useful english adjectives

7 useful English adjectives

Learn some adjectives while you’re shopping with us in Philadelphia. We’ll show you 7 useful English adjectives in action and also some common adjective + preposition phrases.
We look at:
– the adjective chilly and how we use it to talk about the weather and relationships
– major, meaning large and important
financial vs economic
tall vs high
vague meaning not detailed or clear
And we also look at some adjective + preposition phrases like ‘good at’, ‘excellent for’ and ‘fed up with’.

Useful English adjectives

Ladies and gentlemen. Today’s lesson is about…. useful adjectives!
So what are adjectives?
They’re words that describe people or things and give us more information about them.
Words like beautiful, big, new, black, (tugs at shirt) wooden (taps head)
And useful – useful is an adjective!
We’re looking at useful adjectives today.
And a little bit of grammar.
Let’s get going.

Hi everyone. We live in Philadelphia and we’re taking you out shopping with us today.
I’m going to lock the door. It’s a chilly day in Philadelphia.
Yes, but it doesn’t matter because we’re going somewhere warm.
And we’ll show you some sights along the way.
This is John F. Kennedy Boulevard.
It’s a major street in the financial district of Philadelphia.
And there are lots of luxury apartments here and beautiful tall glass skyscrapers.
There are shops too, but they aren’t the only place you can shop around here. There’s somewhere else that we’re going now. It’s a definitely a lot warmer.
Yes. The wind has stopped blowing. This is the part of the underground shopping area connected to Suburban Station.
We’re not exactly sure where the store we’re looking for is, but we’ll keep going.
I need to get me one of those.
But Jay’s got a vague idea, yeah?
Yeah, I think so. I think we have to turn to the south.
OK.
Hey sir, you look good together.
He said we look good together Jay.
Well we are good together.
So this is where we’re going shopping today. This is the wig store. We’ve got a wig at home, but it’s the only one we’ve got and I’m getting a bit bored with it. With all this choice, I’m never going to get fed up with wearing the same wig again.
I’m amazed at the prices. They’re very reasonable.
There are lots of other beauty products here. I’m not very good at makeup.
This one would be excellent for Halloween. So which one are you going to buy?
Thank you very much.
Thank you.

That was fun!
Shall we show them the wig we bought?
Later. First let’s look at some of the adjectives.

It’s a chilly day in Philadelphia.
Yes, but it doesn’t matter because we’re going somewhere warm.

Chilly is a great word to know because we’re always talking about the weather. Chilly means too cold to be comfortable. Like most adjectives it can go in two positions. Before a noun – so a chilly day – or after a linking verb like be, feel, seem, look….
The weather isn’t the only thing we can describe as chilly. It works for relationships too, and then it means not friendly. So we might talk about receiving a chilly welcome, a chilly reception, a chilly response. It means it wasn’t warm and friendly.

This is John F. Kennedy Boulevard.
It’s a major street in the financial district of Philadelphia.

We’ve got two adjectives here. Can you spot them? There’s major – that means very large and important.
A major street, a major city, major heart surgery.
And the second adjective is financial which means connected with money.
Financial services, financial advice, financial difficulties
My students often mix up the adjectives financial and economic.
They are very similar. They both mean ‘to do with money’ so what is the difference?
Normally it’s about scale. Individual people might have financial problems but countries might have economic problems.
And what about companies? They could have financial problems too.
Yes, in the UK, the person in charge of money in a company is usually the Finance Director or Financial Director.
And in the US, it’s the CFO – the Chief Financial Officer.
Yes, and they manage financial planning and reporting. Not the economic planning and reporting.
We usually say economic when we’re talking about the money of countries and nations.
Exactly. OK, next one.

And there are lots of luxury apartments here and beautiful tall glass skyscrapers.

Notice we said the skyscraper was tall there. Not high.
It’s because the skyscrapers are higher off the ground than they’re wide. Long thin things are usually tall, not high.
Like people.
Yes. We’ve made another video about that. I’ll put the link here.
Let’s have another one.

We’re not exactly sure where the store we’re looking for is, but we’ll keep going.
I need to get me one of those.
But Jay’s got a vague idea, yeah?
Yeah, I think so. I think we have to turn to the south.

Vague is a useful word to know.
Something that’s vague, isn’t detailed or clear in our mind.
We might have a vague memory of something that happened in the past, when we can remember it but not clearly.
Or we can have a vague feeling that something isn’t right. And then we discover we’ve left our keys in the front door or something.
People can be vague too, when they don’t give clear information.
Yes. If you’re giving instructions or directions, don’t be vague. OK, another one.

I’m amazed at the prices. They’re very reasonable.

Reasonable – reasonable prices are not too high – not too expensive.
We could also say cheap, but the problem with cheap is it can have another meaning – poor quality.
So sometimes cheap means not expensive and it’s a positive thing, but sometimes it means poor quality, and then it has a negative meaning.
If you want to be positive, say reasonable.
You used another adjective there too. You said I’m amazed at the prices.
Yes, I thought they were amazing.
Amazed, amazing. There are lots of pairs of adjectives like this in English – where they end in -ed or -ing.
Interested, interesting, Bored, boring,
The -ed adjectives describe how we feel and the -ing adjectives describe the person or thing that causes the feeling.
We’ve made another video about that too.
I’ll put the link here.
We heard an example of bored.

We’ve got a wig at home, but it’s the only one we’ve got and I’m getting a bit bored with it.

Notice I said ‘with’. I’m bored with it.
Some English adjectives are followed by prepositions, like with, for, at…
So you have to learn which prepositions go with which adjectives.
I said I was amazed AT the prices, but I could also say I was amazed BY the prices.
And it would mean much the same thing. But often only one preposition is possible.
See if you can spot some more adjectives and prepositions.

There are lots of other beauty products here. I’m not very good at makeup.
This one would be excellent for Halloween.
With all this choice, I’m never going to get fed up with wearing the same wig again.

Did you spot them? The first one was good at. We often use ‘at’ to talk about ability so we can be good at things or bad at things or slow or fast at things.
The next one was excellent for. We often use ‘for’ to talk about purpose. So this wig would be excellent for Halloween and this one would be good for our Christmas show.
And the last one was fed up with. The adjective fed up means bored or unhappy so we could get fed up with doing the same thing again and again, or fed up with constant rain. I’m fed up with Jay not emptying the dishwasher.
What me?
Yes you!
OK. Let’s show everyone the wigs we bought.
OK. This one is the one I chose. I think it’s going to be excellent for a spy story.
And here’s another one that I chose for Vicki.
I’m amazed at how good this looks. You can expect to see this is a future video.
And then there was one more. What do you think.
I think this one was probably a mistake.
I thought it looked really good on me. What do you think?
If you have any ideas for how we can use it in a video, please tell us.
And don’t forget to subscribe to our channel.
Yes, if you’ve enjoyed this video, please share it wit a friend.
See you next week everyone. Bye-bye.
Bye.

plate or dish prototype theory

Dish or plate? Prototype theory and English vocabulary

What’s the difference between a plate and a dish in English? In some languages there’s just one word.
It’s not a simple answer because the meanings of words often overlap.
In this English lesson we explain when we say dish or plate and look at the features of:
– plates, dishes, cups, mugs and bowls
– different kinds of games
We show how the meanings of words can be fuzzy at the edges and it leads us to linguistic prototype theory.
We draw on the work of two different writers:
– the philosopher Wittgenstein and his work on words that share a family resemblance
– the psychologist Eleanor Rosch and prototype theory
If you’re interested in this topic, a great book to read is ‘Words in the Mind’ by Jean Aitchison. She explores how we store words in our brain.

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Plate or dish?

We had a great question from a viewer called Aurum last week.
Aurum asked what’s the difference between a dish and a plate? Some languages have only one word.
A dish is a container or bowl. It’s usually pretty shallow, so not very deep.
We serve food from a dish and sometimes we cook food in it too.
But sometimes a dish is a particular type of food that’s served as part of a meal.
Like a fish dish or a pasta dish.
A plate is flat and usually round. We put our food on it and eat from it.
And in American English, a plate can also be a whole main course of a meal.
But not in British English.
No?
No. Aurum’s question looked simple, but when you go deeper, it’s quite tricky.
There are lots more words like this. Let’s look at some.

