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…

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…

Family and friends

Relatives (= members of your family) These are the most important relatives (also called relations): Family background (= family history) My grandfather was a market gardener in Ireland. He grew flowers, fruit and vegetables, and sold them in the market every day. He worked hard all his life, and when he died, his son (now…

Human feelings and actions

Feelings Note: • Pride has different meanings, but the most common is the feeling of satisfaction you have because you (or people you are connected with) have done something well. He was very proud when his wife became the first President of the organisation. • Jealousy is a feeling of anger and unhappiness you may…

Describing people’s appearance

General Positive: beautiful is generally used to describe women; handsome is used to describe men; good-looking is used for both; pretty is another positive word to describe a woman (often a girl) meaning ‘attractive and nice to look at’. Negative: ugly is the most negative word to describe someone; plain is more polite. Height and…

The body and what it does

Parts of the body Physical actions You can breathe through your nose or your mouth. Most people breathe about 12-15 times a minute. People smile when they’re happy, or to be polite; they laugh when people say something funny; they may cry when they’re sad; they yawn when they’re tired, or bored. Many people nod…

Countries, nationalities and languages

Who speaks what where? The people When you are talking about people in general from a particular country, there are some nationalities that you can make plural with an ‘s’, but others can only be formed with the definite article (and no plural ‘s’): Note: • With both groups you can also use the word…

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…

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…

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…

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.

Similarities, differences and conditions

Similarities These are ways of saying that two or more things are similar, or have something the same. Peter is similar to (= like) his brother in many ways. Peter and his brother are very similar. Peter and his brother are quite alike. Maria and Rebecca both passed their exams. (= Maria passed and Rebecca…

Addition and contrast

In addition, moreover, etc. (X and Y) When you add a second piece of information in a sentence to support the first piece of information, you often use and, e.g.The food is excellent and very good value. When you put this information in two sentences, these link words and phrases are common: The food is…

Onomatopoeic words

Onomatopoeic words are those which seem to sound like their meaning. The most obvious examples are verbs relating to the noises which animals make, e.g. cows moo and cats mew or meow. If the vowel sound in a word is short, an onomatopoeic word usually signifies a short, sharp sound. If it is long (indicated…

Time and sequence

When and as soon as I’ll phone my uncle when I get home. / As soon as I get home I’ll phone my uncle. When you’ve finished you can go home. / You can go home as soon as you’ve finished. Note: The meaning is the same, but as soon as suggests it is more…

Adverbs: frequency and degree

Frequency (= how often) Degree (= how much) Almost/nearly It’s almost/nearly five o’clock. (= it is probably about 4.57) I almost/nearly lost the match. (= I won but only just; only by a small amount) Note: almost the same not Hardly Hardly + a positive often has the same meaning as almost + a negative:…

Prepositions: place

At, On, In Learn these rules. Opposites Some prepositions form pairs of opposites. Note: Over/above are often synonymous, so are under/below, but over and under sometimes suggest movement. When we flew over Paris we couldn’t see much because we were above the clouds. Below us was the river which ran under the bridge. Here are…

Adjectives

‘Scale’ and ‘limit’ adjectives Adjectives ending -ing and -ed There is a large group of adjectives which can have an -ing or -ed ending. The -ing ending is used on adjectives which describe a person or thing or situation; the -ed ending is on adjectives which describe the effect this person, thing or situation has…

Verb patterns

Verb + object Verb + object + question word Note: A common mistake is: ‘He explained me what to do.’ After explain + question word, there is no direct object. We say: ‘He explained what to do / what I had to do.’ Verb + object + infinitive persuade = make somebody change their mind….

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…

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…

Opinions, agreeing and disagreeing

Asking someone for their opinion What do you think of his new book? How do you feel about working with the others? What are your feelings (pi) about the change in the timetable? What’s your honest opinion of that painting? Giving your opinion I think Charles had the best idea. I don’t_think he knew very…

Requests, invitations and suggestions

Requests and replies We use different expressions to introduce a request – it depends who we are talking to, and the ‘size’ of the request (‘big’ or ‘small’). These are some of the most common (the ‘small’ requests first), with suitable positive and negative replies. Invitations and replies Suggestions and replies Here are some common…

Apologies, excuses, and thanks

Apologies (= saying sorry) We can apologise (= say sorry) in different ways in different situations: Note: In formal situations (especially in writing), we often use apologise and apology: I must apologise for (being late). I would like to apologise for (the delay. Unfortunately, …) Please accept our apologies for the mistakes in your order….

Go Uses and expressions

Come vs. go Go usually expresses a movement away from the position the speaker is in now; come expresses a movement towards the speaker. Imagine you are at school. The time is 9.30 a.m. I had to go to Jimmy’s to pick up some books; then I went to the post office before I came…

Get uses and expressions

Meanings Get is an informal word, so it is more common in spoken English than written English. It has many meanings. Here are some of the basic ones. ‘Get’ + past participle We sometimes use the more informal ‘get’ + past participle: Common collocations Get is so common with certain words (often describing a change…

Give, keep, break, catch, see

These common verbs have many different meanings (some of them in other parts of this book). This unit looks at some important meanings of these verbs, and in some cases they combine with specific nouns, e.g. give someone a ring, break the law, etc. You can learn these as expressions. Give I’ll give you a…

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

Idioms and fixed expressions

What is an idiom? An idiom is a group of words with a meaning that is different from the individual words, and often difficult to understand from the individual words.Here are some more common idioms. The teacher told us to get a move on. (= hurry; be quick) My wife and I take it in…

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…