actual actually false friends

Actual & Actually: How to use these false friends in English

The English words ‘actual’ and ‘actually’ are false friends in many languages. You think they mean one thing but in fact they mean another.
In this video you’ll learn how to use these words to make your English more polite when you’re speaking.
You’ll see lots of examples in action and learn how to use them correctly.

Actual and Actually – false friends

These are very useful words in English. Use them correctly and they’ll help you to sound more natural and polite. But be careful. If you use them wrongly and you could confuse everyone.
Lots of languages have words that look and sound like these words, but mean something different, They’re false friends. You think you know what they mean, but actually they mean something different so they cause misunderstandings. In English actual and actually mean real and really.

The tap in our bathroom stopped working.
So we bought a new one. It cost $100.
And then we had to pay for shipping, so the actual cost was higher.
Yes, we actually spent $120.

So we use actual and actually to say things are really true. They mean something like ‘in fact’. We don’t use them to say things are happening now or existing now. Some languages have similar words with that meaning, but in English they don’t mean currently or at present.
We currently have five sales offices in Asia and we don’t expect that to change. We have no present plans to expand.
So could you change these words and say actually and actual here? If you did, you would change the meaning. If you want to say something is happening at the current time, you need to use expressions like these.
So that’s very important. Actually means in fact or really, not currently. Another example.

Jay. What are our sales like?
Fantastic! We’re doing really well.
Can I see the actual figures?
Sure. I have them right here… Actually, they’re not as good as I thought.So when I say ‘the actual figures’ do I mean the current figures, the up-to-date ones? No! I mean the real figures. I want to know the exact sales numbers.
Now notice how Jay says actually here. He’s telling me he’s surprised by the figures.

It must be really cold outside.
Actually it’s quite warm.
Oh, I’m surprised.

If we think information is going to be a surprise, we often introduce it with actually.

It looks expensive, but actually it’s quite cheap.
Really? How much is it?
I think it’s about 50 bucks.
Really?

So you can use actually to contrast what’s really true with what someone thinks is true. Let’s look at another example and this time, try to work out why I say actually.

Would you like some more coffee?
Oh, actually I’m going to leave in a minute, so no thanks.
Oh, OK.

So why do I say actually here? It’s because I think Jay is expecting a different answer and my answer will be a surprise. Another example. What’s happening here?

Have you got time to talk?
Actually, I’m pretty busy at the moment.
OK. I’ll come back later.

So why does Jay say actually? Same reason as before. He thinks his answer will be a surprise. But something else is happening here too. Jay thinks I might not like his answer. When you’re saying no to a request or giving an answer the other person doesn’t want, you can say actually to soften it. It’s a polite way of giving unpleasant information.

Actually, I’m pretty busy at the moment.
OK. I’ll come back later.

Now there’s one other very common way we use this word. When we say something wrong and we want to correct ourselves, we can say actually.

Do you have some scissors I can borrow?
No, sorry.
OK.
Oh wait a minute. Actually I have one here.
Oh, thank you very much.
You’re very welcome.

So actually shows I’ve changed my mind. You can use it to take back what you said before.

And how long have you been doing karate?
For two and a… For two years.
Uhuh.
Actually one and a half.
Uhuh.

So we use actually to correct ourselves if we say something wrong, and it’s also useful for correcting other people.

We have new rules for cell phones in our office.
Yes, well actually we have one new rule. We have to turn them off in meetings.
Our boss goes crazy when they ring.
Well actually it is annoying for everyone.
Well, actually it rang eight times. I think she was very nice about it, considering.

So actually is a gentle way to correct someone. OK, are you ready for a quiz?
I’ve got three questions for you. First one. Have a look at this sentence. What the missing word here? Is it currently or actually? Let see.

May I speak to Kathy, please?
I’m afraid she’s currently assisting another customer. Can I help?
No, that’s all right. I’ll call back later.

