The Weather in English
In English, we usually use it is when we talk about the weather.
This is normally: It is + adjective OR It is + verb-ing
It is + adjective = A description of the weather
- It is sunny today.
- It’s hot and humid today.
- It’sa nice day today.
We can also say:
It is a + adjective + day (or morning/afternoon/night)
- It’s a fine day.
- It’s a windy afternoon.
It is + verb-ing = This type of weather is happening now.
- It’s drizzling outside.
- It’s snowing.
- Take an umbrella, it’s raining.
You can also use it is in different tenses
- It was cold yesterday.
- It will be cloudy tomorrow.
When you are learning vocabulary about the weather, it is important to remember that some of the words have a noun form, a verb form and/or an adjective form. For example:
- Rain: (noun) The game was cancelled because of the rain.
- Rain: (verb) I think it is going to rain later.
- Rainy: (adjective) It’s a rainy day.
It pays to learn the different forms of each word and when they are used.
Nouns and Adjectives
Many times when we are talking about the weather, we can add the letter Y to the end of a noun to make it an adjective.
- rain (noun) – rainy (adjective)
- sun (noun) – sunny (adjective)
- wind (noun) – windy (adjective)
- cloud (noun) – cloudy (adjective)
- fog (noun) – foggy (adjective)
Questions about the weather
People commonly ask about the weather by saying:
- What’s it like out(side)?
- How’s the weather?
- What’s the weather like?
- What’s the temperature?
- What’s the weather forecast?
Vocabulary about the weather in English
We have divided this vocabulary into different categories to make it easier. We have:
Clear or Cloudy – Types of Rain – Cold stuff – Types of Wind – Mixed Vocabulary
Clear or Cloudy
Bright: (adjective) full of light; when the sun is shining strongly
Sunny: (adjective) the sun is shining and there are no clouds
Clear: (adjective) without clouds
Fine: (adjective) not raining, clear sky
Partially cloudy: (adjective) when there is a mixture of both blue sky and clouds
Cloudy: (adjective) with many clouds in the sky
Overcast: (adjective) covered with cloud; dull
Gloomy: (adjective) with dark clouds and dull light; some people consider this weather depressing
Sometimes the cloud lowers to ground level and it becomes harder to see…
Fog (noun)/ foggy (adjective): thick cloud close to land
Mist (noun) / misty (adjective): light fog, often on the sea or caused by drizzle
Haze (noun) / hazy (adjective): light mist, usually caused by heat
Types of Rain
Damp: (adjective) slightly wet (often after the rain has stopped)
Drizzle: (verb/noun) to rain lightly with very fine drops
Shower: (noun) a short period of rain
Rain: (verb/noun) water that falls from the clouds in drops
Downpour: (noun) heavy rain
Pour: (verb) to have heavy rain
It’s raining cats and dogs: (Idiom) To rain heavily
Torrential rain: (noun) very heavy rain
Flood: (verb/noun) to become covered in water usually due to excessive rain
Hail: (verb) when frozen rain falls as small balls of ice (hailstones).
Hailstones: (noun) the small hard balls of ice that fall from the sky
Snow: (noun/verb) frozen rain that falls from the sky as soft snowflakes
Snowflake: (noun) an individual piece of snow
Sleet: (noun/verb) snow or hail mixed with rain (often with some wind)
Blizzard: (noun) severe snowstorm with strong winds
Types of Wind
Breeze: a gentle wind (often nice or refreshing)
Blustery: blowing (strong) gusts of wind
Windy: continual wind.
Gale: a very strong wind
Hurricane/cyclone/typhoon: a spiral arrangement of thunderstorms that produce winds and heavy rain.
What’s the difference between a hurricane, a typhoon and a cyclone?
They are the same thing just with different names because of the region they are in.
Atlantic/Northeast Pacific = a hurricane
Northwest Pacific = a typhoon
Southern Hemisphere = a cyclone
Tornado: (noun) strong violent circular winds in a small area; a rapidly revolving column of air
In United States the word twister is often used instead of tornado.
More vocabulary about the weather
Drought: (noun) Long periods of time without rain causing a lack of water in the area
- A lot of the crops dried up because of the drought.
Forecast: (noun) A prediction of how the weather will be on a certain day
- The forecast says it’s going to rain tomorrow.
Lightning: (noun) A flash of light in the sky during a storm.
- Lightning lit the sky many times that night.
Puddle: (noun) a small pool of water on the ground, usually after rain.
- The kids jumped in the puddles on the way home from school.
Rainbow: (noun) an arch of colors in the sky formed when the sun shines through rain
- I took a photo of a beautiful rainbow that was just above the lake.
Smog: (noun) a cloud of pollution hanging over a city (a fog of smoke)
- The view of the city wasn’t very good because it was covered in thick smog.
Sunburn: (noun) painful red skin caused by spending too long in the hot sun.
- If you don’t put on your sunscreen, you’ll get sunburn.
Sunshine: (noun) the light and heat of the sun
- I could feel the warm sunshine on my back.
Thunder: (noun/verb) the rumbling sound in the clouds that happens after lightning
- The cat hid inside because it was scared by the thunder.
Sentences using weather vocabulary
- It is usually chilly and damp in autumn, sometimes with rain or drizzle.
- I’m so glad there is a breeze right now otherwise it would be very hot.
- It is so humid that I’ve had to change my shirt twice already.
- It’s a blustery day; make sure your umbrella doesn’t blow away.
- Take a sweatshirt because it’s a little chilly outside.
- Those large hailstones left dents in my car.
- There has been a gale warning so it’s not safe to go out fishing on our boat.
- There was a drought in our province last summer. It didn’t rain for three months.
- We won’t be able to see the solar eclipse because it’s overcast.
Questions using weather vocabulary
- What’s the weather like in Buenos Aires in January?
- How’s the weather in Moscow in winter?
- It’s pretty hot. What’s the temperature?
- Is it raining outside?
- What’s the forecast for tomorrow?