Important Posts

Talk About Using Computers and Other Technical Problems

Talk about computers and other technical problems

In this lesson we will talk about using computers and other technical problems. We have compiled some of the most common English phrases and expressions for computer use and other technical problems.


Parts of a computer and other related technologies


You probably already know the word computer, but do you know the names of these different types of computers?


1. Battery: The part of the computer that stores electricity and provides power.

  • They told me I needed a new battery.

2. Bus: Contains volume of information expressed in bits. It is transmitted simultaneously according to a numbered wire-cable. 

  • To record and edit my song, I now use a 32 bits bus.

3. Boot, boot up, boot disk: You boot (or boot up) your computer when you switch it on and wait while it prepares itself. Instructions for startup are given to the computer from the boot disk, which is usually the hard disk. 

  • When I booted the computer I heard a extremely loud rattle.

4. Charger: When your battery doesn't have power, you have to use a charger to connect it to an electrical source.

  • Do not use another battery charger.

5. Central processing unit (CPU): This is a PC's heart or "brains". 

  • This computer has a separate CPU just for number crunching.

6. Cache: A kind of memory used to make a computer work faster.

  • But high-speed cache memory is expensive.

7. Computer screen: The part of a computer where text and images appear.

  • A message flashed up on my computer screen.

8. Compact disc read-only memory (CD-ROM): A disk for storing computer information.

  • Now you can burn your photos onto a CD-ROM.

9. Computer: An electronic device with programmed instructions to store, process and receive data, which, among other things, enables you to navigate on the web. 

  • Nowadays we have access to any information by using a computer.

10. Desktop computer: Is a large computer that sits on top of your desk. You can't carry it from place to place because it is too big.

  • My computer is a desktop computer of excellent quality.

11. Device Driver: Is a software component that lets the operating system and a device communicate with each other.

  • Specific device drivers are required for each relational database.

12. Disk player: It is a device incorporated in your computer which enables you to play a disk and visualise its content on your computer’s screen. 

  • I put all my souvenirs on a disk so I need my disk player to see them.

13. Floppy disk: A cheap, removable disk used for storing or transferring information. It is floppy (soft) because it is plastic. (Now virtually obsolete.) 

  • How much data can you store on a floppy disk?

14. Format: All hard disks and floppy disks have to be electronically prepared for use by a process called formatting. Hard disks are pre-formatted by the computer manufacturer. 

  • If you buy a floppy disk that is not pre-formatted, you format it yourself, using a program that comes with your PC.

15. Fan (computer): A device with a heat sink to refresh the components inside the tower and prevent them from overheating. 

  • My computer makes a weird sound. I think the fan needs some cleaning.

16. Floppy drive: The device used to run a floppy disk (usually drive "A".) (Now virtually obsolete.) 

  • There is insufficient space on the selected floppy drive.

17. Hard disk, hard drive: The main disk inside a computer used for storing programs and information. It is hard because it is metal. 

  • Allo of my family photos are stored on my computer’s hard drive.

18. Headphones: A device you put on your ears allowing you to listen to music and other sounds coming from your computer, tablet or smartphone. 

  • With my headphones, I can listen to loud music without disturbing the people around me.

19. Internet Modem: Equipment connected to a computer for sending/receiving digital information by telephone line. You may need a modem to connect to the Internet, to send electronic mail and to fax. 

  • Thanks to my internet modem, I have phone and television services included as well.

20. iPad: A tablet computer created by Apple. 

  • Apple plans to unveil a new iPad early this month.

21. Keyboard:The part of the computer with buttons representing numbers and letters. 

  • You use the keyboard to enter information.

22. Key: One of the buttons displayed on a keyboard; mainly alphabetical letters, numbers and other symbols. 

  • I am not familiar with the £ key and I lose a lot of time when I have to type english money.

23. Laptop/Laptop computer: Is a small computer that you can take with you.

  • The laptop drawing tablet is a very useful piece of hardware.

24. Memory: The part of the computer that lets you save information. 

  • Memory is measured in megabytes and gigabytes.

25. Microphone: The part of the computer that you speak into when you want to record something or talk to a friend.

  • My laptop has a built-in microphone.

26. Microprocessor: The main integrated microchip which controls a computer’s most important functions. 

  • I have a computer with an Intel Core i3/i5/i7/i9 (Tigerlake) microprocessor, do you think it’s good enough to play video games?

27. Mouse pad: A soft square where you put your mouse.

  • If you're always jotting things down, a fresh notepad and uncapped pen should be next to your mouse pad."

