How to use ‘There is’ and ‘It is’

How to use ‘There is’ and ‘It is’

‘There is’ and ‘it is’ are really common and useful phrases. In some languages, you can translate both these phrases with just one phrase, so they can be confusing. We show you how to use them in this video lesson and you’ll also learn how to use it and there as dummy subjects in lots of common English expressions.

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Click here to learn when to use an apostrophe with it’s and its.

It is and There is

Argh! Waiter, waiter. There’s a fly in my soup.
Shh. Don’t tell everyone. They’ll want one too.

Today we’re looking at how we use two really common and useful phrases – ‘there is’ and ‘it is’. In some languages, you can translate both these phrases with just one phrase, so they can be confusing. Also, we can use ‘there’ and ‘it’ as dummy subjects in English, so we’ll look at that too.
Let’s start with there is.

Oh no! There’s a hole in my sock!
Waiter. There’s a fly in my soup.

We use ‘there is’ to say something exists and if more than one thing exists, we say ‘there are’.

You know, there are three types of people in the world.
Oh yes?
There are people who can count…
Mmhmm.
And there are people who can’t.
Mmhmm. And?
And what?

So ‘there is’ is singular, and ‘there are’ is plural.

Waiter.
Yes madam.
There’s no soup on the menu today.
That’s right madam. I cleaned all the menus this morning.

When we want to say things don’t exist, we use a negative form. Now of course the word ‘there’ can have another meaning.

Waiter, there’s a fly in my soup. What’s it doing there?
Ooo. It looks like the backstroke.

The backstroke is a style of swimming where you lie on your back, but notice this other ‘there’. It has a different meaning. It tells us the location of the fly. When ‘there’ means a location, it usually comes at the end of a sentence.

So where do you want to eat?
Well, there’s a MacDonald’s over there, or a pub over there.
Let’s make it the pub.
OK.

So ‘there’ can tell us where something is, but that’s not the meaning we’re looking at today. We’re looking at this one, where ‘there’ tell us something exists.
Most English sentences, start with a subject – the person or thing that does the action. For example, I complained to the waiter. ‘I’ am the subject and I do the action. The verb is complain and then we say who or what received the action. That’s a normal way of making an English sentence.
But it’s not the pattern we follow to say something exists. We don’t say ‘A hole is in my sock’ or ‘A fly is in my soup’. We could but it’s not natural. To say something exists, we say ‘there’. So there is a kind of dummy subject here. Dummy means it’s not real. It’s just a copy of a subject.
OK, that’s enough grammar. Let’s look at ‘it is’ now. We use ‘it is’ to refer to something that we already know about.

There’s someone at the door. It… It’s Jay!

This is a typical pattern. We use ‘there is’ the first time we mention something to introduce it, and after that we say ‘it is’. Another example.

OK,great, thank you. Bye. There’s a meeting tomorrow. It starts at two.
Good.

So there and it refer to the same thing – the meeting. There refers forward and it refers back. The same thing happens with plurals, except we say ‘there’ and ‘they’.

Waiter. Waiter. There are two flies in my wine.
Don’t worry madam. They’re very small so I don’t think they drank much.

‘There’ refers forward. ‘They’ refers back. So here’s the thing to remember. ‘There’ introduces a topic. And then ‘it’ or ‘they’ refer back. Easy huh?
OK, now let’s move up a level. Do you remember how ‘there’ works as a kind of dummy subject? It’s the same with ‘it’. ‘It’ is the subject in lots of common expressions. Let’s watch some examples and see if you spot it?

It’s a terrible day, but it’ll be nice by the weekend.
It’s really hot and sunny today. I think it’s 90 degrees

We use ‘it’ as a dummy subject to talk about the weather. So, it’s hot. It’s sunny. It’s raining. And temperatures – so it’s 90 degrees. OK, now some other situations.

Ah.
What’s the matter?
It’s Monday again. I hate Mondays.
Let’s see. It’s the 14th today so let’s meet on the 17th.
What’s the time?
It’s 5 ‘clock. Oh, I can go home!

We use ‘it’ to talk about days, dates and times of the clock.
OK, here are your last examples. See if you can see a pattern here.

Jason, it’s lovely to see you again.
It’s great to be here.
They’re digging up our street. It’s hard to concentrate with all the noise.
It’s very cold in here. Can we put the heating up?
Why? It’s very comfortable.
It’s awful eating here. The waiter’s terrible!
It’s a pity you have to go.
I’ll be back soon.
Bye Jason.
Bye-bye.

So it’s lovely, it’s great, it’s hard, it’s cold, it’s comfortable, it’s awful, it’s a pity. We can use it’s to give our opinion and comment on a situation or place. So you can use ‘it’ as a dummy subject to say what you think about a situation that you’re in.
And that’s it. Oh, that’s another expression with ‘it’. When I say ‘that’s it’, I mean we’ve finished. If you’ve enjoyed this video, please share it with a friend. And make sure you subscribe to our channel so you don’t miss our future videos. It’s great to have your support! Bye.

Click here to see more grammar videos.
Click here to learn when to use an apostrophe with it’s and its.

How to use much, many, a lot and lots of

How to use much, many, a lot and lots of

Much and Many – do you know how to use these words in English? And what about lots of and a lot of? We can help you understand them fully and avoid mistakes.

Join us for a tour of our deck and learn how to use these words and phrases with countable and uncountable nouns. You’ll see how we use them in action and you’ll also see where we’ll be for the fireworks on this year’s July 4th holiday.

Click here to see our video on some and any.

Much, Many, A lot of and Lots

This lesson’s about some very common and really useful words.
Much and many.
And ‘a lot of’ and ‘lots of’.
We’ll show you how we use them with countable and uncountable nouns.
And we’ll also give you a tour of our deck.
Our deck?
Yeah. You’ll love it.

We live in Philadelphia in a small house with lots of stairs.
There are four floors and then on top, we have a deck, so there are 5 floors really.
You have to climb up 56 stairs to get to the deck.
56?
Yes I counted them.
Well it’s worth it. We have a lot of fun up there. Let’s take a camera up and we’ll shoot some video.
Upstairs?
Yes! And you can bring a light too.
Pww.
This is our deck. We often have dinner up here in the summer.
There are a lot of stairs in this house.
Yes. This is our view. We’re in the middle of the city so there are lots of skyscrapers.
And there’s lots of noise out here.
Well yes. There’s lots of traffic.
Behind those buildings is the Philadelphia Museum of Art and on July 4th there’s a big fireworks display there.
We can see the fireworks because they go up above the buildings so we’re going to have a little party and invite some friends over to watch.
Now, we haven’t invited many people because, well, there isn’t much space here.
But we can cook up here. This is Jay’s grill and it’s ridiculously large.
No, it’s not. It’s perfect.
How many hamburgers can you cook on this grill?
28.
And how many people can we seat at the table?
Six.
Exactly. It takes up too much room. It’s dirty too, Jay. You need to clean it.
But it’s so much work.
How much gas is in the tank?
Let me check. Ah. There isn’t much, but I have another tank downstairs.
Well if you go and get it, I’ll show everyone the kitchen. Come with me. There used to be a cupboard here but we took it out and built a little kitchen with a sink and a little fridge. There isn’t much room, but we can keep cold drinks in here. Hmm. We don’t have much beer, but I’ll get some more before the party.
There are too many stairs in this house.
Well done. Come and sit down and have a beer.
Oh, thank you. Happy July 4th everyone.
Happy 4th.

