Uncountable words

Uncountable nouns are not normally used with a(n) or the plural, e.g. information, not an information, or some informations. It is a good idea to learn uncountable nouns in groups associated with the same subject or area. Here are some possible headings. Travel is also an uncountable noun, e.g. Travel broadens the mind. Day-to-day household…

Animals and insects

Pets and farm animals Many people keep pets (= domestic animals that live with people) in Britain. The most common are dogs and cats, but children in particular sometimes keep mice (singular = a mouse) and rabbits. Farm animals include: sheep, pigs, cows, horses, chickens and goats. Note: The word ‘sheep’ is the singular and…

Reason, purpose and result

Reason I went home early because/as/since I was feeling a bit tired. Note: With as or since, the reason (in this example ‘feeling tired’) is often known to the listener or reader, so it is less important. It is also common to put as/since at the beginning of the sentence: ‘As/since I was feeling tired,…

The career ladder

Getting a job When Paul left school he applied for (= wrote an official request for) a job in the accounts department of a local engineering company. They gave him a job as a trainee (= a very junior person in a company). He didn’t earn very much but they gave him a lot of…

Everyday problems

There’s something wrong with… If there is a problem with a machine or a thing that you use e.g. TV, light, washing machine, computer, food mixer, pen, etc., we often use these expressions: There’s something wrong with the TV. (= there is a problem with it) The light’s not working. (= not functioning / there…

Expressions with Look

This diagram illustrates some of the most useful phrasal verbs formed with look. The meaning of the phrasal verb is given in brackets. Here are a few more useful phrasal verbs based on look. All of them are illustrated below in a business context but they can also, of course, be used in other situations….

Idioms describing feelings or mood

Positive feelings, moods and states – Jo’s as happy as the day is long, [extremely content] – Mary seems to be on cloud nine these days, [extremely pleased/happy] – Everyone seemed to be in high spirits, [lively, enjoying things] – She seems to be keeping her chin up. [happy despite bad things] Negative feelings, moods…

Idioms connected with using language

Idioms connected with communication problems Good talk, bad talk The boss always talks down to us. [talks as if we were inferior] My work-mates are always talking behind my back, [saying negative things about me when I’m not there] It was just small talk, nothing more, I promise, [purely social talk, nothing serious] Let’s sit…

English language words

Parts of speech Special terms Uncountable noun: (U) a noun which has no plural form and cannot be used with the indefinite article, e.g. information. Plural noun: (pi) a noun which only has a plural form and cannot be used with the indefinite article, e.g. trousers. Infinitive: the base form of a verb, e.g. (to)…

Science and technology

You are probably familiar with the traditional branches of science e.g. chemistry, physics, botany and zoology. But what about these newer fields? – genetic engineering: the study of the artificial manipulation of the make-up of living things – molecular biology: the study of the structure and function of the organic molecules associated with living organisms…

Words with interesting origins – from other languages

English has taken over words from most of the other languages with which it has had contact. It has taken many expressions from the ancient languages, Latin and Greek, and these borrowings usually have academic or literary associations. From French, English has taken lots of words to do with cooking, the arts, and a more…

Headline English

Headline writers try to catch the reader’s eye by using as few words as possible. The language headlines use is, consequently, unusual in a number of ways. • Grammar words like articles or auxiliary verbs are often left out, e.g. EARLY CUT FORECAST IN INTEREST RATES • A simple form of the verb is used,…

Using the land

Ground and soil When we walk, our feet are on the ground (= the general word for the surface of the earth). For the top part of the ground where grass and flowers grow, we use the word soil. There were no seats in the park, so we had to sit on the ground. The…

Daily routines

Sleep During the week I usually wake UP at 6.30 a.m. I sometimes lie in bed for five minutes but then I have to get up (= get out of bed and get dressed). Most evenings, I go to bed at about 11.30 p.m. I’m usually very tired, so I go to sleep / fall…