What do we call this in our house, Jay?
This is a mug.
And why do we call it a mug?
Because it has a handle and I drink coffee out of it.
OK. What’s the difference between a mug and a cup?
Well a mug doesn’t have a saucer and it’s taller.
OK. Then what’s this?
Well, this is what we call your coffee cup. Cup!
But it doesn’t have a saucer and it’s tall.
Yes, but it has curved sides and mugs have straight sides.
So we call this a cup because it has curved sides. OK, what’s this?
This is a bowl.
And what’s this?
That’s a bowl too.
So size doesn’t matter.
Well size always matters but in this case what’s important is that they have curved sides.
OK. What’s this?
That’s a bowl.
But it has straight sides.
Yeah, but it’s a bowl.
It isn’t a mug?
No. Cups and mugs have handles and bowls don’t.
OK. So this isn’t a bowl?
Yes, I’d call that a bowl because it’s bigger than a cup.
But you just said size doesn’t matter for bowls. OK. What about this?
It’s a bowl.
And not a plate, right?
No, plates are flat. Bowls are deeper like that. But it’s also a dish.
Why?
Well, we share food from it. If we share food from it, it’s a dish.
So it’s a bowl and a dish.
Yes!

Wow! That was confusing!
Yes. It’s because the meaning of words often overlap with other words. Another meaning starts before one meaning has finished.
So we call this a cup, but we could also call it a mug. It’s part cup and part mug.
Exactly. The boundaries between the words are fuzzy. There’s no clear dividing line between their meanings.
Are there more words like this?
Oh yes, lots. What about the word game? What does game mean?

Wittgenstein and words that share a family resemblance

You mean a board game like Monopoly, or a card game like poker?
Yes. Or a game like football or tennis.
Or computer games.
Or the Olympic Games. What do they all have in common?
Well there’s competition. We compete against another person or another team. If it’s a game we can win or lose.
But there’s also the game of patience.
We call that solitaire. It’s a card game you play on your own.
And what if a child throws a ball against a wall? It’s a game, but it’s not a competition.
OK. Is it that games are all amusing and fun?
Well, that’s often true, but some games are quite serious like chess, or war games.
Is it about skill? We need to learn and practice a game to play well – like chess or football? They require skill.
Skill can be important, but in some games, you can win by chance. Like roulette or bingo. You don’t need skill to win them.
So there are different features of the word ‘game’: competitive, amusing, skillful. But we don’t need all the features to call something a game.
Exactly. The meanings of words are often a group of ideas that are similar. But they don’t all have to be true for the meaning to work. They just have to have a family resemblance.
OK. Here’s a big question. What does this mean if you’re learning English?
It means words you have in your language might not match English words exactly. They could be similar in some ways but different in others.
Because the word boundaries might be different.
That’s right. And there’s some interesting research about that.

Prototype theory and English vocabulary

In the 1970s a psychologist, called Eleanor Rosch, ran some experiments on prototypes. A prototype is a typical example of something. For example, she showed people lots of dogs and asked them what’s the doggiest dog for you? A sheep dog, a bull dog, a collie, a dachshund, a Pekingese? So she wasn’t asking what dogs people liked. She was asking what kind of dog is most typical of all dogs.
She asked the same question about lots of different categories of things. For example birds, vegetables, toys, pieces of furniture. And she discovered two things. The first one was people kept ranking things in the same way. Their answers were very consistent. For example, most people thought a chair was the best example of a piece of furniture and a lamp wasn’t very good.
And the second thing Eleanor discovered was very curious. People believed the words must share some common features. So for example, they’d look at different birds and say they’re birds because they can all fly. But a penguin can’t fly and an ostrich can’t fly. Flying is a common feature of birds but it’s not a necessary feature. People kept looking for necessary features that don’t exist.

So things in her categories shared some features, but not all of them.
Yeah, and the things that shared the most features were the best prototypes.
It was like the word ‘game’. Different games have some features in common, but they don’t share all of them.
Our brains want to think that words fit neatly into categories and that there are clear boundaries where one word stops and another begins.
But that’s not how it works. The meanings of words are fuzzy at the edges.
You can’t always separate them with clear lines.
And this is something that’s true for all languages.
I have a question.
What’s that?
What’s the birdiest bird for you?
Oh it’s the robin. Definitely.
For me it’s the sparrow.
Really? But robins are such a common bird.
But in the UK, the most common bird is a sparrow.
Wow. So maybe we have different ideas of what a bird is.
And maybe you have different ideas about birds, or what dishes and plates are.
Write and tell us in the comments if you do.
And if you’ve enjoyed this video, please share it with a friend.
And Aurum, thank you for a great question. See you all next week everyone. Bye-bye.
Bye.

Click here to see more vocabulary videos.
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Click these links to see more videos on common false friends: sympathetic and nice, story and history, actually and currently, sensible and sensitive.

Vocabulary for talking about love – Happy Valentine’s Day!

Vocabulary for talking about love – Happy Valentine’s Day!

Is it possible to fall in love in just one conversation? In this video we ask and answer 11 English questions that can lead to love and explore the vocabulary of love and relationships along the way.
In this lesson you’ll learn vocabulary for talking about love and relationships including:
– words for describing relationships:
compatible, close, treasured
– things lovers might do as they get closer such as:
to impress, to be compatible, to get along, to be trying to hard, to share, to reveal
– euphemisms for death and distress:
to lose someone, disturbing
– adjectives for describing physical appearance:
good-looking, beautiful, pretty, handsome, hot, fit
– adjectives for describing personal qualities:
loyal, sensitive
This lesson was inspired by some real psychological research into questions that can make strangers connect, get close fast and even fall in love.
Here’s a link to the Arthur Aron et al study and a great article about it from the New York Times
If you want to try out the 36 questions with a partner, here’s a website that makes it easy to go through the questions.

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Vocabulary for talking about love

Are you ready to fall in love?
It can happen really fast, in just one conversation.
We’ll show you how it can happen to you.
And you’ll learn lots of vocabulary about love and relationships along the way.
Get ready for Valentine’s Day!
Hello everyone. I’m Jay and I’m American.
And I’m Vicki and I’m British and this lesson was inspired by the science of love.
Some years ago a psychologist called Arthur Aron did a study on relationship building. He was looking at communication and how strangers can connect.
And a very interesting thing happened in one of his experiments. Two strangers met in his laboratory, had a conversation and fell in love.
It happened when they asked one another 36 questions and shared their answers.
So what were the questions? We’ll show you. And we’ll leave some links about the research in the details below.
Be sure to read the article from the New York Times. It’s really interesting
Do you think the questions will help our relationship too? We’re already married.
Let’s try them and see!
OK, what are we doing?

I’ve got 36 questions here. And we’re going to take it in turns to pick them up, read them and then answer them. OK? First one. If you could choose anyone in the world, who would you want as a dinner guest?
Oh that’s easy. Albert Einstein.
Oh right. OK. I don’t think I’d want anyone famous. I think I’d want to see one of my old friends who I haven’t seen for a while.

Impressing and trying too hard

How do you think that first question went?
Very well. How about you?
Hmm. So-so. You said you wanted to meet Albert Einstein.
What’s wrong with that?
Well I think you’re trying to impress me. You want me to think you’re very intelligent.
Well I do want to impress you, but I’d also like to meet Albert Einstein.
Yeah but if I didn’t know you, I’d think you were trying too hard.
Trying too hard. That’s not good!
Be cool! Calm down and just be yourself.
OK. I’ll try to be cool.
Let’s try another question.

What would be a perfect day for you?
Ah, it would be: stay in bed till late and then go out in the evening for a meal with you.
My perfect day, what I’d like to do, I’d like to get up early in the morning, go to the gym and work out, go to work, get important things done, come home and go out to dinner with you.
You’re much more active than me.