The missing word is currently. When we’re talking about things that are happening now we say currently or at present. Next one. What’s the missing word here? Let’s see.

It was a thriller about love and revenge.
It was based an actual event where a wife killed her husband.
It was very scary.

So the answer is actual. It means the event happened in real life. OK, last question. What’s the missing word here? Well, it could be either, but the meanings would be different. If we’re talking about an up-to-date, present amount, it could be currently. But if we’re talking about a mistake and this is a correction, then the missing word is actually. Let’s see.

You’ve written thirteen dollars, but actually it’s thirty.
Oh, is it?
Actually, that’s my coffee. That’s yours.
Oh.

It was actually. We can use actually to correct what someone says in a gentle way when we want to be polite.
Great – so now you know what these words mean and how we use them in English. Are they false friends in your language? And do you have other false friends? Write and tell us in the comments. Hey, maybe we can make a video about them.
Please make sure you subscribe to this channel so you catch our future videos and see you next Friday! Bye now.

American English slang lesson

7 American slang expressions that Brits don’t use.

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

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

American English slang and expressions that Brits don’t use

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

British slang have a butcher's

10 British Slang Expressions

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


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

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

Skive

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

Tosh

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

Go spare

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

Jammy

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

Fancy someone

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

Snog

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

Kerfuffle

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

Miffed

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

Snookered

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

Have a butcher’s

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

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

English quiz

How good is your English? Quiz 2

This is the second quiz in a series about mistakes English learners often make. You can watch the first video here: https://youtu.be/1A4gs79Z_KI
In this video we’ll ask you to identify 6 common English mistakes and choose your answer before the clock stops ticking.
We’ll then explain what’s wrong and show you examples of the correct English in action. We’ll also direct you to other videos if you want more examples and help with grammar and vocabulary.
In this English quiz we look at:
– lend and borrow
– loan and borrow
– it’s time + past (subjunctive)
– cook and cooker
– what’s it like vs. do you like
– in time vs. on time

If you’d like to see more examples for mistakes English learners often make, here are links to videos on these topics:
– lend, borrow and loan: https://youtu.be/5Xsh5zf_DZ8
– what’s it like vs. do you like: https://youtu.be/PTNF_oCO2CM
– cook vs. cooker: https://youtu.be/ayVYc1bCz6Q
– in time vs on time: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLwrM2Wcy_MsA7GpN8ITPC40l0-NrtMSmn

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

Lend, borrow and loan

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It’s time + past

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

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

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

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

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

Cook – cooker

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

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

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

What’s it like vs. Do you like

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

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

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

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

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

In time vs. on time

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

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

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

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

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

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

If you’d like to see more examples for mistakes English learners often make, here are links to videos on these topics:
– lend, borrow and loan: https://youtu.be/5Xsh5zf_DZ8
– what’s it like vs. do you like: https://youtu.be/PTNF_oCO2CM
– cook vs. cooker: https://youtu.be/ayVYc1bCz6Q
– in time vs. on time: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLwrM2Wcy_MsA7GpN8ITPC40l0-NrtMSmn

overused word literally meaning

Literally – an overused word?

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

Is the word literally overused?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How good is your English

How good is your English? Let’s see!

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

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

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

Interesting or interested?

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

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

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

Time questions

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

Take and last

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Check and control

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

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

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

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

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

High and tall

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

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

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

Pay and prepositions

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

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

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

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

how to report an emergency in English

Emergency English – making a 911 or 211 call

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

Click here to see more vocabulary lessons.

