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.

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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.

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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’.

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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!

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Soft spots and big guns (Idioms and phrases in newspapers)

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by Kate Woodford

The idioms and expressions in today’s post come from a range of national newspapers that were published on the same day. We write a post on phrases used in newspapers every couple of months in order to give you a regular supply of contemporary, frequently used English expressions. Continue reading “Soft spots and big guns (Idioms and phrases in newspapers)”

Laid-back and sunny (Describing character, part 3)

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by Kate Woodford

Today’s post is the latest in a thread devoted to describing people’s characters. In the previous two posts, we looked at ways of talking about people who are hard-working, ambitious, and lazy, among other traits. As usual, we start on a positive note, looking at words and phrases that describe people who are relaxed.

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Kind-hearted or ruthless? (Describing character, Part 2)

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by Kate Woodford

With this post, we continue the ‘describing people’ thread, looking at adjectives that we use to describe people’s characters. Today, we focus on a set of near-synonyms for the adjective ‘kind’.

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Driven or bone idle? (Describing people’s characters, Part 1)

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by Kate Woodford

We often describe the characters of people that we know. Sometimes we say something complimentary (= positive) about a person and at other times, we’re more critical (= negative). Very often, we mention a particular aspect of someone’s character, perhaps in relation to something that has happened. As this topic has so much useful vocabulary, this is the first post of a thread on this blog.

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Sparkling, glinting and glistening (Words related to light, Part 2)

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by Kate Woodford

Last month, we looked at words used to describe the intensity of light. This week’s post continues the light theme, looking mainly at words for light that moves, or seems to move, and areas of light.

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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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