I’ve brought you a little something: The language of gifts


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by Liz Walter

Many of us will have given and received gifts over the holiday period. This post looks at some of the language around this custom.

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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.

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Help is at hand (Idioms with ‘hand’, Part 1)

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by Kate Woodford

Who knew how many idioms and phrases there were containing the word ‘hand’! I certainly didn’t until I started researching them. A lot are common in everyday speech and are therefore useful to learn. As there are so many, this will be the first of two posts, Part 1 and Part 2.

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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.

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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’.

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It makes my flesh crawl: idioms for Halloween

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by Liz Walter

The evening of October 31st usually sees hordes of children dressed up as ghosts, skeletons or other scary figures, excitedly collecting mountains of sweets on their ‘trick-or-treat’ expeditions. Covid-19 has paused many of these activities, but I hope you will still enjoy this post on spooky idioms! Continue reading “It makes my flesh crawl: idioms for Halloween”

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.

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Applying for a job or handing in your notice: collocations for work (1)

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by Liz Walter

One of our readers recently asked for a post on collocations relating to the world of work. Well, she’s lucky because she’s getting two of them! This first one focuses on starting and leaving jobs.

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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’.

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It goes without saying: phrases with ‘say’

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by Liz Walter

I was writing some learning materials on the topic of communication the other day, when I noticed how many common phrases include the word ‘say’. This post looks at some of the most useful of them.

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