As good as your word: Talking about trust and loyalty

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by Liz Walter

This post looks at words and phrases connected with the question of trust. I’ll start with ways of talking about people you are certain will keep their promises. You can depend on, rely on or count on them to do what they say they will do:

I know I can depend on Patrick to keep the business running while I’m away.

If you stand for election, you can count on me to support you! Continue reading “As good as your word: Talking about trust and loyalty”

Hitting it off and befriending people (Words for making friends)

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by Kate Woodford

In these troubled times, I thought you might enjoy a post with a positive subject matter so today I’ll be looking at words and phrases around the subject of making friends and being friendly. You’ll notice there are several phrasal verbs in the post.

Starting with a phrasal verb, if you begin a friendship with someone, you can say that you strike up a friendship:

He’d struck up a friendship with an older guy on his course.

 

If you are friendly towards a stranger, often in order to help them, you might say you befriend them:

Luckily, I was befriended by an elderly man who showed me where to get a cup of coffee.

If two people like each other and get on well as soon as they meet, you can say, informally, that they hit it off:

We met at Lucy’s party and hit it off immediately.

I didn’t really hit it off with his mother.

The verb click has a similar meaning, with the additional suggestion that the people understand each other and think in a similar way:

We met at a work party and clicked right away.

If two people develop a friendly or loving connection with each other, you can say they bond:

She didn’t really bond with the other team members.

If people become friends because of a shared interest, you might say they bond over that thing:

We bonded over our love of birds and vegan cake.

Someone who makes an effort to be friends with a person or group, often because it will give them an advantage, may be said to get in with them:

She tried to get in with the cool kids at school.

Something, (often a bad thing), that causes people to become friends may be said to bring them together:

As so often happens, the disaster brought the whole community together.

Of course, relationships may end as well as start. If two people stop being friends after an argument, you can say, informally, that they fall out:

Unfortunately, the sisters fell out over money.  

If a friendship between two people gradually ends over time, you might say the people drift apart:

You know how it goes – our lives took different directions and we just drifted apart.

If someone suddenly ends a friendship with someone, you can use the slightly informal verb drop:

I don’t know what I did to offend her, but she just dropped me.

Finally, to end on a more cheerful note, if you start to be friends with someone that you used to know well in the past, you may be said to rekindle the friendship:

I was glad of the opportunity to rekindle an old friendship.

Beating up, ganging up on and putting someone down: phrasal verbs for bad behaviour (2)

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by Liz Walter

In an earlier post, I looked at phrasal verbs connected with children’s bad behaviour and with some general adult bad behaviour. In this post, I will cover phrasal verbs connected with bullying, violent and dishonest behaviour.

Continue reading “Beating up, ganging up on and putting someone down: phrasal verbs for bad behaviour (2)”

Playing up, showing off or letting someone down: phrasal verbs for bad behaviour (1)

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by Liz Walter

It struck me recently that there are rather a lot of phrasal verbs connected with people behaving badly so I thought this might be a useful topic. In fact, there are so many of them that there will be two posts: this one on children’s behaviour and general bad behaviour and one on more serious wrongdoing such as violence, bullying and dishonesty.

Continue reading “Playing up, showing off or letting someone down: phrasal verbs for bad behaviour (1)”

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”

Handing down and passing on (Phrasal verbs that mean ‘give’)

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by Kate Woodford

It’s sometimes said that it’s better to give than to receive. Whether or not you like the act of giving, we hope you’ll enjoy reading about all the different ways to talk about giving. As you might imagine, there are a great number of synonyms and near-synonyms for ‘give’, so this is the first of two posts. Here, we’ll look at the many ‘give’ phrasal verbs and prepositional verbs and their specific meanings. Continue reading “Handing down and passing on (Phrasal verbs that mean ‘give’)”

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.”

Setting up and mapping out – the language of planning part 1

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by Kate Woodford

January and February seem like the right months of the year for a post on the language of planning. Since there’s so much useful vocabulary in this area, this will be a two-part blog post.

Starting with near-synonyms for ‘arrange’, a handy phrasal verb is set up. To set up a meeting or similar event is to organize it:

We need to set up a meeting.

I’ve set up interviews with both candidates.

You might also say that you line up an event or number of events: We’ve lined up some great speakers for you this week. 

To schedule a formal or an official event is to arrange for it to happen at a particular time:

The flight was scheduled to arrive at 8:45.

We have a meeting scheduled for 10 a.m.

If you reschedule something, you agree on a new and later time or date for something to happen: I’ve rescheduled Tuesday’s meeting for Wednesday.

If you plan in detail a period of time or future project, you might say that you map it out: He’s got his career all mapped out ahead of him

If you make temporary arrangements which may change in the future, you might describe them as provisional: These dates are only provisional.

You could say the same thing by saying that you will pencil in the arrangement: Okay, let’s pencil in a meeting for next Thursday at 11.

A related phrase is not set in stone, meaning ‘not fixed’: These dates may change nearer the time – they’re certainly not set in stone.

To say that you make a provisional plan definite, you might use the phrasal verb firm up: We’ll need to firm up the details of the agreement.

To call or write to someone in order to say that a formal arrangement is certain is to confirm it: Provisionally, we’ll say February 20th for the meeting, then, but confirm it later.

To anticipate something when you are planning is to expect that it will happen: I don’t anticipate any problems with this stage of the project.

If you allow for something that might happen, you consider it when planning and make arrangements for it: We have to allow for the possibility that the project might be delayed.

Meanwhile, if you reckon on or count on something happening, you think it is very likely and make plans that depend on it happening: We’re reckoning on selling 3,00 units a week.

Part 2 of this post will look at planning for potential problems.

Flaring up and bouncing back: phrasal verbs relating to illness

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by Kate Woodford

A recent blog that we published on phrasal verbs meaning ‘argue’ was very popular, reminding us to keep providing you with useful sets of these important items! This week, then, we’re looking at phrasal verbs and prepositional verbs connected with illness and recovery.

Continue reading “Flaring up and bouncing back: phrasal verbs relating to illness”