On the Beach and in the Country

Places to stay: When people go on holiday they stay in various places (= a number of different places): some go to hotels; others rent an apartment (a ‘holiday’ flat) or villa (= a house by the sea or in the countryside; often in the Mediterranean / southern Europe); some prefer sleeping in a tent…

Sightseeing Holiday

Sightseeing: You may do a bit of sightseeing on holiday, or you may do a lot of sightseeing, but you will probably go to a museum or art gallery, and see or visit some of these things: Many people go on a sightseeing tour of a town (usually in a bus); they can also go…

Hotels

Types of hotel: Hotels in Britain are graded with stars from one-star to five-star (five-star hotels are the best and most expensive). You can also stay in a Bed &C Breakfast (B&B) (also called Guest Houses) where you pay for a bedroom, possibly an ensuite (= room with private bathroom) and breakfast. Types of hotel…

Air Travel

Departures: This is the usual sequence of activities when you get to the airport. First you go to the check-in desk where they weigh your luggage. Usually you are permitted 20 kilos, but if your bags weigh more, you may have to pay excess baggage (= you pay extra). The airline representative checks your ticket…

Pollution and the Environment

Important definitions: People are more worried about the environment (= the air, water, and land around us) as a result of the harmful (= dangerous/damaging) effects of human activity. Some of these activities cause pollution (= dirty air, land and water) and some are destroying the environment (= damaging it so badly that soon parts…

War and Peace

The outbreak (= start) of war: Wars often start because of a conflict (= strong disagreement) between countries or groups of people, about territory (= land that belongs to one group or country). Look at the diagram on the right and read the text on the left. Country A invades country B (= A enters…

Bureaucracy

What is it? Bureaucracy refers to the official rules and procedures used by officials (= bureaucrats) to control an organisation or country. For many people it is a negative word as it often means unnecessary rules, long waits, and lots of documents and forms. Documents: When you need to obtain (= get) or show documents,…

Politics

Types of government: Monarchy: a state ruled by a king or queen. There are also countries that have a monarchy, but the monarch is not the ruler, e.g. The United Kingdom. Republic: a state governed by representatives (= men or women chosen by the people) and a president, e.g. USA or France. People who believe…

Crime

Against the law: If you do something illegal (= wrong / against the law), then you have committed a crime. Most people commit a crime at some time in their lives, e.g. driving above the speed limit, parking illegally, stealing sweets from a shop when they were children, etc. Crimes: Crime prevention: What can governments…

also, as well and too

1. As well and too usually come at the end of a clause. They mean the same. She not only sings; she plays the piano as well. We all went to Brighton yesterday. John came too As well and too can refer to (‘point to’) different parts of the sentence, depending on the meaning. Consider…

Law and Order

The police: They do a number of things. When someone commits a crime (= breaks the law and does something wrong / illegal / against the law) the police must investigate (= try to find out what happened / who is responsible). If they find the person responsible for the crime, they arrest them (=…

Education: University

Subjects You can normally do/study these subjects at university but not always at school: Note: The underlined letters in some of the words above show the syllable with the main stress. Also note that the first syllable of psychology is pronounced /sai/ like ‘my’. Studying at (a British) university If you want to go to…

Education: School

The system Most children in England and Wales follow this route in the state system (= free education). Note: • You go to school (as a pupil to study) and go to university (as a student to study). You don’t use the definite article ‘the’ here. Other expressions like this are go to bed (to…

Computers

Hardware As well as the hardware (= the machines), you also need software (= the programs needed to work the machines). These programs are on disks, e.g. the hard disk inside the computer, or floppy disks or on CD-ROMs (= Compact Disc Read Only Memory, a CD on which you can put a large amount…

