Winter in Toronto can go from mild and wet to icy and snowy in the same week, or even in the same day. We had a temperature drop of about 12 degrees in one day this winter in January 2018. Where I grew up in Philadelphia, winters are more tame and predictable. In Philly, we are lucky to have more than 2 inches (5 cm) of snow. We used to have “snow days” whenever there is a forecast of 2 inches or so of snowfall. Snow days are marked by school closures, businesses shuttering early and kids yelling “No school!” while tobogganing down neighbourhood hills. Here in Toronto, 10 cm of snow is an afterthought, something that is only thought of when you are reminded. It’s like: “oh right, we had some snow today.”
I guess it all depends on comparison and perspective.
Do you know how to compare (see what’s similar) and contrast (see what’s different) in English? Here are two tips to get you started.
1. Comparative adjectives such as milder, warmer, more/less dry are used to compare and contrast two or more things. The word “than” is used when comparing/contrasting things side-by-side.
Where I grew up in Philadelphia, winters are more tame and predictable.
The weather is milder here than it is in Toronto.
2. Use “go from….to…” when comparing things that progress from one state to another.
Winter in Toronto can go from mild and wet to icy and snowy in the same week, or even in the same day.
The quality of service at restaurants can go from five stars to really bad.
Useful vocabulary for talking about weather:
1. mild and wet: adjectives used to describe weather that is not too warm or cold, but rainy.
Example: The weather here is mild and wet in the winter.
2. temperature drop: noun modifier + noun used to describe a decrease in temperature.
Example: A temperature drop is expected during the night.
3. tame and predictable: adjectives used to describe weather that is not crazy and usually unchanged from season to season.
Example: We are lucky that seasons are tame and predictable where we live.
4. forecast: noun used to describe what the weather will be like soon or in the near future.
Example: Snow is in the forecast for tonight.
So, what’s the weather like where you are?