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The Ultimate Guide to Telling Time in U.S. English

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Wherever you find yourself in the world, much of your life will be governed by time: What time you wake up, when you need to leave for work, how long your lunch break is, what time the museum opens, making sure you arrive on time for your date. In short, unless you plan on moving to this Norwegian town, you really do need to know how to tell time. 😉

Telling time and making appointments may be easy in your own language and country, but what about when you visit or relocate to the United States? The United States tends to do things differently than the rest of the world, probably just because we can…and in some ways, this applies to telling time.

The good news is that as long as you know your numbers and some basic time-related vocabulary, learning to tell the time in English shouldn’t be too difficult.
Learning to tell the time in English is an invaluable step in your language-learning journey, and something you’ll never regret taking the time to figure out.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Time Phrases in English Table of Contents
  1. How Do You Ask the Time in English?
  2. Talking About Hours
  3. Talking About Minutes
  4. Hours Divided into Minutes
  5. How to Describe Time in English with General Time References
  6. Time Adverbs
  7. Proverbs About Time in English
  8. Conclusion: How EnglishClass101 Can Help You Master English

1. How Do You Ask the Time in English?

Time

Before you learn about telling time, you should know how to ask for it. When first arriving in an English-speaking country, you’ll definitely be asking the time more than giving it! Here are some of the most common ways to ask someone what time it is.

  • Excuse me, what time is it?
  • Do you have the time, please?
  • Do you happen to have the time?
  • Can you please tell me what time it is?
  • Excuse me, please tell me the time.
  • What time should I arrive?
  • What time is the ___ [meeting, movie, etc.]?

Notice how the first five questions use polite phrases such as “excuse me,” and “please.” While it’s not always necessary to include these polite phrases (especially if you’re in a hurry and need the time right away!), people always appreciate you taking the time to be courteous. 🙂

Now that you’re familiar with asking about time in English, how do you say the time in English?

2. Talking About Hours

When telling time in American English, the majority of people go by the twelve-hour clock, though some are familiar with the twenty-four-hour clock (also called the Military Clock) as well. In this article, I’ll only be covering the twelve-hour format as this is the most widely used time format in the United States, and will help you learn how to tell time in English more than going over the 24-hour clock.

7 o’clock on Alarm Clock

1- Twelve-Hour Clock Time 

Before looking at the chart below, please note that in the United States, we sometimes add “o’clock” to the end of a time. This is considered a more formal and proper way of telling time, but more often than not, people drop the word “o’clock” and just say the number. In the chart, I wrote the example sentences both ways so that you can hear the difference yourself.

TimeUsage in a Sentence
1 o’clock [a.m. / p.m.]The softball game starts at 1 o’clock.

OR

The softball game starts at 1.
2 o’clock [a.m. / p.m.]Let’s meet at 2 o’clock.

OR

Let’s meet at 2.
3 o’clock [a.m. / p.m.]The cafe closes at 3 o’clock.

OR

The cafe closes at 3.
4 o’clock [a.m. / p.m.]Gerta left home at 4 o’clock.

OR

Gerta left home at 4.
5 o’clock [a.m. / p.m.]It’s 5 o’clock.

OR

It’s 5.
6 o’clock [a.m. / p.m.]Dinner will be ready at 6 o’clock.

OR

Dinner will be ready at 6.
7 o’clock [a.m. / p.m.]We should leave at 7 o’clock.

OR

We should leave at 7.
8 o’clock [a.m. / p.m.]She ate breakfast at 8 o’clock.

OR

She ate breakfast at 8.
9 o’clock [a.m. / p.m.]At 9 o’clock, the telephone rang.

OR

At 9, the telephone rang.
10 o’clock [a.m. / p.m.]10 o’clock just came and went.

In this example, using only “10” would sound a bit odd, so adding “o’clock” is the best way to say this sentence.
11 o’clock [a.m. / p.m.]Rita was already hungry at 11 o’clock.

OR

Rita was already hungry at 11.
12 o’clock [a.m. / p.m.]Let’s get ice cream at 12 o’clock.

OR

Let’s get ice cream at 12.

A.m. vs. P.m.

Because we use the twelve-hour clock format, it’s important that we have a way to know which set of twelve hours we’re talking about. (Otherwise, we would all be heading to meetings and dates twelve hours late or early!)

In the U.S., we do this by using “a.m.” (short for the Latin phrase ante meridiem, referring to any time before midday / noon) and “p.m.” (short for the Latin phrase post meridiem, referring to any time after midday / noon). These initials are put directly after the time whenever clarification is needed (so that you go get ice cream at midday and not midnight, unless that’s your thing). Here are some examples:

  • 2 o’clock p.m. (afternoon)
  • 7 o’clock a.m. (morning)
  • 6 o’clock p.m. (evening)
  • 9 o’clock a.m. (morning)

Keep in mind that 12 o’clock a.m. is midnight, and 12 o’clock p.m. is midday—these are the most commonly confused times for those just learning this time format. 

This may sound confusing and unnecessarily difficult if you aren’t used to telling the time this way, but once you get the hang of it, it isn’t so bad. 😉

3. Talking About Minutes

A Clock Showing Hours and Minutes

An hour is made up of sixty “minutes,” and in the U.S., we give the exact time by saying the hour and then the minutes. Minutes, here, refer to how many minutes after the hour it is. In writing, this is written with the number of the hour followed by a colon, and then the number of minutes after the colon: [Hour]: [Minutes After].

For example, this may look like:

  • 1:34 (thirty-four minutes after one o’clock)
    • It’s 1:34 a.m., what are you doing up?
  • 3:16 (sixteen minutes after three o’clock)
    • At 3:16 p.m., she finally left the hospital.
  • 8:59 (fifty-nine minutes after eight o’clock, or one minute before 9 o’clock)
    • It was 8:59 a.m. when she looked at the clock.

4. Hours Divided into Minutes

Improve Listening

There are three common terms that we use to divide the hours into minutes in a simpler fashion: “quarter,” “third,” and “half.” This makes it much easier to quickly give someone the approximate time.

1- Quarter

In regards to time, people use the word “quarter” to represent 15 minutes (which is 1/4 of an hour, just as a quarter in U.S. money is 1/4 of a dollar). We use the phrase “quarter past” to say “fifteen minutes after” and “quarter to” to say “fifteen minutes until [or before].”

Here are some examples of this, with the time each one represents in parentheses:

  • Quarter past 5 (5:15)
    • Be ready for dinner at a quarter past 5.
  • Quarter past 9 (9:15)
    • The bus arrived at a quarter past 9.
  • Quarter to 4 (3:45)
    • She left work at a quarter to 4.
  • Quarter to 7 (6:45)
    • It was a quarter to 7, and Steve still hadn’t shown up.

2- Third

“Third” is not a common term used for time in the United States, but in case you do hear it used, it refers to 20 minutes (because 20 is 1/3 of 60). So “a third past” refers to twenty minutes after the hour, and “a third to” refers to twenty minutes before the hour.

  • A third past 1 (1:20)
    • Be there a third past 1.
  • A third past 5 (5:20)
    • They finished dinner at a third past 5.
  • A third to 9 (8:40)
    • She left the house at a third to 9.
  • A third to 12 (11:40)
    • At a third to 12, she stopped for lunch.
large Club Sandwich

Honestly, you don’t need to worry too much about this one, as it’s rarely used and doesn’t sound as natural as “quarter” and “half” in conversation.

3- Half

“Half” is a very common phrase you’ll hear when people talk about time in English. “Half” refers to 30 minutes, as that’s half an hour (“half an hour” or “half-hour” are phrases you’ll also hear often, simply meaning 30 minutes). As with the word “quarter,” people use the phrases “half past” and “half an hour to” to describe 30 minutes after or until an hour, respectively.

  • Half past 3 (3:30)
    • Meet me at half past 3.
  • Half past 7 (7:30)
    • Bill woke up at half past 7.
  • Half an hour to 6 (5:30)
    • Quinton showed up half an hour to 6.
  • Half an hour to 10 (9:30)
    • Sue took her shower at half an hour to 10.

This is probably the easiest term to remember, as the time will always have a “thirty” in it. But be careful to always pay attention to the words “past” or “to.” Mixing these up can result in disaster!

5. How to Describe Time in English with General Time References

Knowing exact numeric times is important, but it’ll only get you so far. People in the United States often tell the time using general references, seeing as this is much faster and simpler when an exact time isn’t needed. Here’s a quick chart of the most commonly used references with their meanings and example sentences. 

Beautiful Morning
MeaningUsage in a Sentence
Early Morning“Early morning” refers to the very first hours of the day, and there is no specific time frame that this represents. However, “early morning” typically refers to anywhere from 3am to 9am, depending on who you ask.Susan eats breakfast in the early morning after she wakes up.
Sunrise / Dawn“Sunrise” and “Dawn” refer to the same time of day, which is whenever the sun happens to begin rising above the horizon. When “sunrise / dawn” occurs varies over the course of a year, occurring earlier in summer and later in winter.The birds started singing at sunrise.

Alex woke up right at dawn.
Noon / Midday“Noon” and “Midday” refer to the same time of day, which is 12:00pm, or the very middle of a twenty-four-hour day. This is often around the time people have their lunch.“Can we talk again at noon?” Tom asked her.

Lillian always ate lunch around midday.
Early Afternoon“Early afternoon” refers to approximately two to four hours after noon (from noon to about 2pm or as late as 4pm).Vance enjoys walking in the early afternoon.
Late Afternoon“Late afternoon” refers to approximately four to seven hours after noon (from about 4pm to 7pm).They enjoyed a nice barbeque meal in the late afternoon.
Evening“Evening” is just before sunset or nightfall. This usually refers to the time period from 7pm to 8pm, though this can vary over the course of a year, with evening being earlier in winter months and later in summer months.She stayed out late that evening with her friends.
Sunset / Dusk“Sunset” and “Dusk” refer to the same time of day, which is when the sun begins to set below the horizon. This is before nightfall, but no longer considered daytime.Wendy and Rick watched the beautiful sunset together.


At dusk the sky sometimes turns purple.
Night“Night” refers to after the sun has set, and it’s dark outside. Depending on who you ask, it usually refers to any time after 8pm until sunrise the next day.Kyle didn’t get any sleep yesterday night.
Midnight“Midnight” refers to 12:00am, or the very middle of the night.Ira woke up at midnight feeling very hungry.
Moon through Clouds at Midnight

6. Time Adverbs

Adverbs are not the most fun thing to study, but in telling time, they are essential. With the adverbs I cover in this section, you can learn to tell time in a more general, easy-going way, and in a way that everyone will understand. But instead of telling the time, these adverbs describe the time.

1- Adverbs that Talk About the Present

These time adverbs all talk about something that is happening in the present time.

Usage in a SentenceAdditional Information
Right now“Come over here, right now!” his mother said.
CurrentlyI’m currently drinking a cup of coffee.
At the momentAt the moment, Olive doesn’t know what to do.
MeanwhileMeanwhile, the tow truck took Al’s car away.Note that “meanwhile” is different from the other words. Instead of simply talking about the present, it describes when something happens in the present, in relation to another action.

For example, suppose Al went to a restaurant to eat but parked somewhere he shouldn’t have. 

The sentence would read: “Al enjoyed a burger at the restaurant. Meanwhile, the tow truck took Al’s car away.”
At the same timeThey both started laughing at the same time.“At the same time” means roughly the same thing as “meanwhile,” but it’s used a little bit differently. It normally refers to two actions or events that occur simultaneously.

2- Adverbs that Place the Time

These time adverbs work to answer the questions: “When?” or “How long?” in terms of the current time.

Man Giving Speech
MeaningUsage in a SentenceAdditional Notes
Before“Before” means previous to or prior to.“Before I get started, I have a question,” the motivational speaker said.This sentence indicates that the speaker will get started, but not until he’s asked a question.
After“After” means later or at the end of something else. It’s the opposite of “before.”After a long day, Sara spent the evening watching TV.This sentence suggests that a long day has passed, and once it was over, Sara watched TV.
Soon“Soon” means in the near future.Henry was leaving for college soon.This sentence suggests that Henry will leave for college not long from now. This could be hours or even a couple of months, as “soon” is a very vague and subjective term, and often depends on context.
Almost“Almost” is similar to “soon,” and means nearly.“It’s almost time!” he said excitedly.The man in this sentence is excited because something he is looking forward to is happening soon.
In a little while“In a little while” means that something will happen after a certain period of time, but it won’t be long.I’ll be going to the store in a little while.This is another vague term. In this sentence, the speaker is going to the store after an unspecified period of time has passed. In the case of something like going to the store, it probably refers to minutes or hours.
Not long after“Not long after” is similar to “in a little while,” but gives a more specific idea of what will happen (or has happened) at the time being talked about.Not long after watching a horror movie, Val thought she heard noises.In this sentence, the thing that happened is Val watching a horror movie. Soon after, she thought she heard noises.
Later“Later” is similar to “after,” but is a more general reference to a future time.“Do you want to go out for dinner later?” Joe asked.In this sentence, Joe hasn’t specified what time he wants to have dinner. But based on the context, it probably means a few hours from the current time, and a more specific time will be set up if the answer is yes.
For a long time“For a long time” can essentially mean different things, but refers to much time passing or having passed.“I haven’t been this depressed for a long time,” said Jane. 

OR

“You were at the store for a long time,” said Uriel.
The first sentence suggests that Jane used to be that depressed but much time has passed since then.


In the second sentence, Uriel is telling someone that they took a long time at the store.
Anytime“Anytime” is a word that’s  used when one isn’t picky or specific about a time. It means that any time is okay, or that something can happen at any time.“You can stop by anytime,” said Liz.In this sentence, Liz is okay with the person she’s talking to visiting her at any time.
As soon as possible“As soon as possible” (often abbreviated to “ASAP”) means that something should happen at the earliest possible convenience.“Come to the front office as soon as possible,” the announcement said.In this sentence, the announcement wants someone to come to the office quickly, whenever they’re first able to.
In the near future“In the near future” is a more formal, long-winded way of saying “soon.” It’s often used when talking about larger projects or events.The sign read: “We hope to have this park reopened in the near future.”In this sentence, the sign indicates the park will hopefully be open again soon.

7. Proverbs About Time in English

In the United States, there are several proverbs and sayings related to time. In this section, I’ll only go over the most common idioms related to time in English, but these should give you a pretty good foundation.

  • Time is money.
    • When someone says “time is money,” they’re referring to the fact that the more time you work, the more money you’ll make. Working hard means more money.
  • Time flies.
    • When someone says “time flies,” they mean that time tends to go by quickly. A variation of this phrase is “time flies when you’re having fun,” which means that time goes faster when you’re enjoying how you spend it.
  • Time is of the essence.
    • This phrase means that time is the most important thing in a situation. People often say this when they need something done quickly.
  • An inch of gold will not buy an inch of time. 
    • This phrase means that time is of greater value than gold or money. No matter how much money you have, you can never get back your time, so it’s important to use your time wisely and not be too focused on using it for work. A variation of this phrase is “time is more precious than gold.”
  • Time heals all wounds. 
    • This phrase means that when someone’s been hurt (either physically or emotionally), it will get better with time. A variation of this phrase is “time heals most wounds,” which suggests that some wounds never heal at all, or require more than time to heal.
Depressed Woman Looking Out Window
  • You can’t stop time.
    • When someone says that you can’t stop time, it means that time always continues and there’s no way of getting around it.
  • Ahead of one’s time. 
    • If someone is “ahead of their time,” it means that they’re a forward-thinking individual, and wise.
  • Behind the times. 
    • On the other hand, if someone is “behind the times,” it means that they’re still living in the past, or not adapted to life’s changes as time goes on. This is often used in a negative sense.
  • Time of your life.
    • If someone has the “time of their life,” it means they’re having a lot of fun or that a lot of good things are happening to them. This phrase suggests that it’s the best time of their life.
  • Live on borrowed time. 
    • The phrase “live on borrowed time” means that everyone “lives on borrowed time,” in that we should consider our time precious because it doesn’t really belong to us, but was rather given to us. (You wouldn’t spend borrowed money on silly things, or be reckless with a borrowed object, would you?)
  • At the eleventh hour. 
    • “At the eleventh hour,” refers to the latest time at which something can or will happen. A similar phrase is “at the last minute.”
  • Beat the clock. 
    • When someone “beats the clock” it means that they’ve done something just in time, before it was too late.
  • Around the clock. 
    • If someone does something “around the clock” it means that they never stop, and are always doing it.
  • 24/7.
    • “24/7” means about the same thing as “around the clock.” If someone does something 24/7, they’re always doing it. “24/7” is short for “twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.”
  • It’s about time. 
    • Someone usually says “it’s about time” when they’ve been waiting for something to happen and it finally does. It’s usually said in a joking or impatient manner.

8. Conclusion: How EnglishClass101 Can Help You Master English

Basic Questions

So, reader, do you understand how to tell time in English better now? Is there anything about telling time you’re still struggling with or don’t understand? Let us know in the comments, and we’ll be glad to help! 

This article covered a lot of information about telling time in U.S. English, and it’s expected that you’ll need to go over some of this information again to fully process it. You’re a trooper for making it this far, and I hope you feel a little more comfortable telling the time now! 

Keep in mind that when learning about telling time in English, practice is key. Practice as much as you can, and you won’t regret it. 

As you continue to learn to tell time, you may also find it handy to check out my article on dates in U.S. English—you’ll be using time and dates together quite often, after all! 

EnglishClass101.com has many more learning tools for you, including insightful blog posts on an array of topics and free English vocabulary lists for you to study. For a more personalized, one-on-one approach to learning English, you can also upgrade to Premium Plus to take advantage of our MyTeacher program

English is one of the most difficult languages to learn, so the fact that you’ve come this far shows your determination and ability. Know that you can master English, and EnglishClass101 will be with you at each step of your journey!

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Learn Directions in English: North, South, East, West & More



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Knowing how to get from point A to B, especially in a new environment, is paramount. Having things to do and places to go in a new location is meaningless if you have no idea how to get there. Asking for directions (and giving them) in their own language is one of the most important skills a person can have—making it even more vital when visiting a country that speaks a different language.

Learn how to ask and give directions in English with EnglishClass101’s complete guide to directions in English!

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Table of Contents
  1. Cardinal Directions in English: Using North, South, East & West
  2. Giving Road Directions in English
  3. Describing Directions in English with Landmarks
  4. Must-know Phrases for Asking Directions
  5. Must-know Phrases for Giving Directions
  6. Putting it All Together!
  7. Conclusion

1. Cardinal Directions in English: Using North, South, East & West

Directions

1- Basic Directions

As you may know, there are four basic directions on a compass or map:
  • North: On a traditional map orientation, North is up.
  • South: On a traditional map orientation, South is down.
  • East: On a traditional map orientation, East is to the right.
  • West: On a traditional map orientation, West is to the left.
Note that these basic directions can be used as nouns, adverbs, or adjectives. As a noun, the directions are preceded by an article, as in “she visited the north.” As an adverb, the directions are used to describe the direction in which something happened (or will happen), as in “the plane flew east.” As an adjective, the directions are used to describe a place in terms of its direction, as in “South America.” I’ll go more into directions as adjectives a little later.

2- Combinations

There are also terms for the directions between the four compass directions in English that you should be aware of:
  • Northwest: This refers to the direction between North and West.
  • Northeast: This refers to the direction between North and East.
  • Southwest: This refers to the direction between South and West.
  • Southeast: This refers to the direction between South and East.

3- Talking About Directions on a Map


Women Holding a Map

There are a few basic sentence patterns you should know when learning about English directions:

  • ___ [place] is ___ [direction word] of ___ [another place].
    • [Oregon] is [south] of [Washington].

  • ___ [town/city] is in the ___ [direction word] part of ___ [country].
    • [San Diego] is in the [western] part of [the United States].

  • ___ [country] is to the ___ [direction word] of ___ [another country].
    • [The United States] is to the [south] of [Canada].

  • ___ [specific place] is to the ___ [direction word] of ___ [another place].
    • The [San Diego Zoo] is to the [north] of [San Diego].
    • Note here that you can also say: “The [San Diego Zoo] is in [northern] [San Diego].”


You may have noticed in a couple of examples that the direction word ended with “-ern.” This suffix is added to a direction word when it’s used as an adjective to describe a nonspecific area. For instance, in the second example, “western” is used to describe San Diego’s general direction within the U.S, not a specific area or direction.

Other examples include:

  • Northern hemisphere
  • Eastern heritage
  • Southwestern food

2. Giving Road Directions in English


Woman Looking in the Rear-view Mirror

Now that you understand the basic map directions, it’s time to learn how to ask and give directions in English. More specifically, how to do so on the road.

It’s unlikely that you’ll use north, south, east, and west when trying to find a specific place. For example, when you’re roaming the streets of Seattle, Washington looking for the Fremont Troll, these basic directions just won’t cut it.

