American English slang lesson

7 American slang expressions that Brits don’t use.

How good is your American English slang?
In this American English slang lesson you’ll learn 7 American English colloquial expressions that Brits don’t use, and a couple that both Brits and Americans use.

They include:
– for the birds
– John Hancock
– shoot the breeze
– Monday morning quarterback
– carpetbagger
– Joe Blow or the average Joe
– John Doe and Jane Doe.

American English slang and expressions that Brits don’t use

I’m going to have fun today.
He’s going to test me.
And if Vicki does well, she gets a prize.
Ooh, what is it?
Uh uh, you can’t look. You have to wait and see.
Hi, I’m Jay and I’m American.
And I’m Vicki and I’m British.
We made a couple of videos about British slang that Americans don’t use a little while ago.
I’ll put the link here. Lots of you saw them and requested a video on American slang.
So I’ve got some American slang words and colloquial expressions and I’m going to see how many Vicki knows. How do you think you’ll do?
I should be pretty good because I’ve lived with you a long time. But there are still some words that I hear that I don’t know sometimes. So we’ll see.
You can play along with us. OK Vicki, here’s your first one.
For the birds. I think if something has no value then you say it’s for the birds.
If it has no value or it’s ridiculous. Can you give us an example? Use it in a sentence?
Oh, um, OK, uh this old sock has a hole in it. It’s for the birds.
Do you know where the expression comes from?
No, where?
Well, in the days before we had automobiles, horses would travel down the street and leave manure behind them. And guess what would come and eat the manure?
The birds.
Of course. So it’s for the birds.
Something that’s worthless or useless is for the birds. For example, this silly TV show is for the birds. Let’s turn it off. Here’s your next one.
Oh, this is a good one. Um, John Hancock. And it means, I think, your signature. So you might put your John Hancock on a document.
Exactly. But do you know who John Hancock was?
Oh, I think so. I think he was the first person to sign the declaration of independence. So he was the first traitor in America.
Well actually, he was president of the continental congress right here in Philadelphia in 1776. And when the declaration was first printed, he signed his name so large, the legend goes, so that King George III could see it without his spectacles.
So he was the first traitor to commit treason and betray his country.
He was a great American patriot. A John Hancock is an informal way of saying a signature. For example, put your John Hancock here. Here’s your next one.
Shoot the breeze. I know this. Shoot the breeze is when you have a casual conversation with your friends. And you just get together and talk about nothing much.
That’s exactly correct. Good job!
If we shoot the breeze, we have an informal conversation about this and that. Nothing important. For example, let’s have a beer and shoot the breeze for a while.
And, of course, we both say something is a breeze. If something is a breeze, then it’s very easy to do.
Exactly correct as well.
I hope my next question is a breeze.
If something is a breeze, it means it’s very easy to do. For example, it’s hard to cycle up this hill, but coming down will be a breeze.
We use breeze with this meaning in British English too.
Here’s another one for you.
Oh, good one. Ok. Monday-morning quarterback. Well, first of all, a quarterback is a football player – an American football player.
Well, he’s not only a football player, he leads the team. The quarterback is the person who designs all the plays and controls what’s happening from his team’s point of view and throws the ball.
But this is a Monday-morning quarterback. And that’s a person who looks back on an event and they have their own opinion about what should have happened and how things were done wrongly. And I guess its Monday morning because most football games are at the weekend?
College football is on Saturday and professional football is on Sunday.
So if you’re looking at it on Monday morning, then you’re looking back at what’s already happened.
A Monday-morning quarterback is someone who looks back after an event and complains about what other people did. So, for example, after the conference was over, he complained about how it was organized. He’s such a Monday-morning quarterback. Now, do you have the expression backseat driver?
Oh, we do and that’s similar. So in British and American English we’ll talk about a backseat driver. What do they do?
Well, they tell the driver what they should be doing. The back seat driver is really annoying.
Yes, they’re a bit different to a Monday-morning quarterback because they’re telling them while the other person’s driving. But the Monday-morning quarterback gives their advice on what should be done and shouldn’t be done afterwards, don’t they?
Exactly. A backseat driver is an annoying person who interferes and tries to tell you what to do. For example, stop being a backseat drive and let me do my job.
We say back seat driver in British English too.
OK, here’s your next one.
Oooh. Carpetbagger. I’m not exactly sure about this. I think that it’s someone who you can’t trust who might be a kind of crook or thief. And I know that it has some sort of historical background to it. And I think that there were people who had bags made out of carpet. And maybe they were crooks somehow.
I’ll give you a point for the bags made out of carpet. And it is a historical term. It comes from the American Civil War, from 1860 to 1865 when smugglers who were carrying illegal goods that weren’t allowed in the south, or weren’t allowed in the north, and they put them in bags made of carpet or in big carpet rolls that they carried over their shoulders. They were carpetbaggers. But, it has a totally different meaning today. Do you know what that means?
Well, you know a carpetbagger…
Do I?
In recent political history. Hillary Clinton.
Oh yes.
A carpetbagger today is a politician who lives in one place and then moves to another and runs for office. Hillary Clinton grew up and lived in Arkansas. And after Bill Clinton’s presidency was over she moved to New York state and ran for senate.
And they called her a carpetbagger.
Exactly. A carpetbagger is a political candidate who runs for office in a place that they’re not from. The idea is they are not welcome, so it’s a derogatory term. OK, what do you think about this one?
Oh, Joe Blow. Joe Blow is the name that’s given to stand for the average man, an average guy.
Right. We also say, the average Joe.
And it just means the man in the street.
The ordinary guy, that’s right.
OK. Um, in British English we also say Fred Bloggs, or Joe Bloggs and it’s just the name for a sort of Mister average, that we sometimes use.
Joe Blow, or the average Joe, is an ordinary man in the street. For example, what do the new tax cuts mean for the average Joe?
In British English we might say Joe Blogs, and it means much the same thing.
Now, there’s another term on there that I gave you.
Joe… John Doe. John Doe. I associate John Doe with dead bodies in morgues.
Well, that’s sort of how it goes. If the police can’t identify someone, living or dead, they’ll give them the name John Doe or Jane Doe.
John Doe can also mean the average man but it has another meaning too. John Doe or Jane Doe is the name used for a person whose name is a secret or not known. These names are placeholder names in court or in police investigations.
How did I do?
Not bad.
I think I was very good. Do I get the prize?
Yes, you get the prize.
Ok, I get… oh, this is good – two tickets to the comedy show at the Adrienne theater.
Right, we’ll have lots of fun. Hey, if you liked this video, please share it with a friend and give it a thumbs up.
And don’t forget to subscribe. See you soon.

will going to present continuous

Will, going to and the present continuous – 3 common future forms

Do you know how to talk about the future in English?
In this video we compare Do you know how to talk about the future in English?
We look at how we talk about facts and predictions, plans and making decisions and you’ll see lots of examples future forms in action.

Click here to learn some phrases we use to talk about the future.
Click here to learn about some verbs we often use to talk about the future.

Will, going to and the present continuous

We had a request from a viewer for this video.
Moroccan geographer said the most difficult thing about English for him is the future.
He said “I don’t know when to use “will” or “be going to” or the present continuous. It’s awful!”
They’re all common ways to talk about the future.
And they’re tricky because sometimes their uses overlap, and sometimes they don’t.
So we’re going to to look at the three basics – facts and predictions, plans and making decisions.
And we have a story for you so you can see them in action.
Let’s start with facts and predictions.

Welcome. I am Madame Victoire and I will unlock the mysteries of the future.
How much do you charge?
You get three predictions for three hundred dollars.
That’s a lot of money.
Three predictions with 100% accuracy and a money back guarantee.
Oh, so if your predictions are wrong, I get my money back.
Yes. It won’t cost you a penny. But I’m never wrong.
OK. I’ll do it. But here’s the thing. I have a very important job interview tomorrow morning …
Shhh. Let me see… Hmmm, I see black clouds. It’s going to rain tomorrow.
Really? The weather forecast says it’s going to be sunny.
Oh you’re right. The ball was a little dirty. Tomorrow will be sunny.

