English interjections: oh flip!


In UK English, flip can be a mild interjection, used to show annoyance with something. For example, someone might say:

«Oh flip! It’s my cousin’s birthday today and I forgot to send a card!»


To flip means ‘to turn something over by tossing it in the air’ or ‘to move or turn something on with a sudden stroke.’ It also means ‘to turn rapidly,’ when talking about pages, or, when used with through, ‘to read quickly.’
Informally, flip has many meanings, such as ‘to react with great shock’ and ‘to become very excited or enthusiastic’ about someone or something, usually followed by the preposition over. As a noun, a flip is a somersault in the air, as well as an instance of flipping.


Example sentences
Roger flipped the burgers on the barbecue to cook the other side.
Linda flipped the switch and all the lights came on.
John wasn’t really reading the book, he was just flipping the pages.
The boss always flips through the reports, looking for the important points.
Ellen’s going to flip when we tell her the news!
Teenagers everywhere have flipped over this new band.
The gymnast performed a perfect flip.

Again, in UK English, you can also use the related adjective «flipping» to describe something that is annoying you. Example: «This flipping computer keeps crashing and I really need to get my work finished!» It really is a very mild word that is unlikely to cause offense to anyone.

Multi-word forms
flip out: to lose control, especially to become very angry or very excited. Example: «Adam’s parents flipped out when he told them he’d crashed their car.» «My parents are going to flip out when I tell them I got the highest score on the test.»
flip-flop: This can be a verb, meaning to move from one side to another. Example: «Sometimes politicians flip-flop on issues if they think it will get them more votes.»
As a noun, a flip-flop refers to such a move from one thing to another. It is also a usually waterproof, backless sandal with a strap between the toes that is often worn at the beach or pool. In the US we can also call these thongs or thong sandals.
Additional information
A flip is also a mixed drink made with liquor or wine, sugar, and egg, topped with powdered nutmeg and served hot or cold. In the 18th century, it used to be a drink made with beer or ale mixed with rum or other liquor, sweetened and served hot.


Other forms:
flippant (adjective), flipper (noun)
To flip, meaning to turn something over, was first used in the late 16th century. It’s thought to be either a contraction of fillip or a variation of flap; in either case, all three words probably came from the sound something makes when it is turned over quickly in the air. As a noun, flip first appeared in the late 17th century, to describe a somersault where men put first their hands and then their feet on the floor. It was part of a dance. Soon this meaning was widened to anything that could be turned quickly in the air.
 Thanks to WordReference
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English onomatopeias: bark! Yap! Yip!

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A bark is the sharp sound made by a dog, wolf, or fox and, by extension, any sharp sound similar to this, especially when someone is coughing or laughing. It is also used to describe the sound of a gun explosion and, figuratively, a bark is something said rudely, especially an order. As a verb and in reference to dogs or guns, to bark means ‘to make a barking sound,’ and also ‘to say something rudely or harshly.’
 But did you know that although bark is the term for all the short, sharp sounds dogs make, we also use a more specific term for the high-pitched barks made by some small dogs. For that we say they:
or sometimes:
Both these words can also be used as nouns.

Example sentences

I heard a bark and realized there was a dog in the house.
Helen tried to hold back her laughter, but a bark escaped her.
The bark of the gun frightened the birds and they flew out of the trees.
The teacher’s bark soon put a stop to the students’ bad behavior.
My neighbor has eight dogsand they bark all the time.
The gun barked once and the deer fell to the ground.
I don’t like my new boss; instead of talking to the staff, she just barksorders at everyone.


Multi-word forms

bark up the wrong tree: be completely mistaken about something or someone. Example: «I know you think it was me who stole your pen, but you’re barking up the wrong tree! It was Dan.»
their bark is worse than their bite: said of someone who seems harsh on the surface, but is not as bad as you think. Example: «Don’t worry if the boss shouts at you; his bark is worse than his bite. He won’t actually fire you for such a small mistake.»
bark at the moon: protest about something without having any effect. Example: «You can complain about the new highway all you like, but it won’t make any difference; you’re just barking at the moon.»

Additional information

In botanics, bark is the outside covering of a trees and, as a verb, to barksomething means to ‘to rub off or scrape the skin off something, as by bumping into something.’ So, for example, if you walk into a low table and graze your knees, you can say that you barked your knees on the coffee table.


Bark dates back to before 900. It comes from the Middle English word berkenand the Old English word beorcan; it is related to the Old English word borcian,meaning ‘to bark,’ the Old Norse word berkja, ‘to bluster,’ the Lithuanian wordburgė́ti, meaning ‘to growl’ or ‘to quarrel,’ and the Serbo-Croatian word br̀gljati,meaning ‘to murmur.’

