save your life
Fasten your seatbelt. It could save your life.
prolong your life
Doctors say that regular exercise and a good diet can prolong your life.
take your own life
My friend took her own life. Nobody can understand why she killed herself.
risk your life
Firemen risk their lives rescuing people from burning buildings.
lose your life
The war claimed the lives of thousands of soldiers. Hundreds of civilians also lost their lives.
a new life
She wants to make a clean break with her past and start a new life.
Computers are now very much a part of everyday life.
an easy life
It really irritates me when people say that teachers have an easy life.
your social life
She’s got a lot of friends here, so she has a good social life.
your private life
She’s not the sort of person who likes to talk about her private life.
the rest of your life
I love him, but I’m sure I want to spend the rest of my life with him.
loss of life
The two trains crashed into each other with serious loss of life.
the quality of life
Our quality of life has improved tremendously in the last 20 years. Most people now have a much higher standard of living.
the pace of life
I don’t like the pace of modern life. It’s too fast and stressful for me.
every aspect of your life
His illness is debilitating. It affects almost every aspect of his life.
a new lease of life
The operation has given my mother a new lease of life. It means she can now do the things she used to enjoy.
Note the expression ‘to lead a … life’:
Before going to university. I had little experience of the world. I had led a very sheltered life.
My father has a minor heart problem, but he is able to lead a normal life despite his illness.
Most of us lead such dull and humdrum lives in the city, but some people seem to lead such exciting lives travelling from country to country.
The expression ‘a matter of life and death’ is often used with a non-literal meaning:
Keeping this factory open is a matter of life and death for this town.
Note this expression:
She’s so full of life – always running around and laughing.
hear of a death
I was sorry to hear of your father’s death.
escape a death
He escaped death by a millimeter. The bullet just missed his heart.
get over a death
I don’t think parents ever really get over the death of a child.
cause a death
It’s a serious disease that causes thousands of deaths a year.
mourn a death
When Eva Peron died, the whole country mourned.
bleed to death
The knife severed an artery in his leg and he bled to death.
fall to your death
He lost his footing on the mountain and fell to his death.
be crushed to death
When the crowd pushed forward, several people were crushed to death.
freeze to death
He was lost in deep snow and he froze to death.
starve to death
When the crops failed, thousands of people starved to death.
condemn to death
He was caught spying in the 60s and was condemned to death.
a sudden death
Everyone was shocked by his sudden death – it was completely unexpected.
an early death
It was his dependence on drugs that led to his early death at the age of 24.
Many asylum seekers claim they face certain death if they are sent back home.
a horrible death
Unable to escape from the burning house, he died a horrible death.
a violent death
She died in her sleep, unlike her husband, who met a violent death.
on the point of death
The missing climber was on the point of death when she was found.
the cause of death
The doctor said that the most likely cause of death was heart failure.
in the event of (his) death
He left a letter for me to read in the event of his death.
Note these death + noun collocations:
Famous people often receive death threats.
The club was a death trap. The fire exits had been locked and nobody could escape from the fire.
The death penalty has been abolished in Britain, but some people want to re-introduce it.
get to my age
When you get to my age, you have to start taking things easy.
look your age
He’s always looked young, but recently he has started to look his age.
feel your age
I’m beginning to feel my age. I’m no longer as young as I like to think I am.
lie about your age
I think he’s lying about his age. He doesn’t look anywhere near 18.
guess your age
Because of beauty treatments, it’s difficult to guess the age of some movie stars.
an early age
The three sisters have been singing together from an early age.
your old age
My grandmother is getting a bit forgetful in her old age.
an impressionable age
He’s at that impressionable age when he’s easily influenced by other children at school.
the average age
The average age of the soldiers who fought in the war only 18.
a mental age
My brother is mentally disabled. He’s 16, but he only has a mental age of 8.
at the age of 16
He left home at the age of 16 and went to work in London.
over the age of 18
The competition is open to anyone over the age of eighteen.
mature for your age
Your daughter is very mature for her age.
from the age of 3
He was a fast learner. He could read from the age of three.
people of all ages
The program is designed to appeal to people of all ages.
The drinks are being marketed at people in the 20-30 age range.
There is a 15-year age gap between me and my older brother.
The age limit at the club is 18, so you’ll need to show some form of ID.
Note these expressions:
His age will count against him in the interview. (be a disadvantage)
I’m not allowed to sell you alcohol. You’re underage.
Note these types of age:
The voting age was lowered from 21 to 18 to allow younger people to vote in elections.
I can’t wait until I reach retirement age and stop working.
We use ‘generation’ to refer to different age groups:
The younger generation smoke less than their parents did, but they drink more.
I was aware of the generation gap between my parents and myself.
transform your character
Therapy has transformed his character. He’s given up drinking and gambling.
blacken your character
Why are you trying to blacken the Prime Minister’s character? He’s not a liar!
reveal your character
He’s a very private person. He reveals his true character to very few people.
a good/bad judge of character
Anyone responsible for employing people has to be a good judge of character.
strength of character
He’s too easily persuaded. He hasn’t got the strength of character to say no.
a flaw in your character
His inability to admit that he’s wrong is the only flaw in his character.
a strain on your character
Being caught shoplifting was a terrible stain on his character.
defamation of character
The model, Zoe Foo, is suing the magazine Goodbye for defamation of character.
a likeable character
Jim’s such a likable character. Yes, he’s really nice, isn’t he?
a reformed character
David’s a reformed character these days. Yes, he’s stopped drinking and he’s got a job.
a shady character
My neighbor’s a bit of a shady character. I know. Nobody has a good word to say about him.
a forceful character
Jill’s a very forceful character. Yes, she’s used to getting her own way.