1- Basic Opposites


When learning about directions in the English language, there are some common words you’ll often hear and use when looking around for different places. Here, I’ve paired opposites and their definitions so you can grasp the meaning of each. These are useful for giving street directions in English, in particular.

1. Front & Back


“Front” refers to being towards the face of something; “back” is the opposite, or being towards the opposite side of that thing. Here are some basic examples of how you may hear these words used in directions:

  • The bookstore is to the front of the park.
  • The police station is to the back of the park.

2. Left & Right


Left and Right Arrows

“Left” refers to the left-hand side, while “right” refers to the right-hand side.

  • You’ll find the hotel on the left.
  • Turn right at the stop sign.

3. Far & Close


“Far” means that something is a long distance away from where you are now. “Close” means that something is nearby.


4. In front of & Behind


If something is “in front of” something, it means that it’s to its face. If something is “behind” something, it’s to its back.

  • The library is in front of the grocery store.
  • The grocery store is behind the library.

5. Up & Down


“Up” can either refer to the direction of the sky, or to an increase in elevation. “Down” can either refer to the direction of the ground, or to a decrease in elevation.

  • I like looking up at the sky. [Direction of the sky]
  • Take the elevator up to the third floor. [Increase in elevation]
  • Don’t look down! [Direction of the ground]
  • The ball slid down the ramp. [Decrease in elevation]

6. Over & Under


“Over” refers to crossing on top of something, and “under” refers to crossing beneath something.


7. Across from & Next to


If something is “across from” something, it means that it’s directly facing it from a distance (usually with something in-between them, like a road or a lake). If something is “next to” something, it’s beside it.

  • Barbara’s house is across from Sara’s.
  • Jill sat next to Bill in class.

2- With References


Here are some common phrase patterns you’ll hear when being given directions. Many of these phrases contain words from the list above. If you want even more examples, you can check out our relevant vocabulary list.

1. Next to ___


If something is “next to” something else, it’s adjacent to it (directly beside it).

  • The hair salon is next to the game shop.
  • You’ll find the museum next to the park.

2. ___ away from


This phrase refers to something’s distance from another position, either in terms of measurable distance or time.

  • The Grand Canyon is about one-hundred and thirty-five miles away from the Horseshoe Bend.
  • The pizzeria is about five minutes away from the apartment.

Grand Canyon

3. Across the street from ____


When someone uses this phrase, it means that the location you’re looking for is separated by a street from something else.

  • Across the street from the apartments, you’ll find the ice cream shop.
  • The ranch is across the street from the high school.

4. By the intersection


An “intersection” is a place where the roads join, usually from four different directions, and traffic from each road must wait to make a turn or continue forward. This phrase indicates that the location you’re looking for is near an intersection.

  • The church is by the intersection.
  • The farmer’s market is located by the intersection.

5. Around the corner


“Around the corner” refers to turning left or right around the corner.


6. Up/down the road


Oftentimes, people will tell you to go up or down the road. Going “up” the road usually means going in the direction that it’s most elevated (e.g, slightly uphill), and going “down” the road usually means going in the opposite direction.

People often use hand gestures to show you which way you should go, especially when you’re not sure.

  • The next gas station is just up the road.
  • Go back down the road a few miles to find the rest stop.

7. Near the ___


This phrase means that the place you’re looking for isn’t far from the place mentioned.

  • The Bronx Museum of the Arts is near the Yankee Stadium.
  • St. Patrick’s Cathedral is near the Rockefeller Center in New York.

8. To the right/left of ___


This is a common phrase to use with landmarks (which I’ll discuss more below). It means that you should turn right or left at a specific place or within proximity of a certain object. It can also be used to show you where to look, as in the examples below.

  • There’s a sign to the right of the road.
  • If you look to the left of the mountain, you can see an airplane.

9. Close to the ___


This phrase is practically the same in meaning as “near the ___” and is used exactly the same way.

  • The fire station is close to the main road.
  • Stay close to the freeway exits.

10. In front of/Behind the ___


To be “in front of” something means to be at its face. To be “behind” something is to be at its back. This phrase is often used to let you know where something is in relation to something else.

  • You pay for your tickets in front of the arena.
  • The supermarket is behind the cafe.

3. Describing Directions in English with Landmarks


Landmarks are special objects or other defining factors that make an area distinct from others. Landmarks can be manmade and intentional, or they can be everyday objects like trees, rocks, and even graffiti.

People frequently use landmarks when giving directions to someone, as it makes the directions less daunting and more specific. I know I feel more comfortable following directions when I hear words like “big tree,” “farm,” or “hotel,” instead of “Go due northeast fifty-two miles blah blah blah.”

Here are some common landmarks and phrases you may hear when someone gives you directions during your travels.

1- In the City


  • Airport
    • Turn left at the airport.

  • Subway station
    • When you see the subway station, make a right turn.

  • City center/downtown
    • Once you reach the city center, keep going straight through.

  • Park
    • You need to turn right at the park.


Fountain in a Park

  • Hotel
    • The first thing you’ll see after you turn is a big hotel.

  • Hospital
    • You can find the diner near the hospital.

  • Bank
    • From the bank, make a left.

  • [Restaurant name]
    • When you see the McDonald’s, pull in and turn around.

  • [Famous landmark]
    • At the end of the Golden Gate Bridge, keep going straight.

  • Railroad tracks
    • Cross the railroad tracks, and go down the road a few miles.

  • Mall
    • After you pass the mall, make a left onto the next street.

2- On a Road


  • Intersection
    • Make a right at the second intersection.

  • Traffic light
    • At the traffic light, make a left.

  • Crosswalk
    • After you’ve made it over the crosswalk, make a right turn.

  • Newspaper stand
    • Go around the corner where that newspaper stand is.

  • Gas station
    • The hotel is just a few miles up the road from the gas station.

  • Rest stop
    • From the rest stop, go back a few miles.

  • Stop sign
    • Keep going straight at the stop sign.

  • Farm
    • Make a right on the road just after the farm.

  • [Road name]
    • Make a left on Rose Petal Lane.

3- In a Structure or Building


Large House Interior

  • Restroom
    • Turn the corner where the restroom is.

  • Elevator
    • At the elevator, turn right.

  • Gate
    • Wendy’s is just across from Gate 3.

  • Parking lot
    • You’ll find the front office just across this parking lot.

  • Meeting room
    • After you pass the meeting room, turn left.

  • Terminal
    • Go straight through Terminal 1.

  • Parking garage
    • It’s on the third floor of the parking garage.

  • Gym
    • Just before the gym, make a right.

  • Drinking fountain
    • Make a left at that drinking fountain.

  • Breakfast room
    • Past the breakfast room, you’ll find an elevator.


4. Must-know Phrases for Asking Directions


text

When asking about directions in English, it’s always a good idea to include a polite beginning phrase, your question or need, and a courtesy or thank you phrase.

1- Polite Beginning Phrases


People tend to be more receptive and helpful when you begin with a polite phrase. These are some common ones:

  • Excuse me…
  • Pardon me…
  • Sorry to bother you…
  • May I ask…
  • Do you happen to know…

You can also combine some of these phrases to create a better-sounding sentence. Most of the time, you’ll want to start your polite phrase with one of the first three phrases, followed by one of the latter two phrases.

  • Excuse me, may I ask…
  • Pardon me, do you happen to know…
  • Sorry to bother you, may I ask…

2- Questions


After your polite phrase, you can ask your question. There are a few different question formats you can use:

  • …where ___ is?
    • May I ask where Main Street is?

  • …where I can find ___?
    • Do you happen to know where I can find the Six Flags amusement park?

  • …how to get to ___?
    • Do you happen to know how to get to the subway station from here?

  • …how far ___ is?
    • May I ask how far Universal Studios is?

  • …if ___ is far from here?
    • Sorry to bother you… May I ask if the Hollywood Walk of Fame is far from here?

3- Courtesy Phrases / Thanks


After the person you’re talking to has given you directions (or guided you to someone who can help), it’s always good to thank them. Here are the most common ways to do so:

  • Thank you.
  • I see, thank you.
  • I appreciate your help.

4- Examples


Here are some examples of how to ask for directions, using the above phrase formats.

Micky & Minnie Mouse

  • Excuse me, where is the restroom?Thank you!
  • Sorry to bother you, how do I get to the Prescott Valley Event Center?I see, thank you.
  • Pardon me, may I ask how far Disneyland is from here?I appreciate your help.

5. Must-know Phrases for Giving Directions


Let’s say that someone asks you for directions. How do you tell them which way to go, or what steps to take to reach their destination? In this section, I’ll go over a few of the most basic and practical phrases you can use and their definitions.

1- Street Phrases


U-turn Sign

  • Go straight
    • This means to continue going in the direction you’re facing.
    • “At the library, go straight.”

  • Go straight until ___
    • This means the same thing as above, but also includes information on when to stop.
    • Go straight until you reach the traffic light.”

  • Go back
    • This means to go in the opposite direction.
    • “When you reach the bookstore, go back.”

  • Go back until you reach ___

  • Make a U-turn
    • A “U-turn” (sometimes called a “U-ey”) is when you change direction by turning in the shape of a “U.” Always watch out for signs that prohibit this, though.
    • Make a U-turn before you reach the next rest stop.”

  • Turn left/right
    • This means that you make a left or right turn.
    • “Then turn left/right.”

  • Turn left/right at ___
    • This means the same thing as above, but includes information on where exactly to make the turn.
    • Turn left/right at the stop sign.”

  • Stay on ___ [road/street] until ___
    • This one’s a little more complex, and means to stay on the same road until a certain point is reached.
    • Stay on Pheasant Drive until you reach Cherokee.”

2- For Buildings


  • On the ___ floor
    • Use this phrase to specify what floor of a building something is on.
    • “You can find Mr. Reynolds on the third floor.”

  • Go upstairs/downstairs
    • Use this phrase to tell someone to change floors either up or down via the stairs.
    • Go upstairs to reach him.”

  • Take the elevator
    • Use this phrase to tell someone to change floors either up or down via the elevator.
    • Take the elevator down to the basement.”

  • The room to the left/right OR The room straight ahead
    • Use this phrase when indicating a specific room.
    • “The bathroom is the room to the right.”
    • “You can find a vending machine in the room straight ahead.”

Vending Machine

  • Just around the corner
    • Use this phrase to let someone know that all they have to do is turn the corner to find what they’re looking for.
    • “There’s a drinking fountain just around the corner.”

  • You’ll see a ___ [marker of some sort]; ___ [direction] here.
    • This one is more complex. Use it to indicate a landmark or specific object, and tell the person what to do once they reach it.
    • You’ll see a ficus plant; turn left here.”

3- Driving Directions in English


  • Keep going
    • Use this phrase to tell the person driving to continue going in the same direction.
    • Keep going until you reach the intersection.”

  • Stop
    • Use this phrase to tell the person driving to stop the car.
    • Stop at the nearest gas station.”

  • Hurry up / Go faster
    • Use this phrase to tell the person driving to speed up the car and drive faster.
    • “When we reach the freeway, hurry up a little / go faster.”

  • Slow down
    • Use this phase to tell the person driving to drive slower.
    • Slow down once we reach town.”

  • Turn right/left at ___
    • Use this phrase to tell the person driving to make a turn at a specific point (e.g. a stop sign or traffic light).
    • Turn right/left at the church.”

  • Turn right/left in about ___ [estimate of distance]
    • Use this phrase to tell the person driving to make a turn after they’ve driven a certain distance.
    • Turn right/left in about five miles.”

  • At the ___ turn right/left
    • This phrase is similar to the two previous phrases. Use this phrase to indicate where the person driving should turn.
    • At the gate, turn right/left.”

4- Reassurances


Two Women Conversing

Reassurances can make all the difference when giving someone directions, especially if that person is frantic to find the place or is running late. Here are a few phrases you can use to ensure that the other person remembers and understands your directions, which will make both of you feel better.

  • You won’t miss it.
    • You can use this phrase to let the person know that what they’re looking for (whether their destination or a landmark) is easy to find, and that they’ll know when they reach it.

  • You’ll know you’re there when ___.
    • This is similar to the above phrase, but offers information on what to expect or look for at a certain point.

  • Did you get that?
    • Asking the other person if they “got” your directions (meaning to remember and understand the directions) gives them a chance to ask you to repeat the directions if needed.

Other ways to ensure that the person you’re giving directions to arrives safely at their destination include:

  • Offering a description of the place
  • Repeating the directions
  • Asking them to repeat the directions back to you

5- What if You Don’t Know?


If you’re new to the area (or just bad with directions, like I am…), you probably don’t know how to help. In this case, just say so:

  • I’m sorry, but I don’t know where that is.
  • I’m sorry, I’m new here too.
  • I’m not sure how to get there, sorry.

If you happen to be in a public area (such as a hotel lobby or restaurant), you can also suggest that they talk to someone more knowledgeable—like a receptionist or server.

6. Putting it All Together!


Basic Questions

So, what do you do with all of these words and phrases? What do they look like in an everyday conversation about directions? In this section, I’ll provide an example conversation about directions in English using more complex directions based on those I outlined in this complete guide to directions in English. This should give you a better idea of how to ask and give directions in English.



You’re visiting the state of California and want to hit most of the tourist attractions before you leave. Right now, you’re on your way to SeaWorld but have gotten lost along the way. You pull over into a gas station and go inside to ask the clerk for directions:

You: Excuse me, how do I get to SeaWorld from here?

Clerk: It’s just south of here. Keep going down the road, then around the corner. From there, keep going straight until you see Montgomery-Gibbs Executive Airport, and then make a left on Kumeyaay Highway. Follow the road until you reach SeaWorld. Trust me, you won’t miss it.

You: Thank you, I appreciate your help.

Clerk: No problem. Did you get all that?

You: [Repeats directions.]

Clerk: Good. Have fun.

7. Conclusion


I hope you learned something new about giving and asking for directions in English, and that you feel more comfortable doing so. Understanding directions in English will take time and practice, but we know you can do it. Is there anything you’re still unclear about? Let us know in the comments!

To continue learning about the English language, explore EnglishClass101.com and start using our range of fun and practical learning tools. You can read more insightful blog posts like this one, study free English vocabulary lists, and chat with fellow English learners on our community forums. For a more personalized and guided learning experience, you can also upgrade to Premium Plus and take advantage of our MyTeacher program!

English is not an easy language to learn, but your determination and hard work will pay off, and you’ll have our constant support along the way. You’ll be able to speak, read, and write in English like a native before you know it! 🙂

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Learn Nouns in English: 100+ Must-know English Nouns!



Thumbnail

Nouns refer to objects or concepts—usually a person, place, or thing. Virtually any conversation you’ll have in English will involve you or the other party talking about nouns:

  • “The zoo was busy yesterday.”
  • Henry left the meeting early.”
  • “This article is all about nouns.”


Thus, learning the most common nouns in English is necessary if you hope to hold a conversation for very long! In this article, I’ll go over the most vital 100 nouns in English you need to know. These are words you’ll hear or read often, and that you’ll find yourself needing to use on a regular basis.

But before I start the list of 100 nouns in English, it’s important that you know about the types of nouns in English and how to use them. Below you’ll find information to help you learn about English nouns.

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Table of Contents
  1. Types of Nouns in English & How to Use Them
  2. 100+ Most Common Nouns in English
  3. Conclusion: Master Nouns in English & Much More with EnglishClass101!

1. Types of Nouns in English & How to Use Them

Nouns 1

1- Types of Nouns in English Grammar

There are three main types of nouns in English, in terms of class: Common vs. Proper, Concrete vs. Abstract, and Countable vs. Uncountable.

After these classifiers, there are also Collective, Mass, and Partitive nouns.

1. Common and Proper Nouns

A common noun is a noun that refers to a person, place, or thing, without using a proper name. It’s simply whatever the thing is called, in a general sense.

A proper noun, on the other hand, is the name of a specific entity, such as a nation, building, or person. In English, all proper nouns are capitalized; words like “Monday” should never be written as “monday”. Proper nouns are also individual examples of common nouns, but not all instances of common nouns have associated proper nouns. For example, a horse (common noun) may be named “Mr. Ed” (proper noun), but not all horses have names. Below are some examples of this:

Common NounsProper Nouns
CatFluffy
BuildingEmpire State Building
ManMr. Jerry
ParkHanging Rock State Park
LanguageEnglish


2. Concrete and Abstract Nouns

Concrete nouns are nouns that are tangible; you can see them, smell them, hear them, taste them, and physically touch or feel them.

English abstract nouns are nouns that you can’t experience using your five senses, but are still real.

Below are some examples.

Concrete NounsAbstract Nouns
Bacon

(You can eat and taste bacon.)
Idea

(Ideas are real, but aren’t tangible.)
River

(You can see, hear, and feel a river.)
Loyalty

(Loyalty is a real concept, but isn’t tangible.)
Candle

(You can see, touch, and smell a candle.)
Intelligence

(Intelligence is real, but not tangible.)
Pillow

(You can see and touch a pillow.)
Hope

(Hope is real, but can’t be felt with the five senses.)


Bacon

3. Countable and Uncountable Nouns

Countable nouns are nouns that you can count using a definite number.

Uncountable nouns are those that can’t be counted using a definite number.

Below are some examples.

Countable NounsUncountable Nouns
BookWisdom
ElephantJoy
RockNostalgia
EraserPaperwork


Many Rocks

Note that you can use countable nouns in both singular and plural forms. For example, you can say “a book” or “three books,” and be grammatically correct.

However, uncountable nouns can only be used in singular form, typically without an article; it would sound funny to say “a nostalgia” or “six nostalgias.” Rather, you would say something along the lines of “Finding my Tamagotchi gave me nostalgia.”

4. Collective, Mass & Partitive Nouns

This is where things can get extra tricky with nouns in English grammar, so don’t worry if you need to go over this section a few times!

Collective nouns refers to a collection of several things, usually people or animals. It is a single word that encompasses many of the same things.

Mass nouns refer to a noun that can’t be “counted,” but is still measurable.

Partitive nouns refers to a part of something, usually part of a mass noun. Use of this noun usually involves the following sentence structure: ___ [partitive noun] of ___ [mass noun].

For your convenience, here are some lists for each type of noun, with example sentences so you can see how these nouns are used in English grammar.

CollectiveMassPartitive
Crowd

“He pushed through the crowd.”
Flour

“Bert had to pick up more flour at the store.”
Slice

“He ate another slice of pizza.”
Pack

“A wolf pack trekked through the snow.”
Dust

“The DVD collection began gathering dust.”
Cut

“Morty wanted the best cut of meat.”
Herd

“He corralled the herd.”
Pepper

“The sandwich needed more pepper.”
Piece

“She ate the last piece of cake.”
Flock

“The birds flew together in a flock.”
Juice

“She poured some juice for her daughter.”
Spoonful

“A spoonful of honey is very sweet.”


2- How to Form Plural Nouns

Nouns 2

So, how do you take a singular noun and make it plural?

It depends on the word, though you almost always add an “-s” to the end. There are instances, however, where you add “-es” or “-ies.”

Here are some examples of these rules, but keep in mind that there are exceptions to these rules more often than not.

1. Add -s

The majority of nouns in English simply require you to add an “-s” in order to make them plural. In particular, nouns that end with -th, -ph, -o, -f, -fe, and -on, almost always become plural by adding an “-s,” though this pluralization isn’t limited only to these endings.

Here are some examples:

  • Cat > Cats
  • Eye > Eyes
  • Mountain > Mountains
  • Risk > Risks


2. Add -es

There are some nouns which require you to add an “-es” in order to make them plural.

Oftentimes, these are nouns that end in a double “s,” as we don’t put three s’s consecutively in English.

There are other instances where “-es” is used, such as when a noun ends in -sh, -ch, -s, -x, or -z. Further, there are instances where nouns ending in “-o” require -es instead of -s (though the rules for this are flimsy).

Also, “-es” is required for nouns that end in “-is.”

Here are some examples of each rule above:

  • Dress > Dresses
  • Glass > Glasses
  • Eyelash > Eyelashes
  • Tomato > Tomatoes
  • Basis > Bases


3. Add -ies

The rule for “-ies” is simple. For any singular noun that ends in the letter “y,” remove the “y” and replace it with “-ies.”

  • Library > Libraries
  • Party > Parties
  • Country > Countries
  • Bunny > Bunnies


The only exception to this rule is when the “-y” is preceded by a vowel, in which case only an “-s” is needed (e.g. way > ways).

4. Add -i

Nouns that end in “-us” can be made plural by replacing the “-us” with “-i” (e.g. fungus > fungi).

A Mushroom

There are also some words that are both singular and plural. Some examples include “deer,” “sheep,” “pants,” and “scissors.”

3- What’s the Difference Between an English Noun and Pronoun?

Differentiating between an English noun and pronoun can be difficult, especially for those new to the English language.

Technically speaking, a pronoun is a type of noun. Pronouns are nouns that are used for the sole purpose of identifying a person, animal, or thing (rather than simply naming it). Common pronouns include “he,” “she,” and “it”; these indicate who or what is being referred to, without using a proper noun (such as a name).

