Similar words

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Similar words

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Its time for 6 Minute Vocabulary with Rob and Sophie. Today were talking about similar words, like big and large, and explore the similarities and differences in these words.

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Rob Hello and welcome to 6 Minute Vocabulary with me Rob…

Sophie And me Sophie. And today’s show is all about similar words.

Rob Yes, similar words - words that are close in meaning, but which we use in different ways. We’ll look at what they are, what they mean and how to use them.

Sophie We’re hoping for high scores in our quiz…

Rob And we’ll leave you with a big tip for learning vocabulary.

Sophie So, first let’s listen to two architects travelling up the Burj Khalifa building in Dubai.

Rob Here’s a question to think about while you listen: what’s special about this building?

Sophie What’s special about this building? Let’s find out.

Insert 1

Marisa We’ve reached the top. How high are we?

Jon We’re on the 124th floor.

Marisa Wow - so this is the tallest building in the world. It’s pretty impressive.

Jon You can really see how big the city is. And also what a large number of construction projects are happening here.

Marisa So why did we come here today?

Jon Well, I’ve got some big ideas about our next building project that I want to discuss!

Rob So, Jon and Marisa are architects. And we asked you: what’s special about the Burj Khalifa?

Sophie And the answer is: it’s the tallest building in the world.

Rob And ‘tall’ is one of today’s similar words .

Sophie That’s right, and ‘high’ is another. These words have a similar meaning - they describe something that is more than average height.

Rob So what’s the difference, Sophie?

Sophie We usually use ‘high’ for things that are wider than their vertical height, for example, high mountains or a high wall. And we use ‘tall’ for things that are narrower than their vertical height, like people or trees.

Rob Or buildings - as we heard just now. Buildings with many floors often have greater height than width, like the Burj Khalifa.

Sophie That’s right. But we can also talk about ‘high buildings’: Sherlock Holmes fell from the top of a high building.

Rob Context is always important for choosing the right word. We use ‘high’ in this sentence because it’s the position of the top of the building that’s important - not the building as a whole.

Sophie Great explanation, Sherlock. Another example?

Rob OK. ‘Big’ and ‘large’. These words both mean something that is more than average size. In general, we use ‘big’ more often than ‘large’ - and we use it to talk about real things, like ‘big cities’, and abstract things, like ‘big ideas’.

Sophie What’s your big idea for today, Rob?

Rob Well, my big idea of the day is world peace. You hear about so much death and destruction in the news I really think that world peace is what we should be aiming for.

Sophie Well, that is a big idea - big because unfortunately it’s quite an abstract idea, which is why we say big idea and not large idea. So, when do we use large?

Rob OK, well, we use ‘large’ when we want to sound more formal, for example, Dubai has the largest population in the United Arab Emirates.

Sophie We also use ‘large’ in some fixed expressions. Jon talks about Dubai having ‘a large number of construction projects’ in progress.

IDENT 6 Minute Vocabulary from

Rob And we’re talking about similar words. Now let’s hear today’s words again.

Sophie Big and large. Meaning more than average size.

Rob ‘ Big’ for real and abstract things: big city , big house , big decision , big ideas. ‘Large’ for real things with a more formal tone: a large population, a large number of projects , a large amount of money.

Sophie High and tall. Meaning more than average height.

Rob ‘High’ for things that are wider than their vertical height: high mountains , high wall, high windows, high bookshelf. ‘Tall’ for things that are narrower than their vertical height: tall buildings , tall people, tall trees, tall grass, tall Sophie!

Sophie Thanks Rob! And remember that context is very important!

Rob Thank you Sophie. And now it’s quiz time. Is the English in these sentences right or wrong? Number 1: My brother is 180cm high.

Sophie And the answer is: Wrong. He’s 180cm tall.
Number 2. I looked down from the high window to the garden below.

Sophie And the answer is: Right . And finally, number 3. Moving house is a large decision to make.

Rob And the answer is: Wrong. It’s a big decision!

Sophie And that brings us almost to the end of the programme.

Rob But before we go, here’s our big tip for remembering vocabulary: use internet search engines to check how often words are used together. It’ll help you choose the right words!

Sophie There’s more about this at Join us again for more 6 Minute Vocabulary.

Both Bye!

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