Did you know that the word spot has a few different meanings in English? Here are the three most common:
- as a noun, a spot is a mark that is a different color. A leopard has spots.
- as a noun, a spot is a place, location, or area. This is a great spot for camping.
- as a verb, spot is an informal way to talk about seeing or detecting. He spotted an eagle in the sky.
In today’s lesson, we’re going to focus on definition #2 – spot meaning a place, location, or area. There are a number of common collocations – combinations of words – that we can use together with spot.
Learning collocations is a great way to help you put words together in ways that sound natural. You can get my 1000 collocations e-book to learn more.
Sometimes we want to say that a certain spot, a certain place, is great for a particular purpose. We can say it’s a good/great/ideal/perfect spot:
- That new restaurant is a great spot for breakfast.
- The park is an ideal spot for kids to play.
If we want to emphasize the accuracy of a specific spot, we can talk about the exact/precise spot:
- This is the exact spot where the battle took place.
- The injection must be given in a precise spot in the patient’s back.
When you enjoy a place, or when a lot of people also enjoy a place, you can refer to a favorite/popular spot:
- My favorite spot to sit is on my back porch.
- The Eiffel Tower is a popular spot for tourists.
We can talk about a sunny/shady spot depending on whether or not it is in the sunlight:
- Our cat loves to lie in the sunny spot near the window.
- Let’s find a shady spot for our picnic.
A few more ways to describe a beautiful spot are a lovely/pleasant/idyllic spot. The word “idyllic” describes a place that is especially beautiful and calm.
- The top of the mountain is a lovely spot for stargazing.
- If you want a relaxing vacation, this tiny village is an idyllic spot.
To talk about an isolated place, we can say it’s a deserted/lonely/desolate spot. These three words have a somewhat negative connotation, like the isolation is a bad thing. If we want to describe the isolation as a good thing, we can call it a secluded spot. There’s also the expression a remote spot to describe a place that is far from other things (this is more neutral, not specifically good or bad).
- My car broke down in a deserted spot and I had to wait three hours for help.
- We bought a vacation house in a secluded spot near the lake – no more noise from our neighbors!
A vulnerable/weak spot is a place that is subject to damage, attack, or invasion:
- There’s a weak spot in the fence where the boards are broken.
The expression soft spot is used to describe an area of emotion, usually special affection:
- I have a soft spot for abandoned kittens; I’ve adopted three of them in the past year.
We can also talk about a sore spot, meaning an area of emotion that causes pain or anger:
- Don’t ask him about his recent divorce – it’s a sore spot for him right now.
Finally, some people have a bald spot – an area where there is no hair on their heads!