OK. You heard lots of examples of these words and phrases. Let’s start with ‘a lot of’. We use it to talk about a large number or quantity, and we use it with plural countable nouns and uncountable nouns.
Another phrase we use is ‘lots of’.

We’re in the middle of the city so there are lots of skyscrapers.
And there’s lots of noise out here.
Well yes. There’s lots of traffic.

‘A lot of’ and ‘lots of’ mean the same thing. Lots of is a little more informal, but it’s the same.
We can make our positive sentences into negatives. That works.
Or we can make them into questions. That works too.
Now, I have a question. Can you say: ‘There are many skyscrapers’ or ‘There is much traffic’?
Technically yes, because many and much mean ‘a lot of’. BUT we don’t. These sentences sound strange and unnatural and formal. You don’t want to sound like that. To sound natural say ‘a lot of’ or ‘lots of’ in positive sentences like these.
Written English is a little different. Let’s look at an example.
So this is written English, and it’s fairly formal. Here’s what we’d probably say, if we were speaking.

A lot of people like to visit their family for the July 4th holiday. So lots of Americans spend a lot of time traveling.

So positive sentences – say ‘a lot of’ or ‘lots of’.
Only say much and many in negative sentences and questions.

There isn’t much room, but we can keep cold drinks in here. Hmm. We don’t have much beer.

These are negative sentences and I said much.
Notice the word room. It’s not a room like a bedroom or living room in a house. It’s a different meaning. Room means space here and it’s an uncountable noun. With uncountables like room and beer, say much. With countables, say many.

Now, we haven’t invited many people because, well, there isn’t much space here.

People is an irregular plural. One person, two people. So it’s many with countables, like people and much with uncountables, like space.
Let’s look at some questions now.

How many hamburgers can you cook on this grill?
28
And how many people can we seat at the table?
Six.
How much gas is in the tank?
Let me check. Ah. There isn’t much.

If you’re asking about countables like hamburgers, ask how many.
And if it’s uncountable, like gas, ask how much.
Now I have another question. We normally only use much and many in negative sentences and questions. BUT, are there any exceptions? Are there any positive sentences where we say much and many? Yes, there are, and you heard some.

It takes up too much room. It’s dirty too, Jay. You need to clean it.
But it’s so much work.
There are too many stairs in this house.

We can use the phrases ‘too much’ and ‘too many’ and ‘so much’ and ‘so many’ in positive sentences. That’s the exception.
And that’s it.
Wow Vicki. That was ‘a lot’ of grammar.
Yeah, I hope it wasn’t ‘too much’. If you liked this video please share it with ‘lots of’ friends.
And I have a question for everyone.
What’s that?
Do you have a deck? Tell us in the comments below. What’s it like?
Or do you have a garden?
She means a yard.
We don’t have a garden but we love our deck.
Yes and I can’t wait for the fourth of July. Bye-bye everyone.
Bye.
Click here to see our video on some and any.

Some and Any – Three rules you need to know

Some and Any – Three rules you need to know

Some and Any – do you know how to use these words with countable and uncountable nouns? In this video you’ll learn three important grammar rules that will help you get them right.
You’ll also learn how we make lentil soup!

Click here to see our video on much , many, a lot of and lots of.
Click here to learn how we use the uncountable noun ‘travel’.
Click here to see more grammar videos.

Some and Any – countable and uncountable nouns

In this lesson we’re looking at how we use some and any in English.
And you’re also going to see how we make lentil soup.
We’ve had a lot of requests for this one.
What? Lentil soup?
No! Some and any.
Before we start, here’s a quick reminder about countable and uncountable nouns. In English some nouns are countable.

One, two. Two onions
Three carrots.

And some English nouns are uncountable. We can’t count them.

Salt.
Soup.

Countable nouns can be singular or plural. We use a singular verb form with singular nouns and a plural verb form with plural nouns. Uncountable nouns always take a singular verb form.
Great! So now we’re ready for some work with some and any.
We use both these words with countable AND uncountable nouns. So let’s get cooking and see them in action.

We’re making lentil soup today. It’s great for vegetarians and vegans.
Jay went vegan about six months ago. So he doesn’t eat any meat or any fish.
And no dairy products. So no cow’s milk or cheese.
Or eggs.
That’s right. I don’t eat any food that had a face or a mother.
OK. Here are some of our ingredients. We have some lentils, some celery and an onion.
An old onion. And a hot pepper.
Can you get some carrots out of the fridge?
How many?
About three or four.
OK.
And do we have any tomatoes?
No.
It doesn’t matter. And is there any stock?
Erm. There’s some.
Oh good. I’ve got some here.
How old is it?
It smells OK.
Stock is a liquid we use in soup.
It’s made by cooking meat or bones in water.
But this wasn’t made with meat?
No, this was made with vegetables.
Great. I’ll cut up the onion and you can cut up the celery.
OK.
So I was surprised when Jay went vegan because you used to love meat and fish. Why did you go vegan?
It was for health reasons. It’s good for my heart and I’ve lost weight. About seventeen pounds so far.
Excellent. So if you want to lose some weight, go vegan.
It’s good for the environment and for animals, of course.
Finished?
Yes.
OK. This soup is very simple. We just put the vegetables in the pot. Add some stock and cook it.
Shall I add all the lentils?
Um, just some.
OK.
Let’s try it.
OK. We need a spoon.
Oh, there aren’t any in the drawer.
Look in the dishwasher.
Sure. This one?
Yes. Any spoon will do. You try it.
Sure. Hmm. It’s a bit tasteless.
Mmm. Can you get me some salt?
Sure. Do you want some pepper too?
Yes.
Oh. And we forgot the hot pepper.
Oh. Let’s put some in.
Vicki said ‘some’. But I think I’ll put it all in.
We’re going to try it again. [Panting noises.]

So what do these words mean and when do we use them? We’ll start with ‘some’. We use some to talk about a limited number or quantity.

