Quarantine, carriers and face masks: the language of the coronavirus

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by Liz Walter

As Coronavirus (officially called COVID-19) continues to dominate the news, I thought it might be useful to look at some of the language we use to talk about it. Regular readers will know my obsession with collocations (word partners), and there are lots of good ones in this topic, most of which can be applied to other diseases too. Continue reading “Quarantine, carriers and face masks: the language of the coronavirus”

To put it another way: the language of explanations

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by Liz Walter

In this post, I am going to talk about the language of explaining, something we all have to do from time to time. Continue reading “To put it another way: the language of explanations”

Let down and look after: the difference between phrasal verbs and prepositional verbs

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by Liz Walter

My colleague Kate Woodford and I have written many posts about phrasal verbs because students find them difficult but know they need to learn them. These posts often include prepositional verbs, and readers sometimes ask about this. Continue reading “Let down and look after: the difference between phrasal verbs and prepositional verbs”

Clickbait and viral marketing: the language of advertising

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by Liz Walter

These days, most of us are targeted by adverts pretty much constantly, sometimes in obvious ways and sometimes more subtly. This post looks at the language around a phenomenon that many people would say is out of control. Continue reading “Clickbait and viral marketing: the language of advertising”

They gave him the cold shoulder: Idiomatic phrases with ‘cold’.

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by Liz Walter

Last month I looked at phrases containing the word ‘hot’, and this month I am looking at the opposite: phrases containing the word ‘cold’. Whereas ‘hot’ phrases are mostly concerned either with very good things or with strong emotions, ‘cold’ phrases are usually negative. We often use them to describe fear, unfriendliness or lack of emotion. Continue reading “They gave him the cold shoulder: Idiomatic phrases with ‘cold’.”

A frog in my throat: talking about voices

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by Liz Walter

The way someone speaks is very important, and often gives an indication of their character. It is therefore not surprising that we have a lot of words to describe the tone and timbre of voices. Continue reading “A frog in my throat: talking about voices”

Hot under the collar? Idiomatic phrases with ‘hot’.

by Liz Walter

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Sitting in my office in Cambridge UK, with cold, windy weather outside, it is nice to think about phrases containing the word ‘hot’. There are quite a lot of them, and this post looks at some of the most useful ones.

Let’s start with the phrase in the title. If someone is hot under the collar, they are angry and look as though they might lose their temper soon. We often use the verb get or become with this phrase. Continue reading “Hot under the collar? Idiomatic phrases with ‘hot’.”

When disaster strikes: ways of describing bad events

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by Liz Walter

First, apologies for the gloomy subject! However, we can’t read the news without being aware of terrible things that happen in the world, and there is a rich selection of vocabulary to describe them, including some nice collocations. Continue reading “When disaster strikes: ways of describing bad events”

Freaking out or shrugging it off? Phrasal verbs to express emotions (3)

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by Liz Walter

My last two posts looked at phrasal verbs to describe a range of specific emotions, so I thought it would be nice to round the topic off by covering some phrasal verbs for talking about emotions in a more general way.

If someone shows a very strong negative emotion such as fear or anger, we can say informally that they freak out.

He freaked out when he saw the size of the waves Continue reading “Freaking out or shrugging it off? Phrasal verbs to express emotions (3)”

Flaring up or bubbling over? Phrasal verbs to express emotions, part 2.

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by Liz Walter

My last post was about phrasal verbs and prepositional verbs connected to sadness and happiness. This post will look at some other emotions.

Let’s start with anger. If someone suddenly becomes angry, we can say that they flare up. Blow up is similar and often describes an even angrier outburst. We use the preposition at if that anger is directed at a particular person: Continue reading “Flaring up or bubbling over? Phrasal verbs to express emotions, part 2.”