English vocabulary for love and romantic relationships

Speak the Language of Love: Vocabulary for romantic relationships

Love is in the air, so I wanted to share some great vocabulary for romantic relationships. You’ll see these phrases on television, in movies, and of course, whenever people talk about being in love. 

No matter what stage of a relationship you’re in––single, dating, married, or something else (it’s complicated)––there are creative ways to describe your level of romance. Let’s look at some love vocabulary you’ll fall head over heels with!

Part 1: Once Upon a Time

Hook up with someone

Hook up with

Meet someone and share physical contact with (kissing, holding hands, or other physical activity.)

They hooked up at a party and started dating soon after.

Head over heels in love

Head over heels

To be completely in love with someone. You’re life has been turned upside down by your new relationship, and you’re crazy about your new love.


She is head over heels in love with her new boyfriend.

Making out in public

Make out with

This usually happens in private locations. It describes heavy physical contact and serious kissing.

I saw you and your boyfriend making out in the hallway. Get a room, guys!

Part 2: Days of our lives

After a relationship has begun, things start to move faster. You might decide to live together, and one of you will move in with the other. You might meet each other’s parents for the first time. Good luck with that!

After a few months or years, it might be time to get serious about the relationship. You might start to plan for the future, discuss having children, and talk about your larger goals in life. I imagine many people will get engaged on Valentine’s Day this year. Congratulations to them all!

He popped the question!

Pop the question

To propose marriage.

He got down on one knee and popped the question, “Baby, will you marry me?” Of course, I said yes.

He finally put a ring on it.

Put a ring on it

To get engaged and begin to plan for marriage. We can thank Beyoncé for this slangy expression. Girls love to brag to friends about their engagement with a sparkly ring on their finger!

We were on and off for 7 years before he finally put a ring on it.

They decided to split up.

Split up/Break up

Relationships can’t always be picture perfect. Sometimes things just don’t work out, and you decide to go your separate ways. 😦

We just couldn’t agree on anything, so we decided to split up. I broke up with him this afternoon.

They got back together after a big fight.

Get back together

Continue the relationship after a break up.

I realized that I couldn’t live without the love of your life, so we got back together.

Part 3: Happily Ever After

The final stage in a relationship isn’t the end; it’s really just the beginning of a long life full of love and promise. It’s not easy to find a person you can spend your whole life with, but true love is possible, and half the fun is getting there!

He could be my soulmate.

Soulmate

The most perfect person in the world for you. Your perfect match. Your destiny.


I’ve been looking for my soulmate my entire life, and now I’ve found him.

They just tied the knot

Tie the Knot

Officially get married.


We couldn’t wait to get married, so we tied the knot after just 6 months!

my wife is my better half

My better half

An affectionate way to refer to your husband or wife.


I can’t wait for you to meet my better half. She’s a wonderful woman.

settle down and start a family

Settle down

Reach a point in life when you decide to start a family.


After years of being a bachelor, he finally settled down and started a family.

an old couple in love

Grow old and gray with

To stay together forever.

I want to meet someone I can grow old and gray with, don’t you?

Aww! That’s such a cute couple. They’re a couple of lovebirds! I hope you find love as sweet as this one day, and if you have it, celebrate! Love is a lovely thing to share.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Borrow or Lend: What’s the difference?

It’s easy to confuse these two terms. They are used when we give or take something that will be returned (Well, we hope it will!)

What's the difference between borrow and lend?

LEND = Give

To lend is to give someone something for a short time. Lend requires a direct pronoun (money, a phone, a sweater, etc.) and an indirect object pronoun (me, him, her, us, them, my friend, the students, etc.)

Notice that in each of these sentences, we can replace the word lend with the verb give-gave-given and it will have the same meaning.

  • I lent my friend $5000 so she could get a new apartment. (I gave…)
  • Could you lend me some money? (Could you give…)
  • Have you ever lent money to friends? And if so, do they always pay you back? (Have you ever given…)

BORROW = Take

Borrow means to take. It means you are asking to take something from someone and return it in the future. You can use the verb take-took-taken in the following sentences and have the same meaning.

