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Think long and hard; the language of decisions

January 28, 2015

by Liz Walter​
think_long_and_hard
One of the best ways (perhaps the best way) to improve your English is to learn how words go together in phrases, idioms, or other patterns such as verb/noun or adjective/noun pairs (often called ‘collocations’).

This blog looks at some useful phrases and collocations connected with the subject of decisions, something we often discuss.

Firstly, make is the verb most often used with decision, but we often say that we reach or come to a decision too, especially when we need to put a lot of thought into it (= think about it carefully).

If we have a difficult/tough decision to make, we will want to take time to consider the pros and cons/advantages and disadvantages of the possible choices (= the good and bad things about them). We will weigh them up (= decide which are most important) carefully. When there is more than one thing we could do in a situation, we have to consider our options. Read the rest of this entry »

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New words – 26 January 2015

January 26, 2015

minipig

micro pig noun an extremely small pig, bred to be a pet

Micro pigs have become popular pets recently, with famous owners including Victoria Beckham, Paris Hilton and Olympic diver, Tom Daley.

[http://www.bbc.co.uk 13 September 2014]

 

 

pet-nup noun a pre-nuptial agreement about who will have care of a pet in the event of a marriage ending

Instead of a prenuptial agreement, or ‘pre-nup’, the animal charity Blue Cross has devised a so-called ‘pet-nup’ which clearly states who will get ownership of a pet should a couple split up.

[www.bbc.co.uk 26 September 2014]

put a bird on it idiom to embellish something

Finding your Batgirl story a little dark, a little gloomy, a little horribly tragic? Put a bird on it! That’s right, we’re getting a modern-girl revamp with selfies and fixies.

[www.cnet.com/news/batgirl-gets-reboot-doc-martens-in-dc-comics-series/ (tech) 10 July 2014]

About new words

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A certain je ne sais quoi: French words and phrases used in English

January 21, 2015

by Liz Walter​
French_words
It is an odd irony that the more sophisticated your use of English is, the more likely you are to use French words and phrases. Or, to be more accurate, ones you know to be French – words such as ballet, au pair, abattoir, fiancé, café, and restaurant are so entrenched in English that we don’t really think of them as French at all (even the ones with accents).

French is the first foreign language that most British children learn in school, so perhaps it isn’t surprising that we pepper our own language with it, particularly in some contexts. For example, we often use French words to describe personality, with adjectives such as gauche, blasé, soigné or laissez-faire and nouns such as panache, élan, savoir-faire, sangfroid and joie de vivre. Similarly, we could describe someone as an enfant terrible, a femme fatale, a bon vivant, an ingénue or an éminence grise. Read the rest of this entry »

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New words – 19 January 2015

January 19, 2015

flowerbeard

flower beard noun a beard adorned with flowers

And some of said beard-rockers are even turning it up a notch, painting trend on top of trend with what’s come to be known as ‘the flower beard.’

[http://www.cbc.ca 21 July 2014]

 

 

gypset adjective relating to an ethnic, bohemian style

This Massimo Dutti handkerchief-print skirt taps into the modern gypset look that’s pounding the pavements.

[Grazia (UK celebrity magazine) 07 July 2014]

smasual adjective informal denotes a style that is at once smart and casual

Dress Down Friday: What is “Smasual”?

[http://globalyoungexecutive.com 21 July 2014]

About new words

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Something to look forward to: three-word phrasal verbs

January 14, 2015

by Liz Walter​
lookingforward
Most phrasal verbs are formed with a verb and a single particle, but a few have two particles. This blog looks at some of the most common ones.

You probably already know the one in the title: look forward to. One important thing to remember is that if you use another verb after it, it must be in the –ing form:

I’m really looking forward to seeing you. (= I’m pleased and excited because I am going to see you)

Here are some more common three-word phrasal verbs which are well worth learning: Read the rest of this entry »

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New words – 12 January 2015

January 12, 2015

air_yoga

Air Yoga noun trademark a form of yoga in which poses are done while suspended in a type of sling

Now we can exclusively reveal the secret behind Kate’s hot new body – Air Yoga.

[Grazia (UK celebrity magazine) 25 August 2014]

 

 

high intensity training noun short bursts of very vigorous activity

High Intensity Training (HIT) has attracted a lot of attention for promising some of the same benefits as conventional exercise but in a much shorter time.

[www.bbc.co.uk 27 July 2014]

roller-skiing noun the sport of skiing on a hard surface such as a road using skis with wheels

But that’s where a former winter Olympian from Lithuania comes in. Mantas Strolia was the best cross-country skier in Lithuania for eight years running, but now he’s swapped the mountains for our (equally lovely) guided busway, to share his vast expertise with fellow thrill-seekers in Cambridge. How? Roller-skiing of course.

[Cambridge News (UK local newspaper) 05 Sept 2014]

Snowsport England [SSE] are running their next level 1 Roller Ski Instructor course at Hillingdon Cycle Circuit on 1-2 November
led by Adam Pinney.

[http://www.londonnordic.org.uk/ 21 August 2014]

About new words

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All you need is willpower: the language of New Year’s resolutions

January 7, 2015

by Liz Walter​
newyeargoals
Many of us see the new year as an opportunity to make a fresh start, to give up a bad habit or to take up a good one. Common resolutions (= promises to ourselves) include giving up smoking, doing more exercise, losing weight, or spending more time with our families.

Particularly after Christmas, when many of us have overindulged (= eaten and drunk too much), the idea of a detox (a strict diet designed to get rid of harmful substances from the body) can be quite attractive. However, those with less self-restraint (= ability to control ourselves) don’t need to feel guilty because evidence increasingly shows that such diets have no scientific basis, so all that self-denial (= not allowing yourself to have what you want) is actually a waste of effort.

Many resolutions are worth making, but what is the best way to stick to (= keep doing) them? The main thing is to set realistic goals (= decide on things you can really achieve). You might never run a marathon, but you could probably manage a brisk walk around the park most days. You may not be able to give up sugar completely, but perhaps you could cut down on (= have less of) fizzy drinks. Read the rest of this entry »

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