Air is the stuff that we breathe. It’s made up of nitrogen, oxygen, carbon dioxide, water vapor and other gases. Without air, we couldn’t survive! We can’t see it, yet we depend on it and we talk about it all the time.

  • The air smells good today.
  • We went outside for some fresh air.
  • This room isn’t getting enough air.

The word "air" is often used when describing radio and TV broadcasts:

  • Some radio stations are on the air 24 hours a day.
  • Hilda’s favorite TV show is no longer on the air.
  • Political candidates buy up a lot of airtime before an election. (airtime = commercials or time spent during a broadcast)
  • PBS is airing a documentary about the war in Afghanistan this weekend. (The word "air" is used as verb in this sentence.)

This word can be combined with other nouns:

  • How much is airfare to London?
  • Airplanes leave from this airport every few minutes.
  • Airlines are very busy during the holidays.

This word can also be used as an adjective:

  • Ed and Clara slept on an air mattress when they went camping.
  • Air pollution is a serious problem in some countries.
  • A BB gun is an air rifle that shoots small metal balls.
  • The U.S. Air Force has some of the fastest jets in the world.

air force

It’s possible to use "air" as a verb:

  • When will this program air? (air = broadcast on radio or TV)
  • The public was allowed to air grievances against the police department during the meeting. (air = talk about, discuss)
  • When I get back from the camping trip, I aired out the tent. (air out = allow the air to dry or freshen something that is damp or smelly.)
  • Put your shoes in the sun so that they’ll air out.

Click here to learn more words.

October 10, 2014