It’s coming up to cold and flu season which means more and more of you will need vocabulary for speaking about health & illness. In this post, we’ll see a collection of people speaking about certain health problems and we’ll analyse the language that’s being used.

First of all, let’s look at Sonia who’s feeling a little under the weather

“I’m feeling a bit under the weather, I must have a cold coming on or something. My nose is all blocked and my throat feels dry and scratchy. I’ve taken a paracetamol and I’m trying to keep myself wrapped up against the cold”


Language Analysis

Feeling under the weather: this means we don’t feel very well. We wouldn’t use this expression if we feel very ill or have something more serious wrong with us

Have a cold/flu etc coming on: this phrasal verb means that we are starting to feel ill and we know that we’ll have a cold soon.

Have a blocked nose: this is what we say when we can’t breathe through our nose

Dry/Scratchy Throat: our throat hurts and feels too dry and annoys us as a result

Take + medication: remember that the collocation for medicine is take (paracetamol, ibuprofen, medicine etc)

Wrap up: this is an expression we use to mean “dress warmly” for example with a good coat, scarf, hat etc.

Related Content: Health Related Idioms Video

Now let’s take a look at Paul who was at a wedding last night and is now a little the worse for wear

Mike’s wedding was amazing! But I’m dying today, I’ve got a terrible hangover: I’ve got a splitting headache, I feel dizzy and I’ve thrown up three times already. Hopefully I’ll feel better after a good breakfast…


Language Analysis

Be the worse for wear: a person who is described as being the worse for wear may look exhausted, ill or dirty. In Paul’s case he would look the worse for wear because he looks ill and tired due to his hangover.

Be Dying: this can have a literally meaning of course, but thankfully in Paul’s case he’s just being a little dramatic! We use the phrase “I’m dying” when we don’t feel well, especially when we have a hangover!

Have a hangover/be hungover: the physical consequences of drinking too much alcohol the day before.

Have a splitting headache: have a terrible headache

Feel dizzy: a picture is worth a thousands words to describe this sensation….

Throw up: vomit (we use this a lot!)

To finish we’ll hear from Hannah who’s caught a stomach bug from her young daughter

Ever since my daughter started going to nursery I’m always catching bugs from her. This week I can’t go to work because I’ve got a stomach bug. She’s not able to go to nursery either because she has an upset stomach and a fever. Hopefully we both feel better soon…


Language Analysis

Catch a bug/virus/cold/ the flu: collocation that we use to mean we have become infected with a virus

A bug: in this context a bug is a virus. We can also use it with stomach like Hannah has done to refer to a virus that affects our digestive system

Upset stomach: we’re very polite in English and we tend to avoid saying “diarrhoea” so we use a euphemism like “have an upset stomach” instead

Fever: a high temperature, we can also say “have a temperature”

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And that’s all for today folks! If you have any questions just leave me a comment and I’ll get back to you!

Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

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