Phrasal Verbs and Register: Formal

There is a widely-held belief that phrasal verbs in English are informal and will be frowned upon in academic writing such as the essay, the formal letter, or the report tasks in the CAE.

While there is an element of truth in that,  there are indeed certain phrasal verbs, formal ones that is, which are not only acceptable but will also enhance your writing and show mastery of the language.

Continue reading “Phrasal Verbs and Register: Formal”

Out and about and other BINOMIALS

A binomial is formed by two words and a conjunction that joins them as in: “After a quick visit to the hotel to drop off her bags, she’s been out and about exploring the city all day”. 

The order of the words is fixed and if you reverse it, it would sound unnatural and be wrong, e.g. “about and out”.

What follows is a selection of some binomials that  I consider useful.  I encourage you to learn them and try to use one next time you have a conversation in English.  Continue reading “Out and about and other BINOMIALS”

As mad as a hatter and other SIMILES

Image by Prawny – Pixabay

A simile is a  figure of speech that compares two things using as or like. It differs from a metaphor in that the metaphor says that something is something else as in “the world is a stage” whereas similes present similarities between two elements, e.g., as free as a bird. Let’s learn about the origin of some of them. Continue reading “As mad as a hatter and other SIMILES”

Context is best

Do you find it natural to memorise words or phrasal verbs in the form of a list? And most importantly, do you succeed at committing that knowledge to your long-term memory?

This traditional learning style may work for certain people or with certain areas of vocabulary, such as the irregular verb list but as a rule of thumb, I am inclined to say that CONTEXT IS BEST. Even in the case of the irregular verbs. Continue reading “Context is best”

Words in the news

This post is based on an extra-curricular activity that I encouraged students to pursue for the length of a month.

By facebooking WORDS IN THE NEWS taken from every working day’s headlines, I intended to inspire them to do the same. Some did so and shared them with me. Others went the extra mile and declared their intention to keep going after the month is finished.