I was having an after dinner drink with a friend from abroad when she told me that she wished there were a few words she’d learnt before coming to live in the UK. These were words which we use all the time but which are rarely found in course books and which are a little tricky to find direct translations for. They’re not slang but they are mainly used in informal contexts. These week I'll present four of them to you - they're all adjectives that you can use to describe certain types of people. Once you get your head round them they’ll really help you to understand spoken British English!
A couple of weeks ago my English for University class were looking at design, and I decided to set them a task. The brief seemed simple: in eighteen minutes, teams had to build the tallest tower out of 20 sticks of spaghetti, one metre of tape, one metre of string, and one marshmallow. The only rules were that the tower needed to be free-standing and the marshmallow had to be on the top. What could possibly go wrong?
Last week I was teaching pronunciation to my class. We were looking at how the stress in a word changes depending on its grammatical form and the number of syllables it has. We looked at two, three, four and five syllable words and practised together. Just as we were about to take a break, one of my students asked "What is the longest word in English?".
What do you find hardest about learning English? What do you most want to improve? Chances are, grammar is near the top of both your lists. Whether you like it or not, you can't learn any language without spending some time studying the rules of its grammar. But sometimes, those rules are difficult to define. In a new series, we'll be looking at the cases where the rules of grammar can be broken.