Compatibility

How did that question go?
I’m not sure. You said I was more active than you.
But I don’t think that’s a bad thing. We’re just different. People can be compatible even if they’re different.
That’s true. We don’t have to agree about everything to get along.
And I like your energy.
Well thank you! Let’s have another question then.

If you were going to become a close friend with your partner,… Well that sounds really odd. If you’re not already close friends, why would you be partners, but..
Oh no because, no because, these are for strangers to do as well, these questions.
You mean to a business partner?
No no, just strangers. Two people sitting together.
If… If you were… If you were going to become… Oh. Oh two people sitting together like partners in class.
Yes.
I see.
Yeah.
If you were going to become a close friend with your partner, please share what would be important for him or her to know.
It would be important for me to tell you that I’m very untidy.
I’d have to tell you that sometimes I snore.

To be untidy means I don’t put things away neatly.
And snoring is breathing noisily when you’re asleep.

Partner

‘Partner’ is interesting. It can be a confusing word in English.
Yes, it can mean a business partner – someone you own a business with.
Or it can be someone you do something with. Like if you work with a team mate in class, they’re you’re partner.
In British English, we describe someone we live with, but we’re not married to, as our partner.
So there’s a romantic relationship.
Yes. What would you call that in American English?
Perhaps your boyfriend or girlfriend?
But that could also be someone you don’t live with.
Yes, it could be either. But partners for us are generally two people in a gay relationship.
Before Jay and I got married we lived together in the US and I didn’t know about this vocabulary difference. So I talked about Jay to my American friends and said he was my partner. And then when my they met him they were surprised.
They expected me to be a woman. They were very nice to me, but clearly surprised.
So that’s a curious American and British English difference.
I think things are changing though and we’re adopting the British meaning of the word.
So the difference is disappearing?
Yes. Let’s have another question.

What is your most treasured memory?
Erm… Our wedding day was pretty special and I have tresured memories of that.
Erm… What is your most terrible memory?
Oh well I think… there are several of them but it’s losing people we love.
Yeah.
My father or my mother or Carter.
Yeah. Yeah. Me too.

A euphemism

Treasure is something valuable like gold silver or jewels, and if we treasure something we treat it like it’s very valuable.
We could treasure a friendship, or treasure a memory.
And lose?
If we lose someone we love, it means they died.
It’s a euphemism, a gentle way to say they died.
As we worked our way through the questions, they also became more personal.
We had to reveal things about our personal feelings and say how we felt about one another.

Take turns to share a positive characteristic of your partner. Share five items. Erm. I think you’re very hard working. I think you’re funny. I think you’re, erm, very loyal. I think you’re… I think you’re also very kind, and try not to hurt people’s feelings. You’re sensitive like that. And I think… Erm…
Good-looking.
All right. Good-looking!

Personal attributes

Good-looking is another way to say attractive.
And we can say it for men and women. Some adjectives are used for females, like beautiful and pretty.
And handsome is for men. We can also say hot. That works for women and men.
We could say that in British English too, but often we say fit.
Like physically fit – strong and healthy?
No, fit is an informal word and it means hot. Sexy.
OK, loyal. If someone is loyal, they always support their friends.
You can be sure that they’ll be on your side.
Sensitive is an interesting word too because it’s a false friend in many languages.
Notice that sensitive doesn’t mean that you’re able to make good judgements. That’s sensible – so a different word.
If someone is sensitive it could mean they get upset easily, but it can also mean that they’re able to understand other people’s feelings and problems.
And then it’s a positive quality.
Have we made another video about sensible and sensitive?
Yes, I’ll put the link here.

Complete this sentence. I wish I had someone with whom I could share …
The work for Simple English Videos. So perhaps the editing or the shooting and all that. I mean there’s you. There’s you. I know that.
Thanks a lot!
I know but I wish we had someone else.
Oh someone else.
OK. What about you?
Yes, I wish we had someone else.

You said ‘with whom’ there, not ‘with who’. That was very formal.
Yes, that was because I was reading the research question aloud.
We’ve made another video on who and whom and I’ll put the link here.
But there was another useful verb there – share.
Sharing is when you’re giving something you have to another person.
We can share information and personal stories.

How close and warm is your family? Do you feel your childhood was happier than most other people’s?
Well together we have a very large close family. I’d like to be closer to some of them, but they’re very far away.
Erm, and do you think your childhood was happier than most other people’s. I think mine was. I was very lucky.
I suspect mine was not, but that’s OK.
That’s the problem isn’t it. How do you feel about your relationship with your mother. She was a difficult woman, wasn’t she?
Let’s skip that.

Close can mean physically close, so not far away, and also emotionally close.
Close has a lot of different meanings.
If you’re talking about love, you want a close relationship.
A close relationship is a loving relationship.
Exactly.
To skip is a useful verb. If we don’t want to do something, we can say, ‘let’s skip it’.
It’s like missing it. We can skip breakfast or lunch.
There was another question we wanted to skip.

Of all the people in your family – oh – this is disturbing.
OK. Of all the people in your family whose death would you find most disturbing and why? Whoo! Erm. Clearly for me, it would be you.
Right. It’s too disturbing to even think about.
Yeah and I think one of the grandchildren. Well, let’s not think about it.

It’s interesting that they wrote the word disturbing in this question.
If we disturb someone, it usually means we interrupt them and stop them from doing what they’re doing.
Usually if you disturb someone it isn’t serious. It’s a small problem. It’s not a big thing.
In this question disturbing is a euphemism again. It’s a gentle way of saying upsetting or distressing.
If you’re upset, you’re very unhappy and possibly worried. Something bad has happened.
And if you’re distressed something really bad has happened and your very upset.
It was a difficult question, because they wanted us to share sad thoughts.
I expect that’s important for the experiment.
Yes, the questions at the start of the experiment are easy, but then they get deeper.

Uh oh! Share an embarrassing moment in your life. Where do I begin? There are so many. I’ve given a presentation to a large audience and I’ve sneezed and farted at the same time.
Sorry, I’ve never been embarrassed.

Embarrassment

Stories like that can make us feel nervous, uncomfortable and ashamed.
Thy make us vulnerable.
Yes. We’ll think ‘are you going to laugh at me?’, ‘will you think I’m stupid?’
Maybe we have to become vulnerable to fall in love. What do you think?
Tell us your thoughts in the comments. And share what you think of the experiment and the questions.
And we love it when you share our videos with your friends too.
Yes, please go and do that now!
Yeah, this video is getting very long. It’s time to stop.
We haven’t finished all the questions though.
We can look at some more another time.
OK, see you next week everyone.
Happy Valentine’s Day. Bye-bye.
Bye.
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sickness and illness vocabulary

Sickness and Illness Vocabulary in British and American English

Watch this English lesson to learn vocabulary for health and sickness.
We’ll also show you how some words we use to talk about illness are different in British and American English.

You’ll learn vocabulary for:
– cold and flu symptoms like fever, sore throat and blocked or runny nose
– germs and bugs
– symptoms like feeling nauseous, having diarrhea and having constipation
– different kinds of aches in English
– different ways to say vomit in English
– the different meanings of sick and ill in British and American English
And on top of all this great stuff, you’ll also see a funny parody ad for cold medication. Enjoy!

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Funny parody ad

Do you have a fever, stuffiness, sore throat?
It’s cold season again. Have you protected yourself against this year’s germs?
Atchoo!
Are you ready to fight against coughs and sneezes?
Atchoo!
Nothing protects you from a cold like a big steel pan.
And when you’re all done your steel pan rinses clean.
Call or go online to get your big steel pan today.

Hi everyone I’m Vicki and I’m British.
And I’m Jay and I’m American and today we have a vocabulary lesson.
We’re going to show you lots words and expressions we use to talk about common illnesses and sickness in English.
And there are some words that we say differently in British and American English.
We’ll tell you about them too. Where shall we begin?
Oh. Let’s start with the commercial.

Do you have a fever, stuffiness, sore throat?