28. Monitor: The output device that generates images coming from your computer’s graphic card. 

  • I am very happy with my 18 inch LCD monitor, I really love watching my favorite series with great images and bright colors.

29. Mouse: The part of the computer that you move or touch to locate information on the screen.

  • Grandma, you won’t be able to see this image in full-screen if you don’t double-click the mouse!"

30. Motherboard: A device within the computer where modules are installed in sockets. It provides communication for information processing. 

  • The motherboard is one of the most important components of my computer, if it crashes, that’s the end, I’ll have to buy another computer.

31. Notebook Computer: A notebook computer; a laptop computer; a folding, portable computer. 

  • The notebook computer is small and compact and weighs only 3.6lb.

32. Parallel port: A socket at the back of a computer for connecting external equipment or peripherals, especially printers.

  • Parallel Port A is input at startup or reset.

33. Power supply: The complex appliance intended to supply electricity via an electrical network to your computer, which allows it to work. 

  • I found out that my computer’s power supply is out, that’s why I couldn’t turn it on.

34. Printer: Equipment you use to produce physical copies of a document.

  • Nowadays, we can print ourselves our photos, there are lots of low prices and high quality printers.

35. PC card: A device that is the same size as a thick credit card, for plugging into a slot on notebook computers.

  • Make sure that the PC Card is removed from your laptop.

36. Palmtop: A computer that is small enough to sit on the palm of the hand.

  • The palmtop edition will offer enhanced modem dialling and screen handling and will be streamlined to conserve memory.

37. Peripheral: Any equipment that is connected externally to a computer. For example, printers, scanners and modems are peripherals.

  • Printers, scanners and modems are peripherals.

38. Router: A box that lets your computer connect to the Internet.

  • The IP router card supports two configuration modes: Console command line configuration and network command line configuration.

39. Random access memory (RAM), Read only memory (ROM): two types of memory. RAM is the main memory used while the PC is working. RAM is temporary. ROM is for information needed by the PC and cannot be changed.

  • This video-game will not work unless your computer has 16 GO of ram.

40. Scanner: Equipment that lets you take a picture of a photo or document and put it on the computer.

  • Today when I need to send documents, I don’t have to go to the post office, I use my scanner and send them by mail.

41. Smart phone: A type of cell phone that lets you use the Internet, take pictures, play music and send email.

  • Smart Phone has been the fastest growth on market of future mobile communication terminal.

42. Serial port: socket at the back of a PC for connecting peripherals (obsolescent).

  • Microprocessor communicates with supervisory computer through RS232 serial port.

43. Speakers: The part of the computer which controls the volume. If you want to make the volume extra loud, you can use external speakers, but usually the built-in speakers are fine.

  • Speakers are sold as add-ons for personal computer.

44. Tablet: Small, portable technology that lets you do basic things. Really it's just a screen without a keyboard! iPads are an example of a tablet.

  • The laptop drawing tablet is a very useful piece of hardware.

45. Thin Film Transistor (TFT): A type of high quality screen for notebook computers.

  • Thin film transistor ( TFT ) is one type of field effect transistors ( FET ).

46. Universal Serial Bus (USB): A small tool you can use to save your documents. If you don't want to carry your computer from place to place, this is very useful!

  • Universal Serial Bus (USB) is a new generation of the standard peripheral interface bus."

47. USB flash drive: a small, external device for storing data; it connects through the USB socket. 

  • These portable tools may turn your USB flash drive from a simple data carrier to a computer-on-stick.

48. Wires and cables: Long thin pieces of metal that connect different parts of the computer. The word wire refers to the metal part and the word cable refers to the plastic covering.

  • Securely mount or tie down electronic components, wires, and cables.

49. Wireless mouse: A mouse without the cable, it works by capturing the waves thanks to the receptor in the USB port via the transmitter in the mouse.

  • With my new wireless mouse, I don’t anymore stumble with the cable on the floor.

Programs and software


1. Anti-virus software: a program that finds and removes viruses from a computer.

  • You need to update your anti-virus software regularly.

2. App: a self-contained program or piece of software; an application, especially when downloadable to a mobile device.

  • A collection of functions including app, debug and error.

3. Applications: Applications let you do different things on the computer. Popular applications are Word, Excel and Firefox, but games are considered applications, too!

  • I have to drive to an address I never went to before. My tomtom application will be very useful to find the place.

4. Backup: An application to store copies of your data in order to prevent their loss.

  • Every part of the system has a backup.

