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What’s All The Commotion About? (Words to describe sounds)

May 20, 2015

by Kate Woodford​​​​
commotion
In this post we look at a range of words and phrases that we use to describe noise and the absence of noise. Starting with complete quiet, we sometimes use the noun hush to describe silence: A hush fell over the room as the bride walked in./There was a deathly hush (=complete silence) after the announcement.

A slight noise that you cannot hear well may be described as faint or low: There’s a faint hissing noise coming from behind the TV./They spoke in low voices and I couldn’t hear what they were saying? (Of course, ‘low’ used to describe a voice can also mean ‘near the bottom of a range of sounds’.) A sound that is quiet and not clear may be described as muffled: I could hear muffled voices next door, but I couldn’t make out any words. A muted noise, meanwhile, is more quiet than you would expect, sometimes suggesting a lack of enthusiasm: The applause, when it came, was muted. Read the rest of this entry »

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New words – 18 May 2015

May 18, 2015

plyscraper

plyscraper noun a skyscraper made mainly from wood

The development of engineered timber could herald a new era of eco-friendly ‘plyscrapers’. Christchurch welcomed its first multistorey timber structure this year, there are plans for Vancouver, and the talk is China could follow

[www.theguardian.com 03 October 2014]

 

FOG abbreviation fat, oil and grease as poured down the drains in domestic households. It wreaks havoc in the sewers.

Customers pre-ordering a turkey from selected stores will receive free gadgets to help collect the fat, oil and grease (FOG) from their Christmas roast.

[http://www.ipswichstar.co.uk 03 December 2014]

fugitive emissions plural noun a gas or other product that escapes during a process such as drilling

Cornell environmental engineering professor Anthony Ingraffea […] found newer [gas and oil] wells using fracking and horizontal drilling methods were far more likely to be responsible for fugitive emissions of methane.

[www.desmogblog.com (website dedicated to climate science) 17 October 2014]

About new words

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You remind me of someone… (Words for remembering)

May 13, 2015

by Kate Woodford​​​​
remembering
Do you have a good memory? Is your memory so good, it’s photographic, allowing you to remember precise things in exact detail? Perhaps your memory is good at particular things. You might have a good memory for faces or a good memory for names. Or you may not be so lucky. You might be forgetful, (often forgetting things). Worse, you may have a memory/mind like a sieve. (A sieve is a piece of kitchen equipment with a lot of little holes in it!) Whether your memory is good or bad, you will find yourself using words and phrases to describe the process of remembering. This post aims to increase your word power in this area.

Let’s start with useful words and phrases for remembering. Two other ways of saying ‘remember’ are recall and recollect: I seem to recall she was staying with Rachel./I don’t recollect her precise words. If you cast your mind back, you make an effort to think about something from the past: Cast your mind back to that evening we spent with her. Do you remember how sad she seemed? If you succeed in remembering something, you might say you bring or call it to mind: I remember that name, I just can’t call his face to mind. If something – for example a name – rings a bell, it sounds familiar to you, but you can’t remember quite why: The name rang a bell, but I couldn’t remember where I’d heard it. Read the rest of this entry »

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New words – 11 May 2015

May 11, 2015

mint

mint adjective (informal) nice; cool

Either way, the car looks mint.

[Stuff (UK innovations magazine) Nov 2014]

 

 

 

 

bae noun (slang) a romantic partner (often used as a form of address)

I have to kill my bae because he is CHEATING ON ME.

[www.youtube.com 13 November 2014]

See ya, bae!

[Heard in conversation (young girl, early teens) 15 December 2014]

neg verb (informal) to insult someone in order to attract theme sexually

I watched JBU this week and nearly choked on my drink when you talked about negging guys to pick them up. Just had to share.

[gabydunn.com 05 November 2014]

About new words

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Go ahead! (Phrasal verbs with ‘go’)

May 6, 2015

by Kate Woodford​​​​
go ahead
Every few weeks, we focus on phrasal verbs that are formed with a particular verb. This week, we’re looking at phrasal verbs that start with the verb ‘go’. As ever, we present a range of the most useful and common phrasal verbs.

Some of the most common ‘go’ phrasal verbs are easy to understand because the ‘go’ part of the phrase has its usual meaning, which is ‘to move or travel somewhere’. When ‘go’ in a phrasal verb has its usual meaning, the other part, which is the particle, (away, off, out, etc.) also has its regular meaning. For this set of phrasal verbs, it is easy to work out what they mean:

She went away (= left) for a few days.

When are you going back (=returning) to Paris?

A pink sports car went by (=passed).

I looked in the shop window but I didn’t actually go in (= enter).

Helena went off (= left) about an hour ago.

Are you going out (= leaving your home to go somewhere else)? Read the rest of this entry »

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New words – 4 May 2015

May 4, 2015

evel

Evel abbreviation English votes for English laws; the idea that only English (as opposed to Scottish, Welsh or Irish) MPs should be allowed to vote for laws that affect only England

Yet these are the two principal constitutional proposals that have come from the Conservative party in its kneejerk response to Ukip’s English nationalism and an ill-thought-out drive to impose what is commonly called ‘English votes for English laws’ (Evel).

[The Guardian (UK broadsheet) 18 October 2014]

English votes for English laws, or EVEL as it has amusingly become known (well, amusing to those of us with a penchant for jumping bikes over buses), came to dominate.

[http://news.sky.com/ 14 October 2014]

democratator noun a dictator who is democratically elected and controls a country through manipulation and legal restrictions rather than through
force

Putin, you mentioned. The late Hugo Chavez was a certainly a leading democratator as well.

[WNYC: Leonard Lopate Show (US news and culture) 19 November 2014]

kludgeocracy noun government that is over-complex and ineffective

Sprawling scale becomes unmanageable; internal complexity culminates in kludgeocracy (to use Steven Teles’s term); our electoral processes seem to produce little real accountability; and interest-group-driven sclerosis chokes off the possibility of reform.

[http://www.nationalaffairs.com/ 09 November 2014]

About new words

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They sometimes go here and they never go there: using adverbs of frequency

April 29, 2015

by Liz Walter​
frequency
Sometimes, always, often, never: these are some of the most common words in English.  Unfortunately, they are also some of the words that cause the most problems for students.

Many of my students put them in the wrong place, often because that’s where they go in their own languages. They say things like, ‘I watch always TV in the evening’, when they should say, ‘I always watch TV in the evening’.

There are some basic rules about where to put adverbs of frequency, and if you only remember the first two, you will get them right most of the time!

Here is rule number one: They come after the verb ‘to be’:

  • Alex is never at home.
  • The children were sometimes rather noisy.

Rule number two: They come before all other verbs:

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