two white mice hiding inside a hole - a white cat is visible outside

Look out! Talking about being careful.

two white mice hiding inside a hole - a white cat is visible outside
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by Liz Walter

It is natural to want our family and friends to be safe, and this post looks at words connected with being careful – both for advising people to be careful and for describing careful people and actions. Continue reading “Look out! Talking about being careful.”

Young woman pushes a kayak in the water of lake on a summer sunny day.

Paying through the nose and pushing the boat out (Money Idioms, Part 1)

Young woman pushes a kayak in the water of lake on a summer sunny day.
Remains/iStock/Getty Images Plus

by Kate Woodford

Today, in the latest of my money-themed posts, I’m looking at money idioms, by which I mean idioms that say something about money (and not idioms about other subjects that feature the words ‘penny’, ‘money’, ‘coin’ etc.). There are lots of money idioms so this is Part 1 and we’ll publish Part 2 in a couple of weeks. Continue reading “Paying through the nose and pushing the boat out (Money Idioms, Part 1)”

close-up of a hand drawing five yellow stars with a yellow highlighter pen

Conflicting, positive or strongly held? Using the word ‘opinion’

close-up of a hand drawing five yellow stars with a yellow highlighter pen
Dilok Klaisataporn/iStock/Getty Images Plus

by Liz Walter

You will probably already know several ways to express your opinions in English. This post is about something different: the words we use with the noun opinion – in other words, its collocations. Continue reading “Conflicting, positive or strongly held? Using the word ‘opinion’”

a young girl waves at the camera from the passenger seat of a car that is being driven by her mother

New words – 16 January 2023

a young girl waves at the camera from the passenger seat of a car that is being driven by her mother
Rafael Ben-Ari / Photodisc / Getty

chauffeur mum noun [C]
UK /ˈʃəʊ.fə ˌmʌm/ US /ʃoʊˈfɝː ˌmʌm/
a mother who lives in an area with little or no public transport and spends a lot of time driving her children to and from school and other places

Chauffeur mums are a well-known Australian phenomenon. A lack of convenient transport options coupled with gendered roles has made many suburban women (and their children) car-dependent, whether they like it or not. And, more often than not, the demands of household chores and child rearing fall more heavily on women.
[theguardian.com, 8 November 2022]

sittervising noun [U]
UK /ˈsɪt.ə.vaɪ.zɪŋ/ US /ˈsɪt̬.ɚ.vaɪ.zɪŋ/
the activity of watching your children while they play on their own

Sittervising may sound obvious once you realize what it is (sitting while supervising your kids). But think about it: How often do you sit on the park bench while your child plays on the playground? Exactly. The goal of sittervising is to let your kids hang independently while you take a minute (or two) to yourself.
[theskimm.com, 31 August 2022]

jellyfish parent noun [C]
UK /ˈdʒel.i.fɪʃ ˌpeə.rᵊnt/ US /ˈdʒel.i.fɪʃ ˌper.ᵊnt/
a mother or father who is not very strict with their children and often spoils them

Other styles of parenting have been developed over the years inspired by animals: jellyfish parents are more lenient and permissive in their parenting. They have few rules for their children and can often overindulge them. Studies have shown that children raised by jellyfish parents show a lack of impulse control. Jellyfish parents prioritise connection and love over setting rules and boundaries. They very rarely use punishments to discipline their children.
[twinkl.com, 27 April 2022]

About new words

a colourful photo collage of a woman's hand holding a credit card surrounded by a plate of food, car, piggy bank, online shopping icon, and house

Skimping and splurging (Verbs for spending money)

a colourful photo collage of a woman's hand holding a credit card surrounded by a plate of food, car, piggy bank, online shopping icon, and house
We Are/DigitalVision/GettyImages

by Kate Woodford

Last month I wrote a post on words and phrases used to talk about our money habits. Continuing with the money theme, I’m looking this week at verbs and verb phrases for spending money. Continue reading “Skimping and splurging (Verbs for spending money)”

a man looking shocked and disbelieving

No way! Using the word ‘way’ (2)

a man looking shocked and disbelieving
Vadym Pastukh/iStock/Getty Images Plus

by Liz Walter

My last post looked at some meanings of the word way and how to avoid common mistakes when using it. This post will look at just a few of the very many useful phrases that contain way. Continue reading “No way! Using the word ‘way’ (2)”

close up photograph of a small coin purse full of Euro notes and coins

Spendthrifts and skinflints (The language of how we spend)

close up photograph of a small coin purse full of Euro notes and coins
Kinga Krzeminska/Moment/GettyImages

by Kate Woodford

Would you describe yourself as careful with money or are you a big spender? Today’s post considers the language we use to talk about our money habits. Continue reading “Spendthrifts and skinflints (The language of how we spend)”

two hikers checking directions, their heads and bodies hidden behind a large paper map

Is this the way? Using the word ‘way’ (1)

two hikers checking directions, their heads and bodies hidden behind a large paper map
Peter Cade/Stone/GettyImages

by Liz Walter

According to the Cambridge International Corpus, we use the word way 848 times in every million words, making it extremely common (by contrast, method comes up 65 times per million). Continue reading “Is this the way? Using the word ‘way’ (1)”

one little girl pointing at another girl in messy room

Telltales and fidgets (Words that we use for children)

one little girl pointing at another girl in messy room
Figure8Photos/E+/GettyImages

by Kate Woodford

In a supermarket last week, I heard a mother telling her child not to be naughty. Naughty is, of course, a word usually used for (badly behaved) children rather than adults. It made me think about other words that we use mainly for children, and I thought the subject would make an interesting post. Continue reading “Telltales and fidgets (Words that we use for children)”

a young man writing in a library, with a notebook, laptop and textbooks in front of him

Moreover, consequently and therefore: ways to link ideas (2)

a young man writing in a library, with a notebook, laptop and textbooks in front of him
fizkes/iStock/Getty Images Plus

by Liz Walter

My last post looked at linkers that express the contrast between ideas. This post covers linkers for adding extra information, showing the reason for something, and showing things in sequence. Continue reading “Moreover, consequently and therefore: ways to link ideas (2)”