Let’s celebrate! (words and phrases for parties)

by Kate Woodford​​​​
With Christmas and New Year almost upon us, we thought it a good time to look at the language of parties and celebrations. First, let’s start with the word ‘party’ itself. To have or throw a party or, less commonly, to give a party is to arrange a party: We’re having a party to celebrate the end of the exams. If you provide the place where the party happens, often your home, you may be said to host the party: Rosie has offered to host the party at her place. A party for someone who is leaving a place or a company is often called a farewell party or a leaving party: We’re having a farewell party for a member of staff. An office party is a party for a company’s colleagues. Meanwhile, a party that you throw for a person who knows nothing about it in advance is a surprise party: It’s a surprise party so it’s all top secret.

A celebration is a party or other social event on a special day or occasion: There were lively New Year celebrations all over town. The verb celebrate is also used, meaning ‘to take part in a special social event’: We always celebrate our wedding anniversary by going out to dinner. If you celebrate in style, you celebrate in a place that is expensive and attractive: For those who like to celebrate in style, there are the castle function rooms. To mark the occasion means ‘to celebrate a particular event or day’: It’s not every day you turn twenty-one. I think we need to mark the occasion!

A short word meaning ‘party’ that is used a lot is do. You have a do: We usually have a Christmas do at work. Often, the phrase a bit of a comes before ‘do’. (It has no extra meaning.): We’re having a bit of a do for Colin’s 50th and we’d like to invite you. The word gathering is also used to mean ‘party’, the verb ‘gather’ in this sense meaning ‘to come together in a group’. Family often comes before gathering: There’s usually some sort of family gathering at Easter. A small party or other occasion when friends meet each other is sometimes called a get-together: We were thinking it would be nice to have a little get-together over a Christmas drink or two. The phrasal verb get together is also used, though often it means simply ‘to meet in order to spend time together’: It’s that time of year when families are getting together for the holidays.

When there are a number of parties or other social activities to celebrate a special occasion, you might call these festivities: If you become involved in these activities, you might be said to join in the festivities: Come and join in the festivities, Tom!

7 thoughts on “Let’s celebrate! (words and phrases for parties)

  1. Liza

    Thanks) I’ve learnd so interesting facts, which I didn’t know before. I should say it was easy to understand almost all the expressions as there are the same kinds of parties in my country. By the way, what is the plural form of the word ‘do’ in the meaning of party?

    1. Amanda

      Dos or do’s. From Oxford dictionaries.
      ‘We often have do’s, birthday parties, anniversary’s, and I’m nearly 96.”

  2. joana Alexlee

    I’ve learned so interesting phrases and word.
    This is the best cite to understand and learn English!
    Thanks for your favor!
    Continuously give us a good article!

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