Shall I add all the lentils?
Um, just some.
OK.
Vicki said ‘some’. But I think I’ll put it all in.

So some means a limited amount. Not all. And we use it with PLURAL countable nouns and uncountable nouns. But not singular countable nouns. With singular countables, we say ‘a’ or ‘one’.

How can everyone tell if a noun is countable or uncountable?
Good question. You just have to learn them one by one, but we’ll make another video about that later.
It’s interesting because salt and rice are uncountable, but lentils are countable.
Yes. Lentils are countable.
One lentil, two lentils, three lentils, four lentils, five lentils, six lentils, seven lentils.…
Pwww!

We use some when we don’t know or we don’t want to say an exact number or quantity.

906, 907, 908, 909…
Jay, let’s just say there are some lentils.
There are some lentils.

So ‘some’ is vague. It means a number bigger than one, but it’s indefinite.

Can you get some carrots out of the fridge?
How many?
About three or four.
OK.
And is there any stock?
Erm. There’s some.
Oh good.

Now, what about ‘any’? Any is similar. Again it’s an indefinite number or quantity and again, we use it with plural countable and uncountable nouns. But any also has a negative meaning. Any can mean none.

Jay went vegan about six months ago. So he doesn’t eat any meat or any fish.
And no dairy products. So no cow’s milk or cheese.
Or eggs.
That’s right. I don’t eat any food that had a face or a mother.

So Jay doesn’t eat any meat, any fish, any eggs. It means he eats none of them.
So now you know the meanings of some and any and it’s time to lean some grammar rules.
Here’s a useful basic rule. Use some in positive sentences. Use any in negative sentences and questions. This rule doesn’t work all the time but it’s a great starting point. If I have elementary students, I teach them this rule.

We have some lentils, some celery and an onion.
We need a spoon.
Oh, there aren’t any in the drawer.
Do we have any tomatoes?
Ermm, no.

So this is the basic rule you want to follow in positive sentences, negatives and questions. Are there exceptions to this rule? Of course! An important one is requests and offers. They’re special.

Can you get me some salt?
Sure. Do you want some pepper too?

So here’s rule two. In questions where we’re asking for things, or offering things, we say some. So in normal questions you’d say any, but if the questions are requests or offers, say some. Got it?
Good, because now we’re going to shift up a level for rule three. Are you ready?
We use ‘any’ in positive sentences when we mean ‘it doesn’t matter which one’.

Look in the dishwasher.
Sure. This one?
Yes. Any spoon will do.

There are lots of spoons in the dishwasher. It doesn’t matter which one you choose because they’re all OK. Another example.

I’m hungry.
Well there’s soup in the fridge.
Oh really? What’s this?
Tomato soup. And there’s pea soup and also lentil soup.
Which one can I have?
Any one you like. They’re all vegan.

So any can mean it’s all the same. It doesn’t matter which one. As your English goes up in level, you’re going to find this useful. So make sure you’ve subscribed to our channel, so we can tell you more about it.
And in the meantime these are the key rules you need to know about some and any.
If you’ve enjoyed this video, please share it with a friend.
Yes. See you all next week, everyone.
Bye.
Bye-bye.
Click here to see our video on much , many, a lot of and lots of.
Click here to learn how we use the uncountable noun ‘travel’.
Click here to see more grammar videos.

Too and enough – how to use these useful English words

Too and enough – how to use these useful English words

We hope you have enough time to watch this video!
Too and enough are really useful words that you can use with nouns, verbs, adjectives and adverbs.
In this video you’ll learn how enough means sufficient and not enough means needing more. Too many and too much mean more than sufficient or more than is necessary.
You’ll also learn about word order. We use too before adjectives and adverbs and enough after them.

Click here to see more grammar videos.
Click here to learn how to use the words hard and hardly.

Too and enough

You’re not getting enough sleep.
Yes, I think I’m working too hard.
I think you go to bed too late.

These are two very common and very useful words. Let’s start with enough.

Oh good. You got some bottled water.
Is it enough?
Yes, plenty.
Good.

We use ‘enough’ to say we have as much or as many as we need or want, so a sufficient quantity.

Oh, I’m almost out of gas.
Do you have enough to get to a petrol station?
A petrol station?
A gas station.

If we don’t have enough, we don’t have the amount we need.

Do you want to come for lunch?
I can’t. I don’t have enough time.
Ah, too busy, eh?
Yeah.

So enough means having the necessary amount of something. Now, what about too?

Spaghetti.
Oh, that’s too much.
Let’s have some chocolates.
Ooo yes. But not too many.
You can never have too many chocolates.

We use ‘too’ to say more than sufficient, more than necessary, or more than is good.

This bag’s too big for carry on.
Well, yes.
You’re not getting enough sleep.
Yes. I think I’m working too hard.
I think you go to bed too late.

Notice the word position. We use ‘too’ before adjectives and adverbs but we use ‘enough’ after them.
So too comes before.
Enough comes after.

This lid is too tight. I’m not strong enough.
This knife’s too blunt. It’s not sharp enough.
This lid is too tight. I’m not strong enough.
This knife’s too blunt. It’s not sharp enough. Try this.

So that’s how to use too and enough. I hope this lesson wasn’t too difficult. Was it easy enough?
If you’ve enjoyed it, please share this video with a friend. At Simple English Videos we believe you can learn faster if you can see English in action, so we have lots of conversations, that show you what people say in the real world. We publish a new video every Friday, so subscribe to our channel for more! Bye now!

Click here to see more grammar videos.
Click here to learn how to use the words hard and hardly.

Hope and Wish Part Two – Past situations

Hope and Wish Part Two – Past situations

Learn the different meanings and grammar of the English verbs ‘hope’ and ‘wish’ in this video lesson. This is an important lesson if you’re talking an English exam like IELTS, Cambridge First Certificate or TOEFL. They often have questions on these verbs because the grammar is tricky.
You’ll see lots of examples in action and get clear explanations in this video lesson. This is the second part of a two-part lesson on these verbs. In part one you learnt how we use them to talk about present situations. In part two you’ll learn about past situations.

Click here to see part one on how we use hope and wish to talk about present situations.
Click here to find out how we use wish and hope to give good wishes to someone.
Click here to find out how we use hope, wait, expect and look forward to to talk about the future.

Hope vs Wish – past situations

If you’re taking a Cambridge exam like IELTS or First Certificate, or if you’re taking TOEFL, this is an important lesson because they often set questions about these verbs. I think they do it because the grammar’s tricky. So let’s work on it and take your English up a level.
This is the second part of our video on wish and hope. In part one, we looked at how we use these verbs to talk about present situations. If you haven’t seen it, you might want to watch that video before you watch this one.
In this video we’re going to look at how we talk about hopes and wishes in the past.
Let’s start with hope.

