grammar quiz

How good is your English – Quiz 6

Welcome to quiz 6 in our series about common English mistakes that ESL learners make.

In this video we’ll ask you to identify 7 common English mistakes and choose your answer before the clock stops ticking.

Then we’ll explain what’s wrong and show you examples of the correct English in action. We’ll also direct you to videos if you want more help with grammar and vocabulary.

In this video we look at:
– how we explain purpose (to do vs. for to do)
– different uses of should have and shouldn’t have
We compare the different meanings of:
– shade and shadow
– protect, prevent and avoid
– believe and believe in

To see our other other English grammar and vocabulary quizzes in this series, click here.

Grammar quiz

Hi everyone! We’re back with another quiz!
We’re going to see how good your English is.
We have some common English mistakes and we’ll see if you can spot them.
Before the clock stops ticking.
How good is your English really?
Let’s find out.

Explaining purpose (to do vs. for to do)

Let’s start with a very common mistake.
Your friend asks where you’re going. What do you say?
I’m going to Starbucks for to get coffee.
I’m going to Starbucks to get coffee.
I’m going to Starbucks for getting coffee.
In lots of languages you’d use the word ‘for’ with the infinitive to express this idea.
But not in English.
We’ve made a video about the prepositions to and for haven’t we?
Yes, I’ll put the link here. OK, next question.

Different uses of should have and shouldn’t have

Your work colleagues went out for a meal together last night but you were tired, so you didn’t join them.
The next day one of your colleagues says, ‘You should have been with US last night.’ What’s the correct reply?
I was very tired.
Yes, I should have. I’m sorry.
Why, what happened?
That was a listening question because there are two different ways to say this sentence.
You SHOULD have been with us last night.
That means she’s angry that you weren’t there.
You should have been with US last night.
That means something exciting happened and she has some interesting gossip to share.
It’s an invitation for you to ask questions.
Did you hear the difference?
Listen again if you need to and pay attention to the intonation and stress.
Sometimes when we use ‘shouldn’t have’ it’s because we’re annoyed or angry.
Yes, like, ‘You shouldn’t have parked there. That’s my spot!’
Well you shouldn’t have eaten the cookies. They were mine.
But as we’ve seen, we don’t just use it when we’re cross.
In fact you’ll often hear us use it when we’re thanking people.
Oh wow! You’ve made some soup.
You shouldn’t have gone to all this trouble for me. Oh and some wine too. Are you having anything?
OK, another question.

Shade and shadow

All right, here’s the situation. We have a roof deck on our house and it gets very hot and sunny up there, so this year we bought something.
Can you guess what it is?
It’s a sun umbrella. Now why did we buy it?
We bought it because we wanted some shadow.
We bought it because we wanted some shade.
Shadow and shade both refer to the dark shape you get when an object blocks the light. When we’re thinking in terms of the shape it makes, we use shadow.
And when we’re thinking in terms of shelter from the sun, we use shade.
We wanted shelter on our deck so we wanted shade.
This is a lamp and this is its shade. It protects our eyes from the light.
And we can call these shades – notice that it’s plural. Shades is an informal word for sun glasses.
Cool shades, eh?
So the word shade is about protection.
And shadows are about shape. For example, our shadows lengthen as the sun goes down.
So here’s another quick question. Are these shadow puppets or shade puppets?
Shadow puppets.
OK. Next question.

Protect, prevent and avoid

Well, there’s a lot of COVID-19 around, so you’re wearing a mask. Now why is that?
It’s to prevent me and everyone else.
It’s to protect me and everyone else.
When we protect something or someone, we keep it safe.
Masks protect us all from COVID-19.
That’s protect. But what about prevent?
When we prevent something, we stop it from happening.
It’s usually something bad.
Masks can prevent the spread of COVID-19.
So a lot of things that protect us also prevent bad things from happening.
We need another question then.
OK. Why should you wear a helmet when you’re cycling?
Because helmets can protect head injuries.
Because helmets can prevent head injuries.
I always wear a helmet when I’m cycling. Helmets prevent head injuries. And I always use a security lock to prevent theft.
So protecting is keeping safe, and preventing is stopping something bad.
And there’s another verb that sometimes confuses my students here.
Let’s have another question then.
You’re leaving work early and your friend asks why. What do you say?
I want to avoid rush hour.
I want to prevent rush hour.
Let’s go home.
But it’s only 4.30.
But if we leave now we’ll avoid rush hour.
Oh, good idea.
We can’t prevent the rush hour because we can’t stop itfrom happening.
But we can try to stay away from it to avoid the heavy traffic
So there’s a little difference in meaning here.
Oh Jay! It’s like he’s avoiding me.
When we avoid something, we try not to go near it.
But when we prevent it we stop it from happening.
What are you wearing?
It’s none of your business.
Don’t tell me. It’s a helmet to prevent me from reading your mind.
How did you know?
I read your mind.
If you’d like more practice with these tricky verbs, we’ve made another video about them.
Click here to see it.
Let’s have one more.

Believe and believe in

OK, this one’s about a phrasal verb. Imagine someone tells you that they saw a ghost. But you think they’re lying. What would you say?
I don’t believe you.
I don’t believe in you.
And you don’t think ghosts exist. What would you say?
I don’t believe ghosts.
I don’t believe in ghosts.
If you believe someone you think that what they’re saying is true.
But believe IN is different. It’s a phrasal verb and it has a couple of different meanings.
One is to feel certain that something exists – so you can believe in ghosts or believe in god.
And the other meaning is when you trust a person.
Here’s an example of that. A little while ago Jay asked me to cut his hair.
It was getting long because of the COVID lockdown.
Oh Jay, I hope this is going to look OK.
It doesn’t matter. Hair grows back. You’ll do great.
He believes in me.
If you believe in someone, you trust them and feel they’ll be successful.
You can see if I did a good job or not in this video.
And how did you do on this quiz? Did you get all the questions right?
If you enjoyed it, give us a thumbs up.
And why not share it with a friend?
I’m going to put the links to videos we’ve mentioned in the description below.
And we’ll also add links to our other quizzes. If you want to test yourself some more, you’ll find them there.
And we’ll be back soon with another video, so make sure you subscribe.
And click the notification bell, so you don’t miss it. Bye-bye everyone.

How English word pairs work

How English word pairs work

Word pairs make your English more colloquial and conversational. (To see our first video on word pairs, click here.)

The technical term for these expressions is binomials and English is full of them! In this video you’ll learn:

– what some of them mean – the common patterns they follow – how to use them in action

We’ll show you phrases for things you’ll often find together like:

– soap and water – shoes and socks – shirt and tie – facts and figures

We’ll look at word pair opposites like:

– in and out – up and down – hit and miss – pros and cons

You’ll see examples of the most common type of English word pairs – words with similar meanings:

– this and that – front and centre – aches and pains – first and foremost – sick and tired – safe and sound

And we’ll also look at an interesting group of word pairs: words that rhyme, like:

– huffing and puffing – out and about – wear and tear

We know you love English word pairs.
They’re so common in English. If you’re going to improve your listening, you need them!
They’re colloquial and conversational and we use them all the time.
So here are lots more word pairs to expand your vocabulary
And this video has something special. You’re going to see my grandson!
Word pairs are set phrases. They’re two words joined with ‘and’ and English is full of them.
In this video, we’re looking at some different kinds of words that we often pair together.
And we’ll see if you can spot some patterns.
So let’s warm up with three easy ones.
Soap and…
Soap and water!
Yes. Shoes and …
Shirt and …
Oh, OK.
So what’s the connection here?
It’s easy, huh? They’re all things you often find together.
Where there’s soap, there’s often water.
Where there’s a shirt, there’s often a tie, though not always!
Let’s try a harder one.
Facts and …
Oh I’m lost. What?
Facts and figures.
Oh facts and figures! OK.
So facts and figures are accurate, detailed information.
Exactly. So a company’s annual report would be filled with facts and figures.
I’m so excited to be here. It’s great to see you.
You too. So how did your team do this month, Jay?
Oh fantastic. This month was great!
So how did this month compare to last month.
Oh, that’s easy. Way better!
OK, but how many products did you sell?
Jay. We need some fact and figures.
So facts and figures are things you often find together.
OK, now let’s look at a different type of word pair.
The kind of word connection is different.
Watch and see if you can work out what it is.
In and …
Out, in and out. For example we could say ‘he was in and out of jail for most of his life’.
Yeah, and then he’d go there regularly. Yes. So for example, when I’m working, Jay’s always coming in and out of my office. Disturbing me.
And then we have up and …
Up and down.
Yes. And what’s that?
The stock market has been up and down for the last month.
Yes, that’s a good example. And also people can feel up and down, can’t they? When they’re emotionally happy one minute and feeling a bit depressed the next.
We were up when we saw the curve was flattening in the corona virus and down when we realized it was going up again.
Yes. Hit and …
Miss. Hit and miss.
Yes, give me a sentence.
Making successful investments for me over the years has always been hit and miss.
Yes, it means in a way that’s not planned or organized. So things that are hit or miss are often unsuccessful.
So if we hit something we reach a target. And if we miss we fail to reach the target.
Now, here are the word pairs. In and out, up and down, hit and miss. What’s the connection here?
They’re all words with opposite meanings.
Some English word pairs are opposites. Here’s another example.
Pros and …
Cons. Pros and cons.
It’s the advantages and disadvantages of something.
Wouldn’t it be great if we all had company cars.
Management will never agree to that.
But have we ever made the business case?
The business case?
Yeah, where we set out the pros and cons and show them why it’s a good idea.
Really? Won’t it cost too much?
OK, so cost is a con. Cost. Now what about pros?
Oh well, I’d love to have a company car.
See that’s a pro. Happy employees.
No more lining up for the bus in the morning.
Another pro. It saves time.
I could listen to the radio while I’m driving to work.
Listen to news shows. Better informed employees.
Or music.
Or motivational recordings. Better informed and better motivated employees.
Wow, there are more pros than cons.
Yep. I’m sending this to your phone now. Now go and make the business case.
Me? Now?
Yeah, go on. You’ll do great. Off you go.
Pros and cons are opposites and that’s why we pair them together.
But other word pairs are different. Let’s look at another connection.
Watch some more examples and see if you can work out why we pair the words together.
This and …
That. This and that.
Yes. And it just means various things.
So what did you talk about?
Oh, this and that.
Front and …
Front and center. Front and center.
Yes. And it means in the most important position. So erm…
Make that issue front and center at our next meeting.
Yes. Or, erm, the COVID crisis and race relations have both moved front and centre in the forthcoming election.
Aches and…
OK, what’s the difference between an ache and a pain?
Oh, that’s interesting. A pain is what you have when a part of your body hurts, like a pain in your knee or your elbow.
OK, and an ache is a continuous pain.
Every morning I wake up with aches and pains.
Because you’re so old.
No, no. It’s because of all the exercise I do.
So we had, front and center, this and that, aches and pains. How is each pair connected here?
They have similar meanings.
They don’t have exactly the same meaning, but they’re very similar.
And word pairs like this are very common.
I think sometimes we do this because it adds emphasis to what we say. It exaggerates a bit.
First and …
Foremost. First and foremost. We can say that an individual is first and foremost in his profession.
Oh yes, and it emphasizes the fact that he’s the number one. The top of it.
Right. Or first and foremost in my speech, I want to point out that …
Yes, the most important thing in my speech is … First and foremost.
OK, another one. Each and …
Every, each and every.
Yes. And we use this when we mean, when we want to emphasize that we mean everyone or everything in a group.
We want to thank each and everyone of you for subscribing to our channel.
Yes. And if you haven’t subscribed yet, do it now!
One, two, three, four.
What are you doing?
I’m counting the paper clips.
But why?
Well, it’s part of my job. Every year I count the inventory.
So you count the paper clips?
Each and every paper clip, each and every year. Eight… Oh no. One, two, three.
You need to remember that a lot the words can have several different meanings, so it’s not always easy to spot what’s happening.
Let’s look at some words that you might think mean different things, but actually, sometimes their meanings can be similar.
Sick and…
Sick and tired.
I’m sick and tired of the guy that they put in a management position at my company.
Yes, OK. So you’re angry and you’re complaining.
Yes, you’re feeling miserable about it.
I am, absolutely!
The word ‘sick’ often means ill or unwell.
But it can also mean bored and annoyed about something.
Hello. Hello? I am sick and tired of robo calls.
Me too.
Here’s another example. These words have a similar meaning that you might not know about.
Safe and …
Oh safe and sound.
Yes. Now ‘sound’ is interesting, because it can mean a noise, of course, but it doesn’t here. It means whole and healthy.
So safe and sound means safe and healthy – in one piece.
I arrived at my destination safe and sound.
Phew! OK!
Have we heard from Tom yet?
No. Oh hi. Are you there yet?
Yeah, we’ve just walked in. Yes, we’re all home safe and sound.
And how was your flight?
That was my grandson and his dad Tom, and his mum, Yana.
Tom and Yana are English teachers too, and Tom has a YouTube channel with his friend Sam.
I’m going to put the link to their channel here so you can check it out and subscribe.
Put it at the end of the video too.
OK. Now we have one more puzzle for you and it’s tricky.
There are some other types of words that we sometimes pair together.
This is a different type of connection. Can you work it out?
What about huffing? Huffing and …
Huffing and puffing.
Yes, what’s that?
It’s what happens to me when I climb up four flights of stairs to the deck.
Yeah. It’s when you get wheezy and you’re breathing heavily. And also you can huff and puff about doing something that you don’t want to do. So I could ask Jay to clear the table and there might be a lot of huffing and puffing.
I don’t like clearing the table.
Out and …
Out and about
We might say we’ve been out and about in Philadelphia talking to people.
OK, and it would mean travelling around. But we can also use it when somebody has been indoors because they’ve been ill and when they’re able to go outside again, we’d say …
They’re out and about.
Wear and …
Where and when.
That’s what we say when someone wants to make an appointment with you or set up a meeting. Where and when?
OK, but I was thinking of wear and ttttt…
Where and, and what?
Wear and tear.
Oh wear and tear! Oh, of course.
Can I throw these secateurs away, Jay?
No, I was going to sell them on ebay.
They’re old and rusty.
Oh it’s just a little wear and tear.
It’s damage to objects usually, that occurs just by use, over a period of time. Wear and tear.
OK, so we have huffing and puffing.
Out and about.
Wear and tear
What’s the connection here? It’s not just about meaning.
Think about the sounds. The words all rhyme.
So become a poet and try making some sentences with them.
Or with the other word pairs you’ve seen. Experiment with them in the comments. We love hearing from you.
Have we finished now?
Not really because there are so many useful expressions like this, but we can make another video.
Make sure you hit the notification bell so you don’t miss it.
Bye everyone.
See you soon. Bye-bye.

To see our first video on word pairs, click here.

Click here to see Tom and Sam’s YouTube channel.

English TH sounds

The English TH sound – fixing mistakes

Our video on the English TH sound is here at last! In this lesson you’ll:

  • learn how to pronounce the tricky TH sounds (Yes, there are two of them!)
  • see how we move our mouth and tongue
  • watch examples of common mistakes, so you can avoid them
  • learn which mistakes matter and which don’t

The English TH sound

Though. Though.
We’ve had lots of requests for a video on the TH sound.
And now it’s here!
We’re going to show you how to pronounce this difficult sound.
And we’ll also show you what can go wrong, so you can fix mistakes you might be making.
Very few languages have a TH sound but it’s a common sound in English.
If you don’t have it in your language, you’ll need to learn new mouth and tongue movements.
And just to make things harder, we have two TH sounds.
There’s an unvoiced sound.
th. th.
And a voiced sound.
th th.
The way you move your mouth with both these sounds is the same.
The difference is whether you add you voice. You can feel the difference here. th. th.
We use unvoiced sounds in words like these: thin, thanks, mouth, birthday.
And we use voiced sounds in words like these: this, that, mother, weather.
But we’re jumping ahead. The first thing you need to know is how we move our mouths.

How to move your mouth and tongue

OK, so here’s the mouth and inside is the tongue. But it’s not a good tongue for making a TH sound. Because it’s pointy. This is a good tongue for a T sound and a D sound. t t t, d d d. But with the TH sound, you need something that’s thicker. Let’s have a go. OK, this tongue is better because it’s wider and not so pointy. And you want to put it on top of your bottom teeth. Put your top teeth on top so you can just see it peeking out.
Keep the back of your tongue low in your mouth and blow air around the sides of the tongue. th. th. It’s a gentle sound and just the tip of the tongue is enough.
So you don’t want a pointy tongue for a TH sound.
Yeah, and that’s something students often find hard. Your tongue needs to be relaxed.
There’s no tension.
So what’s tricky about this for English learners?
We’re going to show you some examples.

TH sound – Fixing mistakes

We asked some non-native speakers to say some different TH words.
Watch us and then watch them and see if you can spot any problems.
Pathetic, pathetic
Instead of th, they’re saying /t/.
This is very common. So what’s causing it?
Well, remember you need to keep your tongue down and relaxed. If it’s pointy and it goes too high you’re going to make a T sound.
Let’s see some learners who got it right.
Pathetic. Pathetic.
They were good.
Let’s have another example.
OK, this is the word ‘thaw’. If ice thaws, then it turns into water when it gets warmer.
Pay attention to the third example.
The last guy was interesting because instead of thaw, he said ‘chow’.
Ch. It’s a mixture of /t/ and sh. Ch.
It means his tongue was too high up but also too far back. If you’re saying ch, you need to get your tongue down between your teeth for th.
So how far forward does your tongue have to be?
That’s an interesting question because it varies.
Thhhhh. It sounds silly if your tongue is too far forward.
I watch our mouths a lot when I’m editing our videos, and sometimes I see our tongues come out clearly between our teeth – teeth. And sometimes they hardly come out at all. Teeth.
Is there a general rule that can help?
It depends on word stress and speed, but some of my students find this helpful. If you put your finger in front of your lips, you just want your tongue to touch it lightly. That’s a sort of average distance.
Now th is an unvoiced sound, but what about the voiced sound. th. What problems do students have with that?
See if you can spot one.
They were saying /d/ instead of th.
Did you hear it?
This is similar to the problem we saw before with T sounds. Their tongues are too pointy and high up.
When you lift your tongue up, you block the air flow and make a T or D consonant instead.
D and T consonants are similar. Your mouth and tongue are in the same position. T is unvoiced and you just add your voice to make a D. /t/ /t/ /t/ – /d/ /d/ /d/.
So if you’re saying a /t/ or /d/, bring your tongue down between your teeth for th.
A good way to practice is to hold out the sounds. It makes sure you’re keeping your tongue relaxed.

