ESL Family Vocabulary

English Words for Talking About Family

in-law
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A person who is related to you by marriage.

“My mother in-law is great. My daughter and I love her.”

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Stepfather
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A person who is married to your mother, but is not your original father. You could have a stepmother or a stepbrother/sister too.

“John doesn’t get along with his new stepfather. He misses his dad and he’s mad that his mom remarried”

Biological mother or father
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The parent that conceived you. If a person is adopted into another family his original parents are his “biological parents”.

“Sandy never knew her biological father. He left her soon after she was born.”

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To get adopted
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This is when an adult takes in a child who doesn’t have parents that can care for him or her.

“My niece was adopted by my brother and his wife when she was a baby.”

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To give up for adoption
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To legally surrender your rights in raising your child to another adult or a couple.

“The pregnant teenager is going to give her baby up for adoption.”

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Blood relative
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A person who is related to you by birth as opposed to being related to you by marriage.

“Larry is not an actual blood relative of mine. He is the son of my stepmother’s daughter.”
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Household
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This refers to all of the people who live in a house as a whole.

“There are six people in this household.”

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Nuclear family
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A person’s direct family members. It consists of your mother, father and siblings. Aunts, uncles, cousins and grandparents are not part of the nuclear family.

“People are usually closest to their nuclear family.”

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Extended family
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Any family members that are not part of your “nuclear family” like aunts, uncles, cousins and grandparents.

“My extended family is so large that we can’t all fit in my house.”

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Long lost relative
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A family member that you haven’t seen or heard from in a while.

“My long lost uncle Tim stopped by for Thanksgiving. We were all so surprised.”

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Second cousin
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The child of a person’s cousin.

“Did you know that my second cousin is Justin Bieber? I am so proud.”

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Broken home
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A family in which the mother or the father has left.

“Sara comes from a broken home. Her dad left when she was 7 years old.”

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Dysfunctional family
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A situation where there is controversy and abuse between the family members.

“I hate to see little kids growing up in a dysfunctional family.”

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Estranged family member

A person who doesn’t get along with the family and does not keep in contact.

“Their estranged son Daniel is living in San Francisco now. I don’t think they’ve heard from him in years.”

  • Conversation Activity for Family Vocabulary
  • Script for Family Conversation Activity
  • Listening Activity for Family Vocabulary
  • Family Vocabulary Worksheet
  • Fill in the Blanks for Family Words
  • Matching for Family Vocabulary