a man wearing a tuxedo and holding a trophy, with stage lights in background

Triumphs and success stories (The language of success, Part 1)

a man wearing a tuxedo and holding a trophy, with stage lights in background
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by Kate Woodford

We like positive posts on the About words blog, so this week we’re looking at language connected with success. As there are so many useful words and phrases in this area this post, focusing mainly on nouns, is the first of three. As ever, we’ll look at the most frequent and useful words and phrases. Continue reading “Triumphs and success stories (The language of success, Part 1)”

finger pressing a button labelled 'start'

Outsets and onsets! (Words meaning ‘start’)

finger pressing a button labelled 'start'
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by Kate Woodford

One of several things that we like to do on this blog is look at the many different ways that we express the same thing in English. This week we’re focusing on nouns and phrases that we use to refer to the start of things. Continue reading “Outsets and onsets! (Words meaning ‘start’)”

Pompous and patronizing (Describing character, part 5)

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by Kate Woodford

Today, in the last of the ‘Describing character’ posts, we’re looking at words for a variety of negative characteristics, from the tendency to criticize others, the belief that you are better than everyone else.

Continue reading “Pompous and patronizing (Describing character, part 5)”

You could hear a pin drop: more interesting ways of saying ‘quiet’

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by Liz Walter

Quiet is a word that English students learn early in their studies. Today we are going to look at some more specific and subtle ways of talking about quietness and silence.

Continue reading “You could hear a pin drop: more interesting ways of saying ‘quiet’”

Extrovert or introvert? (Describing character, part 4)

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by Kate Woodford

Today’s post is the latest in a thread dedicated to describing people’s personalities. We’ve previously looked at adjectives and phrases for people who are relaxed and happy (Part 3), kind and mean (Part 2), and hard-working and lazy (Part 1). Today we focus on words and phrases meaning ‘sociable’ and ‘shy’.

Continue reading “Extrovert or introvert? (Describing character, part 4)”

Laid-back and sunny (Describing character, part 3)

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by Kate Woodford

Today’s post is the latest in a thread devoted to describing people’s characters. In the previous two posts, we looked at ways of talking about people who are hard-working, ambitious, and lazy, among other traits. As usual, we start on a positive note, looking at words and phrases that describe people who are relaxed.

Continue reading “Laid-back and sunny (Describing character, part 3)”

Kind-hearted or ruthless? (Describing character, Part 2)

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by Kate Woodford

With this post, we continue the ‘describing people’ thread, looking at adjectives that we use to describe people’s characters. Today, we focus on a set of near-synonyms for the adjective ‘kind’.

Continue reading “Kind-hearted or ruthless? (Describing character, Part 2)”

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”

Learning Synonyms

by Kate Woodford

Many of our About Words blog posts aim to provide our readers with a range of interesting words and phrases for saying the same or a similar thing.  We’re talking, of course, about synonyms – or near-synonyms. This week, we’re still focusing on this approach to vocabulary expansion but we’re looking at the way that Cambridge Dictionary +Plus can help with the process. Continue reading “Learning Synonyms”

Comical and hysterical (Words that mean funny)

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by Kate Woodford

‘A day without laughter is a day wasted,’ said Charlie Chaplin, the comic actor and filmmaker. Whether or not you agree with him, you’ll almost certainly want to describe, in English, things that are funny. In this week’s post, we’ll provide you with a range of words to help you do just that. Continue reading “Comical and hysterical (Words that mean funny)”