How’s it going?
Oh OK. But I’ve got so much to do.
Do you want a hand?
Oh thank you. I hoped he’d say that.

So before Jay arrived, I was thinking ‘I hope Jay can help me’.
And I’m talking about a hope I had in the past here. Notice I said ‘would’. So the past tense of hope and then ‘would’.
We often use the contracted form of ‘would’, so it can be difficult to spot.
In this example, we have the simple past form of hope, but we can use other past forms. Let’s see some.

This is our dog Carter.
We adopted him six years ago. Now he’s eight years old now and he’s a wonderful dog.
He drives me crazy because he barks a lot when people come to the door.
He does get a little excited.
We were hoping he’d calm down as he got older.
And that’s what happened.
No, it didn’t.
Yes, it did.
He still goes crazy when the postman comes.
Yeah. We had hoped that he’d stop barking at the mailman, but that didn’t happen. Well, he doesn’t like the mailman. Do you?

So in the past we thought it was possible that Carter would calm down as he got older. Jay thinks he has calmed down, but I don’t.
I said ‘we were hoping he’d calm down’. I could also say ‘we hoped he’d calm down’. That works too.
And you heard another past form of hope.

He still goes crazy when the postman comes.
Yeah. We had hoped that he’d stop barking at the mailman, but that didn’t happen.

We used the past perfect – had hoped. The past perfect indicates that this action didn’t happen. Carter still barks at the mail man.
If we say ‘hoped’ or was ‘hoping’, the action might have happened or might not. It’s not specific.
But if we say ‘had hoped’, it means the action didn’t happen.
So use these structures to talk about past hopes. And if you want to make it clear that an action didn’t happen, use the past perfect.
That’s the verb ‘hope’, but what about ‘wish’? We use ‘wish’ to talk about imaginary situations – improbable or impossible things. Let’s see how that works in the past.

You’re in a good mood.
Yes, I’m playing tennis this afternoon.
Oh, what about the sales meeting?
What sales meeting?
Did I forget to tell you? There’s a sales meeting this afternoon and Kathy wants everyone there.
But I’ve booked a tennis court and everyone’s coming.
Oh, that’s a shame.
I wish you’d told me.

I didn’t tell Jay about the meeting and he’s unhappy about that. He says ‘I wish you’d told me’.
Now, what’s that contraction? Is it would or had? It’s had. We’re using the past perfect again.
We use wish and the past perfect to express regrets about the past – to talk about things that didn’t happen, but we wish they had happened.

I wish Vicki had told me about the sales meeting.
I’m so tired. I wish I’d gone to bed earlier last night.
I wish we hadn’t eaten all those cookies.
Yeah, I’m feeling a little sick now.

These are all things that didn’t happen and we regret them now. We’re not happy about them.
I didn’t tell Jay about the sales meeting. I went to bed late last night and we ate all those cookies.
So if you wish something had happened, it didn’t happen.
And if wish something hadn’t happened, it did happen.
You have to switch positives to negatives, and vice versa, to imagine something unreal.
And remember the verb form here. It’s the past perfect.
Do these structures remind you of anything? They’re similar to third conditional structures – the conditionals we use for unreal and imaginary situations in the past.

Now you have to make a wish and blow out all the candles with one breath. Now take a big breath.

The idea of wishing is if you imagine something enough it will come true by magic. But of course magic isn’t real. When we say ‘I wish… ‘, we distance ourselves from reality and we do that grammatically by shifting back a tense. The same thing happens in 2nd and 3rd conditionals. They’re unreal too.
OK, one more thing before we stop, do you remember this phrase?
‘If only’ is like ‘I wish’, but it’s more emphatic. It means ‘I really wish’. We can use it to talk about present and past situations. Let’s see some past examples.

If only we hadn’t eaten all those cookies.
If only I’d studied harder at school.
If only I’d invested in Apple twenty years ago. I’d be rich now.

So again, these things didn’t happen. Jay ate the cookies. He didn’t study harder and he didn’t invest in Apple. But he’s wishing things were different. ‘If only’ means it’s a strong wish.
And that’s it. It was a lot of grammar so let’s review.
We use ‘hope’ with ‘would’ to talk about past hopes. You can use different past forms of hope. ‘Hoped’ and ‘was hoping’ aren’t specific. You can use them for things that happened or things that didn’t happen. If something didn’t happen and you want to be specific, use the past perfect form of ‘hope’.
If you’re talking about past wishes, use ‘wish’ and the past perfect. Switch positives to negatives and vice versa, to make things unreal
And if you want to add emphasis, use ‘if only’. ‘If only’ is followed by the same structures as ‘I wish…’
So now you know how we use the verbs ‘wish’ and ‘hope’ in English. Please share this lesson with a friend if you found it useful. Subscribe to our channel and click the notification bell so you don’t miss our future videos. Bye now.

This is Carter.
We adopted him when he was six years old. Now he’s eight.
He barks a lot when people come to the door.
He gets a little excited.
This is Carter.
We adopted him six years ago.

Click here to see part one on how we use hope and wish to talk about present situations.
Click here to find out how we use wish and hope to give good wishes to someone.
Click here to find out how we use hope, wait, expect and look forward to to talk about the future.

Hope and Wish – Part One – Present situations

Hope and Wish – Part One – Present situations

Learn the different meanings and grammar of the English verbs ‘hope’ and ‘wish’ in this video lesson. With clear examples and explanations you can master the tricky grammar. In part one you’ll learn about present situations.
You’ll learn three structures we commonly use with hope and three with wish, and you’ll also learn how to use the phrase if only to add emphasis.

Click here to see past two on how we use hope and wish to talk about past situations.
Click here to find out how we use wish and hope to give good wishes to someone.
Click here to find out how we use hope, wait, expect and look forward to to talk about the future.

Hope or wish? How to talk about present situations

We’ve had requests for a video about these verbs. There’s a lot to cover so we’re breaking it into two parts. We’ve already made another video about how we use these verbs to wish people nice things. You can see it here.
In this video we’re looking at different structures we use with wish and hope to talk about present situations. We’ll look at three structures with hope and three with wish and we’ll also look at another phrase you can use.
Wish and hope. We use both these verbs to say what we want or would like to happen. The difference is how possible or likely it is. With hope, there’s a real possibility.

I’m expecting a baby. I hope it’s a boy.

Is it possible she’ll have a boy? Yes. There’s a fifty-fifty chance. Notice the structure. After hope she used a present tense, but she was talking about a future event.
She could also say ‘I hope it will be a boy.’ That works too. But we often use the present tense because the verb hope already implies the future.
OK. Let’s look at another structure.

