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Breaking bad news

Breaking bad news

Nobody wants to be the bearer of bad news and it’s even worse if you have to do it in a foreign language. It’s best to do a bit of advance planning: think about what you’re going to say and how to say it in English. Apologise It’s best to get the bad news out of the...

Dealing with delays

If you’ve been near an airport this summer there’s a good chance that you’ve come across the English word ‘DELAYED’ at some point. Delays seem to be a fact of personal and professional life these days, but this is dangerous territory if you have to do business with...

Saying the Months in English

What the February…? In my previous blog, I recognised how hard it is to pronounce the days of the week in mydysfunctional language. This time, we’re dealing with the months, so there are twelve of thebastards, but the good news is that not all of them bite… Badly...
Blue Mondays

Blue Mondays

A History of the Days of the Week in English (And how to pronounce them) When it came to calendar stuff, Germanic people generally copied the Romans, who named their days of the week after gods or planets. The traditional first day was given the name of the most...
AS for AS

AS for AS

Last time, I tried to summarise the uses of the keyword LIKE in English. This time, I’m attacking its confusing partner in crime: the even-more-useful AS. AS versus LIKE The first problem with this word for many people is how to distinguish it from LIKE. I said last...
Making you Do Things

Making you Do Things

In my last blog, I said that if you’re not sure about the differences between the verbs do and make, you should start with do as your main option and learn ‘exceptions’ when you need make. The first occurs when you want to emphasise that you’ve created something new,...
What to do with DO and MAKE?

What to do with DO and MAKE?

Do or make? If you have problems choosing between do and make when you’re speaking English, you’re not alone. It’s one of the most common questions that I hear in my classes, and the truth is that I still don’t think that we teachers have a totally satisfactory...
Why give gifts?

Why give gifts?

My business partner doesn’t like the word ‘gratis’ in Spanish. She says that if something is free, people think it’s either a trap or can’t be worth much. As a native Spanish speaker, she usually wins the argument, but since it’s Christmas, I’d like to defend the...
How to Survive a British Pub

How to Survive a British Pub

We give you some advices to survive a british pub. The noise and stress of a busy bar make life hard enough in your own language, and when everyone is speaking English, things can get stressful for a non-native speaker.Unless of course, you’re prepared… Getting Served...

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