colourful illustration of three cartoon snails, illustrating the concept of talking about speed: two are looking surprised as one speeds ahead of them on a skateboard

Flat out or at a snail’s pace? Talking about speed

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colourful illustration of three cartoon snails, illustrating the concept of talking about speed: two are looking surprised as one speeds ahead of them on a skateboard
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by Liz Walter

Today’s post looks at ways of talking about the speed at which people, vehicles, or other things move. Many of the items in this post can also be used figuratively, for instance to describe the speed of change or progress. Continue reading “Flat out or at a snail’s pace? Talking about speed”

a young child looking with wide eyes at two chocolate doughnuts in a clear plastic container, illustrating the concept of ways of saying want

I’d give my right arm for it: ways of saying ‘want’

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a young child looking with wide eyes at two chocolate doughnuts in a clear plastic container, illustrating the concept of ways of saying want
Anna Bizon / Gallo Images ROOTS RF collection / Getty Images

by Liz Walter

This post is one of an occasional series on alternatives for very common words (see, for example, my post on different ways of saying ‘get’). Continue reading “I’d give my right arm for it: ways of saying ‘want’”

a young man and woman sitting together in a living room smiling as they speak to each other

You’re speaking my language! Phrases with the verbs ‘speak’ and ‘say’

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a young man and woman sitting together in a living room smiling as they speak to each other
Catherine Falls Commercial / Moment / Getty Images

by Liz Walter

My last post was on phrases containing the verb ‘talk’. This one looks at some phrases with the related words ‘speak’ and ‘say’. Continue reading “You’re speaking my language! Phrases with the verbs ‘speak’ and ‘say’”

three people sitting outside in a city drinking coffee and having an enthusiastic conversation

Now you’re talking! Phrases with the verb ‘talk’

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three people sitting outside in a city drinking coffee and having an enthusiastic conversation
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by Liz Walter

My last two posts (Verbs to use instead of ‘say’ and Using animal noises to show human emotions) have been about verbs that describe the way people speak. In this post and the next one, I’ll be looking at some useful phrases that actually contain the verbs talk, speak, and say. Continue reading “Now you’re talking! Phrases with the verb ‘talk’”

close-up photograph of a young girl holding a small green frog

Growling, hissing and croaking: using animal noises to show human emotions

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close-up photograph of a young girl holding a small green frog
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by Liz Walter

My last post looked at replacing the common verb ‘say’ with more interesting verbs that can convey information about a speaker’s emotions or personality. This post continues that theme, this time concentrating on verbs that are used for animal noises. Continue reading “Growling, hissing and croaking: using animal noises to show human emotions”

black-and-white photograph of a young woman with her head tipped back and mouth open as though laughing or shouting, with brightly coloured abstract shapes coming from her mouth to represent speech

Spluttering, cackling and drawling: verbs to use instead of ‘say’

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black-and-white photograph of a young woman with her head tipped back and mouth open as though laughing or shouting, with brightly coloured abstract shapes coming from her mouth to represent speech
Tara Moore / DigitalVision / GettyImages

by Liz Walter

This post looks at ways of conveying personality or emotions by choosing a more interesting verb than ‘say’ when you report someone’s speech. Anyone who has been on a creative writing course will be familiar with the maxim ‘Show, don’t tell,’ and choosing a specific synonym for ‘say’ can help you to do this. Continue reading “Spluttering, cackling and drawling: verbs to use instead of ‘say’”

a person's hand reaching out to take one slice from a pie chart made up of five coloured segments: red, white, green, yellow and blue

Obtaining information and deriving satisfaction: 5 different ways of saying ‘get’

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a person's hand reaching out to take one slice from a pie chart made up of five coloured segments: red, white, green, yellow and blue
John Scott / The Image Bank / GettyImages

by Liz Walter

One way to improve your English is to find more interesting vocabulary to use instead of very common words. This post looks at five verbs you can use instead of ‘get’. Regular readers of my posts will know that I often talk about collocation, or words that commonly go together. I’ll be focusing on this particularly today because although the words I’m covering are basically synonyms, some of them tend to collocate strongly with particular groups of nouns. Note that they are all a little more formal than ‘get’ but still commonly used, especially in writing. Continue reading “Obtaining information and deriving satisfaction: 5 different ways of saying ‘get’”

a small white cat with black and orange markings on its ears and tail looking frightened by something off-camera

Wimps and scaredy-cats: talking about people who are not brave

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a small white cat with black and orange markings on its ears and tail looking frightened by something off-camera
Brian Farrell / Moment Open / GettyImages

by Liz Walter

My last post was on the topic of bravery, so by way of a contrast, this one looks at words and phrases connected with the opposite. The most common word for someone who isn’t brave is coward. The related adjective is cowardly (one of those rare adjectives that ends in -ly) and the noun is cowardice: Continue reading “Wimps and scaredy-cats: talking about people who are not brave”

a woman looking brave and determined as she prepares to do a difficult trick in a skate park

Plucking up courage: talking about being brave

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a woman looking brave and determined as she prepares to do a difficult trick in a skate park
HRAUN / E+ / GettyImages

by Liz Walter

Everyone has times when they have to do things that scare them, and there are lots of different ways to talk about this. Continue reading “Plucking up courage: talking about being brave”

Close-up photograph of silver, crown-shaped confetti on a red, white and blue Union Flag

Pomp and pageantry: language for the coronation of King Charles III

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Close-up photograph of silver, crown-shaped confetti on a red, white and blue Union Flag
John Harper / Moment / GettyImages

by Liz Walter

On Saturday, 6 May, the UK will see its first coronation (ceremony to make someone king or queen) since 1953, when Queen Elizabeth began her extraordinarily long reign (the time she was queen). This post looks at some of the vocabulary connected with that event. Continue reading “Pomp and pageantry: language for the coronation of King Charles III”