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…

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…

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…

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…

Possession, giving and lending

Possession All his possessions were destroyed in the terrible fire, [everything he owned; always plural in this meaning] Don’t leave any of your belongings here; we’ve had a few thefts recently, [smaller things, e.g. bag, camera, coat; always plural] Estate in the singular can mean a big area of private land and the buildings on…

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…