★★ BRITISH AND AMERICAN ENGLISH ★★

 

British English and American English vocabulary should never be an issue. I personally love the difference between the them.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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IDIOMS

IDIOMS

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
Deber una

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


QUESTION TAGS

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.

POSITIVE SENTENCE

NEGATIVE TAG

He is at home,

isn’t he?
She drives a car,

doesn’t she?
It’s late,

isn’t it?
You agree with me,

don’t you?
They’ve got a car,

haven’t they?
We damaged it,

didn’t we?
I can go with you,

can’t I?
You must hurry,

mustn’t you?
We should go,

shouldn’t we?
They’ll be late,

won’t they?
NEGATIVE SENTENCE

POSITIVE TAG

He isn’t at home,

is he?
She doesn’t drive a car,

does she?
It isn’t late,

is it?
You don’t agree with me,

do you?
They haven’t got a car,

have they?
We didn’t damage it,

did we?
I can’t go with you,

can I?
You don’t have to hurry,

do you?
We shouldn’t do this,

should we?
They won’t be late,

will they?

IMPERATIVES

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
Let’s go,

shall we? Implies suggestion
Turn around,

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
Sit down,

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,

have I?
You’re hardly ever at home,

are you?
He seldom rings us,

does he?
She’s rarely willing to help,

is she?
It’s barely lunchtime,

is it?
You would scarcely expect that to happen,

would you?
We could rarely believe them,

could we?
They can rarely visit us,

can they?

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?

IRREGULAR VERBS

INFINITIVE

 PAST SIMPLE

PAST PARTICIPLE

alight alit, alighted alit, alighted
arise arose arisen
awake awoke awoken
be was, were been
bear bore born
beat beat beaten
become became become
beget begot begotten
begin began begun
bend bent bent
bereave bereft, bereaved bereft, bereaved
beseech besought, beseeched besought, beseeched
bet bet bet
bid bade bidden
bide bade, bided bided
bind bound bound
bite bit bitten
bleed bled bled
bless blessed, blest blessed, blest
blow blew blown
break broke broken
breed bred bred
bring brought brought
broadcast broadcast, broadcasted broadcast, broadcasted
build built built
burn burnt, burned burnt, burned
burst burst burst
bust bust, busted bust, busted
buy bought bought
can could (No Participle)
cast cast cast
catch caught caught
choose chose chosen
cleave cleft, cleaved, clove cleft, cleaved, cloven
cling clung clung
clothe clothed, clad clothed, clad
come came come
cost cost cost
creep crept crept
crow crowed crew, crowed
cut cut cut
deal dealt dealt
dig dug dug
do did done
draw drew drawn
dream dreamt, dreamed dreamt, dreamed
drink drank drunk
drive drove driven
dwell dwelt, dwelled dwelt, dwelled
eat ate eaten
fall fell fallen
feed fed fed
feel felt felt
fight fought fought
find found found
flee fled fled
fling flung flung
fly flew flown
forbid forbad, forbade forbid, forbidden
forecast forecast, forecasted forecast, forecasted
forget forgot forgotten
forsake forsook forsaken
freeze froze frozen
get got got
gild gilded, gilt gilded, gilt
give gave given
gnaw gnawed gnawed
go went gone
grind ground ground
grip gripped gripped
grow grew grown
hang hung hung
have had had
hear heard heard
heave heaved, hove heaved, hove
hew hewed hewed, hewn
hide hid hidden
hit hit hit
hold held held
hurt hurt hurt
keep kept kept
kneel knelt knelt
knit knitted, knit knitted, knit
know knew known
lay laid laid
lead led led
lean leant, leaned leant, leaned
leap leapt, leaped leapt, leaped
learn learnt, learned learnt, learned
leave left left
lend lent lent
let let let
lie lay lain
light lit, lighted lit, lighted
lose lost lost
make made made
may might (No Participle)
mean meant meant
meet met met
melt melt melt
mow mowed mown
pay paid paid
pen pent pent
plead pled, pleaded pled, pleaded
prove proved proven, proved
put put put
quit quit, quitted quit, quitted
read read read
rid rid rid
ride rode ridden
ring rang rung
rise rose risen
run ran run
saw sawed sawn
say said said
see saw seen
seek sought sought
sell sold sold
send sent sent
set set set
sew sewed sewn
shake shook shaken
shall should (No Participle)
shear sheared shorn, sheared
shed shed shed
shine shone shone
shit shit, shitted, shat shit, shitted, shat
shoe shod, shoed shod, shoed
shoot shot shot
show showed shown
shred shred, shredded shred, shredded
shrink shrank shrunk
shut shut shut
sing sang sung
sink sank sunk
sit sat sat
slay slew slain
sleep slept slept
slide slid slid
sling slung slung
slink slunk slunk
slit slit slit
smell smelt, smelled smelt, smelled
smite smote smitten
sow sowed sown, sowed
speak spoke spoken
speed sped sped
spell spelt spelt
spend spent spent
spill spilt spilt
spin spun spun
spit spat spat
split split split
spoil spoilt spoilt
spread spread spread
spring sprang sprung
stand stood stood
steal stole stolen
stick stuck stuck
sting stung stung
stink stank, stunk stunk
stride strode stridden
strike struck struck
string strung strung
strive strove striven
swear swore sworn
sweat sweat sweat
sweep swept swept
swell swelled swollen
swim swam swum
swing swung swung
take took taken
teach taught taught
tear tore torn
telecast telecast telecast
tell told told
think thought thought
throw threw thrown
thrust thrust thrust
tread trod trodden
understand understood understood
wake woke woken
wear wore worn
weave wove woven
wed wed wed
weep wept wept
wet wet wet
win won won
wind wound wound
wring wrung wrung
write wrote written

SELECTIVIDAD

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….

Sound advice…

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 believe 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.

ACTIVE PREPOSITIONS

TO, FROM, INTO, OUT OF, UP, DOWN, OVER, UNDER, ONTO, OFF, ACROSS, ALONG.

MODULE VERBS

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.

PHRASAL VERBS.

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!

GO AWAY!

SIT DOWN!

STAND UP!

LET’S GO, DO, STAY, and HAVE, NOT etc…. DON’T LET etc….

DON’T DO THAT! DON’T GO, DON’T BE…

DO THIS!

HAVE A…

COME AND…

WAIT FOR…

BE QUIET…

BE HAPPY…

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.

Best wishes,

Sharon.


PRONUNCIATION /S/, /Z/, /IZ/

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/
coughs grabs chances
attacks broods watches
stops stings judges
blasts fails chooses
unearths comes wishes
earns misses
things fixes
roars
goes
breathes
loves
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