Relationships

Types of relationships Here is a scale showing closeness and distance in relationships in different contexts. * ex- can be used with or without (informally) another word: She’s my ex. (girlfriend, etc.) – Mate is a colloquial word for a good friend. It can also be used in compounds to describe a person you share…

Describing people – character

Intellectual ability – Ability: intelligent bright clever smart shrewd able gifted talented brainy (colloquial) – Lacking ability: stupid foolish half-witted simple silly brainless daft dumb dim (the last four are predominantly colloquial words) – Clever, in a negative way, using brains to trick or deceive: cunning crafty sly Attitudes towards life – Looking on either…

The weather

In Scandinavia, the chilly (1) days of autumn soon change to the cold days of winter. The first frosts (2) arrive and the roads become icy. Rain becomes sleet (3) and then snow, at first turning to slush (4) in the streets, but soon settling (5), with severe blizzards (6) and snowdrifts (7) in the…

Collective nouns

Collective nouns are used to describe a group of the same things. People Words associated with certain animals A flock of sheep or birds, e.g. geese/pigeons; a herd of cows, deer, goats; a shoal of fish (or any particular fish, e.g. a shoal of herring/mackerel – note the use of singular here); a swarm of…

Text-referring words

Text-referring words are ones that pick up their content from the surrounding text. This sentence in isolation does not mean much: We decided to look at the problem again and try to find a solution. What problem? We need to refer to some other sentence or to the context to find out. Problem and solution…

Addition

There are a number of ways of adding one idea to another in English. You probably already know words like and, also and too. Words for linking sentences/clauses Adding words at the end of clauses/sentences They sell chairs, tables, beds, and so on / etc. /et’setra/ It’ll go to the committee, then to the board,…

Concession and contrast

Concession means accepting one part of a state of affairs but putting another argument or fact against it. Although they were poor, they were independent. He is a bit stupid. He’s very kind, nevertheless. Verbs of concession example paraphrase and comments I acknowledge/accept that he has -> I agree but… worked hard but it isn’t…

Condition

As well as if, there are a number of other words and phrases for expressing condition. 1. You can’t come in unless you have a ticket. 2. You can borrow the bike on condition that you return it by five o’clock. 3. In case of fire, dial 333. [usually seen on notices ; it means…

Time

One thing before another : – Before I went to work I fed the cat. [or, more commonly in written English: Before going to work…] – I had written to her prior to meeting the committee, [formal/written style] – It was nice to be in Venice. Previously I’d only been to Rome, [fairly formal, more…

Homonyms

Homonyms can be subdivided into homographs and homophones. Homographs are words which are written in the same way but have different meanings. Compare bow in ‘He took a bow /bau/ at the end of the concert’ and ‘He was wearing a bow /bau/ tie’. Homophones are words which are pronounced in the same way but…

Words with interesting origins – from other languages

English has taken over words from most of the other languages with which it has had contact. It has taken many expressions from the ancient languages, Latin and Greek, and these borrowings usually have academic or literary associations. From French, English has taken lots of words to do with cooking, the arts, and a more…

Compound Nouns – verb + preposition

A large number of compound nouns (see Unit 13) are based on phrasal verbs. In Sections B to E you will see a number of examples of such nouns in context. The meaning of the compound noun is indicated in brackets at the end of the sentence. To form the plural, ‘s’ is added to…

Compound Nouns – Combinations of two nouns

A compound noun is a fixed expression which is made up of more than one word and functions as a noun. Such expressions are frequently combinations of two nouns, e.g. address book, human being, science fiction. A number of compound nouns are related to phrasal verbs and these are dealt with in Unit 14. Compound…

Abstract Nouns

An abstract noun is one which is used to mean an idea, experience or quality rather than an object. Thus happiness, intention and shock are abstract nouns whereas, for example, pen, bed and trousers are not. There are a number of suffixes which are used particularly frequently in the formation of abstract nouns. Some of…

Suffixes

Suffixes can change the word-class and the meaning of the word. Common noun suffixes -er is used for the person who does an activity, e.g. writer, worker, shopper, teacher. You can use -er with a wide range of verbs to make them into nouns. Sometimes, the -er suffix is written as -or instead of -er….