  • My friend borrowed $5000 from me so she could move into a new apartment. (My friend took $5000…)
  • Could I borrow some money? (Could I take…)
  • She promised to pay back the money she had borrowed. (…the money she had taken.)

Remember, lend = give and borrow = take

Need a loan? Borrow some cash from a friend!
Need a loan?

When we borrow money from a person or a bank, it is called a loan.

Check out this classic episode of the TV sitcom Seinfeld to see how lending money to friends can sometimes be complicated…and very funny!

Jerry can lend you $5000.00!

Do you think Jerry will lend her the money? I’m sure he was happy that his friend Kramer was there to negotiate the deal!

Pay (someone) back = return money that was borrowed

When talking about borrowing money, we use the phrasal verb to pay back. This is a separable phrasal verb, meaning we often use an object noun or pronoun in the middle of the phrase.

  • When can she pay me back?
  • She shouldn’t borrow money from Jerry unless she is sure she can pay him back!

Give (something) back = return an item that was borrowed

When talking about borrowing a car, phone, or other items, we use the phrasal verb to give back.

  • Did she give your bike back to you after she borrowed it?
  • You borrowed my umbrella three months ago. Please give it back!

Now it’s your turn. Can you describe each photo below using both borrow and lend?

Thanks, dad!

Example: I borrowed my father’s credit card. My father lent me his credit card.

Write your answers in the comments below to see if you’ve got the hang of it. When you finish, lend this post to your friends to improve their English, too!

vocabulary for ordering drinks at a bar

What’s Your Poison? Vocabulary for ordering drinks at a bar

vocabulary for ordering drinks at a bar
“What’s your poison?”

Ordering drinks can be intimidating for a non-native speaker.

Picture this:

You’re at a noisy, crowded night club. The music is blaring, the lights are flashing, and there is a long line of people waiting to get their drinks. You make your way to an open space at the bar. You can feel people pushing up from behind.

The bartender finally leans forward and asks the important question:

“What can I get ya’?”

It’s a very simple question, but it’s not easy to answer.

Everything is moving fast, so you quickly blurt out your order. “I’ll have 3 beers and…um…uh…a mojito.” There. You said it right. You start to relax as the bartender starts making the drinks, but suddenly, he asks a second question.

“You want that with a twist and on the rocks?”

You have NO idea what he is asking you! And now, he’s waiting for an answer. “What? Sorry?” you reply nervously. Suddenly, the music stops. You start to sweat. Everyone is looking at you. So what do you say?

vocabulary for ordering drinks at a bar

For the moment, just say, “Yes.” You’ll know what he was talking about when you get your mojito with ice and a slice of lime.

But next time, here is some helpful vocabulary for ordering drinks at a bar.

vocabulary for ordering drinks at a bar

With a twist means with a slice of fruit, typically lemon or lime. On the rocks means your drink will be served with ice, and neat is for a drink with no ice, no fruit, no nothing. You can order any drink followed by these phrases to customize your order.

For example, “I’ll have a whiskey on the rocks.” Or, if you’re feeling flirty, ask for a “martini, with a twist.” That will get you started on the many different ways of ordering drinks!

vocabulary for ordering drinks at a bar

Alcohol comes in various containers, depending on how it is served.

If you really want to get the party going, you can start by doing a few shots of tequila. A large shot is also called a double shot. Tilt your head back and gulp it all down. As they say,

One tequila, two tequila, three tequila, FLOOR!

Beer drinkers can be picky. Some like bottles, some like draft beer (beer from the tap), and some don’t mind drinking out of cans. Large groups of friends will want to order pitchers. It’s cheaper than buying it by the glass.

The bartender will ask if you want to open a tab. This means that you can continue ordering drinks and he will add the total to the tab. When you finish your drinks, tell the bartender to close out the tab. This means you are ready to go pay. Hopefully, a friend will offer to pick up the tab, which means your friend will pay for all the drinks. Cheers to that!

The person who decides not to drink so that he or she can safely drive home is known as the designated driver. The “d.d.” will want to order virgin drinks (without alcohol). Make sure you thank your driver, and never drink and drive!