Distinguishing between an English noun and pronoun is something that you’ll become better at with lots of practice and experience!

2. 100+ Most Common Nouns in English

Nouns 3

Now that you have a better idea about how nouns are used, you should find this nouns list a lot more useful. Let’s go over the 100+ most common nouns in English!

1- Appliances

We live in a world filled with appliances designed to make our lives easier. Knowing the names of common appliances in English will be essential when you visit, or relocate to, an English-speaking country. Here’s an overview of the most common and practical appliances in English.

WordMeaningUsage in SentenceAdditional Notes
TV“TV” is short for “television,” which is found in nearly every American household. 

These words can be used interchangeably.
The TV broke, so Sasha couldn’t watch the season finale of her favorite show.
FridgeAn appliance used to keep food cold and fresh, usually vegetables, meats, and other foods/beverages that are best kept cold.Alaina put the soda can in the fridge so it would be cold when she drank it later.“Fridge” and “freezer” are often used together in sentences, due to their similar uses.
FreezerAn appliance used to keep food frozen. This is often done to ensure that the food remains edible for long periods of time.Mark took the leftover chili out of the freezer to thaw for dinner that night.Oftentimes, people have an appliance that serves as both a fridge and a freezer.
Air ConditionerAn appliance used to keep a home (or room) comfortably cool, especially during the warmer months. Also called an “AC.”Sweating, Henry got up to turn on the air conditioner.
HeaterAn appliance used to keep a home (or room) warm, especially during the cooler months.Jenny turned up the heater as she watched the snow fall outside.
FanAn appliance that keeps a home cool by keeping the air circulated; however, this doesn’t keep a home at a certain temperature, like air conditioners do.Gretta stood in front of the fan to cool down after her run.
WasherAn appliance used to wash clothing.Sue put the dirty clothes in the washer this morning.
DryerAn appliance used to dry clothing after it’s been washed.Later, her husband put them in the dryer.“Washer” and “dryer” is another pair of words that tends to be used together.
MicrowaveA “microwave” (also called a “microwave oven”), is a kitchen appliance used to heat food as well as pop popcorn or melt butter.Beatrice heated the leftover food in the microwave to have for lunch.
HairdryerA “hairdryer” is a handheld appliance used to dry hair after bathing or otherwise getting one’s hair wet.Mel just bought a new hairdryer.
DishwasherA “dishwasher” is an appliance that’s used to clean dishes and silverware.After dinner, she collected the dishes and put them in the dishwasher.Not to be confused with just a “washer,” which washes clothes.
Coffee makerA “coffee maker” is an appliance that makes coffee after water and coffee grounds have been put in. Coffee makers come in various forms, but they all do basically the same thing.Al became grouchy after his coffee maker broke this morning.


Espresso Machine

2- Technology

The world is continually evolving toward an internet- and technology-based existence. This makes it essential to know and understand the most basic technology nouns! Below is a list of the words you’ll most likely need to know, and will be using, while in an English-speaking country.

WordMeaningUsage in SentenceAdditional Notes
ComputerA “computer” is a device that people use for many purposes, namely to go on the internet or perform other digital tasks.Alex needed a new computer for work.
KeyboardA “keyboard” is a device comprising of several letter, number, and action keys that people use for typing on a computer.Ellen spilled coffee on her keyboard, so it stopped working.
MouseA “mouse” is a device that people use to move the cursor on the screen of a computer or laptop.Carlos’s hand hurt after using the mouse all day.Mouse here is not to be confused with the animal mouse!
LaptopA “laptop” is similar to a computer, though it tends to be smaller and is portable. Its name refers to the fact that a person can set it on their lap as they work on it.Lucy was glad that she could bring her laptop on the plane.
TabletA “tablet” is a device smaller than a laptop, and usually doesn’t fold like a laptop does when not in use. 

Tablets normally have good internet functionality and are often used for gaming or reading.
Pierre purchased the new book to read on his tablet.
CellphoneA “cellphone” is a device that’s relatively small (usually able to fit in someone’s pocket) and is used wirelessly to call or text message others as well as go online (if it’s a smartphone).Ollie dropped his cellphone on the ground and the screen shattered.
Headphones“Headphones” are a device that one puts on their head (similar to ear muffs or a headband) to listen to music via another device (like a laptop).Victor wanted to buy new headphones, but didn’t have enough money.You may hear someone refer to “earphones” or “earbuds.” These are devices that are used for the same purpose, but are smaller and the part with the speaker is put inside the ear, not over it.
ChargerA “charger” is a device with a wire which is plugged into an outlet on one end, and a device on the other, to recharge the battery.“Can I borrow your charger?” asked Kayla.
BatteryA “battery” gives certain devices the energy they need to run and function.The battery was running low, so Amber hurried to charge it.“Charger” and “battery” are often used together in a sentence, as “chargers” are used to charge “batteries.”
Wi-Fi“Wi-Fi” allows you to have internet access while away from home.Molly was disappointed that the store didn’t have Wi-Fi.
InternetWhen you go online, you are using the “Internet.”Riley and her boyfriend didn’t have internet the first week in their new apartment.
ServicePeople often use the word “service” to mean either a service provider (usually for the internet), or the service itself.“I can’t believe I don’t get service here!” said Ray at his grandparents’ house.“Wi-Fi,” “internet,” and “service” are often used together, as they all relate to each other.
WebsiteA “website” is a specific place on the internet, defined by a web address.Bob had always dreamed of running his own website.
PictureA “picture” is an image, and in this case refers to one you would find online.Ken liked Elle’s picture on Facebook.This can also be called a “photo” or a “pic.”
FileA digital “file” is similar to a real-life file. It’s a place on a computer or other device where you can store information or programs.Ingrid saved the file before leaving work.
AccountAn “account” is something that allows a person to access something online or on a device.She couldn’t believe her Twitter account was hacked.“Account,” “Username,” “Password,” and “Login” are often used together, as they’re closely associated. 

For example, your login is composed of your username and password, which are used to access your account.
UsernameA “username” refers to what a device or website will know you as, and is almost always required alongside a password for access to an account.Manny wanted his username to be different than his real name.
PasswordA “password” is a word, phrase, or series of numbers+letters that only you (or a select group of people) know, and is used to gain access to an account or information.Sandra forgot her password again.
LoginA “login” usually refers to login information (usually a username + password).Hans would never let anyone know his login information.


3- Transportation

From the moment you begin your journey, transportation is one of the most urgent factors you’ll have to consider. Throughout the United States, you’ll find many different modes of travel and transportation; in the list below, you’ll find the most common nouns in English that have to do with transportation.

Car Driving Down Road

WordMeaningUsage in SentenceAdditional Notes
AirplaneAn “airplane” (sometimes just called a “plane”) is a means of transportation by air.Omar was relieved when he found his airplane ticket.
AirportThe “airport” is where planes land and take off from, and where people go to board a plane.“What time should I pick you up at the airport?” asked Carmen.
TrainA “train,” commonly referred to as a “locomotive,” is a fast mode of transportation by railway.Wayne had always wanted to ride a train around the countryside.
Train stationThe “train station” is where trains go and leave from, and where people board the trains.He couldn’t believe how crowded the train station was.
SubwayA “subway” is an underground train system.Mya almost missed the subway train.
BusA “bus” is a common mode of public transportation; it’s a large, long vehicle that carries many people to various locations.Aunna hated riding the bus to work.
Bus stopThe “bus stop” is where buses go to and take off from, and where people board the bus.There are few things more miserable than waiting at a bus stop in the cold.
TaxiA “taxi” is another form of public transportation, consisting of a normal-sized car and a driver, who will take you where you need to go.Kim waited and waited, but couldn’t get a taxi to stop for her.Taxis are a common mode of transportation in the United States, and you’ll find access to traditional taxi services as well as those by companies like Uber and Lyft.
Bike / BicycleA “bike” (or “bicycle”), is a means of transportation with two wheels that moves as you pedal.To get more exercise, Gretchen started riding her bicycle everywhere.
Traffic lightA “traffic light” (also called a “traffic signal”) is a device over busy intersections that indicate whether to stop your vehicle or continue going through, based on what color the light is.Gordon enjoyed looking at the scenery while stopped at the traffic light.
IntersectionAn “intersection” is a place on a street where vehicles can be coming from multiple directions.Risa felt nervous when approaching the intersection.
RoadA “road” is a place where vehicles drive or people walk, and is relatively small and usually not busy.Taylor thought it was peaceful walking down the dirt road in the evening.
StreetA “street” is usually larger than a road, and busier. It’s usually meant only for vehicles/bikes.Nikki looked both ways before crossing the street.
AreaAn “area” is a general space or place.“I live in the area surrounding the library,” he told her.


4- Restaurant

I don’t know about you, but eating out at restaurants is my favorite part of visiting new places. Food and dining atmospheres are both comforting and adventurous at the same time! To ensure that you have the best dining experience possible, be sure to study these relevant English nouns for beginners!

Someone Pointing to Menu Item

WordMeaningUsage in SentenceAdditional Notes
TableA “table” is an elevated platform that people sit around to eat.“Which table should we sit at?” asked Barnie.
MenuA “menu” is a selection of what’s available to eat and drink at a restaurant, and how much it costs.“Wow, there’s so much on the menu to choose from,” said Lisa.Depending on the restaurant, the menu can be on a large board above where you order, on a small paper or pamphlet on the table, or both.
ServerA “server” is the person who brings you your food and beverages, and usually the bill at the end of your meal.The server arrived with their food.
WaiterA “waiter” is a male server.She asked the waiter for a refill of her drink.
WaitressA “waitress” is a female server.The waitress asked everyone how the food was.
BillThe “bill” is a piece of paper with a final statement of how much your meal costs.Vince looked at the bill and couldn’t believe how much the meal cost.This is not to be confused with a dollar bill, or with the name Bill!
ForkA “fork” is an eating utensil with three or four prongs, used to pick up food so you can eat it.After a terrible day, Quin couldn’t believe the restaurant staff would forget to give him a fork.
KnifeA “knife” is an eating utensil used to help cut through bigger pieces of food to make them easier to eat.Once the waiter had given him a fork, Quin realized the knife was dirty.
SpoonA “spoon” is an eating utensil with a curved end that holds liquid/semi-solid foods like soup or pudding.Quin left the restaurant early after he dropped his spoon on the floor.
Chopsticks“Chopsticks” consist of two separate sticks that are used to pinch or pick up food to eat. These are commonly found in restaurants that serve Asian-style food.The next day, he went to a Chinese restaurant and learned how to use chopsticks.
PlateA “plate” is a mostly flat dish that is used to serve food on.“I forgot how big the plates here are,” Elsa said.
BowlA “bowl” is a rounded dish typically used to hold liquid or semi-solid foods like soup or pudding.“You really ate the whole bowl of chili!” she exclaimed.
GlassA “glass” is a container used to hold beverages.“Can we get one more glass over here?” Hank asked the waitress.
Water“Water” is the most common beverage to drink with a meal, and most restaurants give you free water with your meal.“I’ll just have water, please,” Wanda said.
Tea“Tea” is a beverage made with hot water and herbs. It can also be served cold over ice, known as iced-tea.Anya enjoyed the fragrance of the tea.
Beer“Beer” is an alcoholic beverage made from fermented cereal grains.Andrew finished off his second beer quickly.
Wine“Wine” is an alcoholic beverage made using fermented grapes.“Which wine do you recommend?” she asked her date.
Vegetables“Vegetables” are a plant-based component of many meals, especially in lunches and dinners.Watching her diet, Hilary ordered the omelet that had lots of vegetables.
Beef“Beef” is meat that comes from a bull or cow, and can come in many forms – two of the most popular are burgers and steaks.Linus had a craving for beef, so he ordered a steak with potatoes.
Pork“Pork” is meat that comes from a pig, and can also come in many forms – pork chops and hot dogs are just two examples.“Can I have the rice bowl with pork?” he asked.
Chicken“Chicken” refers to the meat from a chicken, and is one of the most-eaten meats in the United States.Tina ordered the chicken salad.
Fish“Fish” can refer to any type of edible fish – some of the most common are salmon, tilapia, and tuna.“What fish dish do you recommend?” she asked the waiter.
Tofu“Tofu” is a soy-based substitute for meat, and is a common option for vegetarians/vegans.“Can I have this meal with tofu instead of chicken?” Kit asked.


5- School Essentials

Whether you’re currently a student or not, school and education are common topics of conversation in the United States. You should be able to navigate through such a conversation easily, as long as you know these everyday English nouns.

Classroom

WordMeaningUsage in SentenceAdditional Notes
Elementary schoolIn the United States, “elementary school” usually refers to grades 1-5.Grayson’s daughter is seven years old, and is in elementary school.
Middle school“Middle school” in the United States usually refers to grades 6-8.His son, however, is in middle school.
High schoolIn the United States, “high school” usually refers to grades 9-12.“I can’t wait to graduate high school!” Helen said.
College“College” refers to schooling after high school, usually in pursuit of a specific career.Will hadn’t yet decided on which college to go to.
UniversityA “university” is similar to a college, though universities tend to be larger, have more options, and provide more resources to students.Zoey wished that her son would attend the university right after high school.
ClassroomA “classroom” is a place, usually within a school building, where classes and lessons take place.The classroom was closed for the day due to an accident.
ClassmateA “classmate” is someone with whom you go to class with/is taking the same class as you.Peter didn’t get along with most of his classmates.
TeacherA “teacher” is one who teaches at a school.Rhonda asked her son which teacher was his favorite this year.
ProfessorA “professor” is one who teaches, usually at a college or university.Olive had to ask her professor for another chance to pass the exam.
StudentA “student” is one who attends school, college, or university, or who is in the process of actively learning in general.Alice is a student of Biology at her college.
MajorA “major,” in college, is a certain path of learning (e.g. if you major in something, it means that you are studying that more than anything, usually in order to get a career in that area).Jared had a hard time picking a major, but decided on Engineering.Major here is not to be confused with the adjective major (meaning “big” or “important”), or the military term Major.
DegreeA “degree” is a type of certificate that proves a person has graduated successfully from high school or college.Claire only had two more weeks of school until she could get her degree.Degree here is not to be confused with degrees (related to temperature), or degree (meaning “extent”).
Homework“Homework” is schoolwork that is taken home to work on, and turned in to a teacher on a specified date.Ian always asked his big brother for help on his math homework.
ProjectA “project” in school is usually an assignment that a student (or group of students) is given a specified amount of time to finish. This can be an essay, a powerpoint, or any other school-related assignment.Terry was almost finished with his school project when his little sister came in and destroyed his work.
ExamAn “exam” is a type of test, usually long and covering a wide range of topics, that a class takes at the end of the year or semester.He was up all night studying for the exam.
BreakA “break” is a period of time when school is not in session. There’s usually a break each quarter, with summer break being the longest.Antoine couldn’t be more excited for summer break!Break here refers to a period of rest or time off, and is not to be confused with the verb break!


6- Occupation

In the United States, people can be pretty obsessed with their jobs. You’re bound to have people ask you all the time what you do for a living, how you like doing it, and how you got into that field of work. Below is a small sample of possible job titles you may hear (or use to describe your own job).

(Learning about nouns in English because you’re looking for a U.S. job? Be sure to check out our article on how to find a job in the United States!)

A Coffee Mug Saying

WordMeaningUsage in SentenceAdditional Notes
DoctorA “doctor” is a person who is qualified to prescribe treatment/medication and diagnose someone with an illness/disorder.Louis went to school to become a doctor.
LawyerA “lawyer” is someone well-versed in the law and who practices the law in one of many positions related to it.Joel needed a lawyer before he would speak to the authorities.
NurseA “nurse” is someone with medical knowledge, who is often charged with caring for sick patients.The nurse changed the patient’s bedding each day.Nurse here is not to be confused with the verb “nurse.” As a verb, “nurse” can mean to take care of and aid in healing. It can also refer to a mother breastfeeding her baby.
ManagerA “manager” is someone who manages a business, company, store, etc., and its staff.The store manager was very nice and offered them a discount after the inconvenience.
ChefA “chef” is one who prepares and cooks food, usually in a restaurant.Leila enjoyed food, so she wanted to become a chef.
BusinessmanA “businessman” (or “businesswoman”) is one who works at an executive-level position within a company, or who is well-versed in financial knowledge regarding that business.Anna thought the businessman looked too serious.
Police officerA “police officer” is one who enforces the law, and has the authority to put someone under arrest.Tim’s father was a police officer.Police officers can also be called “policemen” (for males), “policewomen” (for females), or cops.
FirefighterA “firefighter” is one who is involved in putting out fires.Cara wanted to be a firefighter ever since one of them saved her life as a child.
EngineerAn “engineer” is one who has a good knowledge of mechanics, and is typically involved in creating or fixing things that involve mechanics.Wendy wanted to be an engineer like her father.


7- Family Members

Talking about your family with someone is a great way to develop a closer bond, and maybe even a friendship! Here are the most common nouns for family members in the United States.

(Family Members Exploring Outside

WordMeaningUsage in Sentence
ParentsThe “parents” are those who conceived and raised (or simply raised, in the case of adoption)  a child.Trisha didn’t get along with her parents as a teenager.
DadA “dad” (also called a “father”) is the male parent.Arthur’s dad taught him how to play chess.
MomA “mom” (also called a “mother”) is the female parent.Violet enjoyed spending time with her mother.
Siblings“Siblings” are children with the same parents.Lily needed some time away from her four siblings.
BrotherA “brother” is a male sibling.Nel and her brother enjoyed playing together as children.
SisterA “sister” is a female sibling.Cassie’s little sister wore yellow a lot.
UncleAn “uncle” is the brother of one’s mother or father.Tom fixed the car with his uncle.
AuntAn “aunt” is the sister of one’s mother or father.Liz liked going to the store with her aunt.
NephewA “nephew” is the son of one’s sibling.Martin’s sister had a son named Matthew, making the child his nephew.
NieceA “niece” if the daughter of one’s sibling.A couple of years later, Martin’s brother had a daughter named Melody, making her his niece.
CousinTwo people are “cousins” if each of them was born to a different sibling in the same family.Matthew and Melody are cousins.
HusbandA “husband” is a male spouse.Jen’s husband never helped her clean up the kitchen after dinner.
WifeA “wife” is a female spouse.Adam couldn’t believe Cheyenne was going to be his wife.


8- Body Parts

Yes, body parts. Below is a list of the body part names you’ll be using most often, but we have a longer list of body parts as well, with images for each!

(A Foot

WordMeaningUsage in Sentence
HeadYour “head” is above your shoulders.The doctor scratched his head in thought.
ShoulderYour “shoulder” is between your arm and neck.Thomas injured his shoulder while skiing.
ArmYour “arm” is a limb to which your hand is attached.Cathy’s arm fell asleep in the middle of the night.
HandYour “hand” is attached to your arm.Sara’s hand cramped from writing too much.
Finger“Fingers” are appendages attached to your hand.Jane cut one of her fingers while peeling an apple.
LegYour “leg” is a limb to which your foot is attached.After hurting his leg, Albert needed to walk using crutches.
FootYour “foot” is attached to your leg.The shoe was too tight and hurt his foot.
Toe“Toes” are appendages attached to your feet.She stretched her toes after taking her shoes off.
ChestYour “chest” is below your neck, and contains your heart.She put her hand over her chest and felt her heart beating quickly.
AbdomenThe “abdomen” is the portion of the body containing the stomach and other digestive organs.After the huge meal, Andy rubbed his abdomen in satisfaction.
FaceYour “face” is at the front of your head, and contains the following things.She put her face in her hands in shame.
EyesYour “eyes” are below your forehead, and allow you to see.Brian told his girlfriend she had pretty eyes.
NoseYour “nose” is below your eyes, and allows you to smell things.The scent of dinner cooking reached her nose and made her happy.
MouthYour “mouth” is below your nose, and allows you to ingest food.Xavier got hit in the mouth with a football.
EarThe “ears” are on the sides of your head, and allow you to hear things.After listening to the loud music, she heard ringing in her ears.


9-Time

Alarm clocks, meetings, flight schedules, and store closing times are all examples of when time vies for your attention. This is a topic with many layers, but I’ve done my best to outline the most important time-related nouns in English for you below!