OK, let’s have the next example.
This one’s fun. You’ll hear some learners saying the word south. Do they all sound OK to you?
What did you think?
I thought they were great except the last one.
And I think they were all great.
But what about the last one? She said ‘souf’.
A lot of people in and around London often say /f/ instead of th. So to me she sounds great. But to you?
I haven’t heard that in the US.
What she was doing there was putting her top teeth on her bottom lip and blowing air. /f/ /f/ /f/.
If you say it that way in London, we’ll understand you.
OK, let’s have a different example.
This time some learners are going to say the number three. Which one’s different?
The last guy said it differently.
He said tree not three.
That reminds me of growing up in New York because people often said that there too. Instead of thirty-three they said Tirty-Tree.
It’s a plosive sound. tree.
I think it’s an Irish thing.
It’s the same in Ireland. It’s a regional variation again.
And that raises a question. How good do you want your TH sounds to be?

Setting your pronunciation goals

Perhaps your goal is to learn to speak English like a native speaker, and then you’ll want them to be perfect.
But most people just want communicate and a perfect accent isn’t important.
Then the goal is be intelligible: to make your TH sounds clear enough for other people to understand.
And we have good news about that because that might not be as hard as you think.
There’s been a lot of research into this and it might surprise you. Consonant sounds are normally important for intelligibility, so getting sounds like /p/ and /b/ right and /l/ and /r/. They matter.
But TH sounds are an exception. A lot of variations seem to work.
So instead of th you might say /d/ or /t/ or/f/ or /v/. It might not matter. People will probably understand you.
Exactly. Of course you can’t say just anything.
Yeah. For example, you probably don’t want to say ch or dj. They might be harder to understand.
And something else about that research. If you want to be intelligible, they found rhythm and stress were very important.
We’ve made another video about that. I’ll put the link here.
Make sure you check it out. And if you’ve enjoyed this video, perhaps we could make another one to practice the TH sounds.
So you can develop the muscle memory you need to make the perfect th. Let us know if you’d like that.
And if you haven’t subscribed yet, do it now!
And share this video with all your friends.
Goodbye everyone.
Oh. Bye-bye

English word pairs

31 word pairs for natural fluent English

Make your English sound more natural and fluent with useful English word pairs. These binomial expressions will make your English sound more colloquial and conversational.

We start off with some easy ones like salt and pepper and knife and fork and then move on to some you might not know like:
– an arm and a leg
– touch and go
– high and dry
– to and fro
– thick and thin
– flesh and blood
– kith and kin
– kiss and make up
– meat and potatoes
and lots, lot more.

We’ll show you what the word pairs mean and how we use them in action so they’re easy to remember and you know how to use them yourself.

Do you want your English to sound more natural?
And more fluent too? We’ve got some great expressions to help you.
They’re very idiomatic and conversational
And they’re fun too.
So I’m going to say a word and you’re going to say the word that goes with it.
OK, I’ll try that.
So if I say salt?
Salt and pepper.
OK, salt and pepper.
Knife and fork.
Uh huh. Notice you said ‘n. Knife ‘n fork.
Knife ‘n fork. Right.
So the ‘and’ gets reduced to ‘n. in a lot of these.
Husband and …
Me and …
Yes. Ladies and …
You knew them all.
They were very predictable. They’re a kind of collocation – a fixed expression.
Yes, they’re pairs of words that go together and English is full of them.
I bet you know lots already. Give it a try!

Common word pairs

Cup and …
Yes. Boys and …
Boys and girls.
Bride and …
Groom. Bride and groom.
Milk and …
Cookies. Milk and cookies.
Bow and …
Arrow. Bow and arrow.
Needle and …
Yes. Peanut butter and …
Jelly. Peanut butter and jelly.
Rock and …
Rock and … Rock and, what?
Your clue is Elvis Presley.
Oh, rock and roll.
So you’ve got the idea.
You have two words, joined by ‘and’.
And the order of the words is generally fixed, so we say ladies and gentlemen, but not gentlemen and ladies.
It’s rock and roll, not roll and rock.
Now those were easy ones, but there are lots of others that you might not know.
So let’s look at some more.

An arm and a leg

OK, an arm and …
And a leg.
Yes, so what does it mean?
An arm and a leg is when you have paid so much that it feels like it cost you an arm and a leg.
Jay’s bought a new food processor. A very expensive food processor.
It’s awesome!
We paid an arm and a leg for it.

Peace and quiet

Peace and …
Peace and quiet.
Yes. Peace, of course, means no war and quiet means not noisy.
It’s exactly what I need to do my work. Peace and quiet.
Then why do you have the music up loud?
Argh. Here’s another example. Do you like it when the grandkids come round?
Oh yes, I love it.
And what about when they leave?
Well I feel sad.
OK, I like it when the grandkids leave as well.
She likes the peace and quiet.

Tooth and nail

Tooth and …
Oh tooth and nail.
Yes, tooth and nail. People sometimes fight tooth and nail.
It means fighting in a very determined way because you must win that fight.
Yes, very aggressive.
Now so far we’ve just been looking at nouns.
But lots of other kinds of words can pair up like this.
They could be verbs, adjectives , adverbs, prepositions …
They just have to be the same kinds of words
Let’s see some examples.

Touch and go

Touch and …
Oh, touch and go.
So touch and go is when you’re not sure if something will be successful. The brain surgery was touch and go.
Will I be OK doctor?
Oh, it’s going to be touch and go.
So if something is touch and go it might work or it might not.
And there’s a possibility that something bad might happen.

Short and sweet

Short and …
Sweet. Short and sweet.
So if you’re telling a story and you make it concise and include just the facts, you’re telling it short and sweet.
It would be brief but satisfying. And with presentations, you probably want to keep them short and sweet. People like that.
You’re late.
How long is this meeting going to take?
About twenty minutes.
I’ll give you five.
Then I’ll keep it short and sweet. You’re fired.

Toss and turn

OK. Tossed and …
Turned. Tossed and turned.
Last night in bed, I tossed and turned. I couldn’t sleep. I kicked the covers. I rolled around.
So it’s when you keep changing your position in bed because you can’t sleep.

By and large

By and …
Large. By and large.
OK, this is an expression we use when we’re talking generally. It indicates a general statement is coming.
With the corona virus it’s very hard for us to go out and go shopping, but by and large we’re OK.
Because we can buy food on line.
I’ve got another one for you. I don’t always agree with you, but by and large I do.
Well I’m glad to hear that.

Give and take

OK. This is something that a good relationship needs. Give and …
Take, give and take.
Yes, what does that mean?
Well, give and take is sort of the process of compromise on two sides.
So what are you doing today?
Oh I’ve got no socks so I have to do the laundry.
I could do it for you, if you like.
Really? Oh thank you.
Perhaps you could do some things for me.
Sure. Anything.
Here are a few things.
Oh, no problem.
That was an example of a little give and a lot of take.
Yes, give and take means something more equal, so everyone gets what they want… sometimes.
Business negotiations are often about give and take.

High and dry, high and low

OK, high and…
Dry. High and dry. If you’re left without help and without the things you need, you’re left high and dry.
So it’s when you’re in a difficult situation. Perhaps Jay walked off and he left me with no money, and no phone, and no car keys. And you’ve left me high and dry.
So sorry. Why would I do that to you?
Here’s another one with High. High and …
Low. High and low.
Yes. It means everywhere.
I’ve searched high and low for my car keys and I can’t find them.
Have you seen my glasses? I’ve been searching high and low for them.

To and fro, back and forth

To and …
Fro. To and fro.
Yes, so it’s when things move from one place to another.
Yes. Think of some things that go to and fro.
A pendulum. To and fro, to and fro.
What’s that for?
I’m going to hypnotize you. Just let your body relax.
You’re not going to make me do something stupid are you?
Oh no!
Here’s a similar one. Back and …
Yes. And what does that mean?
Well, back and forth is a movement.
Back and forth is the physical movement, but you can also go back and forth more metaphorically.
Well you can go back and forth in a discussion. One person makes a point. The other person makes a different point and you go back and forth, trying to listen to each other.
Yeah, negotiations could go back and forth.
So some of these word pairs have figurative meanings as well.
Here’s another one like that:

Thick and thin

So thick and…
Thin. Thick and thin.
OK. So thick or thin. But also it has another meaning too.
Right. I’ll stick with you through thick and thin.
Yes, whatever happens. Through good times, through bad times.
So it means in spite of any difficulties or problems.
The words thick and thin can describe size. Is it a thick book or a thin book?
But we also say through thick and thin and it means in spite of any difficulties or problems.

Flesh and blood, Kith and kin

Flesh and …
Blood. Flesh and blood.
Management wants us to process all these reports by Friday. It’s impossible
We’re not machines.
We’re only flesh and blood.
Flesh and blood refers to a human being.
Yes, it means when you’re thinking of someone in terms of them being very human.
Or very close to you. Someone that’s related to you is your own flesh and blood.
So flesh and blood has two meanings. One is human. Not like a machine.
And the other meaning is your family. They’re your flesh and blood.
There’s another one like that. Kith and…
Kith th th.
Oh, kith and kin.
Kith and kin means your family but kiss and tell means something else but it’s another word pair. What does kiss and tell mean?
Kiss and tell is what you don’t do after you’ve had a relationship with someone else.
Yes. It’s when you’ve had a relationship and the relationship has finished. You don’t tell other people about what happened.
Kith and kin, however, is about family. So kith and kin means relatives. Blood relatives.

