Lose – Loose – Loosen – fix a common English mistake

Learn the differences in meanings and use of the words lose, loose and loosen with some jokes along the way.

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Lose Lose Loosen Video Script

So what’s the problem?
Oh, Doctor, I’ve lost my memory!
Really? When did this happen?
When did what happen?

These words are easy to muddle up so in this lesson we’re going to sort them out. Let’s start with lose. Lose is a verb. When we lose something, we no longer have it or we can’t find it.

This is the only key we have so don’t lose it.

Now loose. Loose is an adjective. If something is loose it’s not firmly fixed. It can easily become separated.

I’ve got a loose tooth.

Notice the pronunciation. Lose. Loose. They sound very similar, don’t they, but the final sound is different. Lose ends with a /z/ sound. It’s voiced. /lu:z/ /z/. There’s vibration here. /z/ Loose ends with a /s/ sound. /lu:s/ /s/. It’s unvoiced. /s/. No vibration.
Lose is an irregular verb. Lose lost lost.

What’s the matter?
I’ve lost my passport.
Oh. It’s in your hand.
Oh, thank you.

We can lose physical objects like passports, keys and glasses. And we can lose more abstract things too. See how many lost things you can spot in this conversation.

So tell me. How did your problems start?
Well doctor, I lost my job a couple of years ago.
So I applied for new jobs and when I went for interviews, they were very stressful. I started to lose my nerve when nobody offered me a job. So then I started to lose heart. I felt terrible. I lost confidence in myself and I didn’t want to talk to anyone. I lost touch with a lot of my friends. I think I’m losing my mind doctor. Doctor? Are you listening?
Oh sorry, I’ve lost my pen.

How many expressions did you spot? First there was losing a job.

Well doctor, I lost my job a couple of years ago.

So when you get let go, fired or made redundant, you lose your job. Another one.

I started to lose my nerve when nobody offered me a job.

If we lose our nerve we become frightened or afraid of doing something. Great. Two more.

So then I started to lose heart. I felt terrible. I lost confidence in myself and I didn’t want to talk to anyone.

If we lose heart we become discouraged and if we lose confidence, we stop believing we can do things well or be successful.

I lost touch with a lot of my friends. I think I’m losing my mind doctor. Doctor, are you listening?

When we lose contact with people we stop communicating with them. And when we lose our mind, we become crazy and insane. Those are just a few things we lose. Can you think of any more? Tell us in the comments.
Now, another word you might confuse with lose is miss. In some languages people say lose in expressions where we’d say miss in English. We’ve made another video about that so if you’re not sure, check it out.
OK, let’s lose lose and look at loose now.

The copier’s not working.
Hmmm. Oh, I think the power chord is loose.
Oh, thank you!
You’re welcome.

Loose means not firmly attached, or not attached at all. If clothes are loose, they don’t fit your body tightly. Loose means free to move around.

Can I help?
Yeah, I’d like a five-pound bag of potatoes.
I’m afraid we don’t sell them in bags. We only sell them loose.
That’s OK.

Loose is an adjective, but we also have a verb: to loosen. It means to make something lose and it’s a regular verb. Loosen, loosened, loosened.

That was a wonderful meal.
I’m so full, I have to loosen my belt.

So loosen means to make loose or to untie. And can also say ‘to set things loose’ – untie them and set them free.
When I take Carter out for a walk I have him on a leash. But when we come home, I set him loose. Free!
So let’s review. There’s loose – an adjective – it means not attached, free to move around.
And then there are two verbs. There’s the irregular verb lose – that means we no longer have something or we can’t find it.
And there’s the regular verb loosen and that means make something loose. Got it?
Have a look at this sentence. Which word should you use here? Let’s see.

What are you looking for?
Oh, I lost the remote.

We need lost here – the past form of lose. Great, now another one. What word should you put here? Let’s see.

How was the meeting?
I’m glad it’s over so I can loosen my tie.
It was tough then, eh?

You need the verb loosen here – to make something free to move around and not tight. And one more. What word is missing here? Let’s see.

