There’s nothing better than family time. I always love getting to spend time (be) with my family. It’s especially (very) nice when you live far away. When I go back to where I live, it’s good to know how to talk about family in English.

Every family is different. Some have a lot of relatives. Some have very few. No matter how many family members you have, we have some family vocabulary you can use to talk about family.


Your parents are the people who raised (were there from baby to adulthood) you. You may be their biological or adopted (legally taken) child. But your parents help teach you right from wrong, and make sure you have what you need when you are growing up (going from child to adult).

For example:

  • I’m going to see my parents at Christmas.
  • My parents helped me pay for university.
  • Sam and Else are my adopted parents. I have lived with them since I was five years old.


Your siblings are the other children your parents have. This may be brothers, sisters, or both! A sibling can be either male (boy/man) or female (girl/woman). The word is gender neutral. If you don’t have siblings, then you’re an only child.

For example:

  • One of my siblings lives in Ohio. My other sibling lives in Miami.
  • How many siblings do you have?
  • I have two older siblings and one younger sibling.


Your uncles (male) and aunts (female) are your parents’ siblings. When one of your uncles or aunts gets married, the person they marry also becomes your aunt or uncle. The children your aunts and uncles have are your cousins.

I have so many good memories (something remembered from the past) spending time with my aunts, uncles, and cousins. It was always loud, but a lot of fun!

For example:

  • We’re going to my aunt’s house for July 4th. All my cousins will be there, too!
  • Aunt Judy is my mother’s sister.
  • My Uncle Vince is my Aunt Shirley’s husband.


If you have a sibling and they get married, what do you call their husband or wife? English is quite practical here. Because they are married by law (legally), their husband or wife becomes your brother-in-law or sister-in-law!

For example:

  • My brother and sister-in-law are coming this weekend. I can’t wait to see them!
  • I love my brother-in-law. He’s the perfect husband for my sister.


How do we talk about family in English when your sibling has a child? Don’t worry, there is a word for that child! If it’s a girl, it’s your niece, and if it’s a boy, it’s your nephew. Do you have any nieces or nephews?

For example:

  • My sister just had a baby! I can’t wait to meet my niece!
  • My nephew and brother-in-law are working on their family tree.


There’s also a term for the parents of your husband or wife. It’s mother-in-law and father-in-law. Exactly like sister- and brother-in-law, you marry into a family legally. So it’s good to have the proper (right) terms to describe (talk about, explain) them!

For example:

  • My mother-in-law bakes the best chocolate cake. It’s my husband’s favorite!
  • My husband’s parents are great in-laws. They make me feel like family!

Do you have any favorite family traditions? How often do you see your family? Tell us a little about them in the comments now that you know how to talk about family in English!

Buy Lessons

Did you like this blog? Share it with others! Let us know what YOU think!

Check out these other popular blogs: TV English Vocabulary, Banking English Vocabulary, English Comma: Basic Rules, or these Commonly Confused Words used in English!

Erin Duffin lives in Hamburg, is an English teacher, blogger, yoga instructor, and though she doesn’t see her many family members often, she still loves to talk about family in English! Miss you, family!

Looking for more phrases, ways to use English everyday, or get the conversation started? Sign up for our newsletter or check out the website!