20 English Idioms of Courage

On New Year’s Eve, many of us make New Year Resolutions in an effort to improve ourselves or make a positive change.  Maybe you want to exercise more, lose weight, or just get more organised. Not so easy! It takes a lot of determination and intestinal fortitude to change habits. After the year we’ve had, I admire anyone who has the energy to even think about New Year Resolutions!

So, to help you courageous types stick to your resolutions, I have found some superb idioms for you: 20 English Idioms of Courage by purlandtraining.com. Click on the picture below for inspiration and encouragement. Good luck! 

  Wishing you all a Happy & Prosperous New Year  
  filled with Love & Laughter!  

             

Posted in Advanced (Level 6+), Intermediate (Level 4), Pre-Intermediate (Level 3), Reading, Upper Intermediate (Level 5), Vocabulary | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Happy Christmas!

Christmas is about celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ, a unique individual who was the perfect role model, practising compassion, tolerance, and forgiveness. While many are not interested in the religious aspect of Christmas, it’s fair to say that the spirit of Christmas prevails. I find that people are friendlier, kinder, and more tolerant during this time. It’s my favourite time of the year! I’d like to share my favourite Christmas Carol with you, the uplifting “O Holy Night”:

Wishing you a Very Happy Christmas

with your loved ones

& a Prosperous New Year!

      

Posted in Advanced (Level 6+), Beginner (Level 1), Elementary (Level 2), Intermediate (Level 4), Listening, Pre-Intermediate (Level 3), Songs, Upper Intermediate (Level 5), Videos | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Advanced Reading & Listening: Our World Today

Photo by Glen Carrie

Today, I have two reading texts and two short videos, all timely and thought-provoking. All are outstanding and varied examples of the use of English language.

♦ The first reading is a fact-based text which defines, and provides examples of, Stockholm Syndrome: a psychological response wherein a captive begins to identify closely with his or her captors, as well as with their agenda and demands. (https://www.britannica.com/science/Stockholm-syndrome)

♦ The second reading is an opinion piece provided by Australian musician Nick Cave on his website The Red Hand Files. He tackles the issues of Cancel Culture and Mercy.

♦ The first video is an articulate and witty discourse in defence of  Free Speech by Rowan Atkinson. (Excellent subtitles)

♦ Finally, delivered with wit, insight, and understandable frustration, a short video by Katie Hopkins outlining the absurdity of some typical ‘Coronavirus Rules‘. 



♦ Stockholm Syndrome

WRITTEN BY Laura Lambert

Stockholm syndrome, psychological response wherein a captive begins to identify closely with his or her captors, as well as with their agenda and demands.

The name of the syndrome is derived from a botched bank robbery in StockholmSweden. In August 1973 four employees of Sveriges Kreditbank were held hostage in the bank’s vault for six days. During the standoff, a seemingly incongruous bond developed between captive and captor. One hostage, during a telephone call with Swedish Prime Minister Olof Palme, stated that she fully trusted her captors but feared that she would die in a police assault on the building.

The most infamous example of Stockholm syndrome may be that involving kidnapped newspaper heiress Patricia Hearst. In 1974, some 10 weeks after being taken hostage by the Symbionese Liberation Army, Hearst helped her kidnappers rob a California bank. But it was during the hostage crisis in Iran (1979–81) that the Stockholm syndrome worked its way into the public imagination. Read more … 



♦ Cancel Culture & Mercy

On his website The Red Hand Files, (ISSUE #109 / AUGUST 2020) Nick Cave answers two questions: What is mercy for you? What do you think of cancel culture?

Dear Valerio and Frances,

Mercy is a value that should be at the heart of any functioning and tolerant society. Mercy ultimately acknowledges that we are all imperfect and in doing so allows us the oxygen to breathe — to feel protected within a society, through our mutual fallibility. Without mercy a society loses its soul, and devours itself. Read more … 


Further Recommended Reading:

♦ Brave New World by Aldous Huxley, Published 1932 

Aldous Huxley himself said that “the theme of Brave New World is the advancement of science as it affects human individuals” (written in the preface of Brave New World).

1984 by George Orwell, Published 1949 

the novel examines the role of truth and facts within politics and the ways in which they are manipulated.  Parallels have been drawn between the novel’s subject matter and real life instances of totalitarianismmass surveillance, and violations of freedom of expression among other themes.[9][10][11] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nineteen_Eighty-Four 




♦ Rowan Atkinson in Defence of Free Speech:


♦ Katie Hopkins on the Absurdity of some Coronavirus Rules:

*  As you can see above, YouTube has cancelled this video of Katie Hopkins. Why? She voiced her opinions on some of the coronavirus restrictions in Britain. Perhaps, you and your friends don’t agree with the restrictions that prevent you ordering a glass of wine in a pub? It seems that it’s okay to order wine if you also order a “substantial” meal. If you just order a packet of Crisps, you can’t order a glass of wine. In the above cancelled video, Katie was asking how this restriction would help prevent covid. 