I don’t trust Madame Victoire.
She says she’s 100% accurate.
We’ll see about that.

Facts and predictions: will and going to

OK, let’s look at some of the things she said.
We often use the verb ‘will’ to state facts about the future and make predictions. Will is a modal verb and the negative is won’t – will – not – won’t.

It won’t cost you a penny.

Sometimes it’s hard to hear ‘will’ when we’re speaking fast because we use contractions: I’ll, you’ll, we’ll, they’ll, he’ll, she’ll and it’ll. It’ll be sunny tomorrow.
But with facts and predictions ‘will’ isn’t the only verb we use. We also use ‘be going to’. It’s the present continuous form of the verb ‘go’ and it’s very common. Notice the pronunciation again. When we’re speaking fast we don’t say going to, we say gonna.
So here’s the question. Is there a difference in meaning with ‘will’ and ‘be going to’?
A lot of the time, there’s no difference. We can say ‘will’ or ‘going to’ and it means the same thing.
A mistake students often make is they use ‘will’ too much. It doesn’t sound natural.
And also there are some situations where we don’t say ‘will’.
If a prediction is based on present evidence, we say ‘going to’ – not will.
We saw an example of that too.

Hmmm, I see black clouds. It’s going to rain tomorrow.

The evidence was the black clouds, so she said ‘It’s gonna rain.’
She saw that rain was on its way.
It would sound odd to say ‘will’ here.
‘Going to’ is more natural because she’s looking at evidence. She can see the rain coming.
Here’s another example. I’m gonna have a problem with that fortune teller.
That’s your prediction?
Yes, and I’m saying ‘gonna’, because I saw signs that she wasn’t very good.
Her crystal ball was dirty.
Exactly, so I’m predicting that she’s going to be a problem.
Then let’s see what happens next.

Am I going to get the job?
Oh dear. Oh dear.
What do you see? Is there a problem?
There’ll be a lot of traffic on the highway tomorrow. How are you getting to that job interview?
I’m walking.
Well don’t take the highway.
I’m not taking the highway. I’m going on foot.
Just as well.

Future plans: going to and the present continuous

We heard another prediction there: There’ll be a lot of traffic on the highway.
But there’s always a lot of traffic on the highway. Anyone could predict that.
True. OK, we heard another future form there.

How are you getting to that job interview?
I’m walking.

We heard the present continuous. We often use this form to talk about future plans and arrangements.
If it’s not clear that we mean the future and not now, we state a time.
How are you getting to your job interview tomorrow?
We use ‘going to’ and the present continuous to talk about future plans.
And again, in lots of situations, you can use either.
So is there a difference in meaning with these forms? We use ‘going to’ to talk about intentions – things we intend to do. And we use the present continuous to talk about arrangements and appointments with other people. But many future events are both intentions and arrangements, so in a lot of cases either form works.
But if the verb is ‘go’, we normally use the present continuous and not ‘be going to’. We heard an example of that.

I’m going on foot.

You could also say ‘I’m going to go on foot.’ It’s grammatically OK, but it doesn’t sound so natural. With the verb ‘go’ we generally use the present continuous.
We’ll say things like I’m going to the shops. I’m going by bus. I’m going home.
Yes, we could say ‘I’m going to go to the shops’ but it sounds repetitive.
We generally avoid it. Use the present continuous with the verb ‘go’ instead.
Are we going to see what happens next in the story?
Yeah, OK.

I need to know about my job interview. What questions are they going to ask me?
Oh this is interesting. Well I never!
Is it good news?
Yes. Do you have shares in Acme Corp?
Well buy some.
I can’t. I just gave you all my money.
That’s a shame. They’re going up tomorrow. Well, that’s it then.
But you haven’t told me about my job interview.
Just let make a note of that. Buy Acme Corp ….
You haven’t answered any of my questions. You’re a fraud.
I am not!
I want my money back.
No. You’ve had three predictions and they’re 100% accurate.
I’ll call the police.
Oh no. No, no. All right. I’ll give you another one.

Decisions: will and going to

She’s a fraud.
But she offered to give you another prediction.
Yeah, but only when I threatened to call the cops.
I’ll call the police.
Oh no. No, no. All right. I’ll give you another one.
Notice she said ‘I’ll give you another one’. There’s a difference between ‘will’ and ‘going to’ when we’re making decisions.
If we’re making a spontaneous decision, we use will, not going to.
A spontaneous decision is a decision we’re making at the time of speaking.
We saw another example of that earlier.
It won’t cost you a penny.
OK. I’ll do it.
Jay said ‘I’ll do it there’ – so he used ‘will’ not ‘going to’.
I made the decision on the spot.
But if we’re talking about a decision we made earlier, we don’t say will.
We say ‘be going to’ or we use the present continuous.

Well don’t take the highway.
I’m not taking the highway. I’m going on foot.
Just as well.

So at the moment we’re making a decision, we use ‘will’.
But after we’ve made the decision it becomes our intention or plan.
And then we use ‘going to’ or the present continuous because the decision’s already made and now it’s a plan.
It’s logical if you think about it.
I think we need a review.
We use ‘be going to’ and ‘will’ to talk about future facts and to make predictions. In most situations we can say ‘will’ or ‘going to’. It doesn’t matter which one.
But if there’s evidence or if there are signs that something is on its way, we generally use ‘be going to’.
We also use ‘be going to’ to talk about future plans. And we use the present continuous to talk about plans as well, especially if we’re talking about arrangements and appointments with other people.
If we’re making a decision at the time of speaking, we say ‘will’. And if we’re talking about a decision that was made in the past, we use ‘going to’.
So those are the key rules we follow with ‘will’, ‘be going to’ and the present continuous.
It’s not so hard, is it?
Just remember not to use ‘will’ all the time because sometimes ‘will’ doesn’t work.
Is that it then?
Yes. Well, we still need to finish the story
Before we do, if you’ve enjoyed this video, please give it a thumbs up and subscribe to our channel.
And maybe you can share it with a friend who’ll find it useful too.
Let’s finish the story then.

Tell me about my job interview. What’s going to happen?
You don’t need to worry about your job interview.
Thank goodness for that!
In fact they’re going to call you in three seconds to cancel it.
They’ve already hired someone else.

Click here to learn some phrases we use to talk about the future.
Click here to learn about some verbs we often use to talk about the future.

British slang have a butcher's

10 British Slang Expressions

Are you ready to test your British English slang? Learn 10 British slang words and colloquial expressions including:
– skive and bunk off
– tosh
– go spare
– jammy
– fancy someone
– snog
– kerfuffle
– miffed
– be snookered
– have a butcher’s
Watch Vicki quiz Jay on the meanings and play along.

Click here to see another video on British English slang
Click here to see other videos on British and American English

Do you want to learn some English slang?
We’re looking at 10 British slang expressions today.
British ones? But I’m American
Yeah, and I’m British. So, I’m going to test you.
A little while ago I gave Jay a quiz on British slang.
And I won a prize.
He did very well. I’ll put the link here.
And everyone enjoyed it, so we have another 10 words today. I hope to do well again.
Um, but some of the words are more difficult this time.
Uh oh. All right, give me the first one.


Hmm, S-K-I-V-E. I would pronounce that ‘skive’ but,
Yes, that’s right, skive.
I have absolutely no idea what this means.
OK, let me give you an example. Um, she hated school so she skived off a lot.
Ah, so she played hooky. She didn’t go to school.
Yes, in British English we usually say ‘skive’ or ‘skive off’ or ‘bunk off’
Bunk off?
Yes, it’s another slang term for the same thing. Skiving is when you don’t go to school or work when you should. For example, he says
he’s too ill to come to work, but I think he’s skiving.


Tosh. It’s always a funny word when I hear tosh. I think it just means nonsense or rubbish.
You’re quite right. Yes, use it in a sentence.
Um, that offer I received in the mail that promised me 10 percent a year is tosh.
That worked. Tosh means nonsense or rubbish. So, don’t talk tosh means don’t talk nonsense. OK, what does this mean?

