Facial Hair Vocabulary

There are quite a few different names for facial hair, and it’s sometimes difficult for English learners to keep them all straight (to keep something straight = to remember something properly).

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Mustache

First off having hair only on the space between the upper lip and the nose is called a mustache.

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Beard

If you have hair on the cheeks and chin it is called a beard.

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Mustache + Beard = Beard

If you have a mustache and beard, we usually just call it a beard. This is because people usually have both, so saying “mustache” and beard is a bit redundant. To emphasize that the hair covers the whole face (cheek, chin, upper lip) we sometimes call this a “full beard”.

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Goatee

If someone has a beard just on their chin, but not on their cheeks, we call that a goatee. Perhaps because goats also have long hair on their chins?

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Sideburns

Side burns are hair that covers the cheek in front of the ears, they usually aren’t very big and often just look like natural extensions of the hair. The superhero “Wolverine” is famous for having thick sideburns.

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Clean shaven

If a man has no beard at all we say he is “clean-shaven.”

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Stubble

If someone has a bit of short hair on their face that you can see, but it isn’t long enough to be called a beard, we call it “stubble”.

Idiom: Cry over spilled milk.

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Don’t worry, it’s not important” = don’t cry over spilled milk.

“Oh man, I lost that coupon I had for the coffee shop.”
“Well, no use crying over spilled milk.”

 

Crying over spilled milk (or “spilt” milk in UK English) means to be upset about something bad that happened that you can’t change. The bad thing that happened is usually a minor thing.

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The image this idiom evokes for me is a young child who has spilled their glass of milk all over a table and starts to cry about it. Of course crying won’t undo the spill, and it won’t clean it up. It is a fruitless action. Also it is such a minor accident that full-blown crying seems overboard.

If you tell someone “not to cry over spilled milk” you are implying that the problem isn’t major. This can be used to comfort or chide someone who seems too worried about something minor.

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“I wanted a chocolate shake, but the clerk said all they had left was vanilla.”
“Well, don’t cry over spilled milk. It’s just a drink.”
But be careful not to use it for things that are actually important.
“My girlfriend just dumped me.”
“No use crying over spilled milk. Plenty of other fish in the sea.” <==Could seem a little insensitive.

“Hey guys!”/ “Ladies and gentlemen”

“Good morning guys, how is everyone doing today?”

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“Hey guys, what’s up?”

These would be some common greetings to a group of people, but not necessarily only men.

“Guy” is a casual expression for “man” and is used quite often.

“Who’s the new guy in accounting? He looks smart.”

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a “guy”

The female counterpart is “gal”, but that expression isn’t very common anymore. It sounds old fashioned and quaint, something I expect to hear in a movie from the 1940s or 50s. “Guys and gals” sounds very old fashioned.

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a “gal”

When you address a group of people of mixed gender you could say “Ladies and gentlemen” but that is very formal.

“Good morning ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to our fundraiser”

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In non-formal situations you can use “everyone” or “everybody” when addressing a large group.

“Good morning everyone, ready to start today’s lesson?”

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But sometimes you are talking to a small group, or you want to sound casual and friendly. So even though it is not proper grammar you will often hear people just call a mixed group “guys”.

“Good morning guys, how is everyone doing today?” could be a boss talking to employees, or a teacher talking to students in a causal way.

“Hey guys, what’s up?” could be you meeting a small group of friends, that is either all male, or mixed gender.

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However the singular word “guy” still only refers to a man.

“It’s on me”/ “It’s my treat” / “I got this.”

In Western countries it is customary for people to split the bill when having meals. Of course on special occasions, or if someone is feeling especially generous, one person might pick up the entire tab (tab = a record of things ordered by the customer. Pick up the tab = pay for the tab).

So if you really want to pay for a meal, or pick up a bar tab, what are some common expressions?


“It’s on me” is the most common. The “burden of paying” is on me, not you.

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“It’s my treat.” is also very common. It’s my treat (free meal) that I am giving to you.

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It can also be used as a verb “I’ll treat you to dinner.” This often gets shorted to “Let’s grab dinner. My treat.”


“I got this.” is a much more casual expression, said as you pick up the check from the restaurant table. It means “I got this taken care of” or “I’ll handle this.”

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You can use any one you want, there is just a small nuance of difference.