I don’t want to get into another elevator with someone like you there.
Yeah, I had a bad cold, or the flu.
With a cold you feel ill for a few days. But the flu is more serious. You might need to spend a week in bed.
Flu is short for influenza. In British English we can say ‘He has the flu’ or ‘He has flu’. Both are correct and common. But notice we always say ‘a’ with ‘a cold’. He has a cold.
American English is a little different because we say ‘the’ with flu. ‘He has the flu’. But colds are the same. We use ‘a’. And we can use ‘a’ with other symptoms. He has a sore throat. He has a fever.
Your throat is a passage inside your neck. And if it’s sore it’s painful.
It can hurt to swallow if you have a sore throat.
A fever is an interesting word because we can use it in British English but I’d normally say ‘He has a temperature’.
And a temperature means a high temperature.
Yeah. When I first came to the US, the doctors would ask, ‘Do you have a fever?’ and I didn’t know what to say because I associate a fever with a very, very high temperature, like if you have malaria or something really serious.
A fever just means a body temperature of say 101° Fahrenheit or more.
He means 38°Celcius. So high, but not life threatening.
Another cold symptom is stuffiness – a stuffy nose.
It’s when your nose is blocked and you can’t breathe easily.
Congestion is the formal word, but normally we say ‘I’m stuffed up’.
And in British English we can also say ‘I’m bunged up’. It’s means my nose is blocked.
And what’s the opposite?
It’s having a runny nose.
Oh it’s the same in American English.
If it’s runny, mucus is coming out.
Mucus is the formal word. The informal word is snot.
Yeah. Snot is not a polite word
It’s not?!
But we say it.
Let’s see some more of the commercial.

It’s cold season again. Have you protected yourself against this year’s germs?

You were dangerous with all those coughs and sneezes.
Yeah, I was spreading germs there.
Germs are very small living things that can make you ill – like bacteria or viruses.
We should cover our mouth when we cough .

Jay, what are you doing wearing a face mask?
There are a lot of bugs going around. I don’t want to get sick.
And gloves too.
Yes, I don’t want to pick up any germs. Would you like some?
No thanks.

You were being very careful there.
Well, there were a lot of bugs going around.
A bug is an illness that people can catch very easily from one other.
And ‘going around’ means spreading from one person to another.
Bugs aren’t nice, but they’re not usually serious. We could say ‘I have a flu bug’, or ‘I have a stomach bug’.
If you have a stomach bug, you might feel nauseous.
You mean nauseous.
No. Nauseous.
Nauseous. OK. There’s a pronunciation difference here.
If you feel nauseous, you feel like you’re going to throw up.
To throw up is when your food comes back up. BLAH.
A more formal term is to vomit, but in everyday conversation we usually say something like throw up.
We have lots of other ways to say it.

To vomit.
To throw up.
To puke.
To barf.
To be sick.
To hurl.
To do the technicolour yawn.
To lose your lunch.

Sick and ill in British and American English

I want to test the British expression there. If I say ‘I was sick’, what does it mean to you?
Oh. It means you weren’t well. Perhaps you had a fever or a cold or something.
OK, in British English it could mean that but often it means I threw up.
That’s interesting. If I feel nauseous, I could say I’m going to be sick.
So like British English.
Well no, because I’d only say it just before it happens. Like ‘Pull the car over, I’m going to be sick’.
And then after you’re sick?
I’d say I threw up. I wouldn’t say I was sick.
And what do you call the stuff that comes out of your mouth?
Vomit.
I’d usually call it sick.
In American English we use sick to talk about feeling generally unwell, so not just nauseous.
We can do that too, but we use the word ill a little more than you. So often I’ll say someone is ill when Jay will say they’re sick. We mean the same thing.
For me, ill is a little more formal than sick. And if someone is ill, it’s probably more long term and serious.
OK, another symptom of a stomach bug is diarrhoea.
Are we going to talk about that?
Yeah, it’s a useful word to know. Diarrhoea is when you go to the toilet and …
You mean the bathroom
And your poo is watery.
We have a few other ways to describe that too.

I have diarrhea.
I have the runs.
I have the trots.
I have an upset stomach.
My stomach is acting up.

OK. What’s the opposite of diarrhoea? It’s constipation. Constipation is when you can’t do a poo or it’s very hard.
Enough! Can we go back to the commercial now.
OK.
Are you ready to fight against coughs and sneezes?
Nothing protects you from a cold like a big steel pan.
How’s your head?
Terrible! I’ve got a headache now.
Headache. An ache is similar to a pain.
Parts of our body can ache.
So ache can be a noun and a verb in English. We have five main aches and Jay will now demonstrate them for you.
Really?
Yes.

Aches in English

I have a headache. I have backache. I have earache. I have stomach ache. I have toothache.

Good job.
Thanks.
Notice that we have to say ‘a’ when we’re talking about a headache. With earache, toothache and stomachache and backache it’s optional.
And there’s also another word you’ll hear for stomach ache: tummy ache. Tummy is another word for stomach and we often use it when we talk to children.
We might also say I have indigestion. Indigestion can give us stomach ache or tummy ache.
Great. Are we finished?
Nearly. But there’s one more thing that’s useful to know.
What’s that?
If someone sneezes, what do we say?
Oh yes!
It’s polite to say ‘bless you’.
It’s not a religious expression. It’s just something we say to acknowledge that someone sneezed. Atchoo!
Bless you!
Thanks.

Knock knock.
Who’s there.
Atch.
Atch who?
Bless you!
Argh!

And that’s it! Now you know how to describe lots of common illnesses in English.
If you’ve enjoyed this video, please share it with a friend.
And don’t forget to subscribe to our channel.
Stay healthy everyone! See you all next week. Bye-bye.
Bye.

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british words british phrases

10 British words and phrases that Americans don’t use

Here are 10 British words and phrases that I rarely hear in the US, or if I do, they have rather different meanings. For example, my British ground floor is an American first floor, and my first floor becomes a second floor. Cheers is another one. It can also mean thank you and goodbye in the UK. And then there are words like shirty, plonker and taking the mickey.
See 10 British words and phrases in action in a comedy sketch and get explanations here.

Click here to learn more British and American differences
Click here to see how to say cheers in some other languages