Are you going to go to college, Ksenia?
Yes, I’m hoping to study animal behavior.
Oh you’ll be great at that.

So Ksenia wants to study animal behavior. She isn’t sure if she can yet, but again, it’s a real possibility.
Notice she said hoping. She could also say I hope to study animal behavior. That’s correct too, but we often use hope in the progressive or continuous form.
And notice that ‘to’. We can follow hope with an infinitive form of a verb.
You can say ‘I hope to go to college’, or ‘I’m hoping to go to college’. But you can’t say ‘I hope go to college’. You need the ‘to’.
Great. So these are the key structures we use to talk about hopes we have in the present and we use them all to talk about future possibilities.
Now what about wish? Again we use wish for things we want to happen, but this time, it’s things that are not probable, or they’re things that can’t happen.

Hey, how’s it going.
I’m feeling a little down.
Ah. Well I just met our new neighbor.
Oh yeah, what’s he like?
His name is Tom and he speaks six languages.
Wow, how old is he?
About thirty.
Hmmm.
What’s the matter?
I wish I spoke six languages and I wish I were younger.
Oh, don’t be sad about it.
Hmmm.
I wish I knew how to cheer you up.

It’s impossible for Jay to be younger. He doesn’t speak six languages. And I don’t know how to cheer him up.
They’re things we want to happen, but they’re impossible. We’re sad about that so they’re things we regret.
So hopes are about real possibilities, but these wishes are about imaginary things and they express regrets.
Another way to think about the difference is hope is more optimistic than wish. If you’re optimistic, you think good things can happen. But if you’re pessimistic, you think they can’t, or they’re very unlikely.
So what’s the structure here?

I wish I were younger
I wish I spoke six languages.
I wish I knew how to cheer Jay up.

After wish we use a past tense verb. These are wishes we have in the present, but the past tense indicates it’s an imaginary or unreal situation.
Another thing. Notice Jay said ‘I were’, not ‘I was’. Normally the past tense of the verb ‘be’ goes I was… You were… He was… But after ‘wish’ we say ‘were’. Why? We just do. If you want to look it up, it’s called a subjunctive, but trust me. You don’t need to know. Just remember, with the verb be, use ‘were’ after wish. And if you forget, it’s no big deal. Native speakers often say ‘I wish I was…’ and ‘I wish he was…’. BUT if you’re taking an English exam like IELTS or TOEFL or Cambridge First Certificate, say were. They often have questions about the verb wish and you’ll need to be grammatically correct.
OK, ready for another one? There’s another structure we often use with ‘wish’. See if you can spot it.

You know I wish you would put the lid back on the toothpaste.
Hmph.
And I wish you wouldn’t leave the seat up on the toilet.
Hmph. You know what I wish.
What?
I wish you’d stop complaining.
Hmph.

I was complaining about Jay’s behavior. When we’re annoyed about something and we’re complaining, we use ‘wish’ with ‘would’.
We’re talking about something we’d like to happen, so this is similar to those wish sentences with the past tense. The difference is we want SOMETHING to change here, or we want SOMEONE to change their behavior.
Use wish with would when you’re annoyed about something and you want to complain.
OK, here’s a similar structure. This one’s easy. See if you can spot it.

I wish I could do that.

Jay said wish and could. So instead of would he said could.

I wish I could whistle.

We use would to talk about something we want to happen and could to talk about something we want to be able to do. Another example.

I wish we had more money, Jay.
Why?
Then we could go on vacation.
Yeah, Egypt.
Or Brazil.
Oh, I wish we could go to Brazil.

We want to travel but it’s impossible because we can’t afford it. Again we’re talking about something we regret here. We often use wish to to express regrets.
OK, now before we stop, there’s another phrase you’ll often hear – If only.

Do you think Carter likes it when I stroke his back?
Yes, I think he does.
I wish we knew what he was thinking.
Yeah, if only he could talk.

‘I wish’ and ‘If only’ mean the same thing, but ‘If only’ is a little stronger. We use it to express a strong wish. You can use it with all the same structures as wish, when you want to add emphasis.
And that’s it – that was the final phrase!
Phew! That was a lot of grammar, so let’s review. We looked at three structures with hope. We use these structures to talk about things that we want to happen in the future and they’re things that are possible.
And then we looked at three structures with wish. Again, things we want to happen, but this time they’re things that are impossible or unlikely to happen.
And then we looked at the phrase ‘if only’. We use this phrase with the same structures as wish when we want to express a strong feeling.
So now you know how we use hope and wish to talk about present situations. But what about past situations? We’re going to look at them in another video. So make sure you’ve subscribed to our channel and clicked the notification bell, so you don’t miss it.
If you’ve enjoyed this lesson, please share it with a friend and see you next Friday. Bye now.

Click here to see past two on how we use hope and wish to talk about past situations.
Click here to find out how we use wish and hope to give good wishes to someone.
Click here to find out how we use hope, wait, expect and look forward to to talk about the future.

Likely: An English Word You’re Likely to Need!

Likely: An English Word You’re Likely to Need!

Learn how to to talk about probability in English with the word likely. It’s a word you’re likely to need!
In this video you’ll learn the common structures and collocations we use with likely and see how we use them in action. You’ll also learn an idiom where we always use it ironically.
And finally you’ll learn what happens to a marshmallow if you cook it in the microwave for 60 seconds. Mmmm. Irresistable!

Click here to learn how to talk about possibilities with if and in case.
Click here to learn some more ways we talk about the future.

An important word for talking about what’s probable

In today’s lesson we’re going to perform an experiment.
We’re going to cook this marshmallow in the microwave.
What do you think is likely to happen?
Yeah, what’s the likely outcome – the likely result?
Keep watching and you’ll find out.

Here’s a word you’re likely to need. What kind of word is it? An adjective? An adverb? It looks like an adverb, and it can be, but it can also be an adjective. Likely means probable or expected. So a likely outcome or result is one we think is probable.
We use likely is several different ways so let’s see some examples.

A giant storm has hit the north east of the US from Washington all the way up to Boston. Many school are closed, flights are canceled and wide-scale damage is more than likely. Let’s check in with our correspondent in Philadelphia, Vicki Hollett. Vicki, tell us all about this snow.
Hello Jay. As you can see we’re in the middle of a big storm here. They’re saying we’re very likely to get a foot of snow today with strong winds topping 60 miles per hour. It’s also likely there will be power outages.
The snow looks very pretty but the forecast is serious, right?
Yes. This snow isn’t light and fluffy. It’s wet, heavy snow. And that means when it accumulates on the branches, they’re likely to bend and break and that can bring down power lines creating more chaos.
So it’s unlikely that things will be back to normal any time soon. Is there any news on when the snow’s going to stop?
Yes. It’s not likely to stop until late tonight, with the winds getting worse. Oh my!
OK, thanks Vicki. Stay safe out there and keep warm. Vicki? Vicki?

