Playing up, showing off or letting someone down: phrasal verbs for bad behaviour (1)

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by Liz Walter

It struck me recently that there are rather a lot of phrasal verbs connected with people behaving badly so I thought this might be a useful topic. In fact, there are so many of them that there will be two posts: this one on children’s behaviour and general bad behaviour and one on more serious wrongdoing such as violence, bullying and dishonesty.

Continue reading “Playing up, showing off or letting someone down: phrasal verbs for bad behaviour (1)”

Black sheep and white lies (Idioms with colours, part 2)

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by Kate Woodford

This is the second of two posts that focus on idioms that contain a word for a colour. A couple of weeks ago, we looked at blue, green and red idioms. This week, we’re rather monochrome, looking mainly at idioms with ‘black’ and ‘white’ in them.

The phrase in black and white is sometimes used to mean ‘in writing’, usually in the context of proof: I could scarcely believe it was true, but there it was, in black and white.

Continue reading “Black sheep and white lies (Idioms with colours, part 2)”

New words – 22 June

Adam Hester / The Image Bank / Getty

digital nutrition noun [U]
UK /ˌdɪdʒ.ɪ.tᵊl.njuːˈtrɪʃ.ᵊn/ US /ˌdɪdʒ.ə.t̬əl.nuːˈtrɪʃ.ᵊn/
the process of making sure that using mobile phones, computers etc. is not harmful for your physical and mental health

Unplugging won’t solve the root problem. It’s like doing a juice cleanse – you deny yourself and then you’ll go back online and eat a burger … Instead, think of your digital nutrition the same way you think of regular nutrition: instead of worrying about calories or minutes, concentrate on the quality of what you’re consuming.
[www.telegraph.co.uk, 6 January 2020]

infodemic noun [C]
UK /ˌɪn.fəʊ.ˈdem.ɪk/ US /ˌɪn.foʊ.ˈdem.ɪk/
a very large amount of information that is published about a particular problem, some of which is untrue, therefore making it more difficult to find a solution

The 2019-nCoV outbreak and response has been accompanied by a massive ‘infodemic’ – an over-abundance of information – some accurate and some not – that makes it hard for people to find trustworthy sources and reliable guidance when they need it.
[who.int, 2 February 2020]

phygital adjective
UK /ˈfɪdʒ.ɪ.tᵊl/ US /ˈfɪdʒ.ə.t̬ᵊl/
using a combination of physical and digital elements to sell and market a product

In light of lockdown the idea of ‘phygital’ strategy is being turned on its head. It’s no longer about splicing a digital element into physical experiences. More challenging perhaps, it’s now about bringing real physical connection to digital experiences.
[newdigitalage.co, 29 April 2020]

About new words

From darkness into the light: metaphors of darkness and light

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by Liz Walter

‘Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that.’

‘In the midst of darkness, light persists.’

These quotes, from Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King, perfectly demonstrate the way darkness and light are used as metaphors in English (and many other languages), with darkness suggesting ignorance, evil and unhappiness and light signifying knowledge, purity and happiness. There are many common phrases that exemplify this, and this post will look at some of the most common ones.

Continue reading “From darkness into the light: metaphors of darkness and light”

Seeing red and green with envy (Idioms with colours, part 1)

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by Kate Woodford

Idioms are sometimes easier to remember when they create a vivid image in your mind. The English idioms in this post all contain a word for a colour which might help you to commit them to memory.

Continue reading “Seeing red and green with envy (Idioms with colours, part 1)”

Dips, slumps, growth and peaks: talking about data (2)

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by Liz Walter

Last month, I spoke about general words connected with data. This post covers ways of talking about what we can see from data, particularly when numbers increase, decrease or remain the same. For anyone doing IELTS, this should be useful vocabulary to learn!

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Going forward, sooner or later (Expressions to talk about the future)

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by Kate Woodford

This post takes a look at a group of phrases that we use when we talk about the future.

Some of the phrases that we use when we talk about our future plans and ideas simply mean ‘at some time in the future’, (without mentioning a particular time), for example at some point: At some point, we’ll look into buying a new laptop. Continue reading “Going forward, sooner or later (Expressions to talk about the future)”

Stir-crazy and climbing the walls (Life during lockdown)

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by Kate Woodford

As COVID-19 continues to force so much of the world’s population into lockdown (= a situation in which you are ordered to stay at home), I thought it might be interesting to look at the language that we use to describe what we are now doing with our days. 

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Gathering, compiling and analyzing: talking about data (1)

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by Liz Walter

Has there ever been a time when we’ve been so dependent on data? All over the world, people are anxiously looking at graphs and charts tracking the progress of Covid-19. In this, the first of two posts, I look at the language associated with the word data itself. My next post will cover words and phrases used to describe what the data shows. While this language is particularly relevant at the moment, I hope you will find it generally useful too.

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Learning from home with Dictionary +Plus

by Kate Woodford

Many of you are still confined to your homes as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Studying or working on your own can be tough. We at Cambridge Dictionary are also working remotely and we feel your pain!

Without the presence of teachers and classmates, it’s sometimes hard to get motivated. One useful strategy is to set yourself an achievable daily or weekly objective, for example, ‘I’m going to learn ten adjectives that describe food.’ Another approach is to persuade yourself that you’re not actually studying, but having fun. With Cambridge Dictionary +Plus, you can do both of these at the same time! Continue reading “Learning from home with Dictionary +Plus”