Shhhh. I don’t want to wake Vicki. Who’s that? It’s only me. It was a loose floorboard

Did you get it? You need the adjective loose here. Great! So now you know how to use these words in English.
Now you know what they say about learning English. Use it or you … lose it. But we can help you. We have more than a hundred videos on our website and youtube channel to keep your English moving up in level. So subscribe today. It’s free and you have nothing to lose. Come on subscribe!
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Listen and Hear. What’s the difference in meaning?

The verbs listen and hear can be confusing for English learners. In this video we learn how English speakers use them and fix some common mistakes.
These verbs can be confusing. They have similar meanings but we use them in different ways so in this lesson you’ll learn how to use them correctly.
Let’s start with hear. When our ears pick up sounds, we hear.

If the number dialed is busy, you will hear the familiar busy signal.

Hearing is an unconscious act. We don’t think about it or want to do it. It just happens when there are sounds. Listening is different because it’s intentional – we decide to pay attention and listen.

Remember, before dialing, listen for dial tone.

So listening is intentional, but hearing happens naturally whether we’re paying attention or not. If we don’t hear something it’s because the sound isn’t reaching our ears.

Can you speak up? I can’t hear you very well

And when we ask someone to listen, we’re asking them to pay attention.

Now listen.
Let me tell you my plans, and listen with both ears. I have an idea….

We’re looking at listen and hear, but there are similar differences between look and see. Look is intentional and see is not. I’ve made another video about that. Follow this link to watch it.
So here’s a question. Is it possible to listen, but not hear? Well, yes. It happens if we’re paying attention but the sounds aren’t reaching our ears.

I beg your pardon. I’m sorry but I didn’t quite hear.
I said I’m not really having a spell.

And another question. Is it possible to hear but not listen? Yes. You can still hear sounds when you’re not paying attention.

This proposal looks interesting.
Yeah, we should arrange to meet these people.
What do you think Jay? Jay?
Oh, sure.
Do you want me to organize it then?
Yes please. What day works best for you?
OK. Thursday. And Thursday for you too Jay? Jay? Are you listening?
Oh sure, I heard you. I’m thirsty too.

So when we listen we pay attention. If we hear the radio, it’s on and it’s background noise. But if we listen to the radio, we’re paying attention to it. We also use hear when we’re talking about things we’ve learnt or been told about.

Have you heard from Jason?
Yeah, he just texted me. He’s going to be late.

So we’ll often use hear when we’re talking about news.

Hey, have you heard? We might get bonuses this year.
Yeah, the head office is talking about it.
Oh, great!

Listen is a regular verb. Hear is irregular, but it’s only the spelling that’s irregular because it ends in -D, not -ED. The pronunciation is hear, heard, heard.
We can listen. Or we can listen to something. So we listen to people, we listen to the radio and we listen to music. But notice we can’t listen something so these sentences are wrong. We can’t listen music. We ‘listen to’ music.

Didn’t you hear me knocking?
No, I was listening to some music.

So don’t forget to use ‘to’ here. Listen to music. Remember that.
Now ‘hear’. Hear is special kind of verb because it’s a sense verb. I’ve made another video about sense verbs and I’ll put a link here for you to check out. The important thing to note is we don’t usually use hear in the progressive or continuous form. Instead we often use it with ‘can’ so we say can or can’t hear.

I saw Thompkins this afternoon.
If you want to talk to me, come into the kitchen.
I can’t hear you when you’re in there and I can’t leave the food.
All right. All right.

Can you hear me? Can you hear me now?

Hey! You’re acting mighty suspicious.
Yes, you.
Don’t give me that. You can hear.
Yes, I’ll have another beer.

Have a look at these sentences. Which one is wrong? We can listen, or we can listen to someone or something, but we can’t listen something. This is wrong. Listen is often followed by ‘to’.
OK, now what about these ones? This one is correct. To talk about activities in progress, we use ‘listen to’. But notice this. To talk about the result of the listening, we could use ‘hear’. Now that means there are just a few situations where ‘hear’ has a very similar meaning to ‘listen to’.

