In this exercise on geographical vocabulary in English, you will learn the names of geographical features that you can find in coastal areas (next to seas and oceans). By first reading a text and then doing a quiz, you'll quickly learn and remember this English vocabulary.

To learn the names of geographical features connected to water which are found on land in the interior of a country (e.g. in mountains, forests etc...), do the online exercise called 'English geography vocabulary: Water landform names'.


Exercise:

Read the following conversation between two friends (Juan and Peter). Peter is describing to Juan a holiday to the coast in Spain that he went on with his family.

From the context, try to guess what geographical features/objects the words in bold are. Then do the quiz at the end to check if you are right.

Juan:'How was your holiday to my country? You went to the north of Spain, didn't you?'

Peter:'Yeah, we went to Galicia. It was very beautiful.'

Juan:'Where did you stay? In the interior or on the coast?'

Peter:'We stayed on the coast in a village near the city of Vigo.'

Juan:'Was the village on the bay?'

Peter:'I don't know.'

Juan:'Was the sea there surrounded by land on three sides?'

Peter:'Yes, it was. So that's what a bay is. I never know that.'

Juan:'And a very small bay which is shaped like a circle or an egg is called a cove. Did you visit any coves when you were there?'

Peter:'Just one. On the third day we were there, we went on a boat to a small island in the middle of the bay in the afternoon. There was a cove there which had a beach.'

Juan:'The beaches in Galicia are amazing.'

Peter:'Yes, they are. We went two times to this long sandy beach where you could sunbathe and relax. Our children loved it. They built sandcastles.'

Juan:'I think I know the beach. Were there any hills of sand behind the beach?'

Peter:'Do you mean dunes?'

Juan:'That's right. Were there any dunes there?'

Peter:'Yes, there were.'

Juan:'It's really beautiful. The only problem is that you can't go swimming in the sea there.'

Peter:'No, you can't. The waves in the sea where too high, so it was dangerous for swimming from the beach. But the waves were perfect for surfing. So we all tried to learn how to surf. But not very successfully.'

Juan:'The coast there isn't very good for swimming. What I love about the coast of Galicia is walking along the shoreline, the area where the land and sea meet. You not only have beaches on the shoreline, but there are also some amazing tall vertical rocks which you can walk on the top of.'

Peter:'In English we call these tall vertical rocks, cliffs. We walked along them, looking at the sea below.'

Juan:'What do you call in English the parts of the shoreline which aren't a beach or a cliff, but have rocks on them which aren't very tall?'

Peter:'We call the places on the shoreline with big rocks on them which aren't high/tall, rocks. Children love these places, because they can find lots of small fish in them.'

Juan:'The kids love looking for fish in the rocks.'

Peter:'I have to tell you about what happened to us when we were on the beach one day.'

Juan:'What happened?'

Peter:'We were walking on a beach when the level of the sea went up so quickly that the sea completely covered a part of the beach we'd walked on 20 minutes before. It stopped us walking back to our car. We had to wait 3 hours until the level of the sea went down to be able to walk on that part of the beach again.'

Juan:'You have to be careful of the tide in Galicia. The level of the sea goes up and down so quickly there. Did you do anything else?'

Peter:'On one morning we went to an estuary. Because it's where the water from a river meets the water from the sea, there are a lot of birds to see. I thought it was boring, but the children loved it.'


Click to see more geographical English exercises


Quiz:

Below is a photo/picture of each of the geographical names in bold from the above text. Now choose the name from the question's selection box which you believe matches the photo/picture. Only use one name once. Click on the "Check answers" button at the bottom of the quiz to check your answers.

When the answer is correct, two icons will appear next to the question which you can press/click on. In the first icon, , you can find extra information about the landform (e.g. what it is, synonyms, vocabulary connected to it etc...). In the second, , is where you can listen to the word/phrase and do a pronunciation test (to make sure you can say it correctly).


1. office exercise photo

These are called              

Cliffs:
(noun) A 'cliff' is a vertical (180 degrees) or near vertical rock surface which is normally very tall. Although 'cliffs' can be found in most places on earth, they are most commonly found in mountainous regions and on the coast.

On the coast, 'cliffs' are most commonly found on the 'shoreline' (the place where the land and water meet).

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Cliffs:

Pronunciation Speaking Test:
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2. office exercise photo

These are called             

Dunes:
(noun) Also called 'sand dunes'. A 'dune' is basically a hill made of sand. 'dunes' are created by the wind.

They are found in two places. The first place is in deserts. The second place is behind some (but not all) sand beaches on the coast.