Signs with

WordMeaningUsage in SentenceAdditional Notes
Today“Today” refers to the current day.I’m looking forward to eating dinner later today.
Yesterday“Yesterday” refers to the previous day (the day before today).I was able to sleep in and relax yesterday.
Tomorrow“Tomorrow” refers to the next day (the day after today).Hopefully the weather is still nice and sunny tomorrow.
DayA “day” refers to a period of twenty-four hours.This is a pleasant day.
WeekA “week” refers to a seven-day period.Brandy had to skip school all week because she was sick.Week is not to be confused with the word “weak,” which means to lack strength.
MonthA “month” refers to one-twelfth of a year, consisting of about four weeks or thirty days each.August is Jennifer’s favorite month.
YearA “year” refers to twelve months, or the time it takes for the earth to revolve around the sun.Wendel will be moving away next year.
HourAn “hour” consists of sixty minutes, and there are twenty-four hours in one day.Lucy couldn’t wait until the hour was over so she could leave work and go home.
MinuteA “minute” consists of sixty seconds.He didn’t think he could stand another minute of her lecturing.Minutes are also used in telling time, along with hours. For example, when someone says that it’s 8:48 am, the “48” means 48 minutes after 8 o’clock.
SecondA “second” is a short period of time, sixty of which make up one minute.One second she was happy, and the next she was crying; what did he do wrong?Second here is not to be confused with the adjective “second,” which refers to being after the first of something.
CalendarA “calendar” shows the months of a given year, as well as the days in that month. It can be either in tangible paper form and hung on a wall, or an app on a phone or computer. Calendars are used to track what day it is, upcoming dates and holidays, and to help schedule events/appointments.After checking her calendar, Nel had to cancel her date for next week.
DateA “date” refers to a specific day, usually consisting of the month, day, and year.“What’s today’s date?” Joe asked.Date here is not to be confused with the word’s other two meanings. One meaning is a date, like a romantic time out with someone (as it’s used in the “calendar” example sentence). The other meaning is a type of fruit.


Days of the Week

Learning about nouns in English language isn’t really complete until you know the days of the week, too!

Medicine Organizer with Days of week

WordMeaningUsage in Sentence
Sunday“Sunday” is the first day of the week, and is the second day of the weekend.Po went to church on Sunday.
Monday“Monday” is the second day of the week, but the first day of the work week.Raina didn’t look forward to work on Monday.
Tuesday“Tuesday” is the third day of the week, and the second day of the work week.Abby looked forward to lunch with her boyfriend on Tuesday.
Wednesday“Wednesday” is the fourth day of the week, and the third day of the work week.Sil skipped school on Wednesday.
Thursday“Thursday” is the fifth day of the week, and the fourth day of the work week.“What should I bring to the potluck on Thursday?” she asked.
Friday“Friday” is the sixth day of the week, as well as the fifth and final day of the work week.Zora worked the late shift at work on Friday night.
Saturday“Saturday” is the seventh day of the week, and the beginning of the weekend.Fay looked forward to sleeping in on Saturday.


3. Conclusion: Master Nouns in English & Much More with EnglishClass101!

Nouns 4

I hope you enjoyed this English nouns lesson and learned some valuable information about the most common nouns in English with EnglishClass101.com! What did you learn about English nouns? Are there any English nouns you still want to learn about? Let us know in the comments! We always look forward to hearing from you!

Learning about nouns in English language studies can be difficult, but know that with enough practice you’ll get the hang of it!

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Celebrating Flag Day in the United States

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A flag can say a lot about its country, and each one is steeped in years of history. The United States Flag, adopted in 1777, has undergone many changes over the years as circumstances change and states are added to our nation. 

So, why is Flag Day observed in the U.S.? In this article, you’ll learn all about Flag Day’s meaning to U.S. citizens, some facts about the U.S. Flag, and some important vocabulary. 

Let’s get started.

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1. U.S. Flag Day History and Meaning

The United States Flag against a white background

What is Flag Day in the U.S.?

Flag Day in the United States is a day of commemoration for the country’s freedom and—even more so—its flag, which was adopted in 1777 by the Second Continental Congress. The adoption of the U.S. Flag signified independence from Great Britain and unity among the different states. Prior to its incorporation, the U.S. Flag looked very much like the British Flag; in addition, the different states had previously fought the British under a variety of different flags. Bernard J. Cigrand is credited as being the person who had the most influence in making Flag Day an official holiday, though there were people before and after him who made the same proposal. In 1916, President Woodrow Wilson took Cigrand’s proposal into consideration and decided to make Flag Day official.

Flag Day in the U.S. is a time of commemorating the events leading to the country’s independence and reflecting on what it is to be a United States citizen.

2. When is Flag Day in the U.S.?

Each year, the United States celebrates Flag Day on June 14.

3. How is Flag Day Celebrated?

While the U.S. National Flag Day is not a public holiday, there are a variety of activities that can take place on this day. On Flag Day, U.S.A. citizens fly the flag at their homes and outside of their business buildings. The country is bright with red, white, and blue wherever you go! Even major roads and streets may be decorated with red, white, and blue streamers or miniature flags.

The National Flag Day Foundation also does a special flag-raising ceremony, in which attendees sing the national anthem (The Star-Spangled Banner) and say the Pledge of Allegiance with their right hand over their heart. There’s usually a Flag Day parade as well.

In Philadelphia, many people visit the Betsy Ross House to celebrate Flag Day. This is the previous home of Betsy Ross, the woman often credited with creating the first U.S. Flag. Another popular location on Flag Day is the Star-Spangled Banner House, which is in Baltimore, Maryland. 

4. Changes to the Flag

Betsy Ross flag

Do you know how many times the United States Flag has been changed or altered in some way? Twenty-six! 

Betsy Ross’s flag was composed of thirteen red and white stripes in alternating order, and a blue canton in the top left corner containing thirteen stars arranged in a circle. Today, the flag contains thirteen red and white stripes, but now there are fifty stars (one for each state), no longer in a circle. 

5. Must-Know Flag Day Vocabulary

A bald eagle

Are you ready to review some of the vocabulary words from this article? Here’s a quick list! 

  • White
  • Red
  • Blue
  • Sing
  • Bald eagle
    • The national bird of the United States
  • Revolutionary War
    • The war that allowed the United States to gain its independence from Great Britain
  • Flag
  • Stars and Stripes
    • The United States Flag consists of fifty stars (representing the fifty states) and thirteen stripes (representing the original thirteen English colonies in the U.S.). Stars and Stripes is a nickname of the U.S. Flag.
  • Parade
  • United States
  • Betsy Ross
    • The woman credited with creating the first U.S. Flag, in 1870
  • Philadelphia
    • A large city in the state of Pennsylvania, where the first U.S. Flags were made
  • Star-Spangled Banner
    • The national anthem of the United States, written by Francis Scott Key in 1812; also a nickname of the U.S. Flag
  • Pledge of Allegiance
    • A pledge spoken to indicate allegiance (loyalty) to the United States
  • Old Glory
    • A nickname used for the U.S. Flag

To hear the pronunciation of each word, be sure to visit our U.S. Flag Day vocabulary list

Final Thoughts

We hope you enjoyed learning about Flag Day in the United States with us, and that you took away some valuable information. 

What does your country’s flag look like? Do you have a Flag Day in your country? Let us know in the comments! 

If you want to continue learning about U.S. culture and the English language, EnglishClass101.com has some great free resources for you, straight from our blog:

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Happy learning, and stay safe out there!

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Learn the Best Compliment Phrases in English

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When you compliment someone, you’re doing so much more than offering them kind words. You’re also boosting their confidence, showing them that you’re on their side, and extending a hand of friendship (or strengthening the one you have). A meaningful, well-placed compliment can even change a person’s entire day for the better!

Just about everyone loves compliments, and learning how to offer compliments in someone’s native language will make both of you feel great!

Lucky for you, EnglishClass101.com has prepared a simple guide on the best compliment phrases in English for a variety of situations and people. Once you have these down, you can build off of them and create your own unique compliments for the people in your life!

Let’s learn English compliments together!

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Table of Contents

  1. English Compliments List
  2. How Do You Make Compliments Sound Sincere?
  3. What to Expect Afterwards
  4. Final Thoughts

1. English Compliments List

1- Look & Personality

Two Women Chatting with Hot Drinks

Many compliments in English are aimed at a person’s appearance or their personality.

Here are some basic sentence structures you can use when giving compliments in English about someone’s looks or personality. These are phrases that you can say to anyone simply by filling in the blanks with the appropriate words for the situation.

Compliment Notes Example Situation
“I love your ___!” Here, you can fill in the blank with something about the person that you love.

This can be an article of clothing, a personality trait, or even a haircut.

You run into someone you know at the grocery store and notice they recently got their hair cut or styled.

You greet them and say “I love your haircut!”

“Your ___ is/are so ___.” Here, you can fill in the first blank with the thing or trait you’re commenting on.

In the second blank, you put an adjective to describe that thing or trait.

A female friend picks you up to spend the day together. You notice that she recently had her nails done.

You comment by saying “Your nails are so pretty.”

“That/Those ___ is/are really ___.” This is the same as the compliment directly above.
You meet with a friend who’s wearing a pair of cool-/cute-looking shoes you haven’t seen them wear before.
You compliment their shoes by saying “Those shoes are really cute/cool.”
“I like ___” Here, you put the object or trait that you like in the blank. A colleague you know well comes into the office wearing a new shirt.

You compliment their shirt by saying “I like the shirt you’re wearing.”

“Is that a new ___? I like it.” Here, you put what you’re commenting on in the blank. This phrase is normally used for clothing, other objects, or changes in appearance.

When you use this compliment, it shows that you really pay attention to that person and what they own/wear.

You’re spending time with a close friend and suddenly notice they’re wearing a new jacket.

You say “Is that a new jacket? I like it.”

“You’re so ___.” Use this phrase to compliment someone on a personality trait you admire in them. Someone gives you a compliment, so you smile and say “You’re so sweet!”

A- English Compliments to a Woman

If you’re trying to win a woman’s heart, here are some compliments you can say to her. Generally, these are best used on a date or other romantic occasion.

Man Flirting with Woman

Compliment Notes Example Situation
“You have a beautiful smile.” You say something that makes your date laugh, and you tell her “You have a beautiful smile.”
“You look lovely.” You’re picking up your date, who’s dressed up, and you tell her “You look lovely.”
“Has anyone told you how beautiful you are?” Many women love to be complimented in the form of a question, especially in a romantic context like a date. You’re on a date with a woman you think is very beautiful, and you say this to her.
“You have a kind heart.” You see a woman you like do something nice for someone, so you say this to her the next chance you get.
“You’re beautiful inside and out.” By telling a woman she’s beautiful inside and out, you’re saying that both her appearance and personality are beautiful to you. When you’ve been in a relationship with a woman for a little while, you can say this to her to brighten her day.

B- English Compliments to a Man

Is there a man who’s caught your eye or your heart? Here are a few compliments you can give him. These are best used on a date or other romantic occasion.

Woman Complimenting Man’s Cooking

Compliment Notes Example Situation
“You’re very handsome.” You happen to see a man you like dressed up nicely, so you say this to him.
“How charming you are!” You’re on a date with a man, and he says something cute or funny, so you tell him this.
“You’re very strong.” This can mean either physically, mentally, or emotionally. A man you like is helping you carry something heavy. To compliment him, you can say “You’re very strong.”
“There aren’t many men like you.” This phrase implies that you think this man is one-of-a-kind and better than most other men. When you’ve been in a relationship with a man for a while, you can tell him this to brighten his day and show your appreciation.
“You’re a good man.” You can tell this to a man who you think is a good person.

Do you need to brush up on your English vocabulary? You may want to check out the following vocabulary lists on EnglishClass101:

2- Work

Colleagues Chatting After Work

Giving someone a compliment on a job well done or overall good work performance can really make their day and encourage future success. Depending on how well you know the coworker (or employee), you may want to give a more general compliment or one that’s more specific and detailed.

Here are a few typical English compliments for the workplace!

A- General

Compliment Example Situation Notes
“Good job.”
“Well done.”
“Nice work.”
“Nicely done.”
“You did great.”
A colleague you know well receives a high performance rating on a big project.

After they tell you about it, you say one of these phrases to congratulate them.

All of these phrases are interchangeable. They are simple ways of congratulating someone on a job well done.

In informal situations, such as spending time with close friends, all of these phrases can also be used sarcastically. This is usually done when you or another member of the group does something clumsily or not very well.

However, in formal situations, these are used as genuine compliments.

B- Specific

Compliment Example Situation Notes
“You gave a really good presentation.” One of your colleagues had given an important presentation earlier, and you thought they did really well.

After work, you make sure to tell them “You gave a really good presentation.”

“That’s a great idea.” You’re stuck on a task that seems impossible, and your partner for the project suggests something that may help.

Relieved, you tell them “That’s a great idea. (Thank you.)”

“You did really well (on) ___.” A colleague just got finished redesigning your company’s website.

Impressed, you tell them “You did really well redesigning the website.”

Here, you can fill in the blank with whatever thing that person did well on.
“I appreciate your work on this.” One of your employees did a really good job on a difficult task you assigned them.

To let them know you’re impressed and that you took notice of their work, you say “I appreciate your work on this.”

“The way you ___ was amazing.” A colleague did a great job working with a difficult client earlier that day.

To show them you’re impressed, you say “The way you handled that client was amazing.”

Here, you can fill in the blank with whatever task/assignment/action this person did that you thought was amazing.

Do you need more words for the office or talking about your job? Check out the following vocabulary lists on EnglishClass101:

3- Skills

Compliments

Some of the best English compliments you can give someone are those about their skills. If you notice that someone does really well at something, go ahead and let them know!

Compliments Example Situation Notes
“Great job out there!” Your friend invited you to a tennis tournament they’re competing in.

After the event, you meet up with your friend and tell them “Great job out there!” to show you were impressed with their skills.

“Are you sure you’re not a professional?” Your friend does photography as a hobby and offered to take your wedding photos.

After you see how good the photos are, you say “Are you sure you’re not a professional?”

This is a fun, informal way of letting someone know how highly you think of their skill or ability in something.
“Wow, I’m impressed!” You attend a play that your friend is acting in, and they did a remarkable job.

After the play, you tell them “Wow, I’m impressed!”

Woman Performing on Stage

Compliments Notes Example Situation
“You’re good at ___.” Here, fill in the blank with the skill or activity you’re commenting on.

You can also add the modifiers “really” or “very” to show that they’re better than good. 😉

You’re at a friend’s house and they play their guitar for you.

They did well, so you say “You’re (really) good at playing the guitar.”

“You’re a great ___.” Here, fill in the blank with the name of the hobby, profession, or other activity you’re commenting on. You see a friend’s painting that they’ve been working on for weeks.

It looks very cool, so you tell them “You’re a great painter.”

“You ___ beautifully.” Here, fill in the blank with the skill or activity the person does beautifully.

Use this phrase if you really want to see that person smile. This compliment tends to mean a lot to someone.

You hear someone you know singing and think they sing very well.

When you get the chance, you tell them “You sing beautifully.”

“You’re such a good ___.” Here, fill in the blank with the name of that person’s profession, hobby, or role. In debate class, you find yourself impressed with a classmate’s speaking abilities.

After class, you tell them “You’re such a good speaker/orator.”

“You’re a ___ [adjective] ___ [skill/hobby/profession].” This one is a little more complicated.

In the first blank, fill in a positive adjective that describes their skill, hobby, or profession.

In the second blank, put the name of their skill, hobby, or profession.

1. “You’re a talented writer.”

2. “You’re a wonderful soccer player.”

3. “You’re a skilled origamist.”


Compliments Example Situation Notes
Cooking “This is a really good meal.”

“Wow, can I have the recipe?”

“Thank you for this wonderful meal.”

You’ve just finished eating dinner at a friend’s house.

To compliment their cooking, you say one of these phrases.

Photography “Those are beautiful pictures.”

“You’re so good at photography.”

“You’re great with a camera.”

A friend shows you some photographs they’ve taken recently.

You’re impressed, so you say one of these phrases to them.

Drawing “Your drawing is really cool/pretty.”

“I really like your drawing.”

“I wish I could draw as well as you.”

You happen to look over to your classmate’s desk and notice them drawing.

You think it’s a great drawing, so you tell them one of these phrases.

Writing “Your writing is very good.”

“I like reading what you write.”

“You should write a book!”

A friend was kind enough to show you something they wrote.

You think it’s really good, so you tell them one of these phrases.

Singing “I’m so jealous of your singing voice!”

“Your singing voice is very pretty.”

“Where did you learn to sing like that?”

You and some friends have a karaoke night, and you’re surprised when one of them is a very good singer.

To compliment them, you say one of these phrases.

Sports “You did really well in your ___ game.”

“It was fun watching you play.”

“You could be in the ___!”

You watched a sports game that someone you know played in.

You thought they did well, so you tell them one of these phrases.

In the first phrase, you can replace the blank with whatever game they were playing. (Ex. “soccer game.” )

In the final phrase, you can replace the blank with a sports team or organization related to the sport they were playing. It means that they’re good enough to play professionally. (Ex. “in the NFL!” )

Games “You’re a wonderful ___ player.”

“You always beat me at ___.”

“One of these days I’ll win.”

You’ve just finished playing a game with a new acquaintance and they won.

You’re impressed, so you tell them one of these phrases.

In the first phrase, you can replace the blank with whatever game you were playing. (Ex. “Backgammon player.” )

In the second phrase, you can replace the blank with whatever game you were playing. (Ex. “at Monopoly.” )

There are so many things you can compliment someone on regarding their skills! If you need to brush up on your vocabulary for these topics, EnglishClass101 has the following vocabulary lists:

4- Bonus: Very American Compliments

Woman Smiling

Now, here are some English slang compliments that Americans love to use, especially on social media. Don’t be surprised if you hear some of these in person, too!

Compliment Notes Example Situation
You’re the real MVP.” This is a popular phrase in the United States, rising to fame as a meme featuring Kevin Durant.

It means that you’re the “most valuable player,” which is a title awarded to sports players.

It can be used as a genuine compliment but is almost always said ironically and humorously.

You pick up a piece of litter off the ground and throw it away.

Someone you know sees and says “You’re the real MVP.”

“You’re on fire.” / “You’re on a roll.” This means that someone is continuously doing very well at something. You’re about to beat your high score in a video game. Your best friend says, “You’re on a roll!” to encourage and compliment you.
“Why/how are you so ___ ?” Fill in the blank with either a positive adjective or a clause to finish the thought. A coworker walks by your desk and notices that it’s very clean. They say “How are you so organized?” as a compliment.
“You’re on your A-game.” This means that someone is doing something to the very best of their ability. You’ve passed three exams in a row. Your friend in class notices, and says “You’re on your A-game!”
“You’re a doll.” This means that someone is being very kind, sweet, or cute. It’s typically said between two female friends. Your female friend invites you to her house for lunch. You bake cookies before coming over and bring them with you.

When your friend sees the cookies, she tells you “Thank you. You’re a doll!”

2. How Do You Make Compliments Sound Sincere?

Positive Feelings

When you give a compliment in English, the last thing you want to do is sound insincere or fake. Americans tend to be very sensitive to this and might form a negative opinion of you if they think you’re not being sincere with your compliments.

When you pay someone a compliment in English, there are a few things you can do and be mindful of to sound more sincere.

  • Avoid complimenting too much or too often.

    If you’re always giving people compliments, those people will become less likely to believe that you’re sincere. Be sure to only compliment when you mean it, and even then, don’t compliment every time you feel like it. In general, you should save your compliments for times and situations that matter.

  • Don’t overdo your compliment.

    When giving compliments in English, don’t overdo it. Just as you shouldn’t compliment too often, you also shouldn’t put too much in your compliment.

    Avoid using words like “fantastic,” “spectacular,” and “wonderful,” unless you really, really mean it. Don’t make your compliment overly wordy, and don’t keep going on and on about it.

  • Make sure your compliment is relevant.

    If you comment on something that has nothing to do with the current situation, people may not take the compliment seriously (or will be confused by it).

    For example, if you’re playing a video game with a friend, it’s probably not the right time to compliment them on their new haircut or guitar skills.

    Sometimes, if you’ve just met someone for the first time, it may be appropriate to offer an off-handed compliment about their appearance or something good you’ve heard about them.

  • Comment on details.

    You can skip this tip if your English isn’t very good yet. Basic compliments will still make someone’s day. But if you feel confident enough, people love to hear the little details about why you’ve complimented them.

    Being able to comment on details shows that you’re really paying attention to them and mean what you’re saying.

    For example, instead of just saying “I love your haircut,” you can say “I love your haircut. It really frames your face well.” Instead of saying “You’re good at playing the guitar,” you can say “You’re good at playing the guitar. It sounds very smooth and natural.”

  • Look them in the eyes.

    Generally, in the United States, people prefer eye contact when speaking with each other. This is especially true when talking about a serious topic or letting someone know you’re being honest with them.

    Appropriate eye contact for Americans is something that will become more natural to you as you continue speaking with people.

    For more information on body language in the United States, you can check out my article on Body Language!

3. What to Expect Afterwards

In the United States, people have different reactions to compliments depending on a variety of factors.

1. Situation/Setting: Work or social? Friend or stranger? In public or in private?
2. Who’s giving the compliment: How well do they know you, and in what context?
3. What the compliment is about: Was your compliment sincere? Is it something they’re comfortable being complimented on?

In general, Americans will gladly receive compliments with a “thank you.” A lot of the time, they’ll also give you a compliment in return. This can be about either the same thing or something else:

High Heeled Shoes

A: “I like your shirt.”
B: “Thank you! I like yours too.” OR “Thank you! I really like your shoes by the way.”