Kiss and make up

So we’ve done kiss and tell, but there’s another one with kiss. Kiss and… After an argument.
Oh, kiss and make up!
The best part of arguments.
It’s when you become friendly again after the argument.

Meat and potatoes

Meat and …
We often say the meat and potatoes of that job is…. meaning the standard. Because meat and potatoes is the standard meal.
Now that’s new for me because in British English we talk about meat and potatoes when we’re talking about meal, but it has an extra meaning for you?
Yeah, in American English it refers to meals too, but it also means the basics – the simple but really important things.
Observation is the meat and potatoes of detective work.
So for Sherlock Holmes, observation was a fundamental thing.
It was essential. Here’s another example. The meat and potatoes of our video lessons is grammar and vocabulary.
They’re the simple basic ingredients.
But we also show you how we use English in action too.
And we tell you about differences between American and British English.
So make sure you click the subscribe button to see more of our videos!
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Common english mistakes

How good is your English? Quiz 5

Welcome to quiz 5 in our series about mistakes English learners often make.

To see our other videos in this series, click here.

We’ll ask you to identify 6 common English mistakes and choose your answer before the clock stops ticking.

Then we’ll explain what’s wrong and show you examples of the correct English in action. We’ll also direct you to videos if you want more help with grammar and vocabulary.

In this video we look at how we use:
– the verb concentrate
– the word eventually
We compare the meanings of:
– in the end and at the end
– miss and lose
– trustworthy, trustable and trusting
– hard working and hardly works

Common English mistakes

This lessons about mistakes English students often make without realizing.
We’re going to ask you questions about some tricky words and phrases.
And you have to answer before the clock stops ticking.
Good luck!
Let’s jump straight in with our first question. Ready?

The word concentrate

You’re studying at the library, when some people start having a very loud conversation.
So you ask them to speak more quietly. What do you say?
Could you speak quietly because…
I need to concentrate.
I need to concentrate myself.
I need to be concentrated.
To concentrate means to focus and to give all your attention to something.
It isn’t a reflexive verb in English. So we never concentrate ourselves. We just concentrate.
Sometimes we say ‘I can’t concentrate’.
And we can also say ‘I’m concentrating’.
But if you say ‘I’m concentrated’ it sounds funny.
Yeah, we use concentrated to describe fruit drinks where water is removed to make them stronger.
But you’re a person not a fruit drink so you don’t want to say that!
Now I want you to look carefully at this. July’s figures were up on….Excuse me. Could you please concentrate on these figures?
If you’d like to see more examples, click here.
Great, next question.
OK, you want to suggest that you and your friend go to the movies together one night, if they’re free and they want to. So what do you say?
Eventually we could go and see a movie together. What do you think?
Maybe we could go and see a movie together. What do you think?
So we don’t say eventually in that situation.

The word eventually

Eventually is a false friend in several languages. It doesn’t express possibility or uncertainty in English.
We use words like ‘maybe’, and ‘possibly’ to do that.
In English eventually means after a long of time and a series of events. We use it after a lot of different things have happened.
I didn’t know what to get Vicki for her birthday. I thought about getting her something to wear. Then I wondered about something for her car, or something for the deck, or something for the house.
I thought for a long time and eventually I decided to get her flowers.
Happy birthday.
Ah, thank you. They’re beautiful.
You’re welcome.
It’s a good job you didn’t get me that vacuum cleaner.
Yes, eventually I realized it was a bad idea.
So after you’d thought about it for a long time.
That’s right. Keep watching our videos and eventually your English will be perfect.
Ok, the next question is similar.

In the end and at the end

Someone stops you in the street and asks you where a restaurant is. What do you say?
It’s in the end of the block.
It’s at the end of the block.
Excuse me. Is there a Mediterranean restaurant near here?
Yes, right at the end of the block.
Oh, thank you.
We use ‘at the end’ to talk about the last part of something.
The final part, for example, at the end year
At the end of the tunnel.
At the end of the book. It means the final part.
Oh, what movie are you watching?
Oh, it’s The Murder Island Mystery.
Oh it’s got a surprise twist at the end. It wasn’t the butler that did it…
Stop, don’t tell me!
So that’s ‘at the end’, but what does ‘in the end’ mean?
It has a similar meaning to eventually. It means finally, after a series of events.
We often use it when there’s been a long delay.
We had a problem with the shower. We needed a plumber.
We looked online. We looked in the newspapers. We called our friends. No plumber.
In the end, Jay fixed it himself.
Here’s a link to a video where you can see more examples.
What’s next?

Miss and lose

OK. Here’s a quick one that’s tricky for some Latin language speakers. Imagine you’re going to visit a friend but you’re running late and when you arrive at the station, your train has already left.
You call your friend and what do you say?
I missed the train.
I lost the train.
Hello? Hey Jay, are you coming?
Yes, but I’m gonna be late. I missed the 9 o’clock train so I’ll catch the 10 o’clock.
Oh all right. Well, I’ll see you soon then. Yep. Bye.
When you miss a train, bus or flight you fail to catch it.
But if you lose something it means you can’t find it.
This is the only key we have, so don’t lose it.
It would be very hard to lose a train because they’re very big.
Yeah, you’d have to be a very careless train driver.
If you want more examples, follow this link.

Trustworthy, trustable and trusting

OK, here’s your next question. You have a friend who is very reliable. She always does what she says and you can trust her. So how would you describe her?
She is very reliable and trusting.
She is very reliable and trustworthy.
She is very reliable and trustable.
If someone is trustworthy, you can rely on them to be good and honest.
And if they’re trusting it means they tend to believe that other people are good and honest.
But they might not be trustworthy themselves.
Exactly. And what about trustable?
Well technically speaking, trustable is also word but we hardly ever use it.
We normally say trustworthy instead.
And the opposite of trustworthy is… untrustworthy.
I need to learn to trust you more Vicki. How can I do that?
Oh, we could play the trust game.
The what?
The trust game. Turn around.
That’s right. And then you fall back.
And you’ll catch me.
OK. Argh! You didn’t catch me.
I’m just not very trustworthy.
OK, next question.

Hard working and hardly works

All right. Your friend has a difficult job that requires a lot of effort. What could you say about her?
She works hardly.
She works hard.
She hard works.
She hardly works.
We need an adverb here to describe how she works.
To form a lot of adverbs we add -ly to the adjective. For example. He’s a safe driver. He drives safely. Safe is the adjective and safely is the adverb.
He’s a dangerous driver. He drives dangerously. You just add -ly.
But ‘hard’ is tricky. It’s irregular because the adjective and adverb are the same.
So if someone puts a lot of effort into their work, they’re a hard worker and they work hard.
But this is where it gets really tricky, we also have the word ‘hardly’ and that’s an adverb too.
But hardly means something different. It means almost not or almost none.
So if someone is hardly working, they’re almost not working.
They’re the opposite of a hard worker!
So this is our office.
Very nice! Who’s this?
Oh that’s Jeannie. She’s one of our best employees. She works really hard.
And who’s that?
Ah, that’s Jay. Some days he hardly works at all.
Click here if you’d like to see more examples.
So are we done?
Yes, but if you’ve enjoyed this quiz, we have some more for you. I’ll put a link to the series below and at the end of this video, so you can test yourself on some more tricky English.
And we plan to make more quizzes in the future, so make sure you’ve subscribed to our channel.
Click the notification bell so you don’t miss them.
Bye-bye everyone.

July 4th: History and celebrations

July 4th: History and celebrations

July 4th, 1776 was the day 13 British colonies declared their independence from Great Britain and formed a new nation. Learn about the history of the US from an American and a Brit. (Do you think we’ll agree?) We’ll also show you how we celebrate July 4th today.

You’ll hear why, in our opinions, we think:
– Americans wanted a divorce from Great Britain
– the founding fathers were treasonous/brave/far-sighted
– taxation without representation was the core issue (or not)

We’ll also describe how we celebrate today with things like parades, street parties and fireworks.
And along the way they’ll share some of their favourite (and easy) traditional recipes for a great July 4th party.

