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Talking About the Weather in English

It’s true! British people often start a conversation with strangers and friends by talking about the weather. As weather is a neutral topic of conversation, it’s usually safe to use it to strike up a conversation – at the bus stop, in a shop, or with a neighbour over the garden fence.

Talking about the weather – conversation starters

“Lovely day, isn’t it!”

“Bit nippy today.”

“What strange weather we’re having!”

“It doesn’t look like it’s going to stop raining today.”

Attitude to weather

Although British people like to complain about bad weather, they generally “put a brave face on it”.

If someone complains about too much rain, you might hear:

“Never mind – it’s good for the garden.”

If someone complains that it’s too hot, you could hear:

“At least my tomatoes will be happy.”

If the conversation has been about general bad weather, perhaps someone will say:

“Well, I’ve heard it’s worse in the west. They’ve had terrible flooding.”

Predicting the weather

When we’re talking about the weather, we often make predictions. Remember to use a range of forms – not just the “will” or “going to” form:

“I think it’ll clear up later.”

It’s going to rain by the looks of it.”

We’re in for frost tonight.”

They’re expecting snow in the north.”

“I hear that showers are coming our way.”

Human attributes

We also attribute human features to the weather, almost as if the weather can decide what to do:

“The sun’s trying to come out.”

“It’s been trying to rain all morning.”

“It’s finally decided to rain.”

Understanding the weather forecast

Many British people are keen gardeners, and they keep a close eye on the weather forecast. Here are some of the weather features which can worry gardeners:

a hard frost = when the grass is “white” in the morning
blizzard / galeforce conditions = when it’s very windy
hailstones = when it rains “ice”
prolonged rain = when the rain continues for a long time
blustery wind = when the wind is strong
a drought (pronoucned “drowt”) = when there’s no rain for a long time

Here are some English words for more temperate weather conditions which gardeners like:

mild weather = when it isn’t too cold
sunny spells = when there’s sun for periods of time
light drizzle = when there’s light rain


Talking about the Weather

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