Lockdown language: An unprecedented pandemic and ramping up testing

I hope readers are well as we hopefully move towards some easing of lockdown measures which we have all been experiencing. As a language teacher, I have noticed how some words are being used more and more over recent weeks and some of them are new to me.

Furlough! Being allowed to take time off work. Did you know that 7.5 million people in the UK have been furloughed so they are at home whilst the government pays 80% of their wages. That’s a lot of money! (£14 billion a month! Read about the UK furlough scheme here.)

Unprecedented! Yes, the lockdown is a massive unprecedented restriction on our personal freedom, we have never known anything like it! Well not in my generation anyway.

But my absolute favourite is ramp up. We are constantly being told by the government that it is ramping up the testing facilities, which really does give a meaning of excitedly and determinedly working on something to increase its capacity.

And the phrasal verb ramp up makes me think about phrasal verbs in general. We are often told that phrasal verbs are more common in spoken informal language but there are plenty of phrasal verbs which are used in formal academic English and I think ramp up is one of them. Others are ones like carry out an experiment and narrow down your research focus. There’s an interesting article about phrasal verbs you can use in academic writing on the Cambridge Dictionary blog here and I think you will find it useful.

Stay safe!

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