July 4th is Independence Day in the US.
And it’s a public holiday. So in this video we’ll look at what American’s are celebrating and how they celebrate it.
They’re celebrating leaving Great Britain.
So in this video you’ll hear our different opinions about the history.
And we’ll show you how we like to celebrate the holiday today.
This is going to be our very personal take on history.
Vicki’s British and I’m American so we’ll probably disagree.
Back in 1776, there was no United States. But down the East coast there were 13 British colonies.
Now, on July 4th 1776 – the 13 colonies declared independence from Great Britain and came together to become a new country.
So basically they committed treason. Treason is the crime where you’re disloyal to your country or its government.
When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
So the declaration of independence was basically a divorce document.
So why did you want a divorce from us?
Well, you were making us pay taxes when we didn’t have any representatives in the British parliament. We had taxation with no representation.
OK, here’s the thing.
You didn’t stay in the colonies. You kept moving west and claiming more land, land where Native Americans were living, and land the French said they owned. You caused a war.
She means the French and Indian war. It happened earlier.
Yeah, and we helped you win it. And it cost money and the British taxpayers had to pay for it. And when we said, ‘Hey, Americans, can you contribute too’, you said ‘No, we’re not paying taxes.’
Well, you didn’t fight the war for us. You were just interested in trade and making money.
So the one key thing to remember about this is ‘taxation without representation’, and that was the cry going forward.
They had a lot of cries going forward.
A cry going forward is like a battle cry. It’s a phrase that a group of people use to encourage one another when they’re working and fighting together.
I mean I think they had quite a lot to complain about because you had Great Britain with King George and Lord North was the Prime Minister at the time, and in order to… to administer the colonies, you had to rely on boats, sailing boats. So if you needed a new law, or you needed to appoint someone new then you would have to put a letter on a ship, and wait for them to respond and then it would have to come back, so it was a kind of inefficient way, I guess, to govern.
Well, worse than that, there was a British governor in each of the thirteen colonies, not an American.
Well, you had a lot of local government though as well, and some of the people that the British governors were appointing were of the colonies.
Well right, they were British loyalists.
What? Hang on, that’s another thing, isn’t it. It wasn’t that all Americans felt one way. You were very divided. There were a lot of people who wanted to stay connected to Great Britain and actually, that’s what the Declaration of Independence is about. It’s a list of complaints about the British government and it’s designed to remind Americans what they were fighting for. It had to unite them.
So that was the job of the founding fathers.
You’ll hear that phrase a lot. The founding fathers. And they’re a group of men who included people like George Washington, Thomas Jefferson…
And Benjamin Franklin.
Benjamin Franklin.
From Philadelphia.
And they set up the government and created the government of the United States.
These men knew that what they were doing would be treason in Great Britain. It was really dangerous. They would be killed if the British caught them. The Founding fathers were very brave and far-sighted.
Far-sighted means they understood what might happen in the future
They thought ahead and planned for it. It was pretty far-sighted in the eighteenth century to say all men are created equal.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
And the rest is history.
We fought the British until 1781 and we won.
Thankfully those wars are all over. And now July 4th is an excuse for a great party.
We do have wonderful celebrations. We have parades in every town, every big city.
What is a parade?
Oh, a parade is groups of people who are performing as they march down the street. Sometimes there are high school bands. And there are fire trucks and firemen. In every town, in every city, there’s a parade of some kind.
Have you ever been in a parade?
Oh yes I have.
Really? I didn’t know this.
Well, when I was a young boy I was in the boy scouts, and we marched in parades in our city. We marched perfectly. We were terrific marchers.
OK. And then outside the cities, often there are fair grounds, aren’t there?
Oh yes, it’s a wonderful time to have amusement rides, and fun foods that you would eat?
Oh what?
Well we have funnel cakes. Funnel cakes are basically dough covered by confectioner’s sugar.
OK, I’ll tell you what else you have. Candy floss?
She means cotton candy.
OK, but you would eat that?
I certainly would.
And what about snow cones. I don’t know what they are.
Oh, well, snow cones are crushed ice dipped in a flavored syrup of some kind.
So are they sorbets?
No, not at all. It’s just crushed ice dipped in syrup.
Oh right. OK.
You have to have cold drinks on July 4th because it’s really hot.
This is one of our favourites.
The trick is to freeze cubes of water melon.
And then you put them in here with some fruit juice and whizz them up.
You can also make that drink with lime juice and make water melon margaritas.
So for us in Philadelphia, there’s a big parade in the morning, and then there’s a big party on the Parkway.
The Parkway (the Benjamin Franklin Parkway) runs from City Hall all the way to the Art Museum. It’s a very wide boulevard, modelled partly after the Champs Elysees in Paris.
There are lots of street vendors. Vendors are people who sell things. So they might sell food or drinks, and other stuff.
Basically it’s about a lot of people having a lot of fun.
There’s usually some great dancing that’s going on. You get a lot of local performers there. And then in the evening, in front of the Art Museum, they have famous artists performing in concerts.
Some of them included Pit Bull last year, Nicki Minaj.
Ed Sheeran, Ariana Grande, and it’s all for free.
And back in the day they had people like the Beach Boys.
The Isley Brothers.
And we’ve been out there and people are dancing in the streets, we” we’ve been dancing in the streets.
It’s a lot of fun.
But not this year.
Because of the corona virus, the celebrations are happening online.
Normally we have friends around for a party and we cook a lot of food.
Yes. The traditional food, I think, is hot dogs and hamburgers.
You got it.
And Jay makes lots of hamburgers. You make a big batch.
A batch is a large amount of food that’s produced at one time.
What is your secret ingredient?
Ah, the secret ingredient is… don’t tell anybody, OK? The secret ingredient is a little teriyaki sauce, a little bit of garlic powder, and a little bit of oREGano, or as you would say, oreGAno.
That’s right. And then I take them up to the roof deck and cook them on the grill.
And I make lots of salads, so green salads, tomato salads, coleslaw.
And don’t forget my favorite.
Builder’s salad.
Builders salad. What’s in a builder’s salad.
We call it a builder’s salad. I don’t know why. Basically it’s just all the vegetables you can find in your fridge, and you chop them up and you mix them with mayonnaise and it’s lovely.
Except we use vegan mayonnaise with the vegetables, so I can eat it too.
But the big, big, big finale of July 4th is fireworks, right?
The Art Museum’s just over there. They have a hige fireworks display and we can see it from here.
This year, unfortunately, there’ll be no fireworks.
But we can have some sparklers.
On our deck. Happy July 4th.
Happy fourth.
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protests and racism vocabulary

Protests and racism – English vocabulary

Learn the English you need to join the conversations on racism and social injustice.

Join Vicki and Jay while they prepare signs for their own protest and learn the words you need to join the global conversation on social injustice.
We’ll look at:
– different kinds of protests: marches, rallies, demonstrations
– violence in the streets: rioting, looting, curfews, pepper spray, tear gas
– how to use the words racism, racist and systemic racism
– African American vs. black
– rights vs. civic duties
– current phrases like black lives matter, racial profiling, white privilege and to be/get woke.
And finally watch Jay and Vicki’s demonstration!

