Lindsay McMahon
"The English Adventurer"

Have you heard people use the word “lack” in English?

Is this one of those words that seems to come up in multiple different ways in conversation?

This is a word that has a variety of different uses, and therefore you want to know how to make it a part of your conversation.

Today we’re going to look at this word, how it works, and the various ways you can add it into your English conversations to sound like a native.

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Here’s a question about the word “lack” and how it can be used in conversation.

Dear All,

I really love your show and have been listening to your podcast for a year. It is the best language learning resource! I just have a quick question regarding the usage of “lack.”

I know “lack” can be used as a verb or noun. I also know that it needs to be used with some preposition such as “of “depending on the context. I am wondering if you can elaborate a bit more on this based on the usage of “lack.”

Thank you very much!


Looking At A Common Word

This is a great question about a common word that you are sure to use in conversation often.

When you use the word lack, it usually refers to missing something.

This is a word that may be used often to talk about missing something or not having something.

You have likely heard this, and you may have even used it yourself.

We will go over a couple uses for this word today so that you can get a feel for how it works.

There are plenty of other uses, but today we’re going to focus on a few common ones.

This is one of those words that you really want to listen for in conversation, because you can pick up on its usage more often than you might think.

This isn’t to say there aren’t more, but let’s focus here today.

Breaking This Down

When you look at the word “lack” you want to understand how it works.

Let’s start by understanding that you don’t always need a preposition to use it.

An example would be with a verb—no “of” an object.

You could say something like “I lack the patience for this line of work.”

You can also add “-ing” and use it in a sentence without a preposition and it works well.

You might hear something like “She is lacking some of the qualifications for the position, but she is really great in many ways.”

Another example might be “Can we get more materials in the stock room? We are lacking staples and pens.”

You can add an “s” and make it work as well.

You could say “His work lacks what we need.”

You could talk about how something is missing such as “These French fries lack flavor.”

If you are using “of” then it’s typically a noun you are working with.

For example you could say “Can we get more materials in the stock room? There is a lack of staples and pens.”

You could use this to convey something that is not happening such as “There is no lack of fun going on in this room!”

You can use it to talk about somebody such as “His lack of good judgment got him in trouble in school. “

Other Ways To Use This

So you can see that “lack” alone is pretty versatile.

It can be used as a noun or as a verb, and you can mix it up a bit.

You can also rephrase the examples and use it in a variety of ways.

Here’s how that can work in a couple of examples.

“I have a lack of patience…”

“She has a lack of some…”

What about with there is no lack of?

Can we switch that around a bit?

This can be a bit less formal sometimes such as “ I need”, “I could use”, and things of that nature.

You could put this into a question form too and lack or lacking works really well.

You could say something like “Lindsay is there anything you are lacking in life now?”

Another example is “What can we do if we feel we are lacking something?”

This one word has so many different uses, and it can be a great one to try out in your conversations.


Lack is a very useful and very common word.

There may be other uses you may hear, but these are the main ones.

You are using it to talk about something that you are missing, but it has a variety of uses or approaches to it.

Try these out today, especially in more formal situations and writing.

This is a great word to listen for, a great word to use to talk like a native, and a wonderful way to mix up your vocabulary and usage a bit.

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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