Go spare

Go spare. I’m gonna guess here that it means go with the least possible. Use as few of something as necessary.
Oh, good guess. totally wrong.
Ha, what does it mean?
I’ll give you some clues. I’ll give you some examples. Um, I’d go spare if I didn’t have my mobile phone.
Stir crazy, you’d go nuts. You’d go crazy. You’d go insane.
I see.
What does spare have to do with being insane?
Let me give you another context. I forgot to lock the office door last night. Don’t tell Kathy or she’ll go spare.
Ok, I’ve got it.
So it’s like she’ll go… go nuts but in a way that she gets very angry and very worried. So if you go spare, you often lose your temper. For example, Don’t tell mum I skived off school. She’ll go spare.


Jammy. That’s… That could be lots of different things. I know ‘jammies’ I’ve heard you use for pajamas.
oh yes,
But, uh..
or jim-jams.
Right, but jammy? I mean we get ‘in a jam’ in American English meaning we’re in trouble. What’s ‘jammy’?
No, it’s not the same as ‘in a jam.’ We could say that too when we’re in trouble. But a person could be jammy if they have a stroke of
good luck and it was purely down to chance and possibly they didn’t deserve it. We say someone is jammy when something good has happened to them by chance, but they didn’t make much effort. So they didn’t really deserve the good luck.
So when we’re playing miniature golf and you get the ball in the hole, you’re jammy.
You could say to me, ‘you jammy thing.’
You jammy thing.
Yes, and it’s because I have no skills at this game and therefore it was strange that I got the ball in the hole. Um, but on the other
hand, if I win at Scrabble then you couldn’t say ‘you jammy thing’ because I always win at Scrabble because I’m very good at it.
She’s very good at it.
He, he, he, OK, another one.

Fancy someone

Fancy someone. I know what this is. Yeah, I fancy you.
I fancy you too.
When you fancy someone, you like them a lot.
You find them sexually attractive. If you fancy someone, it means you’re attracted to them in a sexual way. so I could say, Mmm, I really
like Jay. I hope he fancies me too. And then hopefully, they’ll ask you on a date and then you never know but you might…


Snog. To snog, I know this one too. it’s to kiss.
That’s right, kiss passionately. If two people snog, they kiss and usually for a length of time. For example, the teacher caught
Jim and Mandy snogging behind the bike sheds.


Kerfuffle. I… I heard this years ago from Vicki and it really confused me. It means something that’s very, very difficult. So, if
something is very complicated, it’s a kerfuffle to do.
Ah, nice try. No. No, it’s when there’s when there’s a lot of noise and activity and commotion and for no good purpose. It, it’s…
There’s lot of disturbance and making a fuss and getting excited about things. So like when Jay’s cooking a meal in the kitchen,
there’s often a lot of kerfuffle. There’s a lot of activity and commotion but nothing much gets done.
I always thought it was because I had so many things happening at once. I had rice here, I had water here, I had pasta here. That’s a
kerfuffle, right?
That is a kind of kerfuffle when you’re in charge. A kerfuffle is when there’s a lot of noise and activity and excitement. And it’s an
unnecessary fuss. We might ask, ‘what’s all the kerfuffle about?’ And it’s like asking ‘what’s all the fuss about?’ Cooking should be a calm and peaceful activity. OK, next one.


Miffed. Ok, well I think this means I’m annoyed because I’ve been snubbed in some way.
That’s quite a good explanation. So can you use it in a sentence?
Yes, I got miffed when somebody stepped in front of me in the line for the bank.
Yes, or in the queue.
In the what?
Somebody stepped front of you…
In the what? In the queue.
In the queue?
So miffed is when you’re a little annoyed by someone’s behavior towards you. For example, ‘I was miffed when he didn’t call me.’


Ok, snookered, or I think you might say snookered. I think it comes from the game of snooker which is a…
No, snooker.
right, ha, I think it means you’ve been cheated.
Ah, in American English snookered means to be cheated. But it has a different meaning in British English.
What’s that?
OK, When you can’t do something that you want to do because of some reason, some obstacle in your way, then you’re snookered. And it
comes from the game of snooker because if a ball’s in the way and you can’t get your ball in the hole, then you’re snookered.
Got it.
OK. So for example, suppose you want to get your clothes cleaned before your job interview tomorrow, but the dry cleaners is
closed. Then you’re snookered.

Have a butcher’s

Have a butcher’s. I know this is cockney rhyming slang but I don’t know what it means. I’ve forgotten. Have a butcher’s.
You’re right. I’ll give you a point for cockney rhyming slang. Cockney rhyming slang comes from the east end of London. And it was
often the language the prisoners in jail would use so that the people who were guarding them wouldn’t understand them. And what you do is
you have a phrase like ‘a butcher’s hook’ and you find a word that rhymes with hook which in this case is… look.
Oh, I see.
And then you use a butcher’s and it means a look. And we should do a video about them all one day ’cause there are lots of them. So, to have a butcher’s is cockney rhyming slang. And it means to have a look. So, can I have a butcher’s means can I have a look.
So, have we finished?
How did I do?
Well, not as well as last time but that’s because I gave you more difficult words.
So, no prize for me this time?
No. Actually, I’m going to win the prize.
What is it?
You can have a butcher’s if you want. It’s…
Dinner for two at the Indian restaurant, again.
We had a nice time there last time.
If you’ve enjoyed this video, please subscribe to our channel.
And share it with your friends. I’ll bet they’ll enjoy it too.
And if you’d like a video on cockney rhyming slang, please let us know in the comments.
See you all next week everyone. Bye-bye.

Click here to see another video on British English slang
Click here to see other videos on British and American English

English quiz

How good is your English? Quiz 2

This is the second quiz in a series about mistakes English learners often make. You can watch the first video here:
In this video we’ll ask you to identify 6 common English mistakes and choose your answer before the clock stops ticking.
We’ll then explain what’s wrong and show you examples of the correct English in action. We’ll also direct you to other videos if you want more examples and help with grammar and vocabulary.
In this English quiz we look at:
– lend and borrow
– loan and borrow
– it’s time + past (subjunctive)
– cook and cooker
– what’s it like vs. do you like
– in time vs. on time

If you’d like to see more examples for mistakes English learners often make, here are links to videos on these topics:
– lend, borrow and loan:
– what’s it like vs. do you like:
– cook vs. cooker:
– in time vs on time:

Are you ready for another quiz?
We’re going to test you with some more tricky English today.
And we’ll help you fix some common mistakes.
Here’s how this works. We’ll ask you some questions and you have to choose an answer before the clock stops ticking.
All the questions are based on mistakes that English students often make.
Some of you asked for some hard questions this time.
Students with different levels of English watch our videos so we don’t want to go super advanced.
But we thought we’d throw in a couple of extra tricky questions this time.
So get ready!
Let’s start with an easy one. This is a very common mistake.

Lend, borrow and loan

Imagine you want to write something down but you don’t have a pen.
What will you ask your friend?

Can you lend me your pen?
Can you borrow me your pen?

Lend and borrow. Lots of languages have just one word for these actions.
But in English we have two. It’s the same action, but from different points of view.
Lending is when we give someone something.
And borrowing is when we take something.

Oh. Can I borrow your glasses?
Can you lend me your glasses?
Thank you. Yay.

So we lend things TO people, and borrow things FROM people. Giving and taking.
And they’re temporary actions.

Oh, well give me your number.
Give me your pen.
I need it.
Just for a moment.
You’ll give it back?
I just want to borrow it. Sorry, what was that?

There’s another word that’s similar: loan. A lot of students make mistakes with that too.
In British English, loan is normally a noun. A loan is money that we borrow from a bank.
We say that too, but in American English, we can also use loan as a verb.
Then let’s have another question.
OK. Imagine you’ve left your wallet or purse at home so you have no money. You ask a friend to help.
Are both these questions OK?

Can I borrow $20?
Can I loan $20?

The verb ‘loan’ is like ‘lend’. It’s not like ‘borrow’.
Yes, if you want to say ‘loan’, you’d have to say ‘Can you loan ME $20?’ or ‘He loaned ME his bike.’
And again, it’s just a temporary action.
Yes, if someone loans you money, you have to pay it back.

Here’s that fifty dollars I borrowed.
Oh. Actually you owe me fifty five.
I thought you lent me fifty.
Five dollars interest.

