Lesson 5 – Breakdown

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Part 2: Breakdown

How is it going, guys? Welcome to the second part of episode 5, where we’re talking about weather. So, Kel, we’re going to go through some grammar, some vocab and some common expressions, right?

Yeah, grammar tips, my favourite. So, in English we usually use IT IS, when we talk about the weather.


And as a Portuguese speaker I struggle with that. Like it took me a while to understand it is hot. I would just say, at first, is hot.

Yeah. You need to use that pronoun for any of you Portuguese or Spanish speakers. So, yeah if you’re talking about the weather today like, it’s sunny outside, it is clear outside, it’s relatively warm outside. It’s, it’s, it’s, you know, you just get used to introducing those phrases with it’s, it’s, it’s.

You can’ even say ”it’s a fine day”, ”It’s a windy afternoon” so, you’re using an adjective there.

Yeah, that’s it and to be as descriptive as possible, obviously, if you can say ”it’s warm” that’s one thing, but if you can say something like ”it’s a really warm and pleasant day” you know, you’re getting more descriptive, it’s more advanced English so, get used to being as descriptive as possible for these kinds of tasks.

Definitely. And if the type of weather you’re describing is happening right now you are going to use the ING.

Yeah, that’s it, it’s going to be the present continuous, it is raining outside, it’s drizzling outside, it’s snowing outside and there are some really good ones, right? You can use all of these different kinds of verbs or nouns as well to slightly change what it means like drizzle vs rain vs. spit vs… There’s a whole bunch, hail, learn all these different sort of descriptive ways of talking about the same thing, you know, ultimately.

There is a bunch of words that… it gets confusing, they’re a bit tricky, because they mean almost the same thing or completely different things, but you need to know exactly what they mean and their differences. For example, cold and cool, I usually get it, you know, I get confused, like should I say it was cold, it was cool, how would you make the difference?

That’s a good question, I think cold would usually be that it’s unpleasant or that it is, you know, getting close to freezing.

Very low temperature.

Yeah. So, very low temperatures, whereas cool is kind of like it’s not warm, it’s not hot and it’s not necessarily that it’s unpleasant. It’s just a cool temperature. So, you know, if it were 22 degrees or below, you know, maybe to 15 degrees that’s kind of cool temperatures, but if you get down to like 5 degrees or zero degrees, that’s cold or even negative degrees, that’s really cold, right?

Sunny and rainy are opposites, right?

Sunny and rainy. So, sunny is when the sun is out, it’s very bright. You’re going to feel the heat on your skin. You know, there’s a lot of light. Rainy is obviously kind of the opposite, I guess, it’s where there’s a lot of rain. The clouds are over. There’s drops of rain coming everywhere, maybe it’s drizzling, maybe it’s hailing, maybe it’s raining heavily, it’s raining cats and dogs.

Yeah the rainy days are the best to stay at home.

For you,exactly.

Clear and cloudy.

That’s it, a clear day is where there aren’t many clouds or any clouds in the sky so, the sky is clear of clouds, right? There’s nothing there. It’s just the blue sky or at least almost, just blue, but cloudy would be that there are lots of clouds. So, you can’t really see the sky, it’s not clear.

Is it similar to overcast?

Exactly I was about to say so, overcast is when there is a lot of clouds over, that have been cast over you, right? That’s why we use the verb overcast or the adjective to be overcast.

Dry and humid.

Yeah. These are opposites too.

So in the previous video I said that Brazil is really humid and he was describing how the hot season here we get these really dry wind, this really dry sort of feeling…

Yeah, I prefer it so, the further north you go, the wetter the climate tends to be. And so, usually even if it’s not raining, the ambient humidity is very high. So, the environment has a lot more moisture in the air, it’s very humid and I don’t really like that because it causes you to sweat and the sweat doesn’t evaporate, whereas down south it gets a lot drier. So, there’s less water, there’s less moisture in the air. So, it’s very dry climate, a very dry environment and I prefer the dry wind because when you sweat it evaporates and you cool down more effectively so, you’ll get those sort of dry versus humid environments.

The only problem with that dry environment for me it makes it hard to breathe, like I can’t… It’s just so dry and my nose gets really irritated and my throat and everything.

Foggy and misty.

Yeah. So, they’re kind of the same, I would say, they overlap, right? So, fog we’d be like cloud that’s very low. You can’t really see very far, right? And you’ll see that in early morning late, late evening kind of thing.


Once the temperatures cool down, the clouds drop down, it gets foggy. Misty it’s sort of the same, I guess, but you might have an if you have…I guess what you’d call mist is kind of like something it could be any kind of water that’s in the air as well. So, I guess they can, they’re sort of synonyms.

Usually up in the Mountains. Yeah.

Yeah. It’s kind of the same.

How would you say that?

That’s gusty.

And windy.

And windy. So, windy and gusty are kind of synonyms as well, but you can have a gust of wind which is just as sudden….it’s not consistent, like the wind will usually be like…..

It’s a sudden brief burst of wind.

