Eminem but that’s completely different too.

Shady is an adjective and we use it to describe a person or a situation that appears a little dangerous, or not trustworthy.  So imagine you’re walking down the street and you notice something out of the corner of your eye. You look and down this dark alley way, you see a man with a long, dark trench coat handing over a briefcase and a thick envelope to a couple of dudes wearing sunglasses.

It doesn’t seem normal to you and the whole situation just looks and feels shady.  And most likely, you’re in a shady part of town so you better get your ass out of there. Shady can also mean something that is wrong or even illegal. For example, imagine an internet company that steals millions of dollars from it’s investors. That company is shady, their business practices are shady and most of all, their CEO is a shady businessman.  

Watch the video lesson here:

I hope you learned something today and I really want to  encourage you to use these slang words in your daily life!  Thanks for reading and if you’re serious about taking your English to the next level, check out my fluency course here and my english learning ebooks here.  See you next time!   -Walter

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