British English and American English vocabulary should never be an issue. I personally love the difference between the them.
Hi folks! I’m back again and in full swing! Firstly, I’d like to explain to you what the difference between a proverb and an idiom is! The words expressed in proverbs don’t usually have literal meanings but as they’re constantly repeated, we can easily understand them. We all know that the Arabic proverb, ‟the last straw that broke the camel’s back” doesn’t mean the last straw broke the camel’s back! It simply means that the last in a series of events caused everything to collapse.
An idiom is a figure of speech and commonly used in all languages. There are many ways of expressing different things or situations and every country has its fair share of them! This makes them extremely difficult to translate and if we did, they would sound absolutely absurd! However, some English idioms are not unlike their Spanish counterparts and if they aren’t, nine times out of ten, there is a similar meaning. To be in full swing doesn’t mean full or swing. It means I’m active! To be back in full swing means I’ve returned to my activity and on the move! I hope you like my favourite idioms below.
Absence makes the heart grow fonder La ausencia es al amor lo que el fuego es al aire
A shot in the dark
Un tiro que retumba en la oscuridad
A slip of the tongue
Resbalar la lengua
As blind as a bat
Más ciego que un topo
As different as chalk and cheese
Son como la noche y el dia
Better late than never
Más vale tarde que nunca
Blood is thicker than water
La sangre tira
Butter wouldn’t melt in one’s mouth
Hacerte la mosquita muerta
By the skin of one’s teeth
Por los pelos
Chip off the old block
De tal palo, tal astilla
Curiosity killed the cat
La curiosidad mató al gato
Don’t judge a book by its cover
No hay que juzgar un libro por la portada
Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth
A caballo regalado no se le miran los dientes
Don’t put your eggs in one basket
No pongas todo los huevos en la misma cesta
Get down to brass tacks
Ir al grano
It’s a piece of cake
Es pan comido
It’s not my cup of tea
No es santo de mi devoción
It’s raining cats and dogs
Está lloviendo a cantaros
It takes two to tango
Es cosa de dos
Like father, like son
De tal palo, tal astilla
Not over my dead body
Por encima de mi cadáver
Pigs might fly
Cuando los cerdos puedan volar
Something smells fishy
Hay gato encerrado
The early bird catches the worm
A quien madruga, Dios le ayuda
The last straw that broke the camel’s back
La última gota que colmó el vaso
To be all in the same boat
Todos estamos en el mismo barco
To be in full swing
Estar en pleno apogeo
To be (like) two peas in a pod
Son uña y carne
To be mad as a hatter
Estas como una cabra
To be straight from the horse’s mouth
De buena tinta
To be stuck between a rock and a hard place
Entre la espada y la pared
To beat around the bush
Andar por las ramas
To bite off more than one can chew
El que mucho abarca, poco aprieta
To bite your tongue
Morderse la lengua
To burn the candle at both ends
Hacer de la noche el dia
To cost an arm and a leg
Cuesta un riñon
To cry over spilt milk
A lo hecho, pecho
To drive sb round the bend (up the wall)
Traer alguien por el camino de la amargura
To give somebody a taste of their own medicine
Pagar a alguien con la misma moneda
To have your cake and eat it
Querer el oro y el moro
To let the cat out of the bag
Irse de la lengua
To practice makes perfect
La práctica hace maestro
To pull someone’s leg
Tomar el pelo
To pull wool over someone’s eyes
Dar gato por liebre
To put one’s foot in it
Meter la pata
To put one’s hand in the fire
Poner la mano al fuego
To read the riot act
Leer la cartilla
To scratch someone’s back
To throw a spanner in the works
Meter la pata
Two is company; three’s a crowd
Dos es compañia, tres es multidud
Two wrongs don’t make a right
Un yerro no se remedia con otro
We use question tags in informal language rather than in formal or written English. They are not really questions but a statement asking for confirmation, agreement or simply to keep the conversation flowing.
They are easy to learn!