British words and phrases

Well, it’s a lovely conference hotel, isn’t it?
Yes, isn’t it great?
I hope Jay hasn’t overslept again. We never hear the alarms on our phones.
No, he’s up. I saw him at breakfast.
Oh good.
Ah Jay. You’re late.
Sorry. I thought this meeting was on the first floor.
Yeah?
Well, this is the second floor.
No, it isn’t.
Never mind. Have you got the artwork, Jay, for our presentation?
Yes, it was quite a challenge. I couldn’t find all the images you wanted so I had to take the photos myself.
Oh cheers, Jay.
Yeah, cheers.
Ah. Cheers. Cheers.
Show us the pictures.
Sure. Here’s the first one.
I don’t understand.
Yeah. Which picture is this?
Hmmm. Man delivering the post.
This isn’t what we had in mind.
Where are the letters?
You didn’t say anything about letters.
But we wanted a postman.
Let’s move on. Jay, show us the next one.
OK. Well this photo was very hard to take.
I don’t get it.
Me neither.
Well, you said you wanted a suitcase in a boot. Now I couldn’t find a boot big enough for a whole suitcase but I did my best.
Are you taking the mickey?
The mi… What do you mean?
We need to see a suitcase in the back of a car.
Well then why didn’t you say so?
I thought we did.
You did not.
Don’t get shirty.
Sh… What?
What’s the next one?
OK. I put a lot of effort into this one and it’s exactly what you asked for.
It’s a school boy holding a rubber. What’s wrong now?
It’s pants, Jay.
No it’s not. Its a condom.
Vicki, you’re going to have to make all these images again.
Yeah. You’re such a plonker Jay. What time is our presentation tomorrow?
8.30 in the morning. Do you want me to stop by your room and knock you up?
Oh, that would be great. Thanks Craig. What?
Hello everyone, I’m Vicki and I’m British.
And I’m Jay and I’m American.
And last week we showed you that story and asked you to spot the British expressions.
There were ten of them and you did really well!
Well done!
We were very impressed, and this week we’re going to explain them.
Yeah, let’s get cracking
That means let’s start and we say that in American English too.
But you don’t say ground floor when you’re talking about buildings.
We can but the ground floor of a building is the first floor. And in the UK?
It varies but usually we have a ground floor and then the NEXT floor is the first floor.
So it’s the second floor. In the US we’re logical. We start at floor one and go up.
Well we have a different logic. We start at zero. OK, what’s next?
Cheers. We say cheers when we’re making toast in American English. So when we’re lifting our glasses to drink.
We do too but cheers has some other meanings as well. It’s an informal way to say good bye.
Oh, like cheerio?
Yeah, ‘Cheers, bye!’ And it’s also an informal way to say thank you.
OK, next one. Post. That’s a piece of wood or metal that’s set in the ground.
That’s the same in British English but the post is also the mail – so letters and parcels. And a postman or postwoman is someone who delivers the post.
We’d call them a mail carrier. A mailman if it’s a man.
OK. Next?
A boot. This is a big strong shoe.
Same in the UK, but it also means the space in the back of a car where you put your bags and cases.
We call that the trunk. Taking the mickey.
Yes. This is an informal expression and it’s when you make someone look silly.
Is it unkind to take the mickey?
Not really. It means teasing and making fun of someone, but usually in a gentle way.
OK. Shirty. What does that mean?
That means cross or a little angry.
So when you’re shirty, you’re bad tempered.
Exactly. Shirty is when you’re rude because you’re annoyed.
OK, the next one. Rubber. This is an informal way of saying condom on the US – so a rubber is a contraceptive.
We just call them condoms in the UK. And we use rubbers to remove pencil marks from paper.
That’s an eraser.
Yeah, we could say eraser but it’s a bit formal. We normally say rubber.
Plonker. This is an insult right?
Yes. It’s slang. If someone is stupid we might say they’re a plonker.
It means they’re an idiot?
Yeah, or we might say they’re a wally – that’s another informal word. If someone does something stupid we might say ‘Oh, you wally’. It means stupid too.
Pants.
Ah yes.
Now pants are a piece of clothing that cover our legs in American English but I know that’s different in British English.
Yeah, we call them trousers. And for us, pants are what you wear under your trousers next to your skin.
We call that underwear.
But pants can also be an adjective in British English. It’s informal and we use it to say something was rubbish. So ‘How was the film?’ ‘Oh it was pants.’
Oh so pants means very bad.
Yeah.
And now the last one. Knock someone up
This is informal again and it has a couple of meanings in British English.
In American English it’s slang and it means to make a girl pregnant.
We have that meaning too. But very often it means to wake someone up by knocking on their door.
That’s not what I think of when I hear it.
He must have a dirty mind. So are we done?
Yes. That was fun.
We want to say a big thank you to Craig for appearing in the comedy sketch with us.
We’ll put links to his websites below. They’re great for Spanish speakers who are learning English.
And if you enjoyed this video please share it with a friend.
And subscribe to our channel.
See you all next week everyone. Bye.
Bye-bye.
Click here to learn more British and American differences
Click here to see how to say cheers in some other languages

make do rules

Make or do – The rules we follow

Make or do? Do you ever wonder which verb to use? We have some good news and some bad news. The good news is there are some rules we follow and you can learn them in this video. You’ll see how we use do for non-specific activities and work and how we use make with creative tasks. The bad news is there’s still more work to do because we use these verbs in lots of common expressions that you’ll need to learn one by one. But not to worry. We have another video with some of the common ones here.

Click here to see another video about make and do.
Click here to see some more vocabulary videos.

Make or Do? The rules we follow

Can you do this for me?
No problem.
Thank you! That was Jason. He does a lot of work for me. That was Jay. He makes a lot of work for me.

Make and do. Do you ever wonder which verb to use in English? I have some good news and some bad news. Let’s start with the good news. There are some rules we follow and you can learn them in this video. These rules will help you get them right. Let’s start with do.

Do you want to come shopping with me?
Oh yes. Oh, but I need to do my hair first.
Oh. How long will that take?

Doing your hair is a non-specific activity. It might mean washing it, or straightening it, or maybe just brushing it. Do is a general purpose verb we use for unspecified activities.

Oh, we’d love to see you. OK. Half an hour. Bye.
They’re coming in half an hour?
Yeah.
You do the kitchen and I’ll do the living room. OK.

These are non-specific actions. Doing might mean cleaning, putting things away, or hoovering or vacuuming as they say in American English.
So here’s the rule. With non-specific activities, use ‘do’. We use it when we don’t say exactly what action we’re talking about. It’s just something.

Do you need a hand?
Ah, no thanks. I think I’ve done everything.
Ah, great.
Jay, why didn’t you wake me?
It’s Sunday.
Oh! We’re not doing anything today.
Ah!
What’s the matter?
I’m bored. I have nothing to do.
Argh! Argh! Argh! Help! Do something!

So if you’re talking about everything, anything, nothing, or something, say ‘do’. Do is non-specific.
OK, next one. We also use ‘do’ when we’re talking about work. So we do homework. We do housework and chores, those small jobs around the house that we all have to do.
Ah!

What’s the matter? I’m bored.
I have nothing to do.
Well, you could do the laundry.

We do jobs like the shopping, and our taxes.

You need to do your taxes.
Ooo, don’t remind me. I don’t want to think about it.

So here’s another rule. We often use do when we’re talking about jobs and work.
Now let’s look at ‘make’. We use ‘make’ to talk about creative activities, when we bring something new into existence.

Are you making something?
Yes, it’s a light for my hat, so I can see where I’m walking in the dark.
It might need a little more work.

Cooking is a creative activity and we often use make to talk about food we prepare. So we can make salads and pasta and cakes and lots of other meals and snacks.

So make yourself at home, Jason.
Thanks.
Yeah, make yourself a snack.
Great.
You could make a sandwich, and we’ve got beer.
If you’re making a sandwich, make one for me too.

Great. So let’s review. Do is the most common verb and we use it for non-specific activities, when we don’t say exactly what action we’re talking about. And we also use do when we’re talking about work and jobs we have to do.
Then make. We generally use make when we’re talking about creating or producing something.
And that’s it. Those are the key rules we follow.
Now, do you remember said there was some bad news. The bad news is there’s still more work to do.
We use these verbs in lots of common expressions which you need to learn one by one. But it’s not all bad news because we can help you. Subscribe to our channel and we’ll show you lots of examples. We publish new videos every Friday with conversations and stories, so you can see English in action. In fact, let’s have one more example now, before we stop.

What are you making.
Oh. A paper aeroplane.
Oh cool! Do you want to make one too?
Yes.
Here.
Oh thank you.
Well, that’s true. But you know it took…. Who did that?

Click here to see another video about make and do.
Click here to see some more vocabulary videos.

Travel Phrasal Verbs

Travel Phrasal Verbs and Common English Expressions

Enjoy a funny English story and learn lots of phrasal verbs and expressions for traveling while you watch.
Here are some of the phrasal verbs and expressions you’ll see in action: stop by, stop off, pick someone up, drop someone off, give someone a ride/lift, touch down, check in, set off, hurry up and take off.

Click here to learn more phrasal verbs for: computers and technology, food and eating, organizing things.
Click here to learn phrases for checking in at an airport.
Click here to learn how to use the words: travel, trip and journey.

Phrasal Verbs and Common Expressions for Talking about Traveling

The best way to learn English phrasal verbs is to see them in action. So today, we’re going to show you lots of phrasal verbs in a story, a funny story. You’ll love it.
We’re looking at phrasal verbs to do with travelling, so verbs to do with travel, trips, and journeys. Do you know how to use these words? If you’re not sure, don’t worry. We’ve made another video about them that you can see here. We make a new lessons every week at Simple English Videos, so make sure you subscribe to our channel and click the notification bell. That way you’ll know when there’s a new video waiting for you.
But this lesson’s about phrasal verbs we use to talk about travelling. Your task is to watch a story, enjoy it, and see how many phrasal verbs you can spot. When it’s finished we’ll check your answers and explain what all the verbs mean. Ready?