If you want more practice with lend, borrow and loan, here’s a link to a video with more examples.
Let’s have a hard one now.

It’s time + past

OK. Imagine some friends invite you round for dinner and you have a great time chatting.
Then you look at the clock and realize it’s midnight. What will you say?

Oh my! It’s time I will leave.
Oh my! It’s time I leave.
Oh my! It’s time I left.

That’s interesting. We were talking about the present and the future there, but we used a past tense.
Yes, it’s not a real past. It’s because the phrase ‘It’s time’ has a special structure.
The technical term for this is a subjunctive.
We could also use an infinitive and say ‘It’s time to go’, but often we use the subjunctive and say ‘It’s time I left.’
That’s tricky. We need another example.
OK. Listen carefully to what I say here:

What time is it?
It’s time you got that watch repaired. Three o’clock.

Did you hear it? She said, ‘It’s time you got that watch repaired’.
So, I said got. Not get. Past tense.
But you will hear people saying get too.
Yes. Strictly speaking get is wrong, but in spoken English we often ignore subjunctives.
OK. Let’s have another question.

Cook – cooker

Imagine your friend has just cooked you a meal.
Everything was delicious. What will you say?

Thank you. You’re a very good cook.
Thank you. You’re a very good cooker.

Students often muddle up cook and cooker, and it can sound very funny.
A cooker is a large piece of equipment or stove that we use to cook food. It’s not a person.
The person who does the cooking is a cook.
If you want more examples, check out this video.

What’s it like vs. Do you like

OK, next question.
You’ve ordered a dish in a restaurant and it doesn’t taste good. Your friend asks you ‘What’s it like?’ What do say?

No, I don’t like it.
It’s very salty and it has a strange peppermint taste.

This question confuses a lot of students.
‘Like’ isn’t a verb here. It’s a preposition that means ‘similar to’.
So this question doesn’t mean ‘Do you like it?’ It means ‘Tell me about it. Describe it to me’.
Here’s another example,

We went to a networking event last night.
Oh, what was it like?
It was very useful. There were about a dozen people there and everyone made a short presentation.
I didn’t like it.
Kathy’s not asking if you liked it, Jay. She wants us to tell her about it.
Did you meet any interesting people?
Yes. Well, I did.
I didn’t talk to anybody.

If you’d like more examples, check this link.

In time vs. on time

OK, one more question. Imagine you’re going to a meeting that starts at 3 o’clock.
But the traffic is terrible. And then you can’t find a parking space.
You run to the building where your colleague is waiting for you.
You’re worried that you’ll be late. What question will you ask?

Am I in time for the meeting?
Am I on time for the meeting?

Am I in time for the meeting?
Yeah. Don’t worry, we’ve got ten minutes.
I couldn’t find a parking space.
Come on. Let’s go in.

If we’re in time for something, we’re not late. ‘In time’ means with enough time to spare.
On time is a little different. It means punctually or promptly.

Oh, the train’s coming. It’s right on time.

So ‘on time’ means at the correct time
The time that was scheduled.
Click here to see more examples, and I’ll put links in the description below to other videos we’ve mentioned.
So now it’s time we finished.
Yeah, it’s time we finished – that’s a subjunctive. Did you spot it?
We hope you enjoyed this quiz. Give us a thumbs up if you did.
And why not share this video with a friend?
And subscribe of course, so you don’t miss our future videos.
See you next week everyone. Bye.

If you’d like to see more examples for mistakes English learners often make, here are links to videos on these topics:
– lend, borrow and loan:
– what’s it like vs. do you like:
– cook vs. cooker:
– in time vs. on time:

overused word literally meaning

Literally – an overused word?

Is the word literally overused?
And how many syllables does the word literally have?
In this video we compare three different meanings of literally:
1. in a literal way, so with the exact meaning of the words you’re using
2. literally meaning ‘really’ or in ‘truth’
3. literally meaning virtually, when it’s used to exaggerate for effect
Meaning 3 is an example of hyperbole, and it contradicts meaning 1. So literally has opposite meanings.
Many people feel literally shouldn’t be used with meaning 3.
However many great writers in English literature have used literally for dramatic effect.
Also, literally is not the only English word that has two opposite meanings. We also look at the word wicked which can mean very good and very bad, and the verb to dust meaning to remove or to apply dust.

Is the word literally overused?

Did you hear the storm last night?
Yeah, lightning struck a tree across the street.
Yeah, I literally jumped out of my skin.
Is it possible to literally jump out of your skin?

We had an interesting question from a viewer called Peter.
He said, ‘I hear people saying literally for almost everything. It seems like an overuse of the word. What do you think about it?’
Literally. Some people use this word a lot.
You say literally. 4 syllables.
Literally. What do you say then?
I can say it the same way, but if I’m speaking fast, I say literally. Lit(e)-ral-ly. Three syllables.
Is that a British English thing?
I think so. But the next question is: what does literally mean?
It has three meanings.
The first one is in a literal way – so with the exact meaning of the words you’re using.

The traditional dress of Japan is a ‘kimono’, which literally means a ‘thing to wear’.
And here’s another Japanese word: karate. It literally means the ‘art of empty hands’.

If we mean something literally, it means according to the actual words.
The words with their most basic meaning.
OK, that’s the first meaning. What about the second?
It’s similar. Literally can mean something like ‘really’ or ‘in truth’.
We say literally when something is surprising and we want to emphasize that it is true.

There are literally more than three trillion trees on earth. That’s more trees than there are stars in the galaxy.
And here’s another surprising thing. Did you know that moose are good swimmers? They can literally swim six miles an hour. That’s about 10 kilometers an hour.

But how far can they swim?
A long way. They can keep going for two hours or more. They’re literally excellent swimmers.
So literally means ‘truly’ or ‘really’ in that sentence.
It was surprising, but there was no exaggeration.
Right. And the third meaning of literally is a little different.
That’s when we use ‘literally’ to emphasize things.
So surprising things again.
But this time, they’re not true. They’re false.
Let’s see how it works.

I can’t home yet. I’m literally up to my ears in work.
It was so funny.
We literally died laughing.
She’s literally as tall as a house.
The exam was so hard, his head literally exploded.
I’m so hungry I could literally eat a horse. Or maybe not.
I was so surprised you could have literally knocked me down with a feather.
I’m leaving.
No wait. It’ll literally only take me two seconds to get to you. See! Literally two seconds.

There’s a technical word for examples like this: hyperbole.
Hyperbole – four syllables. Hyperbole is when we exaggerate to add emphasis, or just because it sounds funny.
So let’s review the three meanings and see how they compare.
The first meaning is about the literal meaning of words and it’s exact and very factual. The second meaning is factual too, but this time it adds emphasis to say something is really true. The third meaning adds emphasis as well. But here, you change the original meaning of the words and exaggerate.
Notice that meaning one and meaning three are very different. They’re practically opposites. In meanings one and two, you’re being factual and telling the truth. But with meaning three, you don’t stick to the original meaning of the words. Instead of telling the truth, you exaggerate to get an effect.
Some people think it’s wrong to use literally with meaning three. It’s controversial and people have strong opinions about it. They think you should just use meanings one and two. But you’ll hear meaning three a lot in spoken English. It’s pretty informal and it’s becoming more frequent.
Is meaning three a new usage of the word?
People are using it more often but actually it’s an old usage. Lots of great writers in English literature have used it for effect.

It was used by great writers like Charles Dickens.
And F. Scott Fitzgerald.
And James Joyce.
William Thackeray.
And Charlotte Brontë

So do you think it’s OK to use literally to exaggerate?
Yes and no. Yes, because people use it that way and it’s becoming more common.
Oh right. You can’t stop language change.
Exactly. But also maybe no, because a lot of people complain about it.
Then perhaps use it, but just a little.
Yes, not too often.
I think people complain about when it’s used too much.
And also because they don’t like the idea that one word can have two opposite meanings.
But there are other words that do that. For example: wicked.
Yes, wicked can mean evil. So a wicked witch is very bad. But in informal English, wicked can also mean ‘very good’.
For example, we can say someone has a wicked sense of humor, and it means it’s very good.
There aren’t many words with two opposite meanings like this, but there are a few.
Let’s see if you can spot one.
To dust is an interesting verb because if you’re cleaning your house, you dust it. Dust means removing the dust.
But dust can also mean to cover something with sugar or flour. So if you’re baking cakes you can dust them with sugar.
So dust can mean removing or applying. It has opposite meanings.
Sometimes an English word can have two opposite meanings.
And literally is one of them.
So are we done?
Yes, that’s literally all we have for you this week.
If you’ve enjoyed this video please, share it with a friend.
And don’t forget to subscribe everyone.
See you all next week. Bye-bye.

