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Vocabulary: moving one's body

For our body to be healthy, but also because we have to, out of obligation or pleasure, we move our bodies. When we awake and even sometimes when we are asleep, our body makes many movements.

These movements are numerous and varied. They may be spontaneous reflexes or, on the contrary, very voluntary and requiring effort.  They're often made in answer to some emotions or feelings, but are also a means to express oneself or to change places. Almost every part of our bodies can move.


Our bodies are moving, or our bodies are at rest...


   To get up (from one's bed)         

   To lie down => lying            

                  To sprawl             


                To sit up      

                 To stand up  

    To stand = to be standing   


   To lose one's balance= to fall    

                       To bend

                    To crouch

           (the woman is crouching)


                  To shrug   

       To turn around           

                To hop



Pay attention to two verbs (and to two movements) that learners tend to mix up regularly:

- to NOD implies a vertical movement of your head and means «yes ».

On the contrary, to SHAKE ONE'S HEAD conjures up a horizontal movement  from left to right and means « no».






Your head may, sometimes, replace words, and so may other parts of your bodies: if you  shrug, you may either express your ignorance, but your indifference too, which is very rude. Therefore, do try to avoid this gesture or if you can't refrain, say a few words to make the gesture more explicit and less rude. 


As we're going to see in the following table, our arms and hands express many varied reactions and feelings or may replace or accompany many different words and shouts.



        To turn one's head= yuk!

                     To wave   

                         To jump                 


                      To dance                 

                To sway one's hips                   

                           To hug

              To raise one's  hand       

                     To fold one's arms              

                To shake hands        


           To point at someone       

                To click one's fingers         

               To clench one's fists            


            To clap one's hands      

                 To shudder in horror         

                      To shiver           



Thanks to all those gestures, and to all those words, you may communicate better, which is the aim of a language.

Let's do the test, now... You'll see it's quite easy! Good luck!



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1. « Come on, Tommy! Be sensible! If you don’t when you drink your chocolate, you’ll spill it in your bed.”

2. No need to … I can see that you’re angry but I want you to calm down right now!

3. Megan, and try to touch your toes. It should be easy for you…

4. Lucy, it’s time for you to now… If you don’t, you’ll be late for school.

5. Children, quiet please! your arms and be still while Pat’s explaining to you what you’ll have to do.

Then, you’ll your hands to speak in turns…

6. In the underground, there were so many people that I and almost fell down when the train stopped.

7. I’m really depressed and would need a now…

8. at people is rude and you shouldn’t do it.

9. When I saw that horror movie, I kept and my hair was standing on ends on my arms.

10. If you’ve liked the show, you may now!

11. He didn’t really say he didn’t agree, but he simply .

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