Some people may try to deflect the compliment if they feel uncomfortable, embarrassed, or not worthy of the compliment:

A: “That was a great presentation!”
B: “Thanks, I thought I could have done better though.” OR “You thought so? I could have done better.”

In the event that this happens, don’t worry too much. They probably do appreciate the compliment, but it’s best not to push it on them.

4. Final Thoughts

As long as you’re sincere in your compliments and don’t hand them out too freely, especially around people you see all the time, Americans tend to love being complimented—and giving compliments in return.

Do you feel more comfortable giving the most common compliments in English now? What are some common compliments in your own language? We look forward to hearing from you!

Once you’re more confident in your English-speaking abilities, don’t be afraid to experiment a little. You can use the same sentence patterns and basic phrases we went over in this article to create your own compliments in English. While any compliment can make someone smile, a more unique one will warm their hearts.

And remember that EnglishClass101.com will be here to help and guide you as you continue delving into the English language! Create your free lifetime account today, and learn English like never before!

Happy English learning!

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Finding the Perfect Mad with Anger Sentence in English!

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We all have bad days, and we all have at least the occasional wave of anger toward someone or something. Expressing your emotions is healthy, and this is certainly as true for anger as it is for any other emotion. While yelling or screaming things in your own language, kicking walls, slamming doors, and stalking off irritated can help you reduce anger, nothing beats communicating your anger with someone in words they understand.

The word “anger” in English refers to a negative feeling of frustration, disappointment, or even rage. In this article, we’ll answer the question “How can I express my anger in English?” and teach you some of the most commonly used angry English expressions.

By learning angry phrases in English, you will have a whole arsenal of things to tell people in the U.S. when you’re angry. Expressing anger in English can open doors to communication. And sometimes it just feels good. (But, of course, at some point you’ll need to cool down—for some tips and advice, scroll to the bottom of this article.)

Are you ready? Here’s EnglishClass101’s guide to getting angry in English, complete with many mad with anger sentences in English!

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Table of Contents

  1. Angry Imperatives
  2. Angry Warnings
  3. Angry Blames
  4. Describing How You Feel
  5. Bonus: How to Calm Yourself Down When You’re Angry
  6. How EnglishClass101 Can Help You Express Yourself in English

1. Angry Imperatives

Negative Verbs

You use an angry imperative when you want to tell someone what to do. The angry English phrases below are useful for communicating when someone needs to stop what they’re doing!

1- Shut up!

Meaning:

When you tell someone to “shut up,” you’re demanding that they stop talking. Essentially, it’s like telling someone to shut their mouth (which, interestingly, is another common angry sentence in English).

Example:

A mother and her teenage son get into a big fight; one of them says something the other doesn’t like, so they yell “Shut up!”

Additional Notes:

While this is traditionally an “angry” phrase, it’s also used in two other contexts:

1) Jokingly telling someone to shut up (like if one best friend is teasing another)

2) Sometimes this phrase is said when someone is saying something good, though this is less common. For example, if someone tells you they’re taking you to Disneyland for your birthday, you might say “Shut up!” in excitement or disbelief.

2- Stop it.

Meaning:

Use this phrase to tell someone to quit doing whatever they’re doing. (And you mean now!)

Example:

Your family continually teases you about something, and you can’t take it anymore so you yell “Stop it!”

Additional Notes:

Like the phrase above, this phrase is occasionally used in a joking manner, like between friends. That said, if someone says this to you and you’re not quite sure if they’re serious or not, it’s better to be on the safe side and stop.

3- Cut it out!

Meaning:

This phrase means exactly the same thing as “stop it” but is generally less serious.

Example:

A parent might use this angry phrase with his or her children to get them to calm down or stop behaving inappropriately.

Additional Notes:

Can be used jokingly or in mild situations.

4- Leave me alone.

Meaning:

Sometimes, you just need to be by yourself while you calm down and collect yourself. This phrase tells someone to let you do that (with the implication that you’ll be even angrier if they don’t leave you alone).

Example:

You and your significant other get in a big fight, and out of desperation to be alone and temporarily stop the fighting, you say “leave me alone.”

Additional Notes:

While the other phrases in this section are often used jokingly, this phrase tends to be more serious and is less frequently used jokingly. If someone says this to you, it’s best to “give them some space” (leave them alone).

5- Get lost.

Meaning:

When you tell someone to “get lost,” it’s the same as telling them to leave you alone or go away. This tends to be a more derogatory way of saying “leave you alone,” and implies that not only do you want them to go away, but you also don’t really care where they go. You’re so angry you just want them gone.

Example:

You’re fighting with a close friend or family member about something serious, and then you tell them to “get lost.” Because this person is close to you, these words are meant to hurt them and show your anger by implying that you don’t care where they go.

Additional Notes:

From time to time, this phrase can be used jokingly or lovingly, but not very often.

2. Angry Warnings

When you feel anger beginning to bubble up inside you, or when someone’s about to cross a serious line, it’s only fair to give them a warning. Use the English angry phrases below to let someone know you’re getting angry with them.

1- Don’t mess with me.

Meaning:

Say this to someone if they’re starting to make you angry, especially if they’re saying mean things or trying to physically hurt you. This is meant to warn them that if they don’t stop, you’re going to fight back.

Example:

You’re at school and another student comes up to you and starts making fun of you or is bothering you in general. You could say, “Don’t mess with me,” as a warning that they need to stop.

One Kid Threatening Another

2- You’re asking for trouble.

Meaning:

This is similar to the phrase above. It means that if the other person won’t leave you alone or stop what they’re doing, you’re going to fight back.

Example:

Someone living in your apartment complex tries to start a fight with you. You could tell them “You’re asking for trouble,” as a warning that if they start a fight, you’ll fight back and win.

Additional Notes:

I don’t recommend using this angry sentence in English very often, if at all. It’s best used when you feel like you’re in some kind of danger and want the other party to back off and leave you alone.

3- Okay, you asked for it!

Meaning:

Use this phrase if the other party didn’t heed your earlier warnings. This phrase is warning them that because they didn’t listen before, you’re going to fight back.

Example:

The person at your apartment who tried to start a fight didn’t back down, so now you’d say, “Okay, you asked for it!”

4- Don’t make me say it again.

Meaning:

This angry phrase is often used between two people who are close: family members, close friends, or significant others. On occasion, it may be used by a teacher to a student (or an entire classroom).

When you say this phrase, it means that you’ve already told the person to stop doing something and they didn’t listen. This phrase implies that if you have to tell them again, you’ll be so angry that they’d better watch out!

Example:

You’re renting an apartment with a friend, and they haven’t been paying the full amount they owe. You’ve been telling them for months that they have to start paying more, but they won’t listen. During an argument over the rent money, you say “Don’t make me say it again!”

This phrase is often followed by the words “or else…,” which means that there will be a negative consequence if they don’t listen (e.g. your friend can’t live with you anymore).

5- This is my last warning.

Meaning:

This is a very classic phrase that children growing up in the U.S. often hear from their parents. It’s very similar to the phrase above, but it implies even further that there will be negative consequences if they don’t listen.

Example:

A mother has repeatedly told her young child not to run in the house. Finally, after the thirteenth time, she pulls him aside and says, “No more running through the house. This is my last warning.”

6- I don’t want to see you again.

Meaning:

Use this phrase when someone very close to you has done something to hurt you. It means that you’re so hurt and angry by what they did or said that you hope to never see them again. Sometimes, it can be used as a cue for them to leave.

Example:

You significant other did something that really hurt you or made you angry. So you tell them “I don’t want to see you again!”

7- I will not tolerate that.

Mother Scolding Child

Meaning:

This phrase is most commonly used by teachers to their students (or whole classrooms) and by parents to their children. It can also be used between friends and significant others.

When you use this phrase, it means that someone crossed a line or did something they really shouldn’t have done. Saying this indicates that if it happens again, there will be very negative consequences.

Example:

A student starts saying bad things to a teacher or is severely misbehaving in class. The teacher pulls the student aside and says “I will not tolerate that!”

8- How many times do I have to tell you?

Meaning:

This phrase is similar in meaning to “Don’t make me say it again” but is actually less angry and more frustrated. It means that you’re very disappointed and frustrated with someone for not listening to you or doing what you want them to do.

You can use this phrase in a wide variety of situations and across different relationship barriers (e.g. you can use this phrase equally toward a significant other, a co-worker, or your child).

Example:

Your friend has been bothering you all week to go to an event with them the following weekend. You keep telling them no, but they keep insisting. Finally, you’re so annoyed with them that you say “How many times do I have to tell you? I don’t want to go.”

9- You’re getting on my last nerve.

Meaning:

When you use this phrase, it means that someone is getting very close to making you angry (or angrier).

Example:

A family member just won’t leave you alone about something. You’re getting really annoyed with them, so you say “You’re getting on my last nerve,” to warn them that they should stop.

Additional Notes:

Sometimes, you may hear something along the lines of “You’re pushing my buttons.” This phrase may sound odd, but it really just means the same thing as “You’re getting on my last nerve.”

10- I’ve had enough.

Meaning:

This is both an angry phrase and a phrase of defeat. It means that you’re both very angry and weary of fighting or arguing and you just want it to stop. This phrase is often said in an assertive tone and means something similar to “stop it.”

Example:

You and your co-workers are arguing about something at work, and you’re really stressed out. You’re frustrated and angry that your co-workers won’t listen to you so you finally say “I’ve had enough,” and leave the room if possible.

3. Angry Blames

Oftentimes, a person’s first reaction to a stressful situation or something that angers them is to blame someone. Use the phrases below to express your disappointment toward someone’s words or actions and to show that you’re angry at them for something that happened. Note that many of these are angry questions in English, and don’t really require an answer.

1- What were you thinking?

Meaning:

Use this phrase when someone does something really stupid or something that makes you angry. It implies that they must not have been thinking clearly to do something as terrible as they did.

Example:

A father finds out that his daughter snuck out of the house a few nights ago. He approaches her about it and asks, “What were you thinking?”

2- Who do you think you are?

Meaning:

This phrase implies that you don’t like the attitude of the person you’re angry with. Say this to someone if you think they’re acting too prideful or rude, and it’s making you angry.

Example:

You’re standing in line at a restaurant and someone cuts in front of you. You’re already having a bad day, so you tell them “Who do you think you are?”

3- Are you out of your mind?

Meaning:

This phrase is very similar to “What were you thinking?” but is generally used in more serious situations, or when the person did something terrible.

Example:

You and one of your friends get into a big argument, and they grab your cell phone and throw it across the room. You immediately ask them, “Are you out of your mind?”

4- What’s wrong with you?

Meaning:

This is similar to “What were you thinking?” and “Are you out of your mind?” When you say this phrase to someone, it implies that you think the only way they could be acting the way they are is if there’s something wrong with them.

Example:

You’ve just told someone not to do something, and they did it just to make you angry. You say “What’s wrong with you?”

Additional Notes:

You may sometimes hear the phrases “You’re sick,” “You’re messed up,” or “You’re crazy,” especially on television. These all mean practically the same thing.

5- You aren’t listening to me.

Couple Having Argument

Meaning:

This blame phrase indicates that the person you’re angry with isn’t paying attention to what you’re saying, especially in the middle of an argument.

Example:

You and your spouse get into an argument about something, and you keep trying to explain something to them, but they interrupt you every time you start talking. You could say “You aren’t listening to me,” to call them out on it or to just end the discussion.

6- It’s all your fault.

Meaning:

This is the most classic of angry blame phrases in English. It literally means that whatever negative thing happened is entirely the other person’s fault.

Example:

Your friend kept you awake all night so you couldn’t study, and then you failed the test the next day. The next time you see them, you could say “I failed the test. And it’s all your fault.”

7- You messed everything up.

Meaning:

This is similar to “It’s all your fault.” Oftentimes, this is used when someone blames another person for something bad that happened (especially if things were planned to go a certain way but didn’t).

Example:

You’ve been working on a huge project for weeks, and a family member accidentally deletes all the files from your laptop the day before it’s due. You tell them “You messed everything up!”

8- You’re impossible.

Meaning:

When you tell someone “You’re impossible,” it means that you’re frustrated with them about their attitude, an action they did, or something they said. Essentially, it’s “impossible” to deal with them or be around them without becoming angry or frustrated.

Example:

You’re having an argument about something with a family member, and they keep interrupting you when you try to talk. Finally, out of frustration, you yell “You’re impossible!” and walk away from the conversation.

Additional Notes:

Oftentimes, close friends and family members will say this to each other jokingly out of mild frustration. This angry blame has the exact same meaning but is said in a more light-hearted manner.

9- It’s none of your business.

Meaning:

Use this phrase when someone tries to interfere with your life in a way that’s not welcome. This phrase basically means that whatever is going on in your life, or how you live it, isn’t for them to interfere with.

Example:

You’re mother sets you up on a date with someone without telling you. When you ask her why she would do it, she says “I thought you needed a boyfriend/girlfriend.” You then roll your eyes and say “It’s none of your business!”

10- I can’t believe you.

Meaning:

This phrase is similar to “You’re impossible.” It basically means that you’re angry or in shock about something someone did or said. It seems impossible to you that they could have done or said it.

Example:

Your sibling spilled orange juice all over your homework assignment. Your turn to them and say “I can’t believe you! You ruined my homework!”

11- How could you do this?

Meaning:

Use this phrase when someone does something that really hurts you, especially when you feel betrayed by them. It’s basically asking them how they could be so inconsiderate, or even wicked, to have done that thing (especially behind your back).

Example:

Someone finds out their spouse or significant other has been unfaithful to them. They ask them “How could you do this?”

12- You’re blaming me?

Meaning:

People often use this phrase when someone tries to put the blame on them for something that’s (arguably) the other person’s fault. It’s sort of a rhetorical question about who the blame should really be on.

Example:

You wait outside your friend’s house at an agreed upon time to take them to the airport, and they take a very long time getting ready. On the way there, you get stuck in heavy traffic and they miss their flight.

Your friend says, “I can’t believe you made me miss my flight!” You reply “You’re blaming me? You should have been ready sooner.”

4. Describing How You Feel

Once the yelling, fighting, and blaming has come to an end, it’s important to try and express how you really feel (and why). This may not be the best time for a conversation, but using one of the phrases below can help you open the door for one later.

1- I’m ready to talk.

Father Listening to Son

Meaning:

Oftentimes, this phrase is used after taking some time alone following an argument. It indicates that you’re angry about something, and that you’re finally ready and comfortable to talk about it rationally with that person.

Example:

You and your spouse had a fight, and you left the house for a while to cool down. When you come back home, you find them and say “I’m ready to talk.”

2- I’m very upset.

Meaning:

Use this phrase to let the other party know that you’re feeling upset or angry. Oftentimes, just stating this fact is enough to open up the conversation.

Example:

You find out that your child has been lying to you. While talking with them about it, you say “I’m very upset.”

Additional Notes:

This phrase is often used as the beginning of a longer sentence: “I’m very upset about ___,” or “I’m very upset that ___.”

So, in the example situation, you could also say “I’m very upset that you lied to me.” This makes the source of your anger or frustration clearer to the person you’re talking with.

3- I’m fed up with it.

Meaning:

This phrase may sound a little strange, but it essentially means that you’ve had enough of something and you can’t take any more (like when you’re full and don’t want to be fed anymore food). Use this phrase when you’re tired of someone’s attitude or behavior, or even during a situation.

Example:

A family member has been getting on your nerves all day, and you finally tell them “I’m fed up with it!”

4- I hate it/you.

Meaning:

This is one of the strongest phrases on this list, because hate is such a potent emotion. When you say this, it means that you hate the situation (it) or the person you’re talking to (you).

Example:

A child is arguing with her mother, and the fight becomes heated. Finally, the child says “I hate you!” and runs out of the room.

Additional Notes:

In the United States, people use the phrase “I hate you” as a joke all the time, especially when someone has caused them a minor inconvenience that they can both laugh about. You can usually tell whether it’s a joke or not based on the context, but I don’t recommend joking about this very often (just to be safe).

5- I’ve never been so disappointed.

Man with Forehead Against Wall

Meaning:

Say this phrase when you want someone to know that they’ve really upset you this time. When you say this phrase, it means that this person has disappointed you more than you’ve ever been disappointed before.

Example:

A close friend recently did something to hurt you. While venting about it to someone else, you say “I’ve never been so disappointed.”

6- You make me so angry.

Meaning:

This is a very clear, to-the-point angry phrase. You’re simply letting the other person know that they make you angry. This is a great phrase to use if you don’t want to worry too much about elaborating and just want to get to the point.

Example:

Your significant other does something that irritates you again. You tell them “You make me so angry!”

7- I can’t handle this anymore/right now.

Meaning:

Use this phrase to let someone know that you’re done and overwhelmed with them (or the situation).

Example:

You’ve been having a rough day, and at the end of the day you get home to some family drama. You tell everyone “I can’t handle this right now,” and go to your room.

8- I wish ___.

Meaning:

Use this phrase to communicate with someone what you want from them or how you wish things were.

Example:

A few common ways to finish this sentence include:

  • “I wish you would listen to me!”
  • “I wish you would stop doing that!”
  • “I wish you would leave me alone.”
  • “I wish you weren’t so ___ [negative adjective].”
  • “I wish none of this had happened.”

5. Bonus: How to Calm Yourself Down When You’re Angry

Letting out your anger every once in a while is vital to maintaining healthy relationships. But so is learning how to cool down and get in control of how you’re feeling (and how you respond to your emotions). While this is a life-long task, and something that requires constant thought and practice, there are a few things you can do to put yourself in a better frame of mind after getting angry:

  • Take a few deep breaths: Don’t roll your eyes at me. Taking some deep breaths can be a way to slow down your heartbeat and your thoughts; doing this can help you see things more clearly and rationally.
  • Exercise: Whether you exercise on a regular basis or not, doing some kind of physical activity may help you feel better. Exercise releases endorphins, which are chemicals that put you in a better mood (even if you don’t enjoy exercising itself). I personally find taking a long walk very helpful, but running, lifting weights, or even cooking a meal, can help.
  • Listen to music: Listening to music is a common way of understanding and releasing one’s emotions in a healthy way. Whether you prefer listening to angry music to fully experience your negative emotions, or you prefer listening to something calm to help you cool down faster, this can be an effective way to get yourself back on track.
  • Write something: For some people, writing is an excellent form of release. You can write a page or two in your journal about why you’re angry, work on a story or writing assignment, or even write an angry letter to someone (that you won’t give them). Putting your thoughts into words on the page or screen can help you process your feelings more easily. Wondering how to express your anger in writing? Check out this fascinating, honest article on the topic.
  • Take a nap: We all know how grouchy we can get when we’re tired or sleepy. If possible, lie down in your room and take a nap. Oftentimes, just a few minutes of sleep can help us think more clearly and rationally. If you’re too angry to sleep, just lie down and try to relax.
  • Walk in the other person’s shoes: When you “walk in someone else’s shoes,” you try to look at things from their perspective. You need to ask yourself what the other party may be thinking and feeling, and why they think or feel that way. Then, you examine yourself and your behavior in light of what you discovered about the other party. Did they think you were being irrational? Why? This is a fantastic way to gain insight, and can help you dissolve issues more effectively in the long run (even if it’s difficult sometimes to consider the other person’s thoughts and feelings).
  • Think to yourself some calming mantras: A “mantra” is sort of like a motto or phrase and is usually said or thought of in order to create a calmer or more inspired mindset. For example, you can think to yourself something simple like “Calm down” or “Everything will be okay.”
  • Distance yourself: Sometimes spending some time alone, or just getting away from the person or situation that’s making you angry, is the best thing you can do. Whether you go to your room and close the door, go for a walk or run, or spend some time at the mall or a cafe, having that distance can help you cool down and think more clearly.

Once you’ve had some time to cool down, it’s time to reconcile. If you’ve left a conversation, argument, or situation unfinished, it’s usually best to go back and finish it. Hopefully, the other party (or parties) has also taken some time to calm down so you can both have a much more rational discussion if one is required.

Couple in Autumn Leaves

6. How EnglishClass101 Can Help You Express Yourself in English

By now, you should have plenty of angry phrases to get you through your toughest days. While it’s usually best to hold your tongue in times of great anger, letting it out is healthy and important from time to time. And sometimes the other person’s just asking for it…

Self-expression is a vital aspect of being human, and being able to do so effectively is essential for maintaining healthy relationships, both with others and with yourself. If you want to continue learning how to express yourself in English, EnglishClass101.com has various learning tools and vocabulary lists dedicated to this (including an anger vocabulary list in English). Knowing how to describe your anger in English is just one aspect of the bigger picture:

Know that your determination to learn English, and all the time and effort you’re putting into it, will pay off. Not every aspect of this language-learning journey is easy, but EnglishClass101.com hopes to make every lesson as fun and effective as possible!

