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Your English: Word grammar: rough

Type: Article

Are you going to rough it and go camping this summer? Tim Bowen's back with another multifunctional piece of word grammar.

Rough is most commonly used as an adjective but can also function as a verb, a noun and an adverb.

As an adjective, rough (with the meaning of ‘not gentle’) can be followed by with, as in ‘Don’t be so rough with her, James, she's only a baby' or (with the meaning of ‘unfair’) by on, as in 'The 7-0 scoreline was rough on the visitors, especially after the way they played in the first half’.

As a verb, rough is normally only found in the expression to rough it, meaning to live without the home comforts you usually live with, as in ‘Let’s rough it for a while and go camping’ or ‘The power cuts and lack of water meant we had to rough it for a while’.

As a noun, rough, preceded by the definite article, is the part of a golf course where the grass is long and not cut. Perhaps a more common use is in the expression to take the rough with the smooth, meaning to accept the bad things that happen as well as the good things. If you do a piece of written work in rough, you do it in a form that you will finish or improve at a later time.

As an adverb, rough can be used with two verbs: play and sleep. Playing rough means to play in a hard or violent way, while sleeping rough means sleeping or living in the open air, especially on the streets of a large city, as in ‘An increasing number of young people are sleeping rough on the streets of London’.

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