How good is your English

How good is your English? Let’s see!

This video English quiz is about mistakes English learners often make. We look at:
– interested and interesting
– the mistake how long time
– the different meanings of the verbs take and last
control vs. check
high vs. tall
– prepositions we use with the verb pay
We’ll ask you to identify 8 common English mistakes and choose your answer before the clock stops ticking.
We’ll then explain what’s wrong and show you examples of the correct English in action. We’ll also help you find more videos if you want more help with grammar and vocabulary.

If you’d like to see more examples, click the links to these videos:
Interested and interesting
How long does it take?
How long does it last? and take vs. last
Check and control
High and tall
Pay and prepositions

How good is your English?
We’re going to test you today.
We’ve got some common mistakes and we’re going to fix them!
OK, let’s jump right in. We’ll ask you some questions and you have to choose your answer before the clock stops ticking.
They’re all about mistakes that people often make when they’re learning English.
Maybe you make them, or maybe you don’t. Let’s see.

Interesting or interested?

OK. Here’s your first question. Imagine you’ve found a great book – it’s so good you can’t stop reading it.
You can’t put it down. What would you say about it?
I’m very interested in this book.
I’m very interesting in this book.
‘Interesting’ and ‘interested’ are both adjectives.
We use ‘interested’ to say how we feel. We use ‘interesting’ to describe the person or thing that causes the feeling.
It can sound funny if you make a mistake with this.
If you say ‘I’m very interesting’ it means you think YOU are very interesting. ‘I’m very interesting’ – it sounds conceited.
But you could say that a character in a book is interesting.
Yes, because then the character makes you feel interested.

This is a very interesting book.
And I’m very interesting in this book.
This is a book about me.

So -ed describes the feeling and -ing describes the thing that causes the feeling.
This is worth learning because there are lots of other adjectives that follow this pattern.
There’s a link here to a video we’ve made about it. If you’re not sure, go study it!
Let’s have another question.

Time questions

OK. Next one. Your boss has given you a project to do and you’re negotiating the schedule.
She wants you to estimate the time it will take, so what does she ask?
Here are three questions. Are any of them wrong?
How long do you need?
How long time do you need?
How much time do you need?
‘How long time’ is wrong. A lot of students make this mistake.
The phrase ‘how long’ already includes the idea of time.
You could say ‘How much time?’ That works. But normally we just say ‘how long’. ‘How long do you need?’
So don’t say ‘how long time’. That’s wrong!

Take and last

OK, we have another question about time now and it’s a missing word question.
What’s the missing verb here?
How long does it _____ for the moon to travel round the earth?

It takes twenty seven days, seven hours, forty three minutes and eleven point six seconds for the moon to travel around the earth.

We use ‘take’ to talk about the time that’s needed to do something – the time that’s required.
So we often use ‘take’ to talk about journey times and jobs.

So what do you think of my proposal?
Um, I’d like to think about it for a while.
Of course. Take as long as you like. So what do you think?

OK let’s have another question.
All right. Imagine you’ve got a really bad cold and you want to go to the beach this weekend. What are you thinking?
How long is this cold going to take?
How long is this cold going to last?
We’d say last here because we’re talking the about the time it continues.
It’s not the time that’s needed or required to get something done.
It’s about how long something goes on for – or how long it will exist for.
Here’s another example.

Do you want to play a game?
OK. You take a sweet and I’ll take a sweet.
You mean candy.
Uhuh. No, no, no, stop. We put them in our mouths at the same time. The winner is the person who makes their sweet last the longest.
It’s not how fast I can eat it?
No, it’s the opposite.
So I need to make it last a long time?
That’s right.
OK. Ready, set, go.

It’s tricky because we use the verbs take and last to talk about a duration of time.
It’s no wonder students get them confused.
But we use ‘take’ more than we use ‘last’.
Yes, ‘take’ is more common. If you want more help with take and last, check out this playlist.
Next question.

Check and control

OK, this one’s about the verbs ‘control’ and ‘check’.
Imagine you’re telling someone about a flight you took.
Which sentence is correct here?
They stopped us at immigration and controlled our passports.
They stopped us at immigration and checked our passports.
So they check your passports to make sure they’re OK.
But when we go through immigration, there’s a sign saying ‘passport control’.
I know. It’s really confusing. But at immigration they check your passport.
When we examine something to make sure it’s OK or correct, we check it.

Is something wrong?
Is this your car?
When was the last time you checked the air in these tires?
I can’t remember.

So that’s checking, but controlling is different.
Controlling is about managing something, or directing it.

Brrrr. I’m cold. I’ll check the thermostat to see if it’s working. The thermostat controls the temperature. Are you cold, Jay?
No, I’m hot.

The thermostat controls the temperature – it manages it.
If you’d like more examples, click this link.
Let’s have an easy one now.

High and tall

OK. Imagine you want to know someone’s height. What question are you going to ask?
How tall are you?
How high are you?

I’m taller than you.
No, you’re not.
Yes, I am.
How did you do that?

We generally use tall when we’re talking about long thin things.
Like people, trees and skyscrapers
And if things are wider than they’re tall, we say high.
For example, a high wall, high waves in the ocean.
So if you say someone is tall, you’re talking about their height.
And if you say someone is high, it means something completely different.
It means they’re on drugs.
You don’t want to make that mistake!
If you want to know more, here’s a video with lots of examples.
OK, next question.

Pay and prepositions

All right. Imagine you’re in an English pub with a friend and you order a round.
A round is a drink for everyone in the group.
Your friend starts to pay the bill, but you want to pay instead. What will you say?
I’ll pay the drinks.
I’ll pay for the drinks.
We pay FOR things that we buy.
But when we say the person we pay, there’s no preposition.
I paid the waiter for the drinks.

Twenty five dollars?
Ooooo pizza!
Yes, come and have some, Kathy.
Who bought it?
Well, I ordered it.
And I paid for it.
Thanks Jay.
I paid $25.
I ordered extra toppings.
You know, I paid the pizza guy last week too.
Do you want us to contribute?
Oh there’s no need. He’s already paid for it.

There are several different prepositions we use with pay – pay for, pay by, pay in …
And sometimes we just say pay with no preposition.
Check this video to learn more. And I’ll put links to all the videos we’ve talked about in the description below.
Is that it for today?
Yeah. How did you do on the quiz?
And was it useful?
If you enjoyed it and would like another quiz one day, tell us in the comments.
And give us a thumbs up.
And why not share this video with a friend?
We’ll be back next Friday with a new video, so be sure to subscribe so you don’t miss it.
See you next week everyone.

If you’d like to see more examples, click the links to these videos:
Interested and interesting
How long does it take?
How long does it last? and take vs. last
Check and control
High and tall
Pay and prepositions

how to form the third conditional examples

The English Third Conditional in Action

The third conditional (or conditional 3) is probably the trickiest grammar structure in English.
If you’re taking an exam like IELTS, CAE or CPE, this is a really useful conditional to know. You’ll really impress your examiners if you use it correctly.
In this video you’ll:
– see third conditional examples in action in a story. (e.g. If it hadn’t been for you…)
– learn how to form the third conditional and when to use it.

Second and third conditionals are similar because we use them both to talk about imaginary and hypothetical situations.
But we use the second conditional to talk about the present and future and the third conditional to talk about the past – an imaginary past that didn’t happen.

