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Grammar and Talking about Hot Weather

Grammar and Talking about Hot Weather
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In many places where our readers and listeners live, the weather is getting hotter because of the changing seasons and weather-related events. This week on Everyday Grammar, we will discuss ways to talk about hot weather in English.

Phrasal verbs

One common way to talk about hot weather is with phrasal verbs. A phrasal verb is a group of words that acts as a verb and is made up of a verb and a preposition, an adverb, or both. Let us begin with an American pop song from 1979. In the song, Too Hot, the group Kool and the Gang sang about finding shelter in the shade:

Oh, it's too hot (Too hot)

Too hot, lady (Too hot)

We gotta run for shelter

Gotta run for shade

Note that the singer uses the expression “run for” before the words shelter and shade. The phrasal verb “run for” something means to work towards a goal. You may have heard of people who run for a public office. To “run for shade” is to move into an area where the direct light of the sun is blocked. Usually, it is cooler in the shade.

Another phrasal verb we use is “heat up.” Like other phrasal verbs with the preposition “up,” it means there is an increase in something. Here, the increase is in the temperature. For example,

The day started cool in the morning but heated up in the afternoon.


Another way of speaking about hot weather involves collocations. A collocation is a particular combination of words that we hear at the same time. For example, one collocation is “sweltering” with “heat” or “summer.”

The southern half of Japan gets sweltering summers.

We go to the pool to escape the sweltering heat.


A third way is to describe the weather with words we use for cooking. We are making a metaphor when we compare the effects of heat on us to cooking methods. To sear meat, for example, is to heat the surface quickly. We might say,

He never turns on the air conditioner, even in the searing heat of summer.

To scorch is to slightly burn something. So, it is not surprising that we hear this word used in the summer:

It’s a scorcher! Let’s go to the beach.

Usually, we talk about roasting meat, or cooking it with dry heat. In that case roast is a transitive verb that needs an object. But when we use it to say how hot we feel, it is an intransitive verb that does not need an object. For example, you can simply say:

I’m roasting! Give me a cold drink.

The same is true of the verb “boil.” Usually we boil foods, like eggs. But in hot weather, we might say:

I’m boiling. How about having ice cream?

One last hot weather expression: “it’s so hot that…” A common statement with this is,

It’s so hot that you can fry an egg on the sidewalk.

How do people talk about the heat where you live? Do you use phrasal verbs, collocations, or metaphors? How about intransitive verbs? Write to us at and we will share your messages in another story.

And that’s Everyday Grammar!

I’m Jill Robbins.

Dr. Jill Robbins wrote this lesson for Learning English.


Words in This Story

shaden. an area of slight darkness that is produced when something blocks the light of the sun

collocationn. use of certain words together

swelterv. to be very hot and uncomfortable

metaphorn. a word or phrase for one thing that is used to refer to another thing in order to show or suggest that they are similar

sear - v. to cook the surface of (something, such as a piece of meat) quickly with intense heat

scorcher – n. a very hot day

roastv. to cook (food such as chicken, potatoes, or beef) with dry heat in an oven or over a fire

transitiveadj. (grammar) having or taking a direct object

intransitiveadj. (grammar) not taking or having a direct object

fry v. to cook (food) in fat or oil

What expressions do people use where you live when they talk about hot weather? We want to hear from you. Write to us in the Comments Section.