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
Mar 012019
who or whom

Learn the difference between who and whom in this English grammar lesson.

Who is a subject pronoun and whom is an object pronoun and we’ll show you:
– how who and whom work
– a test to see if who or whom is correct
– when it’s appropriate to use whom in formal writing
– when it’s not appropriate to use whom (Whom can sound pompous)
– how we use whom in constructions with prepositions

We’ll also show you lots of examples of who and whom in action.

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 Posted by at 10:43 pm
Mar 012019
quite in British and American English

Quite! It’s such a common word. Americans use it, Brits use it, and it’s the same word, right? Well no, not quite. Have a look at these sentences. Both Americans and Brits could say them all, but two of them mean different things, depending on whether an American or a Brit says them. Which ones?
1 This is quite interesting.
2 Quite fascinating, in fact.
3 I’m usually quite good at this kind of exercise.
4 But you’re quite correct. This is tricky.

One common meaning of quite in both varieties is ‘completely’. (See 2 and 4 above.) These two sentences mean the same in American and British English.
Fascinating and correct are both ungradable adjectives, so things are either fascinating/correct or not. There’s no half way about it.
But there are other adjectives that are gradable, so for example, there can be different degrees of good or interesting. And that’s where things get complicated and quite means different things. (See 1 and 3 above.)
Watch our latest video to learn more.

 Posted by at 9:03 pm
Jul 162018

R sounds are a constant challenge to me in the US. I’m British so I speak with a non-rhotic accent, but most people around me speak with a rhotic accent. This means they are expecting strong clear R sounds which, unfortunately, I often fail to provide.

Unless I’m in mission critical circumstances…

Learn more in our video on how to pronounce R sounds in British and American:

 Posted by at 9:22 am
Jun 132018
8 words that are hard to pronounce

We’re back with another eight words that are hard to pronounce in British and American English. Watch some English learners pronounce them and learn how we say them in British and American English.

We look at how we say: fifth, basically, chaos, refrigerator, fridge, Tuesday, photograph, photography, height, weight and eight. We also have some pronunciation tips for how to pronounce long words and shifting words stress.

If you or your students have words that they find hard to pronounce, please tell us. We can make another video about them.

 Posted by at 12:21 am