5. Bit, bytes: a bit is the smallest piece of information that computers use. For simplicity, a PC uses bits in groups of 8 called bytes (8 bits = 1 byte).

  • In computer lingo, a million bytes is commonly referred to as one megabyte.

6. Bluetooth: A way of communicating wirelessly over short distances between electronic devices (for example computer and mobile telephone).

  • Bluetooth has become a defacto standard for wireless connectivity used in mobile phones, PCs, laptops, and may other electronic devices.

7. Cursor: The picture on the screen that shows you where the mouse is pointing is called the cursor. Usually the cursor looks like an arrow.

  • Move your cursor to the top of the screen.

8. Data: Usually means the information (text, pictures, audio etc) that you create or share on a computer, as opposed to the programs that manipulate the data. 

  • People should be careful in using personal data, it’s a very sensitive subject!

9. Disk Operating System (DOS): The original system used for PCs, where you typed in commands instead of pointing and clicking.

  • Specialized installed in a 1.44 - inch floppy disk operating system can be achieved graphical user interface.

10. Ebook: an electronic book that can be downloaded and read on a computer or other device.

  • Once your ebook is written, ad some nice graphics and a cover page.

11. File: A virtual document or a digital recording in which you create and store data.

  • You will find your report in the file named “basic computer vocabulary.

12. Firewall : A technological barrier which protects your computer from dangerous external data.

  • You always need a firewall on your computer because of numerous viruses and malwares on the web.

13. Folder (directory): A sub-division of a computer's hard disk into which you put files.

  • Don’t forget to name your folder according to the kind of files you put into it.

14. Font: A particular sort of lettering (on the screen or on paper). 

  • Arial is a font. Times New Roman is another.

15. Graphics card: The equipment inside a computer that creates the image on the screen.

  • If you have a color graphics card and a monochrome monitor, the underlining will not really appear on the scree.

16. Icon: A small image or picture on a computer screen that is a symbol for folders, disks, peripherals, programs etc.

  • Click on the icon when you want to print.

17. Kilobytes (Kb), megabytes (Mb), gigabytes (Gb): Used to measure computer memory and storage.

  • You need a machine with 64 kilobytes of memory to run the program.

18. Media: Means which allows one to spread information to the general public.

  • Facebook is a very popular social media.

19. Megahertz (MHz): This describes the speed of computer equipment. 

  • The higher the MHz the better the performance.

20. Optical Character Recognition (OCR): OCR lets a PC read a fax or scanned image and convert it to actual lettering.

  • Optical character recognition ( OCR ) is one of the most successful applications of pattern recognition.

21. Operating system (OS): The program that controls everything on the computer. 

  • The two most popular operating systems are Windows and iOS. Another common operating system is Linux.

22. Password: If you want to protect the information on your computer, it's a good idea to use a password.

  • The program locks the keyboard until a password is given.

23. Pixel: The image that you see on the screen is made of thousands of tiny dots, points or pixels.

  • For a colour monitor, more than one bit is needed to describe each pixel, and there are two approaches to this.

24. Program: Software that operates a PC and does various things, such as writing text (word-processing program), keeping accounts (accounts program) and drawing pictures (graphics program).

  • How much memory does the program occupy?

25. Resolution: The number of dots or pixels per inch (sometimes per centimetre) used to create the screen image.

  • Image resolution is lower than most but still perfectly usable for small images and Web pictures.

26. Settings: When you want to change something on the computer, you need to go to settings. Here, you can change what appears on the screen, the name of the computer and other important details.

  • The settings for your own printer may be different.

27. Window: When you open an application, information appears in a window.

  • Set focus to the application window into which you want to type.

28. Windows: An operating system used by the majority of PCs 

  • My new laptop has the latest version of Windows installed on it.

Things you might do on the internet

1. Blog: A web page where you can write articles about topics that interest you.

  • The digital marketplace of ideas that welcomes every blog and tweet is the same one that inspires the next generation of innovators to fuel our economies.

2. Bookmark: A place where you store the URL of the web pages you want to keep in order to view them later on.

  • If you don’t have time to read this article right now, you’d better bookmark it!

3. Browser: The application you need to use when you want to go on the Internet. Common browsers are Safari and google chrome.

  • I think google chrome is the most popular browser in the world.

4. Cookie: A small piece of data a web site keeps and uses to remind you of your activities.

  • Thanks to cookies, I easily find the sites I visited yesterday.

5. Hotspot: An area that has an available wireless signal for Internet access (usually public).

  • You can share your device's internet connection with hotspot.