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Dunes:

Pronunciation Speaking Test:
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3. office exercise photo

This is called a             

Bay:
(noun) A 'bay' is an area of sea or ocean which is surrounded by land on three sides. For example the Bay of Naples in Italy:



When a 'bay' is very big, it is often called a 'gulf' (e.g. the Gulf of Mexico). When a 'bay' is small and has a circular shape, it is called a 'cove'.

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Bay:

Pronunciation Speaking Test:
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4. office exercise photo

This is called an             

Island:
(noun) This is an area of land which is entirely surrounded by water, 'islands' go from being from small to very big (e.g. Greenland).

Although continents (e.g. the Americas, Europe, Asia etc...) are also surrounded by water, they are not 'islands'. The reason why is too complicated to explain here. So if you want to find out why, read this wikipedia page on islands.

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Island:

Pronunciation Speaking Test:
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5. office exercise photo

This is called a             

Beach:
(noun) A 'beach' is an area where land and water meet which is made up of small rocks of various sizes. The very smallest rocks are called 'sand' (which measure millimeters in size). If a beach is made up of larger small rocks (which measure centimetres in size), these rocks are called 'pebbles'.

Normally, a beach is made up of small rocks of a similar size.

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Beach:

Pronunciation Speaking Test:
To check your pronunciation of this word/phrase, first click on the microphone icon () below. Then allow the browser to record your voice and then say the above word/phrase. Although this test is good, it sometimes does not recognise some of the words/phrases.

       

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6. office exercise photo

This type of bay is called a             

Cove:
(noun) A 'cove' is a type of small bay. Like all bays, it is surrounded by land on three side, but 'coves' are normally circular or oval in shape. For example this 'cove' on the south coast of England:



Many 'coves' (like the one above) are surrounded by land by upto 90%.

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Cove:

Pronunciation Speaking Test:
To check your pronunciation of this word/phrase, first click on the microphone icon () below. Then allow the browser to record your voice and then say the above word/phrase. Although this test is good, it sometimes does not recognise some of the words/phrases.

       

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7. office exercise photo

Where the land and sea meets is called the             

Shoreline:
(noun) Also called the 'shore'. This is the place where land and water meet in seas, oceans and lakes. In most coastal areas (places next to seas and oceans), the 'shoreline' is normally either a 'cliff', 'rocks' or a 'beach'.

The 'shoreline' on seas and oceans can also be called the 'coastline'.

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Shoreline:

Pronunciation Speaking Test:
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8. office exercise photo

The change in sea level is called the             

Tide:
(noun) This is the name for the changes in the level of the sea (or ocean). In most places in the world the sea's level goes up then down two times a day. When the sea is at its highest level, it is called a 'high tide'. When the sea is at its lowest level, it is called a 'low tide'.

'tides' in seas and oceans are mainly caused by the changing position of the moon in relation to the earth. The moon has a gravitational pull on the earth as it moves around it. This gravitational pull affects the water in the seas and oceans. As the moon orbits (moves around) the earth, it pulls the water in the seas and oceans closest to it towards it, creating a 'high tide' in these areas.

The sun also has influence on the level of the sea, but it is a lot less than the moon does.

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Tide:

Pronunciation Speaking Test:
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9. office exercise photo

Where rivers and seas meet is called an             

Estuary:
(noun) This is a place on the coast where rivers enter the sea or ocean. In 'estuaries' the freshwater from the river mixes with the salt water of the sea or ocean. It creates an habitat where a lot of wildlife (birds and fish in particular) live in or on.

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Estuary:

Pronunciation Speaking Test:
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10. office exercise photo

These are called             

Waves:
(noun) A 'wave' on the sea or ocean is where there is a difference in height on the surface of the water (one part of the water is higher than another part). For example in the below image:



'waves' are created by the wind. When 'waves' are near or are close to the shoreline, they normally 'break' (the top part of the 'wave' moves ahead of the bottom part in front it and it collapses/falls onto it).

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Waves:

Pronunciation Speaking Test:
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11. office exercise photo

This part of a shoreline is called             

Rocks:
(noun) This is part of a 'shoreline' (where land meets water) where there are large rocks. If the rocks have a surface that is vertical (180 degrees) or near vertical to the water and is very high/tall, they are called 'cliffs' and not 'rocks'.

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Rocks:

Pronunciation Speaking Test:
To check your pronunciation of this word/phrase, first click on the microphone icon () below. Then allow the browser to record your voice and then say the above word/phrase. Although this test is good, it sometimes does not recognise some of the words/phrases.

       

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Practice

Now that you understand the new vocabulary, practise it by creating your own sentences with the new words/phrases.

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