A learning series to help English language learners explore vocabulary in detail


Point is one of the top 500 most frequent words in English. As you read, think about how the different meanings of the word are related.

As a verb

The most common use of the word point is as a verb. It means to show something with your finger.
She pointed at the relevant paragraph.

As a noun

As a noun, the word point has several meanings.

1 An argument or an idea

Keep in mind that when we say ‘argument’, we don’t mean a fight! Here, we use the other definition of argument – a reason given in support of an idea.

We often use the phrase “good point” to praise someone’s idea.

We also match the word POINT with the verb MAKE, as you see here.

A similar meaning is “meaning”.

For example, “What point are you trying to make?”

“Do our lives have a point?”

“Is there a point to this presentation?”

Notice that we generally use it in a negative way.

George made some good points.

2 A location on a map

We need to get from point A to point B.

3 Purpose


The point of the onboarding program is to prepare new employees for work here.

The point of having speed limits is to reduce road accidents.

The point of this test is to assess the condition of your heart.

4 A moment in time

Notice how this compares to the previous definition – a point can be a place in time or in space!


At that point, they knew the war was lost.

At a certain point in time, George changed his mind.

United scored a fifth goal. By that point, their opponents had given up.

At that point, George knew that the battle was lost.

5 A dot

When we write a dot in a number, we read it aloud as ‘point’.

Occasionally, we also use it to describe a dot that we can see.

Example: The stars were beautiful points of light in the sky.

Three point five

6 The sharp end of a sword, knife or other instrument.


I accidentally stabbed myself with the point of my knife.

Be careful! That stick has a sharp point.

the point of a knife


1 Pointless

From the meaning “purpose”, we get the adjective pointless. Pointless means useless, meaningless or having no importance. Note that there is no such word as 'pointful' in modern English even though the word purposeful exists.

Example 2: George’s campaign for president is pointless; he’ll never win!

It's pointless arguing with Sanjeev. He never listens.

2 Pointy

From the meaning “sharp end of a knife or sword”, we get the adjective pointy. Pointy means sharp at one end… like Spock’s ears in Star Trek.

Example two: He was carrying a pointy stick.

The word pointy is considered informal and is considered to be a “silly” word!

Mr Spock has pointy ears.

Phrasal verbs with POINT

There is one common phrasal verb with the word POINT, which is POINT OUT.

Point out means to bring something to a person’s attention.

It can be an idea:

She pointed out that some female staff were underpaid compared to the men.

Or it can be a physical thing:

From the top of the mountain, Shaun pointed out the villages down below.

She pointed out that some female staff were underpaid compared to the men.

Idioms and expressions with point

We have already seen the expressions ‘good point’ and ‘make a point’.

Other expressions with the word POINT are:

1 Point of view

A point of view (or viewpoint) is a way of looking at something.

From the teacher’s point of view, the rule about no phones in the classroom was a blessing, since it meant the students would pay more attention.

From the students’ point of view, however, it was simply an annoying rule that made no sense.

Lionel never listens to anyone else's point of view.

2 I get the point/I don’t get the point

These expressions refer to the usage of POINT where it means ‘purpose’. We use these expressions to indicate whether we understand the purpose of something or not.


I get the point of raising the prices, but don’t you think it will scare away customers.

The town has banned cars from Main Street, but I don’t get the point. How is that going to help the small businesses there?

Sometimes we use the word SEE instead of GET: I see the point/I don’t see the point.

Why do I have to wear a tie to work? I don't see the point.