“Sunshine is delicious, rain is refreshing, wind braces us up, snow is exhilarating; there is really no such thing as bad weather, only different kinds of good weather.”
John Ruskin, an English art critic
Do you agree with John Ruskin? What is your favorite kind of weather? Do you like it when it’s pouring down (= raining very hard), or when the sun is beating down (= shining very brightly making the weather very hot)? Before you answer, read this post and learn the topic vocabulary. We hope you’ll find it useful…
WEATHER: WITH AN ARTICLE OR NOT?
Weather is an uncountable noun. That’s why we can’t use the indefinite article before it (
a weather). If you talk about weather in general, not referring to a certain day’s weather or any specific conditions, use no article at all:
Unsettled weather will continue through the weekend.
He walked for five miles in bad weather.
The flight was delayed because of bad weather.
I like cold weather.
If you mean a particular day’s weather and/or it’s clear what exactly you mean by bad/cold/good, etc. weather, use the:
We couldn’t paint the outside because of the weather.
The wonderful weather was our chief reason for coming here.
The weather will dictate where we hold the party.
The weather was very changeable last summer.
A report on the weather in a newspaper or on television is the weather:
The weather follows the news.
Have you read the weather?
IT OR THERE?
Talking about weather can be a little tricky. We often use adjectives describing weather. Remember that with adjectives alone, you need to use it as the subject:
It is sunny.
It was windy.
It will be cloudy.
It must be hot.
There is used with nouns and noun phrases (read more about it and there here):
There was a lot of snow last year.
Look for rainbows whenever there is rain.
There are so many clouds in the sky.
Where there’s lightning, there’s thunder.
But if you are talking about rain or snow in particular, you may want to use the verbs for the actions:
It is snowing again!
It has been raining for days.
It often snows in winter.
It rarely rains in summer.
Compare the use of the verbs and the adjectives rainy and snowy:
- The snowy fields are beautiful. (snowy = covered in snow)
- Enjoy the snowy winter. (snowy = with a lot of snow)
- I don’t work in the field when it snows.
- They walked along the promenade on a rainy night. (during a rainy day, season, or period it rains a lot)
- The weather is rainy. (= it rains)
|good||fair (pleasant and not rainy), beautiful, excellent, fine, ideal, lovely, glorious, superb, perfect|
|bad||awful, dreadful (very unpleasant), gloomy (dark in a way that makes you feel sad or a little afraid), grim, foul (unpleasant, with rain, snow, or wind), dismal, appalling, adverse, lousy, miserable, nasty, rotten, vile, rough, terrible, wretched, inhospitable, atrocious, inclement|
|hot||humid, muggy (warm in an unpleasant way because the air feels wet), sultry (= muggy)|
|mild||not extreme, not too cold and not too hot|
|calm||pleasant, not windy or stormy|
|dry||not humid, muggy, or sultry|
|reliable||settled, unlikely to change|
|changeable||uncertain, fickle (changing often and unexpectedly), unsettled, unpredictable|
|extreme||harsh, fierce, severe, wild, violent|
|cold||bitter, freezing, icy, frosty, wintry|
|cool||rather cold, often in a pleasant way
NOTE chilly is cold enough to be unpleasant, while cool weather is usually pleasant
|cloudy||grey, bleak (cold and grey)|
|windy||stormy, blustery (with strong winds)|
|seasonal / unseasonal||relating /not relating to the seasons of the year|
If the weather is lousy, you can still brave the elements, grabbing your umbrella and going out. Or you can stay in waiting for the weather to clear up. When the wind and rain let up, you may want to puddle around a little bit. When it warms up, it’s pleasant to stroll and breathe some fresh air.
- to brave the elements – to go outdoors in bad weather
- If the weather clears up, the clouds or rain go away.
- If something bad or unpleasant lets up, it slows down or stops.
- to puddle around – to wade in puddles (to wade is to walk in or through water or other liquid that is not very deep)
- to warm up – to become warm
Many British people could say, “other countries have a climate, in England we have weather.” That’s why it’s hardly surprising that there are many idioms related to weather. But here we’d like to look just at those using the word weather:
- in all weathers – in every type of weather: He can go fishing in all weathers.
- to weather the storm – to succeed in reaching the end of a very difficult period without much harm or damage: I’m sure we’ll weather the storm.
- to keep a weather eye on sth. – to watch a particular situation closely to see what happens: Let’s keep a weather eye on the flight ticket prices.
- to make heavy weather of sth. (disapproving) – to find something hard to do and spend a lot of time on it, although it is not difficult: She’s making such heavy weather of that report she’s writing.
- fair-weather friend (disapproving) – someone who only wants to be your friend when things are going well for you: He turned out to be a fair-weather friend. (Related: “Friend & Friendship Vocabulary“)
Check out “Rain Vocabulary” for rain idioms and sayings.
So, what is your favorite kind of weather? 🙂 Do you like it when it’s pouring down, or when the sun is beating down?