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’)”
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)”
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.”
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.
Part 2 of this post will look at planning for potential problems.
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.
by Liz Walter
My last post looked at phrasal and prepositional verbs connected with starting arguments and what happens during arguments. Today I’ll start with describing other people’s involvement in an argument and then go on to talking about what happens when an argument is over.
by Liz Walter
We use phrasal verbs a lot, and it’s worth learning as many as you can. In this post, I will look at phrasal verbs and prepositional verbs connected with arguing – there is a surprisingly large number of them! It is often important to know what preposition to use after a phrasal verb, so pay particular attention to the prepositions highlighted in the example sentences.
by Liz Walter
My last post was all about sadness, so it is good to turn to a more cheerful subject: happiness.
Let’s start with the phrase I’ve used in the title: on cloud nine. Nobody really knows the origins of this phrase – one theory is that it refers to the cumulonimbus cloud that was number nine in the ‘International Cloud Atlas’ and rises higher than all other clouds, while another relates to one of the stages of enlightenment in Buddhist thought. Still, it’s enough to know that if you are on cloud nine, you are extremely happy. In fact, you are in seventh heaven (from the belief in some religions that there are seven levels of heaven, the seventh being the highest).
by Liz Walter
‘When sorrows come, they come not single spies, but in battalions.’ So said Claudius in Shakespeare’s Hamlet. As a general rule, grief and sadness are more interesting to writers and poets than happiness, and there are many fine descriptions in literature. However, in this post, I want to focus on language that we use in everyday speech.
Firstly, it is obviously very important to use phrases that are suitable for the level of trauma involved. You might describe someone as down in the dumps or down in the mouth if, for instance, they did badly in a job interview or failed an exam. Similarly, the phrase out of sorts is used mainly for someone who is usually cheerful, but simply seems a bit glum at the moment. However, if the sadness is caused by something serious like a bereavement (= when someone dies), those phrases would sound too trivial. Continue reading “It broke my heart: Idioms and phrasal verbs to express sadness”
Here on About Words, we frequently publish posts on phrasal verbs. This week, just for a change, we’re looking instead at a group of nouns that are formed from phrasal verbs. Some of these nouns are usually written with a hyphen between the verb and particle and some are written as one word.
Let’s start on a positive note, with the noun in the title. From the phrasal verb go ahead, the phrase the go-ahead refers to an occasion when you are given official permission to start a project. You get or are given the go-ahead: The council has given the go-ahead for a housing development in the area. Continue reading “We just got the go-ahead! (Nouns formed from phrasal verbs)”