How well can you do:
During each week, students on our intensive courses ask us lots of questions about vocabulary. We make a note of the vocabulary we have explained and every week we send out a test to our students on some of the vocabulary, with a prize for the winner.
How well can you do:
Jonathan is a qualified teacher who lives with other students who are on our intensive English courses in Leeds, England. He also has a blog at http://theapathysquare.blogspot.co.uk/
Last week I had my hair cut and I also had my car repaired. I don’t know how to cut hair and I don’t know how to repair cars, so both those things were done for me by a trained professional and I paid them for the service.
A few students have asked me since then 'Did you cut your hair?' because in some other languages it doesn’t make a difference who does the cutting. In English I would only say ‘I cut my hair’ or ‘I repaired my car’ if I was doing it myself.
So, just to clarify:
I cut my hair = I cut it myself
I had my hair cut = someone else cut my hair
I repaired my car = I did the repairs myself
I had my car repaired = someone else repaired it for me.
In grammatical terms this is:
Sb + have + object + past participle
'Get' can also be used instead of 'have' to make the expression more informal, as in
'I get my house cleaned once a week by a cleaner'
Jonathan is a qualified teacher who lives with other students who are on our intensive English courses in Leeds, England. He is also obsessed with phrasal verbs - try the test below to see how many you know - these are all phrasal verbs which 'came up' during activities with students on the course. Jonathan also has a blog at http://theapathysquare.blogspot.co.uk/
OMG LOL I just saw 2 ppl get fraped* at the library! They didn’t log off properly smh. btw, I cba to Skype 2night, what about 2m? We need to talk about this Saturday asap.
Did you understand that?
OK, it's true that very few people send messages like the above example. However, when students come to Leeds, England on one of our immersion English courses they often use Whatsapp groups to share pictures of the activities they go on every afternoon with our teachers. With native English speakers in these groups they have to get used to quite a lot of text slang, and here are some of the most common:
LOL - ‘laugh out loud’. To describe something very funny. Often misunderstood as ‘lots of love’. To do something ‘out loud’ is the opposite of doing something silently, ie - ‘thinking out loud’ or ‘read this sentence out loud’.
To express laughter by text, we also use LMAO (Laughing My Arse Off) and ROFL (Rolling On the Floor Laughing). These can be used together if something is especially comical - ROFLMAO (Rolling On the Floor, Laughing My Arse Off).
"That's so funny, lol."
BTW - ‘By the way’. Another way of saying 'incidentally'. Used to introduce a new, less important topic.
"I've just had a baby! Btw, could you feed the cat?
CBA - ‘Can’t be arsed’. A slightly less polite way of saying that you can’t be bothered to do something, or you do not have the energy/interest to do something
"I really cba to feed the cat tonight."
OMG - ‘Oh my god’. Used to express surprise. See also - WTF (what the fuck), and SMH (Shaking My Head - used when something is just really stupid)
"The baby has two heads, OMG!"
ASAP - ‘As Soon As Possible’. Do something at the earliest available opportunity.
"Your baby has two heads?! I think you should speak to a doctor asap"
JK - ‘Just Kidding’. Telling the person you are speaking to that what you said was actually a joke.
"You're a complete idiot and I hate you. jk."
2m - ‘Tomorrow’. See also ‘2moro’. Numbers are often used with letters to make words shorter, for example - B4 (before), gr8 (great), m8 (mate).
"Hi m8, sorry I didn't message you b4, do you want to meet 2m?"
PPL - ‘people’. We often delete all vowels and consonants to make words shorter, for example - cn (can), shd (should).
"Cn you tell all the ppl at your wrk tht I will be late tonight."
C U - ‘see you’. Short for 'see you later'. We use letters for complete words, most commonly c (see), u (you) and b (be).
"I won't b late, c u in 5 minutes".
*to frape someone = to change someones Facebook profile to something amusing, without them knowing about it (a slightly controversial mixture of Facebook + rape).
Think you know how to text like native English speaker? Take our Test:
Multi word verbs often have two meanings - a literal meaning, and a metaphorical meaning. These two meanings can be used together to make great jokes, which hopefully will help you remember how to use the verbs.
Students on our Intensive English Courses go to watch live 'stand up' comedy every Tuesday night, accompanied by a teacher of English to help them understand the jokes.
Learn these definitions, and then try our jokes at the end of the page.
1) 'to fall out'
2) 'to let someone/something down'
3) 'to pick something up'
4) 'to put something out'
5) 'to drop off'
...And how to answer them!
If you come to work, live or study in the UK you will be meeting new native English speakers every day. People in the UK use the same few questions to ‘break the ice’ or ‘make small talk’. Learning to recognise these questions and answer them correctly is an important tool to improve your ability to start and continue conversations.
To break the ice - to make people who have not met before feel more relaxed with each other
To make small talk – to have a conversation about things that are not important, often between people who do not know each other well
To mingle - to move among and engage with others at a social event
As part of our Intensive English Courses at English Steps, every Thursday we organise English conversation clubs in residential and retirement homes here in Leeds, England.
At these conversation clubs our students meet native English speakers to practise their English with, and the residents can discover new things about different cultures and meet new people.
If you like to mingle, then at the conversation clubs you will meet a lot of new native English speakers. Take a look at the questions below, which English speakers often use in order to break the ice, then take our test - How many do you know?
"How’s it going?"
"How are you finding (X, Y or Z)?"
(1)"How long have you been here (for)?"
(2)"How long are you staying here (for)?"
"Whereabouts in France are you from?"
"What do you do?"
Remember - if you don't know what to say you can always make small talk by mentioning the weather - it's our favourite subject!
Out loud (adv) = Spoken audibly; aloud. Often used as 'LOL' - 'laugh out loud'.
In bulk (adv) = In a large quantity
Especially for students on our intensive business courses in the UK and on Skype, speaking about big numbers is important in presentations, and also when discussing buying and selling goods in bulk.
However, if we are unsure of the specific number we use the plural in English, for example - 'there were thousands of people at the football match yesterday'.
222 is 'two hundred and twenty two'
The same is true for when we need to say a single digit number (one, two, three etc) NOT preceded by a 'ty' number
306 is 'three hundred and six'
The same is also true for the number 10
510 is 'five hundred and ten'
So, 21,890,407 is 'twenty one million, eight hundred and ninety thousand, four hundred and seven'
and 4,000,010 is 'four million and ten'
So 2,109 is 'two thousand, one hundred and nine' NOT 'two thousand and one hundred and nine'
American and British English now use the same system. Previously in British English we used the traditional form: One billion = 1,000,000 million. One trillion = 1,000,000,000,000 million.
*'Oh' in this situation represents the vowel sound /əʊ/ For more information on pronunciation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oh28z3q1CDw
We sometimes do the same for three numbers together and the word 'triple', for example 555666 would be 'triple five, triple six'.
So how do you say one of the most famous movie numbers of all time - James Bond 007?
'Double oh seven' of course: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D3mUQT_Webk
Now take Our Test:
This week on our intensive English course students have been practising their English away from lessons by doing a photography walk, learning how to shoot professional photos, cooking as a group and doing our local pub quiz. Here is a short test which covers some of the vocabulary students have been using during these activities:
This week for our afternoon activities we have visited the tropical world zoo, seen live stand up comedy, completed our 'Charity Shop Challenge', and provided food for the homeless and people in need on Friday. Here are 10 vocabulary questions from words covered during these activities. How many can you get right? For more information about our intensive English courses - visit www.englishsteps.co.uk
Skype and private lessons
All our blogs are written by the teachers and staff at English Steps