Talking about the weather and using question tags
Blue skies. It’s going to rain! If you don’t come from these islands, and particularly, if you’re learning English as a foreign language, you might wonder why we seem to be obsessed about the weather. My advice to you is – On the list of important topics to learn you MUST include vocabulary about the weather. In that way you will be prepared when you get chatting to Brits. And, include some Question tags.
Here’s why. If you meet your teacher on the way into Language School you might toss a casual “Hello” to which you will expect a normal response of “Hello, how are you?” because, here in the U.K., we like to be friendly to our Students. But nine times out of ten, and certainly if your Teacher is a friendly type you can expect to have an extension to that reply in the form of a comment about the weather.
For example, if the skies are blue the reply might be “Great day, isn’t it?” If it’s raining, you might get a “Terrible day, isn’t it?” and of course, if you arrive on a grey day you will probably get the obvious response of “Looks like we’re going to get some rain”. In fact. Have a look at the weather in Alyth right now.
Oscar Wilde, the Irish poet and playwright was very scathing about our obsession with the weather and called it the “last refuge of the unimaginative” – Oooh! A bit cruel Oscar!
According to some research, 94% of British people admit to having talked about the weather in the past six hours, while 38% say they have in the past 60 minutes. “
So, why do we spend so much time talking about the weather? Well the answer, according to the Meteorologists is obvious. Our positon on the edge of the Atlantic, combined with having the Gulf Stream to make our climate milder than it should be means that we have weather that is mild, changeable and ridiculously unpredictable. So, conversation about the weather, far from being banal and boring, is in fact, imaginative, creative and constantly changing.
“Blue skies. I better hang out the washing!!!”