How to stay motivated during the pandemic: What you told us, and why it matters

  By Dr Heike Krüsemann @Dr_Heike_K Motivation for language learning has changed during the pandemic – mainly because a lot of it has moved online. But how do students feel about the changes – and what is motivation anyway?

New words – 5 August 2019

mommune noun [C] UK /ˈmɒm.juːn/ US /ˈmɑː.mjuːn/ a group of mothers who live together with their children, sharing possessions and responsibilities And so, more by accident than design, the women hit on a new domestic set-up: the “mommune” … . And for the next two years, the three of them and their six children shared …

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Heads-ups and wake-up calls! (The language of warnings)

by Kate Woodford Today, we’re looking at words and phrases that are used to tell people about possible dangers or problems. Let’s start with immediate, physical danger. You might shout or say Look out!, Watch out! or (UK) Mind out! to warn someone that they are in danger: Look out! There’s a car coming! / …

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New words – 17 June 2019

superager noun [C] UK /suː.pər.ˈeɪ.dʒəʳ/ US /suː.pɚ.ˈeɪ.dʒɚ/ someone over the age of 65 whose memory and thinking skills are similar to those of someone in their 20s Her advice is based on a study of “superagers”, individuals 65 years or older, whose cognitive skills are as acute as the average 25-year-old. Barrett believes that what …

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New words – 10 June 2019

cleanstagrammer noun [C] UK /ˈkliːn.stə.græm.əʳ/ US /ˈkliːn.stə.græm.ɚ/ someone who posts advice and tips about housework and cleaning on the Instagram social media site Twelve years on, Bray, 37, is better known as “The Organised Mum” to her 142,000 Instagram followers, and part of the cleanstagrammer boom sweeping across social media. Where Instagram was once full …

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Are idioms that use ‘black’ and ‘white’ offensive?

Our blog posts about idioms are some of the most popular ones for our readers. Recently, we’ve posted two about idioms that use names for colours – the first one was Seeing red and green with envy, followed by Black sheep and white lies. One of our readers commented on the second post: she wondered …

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Deaf ears and high horses: everyday idioms in newspapers

by Kate Woodford Today we’re looking at idioms and expressions from a range of national newspapers that were published on the same day. We do this every couple of months as a way of supplying you with up-to-date, frequently used idioms. One newspaper describes the UK Prime Minister’s plans for leaving the EU as ‘a …

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Countable or uncountable, and why it matters

by Liz Walter Many dictionaries for learners of English (including the one on this site) show whether nouns are ‘countable’ or ‘uncountable’, often using the abbreviations C and U. Countable nouns are things that you can count – one dog, two dogs, twenty dogs, etc. Uncountable nouns are things that you cannot count – water, sadness, …

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He decided, he was deciding, he’s decided: choosing the correct past tense

by Liz Walter English has several ways of talking about the past, and it can often be difficult to decide which one to use. In this post, I am going to look at three very common past forms: the past simple (he decided), the past continuous (he was deciding), and the present perfect (he’s/he has decided) …

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New words – 5 March 2018

stoozing noun [U] /ˈstuːz.ɪŋ/ the practice of borrowing money on a credit card with a 0% interest rate and then investing the same money in a bank account that pays a high interest rate so that a profit can be made when the original loan is repaid “Ideally stoozing would be most appropriate for consumers …

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