Click here to see a video on the zero conditional
Click here to see a video on the first conditional
Click here to see a video on the second conditional

Help! Help!
Super Agent Awesome!
That is me. You mess with the lady, you mess with me.
Oh no!
Oh yeah!
Thank you Super Agent Awesome. If it hadn’t been for you, he’d have gotten away.
If I’d been faster, he wouldn’t have caught me
If I hadn’t stopped him, he would have escaped.

Hi I’m Vicki and I’m British.
And I’m Jay and I’m American.
And this lessons about the most difficult grammar structure in the English language.
It’s the third conditional and it’s so tricky that native English speakers sometimes get it wrong.
If you’re taking an exam like IELTS or Cambridge Advanced or Proficiency, you’ll need to get this right.
But the good news is if you get it right, you’re going to impress your examiners.
When they hear you use this correctly they’re going to think, wow this student’s really good! I’ll give them top marks.
It’s definitely worth studying.
So in this lesson we’ll go through it step by step, so you know how to form it and when to use it.
Let’see how it works. Do you remember the story with Super Agent Awesome?
I was lucky because he stopped a guy who was stealing my handbag.

Super Agent Awesome!
That is me. You mess with the lady, you mess with me.
Oh no!
Oh yeah!
If he’d stolen my bag, he would have got all my money.

When to use the third conditional

Did he steal my bag? No! And did he get all my money? No, he didn’t. We use the third conditional to talk about things that didn’t happen. So what I’m doing here is imagining events in the past that didn’t happen. It’s an unreal past. We use the third conditional to imagine how things could have been different.
Like other conditionals, third conditionals have two parts – two clauses. One is the condition and one is the result. We can reverse the order of the clauses and the meaning stays the same. Just remember to use a comma if the sentence starts with ‘if’.
So third conditionals are about imaginary events – things that didn’t happen.
There’s another conditional that’s about imaginary events – the second conditional.
We’ve made another video about that. I’ll put the link here and you should check it out if you haven’t seen it.
The difference is the second conditional is about an imaginary present or future, but the third conditional is about an imaginary past.
We’re imagining a different past.
And we use different tenses.
Let’s look at them.

How to form the third conditional

In the condition clause we’ve got ’if’ and the past perfect – so not the past – the past perfect. It indicates a distance from reality. And then we have ‘would have’ and the past participle of the verb. I’m British so I said ‘got’ here, but in American English, they’d say ‘gotten’. They have a different past participle.
Notice the contractions here. We have ‘he’d’ in both clauses, but it stands for different words. What’s this one? It’s ‘he had’. And what’s this one? It’s ‘he would’. In the condition clause, it’s the past perfect so it’s ‘had’. And in the results clause it’s would – ‘would have’ and the past participle.
You’ll often hear native English speakers say ‘would have’ in the condition clause like this. But it’s not standard English.
It sounds uneducated to me. Be careful not to do this if you’re taking an exam.
Yes. it’s becoming more common in spoken English but strictly speaking, it’s wrong. I think sometimes the contractions confuse people.
What other contractions do we use?
There’s I’d, you’d, he’d, she’d, it’d, (yes, we really do say it’d) we’d and they’d.
And it’s the same contraction for ‘had’ and ‘would’. For example, ‘I’d’ can stand for ‘I had’ AND ‘I would’.
Let’s look how we form the negatives now.

If I’d been faster, he wouldn’t have caught me
If I hadn’t stopped him, he would have escaped.

Again, both these things didn’t happen. Super Agent Awesome did stop him and he didn’t escape, so we’re imagining a different past again. To form the negative of the past perfect, we use ‘hadn’t’. I hadn’t, you hadn’t, he hadn’t, she hadn’t. The verb form doesn’t change, so it’s pretty easy. The contraction of had and not is hadn’t.
And here we have a negative in the results clause. The negative contraction of would and not is wouldn’t. He wouldn’t have caught me.
Notice that I’m expressing regret in this sentence and wishing things had been different.
We often do that. We use the third conditional to express regret.
So when we feel sorry about things that happened.
But sometimes we use it when we’re thankful as well. And we heard a good example of that too.

Thank you Super Agent Awesome. If it hadn’t been for you, he’d have gotten away.

Here’s a useful phrase: If it hadn’t been for you…
We use this when someone affects a situation somehow and makes a positive difference.
And then we say how things could have turned out differently.
Actors say it when they win an award. They give a speech and thank everybody and say ‘If it hadn’t been for you, I wouldn’t have won this Oscar’.
You can say it to your teachers. ‘If it hadn’t been for you, I wouldn’t have passed my exam’.
OK, I have a different question for you now. Is ‘would’ the only modal verb you can use in the third conditional?
It isn’t. You can also say could, should and might.
They have slightly different meanings but they could all work. Just remember to use them with ‘have’ and the past participle.
OK, so now it’s time for you to try. Can you think of something you regret in your life, or something you feel thankful for or happy about and then make a third conditional about it.
Write it in the comments.
Do you want to try, Vicki?
Yes, give us an example.
If I hadn’t met Jay, I wouldn’t have started this YouTube channel.
OK. Let me try.
If Vicki hadn’t started this YouTube channel, we might not have met so many interesting people from all around the world.
We’re looking forward to reading your sentences.
OK so now we’ve made videos about zero conditionals, first conditionals, second conditionals and third conditionals.
Yes, I’m going to put a link here to a playlist with the other videos so you can check them out and compare them.
So are we done?
Not really because some conditionals are mixed. We mix up the tenses.
Shall we make another video about that?
Yes, so make sure you subscribe to our channel so you don’t miss it.
If you’ve enjoyed this video, please share it with a friend.
And see you all next week everyone! Bye.

Click here to see a video on the zero conditional
Click here to see a video on the first conditional
Click here to see a video on the second conditional

like in English conversation

The word like in English conversation. It’s like 🤩

Do you think the word like is used too much by young people?
Learn some different ways we use the word like in English conversation and informal spoken English and see the word like in action in a conversation with Super Agent Awesome.
One use that’s common with young speakers is the quotative like. That’s when they use ‘like’ instead of says or thinks to report someone’s words or thoughts.
Some people complain that the word like is used too much by young people and it’s sloppy English. But it isn’t just youthful slang and there are useful functions that like performs.
We’ll show you how like can signal approximation or exaggeration, how we use like as a discourse marker and also how like can be combined with a dramatic face to describe someone’s feelings.

Click here to learn the difference between ‘Do you like…?’ and ‘What’s it like?’
Click here to learn how to use ‘be like’, ‘look like’ and ‘be alike’.

Like in English conversation

‘Like’. This is such a common word in English, but do you know how it’s used in colloquial English? And do you know what it means in teenage slang?

Today we’re very lucky to have some help. Super Agent Awesome is here.
Thank you Vicki.

I’m Jay and I’m American.
And I’m Vicki and I’m British.
The word ‘like’ has several meanings in English.
It can be a verb. For example, ‘I like you’.
I like you too!
And it can also be a preposition.
So we could say ‘What’s it like? or ‘It looks like …’
I’ll put a link here to other videos we’ve made about that.
But today we’re looking at some colloquial uses of ‘like’ – in other words how we use it when we’re speaking informally.
And in slang. It’s a word that young people use a lot.
Luckily we have Super Agent Awesome to help us.
Let’s see an example.

The quotative like

Is there anything you complain about doing?
I will be like Mom, ‘I want to play Fortnite again. Please, please, please!’
So you complain about not playing Fortnite.
Yeah, I feel like everyone should play Fortnite!

Did you catch it?
He said ‘I feel like everyone should play Fortnite.’
Well he loves that game, but he also said this.
So he used ‘like’ to report what he’ll say to his Mom.
This use of ‘like’ is particularly common with young people.
We call this the quotative ‘like’ because it’s about quoting what people say and also what they’re thinking. So it has a more general meaning than just ‘say’. It can mean ‘think’ too because you can use it to describe inner feelings and thoughts.
Notice we always use the verb ‘be’ here. You can change the tense, so you can use the future ‘I will be like …’ Or the past, ‘I was like …’ but we always use the verb ‘be’.
Is this use of like just an American thing?
No. Though they think it started in California in the 1980s. But it’s used by English speakers all over the world these days.

Do you think like is used too much?