How to report an emergency in English

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

An English emergency call

My co-worker fell off a ladder and he’s bleeding.
Where are you?
We’re at the construction site at 20th and Arch.
So the address is 20th and Arch? Is that where we’re going?
Yes. The south west corner. We’re on the first floor.
The south west corner of 20th and Arch. First floor. Is that right?
Yes.
How old is your co-worker?
He’s about fifty. Please come quick.
Help is on the way. They’ll be with you shortly. Is he conscious?
No.
Is he breathing?
Is he breathing, Mike?….
Yes. he’s breathing.
Is someone with you?
Yes, my supervisor Mike is here.
He’s coming round.
He’s coming around.
So the patient is conscious?
Yes, but he needs stitches.
Is there serious bleeding?
Yes, from his head.
Is there blood spurting out or pouring out?
No.
OK. Don’t move him unless it’s absolutely necessary. Tell him to sit still and wait for help to arrive.
Tell him to sit still, Mike. Is anyone coming?
Yes, help is on the way.

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

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

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

Click here to see more vocabulary lessons.

quite in British and American English

The trickiest word in English – Quite!

Is the meaning of the adverb quite, very or completely? It looks like a small difference but it can lead to big misunderstandings.
Sometimes quite means the same thing in British and American English, but sometimes it’s used differently.
In this video we show you
– how to use quite to mean completely
– how to use not quite (meaning not completely) to criticize someone gently or say you disagree.
– how quite can mean very in American English, but fairly or pretty in British English
– how you can sometimes tell the meaning of quite by whether it’s used with a gradable or ungradable adjectives.
Finally we have some advice for any American guys who are going on a date with a British girl.
Don’t tell her she’s quite pretty!

Click here to see more videos on British and American English.

 

The adverb quite

Hi everyone. I’m Vicki and I’m British.
And I’m Jay and I’m American and today we’re looking at a word that’s quite tricky.
No, it’s very tricky.
But that’s what I said!
No you didn’t!
I speak British English and Jay speaks American English and normally, we manage to communicate OK.
But there’s a word that causes us problems. Quite.
It’s such a common word. We both use it a lot.
But it’s the word that’s hardest for us to understand.
Sometimes we use it in the same way, but sometimes we use it differently.
And then we get confused.
Quite.
Quite?
Let’s look at some examples.

Have you finished the artwork yet?
No. I’m not quite ready. I need another five minutes.
Take your time. I’m quite happy to wait.
Do you want to go and get a coffee or something?
No, I’m quite all right thanks. I’ve had quite enough coffee today. That’s not quite correct.
Just go away!
What’s your problem?

Here are some of the things we said. ‘Quite’ is an adverb and it means ‘completely’ in all these examples. It means to the greatest possible degree – 100%. We can use it this way in British and American English
And you heard quite in two negative sentences too, where it means not completely – so almost, but not 100%. Again it can have this meaning in British and American English. We often use quite in the negative like this to criticize someone gently or to say we disagree with them.
So we might say ‘I don’t quite agree’ or ‘That’s not quite right’.
Yes, and we mean ‘I don’t agree 100%.’ or ‘You’re a little wrong’. Quite softens the disagreement.
It works like that in American and British English.
But there’s another way we use ‘quite’ that’s quite different.

So what did you think of my report?
It’s quite good.
Fantastic. I’ll send it to everybody now.
Hang on. It needs some changes.
But you said it was quite good.
Yes, but we need it to be VERY good.
Huh?

There was a misunderstanding there.
Yeah, I thought you liked my report.
Well, I thought it was fairly good or pretty good, but not very good.
But you said it was quite good. If I say that I mean very good. Quite is a forceful word.
It’s not forceful in British English. It just means to some degree.
So let me get this straight. Sometimes when you say ‘quite’ you mean completely, like me.
Yes.
But other times you just mean fairly or pretty.
Yes.
Then how can I tell what you mean?
Well, sometimes you can tell from the kind of adjective we use with quite – whether it’s gradable or ungradable.
We’d better explain that.

