Bob's Your Uncle!
Updated: Feb 5, 2018
There are some words and phrases that you will hear spoken all over Great Britain 🇬🇧 (or any other country) but nowhere else. (Obviously you might hear them in other parts of the world if you are having a conversation with a British person!) But you wont find them in a textbook. You may not even find them easily on the internet.
This informal, spoken language that belongs to a certain country, or a certain context or group of people, is called slang.
Slang is the kind of language that is rarely written down and changes all the time, so this makes it one of the most difficult parts of a language to learn. It is almost impossible to find up-to-date slang examples in textbooks. However, when you want to speak informally with native English speakers, you wont be able to get comfortable about your speaking without learning and understanding some slang. Luckily the internet is the perfect resource for sharing this kind of language knowledge, and in this blog we aim to have plenty of posts helping you to understand and use it.
Of all types of language, slang phrases probably give you the best insight into the culture of the country, and for my part, I think British slang is generally quite comical, light-hearted, and really livens up a sentence! But if you don’t understand it, or if you take it literally, it can be very confusing!
Probably the most famous kind of slang is the slang you’ll find in London, called Cockney Rhyming Slang. But there is plenty of distinctive slang from other parts of the country too.
So why is this post called, ‘Bob’s Your Uncle?” Who has an uncle called Bob? Well I certainly don’t, so why would somebody say ‘Bob’s your uncle’ to me? Well in actual fact it has nothing at all to do with an uncle or a man called Bob. ‘Bob’s your uncle,’ means something along the lines of, ‘Well that’s it,’ or ‘All done,’ or ‘There you are,’ or ‘There you go.’
For example, imagine you ask your friend how to make an ice-cream sundae and she says:
First you scoop some ice-cream into a bowl. Then you could add a banana or some warm chocolate sauce, some chopped nuts or sweets and... Bob’s your uncle!
We also often use the phrases “hey presto,” or “voila,” [vwa-lah] (which is actually French!)
Because of the informal nature of slang, it’s best not to use it in some formal situations. And certainly not in an essay!
So... Bob’s Your Uncle! Now you know all about slang! Does anybody know any other slang phrases we use that have a similar meaning to ‘Bob’s your uncle?’ What is your favourite piece of English slang? What about fun slang phrases in your own language (please add a translation for us!) Leave your comments below!