10 common informal words (for elementary learners)

We use a lot of informal words when we speak with friends or people we know well. In more formal situations we usually use more ‘standard’ words.

To get you started, here is a list of common English informal words versus their more ‘standard’ equivalents.

‘standard’ word informal equivalent example
a child, children a kid, kids We have two kids – a son and a daughter.
mother  mum My mum’s name is Anna.
father  dad My mum and dad met in 1992.
money cash I can’t go to the cinema – I don’t have any cash.
a bicycle  a bike My brother got a new bike for Christmas.
a telephone  a phone I need to call home; can I borrow your phone
goodbye  bye Bye – see you later!
a man  a guy* That’s the guy that works in the garage.
fashionable, attractive  cool That’s a really cool hat – where did you buy it?
my house, my flat my place I’m having a party at my place on Saturday.

* A guy is usually a man, but we can use guys when we speak to a group of girls or women, or to a mixed group of people:
Hurry up, guys! It’s time to go.

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