English word of the day: SHARPLY

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Hello! I’m Shayna from EspressoEnglish.net and I’m back with another word of the day. This week we’re focusing on adverbs, and today’s adverb is sharply. Let’s practice pronouncing it – SHARP-ly. Sharply.

This one has a couple of different meanings and uses. One is to describe a sudden and often dramatic change – so if you say the road turns sharply to the left, it means the road makes a big turn; it doesn’t turn gently and gradually, it turns sharply. Or you could say some number like the temperature or the amount of sales has risen or fallen sharply, meaning it suddenly went up a lot or suddenly went down a lot.

The next meaning is when we talk about something being sharply defined, or contrasting sharply – in this context, sharply means “clearly, obviously, definitely.” If you have a sign with bright yellow letters on a dark blue background, those letters would be sharply defined because they clearly stand out, they are obviously distinguished from the background. If you have a friend who you know to be honest, and someone accuses him of lying, you could say that action contrasts sharply with his character – the action of lying is definitely different from his general honest character.

Finally, if someone speaks sharply, it means they speak in a way that is very direct and a little angry. If a mother sees one of her kids hit another child, she might say, “Don’t do that!” sharply, she speaks in a way that gets straight to the point and expresses some annoyance or anger at her child’s behavior.

OK? So 3 meanings for the adverb “sharply” – sudden and dramatic (sales fell sharply), clear and definite (sharply defined), and direct and angry (when we speak sharply). Thanks for watching and I’ll talk to you tomorrow!


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