Hello. My name is Emma, and in today's video we are going to talk about love and romance, and
all those wonderful relationship words.
So, this video is very important when we're talking about conversational English and English
vocabulary, because a lot of what we talk about is relationships.
Maybe if we don't have a relationship, we might talk about our friends' relationships
or our family's relationships, so it's good to know these words.
So, we're going to talk about some of the more common words you'll hear people talk about.
For example, maybe you've wondered before: "What's the difference between: 'spouse',
'husband', and 'partner'?
When do I use these different terms?"
Well, that's a great question.
"What do you call a girlfriend or boyfriend when you're in your 60s?"
That's a great question, too.
So we have a lot of these questions students often ask, so in this video I'm going to answer them.
So let's get started.
To start with, let's talk about marriage.
What do you call somebody who is married?
Well, there are multiple things you can call a person who is married.
If we're looking at traditional terms, so terms a lot of people use that are more traditional,
you might hear somebody talk about "a husband" if they're talking about a man who is married,
you might hear them talk about their "hubby" if they're talking about a husband in an informal
So, for example, I could talk about my husband or my hubby, they have the same meaning and
they're talking about a man.
I can also, if I'm talking about a woman, we can use the word "wife": "My wife".
If we're talking about more than one husband, we can just add an "s" and say: "husbands".
And if we're talking about more than one wife, we actually have to change the spelling from
"f" to "v" and add an "s", and so this is pronounced: "wives".
"Wife", "wives". Okay?
So these are women and these are men.
We also have another term which I like: "spouse".
So, "spouse" is a word that can mean either a husband or a wife, it's a different word,
but the point is that it can be a man or a woman. Okay?
So you can talk about: "My spouse", "Your spouse", "How long have you and your spouse
If you're having trouble remembering this word, you can think about a mouse, maybe a
mouse who's married, that can help you remember the word "spouse" because it rhymes with "mouse".
So these are more the traditional terms we use when we talk about people who are married.
We also have less traditional terms that are very common and many people use.
A less traditional term might be the term "partner".
When we're talking about partner, you have your business partners, but in a relationship
when you're talking about romance and love, you can also have a partner.
So, "a partner" is someone you are in a relationship with.
So, in this case, "partner" can mean that you're married to the person, so maybe you're
married, but it's not necessary.
So some people use the term "partner" when they're talking about who they're married
to, and other people use the word "partner" and they're not married, so it can mean married
We can also use "partner"...
It's genderless, meaning we don't know if the partner refers to a man, a woman, or a
We also don't know if the person is in a same-sex relationship, or a gay or lesbian relationship,
or if they're in a heterosexual or a straight relationship.
So, the word "partner" is...
It's different than the more traditional terms because there's a lot of information that
people might not want to share, so they might use the word "partner" instead.
Or maybe "husband" and "wife", those terms don't apply, so they like the word "partner".
You might also hear somebody talk about their "life partner", which is another way to say
"partner" or their "domestic partner".
Another way to talk about somebody you're in a relationship with, if you're in a very
serious relationship, is you can talk about your "significant other".
So this is a long word, let's say this together: "sig-nif-i-cant".
So, "a significant other" is somebody who's been in a relationship with somebody else for...
They're in a serious relationship.
Again, "significant other" can mean the person is married, but it can also mean they're not
married; they can just...
They can be in a long-term relationship.
So, key point here is: Listen to what people use, and use that.
So, for example, if somebody is talking about their husband, you can talk about their husband;
if somebody talks about their partner, maybe you might want to use the word "partner",
too, when you're talking about them.
So listen carefully to how people talk about this, and it's always a good idea to use what
people are using.
All right, so now let's look at some other key relationship words when we're talking
about people in relationships.
Okay, so a lot of people have different preferences on how to talk about their relationships.
So, we've talked about the word "partner" which can mean you're married to the person
or you're dating the person.
Another way we can talk about somebody that we're dating or that we're in a relationship
with is we can call them "our boyfriend" when we're talking about a man or "our girlfriend"
when we're talking about a woman.
Some people don't like these terms, especially when they're older because they feel like
"boyfriend" and "girlfriend" sound a little bit childish, like you're talking about somebody
in high school, and so if you're 60 or 70 years old, maybe you might not like these terms.
But other people love these terms and there's...
They have no problem saying them.
So, again, there's a lot of different people who use different terms.
Some people who might not like these terms might use the word "partner" instead, whereas
other people might use these.
So, "boyfriend" is when we're talking about a man, "girlfriend" is when we're talking
about a woman.
So, some students wonder: "Why don't we say: 'manfriend' and why don't we say: 'womanfriend'?
Doesn't that make more sense when you're talking about older people?"
I think you're right, but unfortunately, these terms nobody uses and if you use these terms
it wouldn't sound correct, so we do not use the word "manfriend" or "womanfriend"; we
use "girlfriend" or "boyfriend".
