Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Tips on Talking Like a Teenager for the Older Person (Part1)

Teenagers love using new words or phrases. Their language evolves so quickly that even for a teacher, and an English teacher at that, keeping up with the trends is not easy. If you find yourself currently out of touch and looking to be more ‘down with the kids’ fear not – a series of blogs are on their way that will help you understand and communicate with teenagers on their level. Perfect if you are struggling through a midlife crisis.

First up, two acronyms I had explained to me today by some A-level students: YOLO (You Only Live Once) and LOLs (Laugh Out Louds). It seems that YOLO can be added to a sentence to show people how crazy you were/are/will be in the future. For example: ‘I drank twenty pints and fell off a cliff YOLO’. More recognizable from Facebook and text messages, LOLs is the plural of LOL and can be dropped pretty much anywhere: ‘Last night we had some insane LOLs’.

All seems simple enough. Use YOLO and LOLs in the right context and blend in seamlessly with the younger generation. Or, far more amusingly, annoy them intensely as embarrassing parents or teachers by using them in completely the wrong context. Observe:

1. I had a good YOLO at the cinema last night

2. I really YOLO a cup of tea

3. Have you seen my LOLs?

4. I LOLs a good scone

5. I find reading a perfect way to YOLO some LOLs

Good luck!


  1. This is shocking! No adult (i.e. anyone over 19) should ever, EVER attempt teenspeak. At best we'd be considered sad; at worst we'd be breaking & entering into a rarefied preserve where even a state of the art satnav couldn't help us nagivate the perils within.
    Best advice for grown-ups is not to speak at all or, if we must, in hushed tones tell them tea is ready, to do so in a way that won't disrupt their texting rituals.

  2. Cool, man! I mean, like, far out. Er ...

  3. The sneering response from my daughter if I am brazen enough to attempt a FFS or a DW in a text has put me off trying to be cool and trendy for life. Maybe I should give these a shot, though, because YOLO, don't you know? I'm sure she and I will have LOLs about this period of her life in the future...

  4. Lol, love yolo, but most of all love the fish at the bottom of your Blog

  5. You'll always be ' hench' to me; and I'm 36! I was told I looked 10 years younger today, which was rather LOLesque. Though, as the Real Bill Bailey said on QI, "LOL" these days is degenerating to a point where it connotes a somewhat weary awareness that LOL has lost its LOL - probably through overuse by boring adults like us - and is often used ironically for describing situations where, actually, no-one laughed at all, even inwardly. Anyway, I'm enjoying "The Line of Beauty" almost as much as your blog so shall repair to my Kindle app., blood.

  6. Oh, I can supply you with many, many more.... I use my teenage and early twenties nieces/friends as research for novels...!!! But - I hadn't heard about YOLO! Phil, with your every day insight, you're way ahead of me, ha ha! Thanks for that one, I have noted it down :)

    Mind you, some that adults use are bad enough. I loathe IMHO (in my humble opinion - I object to that partly because I wonder why anyone would want to express their opinion as humble, and also because if you are saying it, it is automatically assumed to be your opinion, isn't it? Ranks up there with 'I personally think', etc!)

    I have to admit I use BTW a lot. Another one I loathe, wot I have noticed used on Facebook by adults, is PITA - pain in the arse.

  7. Thanks Phil Church.
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    Let me know if you will need my help.