Keep up the diligent work and know that one day, you’ll be speaking, writing, and reading English like a native! You can do this. 🙂

Before you go, let us know in the comments what your favorite angry sentence in English is! What are the most common angry phrases in your native language, and what do they mean? We look forward to hearing from you!

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Celebrating Mother’s Day in the United States

What would the world look like without mothers? I imagine it would be much bleaker than it is already. Mothers provide love, inspiration, and countless other essentials! That’s why each year, the United States celebrates Mother’s Day and gives mothers that one day of appreciation they really deserve.

In this article, you’ll learn all about Mother’s Day in the United States, from its origin to modern-day traditions. You’ll also pick up some useful vocab along the way!

Let’s get started.

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1. What is Mother’s Day?

In the United States—and numerous countries around the world—Mother’s Day is a holiday dedicated to honoring one’s mother. Let’s talk about the origin of Mother’s Day, and how it’s evolved over time.

The History of Mother’s Day

In the United States, Mother’s Day began in 1908 at the request of Anna Jarvis, whose mother (Ann Jarvis) died in 1905 after a life full of love and service. She had a memorial for her mother at St. Andrew’s Methodist Church in 1908, though Mother’s Day became a national holiday years later, in 1914.

Ironically, a few years after Mother’s Day became official, Anna Jarvis began protesting the holiday. She believed it had become too commercial (as many holidays do over time), with the sales of Mother’s Day cards and other gifts.

Mother’s Day Today

Mother’s Day in the United States is still very commercial today, with many children and husbands searching for the best Mother’s Day gifts each year. However, the traditional Mother’s Day values have largely remained intact. This holiday is, above all else, a special day to show love, respect, and appreciation for one’s mother.

2. When is Mother’s Day this Year?

Mother’s Day is on a Sunday

Each year, Mother’s Day is celebrated on the second Sunday of May. For your convenience, here’s a list of this holiday’s date for the next ten years.

  • 2020: May 10
  • 2021: May 9
  • 2022: May 8
  • 2023: May 14
  • 2024: May 12
  • 2025: May 11
  • 2026: May 10
  • 2027: May 9
  • 2028: May 14
  • 2029: May 13

Learn the Top 5 Important Dates in America with EnglishClass101.com!

3. Mother’s Day Events & Traditions

Children Kissing Their Mother on the Cheeks

As we mentioned earlier, Mother’s Day is a time of gift-shopping, looking for the perfect present to make one’s mother smile. On Mother’s Day, gift cards, flowers, chocolates, and handmade items are very popular gifts that a mother can expect to receive.

In families with young children, a common tradition is to give their mother breakfast in bed. This usually means a tray full of different breakfast foods—such as eggs, toast, pancakes, bacon, or donuts—and bringing it to their mother in bed. This allows her the leisure of eating a nice meal with zero effort on her part (unless the kids made a mess in the kitchen…).

A nice Mother’s Day brunch is another common tradition. The word “brunch” is an informal combination of the words “breakfast” and “lunch,” and it’s usually eaten in the late morning. This can be a home-cooked meal her husband makes, or the family may go out to eat at an expensive restaurant together.

There are no set events that happen on Mother’s Day, though many types of organizations do hold special Mother’s Day events. For example, churches may have a special Mother’s Day service and brunch, and schools may encourage children to prepare cards or gifts for their mothers. It’s not uncommon for some businesses or recreational places to offer special deals or events just for Mother’s Day.

    → Check out our list of popular United States Foods to see what a lucky mother may be able to enjoy eating on this day!

4. Mother’s Day Flowers

Flower bouquets are one of the most popular gifts for Mother’s Day!

While these bouquets can contain any type of flowers, some of the most popular include roses, tulips, and orchids, as well as any other common flowers for this time of year.

    → Learn 10 Flower-Related Words with EnglishClass101.com, and don’t forget to let us know what your favorite flower is!

5. Must-Know Vocabulary for Mother’s Day

A Stack of Chocolate Squares

Ready to review some of the vocabulary words from this lesson? Here’s a list of the most important words and phrases for Mother’s Day in the United States!

  • Sunday
  • Mother
  • Son
  • Daughter
  • Present
  • Dinner
  • Rose
  • Mother’s Day
  • Love
  • Chocolate
  • Greeting card
  • Celebrate
  • Gift certificate
  • Breakfast in bed

To hear the pronunciation of each word and phrase, and to read them alongside relevant images, please be sure to check out our English Mother’s Day vocabulary list!

Final Thoughts

We hope you enjoyed learning about Mother’s Day in the United States with us!

Do you celebrate Mother’s Day in your country? If so, what do traditions there look like? Let us, and your fellow English learners, know in the comments!

If you want to learn even more about United States culture or the English language, you may want to read the following pages on EnglishClass101.com:

These articles are a great place to start, but we have so much more to offer! Create your free lifetime account with us today, and start learning English right away. You can also upgrade to our Premium or Premium PLUS plans for exclusive lessons and features to help you learn faster!

Happy Mother’s Day, and stay safe! 🙂

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Life Event Messages in English: Happy Birthday & Much More!

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By learning how to write life event messages, you’re opening a door to growing personal relationships with others. This is especially important when you’re in a country that speaks a language other than your native tongue. People appreciate it when you take notice of their major life events and offer your congratulations or condolences appropriately.

There are some life events that just about everyone can relate to, whereas others are specific only to one or a few countries. Those that are familiar to you already can help build relationships based on similarities, while those that are unfamiliar give you the opportunity to show your respect for the country’s traditions.

Learn how to wish “Happy Birthday” in English, and other life event messages, with EnglishClass101.com!

A note before we begin:

It’s very easy (and natural) to adopt phrases and use them when you’re supposed to. That’s what this article is here for, after all! But turning good wishes and encouragement into politics or ritual is always a risk if you never go deeper. When it comes to those close or important to you, don’t be afraid to test the waters with your English, and send a more heartfelt message—words from the heart can really change a life for the better. This is a good place to start, but continue to improve your English so you can form more meaning around your words!

Now, I’ll teach you Happy Birthday phrases in English, as well as messages for other life events. At EnglishClass101.com, we hope to make learning English both fun and informative!

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Table of Contents

  1. Many Ways to Say Happy Birthday!
  2. Baby Showers & The Birth of a Baby
  3. Graduations
  4. New Job or Promotion
  5. Retirement
  6. Weddings & Anniversaries
  7. Funerals & Offering Condolences
  8. Responding to Bad News
  9. Responding to Injuries or Illness
  10. Sample Holiday Greetings & Messages
  11. Conclusion: How EnglishClass101 Can Make You a Master of English Messages

1. Many Ways to Say Happy Birthday!

In the United States, we love to celebrate the birthdays of others (and our own)! Birthday celebrations vary from person to person (and family to family), with celebrations tending to become less elaborate and special as we grow older. But cake, cards, and a well-placed birthday message are always welcome! As for the Happy Birthday Song, well, it depends on who you ask.

Birthday Cake with Question Mark Candle

1- General Birthday Wishes

Believe it or not, there are both formal and informal ways of wishing someone a happy birthday. I’ve categorized common birthday messages below accordingly, as well as added a couple of versatile expressions that can be used either formally or informally.

Formal

  • Wishing you the best on your birthday.
    • This is a more formal birthday wish and sounds a lot more natural in writing than in speech. It’s a nice phrase to use in a birthday card to someone you’re not very close with, or to post on their social media.
  • Have lots of fun on your special day!
    • This is another birthday wish that’s better in writing and is more casual than the above phrase. It’s something you may see written on your social media from a distant relative or a former teacher/employer.

Informal

  • Happy Birthday!
    • This is by far the most commonly used birthday wish. It can be used both in writing and in speech, and sounds equally natural in either. Do note that this phrase is also pretty impersonal since there’s not a lot of meaning behind it.
  • Happy Belated Birthday!
    • You can use this phrase if you really wanted to wish someone a happy birthday, but completely forgot about it… This phrase can be used both in writing and in speech.
  • Congratulations on another trip around the sun.
    • People often use this phrase in reference to the fact that the earth revolves around the sun over the course of one year. One year older means one more time around the sun. It can be used in both writing and speech, but tends to be more commonly used in writing (particularly on social media).

Either/Or

  • I hope you have a great birthday!
    • This is a pretty generic birthday wish, and can be used both in writing and speech. Further, you can say this to people you know well, or people you hardly know at all. It’s wordier than “Happy Birthday” but still impersonal.
  • Congratulations on turning another year older!
    • This is similar to the “trip around the sun” birthday wish but sounds a little more formal. It tends to sound more natural when written, making it great for birthday cards or social media messages.

2- Special Birthdays

In the United States, there are a few birthdays we like to focus on more than others. Below are some common expressions used to wish someone a happy birthday on these special birthdays. Keep in mind that these tend to fall into the either/or category, meaning that they’re not considered extremely formal or informal. Feel free to use them at will! 😀

  • Happy Sweet 16!
    • In the United States, we consider a person’s sixteenth birthday a big deal and often celebrate it with a party or get-together. This type of celebration is most common for girls.
  • Happy 18th – you’re an adult now!
    • Eighteen is the age of officially becoming an adult in the United States, and is probably the most looked-forward-to birthday by children and teens because there’s so much more freedom. This phrase is pretty generic, but it (and its variations) are commonly seen on social media.
  • Congratulations on turning 21! Don’t drink too much.
    • After someone’s eighteenth birthday, they still have to wait three years before they can legally buy alcohol—making the twenty-first birthday another huge milestone! It’s common for people to joke about not drinking too much while wishing someone a happy twenty-first birthday.
  • Wow, 30! You’re getting old.
    • There’s a certain stigma about turning thirty in the United States, and it’s often associated with the gradual moving forward from youth. People often joke about “getting old” when wishing someone a happy thirtieth birthday.
  • I can’t believe you’re turning the big 4-0.
    • Forty is another big birthday in the United States, typically marking the end of “youth” and the beginning of a person’s “middle-aged” years. Sometimes, people refer to this as “the big 4-0.” After forty, every tenth birthday (fiftieth, sixtieth, etc.) tends to be celebrated more so than other birthdays.

2. Baby Showers & The Birth of a Baby

A Mother and Father Spending Quality Time with Their Baby

A pregnancy can be one of the most exciting moments in a couple’s life, so of course they’ll want to share it. For the soon-to-be mama, it’s common for friends and family to host a baby shower, during which she’s gifted with practical things for the coming baby (clothing, diapers, bottle warmers, etc.), and all the guests play baby-related games.

After the baby is born, don’t be surprised to see your social media freckled with pictures of the new baby and tons of ooh-ing and ahh-ing comments below them, along with best wishes for the family.

1- Informal

  • He/she is so adorable!
    • This is the kind of ooh-ing and ahh-ing that new parents will hear from close friends or family members. It’s often used on social media after the parents post pictures of the new baby, but can also be used in speech when actually seeing the baby in person.
  • He / she looks just like his / her mother / father!
    • Another common way of complimenting the baby and its parents is to use this phrase, either in writing or in person. In the United States, we enjoy pointing out similarities in appearance, and it often makes the parents happy to hear. For example, a mother may beam when someone says of her son: “He looks just like his father!”

2- Formal

  • Congratulations on your new baby boy/girl!
    • This is one of the most common phrases used for congratulating a new baby. This is mostly considered a formal phrase, though it can also be used informally. It simply congratulates the couple on their baby, and doesn’t have very much meaning behind it.
  • Wishing you and your little one a happy life!
    • This phrase has a little more meaning behind it, but is used formally in most cases. It’s a way of not only congratulating the couple, but wishing them the best for their (and their child’s) future.
  • Enjoy these days while you can; they’ll be over before you know it.
    • Honestly, this phrase is a bit of a cliche, but it is a favorite for many people. This is usually said by someone who has older or grown children as a reminder to the new parents to enjoy every second with their little one.

3. Graduations

Students at Graduation Ceremony

Graduating, whether from high school or college, is one of the most significant moments in a person’s life. It’s also one of the most exciting as new possibilities and even a brand new life lies ahead. Take some time to wish the new graduate well and congratulate them on their success and the hard work they put in to get there!

  • Congradulations!
    • This is a phrase you’ll hear and read everywhere during graduation season. It’s a play on words, where the t in “congratulations” is replaced with the d in “graduation.” It’s a clever way of congratulating someone on their graduation.
  • Congratulations on your well-deserved success.
    • This is a much more formal phrase, and is often used by former teachers or family members you’re not very close with. It’s a way of letting the graduate know that you’re proud of them and that they really earned their success in school.
  • Congratulations on your graduation; you earned it!
    • This phrase falls into the either/or category, as just about anyone can use this phrase to congratulate a graduate. It’s similar to the above phrase, but uses less formal language (“well-deserved success” is much more formal than “you earned it”).

4. New Job or Promotion

When someone gets a new job or receives a promotion, it’s both a bit exciting and frightening. So with this in mind, be sure to both congratulate them on their success and hard work, and let them know that you believe in them and wish them well.

  • I’m wishing you much success in your new position.
    • This is the most formal phrase in this section, and is most commonly found in written form (usually on a card or on social media). However, it can also be used in speech and is equally as meaningful.
  • Congratulations on your new job.
    • This is less formal and can be used in writing or in speech. It’s a simple, efficient way of congratulating someone on their new job, and can be said to anyone you know.
  • Congratulations on your promotion!
    • You can use this phrase with anyone, and it can be used in writing or in speech. It’s a simple way to let someone know how happy you are for them on their promotion.
  • Congratulations! I know you’ll do well in your new position/job.
    • This phrase goes a step further by also showing them you’re confident that they’ll do well. I recommend using this phrase when congratulating a friend or family member, but it can be used for just about anyone.
  • I’m so proud of you.
    • This phrase can be used either by itself or at the end of one of the other phrases. It adds more meaning to your message, and is best used with someone you’re close to (a close coworker, best friend, or family member).

5. Retirement

In the United States, retirement is something that everyone looks forward to. The day a person stops working signifies that they can live the rest of their days comfortably. It’s often a time for taking up hobbies they couldn’t do before, and overall living a more ideal lifestyle that isn’t hampered by pre-retirement responsibilities. Let the recent retiree in your life know that you’re proud of them for making it so far (and that you envy them just a little if you’re not retired yet).

  • Congratulations on your retirement.
    • This is a simple, easy phrase to use that may sound more natural in writing.
  • Best wishes for this next chapter/season in your life.
    • In the United States, it’s common to refer to retirement as a brand-new chapter or season in someone’s life. It represents something different, a time that holds events not yet known. Wishing a new retiree the best during this time in their life is a great way to show them that you’re glad for them, and that you want them to have happy years ahead.
  • Wishing you all the best for your golden years ahead.
    • Another common term for retirement is “the golden years”, due to the newfound freedom and relaxation that come with retirement. This phrase is similar to the one above, and can be used in the same way.
  • Congratulations on your retirement – I (or we) will miss having you.
    • This is a congratulatory phrase that a boss or fellow co-workers may tell a soon-to-be retiree if they’ve been working at that company for a long time. This one may sound more natural in writing, but can also be spoken.

6. Weddings & Anniversaries

Bride and Groom in Field of Flowers

Is someone you know getting married?

Marriage is the ending of two separate lives, and the beginning of one new, shared life with the person you love. In the United States, we’re definitely likely to gush over the relationships and love lives of those around us, even more than we gush over our own relationships. When we hear the good news that two people we know who were made for each other are going to tie the knot (meaning “get married”), we can’t help but express our joy and best wishes for the couple.

1- Weddings

Formal

  • Wishing you a lifetime of love and happiness.
    • This is a pretty formal phrase to wish a couple well in their marriage. You can use this phrase with any married (or soon-to-be-married) couple in your life, regardless of how close you are. This phrase usually sounds better in writing, whether in a nice card or on social media.
  • I’m wishing you all the best in your marriage.
    • You can also use this formal phrase to congratulate a couple regardless of how close you are. It’s similar to the above phrase, but is a little less specific. This one also sounds better in writing.
  • Congratulations to the happy couple!
    • Use this phrase if you know the couple getting married, but not well enough to be elaborate in your congratulations. It shows that you’re happy for them and that you wish them well. This is typically best used in writing.

Informal

  • Congratulations! I know you’ll be happy together.
    • Are you a friend or close acquaintance of a soon-to-be married couple? This is a great phrase to use to congratulate them! It expresses both your joy in their marriage and your confidence that they’ll be together happily for life.
  • Congratulations! You’re so good for each other.
    • Have you personally watched a couple grow together and form a closer relationship over time? Have you been waiting for the day they decided to marry? This is a great phrase to use if you want to express how happy you are for them and that you know they’re a perfect couple. This can be used in both writing and speech, but may sound more natural in writing.

2- Anniversaries

  • Happy (Wedding) Anniversary!
    • This is a simple way to wish the couple a happy anniversary. Note that you can choose to omit the word “wedding” if you want to, as this is usually implied. This is commonly seen on social media and in cards, as well as in spoken language. You can use this phrase regardless of how well you know the couple.
  • Congratulations on ___ years of marriage. Wishing you many more happy years together.
    • This is a more formal congratulations phrase. Where the blank space is, you would put the number of years they’ve been married: “Congratulations on five years of marriage. Wishing you many more happy years together.” This sounds most natural in writing, but can also be used in spoken language, especially during a speech or a toast to the couple.
  • __ years together! Congratulations!
    • This phrase is mostly informal, but should be used only if you know the couple fairly well. In the blank space, you would put the number of years they’ve been married: “Five years together! Congratulations!” This sounds most natural in writing, but is sometimes used in speech when the person saying it is close to the couple.

7. Funerals & Offering Condolences

Death is a touchy topic, and deeply personal; however, it’s an unavoidable part of life. Whether you need to send your condolences to a friend who lost someone, or you wish to say a few final words to someone you’ve lost, there are a few basic phrases you can use.

1- Final Words

  • Rest in peace.
    • This is the most frequently used phrase for final words. It’s a simple way of wishing for the deceased person to rest easily.
  • We’ll never forget about you/your legacy.
    • It’s also common to mention that the deceased person will not be forgotten, and never will be. This is significant to many people, as a person’s legacy (or the positive remembrance of the life they led) is a way of keeping their essence alive even after they’re gone. This is also a display of great respect for the deceased person.
  • You were a great ___ [father, mother, role model, etc.].
    • This phrase often follows the above phrase, as a way of elaborating on what that person’s legacy is. In the blank space, you would put the thing you most remember them as, or that you most admired them for. For example: “You were a great role model to me.”

2- Offering Condolences

  • My condolences.
    • This is a simple, catch-all phrase that you can use to offer someone your condolences after their loss. You can use this phrase with someone you don’t know very well.
  • I offer you my condolences.
    • This one is a little more formal, and can be used much the same way as the above phrase. It may be best to say this to someone you know a little bit better, though. The exception is if you’re writing this in a card for someone, in which case you can also say this to someone you don’t know very well.
  • I’m sorry for your loss.
    • You can say this to someone who’s grieving, whether you know them well or not. It’s most commonly said to a friend or family member, though, as it sounds a little less formal, and more from the heart.

8. Responding to Bad News

One Woman Comforting Another Woman Who's Crying

Everyone goes through hard times. We lose jobs and opportunities, break our phone screens, sprain our ankles, and go through rough patches in our relationships. But a little bit of encouragement, a helping hand, and a listening ear can go a long way toward helping someone through a bad or difficult situation. Here are some phrases you can use to show your care and concern for someone going through a hard time.

1- Less Personal

  • I’m sorry to hear that.
    • This is a very basic phrase that you can use to express mild concern or sympathy for someone. You can use this phrase regardless of how close you are to the person, and you can use it both in speech (most common), or on social media in response to a “bad news” post.
  • Things will get better soon.
    • If you want to give someone a little bit of encouragement when they’re feeling down, this is a great phrase to use. It can be used both in speech and in writing. Do be mindful of how and when you use this phrase, though; if it feels too impersonal or comes at a bad time, the person you’re talking to may feel that you don’t really care or that you’re being insensitive. But generally, this phrase is well-received.
  • This is temporary. / This will pass.
    • People often use these two phrases interchangeably, and they mean roughly the same thing as the previous phrase. Both of these phrases seek to tell the person you’re talking to that whatever they’re going through isn’t going to last forever. Oftentimes, people need to hear this in order to keep things in perspective and find the energy to keep going. You can say them in speech and in writing to just about anyone. But, again, do be mindful of how and when you use them.