To replace the cancelled video, here is a more recent one where Katie points out how sport is a unifier while politics divides people. Whether you agree with her or not, surely in a Western Democracy, she is entitled to express her opinion. Watch the video below and decide for yourself. 


Further Recommended Video:

            Aldous Huxley and Brave New World: The Dark Side of Pleasure


‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ 

Posted in Advanced (Level 6+), Cambridge, Listening, Reading, Speaking & Pronunciation | 3 Comments

How to Follow a Process / Instructions

Here in Australia, it will soon be summer. On the Gold Coast, where I live, it’s like summer most of the year! However, for many of you, winter is fast approaching so I thought you might enjoy a short video by Vocabulary in Chunks about Hygge and learn some English at the same time.  

As the name suggests, Vocabulary in Chunks is a website that focuses on learning English in chunks: in groups of words rather than learning new words one at a time. The focus this time is on Describing a Process; for example, how to make a warm, cozy blanket, how to prepare warm, soothing drinks, and a few more suggestions for making your life more comfortable and cozy. 

Take note of the sentence structure. Giving instructions usually involves starting sentences with ImperativesWarm up 2 cups of …, Measure the height of …, Use a large piece of …, Cut the board … etc.  While you read the instructions, you will learn new vocabulary in context. 

I hope you enjoy this lovely little video. I’m looking forward to making the Chunky Wool Blanket. However, I don’t recommend lit candles on the bed!

Vocabulary chunks to learn from video :
∗ being comforted and cozy
∗ decorationg style
∗ sweet treats
∗ warm soothing drinks
∗ part of the lifestyle
∗ how to make

Continue reading

Posted in Elementary (Level 2), Intermediate (Level 4), Pre-Intermediate (Level 3), Reading, Vocabulary | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

What is a Comma Splice?! 📝

Comma Splices are a common mistake I see in my students’ writing. 

I understand why they make them: they are not a mistake in their languages!

Rachel Schultz has written a very easy-to-follow guide on how to fix this error. Read on!

English with Rachel

Comma splices -what are they ? They sound like a good thing (the name reminds me of a delicious ice-cream🍦I loved as a kid) but they aren’t .They are punctuation mistakes often made by English native speakers and non native speakers alike. Yes, native speakers make this mistake too!

Let’s have a look at an example of one :

I love studying English, my teacher is amazing.

You may think this sentence looks correct and you have probably seen similar sentences. However, this is a comma splice and if you want to write correctly (you may have an IELTS or Cambridge exam coming up) , then please make sure you avoid this mistake.

So what exactly are comma splices and how can we avoid them?

They are two independent clauses (parts of sentences which can stand alone) joined together by a comma.

I love studying English, my teacher is amazing

View original post 101 more words

Posted in Advanced (Level 6+), Cambridge, Grammar, IELTS, Intermediate (Level 4), Upper Intermediate (Level 5), Writing | Leave a comment

Freedom of Speech

 Free speech is the whole thing,
the whole ball game.
Free speech is life itself.
                         SALMAN RUSHDIE

Language is communication. Language is so vital to the human condition that those who cannot physically speak or hear have found other effective ways to communicate.


Photo by Daniel Fazio

Sign language is a true language with the grammar, vocabulary, and subtleties of meaning found in the most complex spoken languages.   To be able to communicate and be ‘heard’ is a basic human need.

Freedom to voice one’s opinion, to argue, to debate, to challenge popular and sacred beliefs with impunity ∼ these are the hallmarks of civilisation.

We have taken this freedom for granted for so long that many of us are unaware that it is being steadily eroded.

Universities used to be institutions that welcomed independent thinking and debate. Everyone, no matter his or her views or political opinions could speak and be heard. 

This is no longer the case. Independent thinking is not welcome in universities or society in general in the current political climate with its sinister cancel culture. Diversity of thought can result in being ‘cancelled’: being deleted on social media, being ridiculed and targeted on mass media, losing one’s job,  livelihood, even losing one’s home and worse.

     Early in life I had noticed that no event is ever correctly reported in a newspaper.
………………………………………………………………………………………………….GEORGE ORWELL

Joy Villa was invited to speak at Congress (USA) recently. She referred to “… laws protecting race, color, national origin, religion, sex, age, sexuality and disability …” and implored Congress to expand the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to include political affiliation as a protected class. Her very real concern is that “political bigotry is silencing the voices of Americans”. Joy Villa is an excellent speaker: articulate, well-informed, and passionate about her country and its traditional ideals.

Click on the picture for her presentation:

Recommended reading:
Animal Farm (1946) by George Orwell
1984 (1949) by George Orwell 

First they ignore you;

then they ridicule you;
then they fight you;
then you win.


