Did you have a nice weekend? (Chatting about the weekend)

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by Kate Woodford

Readers of this blog often ask us for conversational English. They want to learn phrases for chatting informally with friends and colleagues. To help with this, some of our blog posts focus on the sort of conversations that we all have during the course of a day or a week. In this post, we’re looking at what you can say on a Monday when someone asks ‘How was your weekend?’ Continue reading “Did you have a nice weekend? (Chatting about the weekend)”

Blood is thicker than water. (Idioms with ‘water’, Part 2)

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by Kate Woodford

This is the second of two posts on idioms that contain the word ‘water’. On this blog, we always try to provide you with commonly used, contemporary idioms and this post is no exception!

If you say you will do something come hell or high water, you mean you are very determined to do it, whatever difficulties you may face: I’m going to be at that ceremony next year, come hell or high water! Continue reading “Blood is thicker than water. (Idioms with ‘water’, Part 2)”

‘Like a duck to water’ (Idioms with ‘water’, Part 1)

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by Kate Woodford

It’s surprising how many commonly used idioms contain the word ‘water’. There are so many, in fact, that this post will consist of two parts, (1 and 2). As ever, we will look at the most frequent and useful ones.

Continue reading “‘Like a duck to water’ (Idioms with ‘water’, Part 1)”

Bubbles and a breakthrough: the language of COVID (update)

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by Kate Woodford

In February of 2020, my colleague Liz Walter wrote a post on the language of COVID-19: Quarantine, carriers and face masks: the language of the coronavirus. Today, I’m looking at some of the many COVID-related words and phrases that we are using almost a year later.

Continue reading “Bubbles and a breakthrough: the language of COVID (update)”

You’re in good hands (Idioms with ‘hand’, Part 2)

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by Kate Woodford

Last month we looked at a selection of idioms containing the word ‘hand’, concentrating on idioms connected with power. This post will cover ‘hand’ idioms with a range of meanings, focusing, as always, on the most frequent and useful.

Continue reading “You’re in good hands (Idioms with ‘hand’, Part 2)”

Pompous and patronizing (Describing character, part 5)

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by Kate Woodford

Today, in the last of the ‘Describing character’ posts, we’re looking at words for a variety of negative characteristics, from the tendency to criticize others, the belief that you are better than everyone else.

Continue reading “Pompous and patronizing (Describing character, part 5)”

Help is at hand (Idioms with ‘hand’, Part 1)

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by Kate Woodford

Who knew how many idioms and phrases there were containing the word ‘hand’! I certainly didn’t until I started researching them. A lot are common in everyday speech and are therefore useful to learn. As there are so many, this will be the first of two posts, Part 1 and Part 2.

Continue reading “Help is at hand (Idioms with ‘hand’, Part 1)”

At the crack of dawn: Idioms used for speaking about time

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by Kate Woodford

During the course of a day, we make repeated references to time, whether we’re worrying about being late for an appointment or expressing surprise at how quickly something has happened. Any concept that we frequently convey is likely to have idioms associated with it. This post looks at those idioms, as always, focusing on phrases that are frequent and current.

Continue reading “At the crack of dawn: Idioms used for speaking about time”

Extrovert or introvert? (Describing character, part 4)

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by Kate Woodford

Today’s post is the latest in a thread dedicated to describing people’s personalities. We’ve previously looked at adjectives and phrases for people who are relaxed and happy (Part 3), kind and mean (Part 2), and hard-working and lazy (Part 1). Today we focus on words and phrases meaning ‘sociable’ and ‘shy’.

Continue reading “Extrovert or introvert? (Describing character, part 4)”

The thing is … (Useful conversational phrases with ‘thing’)

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by Kate Woodford

‘Thing’ may not seem the most exciting word to base a blog post on, but it features in a very large number of informal expressions that are often used in conversation. If you’re interested in improving your English conversation, you might want to spend ten minutes reading this post!

Continue reading “The thing is … (Useful conversational phrases with ‘thing’)”