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Language tip of the week: relationship

ILearn English with Macmillan Dictionaryn this weekly post, we bring more useful content from the Macmillan Dictionary to English language learners. In this series of  language tips we look at how metaphor is used to express some common concepts in English. This week’s tip looks at metaphors used to talk about relationships:

Relationships between people or groups are like physical connections. Having a good relationship is like being joined to the other person or group, and ending a relationship is like breaking this connection.



We have been close friends since we were five.
We were inseparable as children.
The very first time that they met, they bonded immediately.
I was very attached to him.
The school encourages links between students and local businesses.
He was left some money by a distant relative.
Cracks appeared in the relationship.
There was a growing rift between president and vice-president.
The book describes the deep divisions within the government.
The party was torn apart.
She had just split/broken up with her boyfriend.
My parents separated when I was very young.

When you improve a bad relationship, it is as if you have fixed or repaired something that is broken.

We are both committed to mending our marriage.
The visit is part of an attempt to repair the relationship between the two governments.
I’m glad to see that you two have patched things up.
The meeting was designed mainly as a fence-mending exercise.
The first step is to build bridges with the other side.
She’s very good at smoothing over the differences between conflicting parties.
The agreement did no more than paper over the cracks.

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Liz Potter

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