6. Internet: International network of computers that you connect to by telephone line. 

  • Two popular services of the Internet are the World Wide Web (WWW) and electronic mail (Email).

7. Internet Protocol address (IP address): The coded identity given to you by your internet service provider.

  • My IP address is confidential data that shouldn’t be given to someone else.

8. Mail, electronic mail (email, e-mail):messages sent from one computer to another. You can see email on the screen or print it out.

  • You can contact us by email or fax.

9. Social network: A web page such as Facebook or Twitter where you can connect with friends and share information.

  • Friends Social network list where i could have see my friends directly from my account and invite them to a group order.

10. Uniform resource locator (URL): The address of a given website on the world-wide-web.

  • The URL of my website is

11. Web page: A page on the Internet that shows information.

  • When text is saved from a Web page, it is often very badly formatted with many short lines.

12. Website: One or more pages displaying a given content on the web.

  • Everybody bookmarks their favorite websites.

13. Wi-fi: Technology that lets you use the Internet without using wires or cables.

  • The parlour car had banquette seating, a bar, swivel chairs for enjoying the scenery, Wi-Fi access.

14. World wide web (WWW): The Web is one of the services available on the Internet.

  • It lets you access millions of pages through a system of links. Because it is "world-wide", it was originally called the World Wide Web or WWW.

Important verbs to talk about computing


The following verbs are useful to speak about the different activities you do on the computer.


1. Backup: A copy of files from a computer's hard disk, usually made on some external medium such as CD-ROM or flash drive. A backup is made in case the hard disk file(s) are erased or damaged.

  • If you don’t want to have problems with your website, you better have a backup on such an application as dropbox.

2. Click: To use the mouse to select a document or image on the screen.

  • Enter your password, then click on the 'proceed' icon.

3. Comment on: To write a reply to something you see on a blog or social network.

  • I don't feel I can comment on their posts.

4. Double click: To hit the mouse twice. You often need to do this when you want to open a document.

  • Double click on the icon to open the file.

5. Download: To copy information from the Internet to your computer.

  • I love music and I often download my favorite songs.

6. Drag: When you want to move something from one part of the screen to another, you need to drag it.

  • Click on the file and drag it across.

7. Plug in: To connect your computer to a power source using the charger.

  • Plug in the keyboard to switch on.

8. Post: To put a picture or comment on a blog or social network.

  •  The paragraph is ready for the post.

9. Scan: To put photos and documents on the computer using a scanner.

  • The software allows you to scan photographic images on your personal computer.

10. Scroll up/scroll down: To move up and down the page, like when you're viewing a webpage.

  • To browse the groups, click inside the Newsgroups window and scroll up and down using your arrow keys or mouse wheel.

11. Surf: To look for information on the Internet, usually for fun or to relax.

  • The device allows you to surf the net and send emails.

12. Turn off, switch off: To deactivate the computer when you are finished using it.

  • You forgot to turn off the computer.

13. Turn on/switch on: To activate the computer when you want to use it.

  • I'll turn on the computer.

14. Type: To enter information via the keyboard.

  • I can type your essays for you.

15. Unplug: To disconnect your computer from a power source.

  • You could unplug the internet cable from your computer.

16. Upload: To copy a document from your computer to the Internet, such as when you put pictures on Facebook.

  • I upload my personal data on a website when I apply for a job offer.

17. Zoom in/zoom out: When you want to something bigger, you need to zoom in. When you want to make something smaller, you need to zoom out.

  • When you want to make a picture bigger, you need to zoom in.
  • When you want to make a picture smaller, you need to zoom out.

Common computer problems

There is nothing worse than having a problem with the computer. It can be so stressful! Do you know the names of these common problems?


1. Bug: a (small) defect or fault in a program.

  • There is a bug in the software.

2. Virus: A virus is an enemy program that infects your computer and stops it from working. People who create computer viruses are called hackers.

  • Be careful of viruses, don’t forget to open your firewall while using your computer.

3. Error message: When you push the wrong button, sometimes the computer will send you an error message. This means that what you tried to do isn't possible.

  • An error message comes up when I try to open the program.

4. Spam: A message you don’t expect sent to your email address, often in order to sell you something. 

  • I have programmed my email so that unknown senders messages go directly to spam.

5. Frozen (adjective)/freeze (verb): If you try to use too many applications at the same time, the computer might become frozen. This means you cannot use the mouse or type anything. Everything on the screen is stuck!

  • Do you you know to resolve the mouse frozen on the computer.

6. Run out of space: If you download too many applications, you might not have enough memory. In this situation we say that your computer is running out of space, which means there is no memory left.

