Aug 112017

There are a couple of reasons why English learners make mistakes with these words. Firstly, they’re false friends in many languages. They look like words that mean ‘currently’ or ‘at present’ when really they mean ‘in fact’. That can get confusing. If someone asks me for our actual sales figures I’ll think they mean real ones when in fact they may be wanting the current ones.

And the other reason these words are hard is it’s not always obvious when we use them. Do they indicate that what we’re about to say could be surprising? Do they indicate that we think our listeners won’t like our answers? Do we use them to correct something we’ve just said or maybe to correct someone else? Well, actually we use them in all these situations! In our latest video lesson we have examples of them all.

 Posted by at 8:09 pm
Aug 042017

I had to learn some new words when I went shopping for clothes in the US. Asking for a jumper, I’d be directed to pinafores and requesting a UK turtle neck would deliver polo necks. I couldn’t cover all the differences in this short video (it’s only 90 seconds) but it contains a list of some of the different words we have for clothing in British and American English.

 Posted by at 9:36 pm
Jul 222017

This video tells a story that I’ve found really useful over the years because it illustrates some key ways our memories work. It’s great when you’re looking at ways to learn vocabulary and my students have always enjoyed it and found it helpful. Hopefully yours will too!

 Posted by at 8:30 pm
Jun 232017

Are you ready for some grammar? I hope so! One of the reasons students have difficulty with ‘grow’ and ‘grow up’ is to do with whether they’re transitive or intransitive.

If you’re like me, you’ll want to keep grammar explanations simple, and I’ll often try to avoid the metalanguage of subjects and objects by talking about whether we (verb) or we (verb) something. I found doing that with these two verbs was too much of a challenge sometimes, but hopefully it’s still clear.

Here are links to some other commonly confused verbs where transitive and intransitive is an issue.
Raise and Rise
Lie and Lay

 Posted by at 8:51 pm