Can You Imagine?!

What are some English expressions that we can use to talk about things we can and can’t imagine?

You probably already know words like possible and impossible, real and imaginary, so let’s look at some other vocabulary.

We can use the verb picture.

nature-art-1738091_960_720 For example, we might say: Picture a green field stretching off into the distance.  Picture a blue sky overhead.  Picture a forest on either side…  Can you picture it?  If you can, great…  If not, you can say , “Sorry, I can’t picture it.”

cone-1  We can talk about something being within the realm of the possible / within the realm of possibility (the green zone) or outside the realm of the possible.

For example.  When a beginning level student comes to me and says, “I’m going to be in the U.S. for one month.  By the time I leave, I want to speak English like a native speaker.”  I would say, “I celebrate your ambition–bravo!!  But your wish is outside the realm of the possible.  It’ll never happen.  Fluency takes time.  Improvement, however, is within the realm of the possible.  A month is enough  time to make progress.

We can call something outside the realm of possibility a pipe dream.  It is like a vision that comes into your head after smoking a drug.

girl-and-hookah-1390802__340 I want to retire at forty, buy a tropical island, and lie in a hammock all day looking at the waves.  What a nice pipe dream, eh?

We also talk about something being thinkable and unthinkable.  A thinkable thing is possible.  An unthinkable thing is (or seems) impossible.

Two puppies are cuter   For example, it would be thinkable for me to have two dogs, Litter of puppies cutestbut it would be unthinkable for me to have five!  My house is way too small.

If we’re speaking about a course of action, we can call it doable or not doable.  What we mean is that it is possible to do or impossible to do.

yoga manThis yoga pose is within the realm of possibility for this yogi, but not doable for me.

I hope using these new words is now within the realm of possibility for you.  Picture yourself using them in conversation soon.  I hope that’s doable and not just a pipe dream of mine!