It happens so often to me and you may happen to hear some unusual sentences too, Some instances as below which I think they should have been in some other forms like:

We entertainers -> We're entertainers.

You mad? -> are you mad? or you're mad?

Don't anyone know me -> Anyone doesn't know me or at least Anyone don't know me.

These some weird structures make me wonder if I can do whatever I want while speaking in slang. Or even there are some specific grammars for these unusual grammars?!

How could I figure out to make the same things?

  • I think it would be fair to say that this site, although it will certainly help you to understand language from a sociolect or regional dialect, does not have as one of its goals teaching people how to speak in a given sociolect or regional dialect. You might be better served by the sister-site if that is your goal: english.stackexchange.com They could point you to resources, once you have identified a particular dialect or sociolect. You might also try linguistics.stackexchange.com
    – TimR
    Commented Jul 9, 2016 at 12:47

1 Answer 1


None of these uses is "slang", which is language (typically words and phrases rather than syntactical constructions) currently fashionable among a relatively small speech community (typically young people).

  1. We entertainers for "We are entertainers" is dialect, African-American Vernacular.

  2. You mad for "Are you mad" is a sort of ellipsis called 'conversational deletion', described here, and is common in all varieties of spoken English.

  3. Don't ... ? for "Doesn't ..." is non-standard but very common in the language of those who are indifferent to standard usage. The underlying construction here, abbreviated by conversational deletion, is They [= "there"] don't {anyone/anybody/nobody} VERB, equivalent to There isn't anyone who VERBs. This is a non-standard idiom common only in American English.

2, conversational deletion, is acceptable in informal conversation; the linked Answer on ELU describes its construction.

But I advise you not to emulate 1 or 3: 1 will be taken either as mockery or as an illegitimate claim to membership of the African-American speech community, and 3, unless employed ironically, is generally regarded as a mark of uneducated speech.

  • With due deference to Ali G and umpteen written instances of We's black, perhaps that first one should be We is entertainers. But it does seem to me "non-natural" emulation of such forms is a less suitable subject for humour in the US than the UK, and should probably be avoided anywhere unless you're pretty sure of your audience (or simply don't care). Commented Jul 9, 2016 at 17:02
  • #3 "very common in the language of those who are indifferent to standard usage" still depends where you are. This would be very strange to hear in the UK, no matter what manner of chav you're talking to Commented Jul 9, 2016 at 23:59
  • @LightnessRacesinOrbit Really? My knowledge of lower-class colloquial British dialects is pretty much confined to the early plays of Pinter and Arden, but I remember very clearly from playing Davies in The Caretaker that both he don't and negative stacking were all over his speech. ... But that play's fifty years old by now. Commented Jul 10, 2016 at 0:48
  • @StoneyB: "He don't" and "Don't anyone" are two (subtly) different constructions. The first, sure, granted. The second, no. I've only just realised how strange it is that one would be used and not the other, but there we go :) Commented Jul 10, 2016 at 11:52
  • @LightnessRacesinOrbit I've amplified my remarks on Don't anyone. Commented Jul 10, 2016 at 15:32

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