Thanks to WordReference, see more information here.

English onomatopeias: Snap!

La semana pasada inauguré la sección de Interjections i ahora lo hago con la de Onomatopeias.SNAP-logo-300x235

A pesar de que en el diccionario no encontramos esta palabra con la categoría gramatical de onomatopeya, yo he querido incluirla en esta sección porque representa un sonido en algunas ocasiones. Además de ello, snap, tiene otras categorías gramaticales y significados.

To snap means ‘to make a sudden cracking sound,’ ‘to break something with a cracking sound,’ or ‘to move or strike with a loud noise.’ To snap is also ‘to speak sharply’ or ‘to lose control.’ As a noun, a snap is a sudden sound from something breaking or striking something. It can also be a short period of time or, informally, a quick and easy task.

Example sentences

Tom realized someone was behind him when he heard the snap of a twig.
The strong winds snapped the old branch in half.
Elizabeth snapped the lid of the box shut.
I asked her what was wrong, but she just snapped at me.
The pressure got too much for Jeremy and, finally, he snapped.
The snap of the door closing woke Nell from her sleep.
We had a snap of cold weather just after Christmas.
Robert is so lucky; learning new languages is a snap for him.


Words often used with snap
Snap is also when you make a snapping noise with your fingers, usually by striking two fingers on the same hand together. We can say just snap, or snap your fingers.
Example: «It is rude to snap (or, snap your fingers) at waiters when you want to get their attention.»
Snap is also the noun for this movement of your fingers. For example, «With a snap of his fingers, the magician made my wish come true.»
Multi-word forms
Snap something up: to grab something quickly or before anyone else can. Example: «When she saw how cheap the shoes were, Joyce snapped them up.»
Snap out of something: make an effort to pull yourself out of a mood or attitude. Example: «You need to snap out of your daydreaming and do some work, if you want to pass your exams!» (We also often say just «Snap out of it!»)
Snap decision, snap judgment: a decision or judgment made quickly and without much thought. Example: «The old lady made a snap judgment about her granddaughter’s boyfriend as soon as she met him and she never changed her mind.»
Did you know?
A snap is also an informal word for a photograph, short for «snapshot,» and can be used as a verb to mean ‘to take photographs.’ Examples: «I have some snaps from my holiday; would you like to see them?» «The photographers were all snapping photos of the stars as they arrived at the premiere.»
Pretty traveler woman with backpack is taking selfie on the top of mountain

Pretty traveler woman with backpack is taking selfie on the top of mountain

Other forms:
snapless (adjective), snappable (adjective), snappingly (adverb)
Snap dates back to the late 15th century and comes from the Dutch or Low German word snappen, meaning ‘to bite or seize.’
Other info:
There are many other meanings of snap. Check the full definition to find out more!



See the picture on onestopstamps

I’m going to approach to the topic about internal punctuation in sentences, particularly the use of commas in subject and predicate. Important issue when we have to do inverse translations (Spanish into English), writing academic texts, reviews, and so on.

On the basis that the normal word order in an independent clause is SUBJECT + PREDICATE and talking specifically about the subject, there are three principles that we have to keep in mind:

  • Never put a single comma between a subject and its verb.
  • Don’t use commas with restrictive noun modifiers / use comas with non-restrictive noun modifiers.
  • Use commas with noun modifiers displaced from their normal word order.
    Let’s focus on each point:
  1. Never put a single comma between a subject and its verb

The judge sentenced the thief                             (wrong) *The judge, sentenced the thief

It is important to emphasize single comma because it is true that we can use double commas or parentheses in some cases. We are going to see it in a moment.

  1. Don’t use commas with restrictive noun modifiers

    That is: a restrictive clause or phrase provides essential information about the subject, so it must be included in because the meaning of the sentence would be altered without it:

The judge hearing the case sentenced the thief

(It is important to say that he is the judge who is hearing the case and not another one)

The painting dated 1894 is a forgery; the one dated 1892 is genuine

(‘dated 1894’ and ‘dated 1892’ cannot be written between commas because they are essential for understanding, if we detached them from the sentence its meaning would be unclear).

Instead, non-restrictive noun modifiers can be put between commas because their information is not necessary for understanding the sentence, they just give additional information:

The judge, banging his gavel, sentenced the thief

(It is not necessary to know if the judge is banging the gavel in that moment or not)

But sometimes it’s difficult to decide logically whether a modifier is restrictive or non-restrictive, in these cases reading aloud can help you. As Jane Walpole says in his book, A Writer’s Guide, after considering this example:

 My next-door neighbors, who love rock music, had a party on their patio last night. People who love rock music shouldn’t have outdoor parties.

