close-up of a determined young man in a racing helmet

A class act and nerves of steel: talking about people you like and admire (2)

close-up of a determined young man in a racing helmet
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by Liz Walter

My last post looked at some general qualities of people we like, such as being pleasant and kind. Today’s post is about some more specific admirable qualities. Continue reading “A class act and nerves of steel: talking about people you like and admire (2)”

a Bernese Mountain Dog barking

Howling, mewing and snorting (Animal sounds, Part A)

a Bernese Mountain Dog barking
Jill Lehmann Photography/Moment/GettyImages

by Kate Woodford

A reader of this blog recently requested a post on animal sounds. When I looked into the subject, I was struck by the huge range of very specific words in the English language for the various noises that animals and birds make. Accordingly, this is a post in two parts, A and B. Here, in Part A, we start by considering words for the different noises that dogs make. Continue reading “Howling, mewing and snorting (Animal sounds, Part A)”

two older men laughing together in a park

Laid-back, likeable and jovial : talking about people you like and admire (1)

two older men laughing together in a park
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by Liz Walter

After three posts on criticizing people’s character flaws, it’s definitely time to balance that with some vocabulary for praising those we admire! Continue reading “Laid-back, likeable and jovial : talking about people you like and admire (1)”

portrait of an old man frowning angrily

Prickly, abrasive and churlish: talking about people you don’t like (3)

portrait of an old man frowning angrily
John Rensten/The Image Bank/GettyImages

by Liz Walter

This is the final post in a short series about words for people we don’t like. This post will concentrate on describing people who are bad-tempered, rude, or cruel. Continue reading “Prickly, abrasive and churlish: talking about people you don’t like (3)”

skyline of city buildings lit up at sunset

A vast, sprawling metropolis (Words for describing cities)

skyline of city buildings lit up at sunset
Gary Yeowell/DigitalVision/GettyImages

by Kate Woodford

It’s reckoned that around 55% of the world’s population now lives in towns and cities. With this in mind, I thought we’d take a look at the sort of words we use to describe urban and suburban areas. I hope you find it useful. Continue reading “A vast, sprawling metropolis (Words for describing cities)”

Two adorable border collie puppies sit in front of a veterinarian as one playfully growls at the other causing the other puppy to look scared.

Lily-livered or hard as nails: talking about people you don’t like (2)

Two adorable border collie puppies sit in front of a veterinarian as one playfully growls at the other causing the other puppy to look scared.
FatCamera/E+/GettyImages

by Liz Walter

My last post contained general insulting words and phrases. You can find words and phrases for people who are stupid, untrustworthy, boring or stubborn in previous posts by me and my colleague Kate Woodford, so today’s post looks at ways of describing some other character flaws. Continue reading “Lily-livered or hard as nails: talking about people you don’t like (2)”

a smashed plate on a tiled floor, next to a child's bare feet

Clatter and thud (Sounds, Part 3)

a smashed plate on a tiled floor, next to a child's bare feet
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by Kate Woodford

This is the last of a three-part post on words that we use to describe sounds that we hear in our daily life. In previous posts, I’ve covered sounds heard in the city and those heard in the country. This week, I’m staying indoors and thinking about sounds that we hear inside our homes and other buildings. Continue reading “Clatter and thud (Sounds, Part 3)”

yellow leaves being blown from a tree on a windy day

Rustling leaves and the howling wind (Sounds, Part 2)

yellow leaves being blown from a tree on a windy day
Blair Fethers/GettyImages

by Kate Woodford

In my last ‘sounds’ post, I looked at noises often heard in a city, such as the ‘hum’ of traffic and sirens ‘wailing’. Today I’m focusing on some more pleasant sounds – those often heard outdoors. Continue reading “Rustling leaves and the howling wind (Sounds, Part 2)”

girl reciting poetry from a book

Rhyme, rhythm and verse: talking about poetry

girl reciting poetry from a book
photosvit/iStock/Getty Images Plus

by Liz Walter

March 21st is World Poetry Day and today’s post looks at language we use to talk about this extraordinary form of writing. Continue reading “Rhyme, rhythm and verse: talking about poetry”

blurred photograph of cars and an ambulance driving through a busy city

The rumble of traffic and the wailing of sirens (Sounds, Part 1)

blurred photograph of cars and an ambulance driving through a busy city
Thinkstock Images/Stockbyte/GettyImages

by Kate Woodford

Have you ever wanted to describe a sound that you heard but found you didn’t have quite the right word for it? Then read on, because this post (and Parts 2 and 3) will provide you with a range of specific words and phrases to refer to the sounds we hear in our daily life. We’ll start by looking at noises that we hear in an urban environment. As you might imagine, many relate to vehicles. Continue reading “The rumble of traffic and the wailing of sirens (Sounds, Part 1)”