Apr 122019
Disagreeing in English

Have you ever given your students a list of phrases to use to disagree and then winced when you heard them practising them? 

Have you ever heard your students say ‘I disagree’ or ‘I don’t agree’ and thought, hmm, that sounds a bit too formal? 

In this video we look at how we disagree in everyday conversation and look at some steps students can follow to sound more like a native English speaker. 

Click here to see our video on 12 ways to agree in English


Apr 022019
english love vocabulary

Is it possible to fall in love in just one conversation? Maybe if you ask and answer the right questions.
In this video English lesson we ask and answer 11 English questions that can lead to love and explore some words of love and romance along the way.

You’ll learn English vocabulary for talking about love and relationships including:
– words for describing relationships:
compatible, close, treasured
– things lovers might do as they get closer such as:
to impress, to be compatible, to get along, to be trying to hard, to share, to reveal
– euphemisms for death and distress:
to lose someone, disturbing
– adjectives for describing physical appearance:
good-looking, beautiful, pretty, handsome, hot, fit
– adjectives for describing personal qualities:
loyal, sensitive

This lesson was inspired by some real psychological research into 36 questions that can make strangers connect, get close fast and even fall in love.

Here’s a link to the Arthur Aron et al study and a great article about it from the New York Times.

If you want to try out the 36 questions with a partner, here’s a website that makes it easy to go through the questions.

 Posted by at 6:27 pm
Mar 282019
who whose and who's

In this video your students will learn how to use who, whose and who’s correctly and fix a common mistake.

We compare the pronoun who and its possessive form, whose, and show examples in action.
We look at:
how to use who and whose in questions
how to use who and whose in relative clauses
the difference between whose and who’s.

To make most nouns possessive in English, we add apostrophe ‘s’. However the pronoun who is different because its possessive form is whose.

To check they know whether to write whose or who’s, we finish with a whose who’s quiz.
Click here to see our video lesson on who and whom.

 Posted by at 1:45 am
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.