man lifting his hands up and smiling as money falls around him

If I had a million dollars: Using conditionals (1)

man lifting his hands up and smiling as money falls around him
Jose Luis Pelaez Inc/DigitalVision/GettyImages

by Liz Walter

We use conditional sentences to talk about what will, might or could happen in various circumstances. There are three main conditionals which we call first, second and third. This post is intended as a brief reminder of how we choose which conditionals to use, and how we form them. Continue reading “If I had a million dollars: Using conditionals (1)”

puppy eating from a food bowl

New words – 17 January 2022

puppy eating from a food bowl
Stefan Cristian Cioata / Moment / Getty

carbon pawprint noun [C]
UK /ˌkɑː.bᵊn ˈpɔː.prɪnt/ US /ˌkɑːr.bᵊn ˈpɑː.prɪnt/
a measurement of the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere produced through activities relating to owning a pet

Our dogs’ carbon pawprints are largely related to their diets, with carbon-intensive ingredients such as meat being the main contributing factor … It has been estimated that the carbon pawprint associated with owning a medium sized dog is roughly twice that of running a typical SUV car, and the dogs in the USA are responsible for emissions equivalent to 13 million cars, or 64 million tonnes of CO2 per year.
[, 9 March 2021]

planetarian noun [C]
UK /ˌplæn.əˈteə.ri.ən/ US /ˌplæn.əˈter.i.ən/
someone who buys, prepares and eats food in a way designed to have the smallest possible impact on the planet

Eating less meat and dairy is one of the ways we can have a positive impact on the future of the planet, as multiple studies on climate change have demonstrated … If you’ve ever tried Meatless Monday, vegan before 6, or any other not-vegan-all-the-time method in an effort to reduce your meat consumption, you’re probably on your way to becoming a planetarian.
[, 6 December 2021]

pollution lockdown noun [C]
UK /pəˌluː.ʃᵊn ˈlɒk.daʊn/ US /pəˌluː.ʃᵊn ˈlɑːk.daʊn/
a period of time in which people are not allowed to leave their homes or travel freely, because of the high levels of pollution in the atmosphere

Delhi has been engulfed in a shroud of smog for the past few weeks. The air pollution has become so severe in India’s capital city that schools have been closed indefinitely, and work-from-home guidelines were implemented in the nation’s first pollution lockdown.
[, 7 December 2021]

About new words

woman sitting in a library reading a book and writing notes

Learning by heart and cramming (Learning words)

woman sitting in a library reading a book and writing notes
airdone/iStock/Getty Images Plus

by Kate Woodford

Each year in January, the Education World Forum brings together delegates from all over the world to discuss the future of education. To mark this important annual event, we thought we’d take a look at some useful words related to learning. Continue reading “Learning by heart and cramming (Learning words)”

man wrapped in a blanket blowing his nose

New words – 10 January 2022

man wrapped in a blanket blowing his nose
Hiraman / E+ / Getty

supercold noun [C]
UK /ˈsuː.pə.kəʊld/ US /ˈsuː.pɚ.koʊld/
a cold that has more serious symptoms than most colds and is often mistaken for Covid-19

A pharmacy chain has released advice for people unsure whether they’re suffering from coronavirus or a “supercold” … As the weather gets colder and winter approaches, there has been a surge in cold and flu cases. Some of these feel more aggressive than usual following last winter’s Covid-19 restrictions, leading to the nickname “supercold”.
[, 13 November 2021]

holistorexia noun [U]
UK /həˌlɪs.təˈə/ US /hoʊˌlɪs.təˈə/
a mental illness where someone has an extreme obsession with their health and wellness

Hour-long meditations, ever-changing diet fads and an aversion to medical professionals – these could all be signs of so-called “holistorexia”. There’s a warning that some people can get so obsessed with wellness and “all things health” that it can actually make them ill. It can involve “alternative” therapies and practices that can prove time-consuming, expensive and even dangerous for those who take or follow them.
[, 30 June 2021]

vaccine envy noun [U]
resentment felt by someone waiting to receive the Covid-19 vaccination towards people who have already been vaccinated