Studies have shown that having a few drinks can actually improve your ability to speak. Alcohol lowers your fear of making mistakes, and actually can improve your pronunciation. It’s true!

I know that after studying English grammar all day, I definitely appreciate a nice glass of wine. So treat yourself to a night out with friends from time to time. It’s a great way to practice your new vocabulary for ordering drinks at a bar.

vocabulary for ordering drinks at a bar
Cheers!

Too vs. So: What’s the difference?

TOO = A negative description

When something is not good, or you don’t like it, or you can’t use it, use too to describe it. When you use too in a sentence, it means that you are not happy, or there is a negative result.

  • The driver was going too fast. (He crashed his car and died.)
  • The food was too hot. (I couldn’t eat it, or I burned my mouth.)
  • The music was too loud. (I didn’t like it, or I couldn’t hear you.)
  • The child is too young to watch this movie. (He shouldn’t watch it because it is violent or sexual.)
too or so: what's the difference?
This photo is TOO small.

SO = A surprising or happy description

SO, on the other hand, is used to describe something that has a surprising or happy effect. Be careful not to use so to describe a noun.

So is only used for adjectives or adverbs. For nouns, use such.

  • The driver was going so fast! I think he is going to win the race!
  • The food was so delicious! (I really enjoyed it and want to eat more.)
  • The music was so beautiful! (I loved listening to it.)
  • The child is so young to be watching this movie! (I can’t believe he is watching the violent movie. I hope he doesn’t have nightmares!)
This photo makes me SO happy!

Very = Intensify the meaning

Very is different than so and too. It doesn’t show how YOU are feeling about it. Use very only to increase or intensify an adjective or adverb.

  • Water is cold… Ice is very cold.
  • Your parents are old… Your grandparents are very old.
  • Driving a car is difficult… Flying a plane is very difficult.

Try not to use very all the time. There are so many other words that you can use instead. For example, you can say that ice is freezing instead of very cold. You can find more examples of these words here.

I hope you didn’t find this lesson too difficult to understand. You can practice more by describing the photos below.

  1. It’s raining _____ hard, but he doesn’t care.
  2. Stay back! We can’t go in there. The fire is ____ hot.
  3. Wow! That dog is ____ big! He’s enormous!
  4. We are ____ late. They are closed until tomorrow.
  5. My jeans are ____ big now. Before I went on a diet, I was ____ fat!
What's the difference between so and such?

So or Such: What’s the difference?

Cats are so funny. You never know what they are really thinking about you, but we can guess from the look on their faces. They make such good expressions!

THE BASIC RULE:

S0 + ADJECTIVE

When SO means “very,” it is usually followed by an adjective.

  • It’s so hot today.
  • The cats are so funny.
  • She looks so beautiful in the photo.

So + (many/much) + noun

With many and much, we need to decide if the noun is countable or uncountable.

  • There are so many cats in the world today. (countable)
  • We have so much work to do before 5:00! (uncountable)

SUCH + NOUN

When SUCH is used for emphasis, it is followed by a noun clause.

  • It’s such a hot day.
  • They are such funny cats.
  • It is such a beautiful photo of her.

Such + (a lot of) + noun

We sometimes use a lot of to modify the noun, but it’s more common to use so much/many.

  • There are such a lot of cats in the world.
  • We have such a lot of work to do before 5:00!
“Meeee-ow?”

Can you describe this cat photo using both such and so? Post your answers in the comments section below!

If you can do it, good job! You are such a good student. English grammar can be so difficult at times. Keep up the good work, cats!

history vs. story

History vs. Story: What’s the Difference?

History: The study of past events or people

History is a subject that we study in school. We study the history of civilizations, important people, or topics, like the history of art. We only use the word history when referring to major events or people from the past.

HIS-tuh-ree

I studied art history in college.

Examples:

  • The history of Egypt is fascinating.
  • I have a history test tomorrow.
  • Many students think history is boring, but I love it.
  • The U.S. has a long history of violence.

Story: A re-telling of something that happened, usually to you or someone you know.

