You are traveling to the United States and you have worked hard to learn English. It is not your native language and some of it was difficult. But you made it! You can carry on a conversation in English with someone else easily.
But you are a little worried. You know that people in every country have their own expressions and their own unique way of speaking. English speaking people are no different. You will also find that words people use vary depending on their location.
Here is a list of common expressions that you will hear in the United States.
This is a contraction of you and all. You will hear it in the southern United States (Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas, etc..)
How are y’all doing?
This is similar to “y’all,” but you will hear it in the northeastern states (specifically New York).
How are yis doing?
This is a greeting and can mean several things.
When you first meet up with a person, they are asking for an overview of how you are. They do not really want to know the details of what you are doing.
If you initiate contact (by phone call, or by going to see a person), they may be asking, “What do you want?”
Hi Tomas, what’s up?
See you, see ya, or see you later:
This means goodbye.
“See you later Sylvie.”
Cool, sweet, nice, or no problem:
Any of these words mean that the person thinks something is good. Depending on their tone of voice, it can range from very excited down to acceptance of a fact.
“Your new car is cool!”
“You can’t come out because you have to study? That’s cool.”
The opposite of cool: not good. Often used to describe restrictions placed on a person by someone else.
“That is so lame that your professor makes you leave your cell phone at the front of the class.”
This is often used to describe beauty or attractiveness.
“That new girl in the dorm is hot!”
Used to describe a woman or girl.
“When is that chick going to get here?”
Used to describe a man or boy.
“I talked to that dude yesterday.”
This is a shortened form of because.
“I am late cuz I missed the train.”
In most cases, when you are ordering a drink, you can simply say the name of the drink (Coke, Pepsi, Fanta, etc..). But some regions of the United States often refer to carbonated drinks by a general term.
Used in the midwestern states (Michigan, Indiana, Iowa, etc..).
Used in the northeastern states (Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, etc..), but also in California.
You will sometimes hear both words together.
Used in some northeastern states (Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Maine).
Southern states (Georgia, Mississippi, Alabama, etc..) sometimes use Coke to describe any carbonated drink. Be aware that if you ask for a Coke in a restaurant, they will probably bring you Coca-cola.
“I’m going to get Cokes. What kind do you want?”
Usually served only in southern states, this is iced tea with sugar already added.