jean-frederic-fortier

Word study: Point

Point is both a noun and a verb. It can mean different things in different contexts. Let’s look at some of those meanings.

the point (noun)

a) an idea, opinion, or piece of information that is said or written
You made some interesting points in your presentation.

b) an opinion or fact that deserves to be considered seriously, or that other people agree is true.
You’ve got a point there.

c) a particular time or stage in a process.
I was completely lost at one point

d) a particular place.
This is a good point from which to watch the game. 

e) purpose or usefulness
I’d like to write to him, but what’s the point? He never writes back.

f) a mark or unit for counting, especial how much a person or team has scored in a sport.
He scored the most points in the game. 

g) the sharp end of something, such as a knife.
I sharpened my pencil to a point

h) a particular quality or characteristic of a person or thing
I think her kindness is one of her strong points. (=one of her good qualities)

i) a long, thin area of land that stretches out into the sea
Point Roberts

j) a small, round mark on a line, plan or map to show the position of something
Join the points A and B together on the diagram with a straight line.

to point (verb)

a) to direct other people’s attention to something by holding out your finger towards it.
“Look at this!” she said, pointing to a picture in her book.

b) to hold something out in the direction of someone or something.
He said that the man had pointed a knife at him.

c) if something points in a particular direction, it is turned towards that direction
The road sign points left.

Idiomatic English

Idiom Meaning Example
on the point of (doing) something to be going to do something very soon Just as we were on the point of giving up hope, a letter arrived.
make a point of doing something to always do something or to take particular care to do something She makes a point of keeping all her shopping receipts.
my point exactly said in answer to something that someone has just said when you believe it yourself, or when you have said it yourself earlier. “So even if we got the funding, we still couldn’t get the project started.” “My point exactly.”
on point as good as it could be; perfect. Her dance performance was on point.
to the point expressing something very important or suitable for the subject being discussed. His feedback on my work was very apt and to the point.
up to a point partly, or to a limited degree. Of course there is some truth in all this, but only up to a point.
 point someone towards/in the direction of something. to suggest that someone should do or buy a particular thing. Can you point me in the direction of the closest bank?

Phrases

Here are some examples of phrases with the word point.

Phrase Meaning Example
the/somebody’s point the meaning or most important part of what someone says or writes Please get to the point.
beside the point not important or not related to the subject being discussed. That’s beside the point.
that’s a (good) point said to show that what someone has just said is true or important. “We’ll take the train.” “But we don’t have any money for the fare.” “That’s a good point.”
boiling, melting, freezing point the temperature at which a substance boils, melts, freezes, etc. The boiling point of water is 100 degrees Celsius.

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