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How to Talk About the Weather in English: Key Words and Phrases You Need to Know

Whether you’re standing in the grocery checkout line or meeting new people at a party, the weather is a popular conversation starter.

Many of us keep the weather forecast on our phones, and it helps us decide what we’re going to do for the day.

In this post, you’ll learn all the terms you need to describe sunny days, stormy days and all those in between—as well as why the weather is considered such a hot topic. 


Talking About the Weather vs. Climate vs. Temperature

In English, the words “weather,” “climate” and “temperature” usually aren’t interchangeable. This means they have slightly different meanings.

Weather is used to describe what’s going on outside. For example, the weather can be stormy, sunny, cloudy or rainy.

Climate refers to the weather tendencies of a place. For example, the climate of Texas—a state in the United States—can be described as scorching hot summers and mild winters.

Finally, the temperature  is how hot or cold it is outside. In most countries, the temperature is expressed in degrees Celsius. But in the United States, you’ll hear the degrees in Fahrenheit.

Examples of temperatures are 85 degrees, 90 degrees and 32 degrees.

16 Ways to Talk About the Weather in English

Whether you’re at the coffee machine or waiting your turn at the post office, you might get into a casual conversation with the person next to you about what’s happening outside.

Here are some phrases to help you prepare.

1. How’s the weather? / What’s it like out there?

Both of these are good questions to ask if you haven’t gone outside in a while, and you’re wondering if things have changed.

Or maybe you’re still debating about whether or not you want to venture (go) outdoors, so you might ask this to someone who comes inside.

2. What’s the temperature like (out there)?

This question is asking about degrees in Fahrenheit or Celsius. However, people are typically looking for an approximate temperature:

It’s around 40°.

Of course, an answer like the following is still acceptable:

It’s really (hot/cold/warm/cool). 

3. What’s the weather forecast?

If you’re planning a trip or event, you might want to know the weather ahead of time. Forecast simply refers to what kind of weather is expected in the coming days or weeks.

4. What a beautiful day!

Use other adjectives like nice or gorgeous to make your descriptions more interesting.

5. It’s warm and sunny outside.

This is a simple sentence using two or more descriptive adjectives.

It’s warm and windy outside.

Blue skies is a phrase meaning a sign of good weather:

There’s nothing but blue skies outside.

6. We couldn’t ask for better weather.

Here the use of the comparative adjective better suggests that the weather is so good that it couldn’t get any better. You could use other comparative adjectives like nicer or more beautiful.

We couldn’t ask for nicer weather this week!

7. This is the best weather we’ve had all season!

The superlative adjective best is used to show that this weather is simply the best and nothing else can be better. You can also use worse with this sentence structure.

Here’s another example:

This is the most beautiful weather we’ve had all week!

This is the worst weather we’ve had all spring! 

8. Awful weather, isn’t it?

Using the question form can be quite refreshing, especially when you expect the person to agree with you. You could use similar adjectives like nasty or terrible instead.

Nasty weather today, isn’t it? 

9. It’s boiling hot!

The word boiling is used here as an adjective, not as a verb, to create an image of how hot it is. You could also use adverbs like extremely or really.

10. It’s freezing outside!

In this simple sentence, you may use any verb in its -ing form to describe the weather, such as pouring (raining very heavily) or sizzling (very hot).

11. I can’t believe this weather!

Here’s a simple way to express your surprise. Feel free to use any other suitable noun such as storm or wind.

12. It’s raining cats and dogs!

This is a popular idiom (expression) for saying that it’s raining heavily. Have fun with it.

13. It looks like rain.

Here you’re saying it looks like it might rain in the near future. It could be that you can see dark clouds or hear thunder. You could use other nouns like snow or a storm.

14. A storm seems to be coming this way.

The phrase seems to be suggests that a storm is likely to be coming. You could also say:

Heavy rain seems to be heading this way.

15. The weather will be warming up soon.

Warming up means the temperatures will be rising and it’s getting warmer. The opposite of that would be:

The weather will be cooling down soon.

16. It’s expected to be hotter than last year.

The phrase expected to be suggests that you think it’ll happen.

Use a comparative adjective here to compare the weather now with another time in the past. You could use other comparative adjectives like colder or less windy.

30 Weather Words in English

Vocabulary WordExample Sentence
Hot Today is so hot that I've been sitting under the fan all day.
Warm When the weather is warm, I prefer light clothing like t-shirts.
Cold Don't forget your coat; it's cold outside.
Cool On cool days like today, you should be fine with a light jacket.
Sunny On sunny days, I like to take the kids to the beach.
Rainy Rainy days are the best time to stay home and read a book.
Clear Isn't it great that we're having such clear days this week?
Cloudy It looks cloudy; you should bring an umbrella in case it rains.
Dry Bush fires are common around here when the weather is dry.
Humid The weather's been so humid lately it's impossible to go outside without breaking a sweat.
Foggy Be sure to turn on your headlights when driving through foggy areas.
Misty It's misty up in the mountains in the mornings.
Gusty It's been gusty all afternoon and my umbrella was blown away.
Windy As we were walking along the beach, it started to get windy.
Thunder Whenever there's thunder, my dog rushes into the house in fear.
Lightning My dog is scared of lightning during storms.
Overcast It's pretty overcast today. It's probably going to rain.
Gloomy I don't like gloomy days because they put me in a bad mood.
Bright It's so bright outside! I can hardly see.
Freezing It's freezing outside! It's only 15 degrees.
Breezy I like going for runs on breezy days because I don't sweat as much.
Snowy Wisconsin is a very snowy state in the United States.
Frosty The windows on my car get so frosty in the winter.
Scorching It's scorching hot today.
Icy Be careful, the bridge is icy because of all the snow.
Muggy All of this humid weather has made the air muggy.
Wet I don't like leaving my house when it's wet outside.
Hazy The afternoons are hazy during the summers in the south.
Dreary Dreary weather with lots of clouds makes me sleepy.
Stormy It's a really stormy day with all this thunder and lightning.


So there you have it—a great list of weather words and phrases to get you talking about the weather like a native speaker.

I expect you’ll warm up to (get used to) these sentence structures pretty quickly!

While knowing this vocabulary is a big step forward, understanding the nuances of how native speakers actually use these terms is even more important. That’s where a resource like FluentU can come in.

FluentU takes authentic videos—like music videos, movie trailers, news and inspiring talks—and turns them into personalized language learning lessons.

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Finally, remember to practice the words, phrases and questions in this post so you can feel comfortable using them in conversations.

And One More Thing...

If you like learning English through movies and online media, you should also check out FluentU. FluentU lets you learn English from popular talk shows, catchy music videos and funny commercials, as you can see here:


If you want to watch it, the FluentU app has probably got it.

The FluentU app and website makes it really easy to watch English videos. There are captions that are interactive. That means you can tap on any word to see an image, definition, and useful examples.


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For example, when you tap on the word "searching," you see this:


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Start using the FluentU website on your computer or tablet or, better yet, download the FluentU app from the iTunes or Google Play store. Click here to take advantage of our current sale! (Expires at the end of this month.)

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