On the face of it (Idioms with the word ‘face’, part 1)

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by Kate Woodford

It’s recently come to my attention that there’s a huge number of English phrases and idioms containing the word ‘face’. There are so many that this is the first of two posts, as ever focusing on the most frequent and useful. I hope you enjoy it! Continue reading “On the face of it (Idioms with the word ‘face’, part 1)”

Palatial or cramped? (Words to describe buildings and rooms, part 1)

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by Kate Woodford

This week we’re looking at the words we use to describe buildings and rooms. Since there are lots of useful words, the post will be in two parts. Continue reading “Palatial or cramped? (Words to describe buildings and rooms, part 1)”

In high spirits or down in the dumps? (The language of moods)

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by Kate Woodford

How would you describe your mood day? Are you feeling pretty chilled (= relaxed and not worried about anything)? Perhaps you’re slightly on edge (= anxious about something and not able to relax)? Our moods change all the time, sometimes for no obvious reason. With this post, I aim to provide you with some nice adjectives and phrases for describing the way we feel. Continue reading “In high spirits or down in the dumps? (The language of moods)”

Hitting the ground running (Idioms and phrases in newspapers)

 

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by Kate Woodford

The idioms and phrases in today’s post come from a range of national newspapers that were published on the same day. We write a post like this every couple of months in order to provide you with a regular supply of contemporary, frequently used English idioms. Continue reading “Hitting the ground running (Idioms and phrases in newspapers)”

Take your pick! (Words and phrases for choosing things)

by Kate Woodford

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This week, we’re looking at the many different ways we talk about choosing things. We’ll cover both one-word synonyms and phrases. As you might expect, this round-up will include a number of phrasal verbs. Continue reading “Take your pick! (Words and phrases for choosing things)”

Breaking the ice and throwing caution to the wind (Weather idioms, Part 3)

by Kate Woodford

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This is the last in a series of posts on idioms containing words for different types of weather. Today, we’ll mainly be looking at ‘ice’ and ‘wind’ idioms, but we’ll start with a very common idiom containing the word ‘weather’ itself. If someone is under the weather, they feel rather ill: I’ve been feeling a bit under the weather all week, as if I’m getting a cold. Continue reading “Breaking the ice and throwing caution to the wind (Weather idioms, Part 3)”

‘Every cloud has a silver lining.’ (Idioms with weather words, Part 2)

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by Kate Woodford

This is the second of three blog posts on idioms that contain words relating to the weather. Previously, we focused on idioms with stormy words. Today, we’re looking at idioms containing a wider range of weather – sun, rain and clouds. Continue reading “‘Every cloud has a silver lining.’ (Idioms with weather words, Part 2)”

‘Cooking up a storm’ and ‘faces like thunder’ (Idioms with weather words, Part 1)

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by Kate Woodford

It may not surprise you to hear that the weather features in a lot of English idioms. In many of these, the weather words are used metaphorically, in a way that makes the meaning quite obvious. For example, a storm often features in idioms as something negative, referring to a period of trouble, and a cloud is something that spoils a situation. This post will focus on idioms related to storms, of which there are many! Continue reading “‘Cooking up a storm’ and ‘faces like thunder’ (Idioms with weather words, Part 1)”

Hitting it off and befriending people (Words for making friends)

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by Kate Woodford

In these troubled times, I thought you might enjoy a post with a positive subject matter so today I’ll be looking at words and phrases around the subject of making friends and being friendly. You’ll notice there are several phrasal verbs in the post.

Starting with a phrasal verb, if you begin a friendship with someone, you can say that you strike up a friendship:

He’d struck up a friendship with an older guy on his course.

 

If you are friendly towards a stranger, often in order to help them, you might say you befriend them:

Luckily, I was befriended by an elderly man who showed me where to get a cup of coffee.

If two people like each other and get on well as soon as they meet, you can say, informally, that they hit it off:

We met at Lucy’s party and hit it off immediately.

I didn’t really hit it off with his mother.

The verb click has a similar meaning, with the additional suggestion that the people understand each other and think in a similar way:

We met at a work party and clicked right away.

If two people develop a friendly or loving connection with each other, you can say they bond:

She didn’t really bond with the other team members.

If people become friends because of a shared interest, you might say they bond over that thing:

We bonded over our love of birds and vegan cake.

Someone who makes an effort to be friends with a person or group, often because it will give them an advantage, may be said to get in with them:

She tried to get in with the cool kids at school.

Something, (often a bad thing), that causes people to become friends may be said to bring them together:

As so often happens, the disaster brought the whole community together.

Of course, relationships may end as well as start. If two people stop being friends after an argument, you can say, informally, that they fall out:

Unfortunately, the sisters fell out over money.  

If a friendship between two people gradually ends over time, you might say the people drift apart:

You know how it goes – our lives took different directions and we just drifted apart.

If someone suddenly ends a friendship with someone, you can use the slightly informal verb drop:

I don’t know what I did to offend her, but she just dropped me.

Finally, to end on a more cheerful note, if you start to be friends with someone that you used to know well in the past, you may be said to rekindle the friendship:

I was glad of the opportunity to rekindle an old friendship.

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)”