“It’s on me” is like you are doing a favor for the other person.

“It’s my treat” is like you are giving a gift to the other person.

“I got this” is like you are saying that the amount is small and  no problem for you.


There is also usually not too much arguing if someone offers to pay. One refusal is plenty.

A: “It’s on me.”

B: “No really, it’s fine. Let’s split it.”

A: “Nonsense. I insist!”

B: “Ok, thanks.”

It’s not rude at all to accept the offer right away. In fact, if you don’t, you may talk yourself out of a free meal.

A: “Don’t worry about the check, it’s my treat.”

B: “Really, you shouldn’t. Let’s just split it.”

A: “Well ok, if you insist. Let’s each pay half.”

Third Conditional – Fake Past

Third Conditional – Fake Past

The third conditional is not used as frequently as the others, but it is still a good one to know. In this case we are talking about an unreal past (something in the past that didn’t happen) and the result of that condition.

“If I hadn’t drunk so much last night I wouldn’t have had a hangover this morning.”

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We use past perfect for the condition (“If + had + participle”) since we are talking about a completed event in the past that doesn’t affect the present. In the main clause we have our modal (would, wouldn’t, might, may…)+ have + past participle.

Wow, I know this one sounds complicated. Just think of it as two fake stories in the past.

“If I hadn’t drank so much last night…”

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Fake past, didn’t happen. I actually drank a lot.

“I wouldn’t have had a hangover this morning”

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Fake past, didn’t happen. I did have a hangover.

 

The third conditional is often used to express regret :

“If I hadn’t drank so much last night I wouldn’t have lost my phone”

or to admonish others

“If you had studied for the test you wouldn’t have failed.”

“If” Part 3- Second Conditional

Second Conditional – Fantasy

The Second Conditional deals with if-clauses that are unreal. We use it for hypothetical situations, unlikely situations or impossible situations.

Hypothetical: “What would I do, if I lived until I was 130 years old?”

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Unlikely: “If I won the lottery, I would buy a car.”

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Impossible: “If I were an animal, I would be a tiger.”

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These sentences are not facts like zero conditional (I have never had this exact experience) and they are not predictions like first conditional (I don’t think these things are likely to happen).

The Second conditional is just fantasy. The “if” part is always something that is not true right now.

The Second conditional looks like it is in past tense, but it actually isn’t. It is in the “subjunctive mood”. It’s a little complicated, but just know that the Subjunctive isn’t talking about past, present or future – it is just a fantasy situation with no relation to time. It looks almost exactly like past tense, except that the be-verb is always “were” (never “was”).


Zero Conditional

“If I win the lottery I buy a car” = fact =  this person has won the lottery many times, and every time they did they bought a car. This sounds strange.

First Conditional

“If I win the lottery I will buy a car” = prediction = this person has probably bought a lottery ticket and thinks they will win in the future.

Second Conditional

“If I won the lottery, I would buy a car.” = fantasy = This person hasn’t won the lottery, they are just having a fantasy thought.

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“If” Part 2 – First Conditional

First Conditional – Predictions

The 1st conditional is very common, we use it for situations that are likely to occur. As with all conditionals there are two parts: the conditional clause and the main clause. The conditional clause will start with the word “if”.

If I drop my phone, it will break.”

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“If I drop my phone” is the condition. You are saying that if that happens then the result will be the main clauseIt will break.

“If I drop my phone” is in present tense because you are talking about a real action that could happen now.

The result is in future tense, because we think that result will happen after.

Unlike the zero conditional, which states general facts or results that are always true, the first conditional deals with specific incidents. These situations haven’t happened yet, but they are possible and likely.

Zero Conditional:

When I drop my phone it breaks.” = “Every time I drop this phone it always breaks” = I have experienced dropping this same phone in the past, and so I know what the result will be.

 

First conditional:

If I drop my phone, it will break.” = “If I drop my phone now, it will break as a result” = I have never dropped this phone, but based on my knowledge (similar experience, logic etc.) I think I know what will happen.

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The main clause uses future tense because that’s what we use for likely events.

I will go swimming tomorrow.” This hasn’t happened- but it is a likely plan.

“If it doesn’t rain, I will go swimming tomorrow.” We have the same sentence, but now with a condition.