We saw lots of examples there. Here’s the first pattern to note and it’s very common. We can use likely in front of verbs – notice the infinitive forms of verbs.

They’re saying we’re very likely to get a foot of snow today.
When it accumulates on the braches, they’re likely to bend and break.

So ‘to get’ – ‘to bend’, infinitive forms of verbs.
And notice that ‘very’. If we want to add emphasis, we use adverbs like very, highly, extremely, quite, and it makes the meaning stronger. These words all collocate with likely which means you’ll often see them together, and the phrases all mean we think something is very probable. Here’s a similar one.

Many schools are closed, flights are canceled and wide-scale damage is more than likely.

If something is ‘more than likely’ then it’s more probable than probable – it’s almost certain.
Now, here’s a question. What’s the opposite of likely? We can say NOT likely.

Yes. It’s not likely to stop until late tonight.

And we can also say unlikely.
So it’s unlikely that things will be back to normal any time soon.
Likely – unlikely – they’re opposites. Notice those sentences both started with it’s. It is. It’s is a sort of dummy subject here. And let’s look at the second one again. Sometimes likely is followed by a ‘that clause’ and ‘will’. So likely that, and ‘will’. Here’s another example.

It’s also likely that there will be power outages.

This isn’t the most common pattern. Likely and the infinitive verb is more common, but you’ll see both structures.
Great! So now you know the key patterns to use with likely. What do you think? Are you likely to use the word likely? Tell us something that’s likely to happen or likely not to happen in the comments.
And what about those marshmallows? Do you remember that experiment? Let’s find out what happens.

What’s going to happen if we cook this marshmallow in the microwave for sixty seconds?
I’ve no idea.
Well, let’s try.
OK.
Right, I’m going to put it on for sixty seconds. What do you think is likely to happen? Do you think it’s likely to melt and turn into liquid?
Maybe. Or is it likely to turn brown and burn?
Do you think it’s likely to explode like a bomb?
Oh my goodness. I hope not.
I’m just glad that the microwave hasn’t blown up. It still could. Ooo. It’s coming down.
One. Aha! It’s stopped.
OK, let’s open the door and see what it’s like. Oh wow! Well look at that. That is one big marshmallow! This was the size that it went in at. And this is the size now.
That’s huge.
I know. It’s amazing, isn’t it. I’m going to squish it. Oh Jay. You’re going to love this.
I love marshmallows.

OK, the last thing. Here’s one more expression with likely. What do you think it means?
If story is likely it should be probable and expected, so something that sounds true and you can believe it easily. But we always use this particular phrase ironically, so it means the opposite. Instead of a story you can believe, it means a story you can’t believe. Something that can’t be true. Let’s see it in action.

Jay, I don’t understand. There were lots of marshmallows in this bag. Where have they gone?
The dog ate them.
Really?
Yes. Carter ate them all.
A likely story.

What do you think? Should I believe Jay or not? And what will your friends think? Why not send them a link to this video so they can tell you and learn some English too. We’ll be back next Friday, so make sure you subscribe and click that notification bell so you don’t miss our future videos. Bye!
Click here to learn how to talk about possibilities with if and in case.
Click here to learn some more ways we talk about the future.

It’s or Its? When to use an apostrophe

It’s or Its? When to use an apostrophe

We write it’s with an apostrophe when it’s a contraction of it is or it has. We don’t use an apostrophe when its is a possessive pronoun.
I think people muddle them up because they confuse possessive nouns with possessive pronouns. We explain the difference in this video and also show you how not to rob a bank.

Click here to see some grammar videos.
Click here to learn the meanings of some prefixes and suffixes.

It’s or Its? When to use an apostrophe

Can I help you?
I have a gun in my pocket and … Oh dear!

Today we’re looking at a mistake that lots of people make when they’re writing. We’re going to learn the difference between its and it’s.

I have a gun.
Yes, that bit’s all right. It’s this ‘its’ that’s a problem.
What?
It needs an apostrophe, see?
I didn’t come here for an English lesson.
The way to remember it is we use an apostrophe when it’s is a contraction of ‘it is’ or ‘it has’.
It is loaded. It’s loaded. Apostrophe.
Great! Is there anything else I can help you with?
Oh yeah.
Open the safe and put…. ah!
What’s wrong now?
Well, see if you can spot the problem. Is its a contraction there?
Put its contents – put it is – oh.
It’s not a contraction.
What is it then?
A possessive pronoun.
A what?
The safe’s contents. Its contents.
With no apostrophe. You know you’re a good teacher.
Thank you. I always wanted to be a teacher.

A lot of native speakers make mistakes with its.
When it’s is a contraction of ‘it is’ or ‘it has’, we write an apostrophe. But when it’s a possessive pronoun, there’s no apostrophe.
I think people get them muddled up because they confuse possessive nouns and possessive pronouns, and they’re different. So let’s look at that.
Here’s some money. If it belongs to Vicki, it’s Vicki’s money. If it belongs to Jay, it’s Jay’s money. And if it belongs to the bank, it’s the bank’s money. The apostrophe ‘s’ shows the money belongs to us. Now these words are possessive nouns, but what if we make them possessive pronouns? My money, his money, its money. Its is a possessive pronoun and there’s no apostrophe.

This is hard.
No, you can do this. There’s a simple way to remember it. Ask yourself: is it’s a contraction? If it is, use an apostrophe. If it isn’t, don’t.
Urgh.
I think you need a quiz.
You didn’t tell me there’d be a quiz.
Write this down. It’s important to get the punctuation right.

OK everyone. Let’s try this quiz. Here’s your first question. Apostrophe or not? Apostrophe. ‘It’s’ is a contraction for it is.
Next one. Is it a contraction? It is… It has… No – so no apostrophe.
OK. Next one. It is empty. That’s a contraction so we need an apostrophe.
Next. This is the contents of the safe – a possessive pronoun. No apostrophe.
Next one. It is? It has? Contractions don’t work. This is a possessive pronoun. No apostrophe.
Last one. What’s this quiz been like?
It has been easy – contraction.

Let me see how you’ve done.
They were hard questions.
But you’ve got them all right.
Well, I asked myself, ‘Is it a contraction or not?’
That was the right question to ask.
OK. thanks, I’m off.
Ooo wait! You’re forgetting something.
Oh yeah!
If you pass the quiz, you get a star.
Wow! Thank you very much. But what about my money and the safe?
Oh. Talk to that man over there.