2- More Personal

  • Are you okay? / Is everyone okay?
    • If you know the person pretty well, you can ask them if they are okay (the first phrase), or if everyone involved is okay (the second phrase). This shows that you really care and want to make sure that everything’s fine. A good example of when to use this phrase would be if you found out that a friend got into a car accident.
  • I’m here if you need anything. / I’m here if you need to talk.
    • These two phrases are good to use around a close friend or family member who’s going through a tough time. The first phrase indicates that you’re willing to help that person out if they need it, and the second phrase is a way to invite that person to vent (talk about what’s going on) to you. Keep in mind that you should only use these phrases if you’re actually willing to help or listen.
  • You’re in my thoughts. / You’re in my prayers.
    • Use these phrases to express that you’re thinking about this person (the first phrase) or that you’re praying for them (the second phrase). Many people find it comforting to know that they’re not alone and that people care and are there for them. In most cases, you can say this to anyone, regardless of how close you are.
  • Know that you have my full support.
    • In the same vein as the above phrase, you can say this to someone as a way of letting them know you care and are there for them. This is also a good phrase to use if the person you’re trying to comfort has a difficult choice to make (or has made a difficult choice already).
  • I’m sorry – I can’t imagine how hard this is for you.
    • If someone you know is going through something very difficult and you’re not quite sure what to say, you can use this phrase. It shows your care and concern, and also indicates that you realize the severity of their situation even if you’ve never experienced the same thing. It can be used both in writing and in speech.

9. Responding to Injuries or Illness

Woman Not Feeling Well

When someone you know has taken ill or has gotten injured, here are some general phrases you can use to wish them well and offer comfort. All of these phrases can be used formally or informally. Most of them sound most natural in writing, but they can also be spoken in person (like if you’re visiting someone at a hospital).

  • Get well soon!
    • This is probably the most frequently used phrase for this purpose. You can say it to anyone, and it is very versatile.
  • Feel better!
    • This phrase is almost identical in meaning to the one above, and can be used much the same way.
  • Take care.
    • When you tell someone to “take care,” you’re asking them to look after themselves and do all they can to stay healthy and safe.
  • Wishing you a quick recovery.
    • This one is a little bit more formal than the rest, but is used in much the same way. It expresses your desire for that person to get better quickly, especially if he or she has a more serious injury or illness.

10. Sample Holiday Greetings & Messages

Here are the most common phrases for holiday wishes (and greeting after holidays) in the United States, based on our most popular holidays and times of year. If you can put the word “happy” in front of a holiday name, you’re basically good to go. Well, except for Christmas…

1- Christmastime Wishes

Wishing someone a Merry Christmas is no longer a straightforward concept in the United States, and there’s plenty of hullabaloo about the different ways to say “Happy Holidays.”

Honestly, the most important thing is that what you say comes from the heart; although being mindful of another person’s religious status is always a good idea when it comes to the different ways to say “Happy Holidays.” Here are some sample holiday greetings, both religious and secular, to wish someone a good holiday season.

  • Merry Christmas!
    • This is the most traditional, simple Christmas greeting in English, though it’s not appreciated by everyone. It can be used both formally and informally, and in speech and writing.
  • Wishing you (and your family) a warm Christmas / holiday season.
    • This one is much more formal, and is most often expressed in writing. It’s also pretty flexible, as you can refer to Christmas, or the holiday season in general.
  • Wishing you and yours a Merry Christmas / Happy Holidays.
    • This is another formal, flexible Christmastime wish, and is usually expressed in writing. The “yours” in this phrase refers to one’s family members and other loved ones.
  • Happy Holidays!
    • This is the second-most common Christmastime wish, and is usually said as a secular version of “Merry Christmas.” It’s very informal, and can be expressed both in speech and in writing.
  • Merry Christmas / Happy Holidays, and may all your dreams come true.
    • In this phrase, one of the two main greetings is combined with a general wish for one’s dreams to come true. For most people, religious or not, Christmas is a joyful and magical time—the time of year that dreams can come true! This is said most often in writing, and is very rarely used in speech.
  • Seasons Greetings
    • This one may sound odd at first, but it’s simply a way of wishing someone a wonderful Christmastime season. It’s more heartfelt than “Happy Holidays” and less specific than “Merry Christmas,” making it a touching phrase to use in order to wish someone good things during the entire season. This is used almost exclusively in writing, and is somewhat formal.
  • Happy Hanukkah!
    • There are many people in the United States who celebrate Hanukkah instead of Christmas, and because Hanukkah is very close to Christmas, this is another one of the most common ways to say “Happy Holidays,” especially in Jewish communities.

2- New Year

Not long after Christmas, people in the United States celebrate New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. Celebrations often include fireworks, staying up until midnight (or later), plenty of drinking and good food, and time with friends and family. Here are the most common New Year’s holiday greetings.

  • Happy New Year!
    • This is the most common way of wishing someone a good new year. It’s very informal, and can be used in both written and spoken language.
  • Wishing you (and yours) well in ___ [year].
    • This is more formal and is generally written. It’s a way to wish someone (and their loved ones) a great new year. In the blank, you would write the upcoming year. For example: “Wishing you and yours well in 2020.”
  • Have a great ___ [year].
    • You can use this phrase both formally and informally, and it can be both written and spoken. In the blank, you would write the upcoming year.
  • See you next year!
    • This is another informal phrase, and is often used jokingly between people who are departing close to the new year. For example, it’s December 30 and you and your friend are getting ready to part ways after spending the day together. One of you says, “See you next year!” which sounds like a long time away, but is really only a couple of days in the future. Your next greeting after the holiday will be a new year!

3- Valentine’s Day

Valentine's Day Marked on Calendar with Hearts

In the United States, we celebrate Valentine’s Day on February 14 each year. It’s a day for lovers and sweethearts to express their love for each other. This is often done through gift-giving (chocolates, flowers, and stuffed animals are especially popular), spending quality time together, and writing each other sweet cards or notes. Whether you’re in a relationship with someone or not, though, you can still wish just about anyone a Happy Valentine’s Day.

  • Happy Valentine’s Day!
    • Honestly, this is the only way that most people wish others well on this day, especially in passing, or if they don’t know each other well. It’s very informal, and can be both spoken and written.

There’s a whole world of things you could say to your sweetheart or significant other on Valentine’s Day! The most important thing is that it’s from the heart and honest. If you’re at a loss for words, though, and need to see some sample holiday greetings, be sure to take a look at our Valentine’s Day vocabulary list. You’ll find plenty of sweet and romantic phrases in English that you can write in your letter, or use as a sweet greeting after the holiday.

4- St. Patrick’s Day

St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated on March 17 each year in the United States. Some defining characteristics of this holiday are the color green, leprechauns, rainbows, and plenty of beer (colored green, of course). Here are the two most popular greetings for St. Patrick’s Day.

  • Happy St. Patrick’s Day!
    • This is the most traditional greeting, and you can say it to anyone you meet this day!
  • Happy St. Paddy / Patty’s Day!
    • “St. Paddy” and “St. Patty” are two ways of shortening “St. Patrick.” This is simply another, shorter way of greeting someone on this day.

5- April Fool’s Day

Playing a Friendly Prank

April 1 marks April Fool’s Day in the United States. On this day, many Americans have fun by pulling pranks on people, sometimes small and other times frighteningly elaborate. The press even gets involved in this one!

  • Happy April Fool’s Day!
    • Admittedly, not too many people will wish you a Happy April Fool’s Day, but it doesn’t mean you can’t say it to them. This phrase is pretty informal, and is probably best used around people you know well (family, friends, and coworkers). This is because not everybody cares that much about April Fool’s Day.
  • April fool(s)!
    • This is less a greeting, and more a way of letting someone know they’ve been “fooled” after a prank or joke.

6- Easter

Easter is one of the most important religious holidays in the United States, and it celebrates the resurrection of Jesus Christ three days after his crucifixion. However, the holiday has gained more secular (and commercial) meaning, and today people often associate it with hunting Easter eggs, waiting for the Easter Bunny who hides them, and consuming lots of candy (all in the warmer springtime).

  • Happy Easter!
    • This is the most common way of greeting someone on Easter. It can be used in both religious and secular environments, and sounds equally natural written or spoken.
  • Happy Resurrection Day!
    • This greeting, on the other hand, is exclusively religious and is best used in religious environments.

The following holiday greetings require little explanation. They’re all fairly informal, unless otherwise noted, and can be used both in writing and in speech.

7- Cinco de Mayo

Cinco de Mayo is “Fifth of May” in English, and commemorates this day in 1862 when Mexico won the Battle of Puebla against a much larger French army. It’s also a day when Americans celebrate Mexican-American culture.

  • Happy Cinco de Mayo!

8- Independence Day

Independence Day in the United States takes place on July 4 each year. It’s the celebration and commemoration of this day in 1776 when America declared itself independent from Great Britain, and the Declaration of Independence was adopted. This is one of the most significant holidays in the United States, and is often celebrated with barbeques and fireworks!

  • Happy Independence Day!
  • Happy Fourth of July!

9- Memorial Day

Memorial Day takes place on the final Monday in May. It’s the day that Americans remember those who have fallen in war and sacrificed everything to defend their country. Schools are closed on this day, and many businesses as well.

  • Happy Memorial Day!

10- Veterans Day

Veterans Day is observed each year on November 11. This is a day set aside to honor and remember everyone who has served in the military.

  • Happy Veterans Day!
  • Thank you to all those who serve or have served in the military.
    • This is a more formal Veterans Day greeting, and you can express it in writing or in speech. It’s a way of showing respect and gratitude for those who defend the country.

11- Halloween

Each year, many Americans look forward to Halloween on October 31. On this day, people often dress up in frightening (or simply creative) costumes. This is a day to celebrate the things that scare us, things that are gross, and the supernatural. Spooky parties, trick-or-treating, and eating as much candy as your stomach can hold pretty much define today’s Halloween celebrations.

  • Happy Halloween!

12- Thanksgiving

Family Enjoying Thanksgiving Meal Together

Thanksgiving in the United States takes place on the fourth Thursday in November. As the name implies, this is a day where people are expected to be thankful—for something they have, the people in their life, or life itself. One of the most defining aspects of Thanksgiving is the consumption of a large meal with family and friends, almost always including turkey or ham. Other popular foods include pumpkin pie, stuffing, sweet potato casserole, and deviled eggs (though the most popular foods depend on where you are in the United States).

  • Happy Thanksgiving!
  • Happy Turkey Day!

13- Mother’s Day

The United States celebrates Mother’s Day on the second Sunday in May. This is a day for celebrating one’s mother, and showing her love and gratitude for all she’s done for you. It’s common to give her flowers, chocolates, or a card.

  • Happy Mothers Day!

Here are more personal, heartfelt things you can say, besides the surface-level “Happy Mothers Day.” Most of these may sound better written, but can also be spoken to her in person. (Either way, you’re sure to bring a smile to her face!)

  • Thank you for everything. I love you!
  • I’m glad that you’re my mom.
  • I hope to be as good of a mother/parent as you are someday.
  • I appreciate everything you’ve done for me!
  • I couldn’t ask for a better mother. Happy Mothers Day!
  • Words can’t express how thankful I am for you.

14- Father’s Day

The third Sunday in June marks Father’s Day in the United States. On this day, people show their fathers how much they mean to them, and thank them for all they’ve done. This holiday has become very commercialized in the United States, and it’s common to shop around for “the best” Father’s Day gift. Common gifts include watches, alcoholic drinks, sports-related items, and of course, a heartfelt Father’s Day card.

  • Happy Father’s Day

Here are some more personal, heartfelt Father’s Day phrases and wishes! These typically sound better written, but can also be spoken in person.

  • I appreciate everything you’ve done for me.
  • I hope to be as good of a father/parent as you are someday.
  • Thank you for being the world’s best dad!
  • Thank you for your place in my life. I don’t know who I’d be without you.
  • Words can’t express how thankful I am for you!

15- First Day of Spring

Most Americans greatly enjoy the spring season (except for allergies!), so it’s pretty common to wish someone well on the first day of spring.

  • Happy first day of Spring!

11. Conclusion: How EnglishClass101 Can Make You a Master of English Messages

That was a lot of ways to offer congratulations and condolences! Do you feel more prepared to wish those in your life well on their special occasions, or comfort someone in times of trouble? Can you think of any type of life event that I didn’t cover? Let us know in the comments!

To continue amping up your English skills, visit us at EnglishClass101.com and take advantage of our practical learning tools. We have something to offer for every learner, including podcasts for on-the-go learning, insightful blog posts like this one, and free English vocabulary lists to expand your word knowledge. You can also chat with fellow English learners on our community forums, or upgrade to Premium Plus to begin using our MyTeacher program!

It takes determination to master a language, and dedication to really start absorbing its country’s culture. Your hard work will pay off, and you’ll be speaking like a native English-speaker before you know it! And EnglishClass101.com will be here with you for each step of your language-learning journey.

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Celebrating Earth Day in the United States

Earth Day is a relatively new holiday that focuses on education about the environment and on finding ways to preserve the natural world around us. In this article, you’ll learn about the importance of Earth Day, how it’s celebrated in the United States, and more interesting Earth Day facts.

Let’s get started!

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1. What is Earth Day?

Earth Day is a worldwide celebration that began in the United States in 1970. An oil spill in Santa Barbara, California in 1969 is credited for spurring the first Earth Day. Hosted by Senator Gaylord Nelson the first celebration attracted over twenty-million participants. Earth Day was originally created as a grassroots movement, and while the holiday has spread over time and gained more support around the world, its message is still the same.

This holiday is meant to be both educational and fun, a day for children and adults alike to learn more about the environment. Today, it’s estimated that at least 500-million people partake in Earth Day events around the globe!

2. When is Earth Day?

An Image of the Earth From Space

Each year, people celebrate Earth Day on April 22. This date was chosen partly because it coincides with the time between college students’ spring and summer breaks, making it easier to reach them.

3. How is Earth Day Celebrated in the United States?

As mentioned earlier, Earth Day is a holiday dedicated to teaching people about the environment in a way that’s fun and attractive. Common Earth Day activities include volunteer work to help clean up the environment, planting trees, or teaching others about the importance of caring for the earth. Some places also host Earth Day parades or other large celebratory gatherings.

On Earth Day, United States schools typically use this opportunity to teach students about the environment itself, as well as sciences related to the environment (such as biology). Most events held on this holiday are geared toward audiences that want to learn more about the planet and how to protect it from things like pollution and waste.

In the past, Earth Day was considered a more political holiday. But nowadays, it’s simply a day of fun and education.

4. Themes & Special Events

Most years, Earth Day has a new theme based on current trends, events, and environmental goals. Further, because Earth Day is celebrated around the world, some countries may hold special events.

For example, in 2012, people in Beijing, China, rode bikes to promote more eco-friendly transportation. 2016’s theme was “Trees for the Earth,” which focused on the importance of trees and forests.

In 2020, people will be celebrating Earth Day’s 50th anniversary, which has a two-fold theme. First, there’s a goal of planting nearly eight-billion trees by this date (this goal was set a few years ago). Second, there’s going to be a focus on climate change.

5. Essential Earth Day Vocabulary

A Tiger Running in the Snow

Here’s a list of the most important words and phrases for Earth Day! You should recognize some of them from this article.

  • Water
  • Atmosphere
  • Earth
  • Green
  • Clean
  • Earth Day
  • Trash
  • Pollution
  • Volunteer
  • Reduce trash
  • Recycle
  • Rainforest
  • Reuse
  • Protect
  • Planet
  • Global warming
  • Environment
  • Energy
  • Endangered
  • Ecosystem
  • Eco-friendly
  • Conserve
  • Conservation
  • Care for
  • Resource

To hear the pronunciation of each word, and to read them alongside relevant images, be sure to check out our English Earth Day vocabulary list! Here, you can also see how to use these words in a sentence.

Final Thoughts

We hope you enjoyed learning about Earth Day with us, and that you took away some valuable information.

Do you celebrate Earth Day in your country? What do you do to help the environment? We look forward to hearing from you in the comments!

If you would like to learn more about U.S. culture and holidays, you may find the following pages on EnglishClass101.com useful:

Whatever your reasons for wanting to learn English or about U.S. culture, know that EnglishClass101.com is the best place to expand your knowledge and improve your skills. With tons of fun and effective lessons for learners at every level, there’s something for everyone!

Create your free lifetime account today, and start learning with us.

Happy Earth Day!

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U.S. Weather: How to Describe Weather in English

Thumbnail

Talking about the weather is just about universal. It’s a topic used to make small talk, divert from more serious topics or situations, and even express joy or annoyance. Weather is physical and natural, can evoke emotion and memories, and is one of the most convenient topics to be able to talk about in a pinch. Not only that, but the weather is often used in more creative contexts, such as metaphors and expressions.

By knowing how to describe the weather in English, you really are opening doors to many conversations. Consider this your U.S. weather radar on weather phrases in English and much more! By the time you’re through with this article, you’ll be able to talk about all types of weather in English!

EnglishClass101.com hopes to make expanding your weather vocabulary both fun and insightful for you!

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Table of Contents

  1. Phrases and Words about Weather in English
  2. Temperature and Seasons in the United States
  3. How to Form Sentences about Weather in English
  4. Common Ways to Comment on the Weather
  5. Idioms Related to Weather in English
  6. Creative and Literary Use of Weather & Seasons
  7. Conclusion

1. Phrases and Words about Weather in English

Weather

Here are some weather words in English you should know to talk about U.S. weather. These words are the most common types of weather in English you’re likely to experience. We’ve also included explanations below these words to give you a better idea of what they mean.

1- Basic

There are many different types of weather in English that you can talk about and experience. Here are the basics:

  • Sun (Sunny)
    • It’s considered “sunny” when the sun is out, and there are no (or few) clouds.
  • Cloud (Cloudy; Cloudless)
    • It’s considered “cloudy” when there are many clouds in the sky.
    • It’s considered “cloudless” when there are no clouds in the sky.
  • Rain (Rainy)
    • Any time that it’s raining, the weather can be described as “rainy”.
  • Drizzle
    • A “drizzle” means that it’s raining, but only lightly.
  • Sprinkle
    • When it’s “sprinkling,” it’s similar to when it’s drizzling.
  • Hail
    • “Hail” is when icy balls fall from the sky in cold weather, usually when it’s humid but not cold enough to snow.
  • Sleet
    • “Sleet” is similar to hail but is formed differently and usually occurs in the winter.
  • Snow (Snowy)
    • It’s considered “snowy” either when it’s snowing or when there’s a lot of snow on the ground.
  • Breeze (Breezy)
    • A “breeze” is a light wind.
    • It’s considered “breezy” when a light wind is ongoing.
  • Wind (Windy)
    • “Wind” occurs when air is blown forcefully.
    • It’s considered “windy” when the wind is ongoing or is considerably strong.
  • Fog (Foggy)
    • “Fog” is a layer of clouds that come down very near (or even touching) the ground.
    • It’s considered “foggy” whenever this fog is noticeable or particularly thick. Oftentimes, foggy weather makes it difficult to see very far in front of you and is a bad weather condition to travel in.
  • Frost (Frosty)
    • “Frost” is a very thin layer of ice.
    • Something is considered “frosty” if it’s covered in a thin layer of ice.
  • Ice (Icy)
    • “Ice” is frozen water. In terms of weather, ice usually refers to a body of water that has frozen over or rain/snow that has frozen over something (like a road).
    • Something is considered “icy” if it’s covered in ice.
  • Gloomy
    • “Gloomy,” while not a technical weather term, refers to weather that’s not generally pleasant. This usually means cloudy, rainy, overcast, or cold.
  • Overcast
    • When the weather is described as “overcast,” it means that clouds (usually dark rain clouds) are covering the sky. This is the type of weather you’re most likely to experience if you visit a state like Washington or Oregon!

Once you have these words down, you’re ready to bring up the weather in English conversations — the perfect ice-breaker.

2- Storms and Natural Disasters

When talking about weather in English, it’s important to know terms for harsher weather too. Here’s some practical vocabulary for extreme weather events in English.

  • Thunder
    • “Thunder” is the loud sound that happens during thunderstorms and is the result of a lightning strike forcing the air around it to expand.
  • Lightning
    • “Lightning,” which occurs most often during a thunderstorm or other nasty weather, is a streak or flash of electricity in the air.
  • Thunderstorm
    • A “thunderstorm” is a type of weather condition characterized by dark, thick clouds, rain, lightning, and thunder. Thunderstorms range in severity, with some being very mild and short-lived and others being heavier and more dangerous.
  • Snowstorm
    • A “snowstorm” is characterized by a heavy snow and is usually accompanied by strong winds.
  • Blizzard
    • A “blizzard” is a severe snowstorm and is often considered dangerous.
  • Tornado
    • A “tornado” is defined as air that’s rotating in a violent motion and touches both the ground and the base of a cloud.
  • Microburst
    • A “microburst” is similar to a tornado, though it moves differently. Microbursts typically occur during serious thunderstorms.
  • Dust/sandstorm
    • “Dust storms” and “sandstorms” are common in drier areas of the United States. These events occur when the wind picks up dust or sand from the ground and blows it into the air in a large gust.
  • Hurricane
    • A “hurricane” is a large storm that occurs over water, especially in more tropical regions.

Arizona Duststorm

3- Words to Describe Temperature

Here’s a final list on weather and climate in English. This should give you a better idea of how to describe the weather in English based on temperature and humidity.