蘿 蘿 蘿 蘿 蘿 蘿 蘿 蘿 蘿

Posted in Advanced (Level 6+), Cambridge, Listening, Speaking & Pronunciation, Upper Intermediate (Level 5), Videos | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

How to Describe an Experience … in 4 Easy Steps

How would you describe an experience? How would you start? Which experience would you like to recount: a new job, a meal at a restaurant, a party you went to?

Imagine that you want to describe a recent holiday; where would you start?


♠ Step #1
What do you want to say? Start by asking
Wh …‘ questions:

Who … ? Where … ? What … ? When … ? Why … ? Which … ? How … ?

The answers to theWh … ?’ questions will provide you with a description:

Question Answer
1. Where did you go?
    Where did you stay?
Mexico City
El Gran Hotel, 5 nights
2. When did you go? Last month
3. Who did you go with? My girlfriend/boyfriend/family
4. Why did you go there? To see museums and a UNESCO site


UNESCO site -The ancient pyramids of Teotihuacan – situated some 50 km north-east of Mexico City.

Question Answer
5. What did you do there? We visited:
* The ancient pyramids at the         ..UNESCO site
* El Museo Frida Kahlo
* El Museo del Tequila y Mezcal
* El Palacio de Bellas Artes
6. What was the best part of your holiday? El Museo Frida Kahlo
7. Why? She’s my favourite Mexican artist. 

♠ Step #2
Use the information above to write some sentences:

Last summer, I went to Mexico City with my girlfriend Josefina. 

We stayed at El Gran Hotel for five nights.

We wanted to see some museums and a UNESCO site.

We visited ancient pyramids,  El Museo Frida Kahlo, El Museo del Tequila y Mezcal, and El Palacio de Bellas Artes. 

I enjoyed El Museo Frida Kahlo the most.

Frida Kahlo is my favourite Mexican artist.

The museum used to be her home. She was born there and died there.

We saw some of her most famous paintings in the museum.


♠ Step #3:
Improve the sentences:

To do this, add information that will engage the reader. Was there anything unusual, impressive, or amusing about your holiday? Make notes* next to your sentences. For example:

Continue reading

Posted in IELTS, Intermediate (Level 4), Pre-Intermediate (Level 3), Upper Intermediate (Level 5), Writing | Tagged | Leave a comment

Conversations with Aussies # 2

Today, I’m talking with Rachel about life on The Gold Coast, her overseas travels, and how she feels about teaching English. 

For more information about learning English with Rachel, visit her website: https://rachelschultzenglishteacher.wordpress.com/


♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Posted in Advanced (Level 6+), Cambridge, Elementary (Level 2), ESL Teachers, IELTS, Intermediate (Level 4), Pre-Intermediate (Level 3), TOEFL, TOEIC, Upper Intermediate (Level 5), Videos | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

When do we use ‘Unless’ and ‘If not’?

PURLANDTRAINING.COM has just published a wonderful guide to using ‘Unless‘ and ‘If not‘ which I highly recommend. It comes with free, downloadable worksheets. Just click on the links under the picture.

When do we Use ‘Unless’ and ‘If not’? - FREE Printables

Direct download: https://purlandtraining.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/when-do-we-use-unless-1.pdf

Direct download: https://purlandtraining.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/when-do-we-use-unless-2.pdf


Posted in Advanced (Level 6+), Grammar, IELTS, Intermediate (Level 4), Pre-Intermediate (Level 3), TOEIC, Upper Intermediate (Level 5) | 1 Comment

A Song with Easy English

English students sometimes feel that they need a huge vocabulary range in order to express themselves clearly.

While students taking a Cambridge exam need to demonstrate an impressive vocabulary range, native English speakers in day-to-day conversations often communicate with between 1,000 and 2,000 words. English students have usually learnt about 2,000 words by Pre-intermediate / Intermediate Level. In other words, they have enough English in their heads to describe people and things, and to say what they want, and how they feel.

It takes time and perseverance to acquire an extensive vocabulary range. Meanwhile, focus on using the English that you know and check that you are using it correctly. Do this and you will find that people can understand you and you will feel encouraged. I tried my Intermediate level French when I was in France in 2017. I didn’t know what I sounded like to people I spoke to, but I was very relieved and pleased that they understood me. 

Today, I’m featuring a song, It Had To Be You, made famous by Frank Sinatra. The lyrics are easy to understand and most of the grammar is simple. The song is a fine example of sophisticated, yet uncomplicated English:

     IT HAD TO BE YOU      

(It had to be you, it had to be you)

I wandered around and finally found somebody who
Could make me be true,
Could make me feel blue,
And even be glad just to be sad, thinking of you.

Some others I’ve seen

Might never be mean,
Might never be cross, or try to be boss
But they wouldn’t do.

For nobody else gave me a thrill. 

With all your faults, I love you still.
It had to be you, wonderful you. 
It had to be you.

               
Posted in Intermediate (Level 4), Listening, Pre-Intermediate (Level 3), Songs, Upper Intermediate (Level 5) | Tagged | Leave a comment