9 Useful English Phrases to Say When it’s Raining
Rain is a fact of life! We can’t fight it. I live in England and rain is part of my life now.
English speakers talk about the weather a lot! It’s a common topic of small talk*. You will have a lot of short English conversations about the weather in an English-speaking country!
(*Small talk is an informal, polite but friendly conversation about something that is ordinary and not important. It’s the kind of conversation you have with the cashier at the grocery store or gas station.)
You don’t have to guess how to talk about rain. There are common phrases and sentences that you can use. We can’t predict what everyone is going to say in a conversation, but it helps to be prepared!
1. “What’s it like outside? Is it raining?”
You can ask this question when you want to know what’s happening outside. Someone might also ask you this question!
Here are some more questions you might hear:
What’s the weather like?
How is it outside? Is it raining?
Is it still raining out?
How is the weather like?”
Out is sometimes used as a shortened form of outside.
When you talk about weather in English, use it.
Memorize: “It’s 16 degrees today“. (NOT: “
We have 16 degrees.” or “ There are 16 degrees.”)
It is an empty subject in this context. It has no meaning and it doesn’t take the place of another word.
Note: In Canada we measure temperature in Celsius. In the US, temperature is measured in Fahrenheit.
2. “It’s raining.”
Sometimes in English you don’t need fancy, complex sentences. Simple sentences are just fine. The most common thing to say about rain in English is, “It’s raining.”
There are different synonyms you can use depending on whether it is light rain or heavy rain.
Spitting is very light rain, rain that you can barely feel.
“It’s just spitting a little.”
Drizzling is more than spitting, less than raining.
“It’s been raining on and off all day.”
On and off means starting & stopping, then starting again over a period of time.
Pouring is very heavy rain.
“It is pouring rain outside!”
When I was a kid, we used to sing a cute song:
“It’s raining, it’s pouring, the old man is snoring!”
3. “It’s really coming down out there!”
Use this sentence to describe very heavy rain.
Rain falls from the clouds. Though we don’t say, “rain is falling,” English speakers understand that this is the movement of rain. In this context, the phrasal verb come down means fall from the sky in very large amounts.
Don’t say “
The rain is really falling down.”
Don’t say “
it’s raining cats and dogs,” either. You might hear this in movies and TV shows, and parents sometimes say it to their children, but generally people don’t say “it’s raining cats and dogs.”
4. “Take your umbrella. It looks like it’s going to rain.”
Sometimes you look at the clouds in the sky and know that it’s going to rain.
Note: Don’t say “
It will rain.” When you are predicting the weather, use be going to.
There are many ways to protect yourself from getting wet in the rain. You can hold an umbrella over your head. You can wear a raincoat or other kind of waterproof jacket. You can wear rain boots or other kind of waterproof footwear.
5. “I’ve had enough of all this rain!”
Sometimes rain is nice. I like the sound of rain hitting the roof of my house when I’m lying in bed at night. However, too much rain is not nice!
When you are bored, annoyed, or angry with something or someone, use the expression “I’ve had enough of … “ It means that you just don’t want to experience it anymore.
It’s been raining non-stop for 3 days!
It’s been raining for 3 days straight!
The present perfect is used here because the rain started in the past and continues in the present, and it will probably continue tomorrow!
The phrase “for < time period > straight” is used to express that something hasn’t stopped or didn’t stop during that time period. It means the same thing as “three days in a row.”
6. “We got caught in a downpour.”
A downpour is a sudden, unexpected, heavy rain, or a lot of rain in a short period of time.
The phrase get caught in (something) means become unexpectedly affected by or involved in something. You weren’t expecting rain, and you weren’t expecting that it would start raining while you were walking or driving to a destination.
You can also use be caught in (something):
“We were caught in a downpour.”
“We were caught in a storm.“
A storm is a combination of rain, wind, and sometimes thunder & lightning.
7. “Let’s stay inside until the rain lets up.”
The phrasal verb let up means stop completely, or at least become slower. Say this sentence when want to wait until the rain stops.
Let’s (with an apostrophe) is a contraction of let us.
8. “I got soaking wet.”
Sometimes in life you can’t escape the rain. Sometimes it starts raining on the day when you forgot your umbrella at home. When you are in the rain, you get wet.
Wet is an adjective that you can use to describe both the weather and water. If the weather is wet, it’s raining.
My clothes are wet from the rain.
November is a miserable month. It’s cold and dark and wet.
It’s going to be a cold, wet morning.
It’s going to be a wet one tomorrow!
It’s going to be a wet and windy day.
Soaking is a synonym of wet. You use soaking by itself or before wet. Use soaked by itself. They both mean very, very wet.
I went out for a bike ride and got soaking wet in the rain.
I got soaking wet while I was walking home in the rain.
My clothes are soaking! We were out in the rain for hours.
It was an outdoor concert. I got soaked in the rain, but it was worth it!
I am soaked to the bone.
9. “The forecast calls for scattered showers.”
A weather forecast is something you see on TV, hear on the radio, or read in the newspaper. A meteorologist (a person who studies the weather) tells people what the weather will be like. A forecast is a meteorologist’s predictionabout the weather.
The vocabulary used in weather forecasts is different from the vocabulary used in everyday conversations when you talk about the weather.
When you are talking about the weather forecast, use the phrasal verb call for (something). It means say that this kind of weather will probably happen.
In the context of rain, a shower is a short period of rain in a small area.
Scattered means spread over a wide area. Scattered showers are periods of light rain happening in a few places, not just in one place. There might be a quick shower in the southern part of the city, then a quick shower in the northern part of the city.
We have a saying in Canada & the US: “April showers bring May flowers.” Tt rains a lot in April, but the water will help the flowers grow!
Precipitation is a formal word for rain and is sometimes used in weather forecasts.