‘social’ language

Every language has fixed expressions which are used on particular social occasions — for example, when people meet, leave each other, go on a journey, sit down to meals, and so on. English does not have very many expressions of this kind: here are some of the most important. Introductions Common ways of introducing strangers…

passive verb forms

We make passive verb forms with the different tenses of be, followed by the past participle (= pp). TENSE STRUCTURE EXAMPLE simple present am/are/is + pp English is spoken here. present am/are/is being + pp Excuse the mess: the progressive house is being painted. simple past was/were + pp I wasn’t invited, but 1 went…

letters

The most important rules for writing letters are: Write your address in the top right-hand corner (house-number first, then street-name, then town, etc). Do not put your name above the address. Put the date under the address. One way to write the date is: number — month — year (for example 17 May 1982). For…

weak and strong forms

Some words in English have two pronunciations: one when they are stressed ,and one when they are not. Compare: I got up at /at/six o’clock. What are you looking at? /’aet/ Most of these words_are prepositions, pronouns, conjunctions, articles and auxiliary verbs. They are not usually stressed, so the unstressed (‘weak’) pronunciation is the usual…

articles: a/an

A noun like house, engineer, girl, name refers to a whole class of people or things. We use a/an with a noun to talk about just one member of that class. (A/an means ‘one’.) She lives in a nice big house. My father is an engineer. (NOT My father is engineer.) A girl phoned this…

able / capable

The difference between these words is extremely small – but usually we use able to describe current things someone can do, and capable to talk about someone’s future potential. It is not a strict rule, just a general tendency. She’s able to play a song perfectly after hearing it only once. (she can currently do…

Use Pareto 80 -20 Efficiency – Stop Wasting Time on Words That Matter Less!

“Focus on being productive instead of busy.” – Tim Ferriss You don’t need to learn all the words of English before you can start to speak it. Remember all we’ve discussed about building your confidence by learning to speak actual English sentences quickly. One key to this is to first learn the words that matter…

On the phone

Starting a Phone conversation The first example is an informal situation; the second example is a more formal call. A: Hello. B: Is that Mary? [NOT Arc you Mary? or Is it Mary?] A: Yeah. B: Hi. It’s Ruth, [not I am Ruth, or Here is Ruth] Note: When British people answer the phone at…

and

        1. When we join two or more expressions, we usually put and before the last. – bread and cheese – We drank, talked and danced. – I wrote the letters, Peter addressed them, George bought the stamps – and Alice posted them. 2. In two-word expressions, we often put the shortest…

past time: past perfect simple and progressive

Forms Past perfect simple Affirmative Question Negative I had worked you had worked he had worked, etc had I worked? had you worked? had he worked? etc I had not worked you had not worked, etc Past perfect progressive Affirmative Question Negative I had been working you had been working, etc had I been working?…

each: grammar

We use each before a singular noun. [each + singular noun] Each new day is different. We use each of before a pronoun or a determiner (for example the, my, these). The pronoun or noun is plural. [each of us/you/them each of + determiner + plural noun] She bought a different present for each of…

Television

Operating a television You may also want to turn it up (= increase the volume because you can’t hear) turn it down); and turn over (= change to a different channel, e.g. from 1 to 3) Note: You can also say switch on, switch off, or switch over (but not switch it up/down). Types of…

close and shut

Close and shut can often be used with the same meaning. Open your mouth and close/shut your eyes. I can’t close/shut the window. Can you help me? The past participles closed and shut can be used as adjectives. The post office is closed/shut on Saturday afternoon. Shut is not usually used before a noun. a…

no and none

We use no ( = ‘not a’, ‘not any’) immediately before a noun. [no + noun] No aeroplane is 100% safe. There’s no time to talk about it now. Before another determiner (for example the, my, this), we use none of. We also use none of before a pronoun. [none of + determiner + noun…

although and though

1. Both these words can be used as conjunctions. They mean the same. Though is informal. (Al)though I don’t agree with him, I think he’s honest. She went on walking, (al)though she was terribly tired. I’ll talk to him, (although I don’t think it’ll do any good. We use even though to emphasize a contrast….

please and thank you

We use please to make a request more polite. Could I have some more, please9 ‘Wouldyou like some wine?’ ‘Yes, please 1 Note that please does not change an order into a request. Stand over there, (order) Please stand over there, (polite order) We do not use please to ask people what they said. ‘I’ve…