Transport

Vehicles Vehicle is the genera! word for all types of road transport. A: How did you get here? B: I came by bus. A: And the others? B: Sue and John came by car. A: And Paul? B: He missed the bus, so he had to take a taxi. Catch a bus,take a taxi Railway…

Money – buying, selling and paying

Personal finance Sometimes in a shop they ask you: ‘How do you want to pay?’ You can answer: ‘Cash / By cheque / By credit card.’ In a bank you usually have a current account, which is one where you pay in your salary and then withdraw money to pay your everyday bills. The bank…

Towns

Look at this description of Cork, one of Ireland’s main towns. Underline any words or phrases that might be useful for describing your own or any other town. Cork city is the major metropolis of the south; indeed with a population of about 135,000 it is the second largest city in the Republic. The main…

Condition

As well as if, there are a number of other words and phrases for expressing condition. 1. You can’t come in unless you have a ticket. 2. You can borrow the bike on condition that you return it by five o’clock. 3. In case of fire, dial 333. [usually seen on notices ; it means…

Words with interesting origins – people and places

A number of words in English have originated from the names of people, biro: [ball-point pen] named after Laszlo Biro, its Hungarian inventor boycott: [refuse to deal with or a refusal to deal with] after a landlord in Ireland who made himself unpopular by his treatment of his tenants and was socially isolated braille: [name…

Weather

Weather conditions Look at this list of common weather words. Notice that it is very common to form adjectives by adding ‘-y’. Note: When it rains for a short period of time, we call it a shower, e.g. We had several showers yesterday afternoon. When it is raining a lot we often say it’s pouring…

Expressions With come and go

Here are some phrasal verbs based on come. – Did the meeting you were planning ever come off? [take place] – I don’t think his jokes ever quite come off. [succeed] – When do the exam results come out? [be published, made public] – The mark on the carpet won’t come out. [be removed] –…

Noun suffixes

Verb + suffix Many nouns are formed in this way. Adjective + suffix Nouns are also formed by adding a suffix to an adjective. Two suffixes often added to adjectives to form nouns are -ness and -ity Pronunciation The addition of these suffixes may change the pronunciation. Nouns ending -ion or -ity have the main…

Idioms connected with problematic situations

Problems and difficulties Idioms related to situations based on get – This has to be done by next week; we must get our act together before it’s too late. [organise ourselves to respond; informal] – We need a proper investigation to get to the bottom of things, [find the true explanation for the state of…

On the road

Road features An accident Read the text and use the context and the diagram to help you with the key words. There was a serious accident on one of the main roads into Stuttgart this morning. An old lorry (AmEng = truck) broke down in the middle of the road, and the driver couldn’t move…

Derivational Suffixes

There are suffixes that change the meaning of the base word or stem. These are called derivational suffixes, and some common examples are: -able -ible (capable of being) -ation -sion -tion (state of being) -ful (notable for) -fy (make or become) -ify (make or become) -ily -ise -ize (become) -ism (belief or doctrine) -ist (one…

Verb or adjective + preposition

Verb (+ preposition) Here are some common examples of verbs which are usually followed by a particular preposition. You will probably know most of these verbs, but do you always get the preposition right? Pay special attention to any that are different in your language. I often listen to the radio. My brother never agrees…

Cooking and restaurants

Ways of cooking food boil: in water, e.g. carrots fry: in oil or butter above the heat, e.g. sausages grill: under the heat, e.g. toast or meat roast: in the oven using oil, e.g. meat bake: in the oven without oil, e.g. cakes Note: Food which is not cooked is raw. Cooking steak If you…

Movement and speed

Move is the basic verb for all movement, but do not forget it also means ‘to move to a new house/flat’, e.g. We’ve moved. Do you want our new address? Particular types of movement – Cars, lorries, etc. travel/drive along roads. – Trains travel along rails. – Boats/ships sail on rivers / across the sea….

Verbs + -ing form or infinitive

Verb + -ing form Some verbs are followed by an -ing form if the next word is a verb: enjoy finish imagine (don’t) mind can’t stand (= hate) feel like (= want/desire infml) give up (= stop doing something for the last time) avoid (If you avoid something, you keep away from it; if you…

Politics and public institutions

Look at the definitions below taken from a dictionary of politics. Make sure you understand not only the words listed but the words used in the definitions too. Types of government – republic: a state governed by representatives and, usually, a president – monarchy: a state ruled by a king or queen – democracy: government…

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…

Homonyms

Homonyms can be subdivided into homographs and homophones. Homographs are words which are written in the same way but have different meanings. Compare bow in ‘He took a bow /bau/ at the end of the concert’ and ‘He was wearing a bow /bau/ tie’. Homophones are words which are pronounced in the same way but…

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…

Specific situations and special occasions

You will know many of these expressions but may not be sure exactly how they are used. Greetings:‘hello’ Farewells:‘goodbye’ Happy occasions and celebrations Special conventions Note: In English there is no special expression when people start eating. If you want to say something, you can use the French expression Bon appetit, but it is not…

Containers and contents

A There are a number of special words in English which are used to describe different kinds of containers. Look at the following pictures. Here is some additional information about each of these types of containers.

The weather

In Scandinavia, the chilly (1) days of autumn soon change to the cold days of winter. The first frosts (2) arrive and the roads become icy. Rain becomes sleet (3) and then snow, at first turning to slush (4) in the streets, but soon settling (5), with severe blizzards (6) and snowdrifts (7) in the…

Describing people – appearance

Hair, face, skin and complexion He used to have black hair but it’s gone grey,almost white. What sort of person would you like to go out with? Blonde, fair, dark or ginger-haired / red-haired? She has such beautiful auburn hair. [red-brown] Fair and dark can be used for hair, complexion or skin. Height and build…

Suffixes

Suffixes can change the word-class and the meaning of the word. Common noun suffixes -er is used for the person who does an activity, e.g. writer, worker, shopper, teacher. You can use -er with a wide range of verbs to make them into nouns. Sometimes, the -er suffix is written as -or instead of -er….

What animals do

Cats mew when they’re hungry, purr when they’re happy and caterwaul when they’re on the roof at midnight. Dogs bark. They also growl when they’re angry. Lions roar. Sheep and goats bleat, horses neigh and pigs grunt. Cows moo. Frogs croak and ducks quack. Cocks crow, hens cluck and owls hoot. N.B. All these verbs…

SYNONYMS

LIST OF SYNONYMS (A & B ) Word Synonym Word Synonym Abroad Overseas Away Absent Admit Confess Awful Terrible Agree Consent Baby Infant Alike Same Backbone Spine Allow Permit Beautiful Pretty Almost Nearly Begin Start Amount Quantity Behave Act Angry Mad Belly Stomach Annoy Irritate Big Large Answer Reply Blank Empty Appear Seem Brave Bold…

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…

Describing people – character

Intellectual ability – Ability: intelligent bright clever smart shrewd able gifted talented brainy (colloquial) – Lacking ability: stupid foolish half-witted simple silly brainless daft dumb dim (the last four are predominantly colloquial words) – Clever, in a negative way, using brains to trick or deceive: cunning crafty sly Attitudes towards life – Looking on either…

Phrasal verbs: grammar and style

Grammar: intransitive verbs Some phrasal verbs are intransitive and do not need a direct object. The children are growing up. (= getting older and more mature) The doctor told me to lie down on the bed. Don’t wait out there. Please come in. (= enter) I’m going to stay in (= stay at home) this…

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…