Some people complain that young people use the word ‘like’ too much. They think it’s sloppy English.
Sloppy. Sloppy means without care or effort.
Do you think it’s sloppy and lazy?
No. I think it’s very interesting because languages change over time and if you look carefully, you find ‘like’ has new and useful functions in English. It can signal what we say and think and it can signal other things too.
Then let’s look at another example.

More functions that like performs

Do you ever complain about having to go to bed at a certain time?
Yeah. So one time, I was watching a movie, um, it was like Hotel Transylvania III. And then there was this really dramatic action scene, and like the villain is about to beat the hero, or the hero is about to beat the villain, but then Dad stopped me and I had to go to bed.

Why did he say ‘like’ here?
Well he was remembering, but he wasn’t totally sure. Perhaps that was the movie, or perhaps it was a different one.
So ‘like’ signaled he wasn’t sure?
Yes and he said it again later.
Now the hero is the good guy and the villain is the bad guy.
And he couldn’t remember who was winning, so he signaled that by saying ‘like’
‘Like’ signaled he wasn’t sure.
Yes. This isn’t just a feature of young people’s speech. We use ‘like’ in the same way.
It signals uncertainty or that something is approximate.
For example, it’s like this big. And it could be this big or it could be this big.
‘Like’ signals an approximation.
It means what I’m saying might not be perfectly accurate. And it can also signal exaggeration. It’s like this big!
That sounds like a useful function!
And another way we use ‘like’ is as a discourse marker
What do you mean?
It’s a word we use to organize our speech. For example … Like … Well … So … We put like it at the start of a sentence when we’re thinking of what to say.
So it’s a filler. Like Errr … and Umm …..
Yes, it’s a word that fills a space and helps us speak more smoothly.
OK. Let’s hear another story.

Can you name something that you’ve had to apologize for doing?
Oh I know, I know, I know, I know. The time where I buried my Dad’s ring. I had to apologize for burying my Dad’s wedding ring.

Before we carry on, do you know the word ‘bury’.
It means to put something in the ground.
When people die we bury them. It’s a regular verb. Bury, buried, buried.
A dog could bury a bone in the ground.
We can bury treasure too.

I had to apologize for burying my Dad’s wedding ring. The reason why I did it was because I wanted to use the metal detector. Then I told my Dad and said ‘Dad, where’s the metal detector?’ Then my Dad was like your brother took it apart a couple of months ago, and then I’m like … Dad was like ‘Yo, what’s wrong?’ And then I was like Argh! I buried your wedding ring. And then my Dad was like … Oh! So that’s why you wanted to use the metal detector.

Did you understand everything?
He buried his Dad’s wedding ring in the yard.
Or in British English, the garden.
He buried it in the yard so he could try to find it with the metal detector.
But their metal detector was broken because his brother had taken it apart.
Did they ever find the ring?
No. I think it’s still lost. Let’s hear what his Dad said again.

And then my Dad was like … Oh! So that’s why you wanted to use the metal detector.

He’s lucky because his Dad is really nice.
He was very understanding.
OK, there was one more use of ‘like’ there that’s common and pretty funny.

Your brother took it apart a couple of months ago and then I’m like ….

So you can say ‘like’ and then make a funny face.
It’s very common.
And easy too. No words, just a dramatic face.
I want to say a big thank you to Super Agent Awesome for helping us make this video.
He was like … !
If you enjoyed this video, please give it a thumbs up and share it with your friends.
See you next week everyone. Bye.

Click here to learn the difference between ‘Do you like…?’ and ‘What’s it like?’
Click here to learn how to use ‘be like’, ‘look like’ and ‘be alike’.

how to report an emergency in English

Emergency English – making a 911 or 211 call

This lesson’s about how to make English emergency calls such as a 911 or 112 call.
You’ll learn how to report an emergency in English and how to report your location to get help fast.
We give examples of different emergencies you might need to report like:
– Someone’s choked on some food
– I think someone’s trying to break into my home
– There’s been a car accident
– Someone’s walked into a glass window
We also look at questions response workers typically ask such as:
– Are they male or female?
– How old is he?
– Is he conscious?
– Is he breathing?
Finally we’ll show you an English emergency call so you can see some of the phrases in action.

Click here to see more vocabulary lessons.

How to report an emergency in English

Hi. I’m Vicki and you’re going to learn some words and phrases that we hope you’ll never need!
And I’m Jay and this lesson is really important. It’s vocabulary you must learn, just in case.
If there’s an emergency, what number do you dial for help?
In the US it’s 911.
And in the UK it’s 999 or 112. It’s 112 in most European countries.
Emergency numbers are generally short – usually just three numbers.
So you can remember them and dial them quickly.
They’ll connect you to the service you need, like ambulance, police or fire.

What’s your emergency?
What emergency are you reporting?
What service do you need? Ambulance, police or fire brigade?

What do we call the people who answer the phones?
Well, they have several names. They’re operators because they operate the phones.
Or responders because they answer questions and do things.
Or dispatchers because they send people to help.
My husband has choked on some food and he’s not breathing.
Help! My house is on fire.
I think someone’s trying to break into my home.
My son walked into a glass window and cut his head.
There’s a guy in Falworth Park who needs help. I think he’s having a heart attack.
There’s been a car accident on Ridge Pike.
In emergency calls, it’s crucial to state your location – to tell the dispatchers where you are.
Location is the most important thing. If they don’t know where you are, they can’t send help.

What’s your location?
What’s the address?
What’s the address of the emergency?
Where are you exactly?

Give any useful information you can about location.
You need to be exact and as helpful as possible.

It’s 4 Vandyke Street and we’re in flat 6 on the second floor.
It’s the building on the corner, with two big antennas.

You might be able to name a local landmark or nearby business.

We’re in front of the Philadelphia art museum.
We’re across the road from the Bagel Factory.

The address is really crucial, so the dispatchers will want to check they’ve got it right.

Can you repeat it to make sure I have it correctly?
So the address is 20 Vandyke Street? That’s where we’re going, right?

Once they have the address they can send help. But stay on the line so they can collect more information.
If someone is hurt or injured, they’ll ask you about the patient.

Is the patient male or female?
How old is he?

You might not know the patients’ age and that’s all right. You can make a rough guess.

She’s a young teenager.
Oh, he’s middle-aged.
She looks like she’s in her late twenties.

Two more important questions are ‘are they conscious?’ and ‘are they breathing?’
Conscious means awake and able to understand what’s happening.
And breathing means taking air into the lungs and sending it out again.

Is he conscious?
Is she awake?
Is he breathing?
Does she appear to be breathing?
Is he fully alert?

If you’re alert, you can think quickly and clearly, so you know what’s happening.
The responders may also want information about the accident and what’s happening now.

Tell me exactly what happened?
What’s happening now?
Are you with the patient right now?
Are you alone?
Is anyone helping?
Is someone giving first aid?
Is anyone giving CPR?

First aid is simple medical treatment that we give to people before a doctor comes.
CPR is the abbreviation for cardiopulmonary resuscitation. It’s when you press on someone’s chest to keep them alive if they’ve stopped breathing or if their heart has stopped beating.
The emergency service might want you to stay and help.
And then they’ll give you instructions.

An English emergency call

My co-worker fell off a ladder and he’s bleeding.
Where are you?
We’re at the construction site at 20th and Arch.
So the address is 20th and Arch? Is that where we’re going?
Yes. The south west corner. We’re on the first floor.
The south west corner of 20th and Arch. First floor. Is that right?
How old is your co-worker?
He’s about fifty. Please come quick.
Help is on the way. They’ll be with you shortly. Is he conscious?
Is he breathing?
Is he breathing, Mike?….
Yes. he’s breathing.
Is someone with you?
Yes, my supervisor Mike is here.
He’s coming round.
He’s coming around.
So the patient is conscious?
Yes, but he needs stitches.
Is there serious bleeding?
Yes, from his head.
Is there blood spurting out or pouring out?
OK. Don’t move him unless it’s absolutely necessary. Tell him to sit still and wait for help to arrive.
Tell him to sit still, Mike. Is anyone coming?
Yes, help is on the way.

