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
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.

Make sure you subscribe to our YouTube channel.

 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