a yawning tabby kitten

Has the cat got your tongue? (How we talk, Part 2)

a yawning tabby kitten
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by Kate Woodford

My last ‘How we talk’ post focused on words used for people who talk a lot, including adjectives such as ‘talkative’ and ‘forthcoming’. This week, I’m looking at the opposite – words that we use for people who say very little. Continue reading “Has the cat got your tongue? (How we talk, Part 2)”

a photograph of two young people smiling and talking to each other, with a colourful, illustrated background showing a speech bubble

He could talk the hind legs off a donkey (How we talk, Part 1)

a photograph of two young people smiling and talking to each other, with a colourful, illustrated background showing a speech bubble
We Are/DigitalVision/GettyImages

by Kate Woodford

This week and next, I’m looking at ways to describe how much – or how little – we speak. There are lots of words (especially adjectives) in this area, with very different connotations, from chatty (=talking a lot in a friendly, informal way) to reserved (=tending not to talk about your feelings or opinions):

Jamie was his usual chatty self.

My grandfather was a quiet, rather reserved man.

This post will cover words and phrases that mean ‘talking a lot’ and Part 2 will deal with the opposite. Continue reading “He could talk the hind legs off a donkey (How we talk, Part 1)”

nine wooden blocks stacked in a square - eight are black and point right, and one is red and points left

Having second thoughts (Changing our minds, Part 2)

nine wooden blocks stacked in a square - eight are black and point right, and one is red and points left
Chaiyawat Sripimonwan/EyeEm/GettyImages

by Kate Woodford

In part 1 of this post (Changing our minds, Part 1), I looked at language that is often used to refer to people in positions of power changing their decisions or plans. This post continues the ‘changing your mind’ theme but instead focuses on the sort of language that is used when people more generally change their minds. Continue reading “Having second thoughts (Changing our minds, Part 2)”

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
Randy Faris/The Image Bank/GettyImages

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)”

the feet and lower legs of a person standing in front of a U-turn symbol painted on the road surface

U-turns and flip-flopping (Changing our minds, Part 1)

the feet and lower legs of a person standing in front of a U-turn symbol painted on the road surface
mantinov/iStock/Getty Images Plus

by Kate Woodford

‘A wise man changes his mind. A fool never will,’ or so says the proverb. Whether or not this is true, we all change our minds, sometimes about trivial things and sometimes about things that really matter. This post (in two parts) takes a look at nouns, verbs and idioms in this area of the language. Today, we’ll look at the sort of language that is often used when people in positions of power change their opinions or plans. Continue reading “U-turns and flip-flopping (Changing our minds, Part 1)”

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
Kohei Hara/DigitalVision/GettyImages

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)”

in a toy shop, a grandfather bounces energetically on a pogo stick, watched by his young grandson

Boundless energy and oomph (Language relating to energy, Part 2)

in a toy shop, a grandfather bounces energetically on a pogo stick, watched by his young grandson
Sean Justice/The Image Bank/GettyImages

by Kate Woodford

Part 1 of this ‘energy’ series looked at adjectives for describing lively, energetic people. This post looks at nouns that mean ‘energy’ and idioms that we use to describe energetic people. Continue reading “Boundless energy and oomph (Language relating to energy, Part 2)”

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
ismagilov/iStock/Getty Images Plus

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"
marcduf/E+/GettyImages

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.”

A foil wrapped heart on a pink background with lots of hearts.

A heart of gold or a heart of stone? (‘Heart’ senses and phrases, Part 1)

A foil wrapped heart on a pink background with lots of hearts.
Jennifer A Smith/Moment/GettyImages

by Kate Woodford

The word ‘heart’ is used a tremendous lot in English. As you might imagine, it’s often used to say things about love and emotions, but it has other less predictable meanings too. In this three-part post, I’ll look at the way we use this word, focusing on its various senses and a range of ‘heart’ idioms and phrases. As ever, I’ll present language that is current and useful. Continue reading “A heart of gold or a heart of stone? (‘Heart’ senses and phrases, Part 1)”