Outsets and onsets! (Words meaning ‘start’)

by Kate Woodford One of several things that we like to do on this blog is look at the many different ways that we express the same thing in English. This week we’re focusing on nouns and phrases that we use to refer to the start of things.

It’s kicking off! (Phrasal verbs for starting things)

by Kate Woodford This week we’re looking at the many phrasal verbs that are used to refer to things starting. Let’s begin with the verb ‘start’ itself as it has a number of phrasal verbs. If you start off a meeting, you begin it by doing something: I’d like to start off the meeting with a …

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Probing and digging around (Searching for information)

by Kate Woodford I recently heard someone say that they had left no stone unturned in their search for information, meaning that they had done everything they possibly could to find it. I started thinking about the concept of trying to find out facts and the various words and phrases that we use to convey it. …

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Having second thoughts (Changing our minds, Part 2)

by Kate Woodford In part 1 of this post (Changing our minds, Part 1), I looked at language that is often used to refer to people in positions of power changing their decisions or plans. This post continues the ‘changing your mind’ theme but instead focuses on the sort of language that is used when people …

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Pouring your heart out and bottling it up (Showing and not showing emotions, Part 2)

by Kate Woodford This is the second of two posts on the theme of showing and not showing emotions. The words and phrases in Part 1 focused on adjectives and verbs. Today’s post looks at idioms and phrasal verbs in this area.

Triumphs and success stories (The language of success, Part 1)

by Kate Woodford We like positive posts on the About words blog, so this week we’re looking at language connected with success. As there are so many useful words and phrases in this area this post, focusing mainly on nouns, is the first of three. As ever, we’ll look at the most frequent and useful words …

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Weighed down or perking up? Phrasal verbs to express emotions, part 1

by Liz Walter Phrasal verbs are a very important part of English (even if students hate them!) and I have written several posts explaining useful ones. I realised recently that there is a surprisingly large number of phrasal verbs and prepositional verbs relating to emotions. Today I am going to concentrate on happiness and sadness. …

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Divulging and disclosing (The language of giving information)

by Kate Woodford We tell each other things all the time, whether it’s our news, some important information or just interesting facts. This week we’re focusing on the language that we use to describe giving information. Starting with a really useful phrasal verb, if you pass on a message or a piece of news that someone …

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Working flat out and flagging: describing how we work

by Kate Woodford How was your day at work or college? Was it useful (=giving positive results)? Did you get a lot done? Perhaps you had a lot of work to do but, for some reason, found it hard to get down to it (=start working with effort). Some days, we work effectively, finding it easy to …

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Setting up and mapping out – the language of planning part 1

by Kate Woodford January and February seem like the right months of the year for a post on the language of planning. Since there’s so much useful vocabulary in this area, this will be a two-part blog post. Starting with near-synonyms for ‘arrange’, a handy phrasal verb is set up. To set up a meeting or …

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