Words similar to Attractive

Words similar to Attractive : beautiful – He has beautiful eyes. Cute – You have a cute dog. lovely – That is a lovely dress. stunning – Your necklace is stunning. gorgeous – They live in a gorgeous house. good-looking – She is really good-looking. handsome – He is an extremely handsome man. pretty –…

Time

Periods of time – words and typical contexts – The Ice Age The Stone Age The Middle Ages The age of the computer. [major historical/geological periods] – After the war, a new era of peace began, [long period, perhaps several decades] – The doctor said I needed a period of rest and relaxation, so I’m…

Around the home I

Rooms The living room or lounge (= where you sit, relax, talk and watch TV); the dining room- the kitchen; the bedroom(s); and the bathroom(s). ’ Some people also have a study (= room with a desk where you work), a utility room (= a room usually next to the kitchen, where you have a…

Learning and revising

Establish a routine A routine means doing certain things regularly in the same way. And if you are using this book for self-study (= to study alone), it helps to have a routine. Decide how much time you can spend on the book each day or each week. If you are studying a unit for…

Make, do, have, take

There are many common expressions with these verbs, and often they are different in other languages, so you need to learn them. Things we make Things we do Things we have Things we take

Numbers and shapes

Anyone who works with any branch of science or technology needs to be able to talk about figures. Notice how the following are said in English. All scientists and technologists also need to be able to talk about shapes. Note the names of the shapes below. Two-dimensional shapes A rectangle has four right angles. A…

Travel

Look at the table of some basic travel vocabulary. Highlight any of the words that you are not sure about and look them up in your dictionary. Words at sea Traditionally sailors use different words at sea – a bedroom is a cabin, a bed is a bunk, the kitchen on a ship is a…

Ages and stages

Growing up Note: For boys, the period between 14-17 approximately (slightly younger for girls) is called adolescence, i.e. you are an adolescent. In law you are an adult at the age of 18, but many people think of you as an adult when you leave school. Childhood and adolescence Sam (on the right) was born…

In the office and in the factory

The office Office work Brenda works for a company which produces furniture. She works in an office, which is just opposite the factory where the furniture is made. This is how she spends her day: She works at a computer most of the time, where she writes letters and reports. She answers phone calls, mostly…

Number, quantity, degree and intensity

Number and quantity Number is used for countable nouns, amount for uncountables. Scale of adjectives useful for expressing number and quantity: – Add just a tiny amount of chilli pepper, or else it may get too hot. – A considerable number of people failed to get tickets, [formal] – Vast amounts of money have been…

The physical world

Physical features Note: Sometimes you need the definite article ‘the’, e.g. The Atlantic Ocean, The Alps-sometimes no article is used, e.g. Mount Everest and Lake Titikaka. Compare this with your own language. Natural disasters A disaster is when something terrible happens, which often results in death, destruction and suffering.

Town and country

Towns Here are some of the things you will find in most big towns. a commercial centre: an area with lots of banks and company offices shopping centres: places with many shops, either indoors or outdoors car parks: places to leave many cars factories: buildings where you make/manufacture things, e.g. cars suburbs: areas outside the…

Food

Fruit Vegetables Salad A salad is a mixture of uncooked vegetables. The main ingredient in a salad is lettuce, but it may also contain tomato, cucumber, and other things. Animals (meat), fish and shellfish

Problems with pronunciation

Phonetics With many languages you can look at a word and know (more or less) how to pronounce it. With English this is not true: it is often very difficult to know the pronunciation from looking at a word. For example: cough (pronounced like ‘off’) enough (like ‘stuff’) through (like ‘too’) and dough (like ‘so’)…

Expressions With get

Get seems to be used all the time in spoken English. It has the following basic meanings: • receive, obtain or buy something, e.g. Please get me a newspaper when you’re in town; I got a letter from John today; She got top marks in her exam. • show a change in position – move…

The language of notices

Notices in English often use words and expressions that are rarely seen in other contexts. Look at the notices below with their ‘translations’ into more everyday English. You will find more examples of a specific kind of notice, road signs.