We’re living at a time of huge protests.
Racism, social injustice, police brutality. So in today’s lesson, you’ll learn lots of vocabulary about protests and demonstrations.
So you can follow and participate in discussions and debates.
And make your voice heard.
And make the world a better place.
We live in Philadelphia in the US and there have been huge protests here in the last few weeks.
About the death of George Floyd.
That’s the African American man who died when a policeman in Minneapolis had his knee on George’s neck.
We didn’t join the protests here because of COVID-19 and social distancing.
We wanted to but the global pandemic stopped us.
So we’re going to hold our own protest instead.
Yep. Here’s your paint.
Uh oh.
What were you like in art class when you were a child.
A complete failure.
Why does that not surprise me?
The word protest is tricky because of the pronunciation. When it’s a noun, the stress is on the first syllable.
A PROtest.
But when it’s a verb, in British English, the stress moves to the second syllable. To proTEST.
But in American English, I can say to proTEST, or to PROtest.
It’s a British and American difference.
But American English is easier.
I went to the women’s march in Philadelphia.
Was it dangerous?
No. It was a lot of fun. Erm, and the best thing was the signs. They were very witty. Witty means clever and funny.
A march is a kind of protest where you walk from one place to another.
And we also have rallies. That’s when you stay in one place.
In the UK, rallies are generally protests. But what about the US?
Well some are4 protests, but we also have rallies to show support for political candidates.
I’ve been to one of those too!
Oh yes. What did you think of it?
It was interesting. Very different to the UK.
Another word with a similar meaning to protest is demonstrate. That’s the verb.
And the noun would be demonstration.
Rioting is when a crowd of people behave in a violent way.
In the first few days in Philadelphia, some of the protests were peaceful, but there was also some rioting.
And there was also looting. Looting is when people break into buildings and stores and steal things.
And the city imposed a curfew.
That’s a law that says you can’t go outside at night after a particular time. There are diffferent words we use with curfew.
You can set a curfew. You can violate a curfew.
You violate a curfew if you’re outside past the hour the police have said you have to be inside.
Yes. And at the end of the curfew, they lift the curfew.
Right. That’s when you can go outside again.
But then things started to quiet down, didn’t they?
And it’s actually been very peaceful for weeks now.
There was a brief moment when the police fired tear gas and pepper spray at protesters to get them off the highway, But since then it’s been pretty quiet.
I’ll tell you what though Jay. We had a lot of police helicopters flying overhead.
Well, I think they were mostly news helicopters.
Oh, do you?
Riots and looting make good television.
Yes, shots of peaceful protests don’t attract so many viewers.
So we haven’t felt at all threatened by the protests in Philadelphia, have we?
No, we’ve felt really quite safe here.
We’re more worried about COVID-19.
We’re concerned that two weeks after the protests, a lot of people might be sick.
All the recent protests in Philadelphia have been about police brutality. Brutality means violent and cruel behavior. But I think it’s more than that.
They have been about racism. They have been about….
Black lives matter.
So racism is the belief that people of one race are better than people of another race.
And it’s also the unfair treatment of a race, because of that belief.
And a racist is a person. It’s someone who believes their race is better than others.
And they discriminate against people and treat them unfairly.
The word racist can be an adjective too. We could talk about racist attitudes, racist beliefs.
A racist attack.
Right, right.
And you’ll also hear the term systemic racism.
Ah yes.
If someone doesn’t give you a job because your skin is black, then it’s racism on an individual level. But when being black has meant that you can’t get access to good health care, or housing, or a good education, then it’s systemic racism.
It’s about the racism that’s built into the way society works.
There’s broad agreement that the murder of George Floyd was terrible, but there’s some disagreement about the term systemic racism. And some people say it doesn’t exist.
But things are changing. The Merriam-Webster dictionary is going to update its definition of racism. It’s going to include systemic racism as well.
The way we refer to black people in America has changed over the decades.
Are both these terms acceptable. African American and black.
Yes, they’re both acceptable.
And which one… What’s the difference?
Well African American refers to a person’s ethnicity.
And black refers more to race?
That’s correct.
So it’s more about physical characteristics rather than culture.
And what about in the past? What terms shouldn’t we use?
Well in the 1950s and 1960s we used the term negro to refer to black or African American people.
And we also used the term colored, which was really offensive. So we don’t use that either any more.
Something I’ve noticed about America, Jay, is that American’s are much more conscious of their ethnic identity than we are in the UK.
Well yes. This is a country of immigrants, of course. But we never melted together into a homogeneous society. Instead, we’ve sort of remained separated into our ethnic groups. Irish Americans and Italian Americans and Polish Americans and so forth.
I know but it carries on for generations.
Oh right.
So, I mean, I’ve met people here who’ve said ‘I’m Irish American’ and I’ve said ‘Oh, where are you from in Ireland?’ and they said ‘Oh, no, no. My great grandmother was Irish.’ And then I start thinking about it and I think, wow, I’m more Irish than them. You know, but I never think of myself as being Irish, or German, or, you know, the different sort of roots that I come from. I think of myself as English, or British, or European or whatever.
And then there’s the issue of what right do we have to protest. And that’s quite strong, that feeling in America, isn’t it?
Well, it comes from the first amendment to the constitution, which gives us the right of free speech, the right to protest the government…
The right to assemble in groups…
Right. And a free press.
That’s right.
And we have similar rights, in fact you got those rights really copying the rights we have in the UK.
No, they were invented in America.
There’s something that I’ve become more conscious of here and maybe it’s a British and American thing, or maybe it’s just because I’m getting older.
But, there’s the idea of the right to free speech being your right – it’s something you are able to do – but there’s also the idea here I think of it being a civic duty. It’s the correct thing to do and something you should do, so if you see injustice, you should speak up.
So as a result of the protests after George Floyd was killed, people have become more aware of the effects and the extent of racism in America.
Yeah, they’ve got woke.
That’s my new expression. It has African American origins. If you are woke or you get woke, then you become aware of racism.
Just a few years ago, people disagreed about the phrase ‘black lives matter’.
So if somebody said ‘black lives matter’, other people would say ‘yes, but all lives matter’. Which is kind of missing the point, because it’s the black lives that are being discriminated against. It’s dangerous to be black in America.
If you’re black, you’re much more likely to be stopped by the police and mistreated.
Another phrase you’ll hear is ‘racial profiling’.
That’s when the police suspect somebody has committed a crime because of their appearance, rather than because there’s any evidence.
For example, many more black people get stopped and searched than white people, because of racial profiling.
I think American companies have got more woke as well.
Oh yeah. We’ve seen a series of companies coming out and expressing their new understanding of black lives matter.
There was a really great video on social media the other day put out by a black mother. And she said ‘If you’ve never felt
fear in your heart when a policeman stopped you, then you have white privilege.
A privilege is a special right or advantage that a person or group has. So what is white privilege?
Well, it’s the expectation that you won’t be beaten by police, that if you’re arrested, you’ll be treated fairly, that if you need a loan, you’ll get it. That if you need an education to get a good job, you’ll get it. In the US, African Americans don’t have that expectation.
I think we have a lot to learn about the extent of racial injustice.
It’s good that these discussions are happening.
We need educating.
I’ll tell you something I found very heartening though too, was all the protests around the world.
It was moving, especially when there’s a global pandemic.
Yeah, gathering in large crowds is strongly warned against in many places.
And actually illegal in others.
But I think the message struck a chord, because there were so many protests.
Yes, if a message strikes a chord, it makes people feel sympathy and enthusiasm.
One of the interesting things that’s going on now in the protests are attacks on statues of people who have had negative impacts on the African American community.
It’s been happening all over the world too. In the UK, they’ve been removing statues of slave traders.
And in Belgium, they’ve removed statues of Leopold II.
Historians estimate that he was responsible for ten million deaths in Africa.
And in the US, it’s often statues of generals in the confederate army.
So military leaders from the side that lost the civil war.
But even more recent politicians have had their statues attacked. One of them is here in Philadelphia.
Yes, there was a politician in Philadelphia called Frank Rizzo, and you knew him, didn’t you?
I knew him very well. He was first the police commissioner in Philadelphia when I was a young reporter here. And then he ran for mayor and became mayor for two terms – for eight years.
At one time he told Philadelphians to vote white. He was racist.
He was definitely racist. In fact he attacked the Black Panther party in 1967 and had all its members stand outside naked while he called in the reporters and photographers. He was not a very nice guy.
But he was popular with some people, wasn’t he?
He was extremely popular. Particularly in the white ethnic communities in Philadelphia.
And what happened when you published a negative story about him?
I covered a story about Rizzo and the free press. It was a negative story and his supporters didn’t like it, as I learned later that night. I went outside to my car in the television station’s parking lot and found that all four tires on my car had been slashed flat.
Are those all the signs?
Yes, well done Jay! You were a good painter after all.
So what happens now?
It’s time to demonstrate.
This was a common phrase in the 1960s when we were protesting against the Viet Nam war, but I think it’s still relevant today.
This is the idea that if you see injustice, you should speak up. If you stay silent, you’re part of the problem.
This has become a powerful message for change and it’s struck a chord all around the world.
This is a phrase we use when we think something shouldn’t continue any longer. For example, we’ve been ignoring climate change for too long. Enough is enough.
This is about voting being our duty. If we don’t vote, democracy will be destroyed.
This is about joining together to fight for what’s right.
What does it say in the middle?
When – when we are united. I forgot the n.
This has become a political issue in the US. I don’t know why. Please, just wear a mask.
This is my new favourite phrase. It means get educated so you become aware of racial injustice.
And that’s it everyone, but I have a question. If you made a sign, what would you write on it?
If you’ve enjoyed this video, share it with a friend.
And don’t forget to subscribe so you don’t miss our future videos.


How good is your English? Quiz 4

How good is your English? Quiz 4

This quiz is about common mistakes that English learners make. We look at:
– affect vs. effect
– by vs. until
– how to say someone’s age
– raise vs. rise
– when we use the verb ‘suggest’
– structures we use (and don’t use) with suggest

How good is your English?
We’re going to have a quiz to find out.
We’ll try to catch you out with some common mistakes.
Let’s see how you do.
We’ve made some quiz videos like this before.
Here’s how they work. We ask a question and you have to answer before the clock stops ticking.
Let’s have the first one.
OK, here’s the situation. This weekend, your friend is planning to go to the seaside.
She means the shore.
But the weather forecast is terrible. What do you ask your friend?
Is the weather going to effect your plans?
Is the weather going to affect your plans?
Affect is usually a verb and it means to change or influence something
And effect is a noun. It’s the result of the change or influence.
So verb and noun. Notice the spelling so you don’t muddle them up.
This is a mistake that native English speakers make too.
Well they sound very similar. Affect. Effect. When we’re speaking naturally that /?/ sound becomes like a schwa.
It’s hard to hear the difference.
Hello Kathy. I can’t believe it’s still raining.
Yeah, it’s terrible. Really bad.
When’s it going to stop?
The forecast is not good.
Is it going to affect your plans?
Well, I was thinking of going to the shore this weekend, but now I think I won’t.
There was a really strange man answering all my questions.
OK, next question. I think this one might be extra tricky for our Brazilian viewers.
Imagine your boss is giving you instructions. What does she say?
You need to finish this report until Friday.
You need to finish this report till Friday.
You need to finish this report by Friday.
When we’re talking about a deadline, we say ‘by’.
‘By’ means at or before a time. So no later than.
And what about until?
That’s what we say when we’re talking about a situation that continues up to a time.
You can watch this until nine o’clock, but then we’re going to change channels.
What’s happening at nine o’clock?
Dancing with the Stars is on.
She loves that program.
Another way of saying until is ‘till’.
It means the same as until, but it sounds a little less formal.
Notice the spelling. It has two Ls.
Let’s see ‘by’ and ‘until’ in action.
So when will you be back?
Not until late.
OK. I’ll probably be in bed by the time you get home.
Have fun!
See ya!
Are you in bed yet?
I’ve forgotten my keys.
I’ll be back by twelve. Could you stay awake until I get back? Hello? Hello?
If you want to see more examples, here’s a link.
OK our next question is a quick one. Imagine you have a young nephew and you want to say how old he is.
He has six years.
He’s six years old.
He’s six years.
He’s six.
So we say six years old, or just the number: He’s six.
We don’t say ‘He’s six years’. Though a lot of my students make that mistake. How old are you Jay?
I’ve lost count. What about you?
You should never ask a lady her age!
True. We’ve made another video about that.
I’ll put the link here. OK, next question.
You’ve noticed that some things have been getting more expensive because of the corona virus. What do you say?
Prices have been rising
Prices have been raising.
Stores have been rising their prices.
Stores have been raising their prices.
Both of these verbs describe upward movement, but we use them in different ways.
Raise takes a direct object, so we always raise something.
We can raise our hand or raise our eyebrows,
And raise is a regular verb: raise – raised – raised.
But rise is an irregular verb. Rise – rose – risen.
And rise has no direct object so things just rise.
The sun rises in the east. Nobody puts it up. It goes up on its own.
And now ladies and gentlemen, Vicki will rise into the air. She’s rising. She’s risen. She rose.
Oooh. What happened?
I used my magic powers to raise you into the air.
What else can you do with that?
Oh anything. I can even make you disappear.
Here’s another way to think of it. Raise is like lift or or put up, and rise is like go up.
If you want some more practice, we have more examples here
OK, another question.
You’re going out for a meal with a friend and you need to decide on a restaurant.
You’ve heard Victor’s Bistro is good. Here are four phrases, but one sounds strange. Which one?
I suggest going to Victor’s Bistro.
Why don’t we try Victor’s Bistro?
How about Victor’s Bistro?
Let’s go to Victor’s Bistro.
So they’re all possible, but ‘I suggest’ is a bit strange.
It’s because ‘suggest’ is quite a formal word.
You’re more likely to write it or to say it in a formal business meeting.
Normally we use a different phrase to make suggestions.
Where do you want to go for dinner tonight?
Why don’t we try the Chinese place?
Or how about Victor’s Bistro?
Good idea! Let’s book a table.
We use ‘suggest’, when we want to be explicit, in other words, extra clear.
Or when we’re reporting what someone else said.
Why don’t we look at that?
OK. Here’s another question. Imagine you wrote a report for your boss, but she didn’t like it and she says ‘I think you should do it again?’
Here are 3 sentences. How many are correct?
She suggested me to do it again.
She suggested to do it again.
She suggested I do it again.
So only one answer was correct there. ‘She suggested I do it again’.
It’s because you can’t use an infinitive form after the verb suggest.
There are other forms you could use, like she suggested doing it again – that would be correct.
But after suggest, you can’t say ‘to do’.
Hello? Oh hi, Jennifer.
Hey Jay. Can you send me that report?
I’m still working on it.
I thought you’d finished it.
Well Vicki suggested that I do it again.
Suggest is a tricky verb.
But we have a video about it with more examples.
I’ll put the link here. And I’ll also add the link to the other quiz videos in this series at the end.
So you can keep testing yourself if you like. Are we done then?
Yes, but if you know anyone who you think would enjoy this video, please share it with them.
And don’t forget to subscribe to our channel.
Take care everyone. Bye.
Bye- bye.