Many of us have experienced loss during the pandemic — the loss of loved ones, jobs, routines, and a sense of safety. These losses wear on our patience and our ability to deal with strong feelings. As a result, waiting for a vaccine can seem especially difficult and lead us to vaccine envy. It might even feel like a new kind of loss. But the good news is that there are things we can do to cope while we wait for our shot.
[, 30 April 2021]

About new words

a child dressed as a detective using a magnifying glass to examine footprints

Conclusive or anecdotal? Talking about evidence and proof.

a child dressed as a detective using a magnifying glass to examine footprints
Deklofenak/iStock/Getty Images Plus

by Liz Walter

The English philosopher George Henry Lewes said ‘We must not assume that which is incapable of proof.’ Certainly, proof and evidence have an important role in many areas of our lives, so it is not surprising that there is a lot of vocabulary related to these concepts. Continue reading “Conclusive or anecdotal? Talking about evidence and proof.”

woman with grey hair, sunglasses and brightly-coloured scarf driving an open-topped car

New words – 3 January 2022

woman with grey hair, sunglasses and brightly-coloured scarf driving an open-topped car
Andreas Kuehn / The Image Bank / Getty

Queenager noun [C]
UK /ˈkwiːnˌeɪ.dʒəʳ/ US /ˈkwiːnˌeɪ.dʒɚ/
a woman of middle age or older who leads a busy life, dresses stylishly and enjoys having fun

On the small screen, it is Queenagers extraordinaires Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin who have rewritten the rules with their hit TV show Grace and Frankie. This comedy is a revolutionary portrayal of two women in their 80s, who despite many obstacles, have no trouble having a good time. In fact, it’s the ultimate Queenage fantasy.
[, 6 June 2021]

silvfluencer noun [C]
UK /ˈsɪlv.flu.ən.səʳ/ US /ˈsɪlv.flu.ən.sɚ/
a middle-aged or elderly person who encourages people to buy items such as clothing and make-up by recommending them on social media, and is paid by companies to do so

The silvfluencers are all about refined eccentricity … Despite having reached an age where they know what suits them, they’re not afraid to make a so-called wardrobe mistake. They mix vintage Yves Saint Laurent with & Other Stories, bright colours with optimistic prints, red lipstick with grey hair. They strike unstudied poses and post refreshingly unedited captions.
[, 9 July 2021]

the Elastic Generation noun [S]
/ðiː əˈlæs.tɪk ˌdʒen.əˈreɪ.ʃən/
the group of women aged between 50 and 70 who are well off and have a broad range of interests, seen by the advertising industry as consumers who are likely to spend a lot of money on products, travel etc.

With the Elastic Generation being fashion and beauty’s biggest spenders right now, it only makes sense that older women should be seen representing their off-runway counterparts in the industry. Naomi Campbell … closed the show at Saint Laurent’s Paris Fashion Week Show last season, an honour not usually reserved for those with 49 years under their belts.
[, 14 February 2020]

About new words

two girls in martial arts clothing holding a trophy and cheering

Going from strength to strength (The language of success, Part 3)

two girls in martial arts clothing holding a trophy and cheering

by Kate Woodford

In previous posts in this thread, we looked at nouns, verbs and phrasal verbs meaning ‘success’ and ‘succeed’. In this post, we focus on idioms in this area. Continue reading “Going from strength to strength (The language of success, Part 3)”

a line of people in office clothing walking down a staircase

New words – 27 December 2021

Robert Daly / OJO Images / Getty

the Great Resignation noun [S]
a trend in the employment market during 2020 and 2021 that has seen a much larger number of people than usual resign from their job

