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Concourse 2

tall, high, wide, broad, lengthy, long, thin, narrow

broad high broad long
wide river high waterfall broad smile long, narrow path
In this lesson we look at some adjectives and the nouns they can go with.
Look at these sentences and the words in red and black.
The adjectives are in red and the nouns are in black.

It was a tall tree.

There was a narrow choice.

There was a wide variety of cheese on sale.

There's a long street in the town centre.

That's a broad river.

There's a high wall around the garden.

He made a lengthy speech.

He's a thin boy.

Notice that we don't usually say:
a high tree, a broad variety, a tall wall, a narrow boy, a thin choice or a lengthy street or river.
However, we can say:
a wide river, a long river, a narrow river, a long speech, a wide variety.
write The first thing to do is see how your language says things.

Task 1: Translate the following into your language.  In English we use a different adjective for every noun.  What does your language do?

  1. The book was lengthy and the range of characters was very wide.
  2. The street was broad but still not wide enough for two buses to pass.

  3. A tall man is standing by the high fence.
  4. There is a wide gap between the train and the platform.
  5. The garden was long and narrow.

In your language:

  1. Is there a different word for broad and wide?

  2. Can you have a tall fence or high man?

  3. Can you have a broad gap or a wide accent?

  4. Can you have a thin street or a narrow person?

Task 2: Right or Wrong?

think Now look at this and think.
Are they right or wrong?
Click on the table when you have an answer.

thin etc 1 

Task 3:

think Can you find a pattern?

Click on the eye open to show some comments.

eye open
narrow is often used for something physical and clear to see.
So we have: a narrow street, a narrow bridge, a narrow path, a narrow gate etc.  Usually these are quite big things but they are narrow compared to something else or compared to what is normal.
thin is use for small things or things you almost can't see.
So we have: a thin line, a thin excuse, a thin crack, a thin pencil, a thin piece of paper etc.
We also use thin for people but it's not very polite.
eye open
broad is often used for things which are both long and wide so we have: a broad field, a broad piece of cloth etc.
wide is usually used more when we are talking only about side to side so we have a wide street, a wide path, a wide screen etc.
broad is also used for abstract ideas so we have a broad smile, broad shoulders (meaning to be strong and tolerant), broad daylight (bright) and so on.
broad is more common in American English, by the way.
eye open
long is much more common and we can almost always use it.
lengthy is more often used for abstract ideas: a lengthy story, a lengthy excuse, a lengthy journey etc.  Often, it gives the idea that something was too long.
eye open
high is used for really big things like mountains and hills.
high is also use for thing taller than you or things that stand in your way so we have a high wall, a high fence etc.
high is also used for abstract ideas such as a high position, a high level of English etc.
tall is used for people and things that make you look up so we have a tall woman, a tall tree, a tall house etc.

No, it's not very easy!
In this lesson, you often read 'we usually say' and so on.  That's because English speakers will sometimes use an adjective in an unusual way.
If you keep to what we say here, however, you will usually be right!

Task 4: Click here to do an exercise.