English for the hairdresser's and barbershop

English for the hairdresser’s and barbershop

Jay hasn’t been able to get his haircut because of the corona virus so Vicki takes on a hairdressing challenge. What could go wrong?

Learn lots of English words and phrases that you’ll need at the hairdresser’s and barbershop.
You’ll learn how to:
– explain the haircut you want
– give instructions to your hairdresser or barber
– engage in small talk

Here’s just some of the hairdressing vocabulary we look at:
The tools: scissors, clippers, cape, gown, straighteners
Actions: to blend, to blow dry, to trim, to braid or plait, to clip close
Problems: bald spot, receding hairline, too much volume, straggly eye brows
Hair styles: pony tail, buzz cut, undercut, bob, quiff

You’ll also find out whether it’s possible to cut someone’s hair after watching YouTube videos. Enjoy!

My hair’s getting very long because the barbershops are closed.
Because of the corona virus.
So Vicki’s going to cut my hair.
I’ve never done this before.
But she’s watched some YouTube videos.
What could go wrong?
You’re going to learn phrases you could use at the hairdresser’s today.
And the barbers, or the barbershop.
Barber’s are for men and hairdresser’s are for men and women.
But mostly for women.
And we also have hair salons and beauty salons and styling salons.
But for us, it’s the kitchen!
Here are our tools. We have scissors.
We have combs.
We have a hairdryer.
We have clippers.
Straighteners. I don’t think we’ll need them.
And a spray bottle for keeping my hair wet.
It’s a bit dirty, Jay.
Yes, I use it when I’m grilling on the deck.
OK. We don’t have a razor.
That’s a very, very sharp blade.
And we don’t have one of those brushes for brushing away the hair that’s been cut off.
Another thing we don’t have is a cape.
That’s the gown they give you to wear so you don’t get hair all over your clothes.
But we do have a bin bag. Here’s your gown, sir.
Then it’s time for the haircut. How do you want me to cut your hair.
Yes but… Ok we need words describing what you want your barber to do.
Well, shorter all over, but not so short that my bald spot is uncovered.
Oh, OK. A bald spot is a place on your head where there’s no hair.
That’s different from a receding hairline.
A receding hairline is when your hair moves up and back.
How much shorter would you like? About .. about this much?
A little bit shorter? Maybe you can cut an inch off?
So you want quite a bit off. You don’t want me to just trim it.
No, a trim is really not short enough.
When you trim hair you make it neater by just cutting off a little bit.
I need to trim my fringe.
We call those bangs in the US.
What else can we trim?
Well we can trim a hedge.
We can trim the lawn. Erm, we can trim costs.
Oh yes. A business might have to trim costs.
The first thing they do at a barbershop is wash your hair.
I think we’ll use the squirty bottle. Um. It’s not working Jay.
You have to twist the front.
OK. We’ve hit our first problem. The squirty bottle doesn’t work. I’ll put some.. I’ll use a cup of water. All right?
Oh Jay. You’re going to get very wet today.
I AM getting very wet.
It’s a good job you’ve got the dustbin bag.
Jay’s hair’s very curly. Mine’s pretty straight. It’s just wavy at the bottom.
My hair’s getting so long, you could possibly braid it.
A braid. We call that a plait in British English.
It’s when you take three pieces of hair and rope them over and under eachother.
You can braid of plait and it’s a noun as well.
And if you have lots of them and they’re really long, they’re called dreadlocks.
And then there are pony tails.
That’s when your hair is tied at the back of your head.
Or pig tails. That’s when you have two bunches of hair.
Is your hair dry or oily, Jay?
Its dry. And hair can be thick or thin. Mine’s thin.
Uhuh. Mine’s pretty thick. So sometimes when I go to the hairdresser I say, ‘Can you take some weight off?’ or ‘Can you take… Can you give me less volume?’.
OK Jay. Do you want a parting?
No thank you. In American English, we call that a part, and I don’t want one.
OK Jay. Here we go. And this is getting serious now. Can you take your glasses off?
Great. How much do you pay your barber?
My barber is really very inexpensive compared to other barbers in the city here. He only charges me $20 for a haircut and I give him a $5 tip. But most of the barbers around town are $35 for a haircut, or more.
You see for a women’s haircut I think I pay about $75.
Well you generally have more hair than I do.
I don’t think we pay your barber enough. OK, tilt your head forward.
Does your barber offer you anything to drink?
For a $20 haircut? No!
I always get a cup of coffee.
I guess that’s why you pay $75!
Let me see how long it is in the front.
Cut some more off.
Cut more off?
Oh yeah. Sure.
Yeah. Oh, you’re right. Look at that.
Barber’s also cut sideburns.
Oh yes. That’s when you have hair that comes down here.
Well, we refer to ‘the sideburns’ even if they’re higher. The question is how do you make them absolutely even?
And the answer is the line in my ear. Right here. You make it even with that line..
Oh right.
And when you get the clippers out, you can make sure it’s a sharp line.
OK, you want a sharp line.
If I.. If I comb down.
I see.
And then cut it.
You’ll cut my ear off.
It will all look… It will look funny.
I see.
So you have to blend it.
I see.
That’s what they do on YouTube.
Oh, I hope I haven’t taken too much off. Do you think that much was too much?
I have no idea.
So what different kinds of men’s hairstyles are there, Jay?
Well there’s a buzz cut. That’s a military style where your hair is really very, very short.
And there’s also a crew cut. That’s a little bit longer than a buzz cut, but it’s similar.
And there’s a mohawk.
That’s where it’s spiky on top.
You have to put products in your hair to make it stand up straight.
And you could have an out-of-bed look. Sort of bed head. That’s when your hair’s a mess. It looks like you’ve just got out of bed.
There’s also a fade. A fade is when it’s very short at the bottom and gradually gets longer.
And there’s also an undercut. That’s when the bottom is really short and the top is much longer.
Women have this cut too and it’s quite fashionable. So sometimes they’ll have very little hair on the side, but then they’ll flick their hair over and it’s long.
And then there’s a quiff. This is a British English term. It’s when part of your hair stands up in the front above your forehead. Elvis Presley had a quiff. There’s another British term too that’s a bit old fashioned. And it’s a short back and sides and that’s when you have short hair at the back, and at the sides.
There are different kinds of hairstyles for women too. Long, short and medium length.
And some women have a bob, that’s very common. I have a wig that’s a bob. The hair is the same length all the way round. And then the opposite of a bob would be a layered cut where the hair is different lengths.
You know you need small talk when you’re at the barber’s of hairdresser’s. What do you talk about with your barber.
Well, we talk about how we’re feeling, we talk about our lives. We talk about how work is going. There are people that we both know. We talk about them.
You’ve known your barber a long time, haven’t you?
Well he’s been cutting my hair since 2003. That’s seventeen years.
OK, what about if you met a barber for the first time? What conversations could you have with him?
Well I’d ask him where he’s from. And how long he’s been doing this. I might ask about his family. Sometimes they talk about their children and grandchildren. It’s always fun.
So you go to very old barbers then.
Yes. Very experienced barbers.
With my barber, I always talk about politics. But it’s a safe topic for us because we support the same policies. Do you think politics is a good topic, Jay?
No, I do not. I’m not sure what my barber’s politics are and I’m even less sure of the other people in the waiting room. So no, it’s not a discussion I would have in the barbershop.
You could ask your barber to recommend hair products for you. The only one he’s recommended actually is, after he’s seen my gray hair, he’s recommended dye.
Jay and I don’t dye our hair, but sometimes I get highlights. It’s when they make strips of your hair lighter than others, so I have blonde streaks.
You can also get lowlights. That’s when they make some streaks darker.
The word ‘hair’ is tricky. It can be a countable noun or an uncountable noun.
When it means all the hair on your head it’s uncountable.
I have gray hair. That’s uncountable.
But when we’re talking about individual strands of hair, hair is a countable noun.
I have some grey hairs. Can you see them? Most of my hair is brown, but there are some grey strands there.
What products do use use on your hair, Jay?
Well there’s conditioner. That’s a liquid or cream you put onto your hair during or after washing to make it softer. It stops it from being dry.
And there’s hair spray. That’s a sticky liquid you spray on to keep it in place. It stinks.
And then there’s hair gel. That’s a thick wet substance that helps your hair hold a style.
And then there’s hair wax. That’s similar to gel but it’s made of wax so it doesn’t go hard. It doesn’t dry out.
I’ve never used clippers before. You can put attachments on them.
So Jay. Do you want it clipped close?
Not terribly close. I just want the lines to be straight.
Do you know what number you want?
Something in the middle maybe?
Number one is the shortest and then a higher number gives you longer hair.
Put your head down.
I can make a line like this Jay.
That’s right.
Good job, Vick.
Sometimes barbers will trim your beard if you have one, or your mustache. And they will trim my eyebrows.
Oh, I can do that for you because I saw how to do that on YouTube.
Good because I definitely need it.
Would you like your eyebrows trimmed, sir.
Please trim my eyebrows! I’m told that the gray ones are the worst ones to cut.
Are they?
Because they’re the straggly ones.
When the barber is done he always gives me a mirror so I can look at the back of my hair. With a hand mirror.
We don’t have one of them.
Probably just as well.
OK, sir. I hope that I’m going to get a good tip.
Oh absolutely! You’ll get the best tip that there is.