I’ve got an important job for you Jay.
Yeah?
Mrs. Clarkson’s stopping by today.
Mrs. Clarkson of Clarkson Industries?
Yes.
She’s coming here?
Yes. She’s flying to Chicago and she’s stopping off to see us on the way.
Wow!
I need you pick her up at the airport and bring her to the office.
Great!
Her plane gets in at three. She only has a couple of hours between flights.
Don’t worry. When her plane touches down, I’ll be there waiting.
Good.
Oh no!
What?
I don’t have my car with me today. Vicki gave me a ride to work.
Argh! You can use my car.
Your new Volvo?
Yes, but be very careful.
I will. Thank you, Kathy.
Whose car key is this?
Oh, it’s Kathy’s
The key to her new Volvo?
Yes, I’m going to pick up an important customer at the airport.
It’s got wi-fi and all kinds of gadgets.
I know.
How fast can it go?
Oh, I have no idea.
I’ll find out.
But I have to be at the airport at three.
I’ll be back in ten minutes. I’ll bring you some doughnuts.
Kathy will kill me if I’m late. Oh, hurry up Vicki. Where have you been?
Out and about.
Give me the key.
Jay. Why weren’t you at the airport?
I’m setting off now, Kathy.
You’re too late. Mrs. Clarkson just checked in for her next flight.
I can be there ten minutes.
She’s getting on the plane now.
But it’s not my fault. Vicki took your car key and then she took off.
Jay wanted me to get him some doughnuts. Would you like one?
Jay! In my office. Now!

Let’s look at some of the phrasal verbs you heard. The first two were stop by and stop off.

Mrs Clarkson’s stopping by today.
Mrs Clarkson of Clarkson Industries?
Yes.
She’s coming here?
Yes. She’s flying to Chicago and she’s stopping off to see us on the way
Wow!

Stop by and stop off have very similar meanings. If you stop by a place you make a short visit there. Stop off is very similar, but it’s a short visit during a journey, so when you’re going to a place you might stop off somewhere else on the way.
OK, the next verb you heard was pick up.

I need you pick her up at the airport and bring her to the office.
Great!

Pick someone up means going to a place to collect them. So we might go to an airport in our car to collect someone who will be waiting for us. We can pick up things too – collect them when they’re ready.
The opposite of picking up is dropping off. That’s when you take someone to a place by car, and then you leave them there. So maybe you’re on your way somewhere and your route takes you past a place that the other person needs to be. You drop them off.
OK, the next two verbs we heard were get in and touch down.

Her plane gets in at three. She only has a couple of hours between flights.
Don’t worry. When her plane touches down, I’ll be there waiting.
Good.

Get in is a really useful verb. It means to arrive at a place. When you want to know what time someone’s plane, train or bus is arriving you can say, when does it get in?
Touch down is specific to planes and it’s the action of landing. When a plane makes contact with the ground it touches down. Great. Next one.

Oh no!
What?
I don’t have my car with me today. Vicki gave me a ride to work.
Argh! You can use my car.
Your new Volvo?
Yes, but be very careful.
I will.

To give someone a ride is American English expression and it means to take someone somewhere in your car. In British English we’d say give someone a lift. It means the same thing. It’s a free ride to a place they want to get to.
OK, the next phrasal verb you heard wasn’t specifically about travel, but it’s very useful. See if you can spot it.

How fast can it go?
Oh, I have no idea.
I’ll find out.
But I have to be at the airport at three.

It was find out. To find out means to discover – to get information about something.
The next phrasal verb was easy.

Kathy will kill me if I’m late. Oh hurry up Vicki.

Say ‘hurry up’ when you want someone to do something faster. It means do something quickly because there isn’t much time.
OK. The next two….

Jay. Why weren’t you at the airport?
I’m setting off now, Kathy.
You’re too late. Mrs. Clarkson just checked in for her next flight.

To set off – this means to begin a journey, so to start to go somewhere.
And to ‘check in’ means to register. When you go to an airport or a hotel, you go to a desk to tell them that you’ve arrived.
We’ve made another video with useful phrases for checking in at an airport. Click here to see it.

OK, just two more verbs.
I can be there ten minutes.
She’s getting on the plane now.
But it’s not my fault. Vicki took your car key and then she took off.

When we get on a plane, we board the plane. We get inside it. And then the plane takes off. It rises into the air. Planes and rockets take off. Now that’s one meaning of take off but there’s another one. Take off can also mean to leave somewhere in a hurry. If someone disappears quickly, we can say they took off – it means they left suddenly.
And that’s all the phrasal verbs you heard. Phew! There were a lot. Let’s watch the story again, and this time you can see the words.

I’ve got an important job for you Jay.
Yeah?
Mrs. Clarkson’s stopping by today.
Mrs. Clarkson of Clarkson Industries?
Yes.
She’s coming here.
Yes. She’s flying to Chicago and she’s stopping off to see us on the way
Wow!
I need you pick her up at the airport and bring her to the office.
Great!
Her plane gets in at three. She only has a couple of hours between flights.
Don’t worry. When her plane touches down, I’ll be there waiting.
Good.
Oh no!
What?
I don’t have my car with me today. Vicki gave me a ride to work.
Argh! You can use my car.
Your new Volvo?
Yes, but be very careful.
I will. Thank you, Kathy.
Whose car key is this?
Oh, it’s Kathy’s.
The key to her new Volvo?
Yes, I’m going to pick up an important customer up at the airport.
It’s got wifi and all kinds of gadgets.
I know.
How fast can it go?
Oh, I have no idea.
I’ll find out.
But I have to be at the airport at three.
I’ll be back in ten minutes. I’ll bring you some doughnuts.
Kathy will kill me if I’m late. Oh hurry up Vicki. Where have you been?
Out and about.
Give me the key.
Jay. Why weren’t you at the airport?
I’m setting off now, Kathy.
You’re too late. Mrs Clarkson just checked in for her next flight.
I can be there ten minutes.
She’s getting on the plane now.
But it’s not my fault. Vicki took your car key and then she took off.
Jay wanted me to get him some doughnuts. Would you like one?
Jay, in my office. Now!

If you enjoyed this story and you like this way of learning, please share this video with a friend who’s also learning English. See you next Friday. Bye!
Click here to learn more phrasal verbs for: computers and technology, food and eating, organizing things.
Click here to learn phrases for checking in at an airport.
Click here to learn how to use the words: travel, trip and journey.

Phrasal Verbs for Organizing

Learn English Phrasal Verbs for Organizing Things

Learn the meanings of common phrasal verbs like tidy up, throw away, lying around, put away and lots more. In this video English lesson you’ll see Jay and Vicki organizing their props and costumes and see how they use the phrasal verbs in action.

Click here to learn 24 phrasal verbs for computers and technology
Click here to learn 10 phrasal verbs for food and eating
Click here to learn 8 very common separable phrasal verbs

Organizing Phrasal Verbs

Hi. Today we’re going to show you some of the props and costumes that we use in our videos.
It’s a bit of a mess so we’re going to organize them today.

This lesson is about phrasal verbs we use to talk about organizing things. The best way to learn their meanings is to see them in action so we’re going to play a game. Watch Jay and I talking about our props and costumes and see how many phrasal verbs you can spot. You’ll hear 13 of them.

