Bonfire Night – 5th of November
‘Remember, remember, the fifth of November,
Gunpowder, treason and plot..’
These are the opening lines of an English nursery rhyme from around 1870. This post looks at the history of Bonfire Night…
(words with * are explained at the end. Full poem below)
Bonfire Night is also known as Fireworks’ Night or Guy Fawkes Night. It is a British tradition* that began in 1605. A group of thirteen Catholic men wanted to destroy the Houses of Parliament and kill the king, James 1. King James was a protestant and many Catholics believed that the King should also be Catholic. They wanted to kill him and replace him with a Catholic leader.
Continue reading Bonfire Night 5th November: Learn British Culture
Phrasal verbs with take
This post looks at everyday expressions and phrasal verbs with take. Phrasal verbs are a phrase of two or more words, usually a verb and a preposition or a verb, adverb and prepositions. In English there are many phrasal verbs with take and they often have a more ‘formal’ equivalent. e.g. take after somebody = to resemble
Take after somebody
= To look like or behave like another member of the family
It seems like she takes after her father. He used to be really good at chess too.
The twins also take after their mother. They both have the same dark brown hair and the same nose.
= To separate something in to parts
When my daughter was young she used to take everything apart because she wanted to see how things worked.
Take care of something or something
= To be responsible for somebody or something
Would you mind also taking care of our cat while we’re on holiday as well as the hamster?
Take it out of somebody
= Make someone very tired
That run really took it out of me so I’m probably going to have a bath and relax for a bit.
Continue reading Phrasal verbs with take: learn English grammar and vocabulary
Make or do?
Make and do can be a problem for many students because there are not specific rules that helps us decide which to use in every situtation. Most of the time we have to just learn when to use make and when to use do. However, there are some rules that might help you learn some of the expressions… Test yourself at the end with our Quick Quiz on make/do.
Make and do: MAKE
1: Used to describe something that we can create or produce
The table is made of wood.
The toys were made in China.
Wine is made from grapes.
He wants a wedding ring made of platinum not gold.
2: Used to describe food/drinks
Make breakfast, lunch, brunch, dinner, tea, coffee, a cake, a sandwich, a salad, a roast dinner etc.
I don’t feel like making dinner tonight. Shall we eat out?
I’m going to make a cup of tea. Would you like one?
I don’t normally make breakfast for the family now. The kids are old enough to make their own.
I’ve bought some rum. I thought we could make some cocktails for the party.
Continue reading The difference between MAKE and DO: Learn English Grammar
Advanced English Expressions with GET
Get is one of the most used verbs in the English language. Therefore it is not surprise that there are many phrasal verbs and expressions containing it. This post is for upper-intermediate and advanced students and it looks at advanced English expressions with ‘get’.
Get hold/ahold of (idiom) = reach someone by telephone/message/text etc
‘I couldn’t get ahold of Tom so I couldn’t ask him to join us tonight.’
Get a feel for something = begin to understand how to do something or use something
‘When you learn to drive you have to get a feel for using the gears and pedals. After a while, you do it all automatically.’
Continue reading Advanced English expressions with get: Learn English grammar and vocabulary
Prepositions of time
This post looks at the prepositions of time, in, on and at with dates and times. There is a quick quiz at the end to test your knowledge.
Prepositions of time: IN
Used for non-specific times, for example: years, months
In the morning
In the afternoon
In the evening
In five minutes
In a few minutes/days/weeks/months/years
In three weeks
In ten months
In the future
In one hundred years’ time
In the moment (this describes someone who lives for the present and does not think about the future. Therefore it is important not confuse with ‘at the moment’ = right now) Continue reading Prepositions of time, in, at, on: Learn English Grammar
Phrasal verbs with GET
This post looks at some of the most common phrasal verbs with ‘get’. A phrasal verb is a phrase that contains a verb + preposition or adverb or preposition and adverb.
Phrasal verbs are used a lot in English and therefore they can be very difficult for learners. Many phrasal verbs usually have a formal equivalent, for example:
After the thief got off the bus he ran towards the town centre.
After the thief alighted from the bus he ran towards the town centre. (formal use)
Phrasal verbs are also difficult for learners because many have more than one meaning.
Finally, you can test yourself at the end of the article with the ‘phrasal verbs with get’ quick quiz.
Get across – to make something understood
‘I have been trying to get across to our manager that many of the staff are very unhappy. He just doesn’t want to listen!’
Continue reading Learn English Grammar: Phrasal verbs with ‘get’
Alexander Fleming: Discoverer of penicillin
Alexander Fleming was a Scottish scientist who is famous for discovering penicillin. He, and two other chemists, won the Nobel Prize for medicine because of this discovery.
Fleming was born on 6th August 1881 in Ayrshire, Scotland. He was the son of a farmer. At the age of 13 he moved to London where he worked in a shipping office* for the next four years. After, he began studying to be a doctor at St Mary’s Medical School, London University. His teacher was Sir Almroth Wright, a pioneer* in vaccine therapy.*
Continue reading Learn English: Alexander Fleming, discoverer of penicillin
Boats and Sailing Idioms
This post looks at some of the idioms that come from boats, ships and sailing expressions.
All in the same boat
Idiomatic meaning: to say that everyone is in the same situation (usually a negative one!)
‘Tom is worried about losing his job. However, we are all in the same boat. If the factory closes we will all lose our jobs.’ Continue reading Boats and Sailing Idioms: Learn English Vocabulary
William Shakespeare is a famous English writer. He is famous all over the world for writing plays for the theatre. Another name for him is the “Bard of Avon”. (Words with * are explained at the end)
Shakespeare was born in 1564 in Stratford-upon-Avon and many historians believe it was probably on Saint George’s Day, 23rd April. He was the third child in a family of eight children. His father was a leather merchant* and had an important position in the local council*. William went to the local grammar* school where he learned Latin and history.
Continue reading Shakespeare: Learn English vocabulary – William Shakespeare
This post looks at ‘conditional’ sentences in English. Conditionals talk about the possibility of something happening as the result of something else.
There are four types of conditionals (sometimes called ‘if’ clauses) in English. Each conditional has an ‘if’ clause and another clause. The first two types of conditionals talk about real possibilities whilst the second two types talk about unreal possibilities.
This talks about general truths, facts and habits. It is used for real situations. The present simple is used in both clauses.
If (present simple) + present simple
If you heat ice, it melts.
If I run for too long, my knee hurts. Continue reading Conditionals: Learn English Grammar