Story telling is a big part of language. We tell stories to each other about things that happened at work, like when you accidentally spilled coffee on your computer. Yikes!

telling stories is fun
He tells the funniest stories!

We tell stories about events in our lives, like about how our parents met and fell in love, or things that we remember from our childhood. Stories can be happy, sad, scary, or funny––the best stories are funny, don’t you agree?

We also tell stories to children. Some of my favorite stories are Cinderella and The Little Mermaid. What are your favorite childhood stories?

STOR-ee

Tell me a story about your childhood.

Do you have a favorite childhood story, or a story about learning English? Leave a comment to share your story!

Tricky Verbs: Fall, Feel, Fill

These three verbs are often confusing, especially when it comes to past tense forms and pronunciation. Let’s look at the differences and practice using them.

Fall

Fall has an “Aww” sound. Practice the following sentence:

Aww, did the baby fall?

Feel

Feel has a hard EEE sound. You need to smile when you say this word, making your mouth wide. Practice this sentence:

I feel so happy and free!

Fill

The sound of fill is between fall and feel. Your mouth is slightly open, and it has a short i sound. Practice this sentence to help:

Bill filled the glass with milk.

Now try them all together, making sure to say each word slowly and differently than the others.

Fall, feel, fill, the dog meets Bill. The dog eats meat, Bill drinks milk, Fall, Feel Fill.

Various Forms

Another challenge for students is to use these verbs in different tenses.

Fall—Fell—Fallen—Falling

Feel—Felt—Felt—Feeling

Fill—Filled—Filled—Filling

Try to answer the following questions:

Did the man fall out of the airplane?

Yes, the man…

Did you feel the elephant?

Yes, I…

Did you fill the glass?

Yes, I…

Expressions with the Verb TO HAVE

I hope everyone is having a very Happy New Year so far! I think 2019 is going to be a great year! This year, I’m looking forward to eating healthier, learning new recipes, getting more exercise, and writing many more lessons for all the English learners out there. How about you? Do you have any plans or goals for 2019?

Let’s start the year with a great verb: TO HAVE. 

The verb to have is everywhere in English. It’s used to form the present perfect (Have you ever celebrated New Year’s Eve in another country?) and it’s also used in many common conversational expressions. (Would you like to have dinner at our house?)

We can start with looking at some basic greetings/conversational vocabulary.

  • Have a great day!
  • Have a nice weekend!
  • I had a great time at the holiday party.
  • Did you have a nice trip/visit/vacation/holiday?

Have is used in hundreds of everyday English expressions. Here are some of the different ways you can use have instead of other verbs.

Have = To Own

Perhaps the most obvious meaning is to own something, meaning it’s yours.

  • I have a house.
  • She has a nice car.
  • They have a good job.
  • We have a large family.

Besides ownership, there are more meanings for the verb to have.

Have = To Be Sick, for Diseases and Illnesses

  • I’ve had this cold for a week.
  • I have a headache.
  • She had a stomachache after eating too much candy.
  • Does anyone in your family have diabetes?
  • Do you have any allergies?

Have a Dream, a Nightmare

  • have a dream to own my own business.
  • had a nightmare about my job last night.

Have Sex

  • Some people wait until after marriage to have sex.
  • The boss should never have sex with employees.

Have = To Eat and Drink, For Meals

  • had breakfast, but I didn’t have lunch. I’m starving!
  • I’ll have a hamburger and french fries, please.
  • had three beers after work.
  • I’m having dinner at my friend’s house tomorrow night.

Have a Fight, Have Problems

  • We had a huge fight yesterday and we are still not speaking.
  • Call me if you have any problems or questions.

Have an Idea

  • I have a great idea: let’s take a vacation!
  • He has no idea where he parked the car.
  • Steve Jobs had a lot of great ideas for technology.

Have a Party

  • We always have a party at our house for New Year’s Eve.
  • If you have a birthday party, where do you want to have it?

Have a Baby, Children

  • My sister had a baby last month.
  • Most women prefer to have their babies at a hospital.

