Talking Naturally about Nature

Many English language learners use the word nature unnaturally. In English we don’t say, “I like to see nature”, or “visit nature.”

We experience nature.  We can see things in nature  or see the natural beauty of a place. And we can visit natural areas, but we can’t see  or visit “nature” itself/herself.  Nature is thought of like a force or a spirit and is often personified (i.e., given human qualities). In fact, Webster’s online dictionary gives the following example for the word personify:

The ancient Greeks personified the forces of nature as gods and goddesses.

Look at these famous quotes about nature (photographs by Michele W Snider):

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“Look deep into someone’s eyes”, is a familiar expression. Einstein calls us to look into  nature  itself/herself. (Personification)

Humans have the ability to touch. So, Shakespeare also personifies nature in the statement above.

Leibovitz (above left) refers to nature as it. Nature is talked about as a living thing. Nature, she says, has power and is elusive (hard to pin down) and transformative.

Radhanath Swami (left)  describes Mother Nature.  Giving nature a name, “Mother Nature,” is the ultimate in personification. Notice how he speaks of nature as a woman.  This is a natural way to speak about nature.  As you can see nature is spoken of as an “it”, a “her” or a force.  We can’t see nature, but we can see the work of nature.  We can’t visit her, but we can visit natural areas (see more vocabulary below). Additionally we can say we enjoy being in nature and surrounding ourselves with nature.

Nature can be a creative or a destructive force. We can feel her,  and we can listen to her. We can be in nature and we can be with nature. So, embrace Nature and speak of her respectfully!embrace Nature and speak of her respectfully! Click To Tweet

Let’s look at synonyms and additional vocabulary that will help us talk about nature, wildlife, and natural environments naturally!

 Words to describe natural areas

Nouns: ♣ Outdoors  ♣ The Great Outdoors  ♣ The Wild ♣ The Wilderness ♣ The Bush (Australian) ♣ Nature Reserves  also called Preserves (areas kept in their natural state) ♣ Creation ♣ Mother Nature ♣ Mother Earth ♣ The Environment ♣ Flora and Fauna (“plants and animals”) ♣ Wildlife (animals) ♣ The Natural World

Adjectives: ♣ Unspoiled   ♣ Natural   ♣ Scenic   ♣ Wilderness/Wild  ♣ Undeveloped  ♣  Virgin ♣ Untamed  ♣ Unsettled  ♣ Uncultivated ♣ Uninhabited  These adjectives are used in front of words describing spaces, such as: places, areas, country, territory, and land. For example: unspoiled country, scenic areas, or uncultivated land (you get the idea!).

For more nature words, here is the most comprehensive nature vocabulary list that I have ever seen! http://www.myvocabulary.com/word-list/nature-vocabulary/

Additionally, here are a few more great quotes about nature (with more of my photographs).

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 Additional Uses of Nature

The other use of nature refers to one’s essence, in other words the things that are typically true of that person or thing.  Look at these examples of human nature:

 The word pitch above means high point.

The words naturally and natural are used with both meanings of the word nature discussed above.

Things that are grown naturally, are grown in nature without human intervention. We also describe naturally grown produce as natural produce. Here we are using the words naturally, and natural as they relate to the first meaning of the word nature: the natural world. 

The words naturally and natural are also used when talking about things that stem from* one’s personality or natural abilities. When something comes easy* we think of it as natural.  We can say, for example, “He swings the bat so naturally.  He’s a natural born ball player.”  This is also the sense intended in the reply, “Naturally!”  For example:

Annie: “Will you be able to watch the kids for me tonight?”

Betty: “Naturally!” (In other words, it is no effort at all).

Here are a few questions to practice talking about nature naturally.  Try one! (I’ll give feedback on all answers left in the comment box below):

  • Describe something using the words nature, naturally, and/or natural.
  • What comes to mind when you hear the words, “scenic view”?
  • Describe “Mother Nature.” What is she like? What are her motives?
  • Consider the following Bible verse ( from Job 12:7-12), What do you think it means?
7“But ask the animals, and they will teach you, or the birds of the air, and they will tell you;
8or speak to the earth, and it will teach you, or let the fish of the sea inform you.
9Which of all these does not know that the hand of the LORD has done this?
10In his hand is the life of every creature and the breath of all mankind.
Michele MVE 02 Icon 80 Percent JPEG Thank you! Michele

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