Learning Family Relatives in English: Improve Your Skills Now

Elly Kimreviewed bySana Liashuk / more about Editorial Process6 min
Created: May 29, 2023Last updated: May 1, 2024
Learning Family Relatives.jpg

Family is one of the first topics essential to learn in English. Everyone needs to talk about relatives as you will face this issue everywhere: at school, university, and during job interviews. Sorting this topic out seems simple, as you can find the necessary terminology in any source. But did you think about all the peculiarities of relatives’ family terminology?

Promova, a multitool for learning languages, wants to make the educational process as easy and comfortable as possible. We decided to gather all the necessary details in one place. This page will become your reference book for learning essential vocabulary. So, let’s see what words you can’t do without when talking about relatives. You will be able to build your family tree in a few minutes after reading it! 

Types of Relatives and Main Definitions

First, we will talk about our immediate family. These include the closest people we always keep in touch with. We cannot imagine our lives without our mother and father. They are our dearest people. After that, it’s important to mention a brother and sister, or siblings, as they are also called by native speakers.

Husband is used to refer to a woman’s spouse. On the other hand, after marriage, a man calls his loved one a wife. Daughter and son are used when talking about your children. These words describe the closest family members, so learn them first. Then, it’s time to pass to other relatives! Let’s learn everything right now.

Extended Family Members

Now it’s time to discuss other relatives! There’s no doubt that you’ve heard the words “mother” and “father” before. But what about their parents, siblings, and other family members? Look at the main terms you should know:

  • grandmother – your mother’s or father’s mum;
  • grandfather – your mother’s or father’s dad;
  • grandchildren – your children’s kids;
  • aunt – your mother’s or father’s sister;
  • uncle – your mother’s or father’s brother.

These words are used when talking about the closest blood relatives! But how to describe those who became your family after the wedding? Grab a brief guide:

  • father-in-law is your spouse’s dad;
  • mother-in-law is your husband’s or wife’s mum;
  • sister-in-law is your spouse’s sister;
  • brother-in-law is your husband’s or wife’s brother;
  • daughter-in-law is your son’s wife;
  • son-in-law is your daughter’s husband.

The words mentioned above are simple and understandable. So, we are confident you won’t forget them and will use them properly when needed. We have already discussed all the terminology regarding family members you might need in your day-to-day communication. But we couldn’t leave you without something even more exciting!

Rarely Used Relative Names You Shouldn’t Miss

So, you already know the words used to describe family members. And we bet even those who cannot boast fluent English might have known them. Therefore, we want to introduce some less popular expressions. It’s worth noting they are used quite rarely. But why not show off your knowledge in an English-speaking society?

  • Modrige refers to your mother’s sister and is an old-fashioned synonym for “aunt.”
  • Both eam and avuncle mean your mum’s brother.
  • Fadu is used to refer to your father’s sister.
  • Machetonim is the word describing your child’s spouse’s parents.
  • Brother-uterine is relevant if you have one mother but different fathers.
  • Niblings are used to describe your nieces and nephews.

Ask your family and friends whether they’ve heard these expressions before. We are confident that even some native speakers might see them for the first time. You will hardly meet the words mentioned above in your daily communication. But they might be useful for those who are always curious about learning something new. It’s exciting to dip into the roots and explore how our ancestors’ language differs from what we are used to hearing now.


Idioms About Family Members in English: Be Creative & Speak Like a Native

English people pay special attention to those little phrases, making their speech more exciting and unique. Therefore, idioms are exactly what foreigners find very difficult to understand. Want to speak like a real American? Catch a few phrases that will be helpful:

  1. “Blood is thicker than water” means that relationships inside the family are strong.
  2. “Cut from the same cloth” concerns people (relatives) with similar characters, behaviors, and habits.
  3. “A chip off the old block” describes a family where a child is a full copy of one of their parents.
  4. “Breadwinner” refers to the family member with the highest income among all relatives.
  5. “Bob’s your uncle” is used to show that a problem has a simple solution.
  6. “Kith and kin” describes that the whole family is gathered in one place (as a rule, it happens at weddings, birthdays, and so on).
  7. “To run in the family” implies that relatives have the same traits.
  8. “The apple of one’s eye” describes parental love for children.
  9. “To have a falling out” means disagreements between family members.
  10. “To wear the pants” is about the relative who has the highest authority.

Admit that you did not know what these expressions meant, did you? We have a lot more stored for our students. You cannot avoid using idioms when communicating with native English speakers. Therefore, try to learn as many of them as possible. First, these expressions will help you diversify your speech. And secondly, it will save you from awkward situations. There are numerous idioms in English, and their meaning cannot always be guessed. Forewarned is forearmed!

Reasons to Choose Promova for Learning English

We know not everyone likes sitting for hours in boring lessons trying to learn English. And let’s be honest. We also don’t appreciate such an approach. Promova offers innovative interactive courses, so our students are always excited. Hate sitting in one place? No problem, take our language learning multitool on the go! Download the multifunctional app on your smartphone and enjoy engaging lessons wherever you are.

Say “no” to typical and boring classes. Our professional tutors will adapt to your requests and offer a personal program. Would you prefer group lessons or individual ones? Or maybe your English is already so perfect that you only lack speaking experience? Then, our Conversation Club will become your ideal destination. Contact Promova, as we are the best learning platform for students of all levels!


Do you think you already know everything to be able to talk to family and describe relatives? We are confident you got the necessary basis after reading our article. Knowing their roots is essential for most people, so learning the related vocabulary may come in handy. Now, you are ready to make your family tree in English.


Why is it essential to learn English family vocabulary?

It’s crucial to be able to talk about your family because, for the majority of us, family is the most important thing we have. And it’s not just about informal communication. Indeed, even employers can ask the applicant to speak more about their family, eventually forming a conclusion about the potential worker.

How to learn about family members quickly and efficiently?

One of the working ways is using Bingo or a crossword game. Draw the template in advance, or download a ready-made one online. Then, play the game the following day and check your knowledge. Another option is contacting Promova tutors. They will provide all the necessary details and interactive classes for effective and easy learning.

How to make a family tree?

This process is simple. Of course, you should first learn the necessary words in English. After that, get as many details as possible about your relatives. Talking to family, especially the older relatives, is the best option as they usually know much about their roots and history. After that, arm yourself with paper, glue, and photos and start. An online family tree can be a perfect alternative, as you can find multiple ready-made templates.

Which resources can I use to learn the family terminology better?

Promova, the language learning platform, is a perfect destination for everyone who wants to strengthen their English skills. You can also take advantage of third-party resources, including Cambridge Dictionary and HowToPronounce. Tutors also recommend reading in English and communicating with native speakers. Use multiple tools to make your speaking skills perfect.


FloreJun 5th, 2023
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