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What the $#!@%?

What the $#!@%?

Keyboard Symbols in English Hopefully, most of you by now have broken all your New Year’s Resolutions and started on the serious business of getting through January without murdering anyone. As a result, you won’t find anything motivational or likely to inspire you to...
Festivities in English

Festivities in English

Christmas is coming and many people’s thoughts are turning to parties and celebrations. For non-Brits working in England, I thought it might be useful to give a run-down of what awaits you in the next few weeks. The Office Do First, there’s a good chance that your...
Festive English

Festive English

Christmas Christmas is fast approaching and, as if you didn’t have enough on your plate at work, you now have to remember all that once-a-year vocabulary you need to be nice to your English-speaking contacts. If you’re not sure about the differences between a bank...
JUST for you

JUST for you

WHAT HAPPENS WITH «JUST»? JUST is one of those useful words that fills the gaps you need for thinking while you’re speaking. Native speakers use it often in a range of common expressions because its meanings are flexible, highly useful and normally invoke the Latin...
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

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...

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