Welcome to Your English! Here’s Tim Bowen with a polite and friendly take on word grammar.

Welcome functions as a verb, an adjective, a noun and an interjection. The latter use is found in expressions such as ‘Welcome to Wales’ or just ‘Welcome. Apart from its regular meaning of greeting someone in a polite and friendly way, as in ‘We were welcomed with open arms’, the verb can also be used to indicate that you approve of something, as in ‘The proposals were welcomed by all sides’ or to say that you are pleased to accept or consider something, as in ‘We always welcome constructive feedback’.

As an adjective, welcome can describe people, as in ‘Tourists have always been welcome on the Dalmatian coast’, or it can be used to describe something that that makes you happy because it is pleasant, as in ‘The flowers are a welcome sign of spring at last’ or because you need it, as in ‘A nice cold drink would be more than welcome’.

If you are told that you are welcome to do something, this is a polite way of saying you may do it if you want to, as in ‘You’re more than welcome to use the kitchen’ but if someone tells you that you are welcome to something, they may mean that you can have it or use it because they do not like it or want it themselves, as in ‘This sandwich? You’re welcome to it as far as I’m concerned’.

A welcome can either be the act of welcoming or greeting someone, as in ‘We received a warm welcome’ or a reaction to a suggestion or decision, as in ’They gave the proposals a cautious welcome’ but if people outstay their welcome, they stay somewhere longer than people want them to.