Posts Tagged ‘words’

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She’s got very good posture. (How we stand and sit)

May 27, 2015

by Liz Walter​
posture
Recently on this blog, we looked at the words that we use to describe the way we move. This week we’re looking at words for describing our bodies when they are still, whether we are standing or sitting.

Since most of us do far too much of this, let’s start with sitting. When you are working at your desk, how would you describe your posture (= the way that you hold your shoulders, neck and back)? Do you sit upright, (=with a straight back) or are you slumped or hunched, with your head low and shoulders forward?: He sat slumped at his desk./She spent the evening slumped in front of the TV. If you are relaxing, you may be reclining, leaning back with the upper part of your body in an almost horizontal position: I was reclining on the sofa when he called. If you are very relaxed, you may even be sprawled, with your arms and legs spread out in a careless and untidy way: He lay sprawled on the sofa in his pyjamas. Read the rest of this entry ?

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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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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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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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The way we move (Verbs for walking and running)

March 25, 2015

by Kate Woodford​​​​
waywemove
This week we’re looking at interesting ways to describe the way that people move. Most of the verbs that we’ll be considering describe how fast or slow people move. Others describe the attitude or state of mind of the person walking or running. Some describe both.

Starting with verbs for walking slowly, if we stroll, we walk slowly and in a relaxed way, usually for pleasure: They were strolling along the shore, holding hands. The noun ‘stroll’ is also used: We went for a stroll down near the river. (The adjective ‘leisurely’, meaning ‘relaxed and without hurrying’ is often used before the noun: We were just enjoying a leisurely stroll in the sunshine.) A slightly less common verb with a very similar meaning is saunter: He sauntered by, without a care in the world. Read the rest of this entry ?

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Three for a quid: talking about money

March 11, 2015

by Liz Walter​
threeforaquid
When teaching an intermediate class recently, I was surprised to find that very few of the students (who were from various parts of the world) knew how to say prices, so this blog will explain this very basic function and also look at some other vocabulary connected with money.

First, the prices. There is more than one correct way to say a price, but the most common one is simply to say the number of pounds followed by the number of pence (or the number of dollars followed by the number of cents):

£3.50 ‘Three fifty’

$4.95 ‘Four ninety five’

Sometimes we also say the words pounds, pence, dollars, or cents in the price. There is no difference, and neither way is better or worse. In American English, if you use these words, you have to say and in the middle. In British English, you can say and or leave it out: Read the rest of this entry ?

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Lies, lies, lies!

February 25, 2015

by Kate Woodford​​​​
lies,lies,lies
According to sociologists (=people who study the relationships between people living in groups), we are good at lying. As a species, we have developed a remarkable ability to deceive each other (= persuade each other that something false is true). Being able to say things that are not true can help with relationships, apparently, and helps us to work together as a community. This may sound strange, (surely lying is wrong?), but when we think about it, most of us occasionally say things that are not completely true, and often for the best of reasons. This week, then, we’re looking at the language of lies – big lies and little lies, bad lies and good.

Let’s start with those ‘innocent’ lies. White lies; are those lies that most of us tell in order to be polite or to stop someone from being upset when the truth is bad. People sometimes use the informal noun and verb fib to mean the same thing. ‘Fib’ is defined in the Cambridge advanced Learner’s Dictionary as ‘a small lie that does not cause any harm’. The word is often used by children and the collocation is to ‘tell a fib’. Read the rest of this entry ?

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