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Speaking English – Why do the English Always Talk About the Weather?

Why do English People Always Talk About the Weather

Don’t you think the weather in London is awful at the moment? I mean, it’s nearly June and I’m still wearing my winter jacket and a scarf! When is the sun going to come out?

talking about the weather

I know what you’re thinking… “She’s talking about the weather, she must be English!” You’re right, in England people often start a conversation by discussing the weather. Have you ever wondered why this is?

Well, weather is a very neutral topic of conversation – it’s the perfect subject to talk about when you don’t want to have a serious or meaningful conversation with someone. You can talk about the weather to anyone, anywhere – with a stranger at a bus stop, with your friends on the phone or when you bump into your boss in the office kitchen!

However, talking about the weather can mean more than just trying to make conversation with a stranger. It is also used as an ice-breaker in difficult situations (for example, a job interview) or it can be used to find out more about someone’s personality. If there is heavy rain one day and someone says to you, “wow, it’s been raining all day”, how would you reply? If you’re thinking, “I know, I really hate rain. I wish it would stop”, it’s possible that you’re quite a negative person. But, if you’re thinking, “oh well, at least it’s good for my garden”, there is a high chance you’re an optimistic person!

The weather is everywhere and it affects everyone so if you meet a stranger or if you are introduced to someone, it is the perfect way to start a conversation! It also changes every day so there is always something to mention. Imagine that you’re in a park and you spot a girl or boy that you like. Do you think it’s better to start a conversation with, “your eyes are really beautiful. Do you want to go on a date?” or, “it’s a lovely day today, isn’t it?”?

So, how can you start a conversation about the weather? Well, it’s actually quite easy. Just remember a few of the phrases below and try them out on a stranger next time you’re waiting for a bus or in your next job interview!

“It’s a beautiful day today, isn’t it?”

“What strange weather we’re having!”

“There’s not a cloud in the sky!”

“The sun’s come out!”

“We had a lot of rain this morning.”

“We’re having a heatwave!”

Or a very typical idiom that is used a lot in England to describe heavy rain:

“It’s raining cats and dogs!”

(Don’t forget to check our idiom of the week page for a list of common idioms with their meanings, origins and example sentences!)

Good luck and let me know if you use any of these phrases to start a conversation this week!

Let’s hope the weather improves next week too! Last week, we arranged a picnic in Hyde Park as a social activity for our students but they couldn’t have a picnic because the weather was too bad! Instead, they walked around the park and met some funny squirrels! 

Bloomsbury International students meeting a squirrel in Hyde Park

Bloomsbury International students meeting a squirrel in Hyde Park

We’ve arranged some great activities for June, July and August – check our social activity calendar for the details. Remember, doing an English language course in a school like Bloomsbury International is a great way to improve your English, but it’s also important to practise your spoken English outside the classroom by talking to other students at social activities!

Have fun with English

Weather Vocabulary

Can you fill in the gaps in these sentences? Try to fill them in on your own first, before you look at the list below.

1. When it is extremely cold, small pieces of hard ice, called _______ , come down and if they hit you, it could hurt!

2. “I’m not going to take my umbrella today. It’s only _______ now.” (raining very lightly)

3. “Why are your trousers wet?” “I stood in a ______.” (pool of rain)

4. “I can’t believe it’s so hot in April! We must be having a ________.”

5. “I saw the weather _______ earlier and it’s hopefully going to be sunny tomorrow.”

6. “When I looked at the _______ it said the temperature was 15 degrees.”

Puddle, thermometer, hail, forecast, drizzling, heatwave

Last week’s answers

Phrasal verbs with ‘put’

1. My rent is going to be put up next year.
2. I’ll come down as soon as I’ve put away all my clothes.
3. She doesn’t exercise anymore so she’s put on a lot of weight.
4. The football match was put off until next month.
5. Will you help me put up this poster?
6. Our cat was really sick so we had to put him down

Remember to check our idiom of the week page for more expressions with their meanings, origins and examples.

Have a good week everyone!!

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