All Expressions

Today, let’s take a look at some different words that we use together with the word “all”:

All of

Nowadays, we use all of with object pronouns (me, you, him, her, us, them, it). When we use all with nouns we don’t need to use of.

A pizzaThe pizza looks nice. I want to eat all of it.

All of me loves all of you

All of my friends are coming over today.

All the time

All the time has the same meaning as Always. The difference is where you need to use it in your sentences

Keys left at home.I always forget my keys.
I forget my keys all the time.

At all

We use at all mostly in negative sentences when we want to emphasize some things.

Hungry woman.I’m hungry. I haven’t eaten at all today.

At all times

At all times is a more formal way of saying always. I mostly hear it in instructions, rules or laws.

Airport.Dear passengers, please keep your tickets and your documents with you at all times!

Go all out

to go all out means to do your best to get something.

We’ll go all out to protect our families.

Of all time

Of all time is used with superlatives when we talk about the best, greatest, favourite people or things regardless of their age.

Sean Connery.I think Sean Connery is the best James Bond actor of all time.

Now that we’ve taken a quick look at these expressions, let’s practice them!

I’ve recently traveled to another country by plane. I am no fan of flying, I really get nervous before a flight and I forget something when going through customs all the time. This time, I almost forgot my passport, you can imagine how awkward it was for me. What about you? Let us know in the comments what you forget all the time and see you next week! πŸ™‚

Sitting on in at?

Today let’s look at an interesting question “Do I sit on a chair or in a chair?”

The answer is not so simple. Actually, it depends on the chair.

An armchair

If the chair you’re sitting on has arms in it (i.e. an armchair), you sit in it.

A chair

When the chair doesn’t have any arms then you sit on it. If you don’t know what chair you have, just use on.

In case someone is sitting where you should sit, you should tell them “Excuse me, but you’re in my seat.

You may be wondering, what about a couch or a sofa? Do we sit in them too?

A sofa

I believe that if what you’re sitting on is made for more than 1 person, then you should say that you’re sitting on it.

We’re sitting on the sofa. Come join us!

What about at? Should we say I’m sitting at the table or on the table?

This depends on the place.

A cat on a table

If you’re on top of the table like the cat in the picture, you should use on, but if you’re sitting on a chair next to the table (Which you most likely are) then you should use at.

Let’s practice using in, on and at with some short exercises. πŸ™‚

I prefer sitting in armchairs. Seems like I made the right decision when I bought an executive office chair because my back would hurt after sitting wrong for hours. What about you? Would you prefer sitting on a chair or an armchair?

Let us know in the comments section and see you next week. Have a nice weekend! πŸ™‚

Do you need a British accent?

I hear a lot of students complaining that it’s hard for them to understand people who talk with a British accent. It’s no secret that even people from the UK find it hard to understand each other sometimes.

Was it easy to understand the men in the video? It wasn’t for me πŸ™‚
But some of the words they’ve used can be helpful when we talk to people, like:

Right. – OK. We use it to show that we’re listening to someone.
Look, I appreciate your position, but…
– I understand you, but…
I suppose. – Yes, I agree.
I trust you’ve… – I hope you’ve… I use it when I expect something to be true.
Where on earth did you get these? – We say on earth to emphasize that there’s no obvious answer to our question. We can also use it in questions that start with how, what, who and why.

Let’s see if we can use these by doing a few short exercises:

When I was in the UK, I’ve met a 10 year old boy who spoke in a similar way to the old man in the video, I was very disappointed that I couldn’t understand what he was saying, it felt like all these years studying English were for nothing, but that’s not how everybody talks so don’t be scared if you meet someone like that. What about you? Have you ever heard someone talk with an accent that you couldn’t understand? How did you communicate with that person? Let us know in the comments section and see you next week! πŸ™‚

The That Place

Let’s look at some things that we write with The.

  • Rivers, Seas, Oceans and deserts

The Danube, The Black Sea,The Southern Ocean, The Gobi Desert

  • Countries with a governmental form (Republic, Kingdom, Federation) or unity.

The United States of America, The United Kingdom, The Czech Republic, The United Emirates

  • Countries with land or Island in them in the plural form.

The Netherlands,The Falkland Islands, The Comoro Islands

  • Big areas of the world.

The Middle East, the West, The New World

  • Most building names.

The Hilton Hotel, The Taj Mahal, The Statue of Liberty, The Louvre

  • Islands that start with Isle of.

The Isle of Man, The Isle of Wight, The Isle of Portland

Shall we try them in practice, look at some special cases and see where we don’t need the? πŸ™‚

My country used to be called The Ukraine until it became independent and dropped the “The” from its name. It’s interesting that The Netherlands has no official answer how to write their country’s name. Can you think of any interesting examples of where we use or don’t use the. Let us know in the comments section. πŸ™‚

Much Many More

Today let’s look at the difference between much and many.

