English for parents – bogies and snot

Yeah, I’m just going to dive right into this one. Today is about the stuff that comes out of your nose. The doctor might call it mucus but in everyday language we say:

  • snot – (uncountable) runny mucus from the nose.
  • a bogey/ some bogies – (countable) solid or hard mucus from the nose.

Children often pick their noses – put their fingers inside their nose to get the bogies out. So parents say: ‘Don’t pick your nose!’ When you have a cold you might ‘blow your nose’ a lot – breath hard out of your nose, into a tissue, to remove the snot.

Please note sniffing is not acceptable in public in the UK (taking air into your nose to stop snot coming out). Children tend to sniff a lot if they have a cold, so parents say ‘stop sniffing.’ It’s ok to blow your nose in public, quietly.

When you have a cold, it’s more polite to say ‘I have a runny nose’ and not ‘I have a lot of snot (or mucus).’ But it’s ok to say ‘this is a snotty tissue’ when you mean the tissue has been used.

By the way a ‘snotty person’ is a person who is rude and believes they are better than you. ‘A snotty woman told me to stop sniffing on the train!’

And I leave you with possibly the funniest game to ever come out of children’s TV in the UK: Bogies. (you can also learn the pronunciation of bogies from this)

Published by Abbie

English teacher, coach and writer. Helping English learners and teachers get more confident in their skills.

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