More people are quitting their jobs, and it could shake the world of work forever. But are we making incorrect generalisations about the Great Resignation? Workers are quitting their jobs. A lot of them. So many, in fact, we’re still smack in the middle of the so-called Great Resignation … There are several reasons why workers are walking away – poor working conditions, fears of contracting Covid-19 and existential epiphanies among them.
[, 29 October 2021]

returnment noun [U]
UK /rɪˈtɜːn.mənt/ US /rɪˈtɝːn.mənt/
going back to work after a period of time not in paid employment

In 2012, I burnt out and suffered from depression, and when I launched my own business, three years later, it was terrifying. Nobody returned my phone calls because I was dismissed as “just a housewife”, and I felt incredibly lonely. Whether you’ve been out of work for 18 months or 18 years, “returnment” can be challenging – but it’s not always as difficult as it might seem.
[, 19 October 2021]

overemployment noun [U]
UK /ˌəʊ.vər.ɪmˈplɔɪ.mənt/ US /ˌoʊ.vɚ.ɪmˈplɔɪ.mənt/
the practice of a remote worker secretly having more than one full-time job and working just enough hours at each one for their employers not to notice

The overemployment trend has gained steam with the rise of remote work, which has often meant less employer supervision of workers. This means that juggling multiple jobs in secret is usually more feasible for wealthy, white-collar workers since their work can frequently be done remotely, which isn’t often the case for blue-collar workers.
[, 17 November 2021]

About new words

young woman taking selfie with family

Siblings and in-laws: talking about family relationships

young woman taking selfie with family
Klaus Vedfelt/DigitalVision/GettyImages

by Liz Walter

Family is important to most cultures at this time of year, so this post looks at the way we describe family relationships. I’m going to assume that you already know the basic family words such as aunt, grandmother, cousin and nephew and concentrate on some more interesting terms. Continue reading “Siblings and in-laws: talking about family relationships”

two men having a conversation in a room decorated with soft furnishings, plants and books

New words – 20 December 2021

two men having a conversation in a room decorated with soft furnishings, plants and books
Westend61 / Getty

resimercial adjective
UK /ˌrez.ɪ.ˈmɜː.ʃᵊl/ US /ˌrez.ə.ˈmɝː.ʃᵊl/
A resimercial office combines elements of “residential” and “commercial”, with comfortable furniture and design that makes it look more like a room in a home.

Remote work has been extremely stressful for many people but others have grown accustomed to certain domestic comforts … An office-furniture dealer told me that some employers are aware of this. “How do we bridge that gap [and] bring people back to the office? Maybe if we design it in a way that is more resimercial, more homey, they’ll feel a little bit more comfortable in coming back and using the space,” he said.
[, 21 September 2021]

broken plan adjective
UK /ˌbrəʊ.kᵊn.ˈplæn/ US /ˌbroʊ.kᵊn.ˈplæn/
A broken plan room or space is divided into smaller areas for different activities.

For years the trend of open plan living has reigned supreme, yet a new contender is entering the ring – broken plan living. A twist on open plan, broken plan retains that sense of openness, while also offering more privacy and cosy nooks. It’s a chance to get creative with your home, allowing you to play with shelves, partitions, and even half walls … You don’t need to undertake a massive renovation project to achieve a broken plan space. If you already enjoy an open layout, but you want to divide up space, get creative with your furniture.
[, 11 March 2021]

probiotic architecture noun [U]
UK /ˌprəʊ.baɪˈɒt.ɪk.ˈɑː.kɪ.tek.tʃəʳ/ US /ˌproʊ.baɪˈɑː.t̬ɪk.ˈɑːr.kə.tek.tʃɚ/
the practice of designing and making buildings that can host certain types of bacteria that help keep people healthy

Richard Beckett is a researcher working in bio-augmented design … His vision is to create buildings which – like the human body – could allow specific microbial communities (also known as ‘the microbiome’) to grow on them and in turn help us to fight infectious disease … He calls the concept “probiotic architecture”. “These indoor microbiomes can influence our health,” says Richard, “and I’m interested in how we might design buildings and their microbiomes to make buildings healthy and more resilient.”
[, 19 January 2021]

About new words