In the first part of this exercise on English family name vocabulary, you learnt the English names of members of family which are commonly forgotten by people learning English. In this second part of the exercise, you will learn some more advanced names for different members of a family. These are names that you probably didn't know before.

If you haven't already done the first part of this exercise, I would recommend that you do that before you start this one. Some of the names used there are used in this one.

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Exercise:

In the below text Sally is now showing her friend Peter photos of her family and telling him who the people are.

Decide from the context what the meaning of the family member names in bold are and then do the quiz at the end to both make sure you are correct and to remember them.

Sally:'Here are some photos of my family. This is a photo when all my family were together 3 years ago for my mother's birthday.'

Peter:'So, are all the people in the photo your relatives? Members of your family?'

Sally:'Most of them are my family or partners of members of my family. Some of the people in it are also my mother's friends.'

Peter:'Is that your father next to your mother?'

Sally:'No. My father isn't in the photo. My mother re-married 15 years ago and that man is my stepfather Bill, the husband of my mother. And that young man next to him is his son from a different marriage, my stepbrother Paul.'

Peter:'I can see your brothers and sisters. That's your brother Tim, your brother Mike and that's your sister Rebecca.'

Sally:'Yeah, they are my siblings.'

Peter:'Sorry to ask this, but do you and your siblings all have the same mother and father?'

Sally:'We all have the same mother, but Mike has a different father to the rest of us. His father is Bill, my stepfather.'

Peter:'So Mike is your half brother?'

Sally:'Yeah.'

Peter:'So, who is the man next to your sister Rebecca?'

Sally:'My brother-in-law Gary. The husband of my sister Rebecca.'

Peter:'And the woman stood next to him?'

Sally:'That was my sister-in-law Jessica. The wife of my brother Tim at the time.'

Peter:'But your brother Tim doesn't have a wife now!'

Sally:'That's right. They divorced about a year ago. So now she's his ex-wife.'

Peter:'So, who is the young man stood next to you in the photo?'

Sally:'That's my second cousin Richard.'

Peter:'Second cousin? What does that mean?'

Sally:'He's the child of one of my mother's cousins.'

Peter:'I didn't think it was a relative of yours. I thought it was your boyfriend. You both look that you are in love.'

Sally:'You think so! I was single at the time when the photo was taken. So I didn't have a boyfriend or partner.'

Peter:'And the young woman next to him?'

Sally:'That was his girlfriend Ruth at the time. But since the photo they have got married, so she's now his wife.'



Quiz:

Below is a definition/description of each of the family member names in bold from the above text. Now choose the family member name from the question's selection box which you believe answers each question. Only use one of these names 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. The first is an Additional Information Icon "". Click on this for extra information on the word. The second is a Pronunciation Icon "". Click on this to listen to the pronunciation of the word/phrase and to do a pronunciation speaking test.


1. When two people (normally young) are in a romantic relationship, the woman is called the
         

Girlfriend:
(noun) In English, 'girlfriend' doesn't mean a friend who is a woman, but a woman that somebody is in a romantic relationship with. It is normally only used by people either when the relationship is new (a couple of months old) or when the relationship is between young people.

When a romantic relationship becomes more serious (and lasts longer), it is more common to call the woman somebody is having a romantic relationship with, their 'partner'.

For example:

'Gemma is the partner of Simon.'

When two people get married, the woman is called a 'wife'.

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Girlfriend:

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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2. When your brother has a different father or mother to you, he is called your
         

Half brother:
(noun) A 'half brother' is the name used in English to say that a brother of a person only has one parent in common with them. They could have the same mother or the same father, but don't have both. You can also use 'half' with the same meaning for 'sister' as well.

For example:

'That is my half sister Julie. Her father is different to mine.'

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Half brother:

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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3. The brother of your husband or wife, is called your
         

Brother-in-law:
(noun) When you get married, the brother of your spouse (your husband or wife) is called your 'brother-in-law'.

You attach/add '-in-law' to some other members of your spouse's family as well (e.g. 'father-in-law', 'mother-in-law' and 'sister-in-law'). It is not common to add '-in-law' to other members of your spouse's family. So you wouldn't call the grandparents of your wife/husband 'your grandparents-in-law', instead you would call them 'your wife's/husband's grandparents'.

People who are not married, but in a long-term serious relationship can also use '-in-law' for the members of their partner's family as well.

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Brother-in-law:

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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4. When a married couple get divorced, the woman is called the man's
         

Ex-wife:
(noun) Is sometimes called just an 'ex'. In English, when a couple are no longer married (they have got divorced), the woman is called the 'ex-wife' of the man. You can also use 'ex-' for the man as well. So, the man is called the 'ex-husband' of the woman.

You can also use 'ex-' for people you used to be in a romantic relationship with but weren't married to. You can add it to 'girlfriend', 'boyfriend' or 'partner'.

For example:

'That woman over there is my ex-girlfriend. We had a relationship when we were at university.'

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Ex-wife:

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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5. All the members of your family, are called your
         

Relatives:
(noun) Anybody who is a member of your family is a 'relative' of yours. Normally, people in English only use the term 'relative' when talking about their 'extended family' (their family outside of their parents, grandparents, brothers and sisters). So it is normal to call a cousin (or second cousin) or aunt a 'relative', but not a brother or sister.

For example:

'The people in the photo are my relatives who live in New Zealand.'

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Relatives:

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. A child of a cousin of either your mother or father, is called your
         

Second cousin:
(noun) The term 'second cousins' is used to describe the family connection when two people have the same great-grandparents (the parents of your grandparents) and are of the same generation.

To explain this in a different way, the children of your parents' cousins are your 'second cousins'.

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Second cousin:

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. When two people (normally young) are in a romantic relationship, the man is called the
         

Boyfriend:
(noun) In English, 'boyfriend' doesn't mean a friend who is a man, but a man that somebody is in a romantic relationship with. It is normally only used by people either when the relationship is new (a couple of months old) or when the relationship is between young people.

When a romantic relationship becomes more serious (and lasts longer), it is more common to call the woman somebody is having a romantic relationship with, their 'partner'.

For example:

'Simon is the partner of Gemma.'

When two people get married, the man is called a 'husband'.

Close

Boyfriend:

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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8. When your mother marries a man who isn't your biological father, he is called your
         

Stepfather:
(noun) A 'stepfather' is the name used in English to say that the husband of a person's mother is not their real/biological father (by blood or DNA). You can also use 'step' with the same meaning with mother, brother or sister.

For example:

'That is my stepsister Christine. She's the daughter of my stepfather from his previous marriage.'

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Stepfather:

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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9. A different name for your 'brothers' or 'sisters', is
         

Siblings:
(noun) This is a different way to call a person's 'brothers' or 'sisters' (it can be used for both). It can be used in the singular (e.g. 'this is my sibling') or in the plural (e.g. 'these are my siblings').

The word 'sibling(s)' is not commonly used in English. Some people may not know what it means if you use it. Although it is important to know what the word means, you should use 'brother(s)' or 'sister(s)' or 'brothers and sisters' instead.

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Siblings:

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.

       

Close






Practice

Now that you understand this family name vocabulary, practise it by creating your own sentences in English with the names.

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