a young woman looking thoughtful as she writes an essay - she has a notebook and laptop in front of her

Whereas, despite and nevertheless: ways to link ideas (1)

a young woman looking thoughtful as she writes an essay - she has a notebook and laptop in front of her
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by Liz Walter

When we speak and write, it is important to show the link between different statements. For example, do we want to add information, contrast two ideas, or show that one thing is the reason for another? Of course it is possible to use very simple linking words such as and, but and so, but it is useful to have a wider range of linking words, particularly for formal or academic writing. Continue reading “Whereas, despite and nevertheless: ways to link ideas (1)”

a young man counting on his fingers and looking puzzled

At a rough guess: talking about approximate numbers and amounts

a young man counting on his fingers and looking puzzled
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by Liz Walter

We often need to talk about amounts and numbers that are not exact, either because an exact figure isn’t needed or because we don’t know it. This post looks at some words and phrases for doing this. Continue reading “At a rough guess: talking about approximate numbers and amounts”

a baseball player in a striped outfit hitting a baseball forcefully with a bat

Walloping, belting and clobbering: verbs for touching and hitting (2)

a baseball player in a striped outfit hitting a baseball forcefully with a bat
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by Liz Walter

My last post looked at a range of verbs to talk about touching and hitting in a variety of contexts. This post focuses on hitting things and people with force. Continue reading “Walloping, belting and clobbering: verbs for touching and hitting (2)”

a woman lies on the floor and caresses two small dogs that are sleeping on a circular cushion

Caressing, patting and elbowing: verbs for touching and hitting (1)

a woman lies on the floor and caresses two small dogs that are sleeping on a circular cushion
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by Liz Walter

There are an incredible number of verbs that express the concept of touching or hitting someone or something, and they can have very different connotations, from caressing (touching in a very gentle and loving way) right through to punching (hitting someone or something very hard with a closed hand): Continue reading “Caressing, patting and elbowing: verbs for touching and hitting (1)”

photograph of a young woman thinking, with a colourful illustrated background of gears and a cartoon brain

Thinking outside the box: talking about creativity.

photograph of a young woman thinking, with a colourful illustrated background of gears and a cartoon brain
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by Liz Walter

Today’s post is about the language we use to talk about being creative. Creativity – being able to think of new and unusual ideas – is central to human life, and there are lots of great words to describe it. Continue reading “Thinking outside the box: talking about creativity.”

funny picture of two children holding their father hostage, carrying signs saying "more TV" and "no more broccoli"

It serves you right! Talking about people who deserve bad things.

funny picture of two children holding their father hostage, carrying signs saying "more TV" and "no more broccoli"
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by Liz Walter

The concept of fairness is an important one to most people – a common complaint of even very young children is, “It’s not fair!”. We enjoy a so-called “Hollywood ending” to a movie, when the good people triumph and the baddies get the punishment they deserve. So it’s not surprising that there are a lot of words and phrases connected with fairness. This blog looks at some of the most common ones. Continue reading “It serves you right! Talking about people who deserve bad things.”

close-up of a man's hand squeezing water from a large yellow cleaning sponge

Spongy, rock-hard or pliable? Talking about textures (2)

close-up of a man's hand squeezing water from a large yellow cleaning sponge
Peter Dazeley/The Image Bank/GettyImages

by Liz Walter

This is the second of two posts on texture. The previous one provided words to describe food, texture words from fabrics, and words to describe how smooth or rough something is. This one will focus on hardness and softness. Continue reading “Spongy, rock-hard or pliable? Talking about textures (2)”

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
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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”