Gradable or ungradable

Some English adjectives are gradable, so they can be true to different degrees. For example good is gradable. Something can be very good, or fairly good, or just a little good. But other adjectives are ungradable, for example perfect. We don’t say something is very perfect or fairly perfect or a little perfect. It’s just perfect.
Here are some more examples of ungradable adjectives. Things are either dead or they’re not. People are either married or they’re not. There’s no in-between with these adjectives, so we don’t use them with ‘very’. The meanings of these adjectives already contain the idea of ‘very’.
So here’s what happens in British English. If we use ‘quite’ with an ungradable adjective, we probably mean completely. For example, ‘It’s quite perfect’. It’s 100% perfect. But if we use quite with a gradable adjective, we probably mean ‘fairly’ – so to some extent, but not very. For example, ‘It’s quite nice’ – it’s fairly nice.
So if you say ‘I’m quite tired’, you mean you’re fairly tired.
Yeah, and what about you?
I could mean that, but normally if I say I’m quite tired, I mean I’m very tired.
Pronunciation matters too. If we stress the word ‘quite’ the difference can get more marked.
I’m QUITE tired – that means I’m very very tired
I’m QUITE tired – that means I’m only fairly tired.
There’s another thing you do in British English.
What’s that?
I’ll say something and instead of saying ‘I agree’ you say ‘quite’.
Oh yes. It’s rather formal but to show we agree with someone or to show we’ve understood, we can say ‘quite’ or ‘quite so’. It just means ‘yes’.
It sounds very British.
Quite.
Let’s have a quiz question now.
OK. See if you can answer this everyone, and you Jay. If your American boss says ‘your work is quite good’, what does it mean? Jay?
If my American boss says my work is quite good, I should get a raise. They think my work is very good.
British English is different. If my British boss says my work is quite good, I’d have to ask what I’m doing wrong.
Because it’s only fairly good. Wow!
So the difference in meaning is subtle, but it can be very important.
If you don’t pay attention, you might miss it.
When I came to the US I had to stop and think when people said ‘quite’. ‘Do they mean fairly or do they mean ‘very’? I still have to stop and think sometimes.
And I’ve had to learn the difference too, so I can understand Vicki’s family and friends.
Yeah. Here’s a real example. My British friend was visiting us and meeting Jay for the first time and they were just getting to know one another and talking about their families.
I was telling her about my father and how he spoke six languages and I said ‘He was quite good at languages’.
So my British friend was surprised and she said, ‘Why are you saying that? You said he spoke six languages.’
‘Yeah, he was quite good at languages.’
So my friend was thinking, ‘He’s being derogatory about his father? That’s not nice! If you speak six languages you’re a very good linguist – not just fairly good.
And I was thinking, ‘We’ve only just met. Why is this woman being so argumentative?’ It was like she wanted to pick a fight with me for no reason.
It’s the sort of misunderstanding that can damage relationships.
Yes, it’s dangerous because you might not realise it’s happening.
And one last thing before we stop.
Yeah?
I have some advice for any American guys who are going on a date with a British girl.
What’s that?
Don’t tell her she’s quite pretty. It happened to one of my friends on her first date with an American guy.
What! He told her she was quite pretty?
Yes, he was lucky to get a second date! And that’s it for today everyone.
If you’ve enjoyed this video please share it with a friend and don’t forget to subscribe to our channel. Bye-bye now.
See you next Friday. Bye.

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british english slang

British Slang Words Quiz

Play along with a British English slang quiz.

Vicki (who is British) tests Jay (who is American) with 10 British English slang words and he does very well!
You’ll learn 10 slang words and colloquial expressions including:

  • bloke, meaning dude
  • quid, not quids
  • bog and bog roll
  • a tad meaning a little
  • knackered and clapped out
  • skint meaning broke
  • hard cheese meaning hard luck – often ironic
  • peckish meaning a little hungry
  • cheeky meaning disrespectful or funny

We also look at two old-fashioned slang words that you can use as a joke:

  • spiffing meaning splendid
  • tickety-boo meaning fine and dandy

Click here to see more videos about British and American English differences.