Note the expressions used to describe uncharacteristic behavior:
It’s not in his character to hurt anybody. He would never deliberately try to do that.
His behavior was completely out of character. He has never acted like this before.
Note these character + noun collocations:
I gave my teacher as a character reference on the application form.
Some people argue that physical games like rugby are character-building.
The article on the Director of the BBC in today’s paper was a perfect example of character assassination.
‘Character’ is also a person in a book or film.
George Clooney plays central in the movie ‘Perfect Storm’.
Note that we use ‘personality’ and not ‘character’ in these expressions:
He has a very outgoing personality and makes friends very easily.
She has a very warm personality. You’ll enjoy her company.
All applicants for the job must undergo a personality test.
Clothes and Fashion
My sister and I are the same size, so we can wear each other’s clothes.
pack your clothes
I need to pack my clothes. Does anyone know where the suitcases are?
make your clothes
My mother has a sewing machine and makes most of her own clothes.
take off your clothes
Many of us feel embarrassed about taking our clothes off in front of the doctor.
clothes fit you
Very tall people often have problems finding clothes to fit them.
put on your clothes
You can put your clothes back on now, Mr. Smith. I’ve finished my examination.
If you’re traveling in hot climates, wear loose clothes and light shoes.
If you don’t put some warm clothes on, you’ll catch your death of cold!
I went home, showered and shaved, then put on some clean clothes.
Most people who work for large computer companies wear casual clothes to work. It is unusual to see somebody in a suit and tie.
keep up with fashion
At my age, I’ve stopped trying to keep up with the latest fashions.
be in fashion
I hear green’s in fashion this summer. Last summer it was purple!
go out of fashion / come back into fashion
Flared trousers went out of fashion twenty years ago. They came back into fashion two years ago, but now they’ve gone out of fashion again!
We have names for clothes worn at certain times. We talk about school clothes, work clothes, and maternity clothes (worn by a pregnant woman).
I always change out of my school clothes as soon as I get home.
We usually prefer ‘clothing’ when we talk about clothes that protect against heat, water, machines, or dangerous substances. We talk about outdoor/water pool/protective clothing:
Always wear protective clothing when handling these chemicals.
‘Fashion’ is also used about other things:
The modern fashion in education is to let the child decide everything!
improve your appearance
That hat cost £500, but it does nothing to improve her appearance.
worry about your appearance
Stop worrying about your appearance. You look fine!
neglect your appearance
She has definitely started to neglect her appearance. She looks terrible.
judge people by appearances
We all know that you shouldn’t judge people by appearance. But we all do it!
change your appearance
I’d never dreamt of changing my appearance with plastic surgery.
an untidy appearance
He has such an untidy appearance – I don’t think he ever brushes his hair.
a youthful appearance
Cliff has a remarkably youthful appearance. He certainly doesn’t look his age.
a deceptive appearance
Remember that appearances can be deceptive. People aren’t always what they seem.
an outward appearance
He maintained an outward appearance of calm, but inside he was furious. You should have heard what he said after the meeting!
your physical appearance
In my view, people today place too much emphasis on physical appearance.
similar in appearance
Although similar in appearance, the twins are entirely different in character.
self-conscious about your appearance
My friend is very self-conscious about his appearance. He thinks his nose is too big.
The British monarchy has no power whatsoever – despite appearances to the contrary.
pride in your appearance
You need to smarten up! You should take more pride in your appearance.
a change in your appearance
We were amazed by the change in his appearance. He looked so much better!
Note how we describe giving a false impression:
He gives the appearance of being relaxed, but underneath he’s really quite a nervous person.
Note these expressions:
My sister spends an inordinate amount of time on her appearance. She’s in the bathroom for hours!
I think women tend to be more concerned about their personal appearance than men.
I think what first attracted me to him was his physical appearance.
Note the expression ‘to all appearances’, which means ‘on the surface’:
To all appearances, he was enjoying his birthday party, but I think he was just pretending in order to please me.
Appearance can also refer to an actor’s part in a play, film, or television program:
Last night’s program contained one of Borgart’s rare television appearances.
Habit and Routine
These sentences mean ‘develop a habit’:
My brother taught me to drive and I know I’ve picked up some of his bad habits.
It’s very important that children form good habits early in life.
These sentences mean ‘end a habit’:
I’ve tried to stop smoking many times, but I just can’t kick the habit.
My daughter is finding it hard to give up the habit of reading aloud.
Try to break the habit of eating snacks between meals.
I’ve go out of the habit of practicing the piano since I stopped going to lessons.
a good habit
Taking regular exercise is a good habit to develop.
an annoying habit
Peter has the annoying habit of talking to himself while he’s working.
a disgusting habit
I think he’s repulsive. He has some disgusting habits – like picking his nose.
an anti-social habit
In many countries today, smoking is now considered an anti-social habit.
have a routine
New babies have no set routine. You never know when they want food or sleep!
upset someone’s routine
My mother doesn’t like anything or anyone to upset her daily routine.
change your routine
Try changing your exercise routine to include more stretching movements.
get back to a routine
After my holiday, it was actually nice to get back to my old routine.
stick to a routine
I stick to a rigid routine of studying for 4 hours at night. I never change this.
a matter of routine
The bags of all visitors to the art gallery are searched as a matter of routine.
a change of routine
Some of the children were confused by the change of routine.
a break from routine
Why don’t you take some time off work? You need a break from routine.
Note these expressions:
I’m not in the habit of lying to my friends / letting strangers into my apartment.
It’s all right to borrow money occasionally, but don’t make a habit of it.
We talk about having a ‘drug habit’:
He started breaking into houses to finance his heroin habit.
An ‘exercise routine’ or ‘dance routine’ describes a particular set of movements.
Note that a ‘routine task / inspection / dental check-up’ means a regular one.