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Colloquialisms

Some of the most colorful and entertaining ways to use the English language are colloquialisms. A colloquialism is a word, phrase or language convention used in informal English. A colloquialism is usually used by English speakers in a certain geographic area or English speakers of a certain dialect. Colloquialisms are not usually used in formal writing, though they are often used in literature to create a certain effect or to flesh out a character. Mark Twain was a master of using colloquialisms in his characters’ dialogue. A colloquialism may be a single word such as ain’t, a phrase such as shake a stick at, or an aphorism such as I don’t care what you call me as long as you call me for supper. While a colloquialism may use regional slang words, it differs from slang in that it is used and understood by people of all ages, occupations and economic classes in a particular region. Colloquialisms offer great insight into the interests, problems and worries of the people of who use those terms. With the advent of mass media, colloquialisms have gained a wider audience and often a wider use than they may have had in the past.

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