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Your English: Word grammar: warm

Type: Article

Tim Bowen gives us a warm welcome and a few handy word grammar tips.

Apart from its normal adjectival meaning, warm can also mean kind and friendly in a way that makes other people feel comfortable, as in ‘Everywhere we went in Ireland we got a warm welcome’.

If you are warm, it can also mean close to discovering the truth about something or the answer to a question as in ‘You’re getting warmer! The answer isn’t Birmingham but it’s somewhere very near there’. Similarly, it can mean near to the place where something or someone is hidden, as in ‘The police soon realized they were getting warmer and the next day Jenkins was arrested hiding in an abandoned farmhouse’.

Warm can also function as a verb to mean to make someone or something warm, as in ‘The morning sun quickly warmed the room’ or ‘I sat down and warmed my hands with a cup of coffee’. If you warm to someone, you begin to like them, as in ‘She’s the kind of person you warm to immediately’. You can also warm to something such as an idea or a plan, as in ‘It might take them a while to warm to the idea’ or ‘I’m not one hundred per cent sure about it but I’m gradually warming to the idea of starting my own business’.

Warm can also function as a noun to mean a warm place, as in ‘You’ll feel better once you get into the warm’. It can also be used as an adverb but almost exclusively in the phrase wrap up warm, as in ‘Make sure you wrap up warm today. It’s freezing out there!’

To warm up is used with sports to describe the period before the sport is begun properly, when the competitor gets their body ready for the game, usually by doing some stretches or gentle exercises.  This time before the main sporting event is known as the warm-up. The opposite period after the game or exercise has ended is known as the cool-down.

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