English for Hot Weather

sunblockWill you be visiting an English-speaking country in the summer? Learn these words to keep yourself cool and safe in hot weather.

Sunscreen is also called sunblock or suntan lotion. SPF stands for sun protection factor. SPF 15 protects your skin 15 times longer than no sunscreen. It does not mean the protection is stronger. Anything under SPF 15 is not recommended. Look for waterproof sunscreen.

Eye Protection
Sunglasses are also called shades or “sunnies”. Look for ones that block UVA and UVB rays. UV refers to ultraviolet. The “A” refers to the long rays. These are the type that go deep into the skin and cause aging of the skin. The “B” stands for the short rays. These are the ones that cause sunburn and are more closely linked to cancer.

Safe Swimming
Beaches are posted if the water is not safe for swimming due to pollution. High waves or a strong undercurrent can also cause a beach to be deemed “unsafe for swimming”. An undercurrent is a force of water beneath the surface that can pull you away from the shore. If no lifeguard is on duty, make sure to check that there isn’t a strong undercurrent before you let your children swim at a lake or ocean. If your child can’t swim, go shopping for a life jacket. Water wings and other floatation devices are not enough to save a child’s life. Do you and your child know how to tread water? Drowning is a leading cause of accidental death in children ages 0-5. Children can drown in a shallow end as well as a deep end.

Water Parks
Splash pads are often free. These are water parks in a city that have sprinklers for children to run through. Many amusement parks also have water parks with a variety of slides. Some slides have height restrictions. Pregnant women or people with heart conditions may be warned not to use them.

Air Conditioning
If you’re looking for cool accommodations make sure they have central air. This refers to air conditioning for all rooms in a dwelling. If you don’t have air conditioning, look for a room with a ceiling fan. You might also want a car that has air conditioning or at least a sunroof.

Bathing Suits
A bathing suit is also called a swimsuit. A 2-piece is also called a bikini. A traditional bathing suit is called a “one piece”.
A man’s bathing suit is called swimming trunks or swimming shorts. Some men still wear skimpy bathing suit bottoms. These are often referred to as “Speedos” which is a brand name of bathing suit. If you want to try on a bathing suit, ask to use a change room.

Water Restrictions
In some countries you are not allowed to water your garden during certain times of the day. Check the water restrictions before you turn on the sprinkler or wash your car.

Ice cream
Knowing how to order ice cream may be part of surviving a hot summer. Do you want one or two scoops? Do you want a cup or a cone? Do you want a sugar cone, a waffle cone, or a plain cone? Does your child want a kiddie cone? Many ice cream shops have more than 20 flavours. Don’t forget to ask for napkins or serviettes.

Have a safe summer!

Written by Tara Benwell for EnglishClub | August 2010
Tara Benwell is a Canadian freelance writer and editor who specializes in materials and articles for the ELT industry.

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