If the sentence is positive, use a contraction with the negative tag. In positive sentences, we don’t use contractions.
|He is at home,||
|She drives a car,||
|You agree with me,||
|They’ve got a car,||
|We damaged it,||
|I can go with you,||
|You must hurry,||
|We should go,||
|They’ll be late,||
|He isn’t at home,||
|She doesn’t drive a car,||
|It isn’t late,||
|You don’t agree with me,||
|They haven’t got a car,||
|We didn’t damage it,||
|I can’t go with you,||
|You don’t have to hurry,||
|We shouldn’t do this,||
|They won’t be late,||
|Question tags used with imperatives do not always require a direct answer. However, if we add please to soften the command, more often than not, we get one. Using can, can’t, will, won’t in the tag doesn’t necessarily require a positive to negative change and vice versa as the tag depends on the degree of formality. Use shall in positive tags with let’s as a suggestion.Note: Could and would are only used in positive. Never use couldn’t, shan’t, and wouldn’t.|
|Help me finish this,||
|can you?||Implies familiarity|
|Help me finish this,||
|can’t you?||Implies irritation|
|Look at me,||
|could you?||Implies respect|
|shall we?||Implies suggestion|
|will you?||Implies a soft command|
|Give me your hand,||
|won’t you?||Implies courtesy|
|Don’t forget to ring me,||
|will you?||Implies irritation|
|would you?||Implies respect|
NEGATIVE ADVERBS OF FREQUENCY
|We can also use negative adverbs of frequency in statements, but we cannot use negative auxiliaries in the question tags. They always have to be affirmative. Take note of the structure; the adverb is positioned after the verb be and before the main verb.|
|I have never insulted you,||
|You’re hardly ever at home,||
|He seldom rings us,||
|She’s rarely willing to help,||
|It’s barely lunchtime,||
|You would scarcely expect that to happen,||
|We could rarely believe them,
|They can rarely visit us,||
SAME WAY TAGS
|Same Way Question Tags don’t really make questions. They show interest, irritation and surprize. Therefore the tag needs to be a little bit imaginative! We can use positive or negatives statements with positive or negative tags. Negative statements with negative tags sounds a little sarcastic. Take note how we use so in these statements.|
|You’ve decided to go out with him,||
|have you / haven’t you?|
|So he couldn’t win the match,||
|could he / couldn’t he?|
|So I suppose you’re happy about this,||
|are you /aren’t you?|
|Pray, tell me all the details,||
|oh don’t / oh do?|
|If I were her, I’d sue for divorce,||
|would you / wouldn’t you?|
|He’s been studying hard,||
|has he / hasn’t he?|
|So he didn’t finish the project,||
|did he / didn’t he?|
|So they aren’t getting married then,||
|are they / aren’t they?|
|alight||alit, alighted||alit, alighted|
|bereave||bereft, bereaved||bereft, bereaved|
|beseech||besought, beseeched||besought, beseeched|
|bless||blessed, blest||blessed, blest|
|broadcast||broadcast, broadcasted||broadcast, broadcasted|
|burn||burnt, burned||burnt, burned|
|bust||bust, busted||bust, busted|
|cleave||cleft, cleaved, clove||cleft, cleaved, cloven|
|clothe||clothed, clad||clothed, clad|
|dream||dreamt, dreamed||dreamt, dreamed|
|dwell||dwelt, dwelled||dwelt, dwelled|
|forbid||forbad, forbade||forbid, forbidden|
|forecast||forecast, forecasted||forecast, forecasted|
|gild||gilded, gilt||gilded, gilt|
|heave||heaved, hove||heaved, hove|
|knit||knitted, knit||knitted, knit|
|lean||leant, leaned||leant, leaned|
|leap||leapt, leaped||leapt, leaped|
|learn||learnt, learned||learnt, learned|
|light||lit, lighted||lit, lighted|
|plead||pled, pleaded||pled, pleaded|
|quit||quit, quitted||quit, quitted|
|shit||shit, shitted, shat||shit, shitted, shat|
|shoe||shod, shoed||shod, shoed|
|shred||shred, shredded||shred, shredded|
|smell||smelt, smelled||smelt, smelled|
Many years ago when I really started to teach English seriously, I had the opportunity to help a very dear friend, Maria. At this very moment, neither she nor I realised that this would be a very long road to success. I found this document on a pen drive and I’d like to share it with you guys. It’s got its mistakes which I have tried to rectify without changing the actual meaning and I hope that you’ll appreciate it!
A way of … (looking at this problem)… (solving this)…
It appears that we have differences of opinion…
Depending on the way we want to diagnose…
My opinion depends on…
I look forward to…
If I had the opportunity to
If I had the choice to..
It’s amazing that…
My advice is that one should do…
The advice I gave him was totally wrong… Your advice is….
