Shops and Shopping

Shops and shopping shop assistant: person who works in a shop; also called sales assistant shop window: the window at the front of the shop shopping centre: a place with many shops, outside or indoors window shopping: to look round the shops but not buy anything shopping list: a list of things to buy I…

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…

Homes and buildings

Houses Flats I live in a block of flats. My brother lives on the ground floor, and I have a flat on the third floor. Unfortunately there is no lift, so I have to climb three flights of stairs to reach my flat. But I do have a balcony with a wonderful view of 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…

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:…

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….

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…

Slang

Slang is a particular kind of colloquial language. It refers to words and expressions which are extremely informal. Slang helps to make speech vivid, colourful and interesting but it can easily be used inappropriately. Although slang is mainly used in speech, it is also often found in the popular press. It can be risky for…

Other Englishes

US or American English (see Unit 93) is not the only special variety of English. Each area of the English-speaking world has developed its own special characteristics. This is usually mainly a matter of vocabulary and pronunciation. This unit just gives you a small taste of some of the different varieties of English by drawing…

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…

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….

The environment

There are many different words referring to features of the environment. Here are some arranged on small to large scales. brook —> stream —> river hillock —> hill —> mountain cove —> bay —> gulf copse —> wood —> forest puddle —> pond —> lake footpath —> lane —> road You have to be careful…

Education

Stages in a person’s education Here are some names that are used to describe the different types of education in Britain. Note: Comprehensive schools in the UK are for all abilities, but grammar schools are usually by competitive entry. Public schools in the UK are very famous private schools. Polytechnics are similar to universities, but…

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…

Abstract Nouns

An abstract noun is one which is used to mean an idea, experience or quality rather than an object. Thus happiness, intention and shock are abstract nouns whereas, for example, pen, bed and trousers are not. There are a number of suffixes which are used particularly frequently in the formation of abstract nouns. Some of…