COVID-19 wordplay quiz

COVID-19 Word Play Quiz

People have been using English words in funny new ways during the COVID-19 lockdown.
Play along with Jay and see if you can work out what they mean.

We’ll look at these clever examples of word play
– covidiot
– coronacoaster
– coronials
– the COVID-10.
– fattening the curve
– the locktail hour
– quarantinis
– furlough merlot.
– bored-eaux.
– cabernet tedium
– elephant in the zoom

Do you want to play with some English words?
This video is about wordplay.
That’s when you use words in funny or clever ways to make jokes.
So come and play with some new COVID-19 words.
And join in our quiz!
Thank you everyone who’s been leaving us comments about how you’re surviving the corona crisis.
We’ve loved hearing about what you’ve been doing and learning about new words you’re using.
Here’s something I’ve learnt. If you translate the word elbow bump from German, it becomes an elbow kiss! So an English elbow bump is a German elbow kiss.
It sounds much nicer than a bump.
Lots of you have told us about English words that you’re using in your language.
So phrases like ‘social distancing’ have become international.
But in Indonesia, Saeful says it’s PSBB which means something like ‘restrictions on large-scale social’.
It sounds very formal.
Well it is in a way. Several of you mentioned this new word.
Covidiot! That’s a great one.
So what does it mean?
It’s a term for someone who thinks the coronavirus isn’t real.
So It’s a combination of COVID and idiot and it’s wordplay.
Covidiots think social distancing rules are unnecessary so they’re ignoring all the public health advice and going sunbathing on crowded beaches.
Or joining large crowds to protest about the shutdown.
And not wearing masks.
New words like this are being coined with the coronavirus. I’ve got some here and I’m going to see if Jay knows what they mean.
You can play along with me and see if you know what they mean too.
OK, here’s the first one: coronacoaster.
Does it mean drinking beer from Mexico?
Oh Corona beer. No.
Is it something to do with a crown?
Corona’s another word for crown. That’s how the virus got it’s name.
Because it has spikes like a crown. Good guess but no. Coronacoaster. It sounds like roller coaster.
So the amusement park ride?
Yes, a roller coaster has a lot of ups and downs and a coronacoaster is the ups and downs we feel during lockdown.
One minute we’re thinking this is great because we can stay at home with our family and and we have this extra time.
And the next minute we’re thinking this is terrible because of all the bad news about the virus. Living through COVID-19 is an emotional roller coaster.
A coronacoaster! OK, next one: coronials.
It sounds like colonials – people who live in a colony.
Yeah, but it also sounds like millennials.
Oh, it’s the generation of people who survive and live through the corona virus.
Nearly. But it’s a future generation of babies – babies that will be born in 9 months-time.
Because their parents were staying inside on lock down and finding fun ways to pass the time.
You’ve got it! Millennials are the generation of people that became adults in the early 21st century, so this is a clever bit of wordplay.
Where are these words coming from?
Oh they’re all over the internet. People love playing with words.
I wonder if they’ll make it into the Oxford dictionary?
Who knows. OK, next one. The COVID-10.
It sounds like a gang – a group of thieves or criminals.
OK, here’s a clue. We’ve both been eating more than we should during the lockdown.
Oh it’s the extra 10 pounds we’ve put on!
You’ve got it and there’s a similar one that made me laugh. You know how we’ve been talking about flattening the curve. What’s that?
That’s about doing things like social distancing so we don’t ovewhelm the hospitals.
Taking protective measures can flatten the curve, so hospitals have the capacity to handle all the COVID cases.
But there’s here’s the new term. Instead of flattening the curve, this one’s fattening the curve.
Oh that’s funny. That’s about all the extra weight we’re putting on from eating too much.
We’ve both been fattening our curves!
It’s so true! Have you been putting on weight too?
And have you got any tips for taking it off?
We need them!
I think the Simple English Videos family has been using its time wisely because several of you mentioned you were studying English and preparing for FCE.
Good for you! But what’s happening with the Cambridge English exams?
They’ve been disrupted because of the virus. In some countries, Cambridge have introduced a new IELTS exam that you can do online.
Even the speaking exam?
That too. It’s similar to the normal exam but online. They call it an indicator exam.
So it indicates the score you’d get if you took the real exam?
Yes. It’s a temporary solution for students who need to present their IELTS score to universities.
Cool! OK, let’s have another word.
OK. This is a phrase. The locktail hour. What’s that?
I’ve no idea.
You’ve heard of the cocktail hour, right?
Yes, it’s the time of day when we have cocktails.
So the locktail hour…
Is the cocktail hour during lock down! I think it’s been getting earlier in the days for lots of folks.
Yes! There are lots of funny phrases about drinking. What are Quarantinis?
You got me.
They’re experimental cocktails you mix from whatever you can find in your drink cupboard.
So quarantine – martini. Very clever. We could make some of those!
We have some strange drinks in our closet.
And there are puns about wine as well.
A pun is when you play with a word that has more than one meaning
Or words that have different meanings but sound similar. Here’s one: furlough merlot.
That rhymes! It must be the wine you drink to relieve the frustrations of being furloughed.
To be furloughed is when companies tell workers not to come to work for a while because they don’t have the money to pay them.
It used to an American rather than a British term, but I read it in the Guardian this week.
So you’re starting to use it in British English now?
Uhuh. Here’s another one. Bored-eaux. Get it?
Yeah – they’re playing with the wine varieties here.
And another: cabernet tedium
Instead of cabernet sauvignon.
Yeah. Tedium is another word for boredom. Tedious is the adjective.
Are you finding the shutdown tedious? We hope not.
OK, I’ve got one more for you and it’s my favourite. But first, what’s an elephant in the room, Jay?
Umm, it’s a problem that everybody knows about, but they avoid mentioning.
Yeah, it when there’s a topic that’s difficult so nobody wants to talk about it. Can you give me an example?
OK. Um. Racial inequality is going to be an elephant in the room for a lot of politicians in our next election.
Good example! OK, so here’s the new expression. You know how we’re all having video meetings these days. What’s an ‘elephant in the zoom’?
Oh, then this is about some sort of problem in a zoom meeting.
Maybe someone’s behaving strangely, but nobody says anything about it.
Exactly. So you can see something’s wrong.
Their office is really untidy – a big mess.
Or they might have grown a strange beard or perhaps they’re still wearing their pajamas. But nobody says anything.
Well things in Paris have been really really busy.
Well thanks for making time for this meeting. We’re just waiting for Jay. Oh, here he is. Hi Jay.
Hi everyone. Sorry I’m late.
Well, let’s get started then. Shall we all look at last month’s figures?
You know what we need a new word for.
What’s that?
The bad hair I’m getting from not being able to go to the barber.
Perhaps you can suggest one. What should we call it? Corona hair?
But I think the solution came today.
Open it up.
What this?
Let’s see what we’ve got here. This just arrived earlier today.
What have you got?
Would you like my help?
It’s hairclippers! Are you going to cut your own hair?
No actually, I was going to cut yours.
You’re kidding!
You’re going to cut it for me.
No, you’re going to cut if for me.
You’re very trusting.
Well, you can see how well she does in our next video.
We hope you’re finding better ways to solve your problems and enjoy life in these difficult times.
We’ll see you all soon, and in the meantime, wash your hands,
And call your grandparents. Bye now.