We could look at this with various (different)…
Another method of solving this…
Discussing this subject is interesting because…
It’s a different manner of doing something… (because)
I believe that if this happens it will be a mistake…
Perhaps one has a difference of opinion so therefore I suggest, I would do…
The next step to take is, will be,
It was a good idea but as it didn’t work out he should have…
It was such a good idea that…
It’s unlikely that we will see this happen in the future…
Even though this problem is complicated…
In spite of the general opinion I believe…
I would like to comment on…
This….. doesn’t deserve a comment… (Subject)
The comment that was made is in context…is out of…etc…
Even though we appear to…even though it seems to be…even though we should have …even though it’s not what…even though I prefer….etc…
One should understand that…
Because of this problem, it has caused…
Although this debate is out of date it’s still…
Since we have discussed this before….
Due to the time element they won’t be able to…
Owing to the general belief we have to…
Although I, you, he, she, it, you, we, and they etc… have/has reached this conclusion, I feel…
I feel very passionate about this subject because…
Despite the changes I, you, he, she, etc… still haven’t reached…reacted…concluded…etc…
While lots of people were, do, have, etc… (continuous)
Most people think that in this day and age we are not ready for changes…
In order to find out the root of the problem one should analysis…
Firstly, we should focus this subject on…
Secondly, we must emphasis…
I would like to conclude this debate/argument/subject/discussion with these comments. (by commenting on this or these…)
I haven’t thought about this constructively, I haven’t thought about this suggestion because, I haven’t thought about looking at this idea from this angle so therefore I would like to…
I thought that this could be resolved by, with, etc…
Although this is, although I should, although he has had enough, although we can’t solve, although we ought to, even though I was tired, even though I studied hard, even though the debate was interesting…
They ought to…verb…etc.
Besides all the arguments, I have point out that…
Furthermore, we have to…
This idea has caused havoc in the past.
This forthcoming event will be….
The fact is that I am happy about this situation.
In particular, this argument is very forthcoming.
Above all, it hurts innocent people…this argument is…we should…we need to …etc…
If I could conclude this argument, I would suggest that…
I would suggest that if one can solve this problem….
If it is possible to find a solution I would suggest that…..
I would suggest that if it is possible to solve this problem by….
Actually, I haven’t had time to….Actually, I think this is a good idea, Actually, he came to see me…etc…
This debate shouldn’t be so complicated because…
We might be able to resolve this problem by…..
I could make a comment on….but I don’t think it’s relevant.
We ought to have listened to his sound advice….
We may not be in agreement with….. but….
Perhaps another way of looking at this problem is……
This job wasn’t done properly, for instance, they didn’t explain well.
Maria, it is very important that you take advantage of First Conditional: e.g. If he talks to her, they will be make friends again. They won’t let him in the concert if he doesn’t have a ticket. If this debate finishes in ten minutes, they won’t be late for dinner…
Second Conditional: e.g. If we were in this situation, we would get help. I wouldn’t do that, if I were you! (Consejo) Maria would be over-weight if she didn’t do so much exercise.
Third Conditional: e.g. If they hadn’t spent all their money, they would have bought the ring. If I had had a lot of money in the bank, I wouldn’t have been so worried.
I wish: I wish we could have, I wish he would, I wish I had etc….
Use adverbs where necessary: Since, For, Ago, Ever, Already, Yet, Just, Still.
We can use Seldom = Not Often. This is not used so much but goes down well. Don’t forget, Not Usually. Doesn’t Always etc….
MORE ADVICE: It’s not too bad = it’s O.K
Not so good = not so bad.
Not so bad = not so good.
Try and turn the positive or negative into the reverse.
BE CAREFUL WITH THE PREPOSITION: BY.
By + (ing) e.g. by negotiating with…by doing this we can…and in transport, e.g. by bus etc…
USE AS MANY PREPOSITIONS AS YOU CAN IN THE ESSAY.
IN, ON and AT for places.
OTHER IMPORTANT PREPOSITIONS ARE:
UNDER, BEHIND, IN FRONT OF, OPPOSITE, ABOVE, BELOW, NEXT TO, BESIDE, NEAR and BETWEEN.
TO, FROM, INTO, OUT OF, UP, DOWN, OVER, UNDER, ONTO, OFF, ACROSS, ALONG.
CAN, CAN’T, COULD, COULDN’T, BE ABLE TO, HAVEN’T BEEN ABLE TO, MUST, MUSTN’T, MAY, MAY NOT, MIGHT, MIGHT NOT, HAVE TO, DON’T HAVE TO, NEED, NEEDN’T, NEEDN’T HAVE TO, SHOULD, SHOULDN’T, SHOULD HAVE GONE, OUGHT TO, OUGHT NOT TO, HAD BETTER, HAD TO GO.