You might argue that, taking the two sentences in sequence, the first clause is also necessary to their combined meaning. But punctuation is by individual sentences, not sequences. You would just be muddying the water with your logic. Here is where voice contours can help. If you read these two sentences aloud, your voice (…) clearly reveals the presence or absence of commas. (…) When you write a sentence and you aren’t sure whether you intend the modification to be restrictive or non-restrictive, read the words out loud and listen. (…) Your voice can tell you what you mean to say. Follow its contours.

  1. Use commas with noun modifiers displaced from their normal word order

By punctuating displaced modifiers we are warning the reader that these words are out from their normal word order:

 (remember: on the basis that the normal word order is SUBJECT +PREDICATE)


Banging his gavel, the judge…


The judge, stern and humourless, . . .


 Stern and humourless, the judge . . .

Once again, if you read aloud you will hear your voice rise and pause at each of the indicated commas. Our voice is reflecting the punctuation.

In a next post I’ll write about punctuation in predicate, verb modifiers.

For further information check A Writer’s Guide, Easy ground rules for successful written English, by Jane Walpole. Prentice-Hall, Inc. Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey 07632.


Hoy he tenido que estudiar una lista bastante larga de marcadores del discurso, adverbios y locuciones adverbiales de la lengua inglesa. Escribirlas aquí me ayuda a retenerlas mejor, además de organizarlas (no quisierais ver ahora mismo el estado de la fotocopia donde las he ido marcando y estudiando) y compartirlas, por supuesto.

  • Talking of                                         Hablando de…

    To change the direction of the conversation, but making link with what has just been said:

    Talking of Henry, did he get the job he applied for?

  • By the way / Incidentaly              A propósito / por cierto

    To  change the subject of the conversation completely: 

    So let’s meet at five o’clock then. By the way, could you possibly lend me some money until the weekend? 

  • Actually / In fact /                         En realidad / de hecho /

    As a matter of fact                          por otra parte 

    To introduce additional surprising or unexpected information:

    Did you see the match last night? No, I didn’t. Actually I don’t really like football.

  • In any case / Anyway                    En cualquier caso / en todo caso

    To introduce the  idea that what you said before is less important than what you are going to say:

    We didn’t go away at the weekend, to much work. Anyway the weather was awful.

  • At least                                              Al menos / por lo menos

    To introduce a positive point after some negative information:

    It was a bad accident. At least nobody was killed, though.

  • As I was saying                               Como iba diciendo / como decía

    To return to a previous subject:

    As I was saying, if Mark gets the job we’ll have to reorganize the department.

  • On the whole                                  En general / en términos generales

    To generalize:

    On the whole, I think that women make better journalists.

  • All in all                                           En conjunto

    To say you are taking everything into consideration:

    I like both flats, but all in all, I think I prefer the one next to the school.

  • After all                                           Después de todo / al fin y al cabo

    To introduce a strong argument that the other person may not have taken into consideration:

    I think we shoild buy them. After all, we’ll never find them anywhere cheaper than this.

  • Besides                                             Además

    To add additional information:

    I won’t come to Nick’s party. It will finish very late. Besides, I won’t know many people there.

  • Basically                                         Básicamente / esencialmente

    To introduce the most important or fundamental point:

    Basically, my job involves computer skills.

  • Obviously                                       Obviamente / evidentemente

    To introduce a fact that is very clear to see or understand:

    Obviously you can’t get a real idea of life in Japan unless you can speak the language.

  • I mean                                             Quiero decir

    To make things clearer or give more details:

    She’s very selfish. I mean, she never thinks about other people at all.

  • In other words                               En otras palabras / por tanto

    To say something again in another way:

    A lot of people booed, and some people even left early. In other words, it was a complete disaster.

  • Otherwise                                        De otra manera / si no / por lo demás

    To say what the result would be if something did not happen:

    Please try not to make a mess when you make the cake. Otherwise I’m going to have to clean the kitchen again.

  • As far as —– is concerned /          Respecto a — /

    as regards —-/ regarding —–        por lo que respecta a —

    To introduce a new topic or to announce a change of subject:

    That’s  all you need to know about the travel arrangements. As far as accommodation is concerned / Regarding accommodation, the options are living with a family or living in a hall of residence.

  • That is to say                                     Es decir

    To introduce an explanation or clarification:

    The goverment are going to help first-time buyers. That is to say, they are goinf to make mortgages more easily available.

  • On (the) one hand — on (the) other hand   Por un lado — por otro lado

    To balance contrasting facts:

    On (the) one hand more young people today carry knives. On (the) other hand the total number of violent crimes has dropped.