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 English Topics and Tips

Translation…not so helpful!


The British government is concerned about local councils translating everything into the language of the local immigrants, thus keeping them from learning English.

This happens worldwide…Chinatown in Toronto, Cabramatta in Sydney, Koreatown in Los Angeles.  Why would many migrants take the time to  learn English when they can get the information they need in their native language?

Vocabulary lesson – sensible versus sensitive

Sensible and sensitive are words that are often confused.

German speakers – pay attention to this because they mean the opposite in your language!

sensible (adj) = showing good judgement / making good decisions

“Emma is very sensible with money. She saves as much of her salary as she can.”

“Doing heavy exercise like running is not sensible when you are sick.”

Vocabulary lesson – regard / regardless / regards

Three similar words with very different meanings.

regard (v formal) = have an opinion about a person or thing

‘James regards ballet to be the most beautiful dance.’

‘Do you regard a university education to be valuable?’

regardless (adv) = not affected by something

‘I am going on holidays regardless of how much work I have at the office.’

Phrasal Verbs with ASK

A phrasal verb is created with a verb + 1, 2, or 3 particles.

ask out = invite someone to go to a restaurant, movie, etc. (usually in a romantic way)

‘Adam finally asked me out to dinner! I am so excited.’

I’m sure Alison likes you, so just ask her out this weekend.’

ask for = say you want something

English Idioms and Expressions: Part 4

This is the final post of our 4-part series on idioms.

You may not use them when you are speaking, but you need to understand what they mean if you hear them in  conversations!

bring someone up to speed = give someone recent news / share new facts

“I will begin the presentation by bringing you up to speed on the project and what has changed.”

Phrasal verbs with GIVE

A phrasal verb is created with a verb + 1, 2, or 3 particles.

Unfortunately, there are no simple rules for phrasal verbs – you just have to think of each one as a unique verb, and memorize it!

give up = stop doing something

I want to lose weight, so I’m giving up chocolate.

give in = no longer try to stop yourself from doing something that you want to do

Grammar Lesson – the verb ‘suggest’

Suggest is a verb that many English learners have trouble with.

Suggest is NOT followed by an object + to infinitive. This is a very common mistake.

‘Martin suggested me to visit the museum.’  WRONG

Suggest is usually followed by that or verb -ing.

That can be left out if there is a clause following it.

‘Martin suggested that museum.’

English Idioms and Expressions: Part 3

This is part 3 in our series of  popular English idioms and expressions.

Just to remind you, an idiom is a phrase where the words together take on a different meaning than the individual words alone.  Here are some more examples:

question of time = a situation that will happen, but you do not know when.

English Idioms and Expressions: Part 2

go down swinging

If you decide to go down swinging, it means that you decide to keep on fighting for what you think; even if you will probably not win.

“I don’t want to lose the contract. I’ll go down swinging before I give the business away.”

heart of gold

Someone who is a very kind and caring person.

Grammar Lesson: used to

used to + verb = something that was true or happened in the past on a regularly basis. It does no happen today.

‘John used to smoke, but he quit last year.’

‘My husband used to drive to work, but the price of parking went up. So, now he takes the bus.’

‘There used to be a McDonalds in the park, but it closed a couple of months ago.’