We have a challenge for our viewers at the moment, for speaking English. If you’re interested, there are still a few days left, so get your camera out and get busy.
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English Connectors & Conjunctions: And, Or, So, Because, Although and Though

English Connectors & Conjunctions: And, Or, So, Because, Although and Though

And, or, so, because, although – these English connectors or conjunctions will help you signal how your thoughts are connected when you’re speaking. Watch a funny conversation and check you’re using them correctly in this video lesson.

Click here to see more grammar videos.
Hi everyone. Today we’re looking at some very common connectors that we use in spoken English. They’re words that will help you link your ideas and signal your thoughts when you’re speaking.
We’re going to look at these connectors and check some that my students sometimes muddle up.
The technical term for these words is conjunctions. Conjunctions signal how our ideas meet so other people will understand us better. So let’s jump straight in and see them in action.

Kathy said you’ve got my next assignment.
Ah yes.
What is it?
Decisions, decisions! I want you to write a report on the Boston project.
Uhuh.
I thought about asking Andrew to do this, or Jenny, or Sam, but then I thought, no. You’re the right person for this job. I think.
Well, it looks great.
Err. Here’s the report we did on the Chicago project.
Uhuh.
You can use the same format, but this time the structure needs to be completely different.
The same format but a different structure?
Yes, And your report needs to be longer – although it should be more concise, so keep it short.
So longer but shorter?
That’s right. Don’t get too detailed, but you need to go deeper than just the surface? And you can use pictures if you want. Well maybe not, because it needs to be serious… or funny. Funny’s good too.
This sounds hard.
Yes and Kathy wants you to get it right and do a good job, so take your time. But she needs it on her desk in half an hour, because we’re all waiting for it.
What?!
So anyway, I’m going to go get a cup of coffee… or maybe tea.

Jay was very indecisive there. If someone is decisive, they can make decisions quickly and with confidence. The opposite is indecisive.
And Jay used lots of connectors to link his ideas. Let’s start with an easy one: And. It’s really common and we use it to join words or phrases that are related.

Get it right and do a good job.

We use and to add information, and when we’re speaking, we use it to introduce new or extra ideas.

And Kathy wants you to do a good job. And your report needs to be longer. And you can use pictures if you want… or maybe not

You heard our next connector there: ‘or’. We use ‘or’ to introduce possibilities.

It needs to be serious… or funny. Funny’s good too.

Or signals an alternative – A different option.

I thought about asking Andrew to do this, or Jenny, or Sam, but then I thought, no. You’re the right person for this job.

And you heard another connector there: but. We use but to contrast ideas. It means – hey, here’s some different information.

You can use the same format, but this time the structure needs to be completely different.
The same format but a different structure?

The format of a document is its general design or plan. And its structure is how its parts are organized and arranged. So Jay was contradicting himself there. When he told me he wanted a different structure, it was a surprise. But signals surprising information – unexpected information.

Take your time. But she needs it on her desk in half an hour.
What?!

Now, there’s another connector that signals the unexpected: although. Did you spot it?

And your report needs to be longer, although it should be more concise, so keep it short.

Again Jay was contradicting himself. Concise means short and clear – giving only the information that’s necessary. So concise implies short
Now ,is there a difference between although and though? When they’re connectors, no. They mean the same thing.

Your report needs to be longer – though it should also be more concise, if that’s possible.

OK. Now we’re going to look at two connectors that my students sometimes confuse: because and so.
So has several different meanings in English. We’ll have to make another video about its other uses, but here we’ll look at how we use so as a connector – a conjunction. Let’s compare it with because.

Keep it short because it should be more concise.
It should be more concise so keep it short.

These sentences have the same meaning – but notice the different structures.
In the first one the instruction comes first and the reason comes second.
In the second one, the reason comes first and the instruction comes second
So what’s happening?
We’ll start with because. Because answers the question why.

Why should it be short?
Because it should be more concise.
Oh, OK.

It should be more concise is the reason here. After because we put a reason.
So is different. It comes in front of results, and it’s about something that follows logically.

We’ve got a problem with this report.
What’s that?
It’s not concise enough.
So it needs to be shorter?
Yes.

Needing to be shorter is the logical result. It’s a consequence of the problem.
Another example.

Don’t include pictures.
Why not?
Because it needs to be serious.
OK.

Because answers the question ‘why?’ The reason here is it needs to be serious.
Now compare that with this.
So tells us the result – the consequence. The report needs to be serious and as a result we can’t include pictures.
OK, now it’s your turn. I’ll show you some sentences and you pick the right word.
First one. Does ‘because’ or ‘so’ go here? Let’s see.

You need to get it right so take all the time you need.

Getting it right is important and consequently you should take your time. Now what about this one?

Take all the time you need because you need to get it right.

Because comes before a reason.
Next one? What’s missing? ‘So’ or ‘because’?

Don’t get too detailed because it needs to be short.

Why shouldn’t I get too detailed? The reason is it needs to be short. OK, one more. This is the last one. What do you think? ‘So’ or ‘because’?

We want everyone to read it so make sure it’s funny.

So it follows logically that it needs be funny.
Great. That’s it for this week. But speaking of funny, at Simple English Videos we like it when things are funny because we think learning should be fun. We also believe you can learn a lot faster if you see English in action, so we create conversations and stories to help you.
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10 phrasal verbs we use to talk about food and eating

10 phrasal verbs we use to talk about food and eating

Learn 10 phrasal verbs we use to talk about food and eating, like run out of, cut down on and polish off. You’ll see how we use them in action and also learn about English food that Vicki can’t find in the US.

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Phrasal verbs for food video

So something very exciting has arrived in the post. It’s a parcel full of British stuff.
Vicki orders this box every year so that she has British foods and British goods for all our friends.
Yes. It’s lots of food that I can’t buy in America.

This lesson is about phrasal verbs that we use to talk about food and eating. A great way to learn the meanings of phrasal verbs is to see them in action and so we’re going to play a game. Watch us unwrapping our parcel and see how many phrasal verbs you can spot. You’ll hear ten that are connected with food. Ready?

