Noun or Verb?

📘ADVANCED

Many words in English change depending on the grammatical category.

For example: educate is a verb and education is a noun.

Some words, though, don’t change (record, for example). So, how can we distinguish them?

One option is context (I record a song vs. The record sounds great), but another one is pronunciation.

When the word is a noun or an adjective, the ...

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Have Something Done

📘ADVANCED

In English, when we receive a service we usually use the structure have + object + verb -ed. In other words, “have something done”.

For example, when you go to the hairdresser’s you can say: I’m going to have my hair dyed tomorrow. That means that you are going to pay someone to dye your hair; you are receiving a service.

Careful! If you say I’m going to dye my hair tomorrow, you are implying that you are ...

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Something, Nothing or Anything?

📕BEGINNER

Words like something, nothing or anything are very similar and can create confusion when using them. Here you can check the rules:

We use something in positive sentences: I want to eat something. 

We use nothing when the verb is positive but the meaning is negative: There is nothing in the fridge. 

We use anything in questions and sentences with a negative verb: Is there anything in the fridge? I haven’t eaten anything since the morning.

The same rules apply when using ...

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REACTING TO WHAT PEOPLE SAY

📗INTERMEDIATE

When someone tells you something, you can react in different ways. Watch the video attached above and pay attention to the expressions the characters use to react to what they say.

Here you can find a summary of all the expressions used:

What you say when you hear… 

… something surprising: You’re kidding. / I don’t believe it.

… something interesting: Really?

… some good news: How fantastic! / That’s great news! / What a great idea!

… some bad news: Oh no! / ...

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The secrets of learning a new language

📘ADVANCED

Watch this TEDTalk where Lýdia Machová talks about the secrets of learning a new language.

In the video, she explains that you don’t need any special talent to learn a new language, and that one of the most important things is to find “ways to enjoy the language-learning process.”

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Apologizing

📗INTERMEDIATE

In this conversation you can find some expressions to practise ways of apologizing and giving excuses. Watch the video and then practise saying the words in red.

Mark: Mark Ryder.

Allie: Mark, can you come in?

Mark: Sure.

Allie: Thanks for the sales report.

Mark: I think there’s something more important to talk about right now.

Allie: What do you mean?

Mark: That message you sent me. You hit ‘reply to all’. You sent it to everyone in the office.

Allie: ...

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FOR vs. SINCE

📗INTERMEDIATE

We use the present perfect + for or since to talk about something which started in the past and is still true now.

We use for + a period of time. Examples:

  • I’ve known John for three years.
  • She’s been learning Russian for one month.

We use since + a point of time. Examples:

  • I’ve been working in this company since February.
  • He hasn’t eaten anything since yesterday.

Now practise with the following exercise:

https://www.ego4u.com/en/cram-up/vocabulary/since-for

Adapted from: English File Intermediate 3rd Edition. Oxford ...

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GIVING AND REACTING TO NEWS

📗INTERMEDIATE

In this conversation you can find some useful expressions to give and react to news. Watch the video and then practise saying the words in red.

Ben: Hi.

Nicole /Jacques: Hi. / Hello.

Nicole: Did you have a nice weekend?

Ben: Oh yeah. You’ll never guess who I saw on Saturday.

Nicole: Who?

Ben: Allie…and Mark. In the Louvre…together.

Nicole: Really?

Jacques: You’re joking.

Ben: It was definitely them. And they looked ...

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How language shapes the way we think

📘ADVANCED

Do you think languages shape the way we think?

According to Lera Boroditsky they do. In this TEDtalk, she provides different examples that show how the same object or situation might be perceived in different ways depending on the language spoken.