On the other hand… (Words which express a contrast)

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by Kate Woodford

You probably know the English expression on the one hand … on the other hand. It is used in the following way for comparing two opposing opinions or facts about something (note that just one half of the phrase is often used):

On the one hand, Maria has experience, but on the other hand, she doesn’t have the precise skills that we’re looking for.

I don’t really want any more work at the moment. On the other hand, I could use the extra money.

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Prodding and urging (Getting people to do what you want!)

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by Kate Woodford

A recent post looked at words and phrases meaning ‘persuade’ but of course, there are other ways to make people do what we want, (and not all of them especially nice!) Let’s take a look, then, at these words and phrases.

You might try to get someone to do something or go somewhere by offering them something attractive or exciting in return. For this we have the verbs entice and lure. Adverts like these may entice the customer into buying things they don’t really want. / They try to lure people into the shop with the offer of free cake.

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Coaxing, cajoling and roping in (Ways of saying ‘persuade’)

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by Kate Woodford

This week we’re looking at the many near-synonyms in English for the verb persuade.

Let’s start with the verb convince, which is sometimes used to mean ‘to persuade someone to do something’: hope this will convince you to change your mind.

A number of verbs mean specifically ‘to persuade someone to do an activity’, for example the phrasal verbs talk into and (informal) rope in: Finn is refusing to go camping but I think I can talk him into it. / We needed two more people to make up the team so we roped in a couple of spectators.

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Observant or blissfully unaware? (Noticing and not noticing things)

 

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by Kate Woodford

Are you observant? (Do you usually notice what’s happening around you?) This week we’re thinking about words and phrases in this area.

A really useful word is the verb spot. If you spot something or someone that interests you, you notice them, often when you are trying to see them: I spotted Tom in the crowd. / Police spotted him leaving the building.

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Are you listening? (Hearing and listening words and phrases)

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by Kate Woodford

We have two ears and one mouth so that we listen more than we talk, or so the saying goes. Whatever we think of this saying, most of us certainly listen (or at least, hear) a lot during the course of a day. This week, then, we’re looking at the various words and phrases that we use to describe this activity.

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Once in a blue moon (saying how often we do things)

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by Kate Woodford

Are you always saying ‘always’? Do you usually say ‘usually’? Would you like more ways to say how often you do something or how often something happens? Then look no further because this week, we’re looking at interesting alternatives to words such as ‘often’, ‘sometimes’ and ‘rarely’.

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I’ve searched everywhere! (Words and phrases for looking for things)

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by Kate Woodford

What did you last look for? Was it your phone, a key or maybe a book? If you’re anything like me, it was probably a pen that works! Most of us search for something from time to time so let’s take a look at the language of searching.

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How was your day? (Phrases for asking about someone’s day)

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by Kate Woodford

On one thread of this blog we look at the words and phrases that people use in daily conversation in particular situations. This week, we’re considering the things that we say – especially the questions that we ask – when we see someone we know well at the end of a day at work, college or school, etc.

We often start by showing polite interest in what a person has done by asking the question How was your day?, How has your day been? or Did you have a good day? Continue reading “How was your day? (Phrases for asking about someone’s day)”

Keep me in the loop. (Words and phrases related to knowledge)

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by Kate Woodford

This week, we’re looking at words and phrases that we use to describe knowing a subject.

Starting with a very useful adjective, someone who is knowledgeable knows a lot, either about one particular subject or subjects more generally: Annie is very knowledgeable about wildlife. A slightly informal expression to describe someone with a detailed knowledge of one particular subject is the phrase clued up: Young people tend to be more clued up on environmental issues. Continue reading “Keep me in the loop. (Words and phrases related to knowledge)”

Staying the course (Everyday idioms in newspapers)

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by Kate Woodford

Every few months, we read a selection of national newspapers published on the same day and highlight common idioms and phrases in their articles and reports. We read all sections of the papers – news, sports pages and gossip columns – and, as ever on this blog, we pick out the most useful, up-to-date idioms.

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