Jay and I aren’t very tidy.
We don’t have one place in our house to keep all our props and costumes.
They’re scattered all over the house.
So it’s time to tidy up.
Yes, and I’ve got a prop box ready so we can keep them all in that.
We’ve laid out lots of our props and costumes so we can see what we’ve got.
Yep. Let’s start with this one.
Oh, a toy truck.
A toy truck. I don’t think we need it any more.
I don’t think we’ll ever use this again.
Throw it out.
I will throw it away.
OK, we’ve got lots of hats.
Ooh, this is my magician’s hat
Yes.
I used this hat to send you to Paris with this magic wand.
Yes, a magic wand is a magician’s stick. And your chef’s hat.
Oh, very good. Could you cook something for me?
Oh and you can be a king someday.
This is a crown.
And you’ve got… erm, OK, you’ve got cowboy hats as well.
Well now this is a cowboy hat that a criminal cowboy would wear, right?
What, the baddie?
Yeah, the bad guy.
OK, and that one?
And this would be a cowboy hat a good guy would wear. Right?
Yeah. Look. Do you remember that one?
Oh yes. Rachel wore this in one of our airport videos.
That’s right. And I wore this when I was a cop.
OK. Sort the hats out. Sort them out and we’ll put them together.
There we go.
OK.
Oh look. This is a crystal ball. Tell me the future.
I know. I want to do a scene with a fortune teller where they forecast the future, but I haven’t got round to it yet.
Well, maybe you’ll do it someday soon.
Ok.
Here is a white coat. Oh this is my doctor’s outfit.
It’s really useful that coat because it can be for a doctor or it can be for a shop assistant sometimes like in a chemist’s, or as you would say, a pharmacy.
This comes with a stethoscope, doesn’t it?
Yep, there you are. This is a stethoscope.
All right. Let’s see how this works.
Now, I’ll put this in the prop box, but we should hang that up…
Or else it will get creased, right?
Yep. Hang it up. Here you are.
No problem. Thank you very much.
Ooh. Look what I found.
This is Vicki’s wig, but I think I want to try it.
A wig is false hair. We bought this for the Halloween video that we did. Hang on, I’ll straighten it out for you. It’s very good. I love it.
Oh, is this a table cloth?
Yes, that’s for when we want to set up a restaurant scene.
Oh, we’ve done that.
Yeah.
We had Carter eating in a restaurant, didn’t we?
Yep, and also next time we can use some flowers and it can be a posh restaurant.
Ah, very good. Ooh, Look.
There’s one of these missing. There should be four of these.
There’s one lying around in kitchen.
Oh, right. We’re not very tidy. I’ve been looking for this.
That’s a magnifying glass. I came across this in my office. I use it to find things on my desk.
OK. Are we done?
No, there’s a slate here.
A slate. I… I think people call it a clapperboard as well, don’t they?
Right. It’s used to synchronize cameras and audio. Take one!
Ok, so give it to me and I’ll put it in the prop box.
No, it belongs in my office.
OK, well put it away then.
I shall.
OK, that’s it everyone.

How many phrasal verbs did you spot? The first one was tidy up. If we tidy a place we make it look nice because everything is arranged neatly and put in the right place. But we can also say tidy up. It means the same thing.

We don’t have one place in our house to keep all our props and costumes.
They’re scattered all over the house.
So it’s time to tidy up.
Yes.

You’ll also hear people say tidy away. It’s similar to tidy up. It means to put things in the place they belong.
OK, the next one was lay out. This means to spread things. We usually lay things out so we can see them easily, or so they’re ready to use.

We’ve laid out lots of our props and costumes so we can see what we’ve got.
Yep.

OK, the next two were throw out and throw away. They can mean the same thing. If you have something you don’t need or don’t want any more and you dispose of it or get rid of it, you throw it out or throw it away.

A toy truck. I don’t think we need it any more.
I don’t think we’ll ever use this again.
Throw it out.
I will throw it away.

Next was sort out and it can mean a couple of things in the context of tidying. One is simply to organize – so to arrange and tidy. And the second meaning is to separate different types of things. I used it to say we should separate the hats from the other props.

OK. Sort the hats out. Sort them out and we’ll put them together.
There we go.

OK, next one: to get round to. This means to find time to do something. Perhaps there’s a job that you’ve been meaning to do for a long time, but you haven’t got round to it. You haven’t found time to do it yet. Tell us in the comments.

I want to do a scene with a fortune teller where they forecast the future, but I haven’t got round to it yet.
Well, maybe you’ll do it someday soon.

The next one’s easy to understand. To hang up means put to clothes on a hanger or a hook.

I’ll put this in the prop box, but we should hang that up…
Or else it will get creased, right?
Yep. Hang it up. Here you are.
No problem.

Another phrasal verb with hang is hang on. Hang on is an informal way of asking someone to wait, or stop what they’re doing for a short time.
And the next one. To straighten out means to make something straight, so put it in the correct position so it’s not curved or at an angle. We could just say straighten, that’s the verb, but you’ll often hear straighten out too.

We bought this for the Halloween video that we did. Hang on, I’ll straighten it out for you.

Next one. Set up has several different meanings. It often means make necessary arrangements for something to happen, so you can set up a meeting or an appointment. And it can also mean get equipment or materials ready for use and that’s how we used it here.

Oh, is this a table cloth?
Yes, that’s for when we want to set up a restaurant scene.
Oh, we’ve done that.

OK, next one. If someone has left something somewhere in a careless way, an untidy way, we can say it’s lying around. Jay and are bad at putting things back where they belong so you’ll often find things lying around in our house.

There’s one of these missing. There should be four of these.
There’s one lying around in kitchen.
Oh, right. We’re not very tidy.

In British English we also say lying about. It means the same as lying around.
OK, we’re nearly finished. The next one was come across and it means to find or discover something by chance.

I came across this in my office.

And the last one. When we put something away, we put it in the place it should be kept. When we’ve finished using things we should put them away, so as to be tidy.

Ok, so give it to me and I’ll put it in the prop box.
No, it belongs in my office.
OK, well put it away then.
I shall.

And that’s it! If you enjoyed this videos, why not share it with a friend who’s also learning English? And if you’d like to learn some more phrasal verbs, click here and make sure you subscribe to our channel too, so you don’t miss our future videos. See you next Friday everyone. Bye.

Click here to learn 24 phrasal verbs for computers and technology
Click here to learn 10 phrasal verbs for food and eating
Click here to learn 8 very common separable phrasal verbs

explain or explain me

Explain or Explain me? Fix a common mistake

There’s a mistake students make with the verb explain that can sound funny. In this lesson you’ll learn how to use explain correctly.

You’ll see the verb in action and learn the different structures we commonly use. You’ll also learn how we can use it to describe people’s intentions, motivations and behavior.

Click here to learn about the verb suggest.
Click here to see more vocabulary lessons.
Click here to see more grammar lessons.

Explain or Explain Me?

There’s a mistake students make with this verb when they’re learning English that can sound funny. In this video you’ll learn how to use ‘explain’ correctly and why you’ll sound funny if you don’t.
Let’s jump straight in and see the verb ‘explain’ in action.

Zap! And Kapow! It’s time for the Superhero Show.
Good evening everyone and welcome to the show where every week we meet a superhero and find out about their powers. And this week it’s Somnia man.
Hello and welcome. Come and join me.
Thank you. Thank you. I’m really excited to be here.
Somnia man, could explain to everyone what your superpower is?
Sure. I can send people to sleep in just a few minutes.
Ooo. That’s an unusual power. Explain how it works.
Well, when I start talking, everyone’s eyelids get heavy and then they fall asleep – fast asleep.
That’s really unusual. When did you discover you had this power?
Oh. I was on a first date with a beautiful girl and we went to a restaurant. She asked me asked me what I do for a living, so I said, ‘Let me explain’. But before I could finish, she was asleep in her soup. I didn’t get a second date and she never explained why. Hello.. Hello? Sorry everyone. I guess it’s happened again.
Next week meet Pizza Woman – the woman with the power see pizza toppings without opening the box.

OK. Did you notice how Somnia man talked in the video? His intonation was very flat. English is a musical language and if you don’t change the pitch of your voice, you’ll sound boring and unenthusiastic. You might send people to sleep! So, don’t do what Somnia man did when you’re speaking. Try to vary your pitch and intonation.
Right. Now, let’s look at how this verb works.
Explain can be an intransitive verb or a transitive verb. That means we can just explain or we can explain something.

She asked me asked me what I do for a living, so I said, ‘Let me explain’. But before I could finish, she was asleep in her soup. I didn’t get a second date and she never explained why.

When explain is transitive, we say what’s being explained and then there are two patterns we follow. Here’s the first one and it’s the most common.

Ooo. That’s an unusual power. Explain how it works.

