Posts Tagged ‘words’

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The way we move (Verbs for walking and running)

March 25, 2015

by Kate Woodford​​​​
waywemove
This week we’re looking at interesting ways to describe the way that people move. Most of the verbs that we’ll be considering describe how fast or slow people move. Others describe the attitude or state of mind of the person walking or running. Some describe both.

Starting with verbs for walking slowly, if we stroll, we walk slowly and in a relaxed way, usually for pleasure: They were strolling along the shore, holding hands. The noun ‘stroll’ is also used: We went for a stroll down near the river. (The adjective ‘leisurely’, meaning ‘relaxed and without hurrying’ is often used before the noun: We were just enjoying a leisurely stroll in the sunshine.) A slightly less common verb with a very similar meaning is saunter: He sauntered by, without a care in the world. Read the rest of this entry ?

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Three for a quid: talking about money

March 11, 2015

by Liz Walter​
threeforaquid
When teaching an intermediate class recently, I was surprised to find that very few of the students (who were from various parts of the world) knew how to say prices, so this blog will explain this very basic function and also look at some other vocabulary connected with money.

First, the prices. There is more than one correct way to say a price, but the most common one is simply to say the number of pounds followed by the number of pence (or the number of dollars followed by the number of cents):

£3.50 ‘Three fifty’

$4.95 ‘Four ninety five’

Sometimes we also say the words pounds, pence, dollars, or cents in the price. There is no difference, and neither way is better or worse. In American English, if you use these words, you have to say and in the middle. In British English, you can say and or leave it out: Read the rest of this entry ?

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Lies, lies, lies!

February 25, 2015

by Kate Woodford​​​​
lies,lies,lies
According to sociologists (=people who study the relationships between people living in groups), we are good at lying. As a species, we have developed a remarkable ability to deceive each other (= persuade each other that something false is true). Being able to say things that are not true can help with relationships, apparently, and helps us to work together as a community. This may sound strange, (surely lying is wrong?), but when we think about it, most of us occasionally say things that are not completely true, and often for the best of reasons. This week, then, we’re looking at the language of lies – big lies and little lies, bad lies and good.

Let’s start with those ‘innocent’ lies. White lies; are those lies that most of us tell in order to be polite or to stop someone from being upset when the truth is bad. People sometimes use the informal noun and verb fib to mean the same thing. ‘Fib’ is defined in the Cambridge advanced Learner’s Dictionary as ‘a small lie that does not cause any harm’. The word is often used by children and the collocation is to ‘tell a fib’. Read the rest of this entry ?

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Oh wow! (Responding in conversation.)

February 11, 2015

by Kate Woodford​​​​
oh_wow
When you are chatting in English, do you always know how to respond? Do you sometimes wish you knew a few more words and phrases to show that you are interested in what the other person is saying? Read on!

To let the speaker know that you have understood them, you can just say Ah. People often say right or okay after this. The phrase I see is also used here:

A: The date is wrong on the letter.

B: Ah, right, I see.

A: So we have to be here by eight o’clock, not nine o’clock.

B: Ah, okay, fine. Read the rest of this entry ?

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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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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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Let’s celebrate! (words and phrases for parties)

December 17, 2014

by Kate Woodford​​​​
letscelebrate
With Christmas and New Year almost upon us, we thought it a good time to look at the language of parties and celebrations. First, let’s start with the word ‘party’ itself. To have or throw a party or, less commonly, to give a party is to arrange a party: We’re having a party to celebrate the end of the exams. If you provide the place where the party happens, often your home, you may be said to host the party: Rosie has offered to host the party at her place. A party for someone who is leaving a place or a company is often called a farewell party or a leaving party: We’re having a farewell party for a member of staff. An office party is a party for a company’s colleagues. Meanwhile, a party that you throw for a person who knows nothing about it in advance is a surprise party: It’s a surprise party so it’s all top secret.

A celebration is a party or other social event on a special day or occasion: There were lively New Year celebrations all over town. The verb celebrate is also used, meaning ‘to take part in a special social event’: We always celebrate our wedding anniversary by going out to dinner. If you celebrate in style, you celebrate in a place that is expensive and attractive: For those who like to celebrate in style, there are the castle function rooms. To mark the occasion means ‘to celebrate a particular event or day’: It’s not every day you turn twenty-one. I think we need to mark the occasion! Read the rest of this entry ?

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