Do you like to swim? During the summer, it’s fun to go swimming. When it’s hot, more people hang out (relax, spend time) near the water. This is so they can keep cool (not be so warm). As the weather gets warmer (heats up), knowing the difference between types (kinds) of water can be helpful. That’s why we’ve decided to focus on (look at) some water vocabulary. If you know different bodies of water (types of water), you can talk clearly about where you want to go to beat the heat (keep cool)!

Expand (make bigger) your knowledge (what you know) of English with some of this helpful water vocabulary!


A lake is a large body of water. A lake is surrounded (all around)  by land. A lake is filled with fresh water (water that is not salty). Lakes are a lot of fun to swim in when it’s hot outside. You can also take boats out on a lake, or just hang out on the beach (where the water meets the land). Do you enjoy going to the lake in the summer?

For example:

  • Crater Lake is a large lake in Oregon. It formed when a volcano exploded and the crater (hole) filled with rainwater.
  • It’s going to be very hot this weekend. Do you want to go swimming at Lake Constance?


A pond is very similar to a lake. However, a pond is much smaller. Just like a lake, a pond is surrounded by land and is filled with fresh water. People like to go fishing in ponds, or they may go ice skating on a pond when it’s frozen (when water turns to ice) in the winter. Is there a pond near your house?

For example:

  • There’s a small pond in the center of town. A lot of ducks and fish live in that pond.
  • When I was a kid, we would go ice skating on the pond behind my aunt’s house.


Do you prefer (like better) to visit the sea in the summer? This water vocabulary can be confusing (hard to understand) for some people learning English. A sea is not a lake, but rather a small ocean. A sea is filled with salt water and connected to an ocean. Places like the Baltic Sea and the North Sea are along the northern coast (where land meets the sea or ocean) of Europe. Many people in Germany like to visit the sea during the summer.

For example:

  • When we go on vacation, we want to go to the sea. It will be nice to be on the beach!
  • The towns along the sea are going to be very crowded (full of people) this summer. It’s going to be a very hot summer!


An ocean is much larger than a sea. An ocean is also filled with salt water. Oceans surround the continents (large bodies of land, like North America, Europe, Asia, etc.). Some people like to take trips to the ocean when it’s hot. They can go swimming, hang out on the beach, go surfing, or even sailing. Have you ever seen the ocean before?

For example:

  • My family always goes to the ocean for vacation in August. We love hanging out on the beach for a week.
  • The United States has the Atlantic Ocean on the east coast, and the Pacific Ocean on the west coast.


A puddle is not like a lake, sea, or ocean. A puddle is a very small amount of water. When it rains, sometimes water will pool (collect, come together) on the ground. These small collections of water will still be there after it rains. These are puddles. A puddle isn’t big enough to swim in. Children like to jump in puddles, though!

For example:

  • There were lots of puddles in the parking lot after the rain storm.
  • The children jumped in every puddle they saw and became very wet.


Do you live near a river? A river is a very important water vocabulary word. A river is a large body of water. Rivers start in the ocean or a large lake and move through the land. Water flows through a river and moves from place to place. Many cities are built near rivers. A river can also be a fun place to swim or sail on during the summer!

For example:

  • She likes canoeing on the river every summer.
  • The city was built near two rivers. It was very beautiful there.


A stream is like a river but much smaller. A stream begins in a river, but is smaller. Rivers can be very wide (broad, big long-wise) but streams are not. Because streams are small, you can’t swim or sail on them. However, it’s nice to be near a stream!

For example:

  • The new house they bought had a stream in the backyard. They like to sit by the stream in the evenings.
  • The children like to go fishing in the stream in the afternoon.


A creek is a less common water vocabulary word. A creek is much, much smaller than a stream or a river. A creek is very small and has just a little bit of water flowing (moving) through it. Creeks are so small that you can’t do much in them at all. But they’re good for the environment!

For example:

  • There was a small creek near the house where I grew up.
  • The creek was very small but was home to lots of small fish and frogs.

Do you like to be near the water? Do you spend your vacations at a lake or at the sea? Is there more water vocabulary that you would like to know? Let us know in the comments below!

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Check out these other popular blogs: Music Idioms in EnglishAcademic English – The Dos and Don’tsQuestion Words in English, or tips for A or An: The Rules and Exceptions in English!

Erin Duffin lives in Hamburg, is an English teacher, blogger, yoga instructor, and can’t wait to spend a day at the lake!

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