Exactly, a gust of wind is where it just goes… So, if it’s gusty, there’s a lot of that going on, it’s not consistent wind, it’s just like….every now and then you’re getting this sudden…. of wind, but you can also kinda of use windy to describe a day where it is gusty, there are gusts of wind, but you can also use it which is constant wind blowing.


The last one, we have thunder and lightning.

Lightning, lightning.

So, thunder is the sound.


And lightning is, as it would have in the word, lightning it’s electricity.


So, thunder and lightning and they obviously… lightning causes the sound, thunder, and so they always tend to come together, right? You have thunder and lightning.

So, thunder is what you hear.

Yeah the loud booming sound.

The storm is coming.

And lightning is the bright flash of the, I guess, you’ll call like a fork of electricity that comes out of the clouds.

We have a list of very useful words and I would say even expressions we can use to talk about the weather, so I’ll go through them.

Let’s do it. Let’s go through them one by one.

To be below freezing. So, you said before, it’s cold when it’s really, it’s like almost, you know…

Getting down to zero degrees.

So freezing would be…

Zero or below, where water freezes.


So, water freezes at zero degrees Celsius, once you get below freezing. That’s the idea that it is negative Celsius, below freezing of water, the temperature.

Bitterly cold.

That’s a really good one. Any time you say that it is cold and you use another adjective to kind of add to, it’s really good. I like those so, bitterly cold is like incredibly cold.

Boiling hot.

Incredibly hot, if something is boiling, it’s almost like the water is boiling, that’s how hot it is.


I wouldn’t really use that, I’d use variable. Changeable I wouldn’t really say that’s not a common one that I would use, it could be elsewhere, but I would use variable so, if weather often changes, it changes a lot, it’s very variable, it varies a lot.

A change in the weather. So, you’re expecting a change in the weather for you to go out, for example.

Exactly. So, it might be raining a whole heap and you’re waiting for a change in the weather so when the weather changes and becomes sunny so, that you can go out.

It improves.

Yeah, exactly.

Clear blue sky blue skies. I was describing my place in Brazil, like 99 percent of the time we have clear blue skies because the weather doesn’t change much. So, sky without clouds, right?

Yeah, exactly. When you…. It’s pretty self-explanatory, clear blue skies.

To clear up.

To clear up. When clouds or rain disappear. So, if it’s overcast, really cloudy, may or may not be raining, but once the clouds disappear, it is cleared up. It has entirely cleared, right? The sky is clear now it’s clear blue skies.

Yeah. So, you might be waiting for the sun to come out.

Yeah, we use this when there’s lots of clouds and we want the sun to come out from behind that clouds so, the sun is here, the clouds are hiding the sun and we’re waiting for the sun to come out like that, right? So, hopefully the sun comes out later today.

A drop of rain.

So, a drop of rain would be like literally a drop, right? One that will drop.

Up a little bit of rain.

But we would say that for like yeah we want a little bit of rain so, hopefully there’s a drop of rain today.

Queensland needs a lot of rain. So, I heard that quite a lot there.

Freezing cold, I think is very similar to be…

Bitterly cold.

That’s when it’s obviously below zero or just you’re exaggerating and you’re trying to say it is so cold that it is freezing cold today and like boiling hot today, they’re kinda opposites.

To get drenched.

To get drenched, to get very wet so, you forgot your umbrella and you get drenched,.

Is it a synonym for to get soaked?

Exactly, to get soaked as well, to get drenched. I would use those two pretty commonly when I get very wet because it rained on me and I wasn’t prepared.

A heatstroke.

Heatstroke. So, have you ever had a heatstroke?

I’m pretty sure have.


I remember my dad would take my sister to the beach on Sunday’s and it’s funny ’cause a lot of Brazilians do that. We would get there by midday.

When it’s at it’s hottest.

Yes and we would spend the whole afternoon there and then when it was like 7pm Dad was like ”ok, let’s go home” and we were completely red, just like really sick.

So, that’s when you’ve obviously… it’s a serious condition, medical condition, you’re probably dehydrated and you’ve received too much sunlight,you’ve got heatstroke.

A heatwave.

A heat wave is a long period of hot weather. So, multiple days in a row, usually, you know, three or more days. So, I remember a heat wave that came to Victoria once where it was eight days above 40 degrees it was brutal.

I’ve heard that quite a lot here, like last week I think we had two or three days, it was really hot, really uncomfortable and I’m quite sure on the news they were talking about this heat wave that was hitting Victoria. Heavy rain?

That’s it, so you could have light raint,and you can have heavy rain so, if it rains heavily, if it is heavy rain, it’s that it’s pouring down, it’s like….. there’s a lot of rain. If it’s light rain, it’s like drizzling. There’s a little bit of rain.

Is it a synonym…

Torrential rain.

Torrential rain, exactly. Torrential rain is like it’s raining really heavily. So, again yeah it’s a synonym, it’s there was a torrential downpour, you can say as well, lots of rain.

