Under the Weather, Sick/ Ill


“I’m feeling under the weather
“Jane is sick today, she can’t come to class.”
“My grandfather is ill.”
All of these sentences have similar meanings, but let’s take a look at the differences.
First off “Under the weather” is an idiom that means “sick”. It is believed to come from sailors who had to stay below decks on ships when sick (under the deck and under the weather outside).

Although it has the same meaning as “sick” since you are speaking indirectly through an idiom it is a little less strong. It is also more common to use with softeners like “a little under the weather” when you feel only partially sick.
Sick” and “Ill” are synonyms, two words that mean the same thing, but we tend to use them a bit differently.
We more often use “sick” for short term things like a cold, flu or food poisoning that last several days.

Ill” is more often used for long term diseases or hereditary illnesses like cancer.


“I missed work last week because I was sick.” Is common, however “I missed work last week because I was ill is still grammatically correct and not unnatural -just less common.
“My grandfather is sick, he has cancer.” Likewise is not wrong, just a less common use of the word sick.
Under the weather” though can only be used for short term, temporary things and would never be used for a fatal disease.

“Hey guys!”/ “Ladies and gentlemen”

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


“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.”

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.

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”


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

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


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.


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


Nature Sky Landscape Dark Trees Gloomy Road

“It was a gloomy day, the clouds were thick in the air.”
“Gloomy” can literally mean “dark” and we can use it to describe a physical place:

photo-134479“The basement apartment was gloomy, with little natural light.”

Or weather:
“The weather has been gloomy all week.”
It can also be used to describe an atmosphere of sadness, something that can make people sad.

“Edgar Allan Poe wrote brilliant but gloomy stories.”
“When it comes to war the future looks gloomy.”

We can use it for other people, to say they have an atmosphere of sadness around them.

“You look a little gloomy today, is anything the matter?”

When you see the person you can sense a dark, sad atmosphere around them. You don’t know the reason for the sadness, so you call it a general “gloom”- it is a bit of a mystery.

It is however, not often used for talking about oneself:


“I’ve just been feeling a little gloomy lately.”


Is slightly unnatural, because if you think you are surrounded by a ”gloom” means that you don’t know the cause of the bad feelings, it’s just a sad atmosphere.
It is far more common to say that:
“I’ve been feeling a little down lately.”
“I’ve been feeling a little depressed these days”

When you talk about yourself bad feelings usually aren’t a mystery, so don’t use “gloomy” too often.

Being Stuck

Being ‘stuck’ means something is “attached” or “can’t move”. A mouse that gets caught in a glue trap is a great example of this- because of the glue it is now attached to the trap and can’t move.

We can use it for either meaning:

attached: “The women stuck a flyer on the community billboard”
can’t move: “The fat thief tried to escape through the small window and got stuck”
We also use it for times when you aren’t literally “unable to move” but it feels that way.


“Sorry I’m late I got stuck in a meeting.”

= I was in a meeting I didn’t want to be in, and I couldn’t escape.

“I got stuck in traffic.”

“She is stuck in a bad marriage.”

It has the impression of helplessness that you’re in a situation that you cannot overcome with your own power.
This is why we use it for problems as well.

“I got stuck on a problem in my homework, it made me so frustrated I had to take a break.”

“I’m stuck on the last level in this game, I can’t figure out how to kill the final boss.”

Salary and Wage

Salary and wage are fairly similar but there is a big difference. Both refer to the money you get for a job, but one is a fixed amount and one is an hourly amount.

If you get hired at a job that pays $52,000 a year then that is a salary. Some companies in North America pay you once a week (payday!) and so you would get $1,000 every week. Although your job might have set hours (9-5) you won’t lose pay if you are sick, late or there is a holiday. You may get in trouble for being sick or late, but it won’t affect your salary.

A job that pays $10 an hour is giving you a wage. You get paid for how many hours you work in a pay period (maybe every week or every two weeks). If you worked 40 hours you get $400, if you worked 20 you get $200. Being sick, late or having holidays means that you didn’t work certain hours and you will make less money.

rawpixel-602154-unsplash (1)
Both positions do usually offer overtime pay if you work more than 40 hours in a week or on holidays. This isn’t always the case with salaried positions, but it does happen frequently.

Home and House


The difference between “Home” and “House” is subtle, but they are very different. A ‘home’ is where a person or family lives.

A house is just a building.
If a family lives in a house then that house is their home. If they live in an apartment then that apartment is their home. If a place is your permanent residence then it is your home. A home is an abstract place, it is different to everyone. A student may live in the dormitory at university, but probably wouldn’t consider that a home. If someone lives alone in a small apartment they may consider that their home, or they may still consider their childhood home as their real home.
“I’m going home” and “I’m going to my house” can have the same meaning. If you live in a house.
“I’m going home” and “I’m going to my apartment” can have the same meaning, if you live in an apartment.
“I’m going to my friend’s house” is a common expression.
“I’m going to my friend’s home” sounds just a little strange. It’s his home, not yours.
Home country, homestay, homeowner, home schooled… ‘home’ can also be an adjective. It’s the place where you live, the place you belong, the space that belongs to you. ‘House’ is just a building.

We even have the expression “Make a house a home” referring to doing things like decorating, having kids, getting pets… anything to make the building feel like a home to you.

Vocabulary: “Awkward”

Awkward is a word that is awkward to explain. It’s usually used to describe things that aren’t smooth or comfortable.
It can mean clumsy:

“She is awkward in the kitchen, she knocks things over all the time”

It can mean that you’re not good at something:

“He played the guitar awkwardly, missing a lot of notes”.

It can mean that something is difficult to use:

“Driving an SUV on narrow streets is awkward”

“After years of using a smartphone I find old flip-phones very awkward.”

When we use it in social situations it’s a combination of all of those things: an uncomfortable, slightly difficult situation that you’re not confident about.

“When my boss found out I was dating his daughter it was very awkward.”

“I always feel awkward at parties where I don’t know anyone.”

“It was very awkward for the young mother as her child wouldn’t stop crying in the toy store.”

So generally awkward is about something being a little uncomfortable. Maybe you’re uncomfortable because you can’t do something well, something is hard to use or you feel a little embarrassed in front of others.
But an awkward situation isn’t a really bad situation, it’s only a little uncomfortable.