Have Plans

  • Do you have plans for the New Year?
  • I like to have an itinerary before I travel.
  • I have an appointment with my agent this weekend.
  • We have too many meetings at work, don’t you think?
  • I have no doubt you will understand this lesson.

I hope you had fun and learned some new ways of speaking from this lesson. Do you have any more examples or questions?  Leave me a comment on the post. I would love to hear your thoughts.

Have a great day!

Still vs. Until: What's the difference?

Still Or Until: What’s the Dif?

These two very common words are easy to confuse. They both relate to a measure of time. However, they have completely different meanings, and it’s important to know which one to choose. 

STILL

Use STILL to indicate that an action is not finished. There is usually an emotional reaction to a situation. 

  • I’ve been waiting for an hour, and the bus still hasn’t arrived.
  • Do you still have the jacket you borrowed from me last year?
  • She still hasn’t found a job even though she’s been looking for weeks.
  • Are you still watching the TV show, or can I change the channel?
  • I am still at the DMV because the lines are extremely long.
  • I don’t like what you did, but I still love you.

Look at the difference here:

  • The bus hasn’t arrived yet
  • The bus still hasn’t arrived.
Where is the bus!?

Both sentences mean the same thing. Yet states a fact: no bus. Still is used to add emotions to the fact. You’re annoyed or angry or nervous that the bus didn’t arrive when you expected it to.

UNTIL

Until is used to show change. We use until to indicate the time when a change occurred.

  • I didn’t have a car until last week. (Now I have a car. I got it last week.)
  • I will wait here until 3:00, and then I will go home. (At 3:00, I will stop waiting.)
  • I didn’t speak English until I moved to the U.S. (Now, I speak English.)
  • Please wait until Monday to call the library. (Don’t call before Monday.)
  • I didn’t know you were angry until you told me. (Now I know that you’re angry.)

As you can see, until shows that a change has occurred. it shows a moment in time that is different than the past. Note the differences between still and until in the following sentences:

  • I still don’t have a computer. (No computer in the past or present.)
  • I didn’t have a computer until yesterday. (I have a computer now.)

Practice:

Q: Are there things that you still have to do before you go to bed tonight?

A: Yes, I still have to…..

Q: What are some things we can’t do until we are adults?

A: We can’t…..until we become adults.

Choose still or until in your answer:

Q: How late are you working?

A: I’m working still/until 5 p.m.

Q: Are you finished working?

A: No, I’m still/until working.

That’s all there is to it! Now you know the difference between still and until. 

Until next time, have a wonderful holiday and happy New Year!

Steal vs. Rob: Crime Vocabulary

Have you ever been robbed? It’s a terrible feeling! What did they steal?

STEAL and ROB are two words related to crime, but it’s good to know which one to use.

STEAL

A thief steals things. It is an irregular verb. (STEAL<< STOLE>>STOLEN)

A thief might steal your cell phone, your wallet, or even your car.

We typically use the passive tense to describe the crime.

  • Active: A thief stole my purse.
  • Passive: My purse was stolen. (by a thief)

ROB

When a thief enters your home or business and takes something from you, we can say that you have been robbed.

Robbed is for places or people, and it is a regular verb. (ROB<<ROBBED>>ROBBED)

We typically use the passive tense to talk about being robbed.

  • Active:        Three thieves robbed the bank.
  • Passive:      The bank was robbed. (by three thieves)

THIEF, THIEVES (pl.)

A thief is a general term to call someone who takes things that aren’t theirs. For more specific crimes, use the following names:

  • A robber robs banks
  • A burglar enters and robs homes and jewelry stores
  • A kidnapper steals children
  • A pickpocket steals from people in busy, public places
  • A pirate steals technology like software, movies or music files
  • A hacker steals digital information, like emails or passwords
  • A hijacker steals control of airplanes or other forms of transportation
  • A shoplifter steals things from stores like clothing, cosmetics, or food

Crime is never a fun experience, but it is interesting to think about and talk about. What makes people want to steal? Have you ever stolen anything that didn’t belong to you?  Maybe a pen, or a hotel towel? Come on, be honest! Read more in this funny post about the 7 little things that people often steal. How about you?