A lot of students also want to know: "How do you talk about your friends who are girls
or your friends who are boys that you're not in a relationship with but they're just your friends?"
Well, one thing you can do is you can use the word "female friend" instead of "girlfriend".
So, in this case, a female friend, you're not in a relationship with.
Or you could use the word: "My male friends" when you're talking about men, and, again,
you're not in a relationship with them.
So these are ways to talk about friends, whereas these are ways to talk about people you're
in a relationship with.
All right, the next word I have here: "lover" is something that is not really used. Okay?
So, it has a bit of a sexual meaning behind it or connotation, so we don't really use
the word "lover", so please, if you're in a relationship and you want to talk about
your partner, or your husband, or your wife, don't say: "My lover" because it will kind
of weird people out.
But you do see this in, for example, Romeo and Juliet: "Star-crossed lovers"; or you
might see this in books, especially older books; and some movies, but we don't use it
You might hear somebody say: "My better half".
So, when someone talks about their better half, they're making a joke because they're
saying that there's two people in the relationship, and the other person is the better one, the
better half of the relationship.
So you might have somebody say: "Oh, have you seen my better half?
I'm looking for my better half", which might mean: "I'm looking for my boyfriend", or:
"I'm looking for my husband", "I'm looking for my partner".
So you do hear this from time to time.
Another term we use a lot when we talk about relationships is "couple".
"A couple" is two, so when we're talking about a couple and we're talking about relationships,
we're talking about two people who are in a relationship.
So you might say: "Oh, you know, Romeo and Juliet were a cute couple."
Or, you know, you might think about a celebrity pairing: "Oh, you know, Nicole Kidman and
Tom Cruise were not a good couple."
I don't know, but you can use the term "couple" when you're talking about two people in a relationship.
"My bloke", "bloke" is British; we don't use this in Canada or the US, but a lot of people
in England will use the term: "My bloke".
I don't know about the other parts of Britain, or Australia, or New Zealand.
You know, if somebody knows, you can write me in the comments about that, but I know
in England they use the word "my bloke" to mean a man you're going out with.
So you might say: "Oh, you know, my bloke...
I'm seeing my bloke tonight."
Again, this isn't something we use in Canada or the US.
Okay, so sometimes relationships end and people are really sad, and you're no longer partners,
you're no longer boyfriend or girlfriend, you're no longer husband and wife, so what
do you call that person when the relationship is finished?
You can say: "My ex". Okay?
And you can add: "My ex-boyfriend", "My ex-girlfriend", "My ex-wife", "My ex-husband" or you can just
say: "My ex". Okay?
So this is when a relationship is broken, it's over, this is what you call the person.
So now let's look at a couple more expressions we use when we're talking about relationships.
Okay, so we've talked about all these relationship terms.
One thing a lot of people notice is that a lot of our relationship terms have the word
"law" in it, so I'm going to talk about some of these terms and what they mean.
So the first type of "law" term we're going to talk about is "common-law".
Some people are in a common-law relationship or a common-law partnership.
What "common-law" means is it means that two people love...
Or are together in a relationship, they live together, but they're not married. Okay?
So this is a common-law relationship.
Depending on the country you're in, the amount of time you have to live together might vary,
so in some places it might be you've lived together for two years, now you're in a common-law
relationship; in other places it might be longer or shorter.
So, again: "common-law", you're not married but you live together.
So this is very different from the next term I'm going to teach you, which is "in-law".
What's "an in-law"?
"An in-law" is a person who is family through marriage. Okay?
So, family through marriage is an in-law, and we have different types of in-laws.
So, for example, we have a "brother-in-law".
Your brother-in-law is your spouse's brother. Okay?
Or it can also be your sister's or brother's spouse.
So we use "in-law" in a lot of ways, but pretty much anyone who is your family through marriage,
you will use the term "in-law".
So you can have a sister-in-law, you can have a father-in-law, a mother-in-law. Okay?
So these are the ways we use the word "in-law".
We can also use "in-laws" when we're talking about the family in general, the family we're
connected through marriage to.
We might say something like: "I'm visiting my in-laws this weekend", and so this usually
will mean the father-in-law and the mother-in-law, maybe the brother- or sister-in-law.
But when you're talking about in-laws you're talking about your spouse's family.
So you will hear this a lot in conversation because a lot of people have in-laws and visit
their in-laws, so it's a very important word to know.
So, thank you for watching.
We have covered a lot of relationship words and a lot of couple words, so I hope you've
And I also invite you to come visit our website at www.engvid.com; there, you can do a quiz
where you can test yourself on all the terms you learned today to make sure you understand them.
I also would like to invite you to subscribe to my channel.
On my channel we have a whole bunch of different resources on pronunciation, writing, reading,
grammar, vocabulary, and a lot of general English as well, so please check that out.
Until next time, thank you for watching and take care.