Lindsay McMahon
"The English Adventurer"

Have you heard somebody use the word “nurture” in conversation?

Have you ever heard somebody say the phrase “nature vs. nurture” in English?

Debating in English is not easy especially if English is not your language language?

Today we’ll give you some hints on how you could debate this topic in English with confidence.

This is one of those phrases that can be tough to understand, but practicing its use can get you used to it.

We’re going to look at the definitions of nurture and how “nature vs. nurture” is used and how these phrases are key to starting an interesting conversation with native speakers.

We have a listener question about this word nurture that may help to highlight this issue.

Hi Lindsay ,

I am hearing the word “nurture” frequently . I am not sure how to use it correctly and I searched in the All Ears web portal but I didn’t get any episode related to this word. Can you please explain the usage of this word in one of your upcoming episodes? Thank you for all your wonderful work.

Best Regards ,


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Breaking Down What Nurture Really Means

This is an important word, and it’s used frequently in English.

There are a couple different definitions and uses of this word, but the basic idea is caring for someone or something.

It’s slightly formal in nature.

Nurture can be used as a noun or a verb.

  • As a verb: It means to take care of.  This may be the type of definition that many are used to hearing. It may also mean to “encourage the development of”.
    • “She nurtured her pet for a whole year before she had to give him away when she moved.”
    • “You have to nurture your relationships if you want to succeed in life.”
    • “My husband nurtures my love of music. He’s gotten me music lessons as gifts before!”
  • As a noun: It means the care of something.
    • “She doesn’t believe that nature is more important than nurture. I disagree.”

Nature vs. Nurture and The Debate

The question in the letter can actually touch on a different meaning or phrase associated with nurture altogether.

The phrase is  “nature versus nurture.”

This phrase is used often in conversation, and it can be important to understand what it’s all about. 

It’s the debate over whether a person is who they are more based on how they were brought up and raised, or who they were around when they were growing up.

You might be trying to figure out why somebody is a certain way so you question if it’s just a part of their personality or if they come by it naturally through genetics.

So is this person talented in a given area because they have nurtured that talent or because they were born with it?

That’s the type of thing that you might wonder about.

There’s no right or wrong here, but rather “nature vs. nurture” is thought through to help bring clarity to a given person or situation.


The word nurture is very important, and typically may make someone think of “nature versus nurture.”

This is a great conversation topic because you can share your own experiences and ask others about who they are and what they think.

There may not be a good answer, but it’s always a fun discussion topic and a way to connect with the person you are speaking to.

If something comes up that is relevant to this topic, you can always say something like “yeah it’s the whole nature versus nurture debate.”

It’s one of those words and topics that you can really understand if you practice using it in conversation.

If you have any questions, please leave them below in the comments section.

We’ll get back to you as soon as we can. 

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