  • The memory run out of space, after I downloaded  more program.

7. Spill water (or other drinks): To drop water or another drink by mistake. You should be careful if you drink things while you use the computer!

  • "Don't spill water on your computer.

8. Hacker: A crooked programmer who breaks into a computer’s system for malicious purposes.

  • Companies must be careful, there has been an upsurge of hackers lately!

9. Malware: A malicious software used to disrupt a computer’s operating system and files or gather personal data for use in unscrupulous practices.

  • The malwarebyte application is efficient to protect your computer from malwares.

Professions related to computers


There are many professions related to computers. Are you familiar with these?

1. Web designer: A person who creates web pages.

2. Software developer: A person who creates computer applications.

3. Programmer: A person who designs operating systems and fixes them when they break.

4. Computer scientist: The name of a person who studies computers.

5. Database administrator: A person who manages computer information.

6. Computer technician: A person who fixes technical problems with the computer.

7. Tech support: The office you call when you have a problem with the computer.


Other helpful expressions


When speaking about computers, it is common to use the following expressions.

1. To have access to the Internet/to a computer: To be able to use the Internet or a computer. These days many libraries provide access to the Internet.

2. To spend time on the Internet/a computer: To do things on the Internet or on a computer. How many hours do you spend on the Internet each day?

3. To be addicted to the Internet/technology: To use the Internet too much or to use technology too much. Are you addicted to technology?

4. The computer doesn't seem to be responding: You can use this computer if you think you're computer has stopped working.

5. The computer is up and running: You can use this expression if your computer was broken, but is now working again.

6. The Internet is down: You can use this expression when the Internet isn't working.

7. PDA: Abbreviation of "personal digital assistant".


Random common phrases


Here are some phrases that can increase your vocabulary about using computers:

  • My children are always using their computers and are more expert than I am and so they can help me overcome a problem.
  • The reason that I am writing a letter to you is that I have a virus or whatever on my computer system.
  • When on-line it suddenly appears and tells you that you have sixty seconds to go before the system shuts down.
  • The seconds start ticking away on the screen from sixty downwards to nil.
  • When it reaches this point the screen "freezes" and the computer is not able to continue. So, you have to turn off the computer and start all over again.
  • Because the screen "freezes", whatever you were working on at that time is then lost forever.
  • I have telephoned the company where I purchased our computer and they gave me advise on what to do.
  • I tried to carry out the procedures that they said were necessary but, with my poor knowledge of how computer systems operate, I quickly failed to progress very far...
  • I will have to take my computer to the shop where I have purchased it and request that they sort out my problem.
  • Presumably if I tried to e-mail you I could be sending the virus on to you also.
  • We are getting lots of messages regarding products that we do not like and do not want to know about.
  • Somehow people get hold of our e-mail address and send rubbish to it.
  • My computer kept letteing me down so we were in need of something newer.
  • My brother has the "know how" on fixing broken computers.
  • We purchased a laptop computer - much more compact and ideal for letter writing.
  • These are the wonders of laptop technology.
  • Letter writing, keeping accounts etc. this is probably all we will now need a computer for.
  • A digital camera is an ideal "companion" for the lap top computer on which I can "download" my photographic efforts.
  • Each evening we were viewing the photos that we took during the day instantly deleting the ones that we did not want.
  • We have not learned how to do this on the e-mail yet.
  • This is the first letter brought to you by the wonders of laptop technology.
  • We are amazed at how compact it is but also surprised how heavy it is.
  • It stops operating whilst it is being used.
  • Our replacement is a laptop computer that is more compact.
  • The laptop is able to carry out all of the functions that we reqire to do.
  • I bought a camera mostly with the money that was donated to me from my company.
  • There will be many more photographs to follow in the future.
  • A digital camera is an ideal "companion" for the laptop computer.
  • We have now satellite television and are absolutely amazed at the large choice of programmes that are available.
  • The problem with cable television it’s that you have to dig up the pavements to take a line into each houshold that wants it.
  • The advantage of it is that telephone connections and internet links can also be made on the cable at a cheaper rate than through the normal Telecom network.
  • My computer problems continue - this is the second attempt that I am making to communicate with you.
  • I get close to the end and then it all disappears off of the screen.
  • A friend recommended that I take it to a Computer expert to get it corrected.
  • My friend thinks that my whole system needs to be downloaded and re-set.
  • At the moment, if I do anything on the computer, I always print what I have done in case it gets lost in the computer. 


No comments
Post a Comment

    Reading Mode :
    Font Size
    lines height