Archive for the ‘the English language’ Category


Are you feeling any better? (Talking about colds and flu)

November 12, 2014

by Kate Woodford​​​
Autumn has arrived with its beautiful display of gold and red leaves. Unfortunately, it has also brought with it various germs (=very small living things that cause disease). Many of us are now suffering from colds and, if we are really unlucky, flu (=a very bad cold, but with pains and a hot body). If you have caught a cold (=got a cold) or come down with (=started suffering from) the flu, you will probably want to tell someone about how bad you feel. You might tell a good friend, who will be kind to you, or even a doctor if you are really poorly (=ill). Here, then, is a selection of words and phrases that you can use to describe your symptoms (= physical feelings that show you have a particular illness).

Let’s start with the nose. You may have a runny nose, with liquid coming out of it all the time. (A cold with a runny nose is often described as a streaming cold). Or your nose may be bunged up or blocked (up), meaning that you cannot breathe through it. If any of these phrases describes your symptoms, you will probably want to blow your noseto clear your nose by forcing air through it into a piece of soft paper.

A cold often brings with it a sore throat (=a hurting back part of the mouth). Often, it makes you cough (=have air come out of your throat with a loud sound). If that cough is particularly loud and sounds as if it hurts, you might describe it as a hacking cough. Read the rest of this entry ?


There I was, minding my own business… (The language of anecdotes)

November 5, 2014

by Kate Woodford​​
We all like to tell anecdotes – to share with our friends short, funny stories about things that we have done or seen. Of course, the subject matter of our stories varies hugely, from chance meetings with unusual characters to disasters in the kitchen. However, the phrases that we use to tell these stories are often quite similar. This week we’re looking at anecdote phrases and seeing how they are used in the telling of tales.

Of course, to start with, we need to introduce our anecdote, (which often relates to a topic that is already being discussed). To do this, we often use phrases such as these:

Did I ever tell you about the time I invited Al’s boss round for dinner?

I’ll never forget the time I got locked in a public toilet in Portland.

That reminds me of the time I gave a talk to some children at my daughter’s school. Read the rest of this entry ?


New words – 3 November 2014

November 3, 2014


usie noun informal a self-taken photo of a group of people

Cute! Looks like Daddy Wiz put 3 chainzzz on his Handsome son, Sebastian, and snapped a quick usie.

[ 03 April 2014]



Throwback Thursday noun slang a time for reminiscing (often used as a hashtag)

It’s #ThrowbackThursday (or #TBT if you prefer), which means is taking a look back to move forward on some of today’s hottest stories.

[ 10 April 2014]

fave verb to mark a tweet as a favourite on Twitter (trademark)

The most popular reason for faving something? People simply liked the tweet.

[ 04 June 2014]

About new words


What’s that lovely smell?

October 29, 2014

by Kate Woodford

As adult humans, we can distinguish about 10,000 different smells. It’s no wonder, then, that we have so many words and expressions to describe them. This week we’re taking a look at those smell words – words that describe good smells and words that describe bad smells.

Most smell words are either positive or negative. ‘Smell’ itself, however, can be either good or bad, depending on the words around it. ‘I love the smell of baking bread.’ is perfectly possible, as is It’s a horrible smell, like rotten eggs.’ Interestingly, without an adjective before it, or some other information, it seems usually to refer to a bad smell: Have you noticed the smell in the bathroom?/I can’t get rid of the smell. The derived adjective smelly, meanwhile, is always bad: smelly feet/smelly socks. Read the rest of this entry ?


Highly delighted, bitterly disappointed, ridiculously cheap: adverbs for emphasis.

October 22, 2014

[by Liz Walter]

We often make adjectives stronger by putting an adverb in front of them. The most common ones are very and, for a stronger meaning, extremely:

He was very pleased.

The ship is extremely large.

However, we don’t use very or extremely for adjectives that already have a strong meaning, for example fantastic, delighted, huge, furious. For these, the most common adverb is absolutely. Utterly is even stronger, and is usually used for adjectives with a negative meaning:

This apartment is absolutely perfect for us.

At the end of the day, I was utterly exhausted.

Really is slightly informal, and used both with strong adjectives and other adjectives:

Your shoes are really dirty.

Her bedroom is really tiny. Read the rest of this entry ?


The language of work

October 15, 2014

by Kate Woodford
Most of us talk about our jobs. We tell our family and friends interesting or funny things that have happened in the workplace (=room where we do our job), we describe – and sometimes complain about – our bosses and colleagues and when we meet someone for the first time, we tell them what our jobs are. Here, then, is a selection of English vocabulary to help you to speak about your work.

A career is a job or number of jobs of a similar type that a person does over a long period: I’d always wanted a career in teaching./I wasn’t interested in an academic career. The word profession is used in a similar way, but always refers to work that needs a lot of education and training: the medical/legal profession. Note that ‘profession’ also means the people who do a particular type of work: The medical profession is always looking to improve patient care. Read the rest of this entry ?


Just get on with it! Phrasal verbs with ‘get’.

October 8, 2014

by Liz Walter
My last blog about phrasal verbs attracted a lot of comments. Many of them were from people who find phrasal verbs difficult. One reason is that so many of them are formed with very common verbs such as get, give, set, or put.

I totally understand why this is a problem, and as I often say to my students, I do apologise for the English language! However, saying sorry won’t help, so here is the first in a series of blogs looking at phrasal verbs formed with common verbs, in this case get.

Firstly, it may sound obvious, but start by learning the most common phrasal verbs. A good place to begin is with a small learner’s dictionary. For example, the Cambridge Essential Dictionary, written for beginners, has only 9 phrasal verbs with get. In other words, the people who wrote that dictionary have already chosen the most useful ones for you. Read the rest of this entry ?


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 3,214 other followers

%d bloggers like this: