a yawning tabby kitten

Has the cat got your tongue? (How we talk, Part 2)

a yawning tabby kitten
Westend61/Westend61/GettyImages

by Kate Woodford

My last ‘How we talk’ post focused on words used for people who talk a lot, including adjectives such as ‘talkative’ and ‘forthcoming’. This week, I’m looking at the opposite – words that we use for people who say very little. Continue reading “Has the cat got your tongue? (How we talk, Part 2)”

a photograph of two young people smiling and talking to each other, with a colourful, illustrated background showing a speech bubble

He could talk the hind legs off a donkey (How we talk, Part 1)

a photograph of two young people smiling and talking to each other, with a colourful, illustrated background showing a speech bubble
We Are/DigitalVision/GettyImages

by Kate Woodford

This week and next, I’m looking at ways to describe how much – or how little – we speak. There are lots of words (especially adjectives) in this area, with very different connotations, from chatty (=talking a lot in a friendly, informal way) to reserved (=tending not to talk about your feelings or opinions):

Jamie was his usual chatty self.

My grandfather was a quiet, rather reserved man.

This post will cover words and phrases that mean ‘talking a lot’ and Part 2 will deal with the opposite. Continue reading “He could talk the hind legs off a donkey (How we talk, Part 1)”

Two businessmen looking at the financial paper with surprised expression

Hot air and bad blood (Idioms found in newspapers)

Two businessmen looking at the financial paper with surprised expression
GSO Images/The Image Bank/GettyImages

by Kate Woodford

Today’s post is a round-up of the idioms and phrases found in a range of national newspapers published on the same Sunday in October. I write one of these newspaper idioms posts every few months as a way of providing you with a regular supply of contemporary, frequently used English idioms. Continue reading “Hot air and bad blood (Idioms found in newspapers)”

nine wooden blocks stacked in a square - eight are black and point right, and one is red and points left

Having second thoughts (Changing our minds, Part 2)

nine wooden blocks stacked in a square - eight are black and point right, and one is red and points left
Chaiyawat Sripimonwan/EyeEm/GettyImages

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 more generally change their minds. Continue reading “Having second thoughts (Changing our minds, Part 2)”

the feet and lower legs of a person standing in front of a U-turn symbol painted on the road surface

U-turns and flip-flopping (Changing our minds, Part 1)

the feet and lower legs of a person standing in front of a U-turn symbol painted on the road surface
mantinov/iStock/Getty Images Plus

by Kate Woodford

‘A wise man changes his mind. A fool never will,’ or so says the proverb. Whether or not this is true, we all change our minds, sometimes about trivial things and sometimes about things that really matter. This post (in two parts) takes a look at nouns, verbs and idioms in this area of the language. Today, we’ll look at the sort of language that is often used when people in positions of power change their opinions or plans. Continue reading “U-turns and flip-flopping (Changing our minds, Part 1)”

in a toy shop, a grandfather bounces energetically on a pogo stick, watched by his young grandson

Boundless energy and oomph (Language relating to energy, Part 2)

in a toy shop, a grandfather bounces energetically on a pogo stick, watched by his young grandson
Sean Justice/The Image Bank/GettyImages

by Kate Woodford

Part 1 of this ‘energy’ series looked at adjectives for describing lively, energetic people. This post looks at nouns that mean ‘energy’ and idioms that we use to describe energetic people. Continue reading “Boundless energy and oomph (Language relating to energy, Part 2)”

three boys leaping in the air and shouting as they play in a park

Bouncy and boisterous (Language relating to energy, Part 1)

three boys leaping in the air and shouting as they play in a park
Nick David/Stone/GettyImages

by Kate Woodford

Some of you reading this post will have enjoyed a break from your work or studies over the summer months. You might (I hope!) be feeling refreshed and ready to throw yourself into your work (=start working with energy and enthusiasm). With this in mind, I thought I’d take a look at words and phrases that relate to energy – and a lack of it! Part 1 will look at adjectives in this area and Part 2 will focus on nouns and phrases. Continue reading “Bouncy and boisterous (Language relating to energy, Part 1)”

a little boy is crying as his mother holds and comforts him

Sobbing or pouring your heart out (‘Heart’ senses and phrases, Part 3)

a little boy is crying as his mother holds and comforts him
Catherine Falls Commercial/Moment/GettyImages

by Kate Woodford

In the last of these three ‘heart’ posts I’ll be looking at phrases for expressing emotions. There are quite a lot and I won’t be able to cover them all so if you can think of a useful ‘heart’ idiom or phrase on this theme that I haven’t included, do please leave a note below. Continue reading “Sobbing or pouring your heart out (‘Heart’ senses and phrases, Part 3)”

close up of a woman's hands tearing a pink paper heart in half

Losing and breaking your heart (Heart senses and phrases, Part 2)

close up of a woman's hands tearing a pink paper heart in half
Jamie Grill/Tetra images/GettyImages

by Kate Woodford

In Part 1 of this ‘heart’ series, I looked at common ‘heart’ idioms and phrases for saying that someone is kind. In this post, I’ll consider various figurative senses of the word ‘heart’ and then focus on idioms and phrases that relate to love and romance. Continue reading “Losing and breaking your heart (Heart senses and phrases, Part 2)”

A foil wrapped heart on a pink background with lots of hearts.

A heart of gold or a heart of stone? (‘Heart’ senses and phrases, Part 1)

A foil wrapped heart on a pink background with lots of hearts.
Jennifer A Smith/Moment/GettyImages

by Kate Woodford

The word ‘heart’ is used a tremendous lot in English. As you might imagine, it’s often used to say things about love and emotions, but it has other less predictable meanings too. In this three-part post, I’ll look at the way we use this word, focusing on its various senses and a range of ‘heart’ idioms and phrases. As ever, I’ll present language that is current and useful. Continue reading “A heart of gold or a heart of stone? (‘Heart’ senses and phrases, Part 1)”