  • Warm
    • The temperature is considered “warm” when the temperature is high but not too high.
  • Hot
    • The temperature is considered “hot” when the temperature is very high.
  • Cool
    • The temperature is considered “cool” when the temperature is low but not too low.
  • Cold
    • The temperature is considered “cold” when the temperature is very low.
  • Chilly
    • If the weather is “chilly,” it means that it’s pretty cold.
  • Humid
    • “Humid,” in and of itself, is not a temperature; however, it does affect how the temperature is perceived. If it’s “humid,” it means that there’s a lot of moisture in the air.
  • Dry
    • “Dry” is another word that doesn’t represent an actual temperature, but it affects how the temperature is perceived. If it’s dry, there’s no (or very little) moisture in the air.
  • Scorching
    • “Scorching” means that it’s excessively hot and usually very dry. You may hear this word used often when talking about a desert.
  • Roasting
    • “Roasting” means that it’s very hot. This word can be used to describe both dry and humid heat. It’s often said in exaggeration when someone is uncomfortable because of the heat.
  • Freezing
    • When it’s “freezing,” this can mean one of two things: 1.) It’s actually freezing, meaning that the temperature is below thirty-two degrees Fahrenheit (zero degrees Celsius), or 2.) It’s just very cold.
  • Crisp
    • “Crisp” is used to describe temperature that’s both cool and refreshing. This word is most often used to describe the temperature during autumn.

2. Temperature and Seasons in the United States

The weather and temperature in the United States varies by region, and people experience the changing of seasons differently depending on where they live. In this section, we’ll go over what to expect in U.S. weather forecasts by season and region.

If you want a more accurate and in-depth look at this, you can also view a U.S. weather map online or check in to the U.S. Weather Service. You can also use a U.S. weather radar map before your trip to have a better idea of what to expect, or you can keep tabs on a U.S. weather forecast channel.

Keep in mind that there are four general “regions” of the United States. Before we delve into seasonal information, here’s a quick rundown of which states belong to which region:

Midwest:

  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Kansas
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • Missouri
  • Nebraska
  • North & South Dakota
  • Ohio
  • Wisconsin

Northeast:

  • Connecticut
  • Maine
  • Massachusetts
  • New Hampshire
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • Pennsylvania
  • Rhode Island
  • Vermont

South:

  • Alabama
  • Arkansas
  • Delaware
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Kentucky
  • Louisiana
  • Maryland
  • Mississippi
  • North & South Carolina
  • Oklahoma
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Virginia
  • West Virginia

West:

  • Alaska
  • Arizona
  • California
  • Colorado
  • Hawaii
  • Idaho
  • Montana
  • Nevada
  • New Mexico
  • Oregon
  • Utah
  • Washington
  • Wyoming

With that out of the way, let’s take a look at the seasons in the United States as well as more weather and climate information in English. Be sure to keep your eyes peeled for some of the weather words in English we went over in the previous section!

1- Spring

Spring

1. When is Spring?

In the United States, spring officially begins on March 20 or 21, whichever day the Vernal Equinox takes place on and ends on the summer solstice, which is usually June 21 (but can also take place on June 20 or June 22).

2. Basic Attributes of Spring

Spring in the United States is known as the time of year when winter comes to an end. It’s when (most) people rejoice over the warmer days to come and all of nature returns to life. Flowers bloom, trees begin budding and sprouting leaves, and hibernating animals return from hibernation. The snow and ice begin to melt, and it snows less frequently in most places.

Spring is also a trying season for those with allergies, as they’ll once again have to suffer through the first few weeks of new pollen in the air. Overall, Americans seem to love and appreciate springtime for all of its good qualities.

3. Spring Around the U.S

Midwest: Here, you can expect to see some rain during the spring.

Northeast: This is another region of the U.S. where you can expect to see some rain during spring.

South: Spring in the south is generally a time for nice weather, though it will rain in most southern states as the weather warms up.

West: When it comes to the west, the weather tends to vary in the northwest and southwest. For instance, spring is generally rainy in states like Washington and Oregon, while states like Arizona and New Mexico are much drier.

2- Summer

Meat and Veggies on the Grill

1. When is Summer?

In the United States, summer typically begins on June 21, though it can begin on June 20 or June 22. It ends on the autumnal equinox, which takes place in late September (anywhere from September 21 to September 24).

2. Basic Attributes of Summer

Across the U.S., summer is known as being the warmest season. The days are longer, the temperatures rise, and most states get to see the sun more often! Summer is also generally considered a season of fun and freedom —schools across the country observe their summer break, and the longer days and added sunshine significantly improve people’s moods (especially in states that don’t usually see a lot of sunshine!).

This is usually the season when families and individuals like to travel, take vacation time from work, and spend lots of time outdoors. For the best summer experience, though, make sure to check a U.S. weather radar or a U.S. weather map to ensure the weather will be nice during your visit.

3. Summer Around the U.S.

Midwest: Summer in the midwest can be described as warm, but do keep in mind that summer may bring thunderstorms and rain.

Northeast: While the northeast tends to be cold most of the year, it does warm up quite a bit in the summer.

South: The south is generally known for having nice summer weather, despite some rainstorms.

West: Again, northwest and southwest weather conditions vary. In the northwest, it rarely gets very hot in the summer; it’s what most Americans consider “perfect weather.” The southwest tends to get hotter during summer and is also drier.

3- Fall/Autumn

Autumn

1. When is Autumn?

Autumn begins on the day of the autumnal equinox, which is anywhere from September 21 to September 24. It ends on the day of the winter solstice, which is on December 21 or December 22.

2. Basic Attributes of Autumn

In general, autumn tends to be a mild season in terms of weather and temperature. It’s best known as the time of year when the leaves change color and eventually fall to the ground. The weather begins to cool down after the heat of summer, and days gradually get shorter again.

Many people perceive autumn as a season of coziness, a time to enjoy the cool weather and lovely scenery, before snuggling up inside with family, friends, or a book. In the United States, there’s another common element of autumn: the Pumpkin Spice Latte at Starbucks arriving once again!

3. Autumn Around the U.S.

Midwest: The dryness of the midwest continues into autumn, with generally mild weather.

Northeast: This is a good region of the U.S. to go looking at autumn leaves on the trees, especially in areas that are more tree-dense. The overall weather is mild.

South: Many states in the south are known for having nice autumn weather and a lengthy autumn season.

West: Autumn in the west is generally nice—most years, it isn’t too hot or too cold. There are also many places here that are great for looking at autumn leaves; having lived in both Colorado and Washington, I can vouch for these being two states with lovely autumn scenery.

4- Winter

Child in Coat Holding Snow in Mittens

1. When is Winter?

Winter begins on the winter solstice, which takes place on either December 21 or December 22. It ends on March 20 or March 21, the beginning of spring.

2. Basic Attributes of Winter

Across the United States, winter is known as the coldest season and is often associated with snow, ice, and frost. Even for those states that rarely get snow, temperatures drop and the weather tends to become glum. This is also the season when the days are shortest and the least amount of sunlight is available. But to offset this gloominess and coldness, winter is also when Christmas and New Year’s take place!

Again, using a U.S. weather radar map to ensure that your winter visit will be pleasant and safe is advised! Further, the U.S. Weather Service may alert you to any hazardous weather, so do take heed of its advice.

3. Winter Around the U.S.

Midwest: The midwest is pretty notorious for very cold winters with lots of snow.

Northeast: This region of the U.S. also gets a lot of snow during the winter and may have some of the worst winters in the country. If you don’t like the cold, this is probably not the region for you.

South: The majority of the south doesn’t have very bad winters. They tend to be short and sweet.

West: When it comes to the west, the northwest tends to be a little bit colder than the southwest, though neither region usually has bad winters. The west typically experiences mild winters with a few snowstorms (depending on the year).

3. How to Form Sentences about Weather in English

Here, we’ll go a little bit more into how to describe the weather in English using common sentence patterns and weather phrases you’re likely to hear. These are phrases you can use in just about any conversation about weather in English!

Small Talk: Commenting on the Weather

  • “It’s [adjective] today.”
    • “It’s [warm] today.”

Man Riding Bicycle with Dog in Field

  • “It’s [number] degrees.”
    • “It’s [59] degrees.”
    • Note that in the United States, we use Fahrenheit instead of Celsius to measure temperature!
  • “This [season] has been [adjective].”
    • “This [winter] has been [long].”
  • “It’s such a(n) [adjective] day!”
    • “It’s such a [gloomy] day!”
  • “Isn’t the weather [adjective] today?”
    • “Isn’t the weather [chilly] today?”
  • “I [like/love/don’t like/hate] this weather.”
    • “I [don’t like] this weather.”
  • “This weather makes me feel [emotion].”
    • “This weather makes me feel [blue].”
    • Note: Feeling “blue”? Later in this article, we’ll go over an expression called “the winter blues” to help you better understand what this means.
  • “It’s so [adjective – usually temperature-related]!”
    • “It’s so [hot]!”
  • “[Type of weather] is predicted for the next week.”
    • “[Rain] is predicted for the next week.”
    • People in the United States definitely like to be ahead of the weather by using U.S. weather forecast apps and U.S. weather maps!

Asking about the Weather in English

There are a few basic ways to ask about the weather in English.

  • How’s the weather?
  • What’s the weather like?
  • What’s the weather forecast for [day or time frame].
    • “What’s the weather forecast for [tomorrow]?”
    • “What’s the weather forecast for [next week]?”

4. Common Ways to Comment on the Weather

In this section, we’ll go over sentences about weather in English based on the season. By the end of this section, you should have a few good phrases to describe the weather in English under your belt!

1- Spring

Lovely Spring Setting with Bench

Spring weather conversations often have to do with joy over winter ending and an appreciation for the warmer weather and all the things that come with it (flowers, animals, people being in a better mood, etc.). Here are some examples of weather phrases in English you may hear in a conversation about spring or things you can say.

  • “I’m so glad winter is over!”
  • “I’m so glad that spring is finally here.”
  • “It’s nice out today.” or “Isn’t it nice out today?”
  • “It’s so beautiful outside.”
  • “I enjoy this weather.”
  • “I look forward to summer.”
  • “That breeze feels nice.”
  • “It looks like rain is coming.”

Do note that everyone’s perception of springtime is different, and not everyone will be glad that winter is over or enjoy the qualities of spring. In these cases, you may hear the opposite of some of these phrases (“I’m upset that winter is over,” “I look forward to winter,” etc.).

2- Summer

Summer is the warmest season all across the U.S., and many comments and conversations have to do with the heat. Here are some good phrases to describe the weather in English during the summer.

  • “It’s so hot today!”
  • “It’s so humid/dry.”
    • As mentioned earlier, each region of the United States experiences the seasons differently. Some states have a very humid summer (like Texas) and some have a very dry summer (like Arizona).
  • “Drink plenty of water/fluids!”
  • “Let’s do something today!”
  • “Let’s turn up the AC (air conditioning).”
  • “I’m roasting!” or “It’s roasting!”
    • Here, the first statement means that the person speaking is feeling very hot, while the second statement indicates that the temperature itself is hot.
  • “I can’t believe how hot it is.”
  • “I like having longer days again.”
  • “Bugs are the only thing I don’t like about summer.”
    • With warm weather comes more creepy-crawlies, both outside in their homes and inside of our homes.
  • “I’ll never complain about winter again.”
    • People are quite funny sometimes. When we become desperate to escape the heat of summer, we finally see the good in winter. We say things like this even though we know we will complain about the winter when its turn comes.

3- Fall/Autumn

During autumn, comments about the weather overall tend to be more mild/neutral than during any other season, probably because the weather tends to be the most mild for many U.S. states. Most comments have to do with the leaves changing, as well as the gradual weather/temperature fluctuations that happen during this season. (Autumn also marks the beginning of what I call “the holiday season,” when several big holidays take place throughout autumn and winter up until the new year. Many comments during this season have to do with the holidays.)

  • “The weather is nice today.”
  • “The leaves are so pretty.”
  • “That’s a pretty cold breeze.”
  • “I hope it’s not too cold on Halloween.”
  • “I hate needing to rake leaves.”
  • “I enjoy crunching the leaves under my feet.”
  • “This time of year is [adjective].”
    • Here, the adjective used to describe autumn will vary depending on who you’re talking with. If it were me, I might say, “This time of year is [peaceful].” Other adjectives may describe the temperature or something else unique to the season.

4- Winter

Winter is the coldest season, and thus weather-related comments usually have to do with the cold temperature and related weather conditions.

  • “It’s so cold today!”
  • “I can’t believe how cold it is.”
  • “I’m freezing!”
  • “It’s chilly out today.”
  • “Let’s go inside and warm up.”

Couple Warming Up in Front of Fire

  • “I should have brought a jacket/coat.”
  • “The snow is so pretty.”
  • “The roads are too icy to drive on.”
    • Checking in with a U.S. weather radar map and paying attention to any U.S. Weather Service alerts can be helpful in avoiding (or preparing for) a situation like this.
  • “They canceled school because the roads are too dangerous.”
  • “Let’s play in the snow,” or “Let’s [snow-related activity].”
    • Depending on where you are in the United States, winter may be a good time to enjoy participating in (or watching) various snow- or ice-related activities. Some of these include sledding, skiing, snowboarding, ice skating, and making snowmen.
  • “I hope it warms up soon.”
  • “I can’t wait until spring/summer.”
  • “I’ll never complain about summer again.”

5. Idioms Related to Weather in English

Now that you know the basics of talking about weather in English, it’s time to look at some idioms.

Oftentimes, people use sentences about weather in English that have another meaning. Here are a few of the most common weather English idioms for you to review and practice while you expand your weather vocabulary!

1- “It was a breeze.”

Meaning:
When someone says that doing something “was a breeze,” it means that it was very easy or simple to do.

Example:
A: Congratulations on passing your exam!
B: Thanks! It was a breeze!

2- “A sunny disposition/attitude.”

Meaning:
When someone is said to have a “sunny” disposition or attitude, it means that they’re either cheerful or kind and amiable (and oftentimes both).

Example:
A: I wish I was more like Shay.
B: I know, me too. He has such a sunny disposition.

3- “Winter blues.”

Woman Experiencing Winter Blues

Meaning:
When you or someone you know has the “winter blues,” it means that you’re feeling sad or depressed due to the winter season. It’s similar to feeling “blue” or sad, but it’s specific to winter. The cold weather, lack of sunshine, and shorter days are often associated with depression.

Example:
A: What’s wrong, honey?
B: I don’t know. I think I just have the winter blues.

4- “Spring fever.”

Meaning:
“Spring fever” can have two meanings, both closely associated. The first, and most common, meaning of “spring fever” is a happiness and joy for winter ending. Just like winter tends to cause depression, spring does the opposite! The second meaning of “spring fever” is a heightened sexual desire or a deeper romantic feeling, also associated with the end of winter and the beginning of spring.

Example:
A: You seem happy today. Must be spring fever!
B: That’s probably it.

5- “After/beyond the storm.”

Meaning:
In this phrase, “the storm” typically refers to something negative, whether it be a difficult time in someone’s life or general negative feelings. When someone talks about “after” or “beyond” the storm, it means that the hardship or bad situation is over.

Example:
A: I finally found another job.
B: I’m so glad to hear you’re beyond the storm now.

6- “Calm before the storm.”

Meaning:
Once again, “the storm” refers to something negative. Oftentimes when it comes to the weather, there will be a period of good weather and tranquility right before a storm or other bad weather hits. This phrase indicates that while things are calm now, a bad time or situation can be expected in the near future.

Example:
A: Life was going so great, but I guess it was just the calm before the storm.
B: I’m sorry to hear about that.

7- “Under the weather.”

Meaning:
When someone is “under the weather,” it means that they aren’t feeling well. Usually, this indicates that they’re sick, but it can also refer to being emotionally unwell.

Example:
A: I can’t come in to work today. I’m feeling a bit under the weather.
B: Okay. Get well soon.

8- “Rain on someone’s parade.”

Meaning:
This is an interesting phrase to use, and one of my favorites. Imagine watching a parade go down the street (or being in one yourself) and then needing to call it quits early because it started raining badly. When you “rain on someone’s parade,” it means that you’ve ruined their fun or taken away from an experience that was supposed to be good for them.

Example:
A: This was the worst birthday ever. She totally rained on my parade!
B: I know. I’m sorry about that.

9- “Weather a storm.”

Meaning:
“Weather a storm” sounds confusing at first. Keep in mind that the weather referred to here means “come safely through” and doesn’t refer to weather as in temperature or weather conditions. And once again, the “storm” refers to something negative. So, when you “weather a storm,” it means that you’re going through a hard time and will make it out okay.

Example:
A: I feel like my life is falling apart.
B: I think you just need to weather the storm. It’ll be okay.

10- “Biting cold.”

Meaning:
When someone refers to “biting cold,” it basically means “extremely cold.” While a temperature can’t actually “bite,” it can be cold enough that it hurts exposed skin like a bite would. Some people also use the term “nipping cold,” which means the same thing.

Example:
A: Tamara made it through the biting cold just fine.
B: Good for her. I could never do that.

11- “(S)he’s so cold.”

Meaning:
When used figuratively, saying that someone is “cold” usually means that they’re distant or show little emotion, especially to the point of appearing rude or standoffish.

Example:
A: Me and my mother don’t have much of a relationship. She’s very cold.
B: That’s how my relationship with my brother is.

12- “An icy stare.”

Meaning:
When someone refers to “an icy stare,” icy can usually be replaced with “mean” or “distant.” It’s the kind of stare that might make you feel cold or uncomfortable or give you a “bad vibe” in general.

Example:
A: Did you see that icy stare she was giving him?
B: I did! I wonder what that was about.

13- “Cold-hearted.”

Meaning:
If someone is “cold-hearted,” it means that they appear either emotionless or selfish/mean.

Example:
A: I think her husband is very cold-hearted.
B: Well, maybe give him another chance. I heard he’s shy.

14- “A hot temper.”

Woman Talking Down to Another Woman

Meaning:
When someone has a “hot temper,” it generally means that they either get angry very easily or that they act out when they’re angry. Oftentimes, it means both. If someone warns you that another person has a hot temper, take heed and be careful not to offend or hurt them.

Example:
A: I think I’ll say hello to Tom’s wife.
B: Be careful, I hear she has a hot temper.

15- “Hotheaded.”

Meaning:
“Hotheaded” means about the same thing as “hot tempered,” though it can also refer to a sense of stubbornness and pride along with the anger.

Example:
A: Valerie’s daughter is pretty hotheaded, don’t you think?
B: Not as bad as me at her age!

16- “Blue/clear skies.”

Meaning:
When it comes to weather in the United States, most of us love clear blue skies! When someone refers to blue or clear skies (outside of actually talking about the weather), it refers to something good or positive. One common phrase associated with this is “clear skies ahead,” which means that things will be good from that point on.

Example:
A: This was a tough semester.
B: Yeah, but it should be clear skies ahead from now on.

6. Creative and Literary Use of Weather & Seasons

Talking about the weather isn’t limited to small talk.

Oftentimes, weather and seasons are used in a literary sense as a way of making a metaphor/simile, creating an image in someone’s mind or evoking specific emotions. For example, in literature and poetry, people often compare the changing of seasons with the changes of life itself (and even use phrases like “seasons of life” to describe these changes).

Spring is often associated with birth and life, or even happiness itself. While autumn and winter tend to represent death or misery. Just as winter changes to spring, from death comes life, and from sadness comes happiness; and vice-versa. This is a common theme when it comes to weather in literature.

People can also use words related to seasons and weather to evoke emotions or even nostalgia, such as using positive words associated with summer to remind someone of summers of the past. This is especially true in terms of imagery and appealing to the senses.

Another example of weather terms in literary use is the name of the fictional character “Jack Frost,” whose last name indicates who he is (a representation of winter and the cold) and what he does (freezing things over, etc.).

Weather talk is often used in poetry and other forms of writing for these reasons and can enrich writing and conversation greatly.

7. Conclusion

Now that you know some weather words in English, good phrases to describe the weather in English, and more information on weather in the United States, you should be more equipped for small talk and bigger-picture conversations during your stay here. We hope you enjoyed expanding your weather vocabulary with us, and that you learned enough about U.S. weather to make an informed decision about your stay or visit.

Is weather talk similar in your own country to that in the United States? What sort of weather phrases do you use there, and which of these sentences about weather in English do you feel ready to try out in a conversation? Let us know in the comments!

If you want to learn even more about United States culture and English, visit us at EnglishClass101.com and see all that we have to offer. From free vocabulary lists to insightful blog posts on various topics, there’s something for every English learner. You can also use our online community forum to discuss lessons with fellow English learners or create a Premium Plus account to take advantage of our MyTeacher program!

We’re excited for your English-learning journey and all the places it’ll take you—and we’re even more delighted that you’re here! Know that your hard work will pay off; before you know it, you’ll be speaking English like it’s your native tongue, and we’ll be here every step of the way there. Best wishes!

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