You can experience all types of weather in the UK – and sometimes all on the same day! Here’s our guide to English vocabulary about the weather – and ways that we talk about it.
Using it’s and there
We often use “It’s” as the subject of a sentence about weather:
With an adjective: It’s hot today.
With a verb: It’s raining again.
We can use “There” with a noun
There will be more snow later.
There’s a lot of fog about.
(It’s = it is)
Here are some common adjectives to describe weather.
sunny (when there’s a lot of sunshine): “It’s sunny today
hot: “I like hot weather.”
cold: “We have cold winters in the UK.”
mild = when the weather isn’t cold: “Spring is usually a mild season.”
fine = a word to mean “nice” when we describe the weather: “It will be a fine, sunny day.”
windy = when there’s a lot of wind: “Be careful when you go out. It’s very windy.”
wet = when it rains a lot: “The roads are wet. Take care.”
dry = when there’s no rain: “It’s going to be a long, dry summer.”
cloudy: “Today will be cloudy.”
overcast = when the sky is completely grey: “It’s overcast and depressing today.”
misty = when there is low cloud in the morning: “It’s quite misty this morning.”
foggy = when you can’t see in front of you because there is low clouds: “It’s foggy today in the mountains.”
frosty = when it freezes overnight and the grass, etc is icy and white: “It’s going to be frosty tomorrow morning.”
icy = when it freezes and water turns to ice: “Road conditions are icy this morning.”
stormy: “You can expect stormy weather in winter.”
raining: “It’s raining again.”
“It always rains in summer here””
(“rainy” is also an adjective: “It’s a rainy day.”)
snowing: “It’s snowing hard. Let’s go and build a snowman!”
“It usually snows in the winter here.”
rain: “We expect rain later.”
You can also say “light rain”, “heavy rain”, or “showers” (rain that only lasts for a few minutes.)
sunshine = “The weather forecast says there’ll be sunshine later.”
fog: “I don’t like driving in fog.”
mist: “There’s often some mist in the early morning.”
ice: “Be careful of the ice on the roads.”
snow: We had lots of snow last winter.
clouds = there are different types of clouds, such as rain clouds, snow clouds and storm clouds.
floods = when there’s too much rain and the fields or roads are covered in water: “Last winter there were lots of floods.”
The adjective is “flooded”: “All the roads are flooded.”
The verb is “to flood”: “The river flooded twice last year.”
storm = when you get heavy rain and strong winds, and maybe also thunder (noise) and lightning (electricity).
Other typical English weather vocabulary
strong wind = when there is a lot of force or power in the wind
cold snap = when it is cold for a period of time
dry spell = when it is dry for a period of time
sunny spell = when it is sunny for a period of time
partly cloudy = when there is both cloud and sunshine
a heatwave = when it is hotter than usual, for a long period of time
high temperatures (rising temperatures) = when it is hot
low temperatures (falling temperatures) = when it is cold
above / below freezing = when the temperature is above 0C or below 0C.
We also say “minus”. For example -2C is “minus two”.
Practise your listening!
Now listen to three conversations about the weather.
General conversations – talking about the weather
English-speaking people often make a brief comment about the weather when they greet someone. These comments aren’t always whole sentences. For example: “Bit chilly today, isn’t it” or “Nice day, today”. Replies can be equally short, as in “Yes”, or “Mmm”.
Morning. Bit chilly today, isn’t it.
Look at those clouds.
Mm. Think we’re in for rain, later.
Glad I’ve got my umbrella.
Hi! Lovely morning, isn’t it.
Yep, sure is!
Photo credits: iconarchive
Now go to the next page to learn the grammar of superlatives: English Grammar: Superlatives