Global problems

Disasters/tragedies Verbs connected with these words – A volcano has erupted in Indonesia. Hundreds are feared dead. – The flu epidemic spread rapidly throughout the country. – Millions are starving as a result of the famine. – A big earthquake shook the city at noon today. – The area is suffering its worst drought for…

Belief and opinion

Verbs connected with beliefs and opinions – You probably already know think and believe; here are more. – I’m convinced we’ve met before, [very strong feeling that you’re right] – I’ve always held that compulsory education is a waste of time, [used for very firm beliefs; maintain could be used here] – She maintains that…

Keeping a vocabulary notebook

Organising your notebook Give each page or double page a title, e.g. sport, education, phrasal verbs, etc. Then, as you learn new words, record each one on a suitable page. You could also have a general index in the back of your book, with a space for each letter Then, as you learn new words,…

Sport

Common sports Equipment – what you hold in your hand golf – club squash/tennis/badminton – racket darts – dart archery – bow cricket/table-tennis/baseball – bat hockey – stick snooker/pool/billiards – cue canoeing – paddle rowing – oar fishing – rod/line Athletics – some field events She’s a good sprinter, [fast over short distances] He’s a…

New words in English

No language stands still. New words and expressions are always being created, usually because something new is invented or sometimes just for fun. No government committee decides whether a new word is acceptable or not; if it is used frequently, and in a variety of contexts, it will find its way into the dictionary. Here…

Avoid boring words

Instead of pretty use:  beautiful exquisite lovely gorgeous glamorous stunning attractive handsome  elegant stiking cute fair Instead of smart use : witty bright quick-witted knowledgable intelligent clever  ingenious sharp brainy brilliant gifted wise Instead of big use:  towering enormous huge tremendous large massive great giant gigantic colossal mammoth immense Instead of little use: teeny small…

Words with -ence and -ance

Words with -ence and -ance : — ence acquiescence, adherence, adolescence, audience, circumference, coincidence, concurrence, conference, confidence, confluence, conscience, consequence, convenience, correspondence, defence, dependence, difference, eloquence, excellence, existence, experience, impertinence, impudence, independence, indifference, influence, innocence, insistence, insolence, intelligence, interference, lenience, licence, magnificence, negligence, obedience, occurrence, offence, patience, penitence, permanence, persistence, precedence, preference, presence, prudence, reminiscence,…

Countable and uncountable with different meanings

When we use a noun countably we are thinking of specific things; when we use it uncountably we are thinking of stuff or material or the idea of a thing in general. Here are some more nouns used in both ways. Make sure you know the difference between the uncountable and the countable meaning. drink…

Collective nouns

Collective nouns are used to describe a group of the same things. People Words associated with certain animals A flock of sheep or birds, e.g. geese/pigeons; a herd of cows, deer, goats; a shoal of fish (or any particular fish, e.g. a shoal of herring/mackerel – note the use of singular here); a swarm of…

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…

Zero affixation

What is zero affixation? Many words in English can function as a noun and verb, or noun and adjective, or verb and adjective, with no change in form. The meaning is not always the same, but this unit looks at examples where the words do have the same meaning. What’s the answer? (noun) I must…

Silent Letters

U biscuit build circuit disguise guilty league rogue vague guess guest guide guitar antique K knack knee kneel knife knight knit knob knot know knuckle S aisle island debris G align campaign design foreign malign reign sign assign gnarled gnash gnat gnaw gnome D handkerchief handsome Wednesday sandwich N autumn column condemn damn hymn solemn…

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…

Clothes

Pocket, buttons, collar, sleeves Note: Some of these words are plural nouns, e.g. jeans and trousers. Important verbs Use this text to guess the meaning of the key words. I got up at 7.30, had a shower, got dressed, and had breakfast. It was a cold morning so I put on my overcoat and left…

Similes – as…as… / like…

As…as… similes are easy to understand. If you see the phrase as dead as a doornail, you don’t need to know what a doornail is, simply that the whole phrase means ‘totally dead’. But, remember, fixed similes are not ‘neutral’; they are usually informal/colloquial and often humorous. So, use them with care, and keep them…