So ‘how it works’ was the something here. We could have all sorts of somethings . This is the normal pattern so it’s the pattern you need to learn and remember. Explain something. Explain something. Explain something.
If you want to say who receives the explanation, you can add that too.
Is it necessary to say the to someone bit? No. You can add it if you think it’s helpful. It’s up to you.
So that’s the important pattern to learn. Explain something. The second pattern is very similar. The ‘to someone’ comes forward and we put it after ‘explain’. Let’s see that in action.

Somnia man. Could you explain to everyone what your superpower is?
Sure.

So we can say ‘to’ before the person who receives the explanation.
That happened in the first pattern too. We explain something and sometimes we say to who.
Now, I have a question. I’ll show you a different pattern and you tell me if it’s right or not. Is this possible? Notice there’s no ‘to’ before the someone here
And no! This is wrong and it sounds funny.
After explain we put the thing we’re explaining. If you put a person there instead, it sounds like your explaining a person. That’s weird.
So be careful because this is the mistake students make most often. They say ‘explain me’ or ‘explain us’ and that’s funny because we can’t explain people. However we might try to explain someone’s motivations or behavior. So let’s look at how we do that.

What are you doing?
Nothing.
You need to explain yourself.
I was trying to get ten dollars out of the box.
You were trying to steal ten dollars?!
Oh no! I didn’t explain myself properly. I put twenty dollars in the box and I was trying to get ten dollars change.
I’ll never understand you.
My mother says that too. She’s been trying to explain me for years.

Let’s look at three of the phrases we heard there.

What are you doing?
Nothing.
You need to explain yourself.

This is a phrase we say when we’re upset and we want someone to tell us the reason they did something. OK. Another phrase.

You were trying to steal ten dollars?
Oh no! I didn’t explain myself properly.

This phrase means I didn’t say what I meant clearly. I wasn’t clear enough. And the last phrase.

I’ll never understand you.
My mother says that too. She’s been trying to explain me for years.

This means Jay’s mother’s been trying to understand and explain his crazy behavior for years.
So in these phrases explain is followed by a person, with no ‘to’. How come?
Well, they all follow the standard pattern: explain something.
When I say ‘explain yourself’, I mean explain your reasons and intentions. That’s the something.
And if I explain myself properly the something is ‘what I meant to say’.
And when Jay says his mother is trying to explain him, he means she’s trying to explain his strange behavior.
So they follow the standard pattern. It’s just that the something is someone’s strange behavior, words or motivations.
Let’s check you’ve understood. I’ll show you a sentence, and you have to decide if it’s correct English or not. Ready? Here’s the first one. Right or wrong?
This is right! Explain can be intransitive or transitive, so we can just explain or we can explain something.
Next one. Right or wrong?
Wrong. We explain something – not a person. You could say this with ‘to me’, but it’s unusual. We generally explain something to someone.
Great. Next one? Right or wrong? It’s right. We explain something and the something here is ‘how you make people fall sleep’.
OK last one. It’s wrong. We’d say ‘could you explain what this words means’. This one is important if you’re taking a speaking exam, like Cambridge First Certificate or IELTS. If the examiner says something and you don’t understand, it’s quite all right to say, ‘Could you explain that?’. But don’t say ‘Could you explain me that’ because that’s wrong. It could be a mark against you,
And that’s it! Now you know how we use the verb ‘explain’. Now ‘suggest’ is another verb where we follow similar patterns and we’ve made another video about that so I suggest you watch it now. And don’t forget to subscribe to our channel. See you next week. Bye now!
Click here to learn about the verb suggest.
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Shakespeare phrases we still use today

Shakespeare phrases we still use today 2

William Shakespeare coined hundreds of English phrases and expressions that we still use today in everyday English. In this video we’ll learn some common ones like in stitches and all that glitters.

Click here to see our first video on common expressions coined by Shakespeare
Click here to see more vocabulary videos
Click here to see our videos on prefixes and suffixes
Click here to see videos with more everyday English expressions

Shakespeare phrases we still use today (2) script

To coin a phrase – this means to invent a new expression, especially one that lots of people start to use. William Shakespeare coined hundreds of English words and phrases that we’re still using today, 400 years later. Let’s learn some.
So we’re back with more phrases from Shakespeare that native speakers use today. When we say them, we often don’t know where they come from. They’re just things we say and we’re surprised when we learn they were coined by Shakespeare.
OK. Ready for the first one?
In this phrase a stich is a sharp pain in the side of your body. If you run a lot, you might get a stich. The other way we get a stich is by laughing. So if something has you in stitches it means it makes you laugh so hard that it hurts. We say it when we think something is hilarious – very, very funny.

We went to the movies last night, but it was a waste of time. It was supposed to be a comedy but it didn’t make me laugh. It wasn’t very funny, was it?
I thought it was hilarious. I was in stitches.
I was in stitches.

Next one. We use this phrase to stress that it’s important to do something. For example, if Jay comes into the house with mud on his shoes. I’ll say, take them off, for goodness sake. We generally say ‘for goodness sake’ when we’re annoyed about something. Annoyed means a little angry.

Oh for goodness sake, Jay.
Oh for goodness sake, Jay.

Here’s the next one. Do you know the word glitter? If something glitters it shines brightly with little flashes of light. Gold can glitter and diamonds can glitter and lots of shiny things can glitter. So this phrase means don’t rely on appearances. Just because something looks attractive, it doesn’t mean it’s really attractive. It might appear to be better than it really is.
Perhaps you have an expression like this in your language? Tell us in the comments if you do. And let’s see the phrase in action.

We once bought a boat you know.
Yes, we thought it would be fantastic.
Yes. We saw other people with boats having lots of fun.
We thought we’d take vacations sailing and fishing.
And hanging out with friends.
But then we discovered it was a lot of work.
Yes, it was expensive, too.
I’m really glad we sold that boat.
Me too. All that glitters is not gold.
All that glitters is not gold.

OK, the next one.
Shakespeare used this phrase in several plays to describe people whose finances changed – so people who were wealthy and had money in the past, but then things changed and they became poor. Today we use it to describe something that’s in poor condition. For example, Jay and I have a dirty old couch in our living room that’s seen better days. We need a new one.

Are you wearing that jacket again?
Yes.
You need to buy a new one.
But I love this jacket.
But it’s old and dirty.
I’ve had it ten years.
Exactly. It’s seen better days.
It’s seen better days.

I think this next one is a lovely expression. A wink is when you shut one eye quickly – like this. These days we say I haven’t slept a wink, or I didn’t get a wink of sleep and it means we haven’t slept at all. Perhaps because we were too excited or it was too noisy, but it means no sleep at all.

Have some coffee.
We’re looking after our grandson this week.
He’s lovely. He’s only six months old.
He never sleeps. He keeps us up all night.
He’s just a baby.
We haven’t slept a wink all week.
We haven’t slept a wink all week.

OK, the next one’s interesting. This expression is the only place you’ll see the word ‘bated’. So you don’t need to learn the word. You just need to know the phrase.
If you wait for something with bated breath, it’s like you hold your breath, because you’re very anxious or excited about it. For example, if you’re waiting for your exam results to come out and you don’t know if you’ve passed, you might wait with bated breath.

I had a job interview last week.
They’re going to call him today and tell him if he’s got it.
I really want this job.
He’s very nervous and excited.
We’re waiting with bated breath. (Phone rings) Maybe it’s them … Oh, hi Mom.
We’re waiting with bated breath.

Let’s have one more. Back in Shakespeare’s time, there was a phrase ‘to edge the teeth’ and it described the sharp feeling you get if you taste a lemon or something very acidic. We don’t say that now, but we do use this expression. It describes a really nasty taste or sound – something that makes you feel uncomfortable.

I hate the sound of the drill at the dentist’s. It sets my teeth on edge.
I hate the sound of the drill at the dentist’s. It sets my teeth on edge.

Are there any tastes or sounds that set your teeth on edge? Let us know in the comments. And please tell us if you enjoyed these phrases from Shakespeare and if you’d like more.
We produce videos every Friday so subscribe to our channel and click the notification bell so you don’t miss them. And maybe you have a friend who’s also learning English. Please send them the link.
Bye now and see you next Friday.