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English Conversation – The Weather

Monday, May 2, 2011 @ 06:05 PM
posted by Jo

This is the preparation material for an English conversation lesson about the weather.  There are so many terms in the English language to describe the weather, some with only very small differences in meaning. This lessons outlines some of those words, as well as some common idioms we use when talking about the weather. There are also some conversation questions about this subject.

Weather vocabulary 

Hot weather:

  • Stifling (hot, uncomfortable, hard to breath)
  • Humid (hot and damp)
  • Scorching (extremely hot, can be used in positive contexts)
  • Boiling (very hot, usually used in negative contexts)
  • Heatwave (a period of very hot temperatures) 

Wet weather:

  • Damp (mildly wet weather)
  • Drizzle (very light rain)
  • Downpour / pouring down (very heavy rain)
  • Torrential rain (extremely heavy rain)
  • Shower (raining for a short duration) 

Windy weather

  • Breeze (gentle wind, usually used in a positive way)
  • Blustery (very windy, usually negative)
  • Gale force wind (extremely windy) 

Mist and fog

  • Haze/hazy (light mist, usually caused by heat)
  • Mist/misty (light fog, usually caused by drizzle)
  • Fog/foggy (quite thick, associated with cold weather)
  • Smog (mixture of fog and pollution) 

Idioms we might use when talking about the weather 

  • Weather the storm – to wait for a storm (or trouble) to finish.
  • Come rain or shine - If I say I'll be at a place come rain or shine, I mean that I can be relied on to turn up; nothing, not even the vagaries of British weather, will deter me or stop me from being there.
  • Dry/wet spell – a period of dryness or wetness
  • The heavens open - When the heavens open, it suddenly starts to rain heavily.
  • Raining cats and dogs – raining very heavily
  • A storm is brewing – the atmosphere/sky indicates that a storm is on its way. It can also be used more generally to refer to trouble on its way. 

Conversation questions about the weather 

  • Can you describe the types of weather you get in your country?
  • How does the weather affect the way you live?
  • What is your favourite type of weather?
  • What is your favourite season?
  • Do you think the weather affects people’s mood?
  • Are there any festivals associated with different seasons in your country?
  • If you were to choose a country to live in other than your own, would part of your decision be based on the weather of that country?
  • Have you ever experienced extreme weather?
  • Has the weather ever destroyed your plans?
  • Do you think weather patterns are changing?
  • Do you prefer your holidays to be in hot weather e.g. a beach holiday, or cold weather e.g. snow, skiing etc.?
  • Do you think the weather can affect our health?
  • Which season do you think is the most beautiful in nature?
  • Do you think that extreme weather can affect the economy in a country?
  • How does weather determine the type of house a person lives in?
  • Do you check weather reports regularly?
  • Why is it important to know future weather conditions in advance?
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