British English slang words quiz

I have no idea what we’re doing today.
Hi, I’m Vicki and I’m British.
And I’m Jay and I’m American.
And I’m going to test Jay to day on his British slang.
Uh-oh. Can they play along?
Yes!
OK.
So how good is your British slang, Jay?
Pretty good. I mean we’ve been together for more than 20 years so I think I know a lot.
I’ve got 10 different expressions here and we’re going to see how many you know.
They’re all British expressions?
Yeah, and they’re all slang, so they’re informal spoken English.
The kind of thing you’d say with your friends.
And if you get them all right, you get a prize.
What’s this?
It’s your prize.
But you can’t look at it yet.
I have to get all of them right first?
Yes. And here’s your first one.

Bloke meaning dude

Bloke. I know what a bloke is. That’s a guy. A dude.
That’s what you’d say in American.
Right.
OK, use it in a sentence.
Bloke?
Yeah.
OK, let’s see. Um. I saw this bloke riding down the street on his bicycle.
Yes, that would work. That would work.
I met a nice bloke last night.
So bloke is just an informal way of saying ‘man’. We might also say chap and fellow. OK and in American you’d say…
I saw this dude riding down the street on a bicycle!
OK, next one.

Quid meaning pound

Quid. Quid. I know this one too. Quid is slang for pound. The currency of the UK.
That’s right. What would be an American equivalent?
A buck!
Oh a buck. Of course. And, erm, what about if you have five of them? What’s the note called?
A five dollar bill? Oh you mean in quids! A five pound note. A fiver!
OK, you just said quids. You’re lucky I don’t take your point away because the plural of quid is quid. It’s an irregular plural because there’s no ‘s’. One quid, two quid, five quid. But American English is different?
Yes, we’d say five bucks, ten bucks, twenty bucks, so we add an s to make it plural.
But you were right to say a fiver. A fiver is the name we give a five pound note and a ten pound note is…
A tenner.
That’s right!
In American English we’d say a five dollar bill and a ten dollar bill. What’s next?
This one.

Bog meaning toilet or loo

Bog. B-O-G. In American English a bog is a swamp.
Yes, a sort of muddy piece of land.
Right. And it’s slang for something else?
Yes.
I have no clue.
I’ll give you another clue. Bog roll.
Is that like… what we would call toilet paper?
Yes. So it’s a toilet roll, and it’s another word for the toilet. So instead of saying I’m going to the toilet, we’d say I’m going to the bog.
In America we never say we’re going to the toilet. We say we’re going to the bathroom.
Yes. You’re very posh.
Bog is a slang way of saying toilet in British English. If you want to be more polite you can say “I’m just going to the loo”.

A tad meaning a little

Ah! A tad. Now a tad always reminds me of a tadpole.
It has nothing to do with a tadpole. A tadpole is a little baby frog.
Right, but it’s little and so that’s how I remind myself that a tad means a little bit in British English. Right?
You’re quite right. It’s a small amount.
So I could be a tad unhappy, a tad disappointed. Does tad always work with negative feelings?
No, no, not at all. You could be a tad pleased. Erm… But you could also have a tad more to eat.
Gotcha.
Or a tad more wine, please. A tad just means a little. For example, “Could I have a tad more time?” It means, ‘Could I have a little more time?”
OK, another one.

Knackered meaning exhausted or clapped out

Knackered. Knackered. I know knackered. Knackered is when you’re exhasuted and your so tired you can’t do anything. You’re knackered.
Exactly. You got that one right. So use it in a sentence.
Let see. Uh. I worked for twelve hours today and I’m completely knackered.
Excellent. Excellent.
It can also mean ‘clapped out’.
What?
So .. so old…
Clapped out?
Clapped out means…
You clapped to many times?
No. No. It means it’s too old or broken down to use any more. So your car could be clapped out or your bike could be clapped out and they can both be knackered as well.
Really? An inanimate object can be knackered?
Yeah. My bike’s knackered. I need a new one.
Hmm.
So knackered has two meanings. One is very tired and exhausted. I’ve been working all day and I’m knackered. And the other is too old and not working well. For example my bike is knackered.
Like me!
OK, another one.