OK, so first one. Here we go. What do you think, Jay?
Oh my goodness! I know what’s in here. These are what you call ‘sweets’.
That’s right. And you call them candies.
Candies. And these are chocolate, right?
Yes. They’re chocolate.
Oh wow. I can’t wait to have some.
No, you’re not having any because you’ve got to cut down on chocolate.
Oh no.
Yeah, you eat too much of it.
OK, next one. I’m going to give them to our friends. Next one. Baked beans!
Now this is really very interesting. This company, Heinz, is based in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, three hundred and fifty miles from where we are in Philadelphia.
Yeah, but the American baked beans that you can buy in the stores here have too much sugar, I think.
So Vicki gets her baked beans imported from the United Kingdom.
You can snack on them any time you like. They’re great.
I like them too.
OK, what have we got next? Oooo. I love these. I could live on them. Can you see them?
I can see them. What are they?
Pickled onions.
Pickled onions.
Yeah.
How strange!
I’ve given you these before. They’re lovely. And they’re just onions that have been pickled in vinegar.
[sigh]
When I say ‘pickle’ what do you think of?
Well, a pickle to me is a small cucumber that’s been kept in brine or vinegar. That’s a pickle.
OK. We call that a gherkin. And our pickles are things like this. Like this is Branston pickle. It’s a bit like a chutney.
But it’s not a pickle at all!
My English friends will wolf this down.
You can use it to make ploughman’s lunches.
A ploughman’s lunch.
Yeah. Bread, cheese and Branston pickle.
OK.
OK. Next thing.
Mmmhmm.
It’s gravy granules! OK, now gravy is like a sauce that we serve with meat, and English people love gravy.
I mean I love gravy on chicken and on beef, but one of these says onion gravy.
Yeah, it goes well with sausages.
Hmm.
OK. Next one. Errr. Oh, and speaking of gravy, something similar. I’ve got some lamb stock cubes.
Now this is also very interesting. This company makes stock cubes and you can find them on the shelves of American stores. But not lamb stock cubes. Americans don’t buy those. And so for Vicki, who makes wonderful lamb dishes, for them to be just as wonderful as I like them, she has to have lamb stock cubes. How many of these packages did you buy?
Errr, nine. I didn’t want to run out.
Good thinking.
OK. Next one?
Mmhmm.
Right. Oh, you’re going to like this one, Jay. Look. Mince pies. These are little sweet pies that have got… Do you know what’s inside them?
I think there’s some jam and some nuts and some …?
It’s currants and sultanas and dried fruit, and they’re lovely.
So here’s a very interesting thing. ‘Mince’ in British English refers to meat that has been chopped up, like you would make hamburgers with.
You call it ‘chopped meat’.
Chopped meat, right.
OK.
So when first I heard the term ‘mince pies’, I assumed there was chopped meat in it.
No. They’re sweet, and they go very well with custard. I think we’ve got some… ha ha… custard! Here we go. This is what I’ll serve up with the mince pies. I’ll serve it warm.
I love it when you pour warm custard over mince pies. It is delicious.
OK. Ready for another one?
Yes. Yes.
OK. I think we’re getting near the end now. But hang on. What’s this? Aha! Tada!
Oh, Christmas crackers.
OK. These are not crackers you eat. They’re made of paper and I need to make another video about these too because they’re full of jokes and hats and things like that.
I’ll give you a hint. When you pull them apart they go ‘boom!’.
That’s right. They blow up. No, they don’t blow up. But they do make a popping noise.
A bang.
A bang.
Great! OK. Well, I’m ready for Christmas now.
Well, wait a minute.
Oh, what’s that?
More mince pies, right?
We’re going to pig out on them.
I don’t know if we can finish this.
I’m sure we can. We’ll get our friends to polish them off if we can’t.
Perfect. What a great idea.

The first one was cut down. If you cut down on a particular food then you reduce the amount you consume. For example, I’m trying to cut down on sugar so I lose weight.

Yes. They’re chocolate.
Oh wow. I can’t wait to have some.
No, you’re not having any because you’ve got to cut down on chocolate.
Oh no.
Yeah, you eat too much of it.

We can also say cut out – but that means stop eating or consuming something completely. People often try to cut out caffeine or sugar or bread and carbs.
OK, next one. Snack on. Now a snack is a small amount of food that we eat between meals, often when we’re in a hurry. So when we snack on something, we eat a small amount of something as a snack.

So Vicki gets her baked beans imported from the United Kingdom.
You can snack on them any time you like. They’re great.
I like them too.

Baked beans are a nice snack, but I wouldn’t want to live on them. Pickled onions on the other hand are wonderful. They’re so good, I think I could live on them. To live on is when you only eat one food, or you eat a lot of it.

Oooo. I love these. I could live on them. Can you see them?

OK, next one. Now a wolf is an animal – it’s a member of the dog family. But what about wolf down? This is all about speed. If you wolf down your food you eat it very fast. Perhaps because you’re hungry, or you’re in a rush, or maybe you just like the food so much that you eat it very fast.

But it’s not a pickle at all!
My English friends will wolf this down.

Next one. If different foods taste good when you serve them together then they go well together. Syrup goes well with pancakes. And peaches and ice cream go well together. The combination works.

I mean I love gravy on chicken and on beef, but one of these says onion gravy.
Yeah, it goes well with sausages.
Hmm.

Next one. If we run out of something, we use it up so it’s finished, and we don’t have any more left. I don’t want to run out of lamb stock cubes.

She has to have lamb stock cubes. How many of these packages did you buy?
Errr, nine. I didn’t want to run out.
Good thinking.

Next one. Perhaps you know the verb chop. When we chop food, we cut it into small pieces. But we also say chop up and it means the same thing. Why don’t we just say chop? I don’t know. Sometimes English is tricky. like that.

‘Mince’ in British English refers to meat that has been chopped up, like you would make hamburgers with.
You call it ‘chopped meat’.
Chopped meat, right.
OK.

So we can say ‘chop’ or ‘chop up’ and the next verb is similar. We can say ‘serve’ or ‘serve up’. Waiters serve us in a restaurant when they give us our food or drink. And when we’re talking about eating at home, we’ll often say serve up – it’s when we give food to someone as part of a meal.

I think we’ve got some… ha ha… custard! Here we go. This is what I’ll serve up with the mince pies. I’ll serve it warm.

OK, we’re near the end now. Just two more.
Pig out means to eat a very large amount of food all at once. Probably too much. You’ll feel very full if you’ve pigged out. It’s informal, so you can use this verb with close friends, but probably not people you don’t know very well.

Oh, what’s that?
More mince pies, right?
We’re going to pig out on them.

And the last one. Now ‘to polish’ means to make something shiny and smooth by rubbing it. We might polish a floor. But polish off has a completely different meaning. It means to have the last of some food, so to eat what’s left and finish it. Again it’s informal.

I don’t know if we can finish this.
I’m sure we can. We’ll get our friends to polish them off if we can’t.
Perfect. What a great idea.

Now there was just one other phrasal verb you heard that wasn’t about food. It was when we were talking about the Christmas crackers. Did you spot it? Tell us in the comments if you did. And what did you think of these English foods? Would you like to try some? Let us know. We love hearing from you.
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