you progress further with your English studies, Amin, you will become
more sensitive to which adjectives best collocate with which nouns
and which adverbs best collocate with which verbs. You can learn
this by listening to as much spoken English as possible and reading
as much written English as possible. Always try to learn use of
vocabulary from the context in which it appears and with the help
of an English-English dictionary which gives plenty of examples
of use as well as definitions. In your examples, we would talk about:
heavy rain and heavy traffic made me late for my
strong wind whipped the waves up into three-metre-high
hit me so hard that I found it difficult to stay on my
or contexts of usage with
heavy / strong / severe / hard might be:
wonít be able to lift such a heavy suitcase. Heís only
nine years old.
been a heavy smoker and drinker all his adult life.
was a very heavy meal Ė far too much meat and not enough
vegetables or salads.
had a very heavy cold and her breathing was heavy too.
had a really heavy week Ė Iíve got a really heavy timetable
First World War yielded much heavier casualties than had
ever been known before.
Interestingly, thinking about antonyms of heavy, although
we would talk about light suitcases, light meals, light weeks,
light timetables and light casualties, we wouldnít quite so often
say a light smoker or a light drinker. I think you would rarely
hear someone say a light cold. Instead it would be a slight cold,
although you might say that someoneís breathing was very light.(The
antonyms of a word is another word which means the opposite.)
Hingis has always exerted a strong influence on the way
I play tennis.
I have strong views on this, I had the strong support
of everybody in the room.
has a strong case and there is a strong chance that
his appeal will be successful.
She speaks English quite well but with a strong French
am strong in the social sciences and psychology is perhaps
my strongest subject.
Thinking of antonyms of strong in these contexts, although
we would talk about a weak influence, a weak case, being weak in
social sciences and my weakest subject, we would have to say a slight
chance, and a slight accent.
For the converse of strong views and strong support, we would
probably say: I donít have very strong views on this and
I had some support.(The converse of a statement or fact is the opposit
severe weather/severe winter meant that hundreds
of schools had to be closed.
heavy rain caused severe damage to crops and, later on,
a severe shortage of food.
We are under severe pressure to reduce the wage bill and
make 500 workers redundant.
The magistrate imposed severe penalties Ė they were severely
Conversely, we would talk about mild weather and mild winters, slight
damage and slight shortages, some pressure, lenient penalties or leniently
was a hard exam and the final question was really hard
Ė it was a hard nut to crack!
been a long hard day and Iíve been working very hard.
had a hard life and worked through hard times. We
had no hard evidence that they had used hard drugs.
Conversely, we might say an easy exam, easy questions, an easy
day, an easy life, easy times, soft drugs, circumstantial evidence
and I havenít worked very hard. The expression a hard nut to crack,
which means that it was difficult to do this, has no converse