We use:

much for uncountable nouns

A watch

Look, I haven’t got much time so make it quick. (I can count seconds, minutes or hours, but not time. The same rule applies for money.)

many for countable nouns

A group of friends

I don’t have many friends. (I have 3 friends I can really trust, but I get on well with a lot of people.)

Two things to note:

1) In most cases, we use a lot of for positive sentences, while much and many are used in negative sentences and questions.

2) You can use much and many in positive clauses if you use so, as or too before them.

I have too many problems to solve.

There’s so much more that I could do.

As much as I’d like to stay with you, I have to go back to work now.

How about we check if you can tell the difference between them by doing a few short exercises? πŸ™‚

So much has happened to me over the last week. What about you? Share the most exciting thing that you’ve done this week with us in the comments section and see you next week! πŸ˜‰

What time is it?

This weekend I’ve fallen ill so I couldn’t add anything to the blog.

Let’s fix that and look at something simple: the time.

  • The first half of an hour (30 minutes) is always used with past.
  • The next 30 minutes is used with to.
  • 15 minutes are called a quarter.

When it’s 12:00 we say 12 o’clock or 12 AM or PM if it’s at night or in the afternoon.

And we need say half past 12 when it’s 12:30, but 29 (minutes) to 1 when it’s 12:31.

How to tell the timeLet’s test how easy this is by playing a memory game! πŸ˜‰

When you’re done, leave a comment and tell us what time it is now in your country.

That’s all for this week. Take care of yourselves, it’s cold outside! πŸ™‚

How’s your spelling?

I recently ran across a list of the most misspelled words and decided that it would be a great idea to check if such misspellings are common for my little champions πŸ™‚

So let’s take a break from explaining and get to training!

Misspelling these words is not about you, am I right?

If not, I hope that now you’ll remember how to write these words and I also hope you’ll enjoy your weekend! πŸ™‚

Win, earn, gain or obtain?

Today, let’s look at 4 words with the same basic meaning (get) but different use:

1. To win means to get a prize for taking part in something or to get the best result.

Gambling

I won a game of poker on my phone and got some virtual money.

2. To earn means to get something in return for your work. It’s usually something you deserve like money.

My poor GIMP skills

I earn money by teaching English.

3. Gain and obtain both mean to get something useful, but gain can also mean increase (weight, speed, height)

A box of chocolates

I ate chocolate all day yesterday and I gained 2 kilos as a result.

And you use obtain when you got something by asking or working for it, buying it or creating it from something else.

A woman camping

She obtained a map of the jungle from the salesman.

How about you obtain a score by completing the exercises below?

I hope you will gain and obtain more with each day of your lives! Enjoy your weekend! πŸ™‚

Feelings and emotions.

Let’s take a short break from grammar and have a quick look at some words related to feelings:

Anxiousworried and nervous
Calmquiet, not worried
Disappointedunhappy because of someone or something
Excitedvery happy and enthusiastic
ExhaustedExtremely tired
Guiltysad because you’ve done something wrong
Nervousworried
PleasedSatisfied, quite happy
Tenseworried and unable to relax
Upsetworried, unhappy or angry

These are some words you can use instead of just saying happy/sad/angry.

Instead of explaining them though, how about we practice them?

I hope you enjoyed the exercises and my depiction of these feelings. What about you, how do you feel right now? Send a picture via Imgur for us to guess in the comments section. πŸ™‚

Know your portmanteaus

Something that English has in common with lots of languages is how many new words are formed. You can just combine parts of words which already exist and you’ve got yourself a new word.

Many well-known companies created their names in such a way, leading to such portmanteaus as:

Federal + Express = FedEx

Integrated + Electronics = Intel

Microcomputer + Software = Microsoft

Pocket + Monsters = PokΓ©mon*

Wiki + Encyclopedia = Wikipedia

* This one misses the C, because they actually used the romaji name (Poketto Monsuta)

It’s considered that by combining two parts of words to form a new word, the brand name will sound natural and people are more likely to trust it.

You may want to say, okay, but those were brands, what about real words we use that we make this way?

Let’s look at some examples of these words:

Cheese + Hamburger = Cheeseburger

Electronic + Mail = Email

Foreign + Exchange = Forex

Mock + Documentary = mockumentary

To give you an example of a mockumentary, watch the movie “This Is Spinal Tap” which is a funny documentary of a fake heavy metal band and their tour around the USA.

Motor + Pedal = moped

The same goes for motorcycle, which we made using motorized and bicycle

Another word which uses motor with hotel is motel and you are more likely to find them on the road than a five-star hotel.

One of my favorite portmanteaus is workaholic, which is made by mixing work and alcoholic and adding an A in between. What a good way to show that too much work is bad for you πŸ™‚

I won’t be checking if you remember these words this time, I’m sure you’ve heard of most of these already. How about you find out other portmanteaus by trying to complete them on your own? Take the words on the right and use them to make portmanteaus.

Ready? Go!

Did you catch them all? πŸ™‚

Which of these were new to you? Which other examples do you know?

Let me know in the comments section and I’ll see you next week! πŸ™‚