Resources: Notes on Life and Language in the United States

Let's Talk about Winter Weather! 4 Key English Vocabulary Words

Posted by Lindsay McMahon on Wed, Feb 12, 2014 @ 09:15 AM

how to talk about the weather in EnglishWhat is the most reliable small talk topic that you can use when you don't know someone very well?

You can talk about the weather!

It's an easy topic because no one will get offended when you talk about the weather and it is a situation that you share with the other person.

The weather affects everyone.

But do you know the right vocabulary words to use when you talk about the weather in English?

Today I will give you 4 of them to get you started.




#1) Cold snap


winter bootsA cold snap is a period of time ( a few days, a week) when the weather is colder than usual.

In my hometown of Boston, we have had a few cold snaps so far in the winter of 2013-2014.

We had a cold snap about a month ago when temperatures were around 5-10 degrees F for a week straight.

How to use this term in conversation:

  • "How are you holding up in this cold snap?"
  • "Can you believe this cold snap we are having?"
  • "Man, when do you think this cold snap will be over?"




#2) Taper off


To "taper off" is to reduce, to die down, to lessen in strength and intensity.

We only use this term when we talk about snow, not rain or any other kind of precipitation.

How to use this in conversation:

  • "I think the snow is supposed to taper off by early evening."
  • "I am glad that the heavy snow is tapering off. I need to drive home."
  • "When do you think this snow will taper off?"




#3) Bundle up


bundle upWhen we "bundle up" we wear many layers to protect ourselves against the cold weather and strong winds.

This phrasal verb is used all of the time during conversations in the winter.

How to use it in conversation:

  • "Are you going out in this cold? You'd better bundle up."
  • "Don't forget to bundle up if you go out today."
  • "I was all bundled up so I didn't feel the cold."




#4) Black ice


If you live in Boston or New York or any other cold city, watch out for "black ice"!

This kind of ice is usually on the road or the sidewalk and it's hard to see. It looks black because it is clear so it takes on the color of the road.

How to use it in conversation:

  • "There is a lot of black ice on the road. I don't think you should drive tonight"
  • "Watch out for black ice on your way to work today if you are walking."
  • "I slipped on a path of black ice and broke my wrist."




Remember, talking about the weather is a great small talk topic to get started and then you can transition into a more interesting topic.

Do you want to practice these with a conversation partner? Check out our program by clicking on the button below!





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