Spotless or squalid? (Words for ‘clean’ and ‘dirty’)

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by Kate Woodford

COVID-19 has made us all very aware of how clean our hands and surfaces are. With cleanliness in mind, we thought it might be a good time to look at the language around being clean and being dirty.

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Sparkling and dazzling! (Words related to light, Part 1)

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by Kate Woodford

I’m often surprised by the number of words and phrases that exist in a particular area of the English language. This was the case when I started to look at the language around light and all the things it does and the various ways it appears. Indeed, there are so many words that this will be a 2-part blog post.

Continue reading “Sparkling and dazzling! (Words related to light, Part 1)”

Black sheep and white lies (Idioms with colours, part 2)

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by Kate Woodford

This is the second of two posts that focus on idioms that contain a word for a colour. A couple of weeks ago, we looked at blue, green and red idioms. This week, we’re rather monochrome, looking mainly at idioms with ‘black’ and ‘white’ in them.

The phrase in black and white is sometimes used to mean ‘in writing’, usually in the context of proof: I could scarcely believe it was true, but there it was, in black and white.

Continue reading “Black sheep and white lies (Idioms with colours, part 2)”

Seeing red and green with envy (Idioms with colours, part 1)

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by Kate Woodford

Idioms are sometimes easier to remember when they create a vivid image in your mind. The English idioms in this post all contain a word for a colour which might help you to commit them to memory.

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Going forward, sooner or later (Expressions to talk about the future)

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by Kate Woodford

This post takes a look at a group of phrases that we use when we talk about the future.

Some of the phrases that we use when we talk about our future plans and ideas simply mean ‘at some time in the future’, (without mentioning a particular time), for example at some point: At some point, we’ll look into buying a new laptop. Continue reading “Going forward, sooner or later (Expressions to talk about the future)”

Stir-crazy and climbing the walls (Life during lockdown)

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by Kate Woodford

As COVID-19 continues to force so much of the world’s population into lockdown (= a situation in which you are ordered to stay at home), I thought it might be interesting to look at the language that we use to describe what we are now doing with our days. 

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Learning from home with Dictionary +Plus

by Kate Woodford

Many of you are still confined to your homes as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Studying or working on your own can be tough. We at Cambridge Dictionary are also working remotely and we feel your pain!

Without the presence of teachers and classmates, it’s sometimes hard to get motivated. One useful strategy is to set yourself an achievable daily or weekly objective, for example, ‘I’m going to learn ten adjectives that describe food.’ Another approach is to persuade yourself that you’re not actually studying, but having fun. With Cambridge Dictionary +Plus, you can do both of these at the same time! Continue reading “Learning from home with Dictionary +Plus”

Off-colour and on the mend (Talking about health)

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by Kate Woodford

On one thread of this blog, we look at the phrases that people use in daily conversation. This week, we’re focusing on expressions that people use to talk about health – both their own health and that of their family and friends. We won’t be looking at individual symptoms. These were covered by my colleague, Liz Walter, in her post My leg hurts: Talking about illness. Instead, we’ll consider the phrases that people use in conversation to talk more generally about health.

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Heads-ups and wake-up calls! (The language of warnings)

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by Kate Woodford

Today, we’re looking at words and phrases that are used to tell people about possible dangers or problems. Let’s start with immediate, physical danger. You might shout or say Look out!, Watch out! or (UK) Mind out! to warn someone that they are in danger: Look out! There’s a car coming! / Watch out! You nearly hit that bike! / Mind out! You nearly banged your head!

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Making the best of it (dealing with life during the coronavirus pandemic)

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by Kate Woodford

All over the world, people are adjusting to a new way of living as a result of COVID-19. At the time of writing, around a third of the world is on lockdown, permitted to leave home only for such reasons as food and medicine shopping. Even those of us who are lucky enough to be well and virus-free may be finding the sudden changes to our lifestyles challenging. With this in mind, I thought we’d focus on words and phrases around the theme of dealing with difficult situations.

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