AGREE WITH, AGREE ON, HAND IN, HAND OUT, LOOK UP, LOOK FOR, LOOK IN TO, LOOK AFTER, TAKE OFF, TAKE IN, TAKE OVER, BRING BACK, TURN ON, TURN OFF, TURN OUT, TURN BACK, TURN OVER, TURN UP, TURN DOWN, HOLD ON, HOLD BACK, ASK FOR, CALL FOR, GET UP, GET IN, GET OUT, GET THROUGH, GET ON, GET OVER, GO OUT, GO IN, GO THROUGH, GO OVER, GO UNDER, GO INSIDE, GO OUTSIDE, GO TO, GO FOR, PUT ON,
DON’T FORGET THAT WE CAN USE THE GERUND: VERB + ING + PREPOSITION.
Going in, going out, turning on, turning off, putting on, holding off, looking for, etc….
In some cases we can separate the phrasal verbs: e.g. TURN THE PAGE OVER, TURN HIM IN,
ASK her FOR,
BRING THE SHOPPING BACK HOME, BE CAREFUL WITH, AGREE totally WITH, TAKE our shoes OFF.
USE ALL THE TENSES POSSIBLE, ESPECIALLY PAST PERFECT WITH PAST SIMPLE etc.
Use relative clauses: Who, Whose, Whom, That, Which.
VOCABULARY AND IMPERATIVES
HAVOC, devastation or destruction. Desolation. To cause havoc, causing havoc.
CHAOS, disorder, confusion, pandemonium, upset, upheaval, disorganization, disruption.
DENOUNCE, condemn, criticize, attack, castigate, punish.
ARBITRATE, judge, referee, and settle a dispute.
DISPUTE, argue, discuss or discussion and controversy. Question something.
PROPOSE, change advice or advance and put forward your idea.
FORTHCOMING, future events, approaching, expecting, imminent, impending.
FOCUS, (focusing on a subject) the centre of attention, interest or activity, to focus on a subject. (To focus a point or subject)
MANNER, method, way, system, technique, procedure, approach.
WAIT! Wait for me.
COME HERE, Come and LOOK at this!
LET’S GO, DO, STAY, and HAVE, NOT etc…. DON’T LET etc….
DON’T DO THAT! DON’T GO, DON’T BE…
BE ON TIME!!…
Maria, in a couple of hours I have tried to revise a little of your academic year, I hope a little of this information will be of use to you in your exam.
As you know, if you need any help, information or guidance you only have to ask.
I would like you to translate as much of these pages as possible.
VERBS IN THIRD THE PERSON AND PLURAL NOUNS.
There are three different ways to pronounce the letter ‘s’ ending in regular verbs and plural nouns.
|When the final ‘s’ sounds like gas escaping from a pipe. /S/
||When the final ‘s’ sounds like the sound a bee makes. /Z/||When the final ‘s’ sounds like the verb ‘to be’ third person form ‘is’. /IZ/
|Unvoiced consonant sound ending in; /f/, /k/ /p/, /t/, /θ/,
||Voiced consonant sound ending in; /b/, /d/, /g/, /l/, /m/, /n/, /ŋ/, /r/, /D/, /ò/, /v/||Add a syllable with this sound ending in; /s/, /t∫/, /dʒ/, /z/, / ∫ /, /ʒ/|
|Last letters; h / k / p / t / th||Last letters; b / d / g / l / m / n in / r / o / the / v||Last letters; c / ch / ge / s / sh
ss / x
NOTE: When a word ends in the consonant ‘y’, the pronunciation of final ‘y’ is /ee/ and in the plural it has the /IZ/sound. However, we don’t add an extra syllable. E.g. ‘study’ /stud ee/ (2 syllables), ‘studies’ /stud iz/ (also has 2 syllables).
Pronounce these words with /S/, /Z/ or /IZ/.
|1. mixes||16. threatens|
|2. mails||17. apologises|
|3. approaches||18. acknowledges|
|4. woes||19. expresses|
|5. forgets||20. brushes|
|6. remembers||21. absorbs|
|7. kisses||22. reminds|
|8. polishes||23. speaks|
|9. gloves||24. refuses|
|10. boxes||25. orders|
|11. expects||26. snoops|
|12. promises||27. weeds|
|13. burns||28. laughs|
|14. copies||29. brings|
|15. suggests||30. truths|
COMMA RULES COMING SOON!