a woman's manicured hands stroking soft, dark blue velvet cloth

Tender, velvety or abrasive? Talking about textures (1)

a woman's manicured hands stroking soft, dark blue velvet cloth
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by Liz Walter

Today’s post focuses on the texture of things: in other words, the way they feel. Continue reading “Tender, velvety or abrasive? Talking about textures (1)”

stylised image of a young woman looking over her shoulder at an open door

Keeping an open mind and opening your heart: useful phrases with ‘open’

stylised image of a young woman looking over her shoulder at an open door
Klaus Vedfelt/DigitalVision/GettyImages

by Liz Walter

In today’s post, I’m going to look at a range of phrases that contain the word ‘open’. There are a lot of them, and you may be able to think of more, but I’ve picked out ones I think will be useful to most English learners. Continue reading “Keeping an open mind and opening your heart: useful phrases with ‘open’”

Boy in trouble for standing on table in class

Can we keep this civil? Polite ways to ask people to behave better

Boy in trouble for standing on table in class
Peter Cade/Stone/GettyImages

by Liz Walter

A reader of these blogs recently requested a post on phrases for keeping order in the classroom. While thinking about that, it occurred to me that there are several other situations in which people have to impose control on a group, for instance in a work meeting. The difficult part is knowing how to do that without being bossy or aggressive. This post, therefore, offers some polite phrases that both teachers and others could use. Continue reading “Can we keep this civil? Polite ways to ask people to behave better”

A little boy having fun swinging on a whale toy at the playground

A whale of a time: talking about enjoying yourself

A little boy having fun swinging on a whale toy at the playground
marcduf/iStock/Getty Images Plus

by Liz Walter

I thought it would be nice to talk about something cheerful today, so this post is about having fun! Continue reading “A whale of a time: talking about enjoying yourself”

A woman in profile exhaling. The vapour of her breath is visible in the cold air.

Inhaling, gasping and panting: words to describe breathing

A woman in profile exhaling. The vapour of her breath is visible in the cold air.
olaser/iStock/Getty Images Plus

by Liz Walter

Today’s post is about language around the activity of breathing – something we usually do without thinking about it unless we have a medical problem or are deliberately doing breathing exercises, for example during yoga practice. Continue reading “Inhaling, gasping and panting: words to describe breathing”

close-up of a determined young man in a racing helmet

A class act and nerves of steel: talking about people you like and admire (2)

close-up of a determined young man in a racing helmet
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by Liz Walter

My last post looked at some general qualities of people we like, such as being pleasant and kind. Today’s post is about some more specific admirable qualities. Continue reading “A class act and nerves of steel: talking about people you like and admire (2)”

two older men laughing together in a park

Laid-back, likeable and jovial : talking about people you like and admire (1)

two older men laughing together in a park
triloks/E+/GettyImages

by Liz Walter

After three posts on criticizing people’s character flaws, it’s definitely time to balance that with some vocabulary for praising those we admire! Continue reading “Laid-back, likeable and jovial : talking about people you like and admire (1)”

portrait of an old man frowning angrily

Prickly, abrasive and churlish: talking about people you don’t like (3)

portrait of an old man frowning angrily
John Rensten/The Image Bank/GettyImages

by Liz Walter

This is the final post in a short series about words for people we don’t like. This post will concentrate on describing people who are bad-tempered, rude, or cruel. Continue reading “Prickly, abrasive and churlish: talking about people you don’t like (3)”

Two adorable border collie puppies sit in front of a veterinarian as one playfully growls at the other causing the other puppy to look scared.

Lily-livered or hard as nails: talking about people you don’t like (2)

Two adorable border collie puppies sit in front of a veterinarian as one playfully growls at the other causing the other puppy to look scared.
FatCamera/E+/GettyImages

by Liz Walter

My last post contained general insulting words and phrases. You can find words and phrases for people who are stupid, untrustworthy, boring or stubborn in previous posts by me and my colleague Kate Woodford, so today’s post looks at ways of describing some other character flaws. Continue reading “Lily-livered or hard as nails: talking about people you don’t like (2)”

girl reciting poetry from a book

Rhyme, rhythm and verse: talking about poetry

girl reciting poetry from a book
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by Liz Walter

March 21st is World Poetry Day and today’s post looks at language we use to talk about this extraordinary form of writing. Continue reading “Rhyme, rhythm and verse: talking about poetry”