Wednesday, May 23, 2012

More "Big" Words

The London Skyline. On the right is the clock tower in the Palace of Westminster. The bell, and sometimes the whole clock tower, is called "Big Ben." (Image Credit)

Hello, and welcome to Word Wednesday! On Monday we talked about the difference between tall and high, and when we can use both of those words. So today I thought we could look at a few more words related to SIZE. Today we'll look at "big" words, and next Wednesday we'll look at "small" words.


A diagram comparing the heights of some of New York's tallest and most famous buildings. (Image)

To review, as we saw on Monday, tall and high both describe height. We usually measure height (click for pronunciation) in centimeters and meters (and in inches and feet in the USA). The opposite of tall is generally short; the opposite of high can also be short, but more often is low.

Here are some examples:

"The Empire State Building is a very famous tall building in New York City. However, the new World Trade Center tower will be taller than the Empire State Building."

"I'm about 6 feet, 1 inch tall. That's around 186 centimeters. I wasn't especially short or tall as a child, although now I am taller than many people in Costa Rica."

(Giving instructions while hanging a painting): "OK, move it a little higher... higher... that's too much, move it just a little bit lower, a little bit lower...perfect!"


I took this picture of the Grand Canyon in January. Yep, it's big!

The most common word to describe size in English is big; its opposites are little and small. Today we'll look at "big" words, and next week we'll look at "little" words. 

Other words that mean "big" include:

-large: often used for general descriptions, but especially common with clothing

-grand or great: these two words are not as common in modern English; both of them can also mean "amazing" or "excellent," as in "The Grand Canyon" or "The Great Wall of China"

-huge, gigantic, enormous, humongous, gargantuan, massiveetc.: all of these words are extreme forms; they all describe something that's very big; click on any of the words to hear their pronunciation

Can you think of any other words to describe size? There are certainly more synonyms, but these words seem to me like the most common ones. 

Don't forget to check back next Wednesday for words related to "small" and "little"! Thanks for reading, and have a great day!

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