Skint meaning broke

Skint. You know I really don’t know. I think it has something to do with being cheap. Is that right?
Ah. It’s to do with money, but it’s when you have no money.
Oh, so if I say I’m skint, I’m out of cash?
Exactly.
Got it.
Can you lend me some money?
I’m skint!
Yes! So we could say ‘I can’t come out with you tonight because I’m skint’. We could also say ‘I’m broke’. It means the same thing. I’m skint, I’m broke.
OK, next one…

Hard cheese meaning hard luck

Hmm. Hard cheese. Well I think this means hard luck. Too bad.
Yes. That’s right. It’s used as a way to say we’re sorry about something, but we don’t usually mean we’re sorry. So it’s a bit ironic. For example. Oh you need some help? Well, hard cheese! I’m going for my break!
OK, you’ll know this one.

Peckish meaning a little hungry

Oh, peckish.
Peckish means you’re a little hungry, right?
Exactly!
Is it from the verb ‘peck’? To peck? Like a bird pecks at its food?
Oh, maybe. Erm…but if you’re a little bit hungry. Oooo. If you only want to eat a little bit of food, you might peck at your food. That’s when you’re not terribly hungry and you’re eating it. But peckish, yes. A little bit hungry.
So we might say ‘I’m feeling peckish. What’s in the fridge?’ And if someone is only pecking at their food it means they’re only eating a little of it, perhaps because they’re not hungry or not feeling well.
OK, here’s your next one.

Cheeky meaning disrespectful or funny

Mmm. Ah. This one I know too. This is cheeky. Cheeky in American English would be wise-ass.
Ah, OK. Except that’s quite negative. We can use it in a sort of positive and negative way in British English. You could have a child who has a cheeky grin, and it’s quite a cute grin. Erm… But it’s slightly naughty. But naughty in a fun way. And erm yes, but people could also be being cheeky when they’re answering back. If children are cheeky theyre being wise-arses as youd say in American English – or wise-ass.
So cheeky can mean disrespectful in British English. So we might tell a child to stop being cheeky and do as you’re told. And it can also be used in a more positive way too. So if they do something funny we might say ‘You cheeky monkey!’

Spiffing and tickety-boo!

I think we should teach the British word ‘spiffing’.
Where did you learn this word ‘spiffing’?
One of our community members online mentioned that the wig I wore in our last video was spiffing and I had to go look it up. What does it mean?
It means marvelous or wonderful. But it’s a really old-fashioned word. It’s from the last century. You can use spiffing for a joke. He was having a joke.
It’s very British upper class, isn’t it?
Yeah. OK, and I’ve got another one that’s like that for you now.
Mmm.
Here you go. Tickety-boo. I can’t even say it without saying it in a British accent. Tickety-boo. It means that’s just perfect.
Erm, yeah. OK. I think in American English you’d say OK. Dandy, or something like that?
A hundred years, a hundred years ago we’d have said dandy. Yeah.
Fine and dandy, and it means everything’s in working order. Everything’s fine. How are things going? Oh, tickety-boo. Everything’s going very well. And it’s very old-fashioned, and today we’ll only use it if we’re joking.
So these are two old-fashioned slang expressions that you can use for a joke.
Spiffing means extremely good or pleasant. And tickety-boo means going well, with no problems.
So how did I do? Have I won the prize?
No, I’m afraid you got skint wrong and you didn’t really know bog.
But I knew bog roll and also, I knew spiffing!
OK, I could give you a bonus point for spiffing.
Great so what’s my prize? Dinner for two at the Indian restaurant. Oh wow! That’s a great prize! Thank you very much. Look at that.
OK everyone. In that case, we’ve got to go. If you’ve enjoyed this video please share it with a friend.
Any don’t forget to subscribe to our channel. See you next week everyone.
Bye-bye!

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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.