Mild climate.

I guess that’s where something is mild, right? It’s kind of it’s not hot, it’s not cold. So, Sydney has a pretty mild climate.

It’s really mild here too.

That’s a good one to use.

Same mild winter?

That’s it. So, mild is a good adjective that you can use to describe something that’s not too strong and not too weak. So, it’s a mild winter, is one that doesn’t get particularly cold, the mild summer doesn’t get particularly hot. Mild.

Not a cloud in the sky.

That’s a common expression to use. There wasn’t a cloud in the sky or today there isn’t a cloud in the sky, meaning that it’s clear blue skies, it doesn’t look like it’s going to rain.

To pour down.

To pour down, to rain heavily. That’s self-explanatory.

To be rained off. You just said, you get drenched, you get soaked.

That would be to cancel or postpone something due to bad weather.

Ah ok.

If you had a game or something you might get rained off. So, we can’t do the game today it’s been rained off.

But when you are outside and you forgot your umbrella and you get rain, is it the same?

I’d say rained on. Because it’s going on you. Exactly.

Thick fog?

Just dense fog.

You can’t very much.

The clouds are low, you can’t see, that dense or thick fog.

A tropical storm.

A tropical storm. That it obviously has to be in the tropics. So up north for us in Australia and it would tend to be something like a cyclone, what Americans would call hurricanes. We have cyclones, those storms that spin and that’s in the tropics so, it’s a tropical storm.

Weather forecast.

Forecast. The weather forecast is what people are estimating the weather is going to be like in the future, right? So, like the word before, it’s in front of, right? It’s before you. So, forecast you’re trying to assume what the weather is going to be like for the days and the weeks ahead, it’s the weather forecast. So, what’s the weather forecast for tomorrow? Sunny.

Is it?

I think so.

Is it what you see on the news people just like there’s a map and they’re like ”it’s going to be hot here and cold here”…

Exactly. They’ re forecasting the weather, they’re giving you the weather forecast.

The last thing we have here is a more, a bit more complex sort of question, they might ask you to describe a time when you experienced extreme weather conditions. So, they basically want to know when this happened, where you were and what was the weather like. I would answer that mentioning what like…two years ago, maybe? A bit less than that, I was in North Queensland. I was in Townsville and we were expecting a cyclone.

I remember that.

We were expecting Debbie to hit Townsville and all the city around. It didn’t happen.

It was a anticlimax, it didn’t come.

It was very frustrating because I had never… I have never experienced a cyclone, not that don’t want destruction or anything. You know, it’s one of those things that are kinda curious.

It was meant to be a pretty weak cyclone, right? It wasn’t meant to be devastating or you wouldn’t be sitting there with binoculars waiting for it.

But at the same time we weren’t advised to make sure you have water in your house, you get canned food and….

just in case.

And…I was… I didn’t have to go to work and it was exciting, but in the end we just got some rain, we didn’t even get a lot of rain, we got…it was drizzling for a couple hours. It was windy, overcast, but there was pretty much what happened. Very frustrating, to be honest. I wouldn’t say it was a very extreme weather condition or extreme experience, but it was the closest I’ve ever got to a, you know…

Severe tropical weather storm.

Because we don’t have those things in Brazil anyway so…

I think for me to describe a time when you’re experience extreme weather conditions… for me to be like that heat wave. So, which was probably about 10 years ago, maybe, five years ago. It was a while ago and it was here in Ocean Grove and for eight days we had temperatures up above 40 and I remember being in the car and it got up to like 50 degrees inside the car, it was so hot and it was just incredibly unpleasant. You felt like you were sweating all the time, but it was really dry and you just couldn’t escape the heat. You’d go inside and the air conditioning would be on, but you had to stay inside to kind of enjoy that, anytime you want to go outside it would just be this horrible, oppressive heat.


It was horrible.

So how did you cope? Like lots of water…?

I guess so, yeah just hiding… hiding downstairs in the one room that we had in the house that had aircon.

Sunscreen on.

That’s it, exactly, going for a swim, going for a dip in the ocean, probably in the evenings when it was less intense sunlight and just being smart, being smart and trying to stay out of the heat.

Australians are rarely concerned about skin cancer, right? That’s a big thing here because apparently your geographical position…

Well, there’s the hole in the ozone is situated over much of Australia and so, we get a lot more UV than other places in the world, which is part of the reason you’ll get skin cancers. So, you have to be sun smart. You have to put sunscreen on and if you see moles on your body that change colour or aren’t symmetrical, you need to get them checked.

Yeah, that’s it. I think that was pretty good and we went through a whole bunch of expressions and vocabulary and ways to answer those questions. So…

That’s it, guys. So hopefully this helps. As always, go through this episode, learn the vocab and then think about how it applies to you and your experiences and try talking about them, whether it’s with friends, with family, with other English speakers or just by yourself, try to practice for the kinds of questions you might get on the IELTS or PTE exam. So, good job, guys! And we will see you in the next one.

Enjoy the weather!

See ya!