Coming around means becoming conscious again.
So you’re unconscious and then you come round or come to. It means become conscious.
We saw a lot of blood there.
Blood is the red liquid that flows through your body.
If blood is spurting, it’s coming from an artery. The heart pumps blood through arteries.
And if blood is pouring, it’s probably coming from a vein, and it’s on its way back to the heart.
When you lose blood, you bleed. So bleed is the verb. Bleed, bled, bled.
He was bleeding from a wound in his head. A wound is an injury where there’s a hole in your skin.
And a stitch is a short piece of thread that doctors use to sew the edges of a wound together.

I’m going to give you some instructions to control the bleeding, so listen carefully.
Do you have a clean dry towel or cloth?
Mike does, yes.
Place it on the wound and press down firmly. Don’t lift it up to look.
Hold it down on the wound, Mike. Press it firmly. Don’t lift it up.
If he becomes less awake and vomits, quickly turn him on his side.
OK. Help is on the way?
Yes, they’ll be with you in just a minute.
Oh, I can hear them. Thank you, thank you so much.

To vomit means to be sick. To bring up your food.
We’ve made another video about that and other sickness vocabulary.
I’ll put the link here.
And another thing you heard was a siren.
Ambulances, police cars and fire engines all have sirens. [makes the noise]
No that’s a British siren. An American one goes [makes the noise]
And that’s it everyone!
Are we finished?
But there’s one more thing we should mention. Don’t call the emergency services unless you really need them!
Don’t make calls that waste their time.
Only call if it’s an emergency.
It’s got to be something where you need help right way.
A medical emergency or immediate danger.
We hope that never happens to you!
Now, if you think this video was useful, please share it with a friend.
And don’t forget to subscribe to our channel and click the notification bell so you hear about our future videos.
See you next week, bye-bye.

Click here to see more vocabulary lessons.

disagree in English

How to Disagree like a Native Speaker

Disagreeing is tricky in any language. It means you’re saying someone else is wrong or different and linguists have found it’s a dispreferred response.
In this lesson we look at some steps English native speakers often follow when they disagree:

  • Hesitating
    Asking challenging questions
    Saying ‘yes but…’ and adding their objections

We note how the phrases I agree and I don’t agree are explicit and formal and hence have limited uses in everyday conversations, namely to report other people’s opinions and to clear up misunderstandings.

Click here to see our video on 12 ways to agree in English

Disagreeing in English

Is this the design?
Oh nice! You should do it in colour.
I like black and white.
No, you don’t. You’re only saying that because I suggested colour.
Well, you’re always wrong.
So whatever I say, you’re always going to disagree?
You know, you’re absolutely right.
Yep. Black and white is perfect.
You think so?
Yeah. Don’t change a thing.
Then I’m going to make it in color.
What just happened there?

Agreeing is easy in English and we’ve made another video about that.
Disagreeing is harder because people don’t like to disagree.
It can damage relationships.
So how do we disagree in English?
In this video you’ll learn some of the things we say, and some things we don’t say too.
Let’s start with that. Look at these phrases.
I don’t agree and I disagree. They mean the same thing.
But are they common phrases in spoken English?
They’re grammatically correct.
Yes, but are they things we often say?
I’m going to guess yes.
You’re wrong!
What do you mean, I’m wrong?!
My students say them a lot, but native English speakers don’t use these phrases much in normal conversation.
How do you know?
Well, these days we have big data banks with lots of examples of spoken English so we can look at things like this.
And, we don’t say these phrases much?
Not in everyday conversation.
Then what do we say?
We need an example!

How native English speakers do it

Are you ready?
Well let’s go. …… What’s the matter?
Are you going to wear that shirt?
Yes. It’s my Phillies championship shirt. It’s my favorite.
Yeah, but it’s ten years old.
That’s when we won the championship.
Yes, but it’s got a hole in it! Throw it away.
No way, it’s my favorite!
You look a mess.
Stop nagging.
I don’t want to be seen with you in that shirt.
Well then I’ll go on my own.

OK, so what happened there?
Well the conversation followed some steps. Linguists have found that when we disagree it often goes in steps.
What did we say?
Well first of all, I didn’t say anything.

Are you ready?
Well let’s go. ……

You hesitated.
Yes, so first I kept quiet.
There was a pause.
And then what did I do?

Well let’s go. …. What’s the matter?
Are you going to wear that shirt?

You asked a question.
That’s very common. Instead of disagreeing we ask questions.
Challenging questions. And then what did you say?

Are you going to wear that shirt?
Yes, it’s my Phillies championship shirt. It’s my favorite.
Yeah, but it’s ten years old.
That’s when we won the championship.
Yes, but it’s got a hole in it!

You said ‘yes but…’ and raised an objection.
‘Yes but….’ means no!
Uhuh. ‘Yes but’ is the most common phrase we use to disagree.
And then after that, we got into a fight.
Yes, once it’s clear there’s disagreement, we say what we really think.
So there were four steps – hesitating, questioning, ‘yes but’ and then the fight.
We don’t always take every step, but it’s a typical pattern.
We start slowly and build.
Maybe you do this in your language too?

Disagreeing – a dispreferred response

Agreeing is easier. We can just say ‘You’re right’, and nobody gets upset.
Disagreeing is harder because we’re saying someone’s wrong or different.
Linguists call disagreeing a dispreferred response. We prefer to say ‘Yes, you’re right’.
How about if we say ‘I’m sorry but I disagree’ or ‘I’m afraid I disagree’.
So add an apology?
It softens the disagreement.
Yes, but again it’s not frequent in normal conversation. So it could sound weird. We normally say something like ‘Yes but…’ instead.

How to use I don’t agree and I disagree

So let’s go back to these phrases. Are there any situations where we do use them?
Perhaps a formal meeting. They sound formal.
‘Excuse me Ms. Chairperson. I disagree.’
Yeah, or if you’re taking part in a political discussion on a television talk show. Politicians often say them.

We can afford to make these investments. Now I know there are Republicans in Congress who disagree with my approach.
We can afford to make these investments. Now I know there are Republicans in Congress who disagree with my approach.

Notice what Obama did here. He used the verb ‘disagree’ to report other people’s opinions.
He wasn’t saying ‘I disagree with you’.
He was reporting what other people think. Here’s another example.

This is the camera we should buy.
Ooo, I see. And what does Kathy think?
She thinks we should buy this camera.
Oooo. So she doesn’t agree with you.
Yeah but Kathy doesn’t know anything about cameras.

So if we’re reporting someone else’s opinions, we’ll say they don’t agree or they disagree.
Yes, disagree is often a reporting verb. And we use it when we want to be explicit.
Being explicit means being extra clear about what we mean.
That might happen if there’s a misunderstanding.

So this camera costs $5,000.
Yes. It’s a high-end camera with all the features we need.
But this one only costs $2000.
Yeah, but it can’t shoot slow motion.
I don’t think we need that.
Exactly. We don’t need the cheaper camera.
No, I mean we don’t need slow motion. I don’t agree with you.
You think we should get the cheaper camera?

So we misunderstood one another there.
Yes, I had to be extra clear.
And that’s why you said I don’t agree with you.
Yes. These phrases are formal and explicit, so be careful. A lot of students over use them.
Don’t use them too much.
When we disagree we normally, hesitate, question, say ‘yes but’ and add that objection.
OK. Let’s see another example of that.

There’s something wrong with that thermostat.
You know, I’ve noticed that too. The temperature keeps shooting up.
Did you say up?
That’s weird. I thought it went down. It should be 75 degrees.
Why do you want it to be 75 degrees?
It’s a comfortable temperature.
Yes, for you. But I like it at 65.
Yes, but you can take your jacket off if you get too hot.
Why don’t you wear more clothes?
65 is freezing!

It is freezing! You agree with me, don’t you?
Feel free to disagree in the comments.
And that’s it for today everyone.
Is that all? We’re done already?
But we haven’t looked at how we can prevent arguments in English.
We’ll do that another day.
So make sure you subscribe to our channel everyone.
And hit the notification bell so you don’t miss it.
We hope you’ve enjoyed this video and find it useful.
If you have, please share it with a friend.
See you next week everyone. Bye-bye.