Intermediate word of the day: anniversary

An anniversary is a date when you celebrate something good that happened on the same date in a previous year – or when you mark something more serious or sad. The most obvious kind of anniversary is a wedding anniversary, and many wedding anniversaries have particular names, so if you’ve been married for twenty-five years, you celebrate your silver wedding anniversary – and manage fifty years together and you reach your golden wedding anniversary. You can celebrate your wedding anniversary in lots of different ways. You could:

  • go away for the weekend – or for a long weekend. You might decide to take your wife to Venice or take your husband to Paris for a few days.
  • go out for a romantic dinner. You might have a special place that you go to every year or you might Google and find somewhere you like the look of.
  • throw a big party for your close friends and families.
  • give each other presents.
  • organise a special ceremony where you repeat the original vows you both made on your wedding day

Of course, sometimes people completely forget their anniversary! Maybe they have too much on at work and so it completely slips their mind.If you’re luck, your partner may also forget and so it’s no big deal. However, you could find yourself in hot waterin real trouble – if you forget the following year as well!

All kinds of other events also have anniversaries. This summer, for instance, the TV was full of programmes celebrating the 50th anniversary of The Summer of Love, and the 50th anniversary of the release of The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band LP. 2017 was also the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther nailing his ideas to the door of the castle chapel in the German town of Wittenberg, an event which led to the Reformation and the creation of the Protestant Church. On top of that, it’s also the 100th anniversary of the Russian Revolution, and the tenth anniversary of the ban on smoking in public places.

To mark anniversaries of this kind, there may a series of TV shows, exhibitions in big museums and galleries, special coffee-table books that come out, reunions of people who were involved, or just big public get-togethers. And if it’s the anniversary of a battle or a terrible accident, then there may be a special ceremony to commemorate those who died. There may also be protests too, of course, if people are still unhappy with the government’s response to things.

Cover the text. What do you remember?

  • Say three verbs that go with anniversary.
  • Say four ways you could celebrate a wedding anniversary.
  • What might happen if you forget your wedding anniversary?
  • Say three things that 2017 was the anniversary of.
  • How might these kinds of anniversaries be marked?

Related stories in the news

Queen Elizabeth the Second and her husband, Prince Philip celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary this week, and whatever your feelings about the royal family, it’s still quite a remarkable achievement. To mark their platinum anniversary, a series of portraits of the couple were released and they also threw a huge party at Windsor Castle to celebrate. Amazingly, a couple from Derby also celebrated their 70th anniversary in the same week!

This month was also the first anniversary of Donald Trump’s remarkable victory in last year’s presidential elections, and he is now far less popular than previous presidents at this stage of his presidency, with approval ratings of only 38%. To make matters worse, on the night of the anniversary, the Democrats won big in lots of local county elections across the country.

Finally, we’ve recently seen the 10th anniversary of Kindle, and of the iPhone. Oh, and legendary progressive rock band Yes have announced a ten-date tour to mark the fact that 2018 will be their 50th anniversary, much to the delight of many ageing hippies!

Want to learn more with Lexical Lab? Take our English Boost course next summer.


  • Which anniversaries do you celebrate or mark every year? How? Why?
  • Have you ever forgotten any important anniversaries? What happened?
  • Have there been any big anniversaries in your town / country recently? How were they marked?
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4 Responses

  1. Geoffrey Jordan says:

    What criteria guide your selection of the parts of text in bold type?

    • Hugh Dellar says:

      It’s basically just an attempt to highlight groups of words that we feel are frequently used together, Geoff, and to draw attention to particular collocations, chunks, etc.

  2. Liza says:

    There’s probably a typo. Forgot – forget.
    Thank you for this article. Love it.

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