Teacher of professional and technical English, writer and teacher trainer.

Mar 252019
numbers 13 30

How do we say numbers like twenty, thirty, forty, fifty etc. in English?
Well, it depends. There are some curious differences between how I say them in British English and how Jay says them in American English.

For example, twenny vs. twenty. Jay often drops the middle t in twenty and says twenny.

Then there’s thirty. There he says the t but it sounds like very fast d sound – commonly known as a flap t. You’ll hear lots of examples of the flap t in numbers in this video

Do you ever say free instead of three? We’ll tell you about three vs. free pronunciation in England.

We’ll also show you the difference in how we say numbers like thirteen and thirty, fourteen and forty, etc.
When we’re counting in English a number like fourteen sounds different to when we say it on its own. We’ll show you how native speakers change the word stress to distinguish between numbers like fourteen and forty.

And best of all you’ll meet Super Agent Awesome for a numbers quiz.

 Posted by at 11:06 am
Mar 252019

In some languages you can translate ‘it is’ and ‘there is’ with just one phrase. Wow! That’s bound to be confusing.

So what’s the difference? Well, it may seem simple, but actually, it’s quite complex because we can use both expressions as dummy subjects in English.

In this video we explore how we use them, provide lots of examples and share lots of classic old waiter, waiter jokes that should make the language more memorable and lots of fun too. It’s great to be able to see the language on context.

 Posted by at 6:09 am
Mar 222019
British slang quiz

Play along with our British English slang quiz.

You’ll learn 10 slang words and colloquial expressions including:
– bloke, meaning dude
– quid, not quids
– bog and bog roll
– a tad meaning a little
– knackered and clapped out
– skint meaning broke
– hard cheese meaning hard luck – often ironic
– peckish meaning a little hungry
– cheeky meaning disrespectful or funny
We also look at two old-fashioned slang words that you can use as a joke:
– spiffing meaning splendid
– tickety-boo meaning fine and dandy

 Posted by at 8:35 pm
Mar 162019
British and American ah uh sounds

We made a video a while ago on how we say can and can’t in British and American English. You can see it here.
It was very popular but many of you wrote saying you were worried about saying the right the vowel sound in the word can’t in British English. If you get it wrong you could say a rude word!

Some of you said you say cannot instead. That’s clear, but it will sound a little strange. Cannot is more frequent in written English than spoken. The way to solve the problem is to work on the vowel sounds so you can say AH and UH – the ɑː and ʌ vowel sounds.

We show you how to do that in this video and demonstrate some ah uh minimal pairs. We’ll also show you how we pronounce words differently in British and American English.

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Mar 142019
first conditional

The first conditional is a very common English grammar structure for talking about future possibilities, and more.

Watch this video, to see lots of examples of the first conditional in action. Hey – we just used a first conditional there! It’s such a useful structure!

First conditionals have two clauses: the condition and possible result. We’ll show you how to form them, make negatives and questions, punctuate them and reverse the order. You’ll learn about a common mistake and the different modal verbs you can use.

And very importantly, you’ll see lots of examples of the first conditional in action in a funny spy story.

Mar 092019
practice speaking English

This is your invitation to practice speaking English with us and appear in one of our videos! Make a short video where you’re speaking in English, and we’ll share it with the world.

Here’s how it works:
1. You make a short video of yourself speaking – just a few sentences. Tell us who you are and your English goals.
2. You send the video to us, or send us a link where we can download it.
3. We put your videos into one longer video that we publish on our channel.


Keep your video short – just a few sentences is fine. Tell us:
1. Who you are
For example: Where are you from? Are you a student? What are you studying? Or are you working? What’s your job?
2. Your English goals:
For example: Do you have an exam you want to pass or a job where you need English? Or maybe you’re planning to travel somewhere or perhaps you’re learning English for fun?

If you have a YouTube channel, post your video there as unlisted or public (not private) and send us the link. The deadline is Monday March 24th, 2019.
Please check the video for Vicki’s email address or use the contact form on our website:

Here’s a link to some videos our viewers sent us last year:

 Posted by at 12:22 am
Mar 082019
zero conditional

Zero conditionals are a really useful and simple English grammar structure.
We often use them to talk about scientific facts, but that’s not their only use.

In this video lesson you’ll see lots of zero conditional examples and learn how you can also use the structure to talk about habits and routines and even the past.

  • Zero conditionals have two clauses: the condition and result.
    We’ll show you how to form them, make negatives, punctuate them and reverse the order.
    You learn about when and if in zero conditionals and cause effect relationships.
    And just to check that all is clear, we finish with a zero conditionals quiz.
Mar 052019
sickness and illness vocabulary

Watch this English lesson to learn vocabulary for health and sickness.
We’ll also show you how some words we use to talk about illness are different in British and American English.

You’ll learn vocabulary for:
– cold and flu symptoms like fever, sore throat and blocked or runny nose
– germs and bugs
– symptoms like feeling nauseous, having diarrhea and having constipation
– different kinds of aches in English
– different ways to say vomit in English
– the different meanings of sick and ill in British and American English

And on top of all this great stuff, you’ll also see a funny parody ad for cold medication. Enjoy!

Mar 022019
teach English with a comedy sketch

Here are two videos with a comedy sketch about British and American English differences.

The premise is Jay (who is American) is attending a meeting where he presents some art work he’s prepared to two British people. Things start going a little crazy when we discover he has misunderstood the instructions he was given.

Along the way your students will learn what a boot and a plonker is in British English, and also pick up some British slang and colloquial phrases like pants, cheers and knock up?

There are two videos in the series. In the first one they test themselves and see if they can spot ten British expressions that cause confusion. In the second one, they see the video again and then get explanations of all the words.

Video one

Video two

 Posted by at 6:56 am
Mar 012019
plate dish prototypes

We received a great question from a viewer: What’s the difference between a plate and a dish in English? (In some languages there’s just one word.)
It’s not a simple answer because the meanings of words often overlap.

In this English lesson we explain when we say dish or plate and look at the features of:
– plates, dishes, cups, mugs and bowls
– different kinds of games

We show how the meanings of words can be fuzzy at the edges and it leads us to prototype theory in linguistics.
We draw on the work of two different writers:
– the philosopher Wittgenstein and his work on words that share a family resemblance
– the psychologist Eleanor Rosch and prototype theory

If you’re interested in this topic, another great book to read is ‘Words in the Mind’ by Jean Aitchison. She explores how we store words in our brain.

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 Posted by at 10:55 pm