I heard a really interesting story on the news this morning about computer games.
Oh, I listened to that too. Some of them have viruses that can bring the network down.

In this situation we could switch the verbs around and it would still be correct. So why is this? It’s because the focus is on WHAT we heard – the result of the listening and the hearing.
Now if that was hard – don’t worry. It’s a very unusual example because normally the meanings are quite different. Listening is intentional and hearing is not. Follow that rule and you can’t go wrong. Let’s finish with one more example.

What are you doing?
Shhh. Kathy’s on the phone with the head office.
Yeah, she’s talking about our bonuses.
Ooo. What’s she saying? I
really can’t hear very well.
Give me that.
But I want it.
No, let me listen.
[Kathy clears throat] What are you doing?
Oh, this is Jay’s.

Bath & Bathe. Let’s fix some common mistakes

Bath & Bathe. Let’s fix some common mistakes

How do we use the English verbs bath and bathe? And how do we use the word bath if it’s a noun? Find out in this video and watch my jokes drive Jay crazy.

I’m going to take a bath.
Really? Where are you going to take it?

This is our bath. Jay and I pronounce the word ‘bath’ a little differently.

Bath. Bath. Bath. Bath.

It’s also called a bathtub or tub, especially in American English. Bath is a noun, a thing. It’s not a verb, so we don’t bath ourselves. In the past the word ‘bath’ was a verb too, but not so much now. If we want to talk about the action of washing ourselves, we say ‘have a bath’ or ‘take a bath’. Have a bath is British English and take a bath is American.

Are you going to take a bath?
No, I’m going to leave it where it is.
That’s a terrible joke.

If we’re going to wash someone else in a bath, we might say we’ll bath or bathe them, but it sounds old fashioned. We generally say ‘give’. We give babies a bath. This is how we give our dog Carter a bath. We don’t use the tub. We give him a bath on the deck.
And there’s one more verb you might hear – to run a bath. It means to fill it with water.

I’m running a bath.

Now here’s where it gets tricky. There’s another word – bathe – and it’s a verb. It means swim somewhere, like in the sea or in a river. And sunbathe. When people sunbathe they lie in the sun. Notice the different pronunciation. Bath. Bathe. Bathe is pronounced with a long ‘a’ sound and it’s an old fashioned word again. It sounds very formal and we don’t use it much these days. We normally say swim, have a swim or go swimming. We go sunbathing too.
So here’s the key thing to remember. A bath is a thing. When we talk about the action of washing ourselves, we use other verbs like have a bath or take a bath.

I’ve got a joke for you.
What is it, Vicki?
What dog likes to take bubble baths.
Hmm, a bubble dog?
Ooo, good guess. No it’s a shampoodle.
A shampoodle. Ha! Ha! Good one Vicki.
He likes my jokes.
I know, right

Can you guess what this idiom means? Here’s an example.

Is that the new poster design?
Yeah, what do you think?
I like it. It needs a little work.
I hate it.
What? Stop! Keep it! There are some good ideas here.
I’ll start again.
No, don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater.

We use this expression when something is not perfect and someone wants throw everything out and start again. But there could be good and useful things that they should keep. We don’t want old dirty bath water but we do want to keep the baby.

I’ll start again.
No don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater. You can build on this.

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Well, Simple English Videos teaches people how to learn English in the right way. Like, there’s episodes like ‘Lie or Lay?’, ‘Meeting and Greeting with a Visitor’.
Wow, you know the channel really well. Did you learn English there?
If you had a friend who wanted to learn English, what channel on YouTube would you send them to?
Simple English Videos.
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Travel, Trip and Journey (countable and uncountable nouns)

Travel, trip and journey – do you know how to use these words in English? It’s not straightforward so learners often make mistakes. In this videos you’ll learn that travel is usually an uncountable noun and that we don’t usually use it as a verb. You’ll also learn when to use the words trip and journey. This video will help you fix the most common mistakes.

Click here if you’re planning a trip to see our video on how to check in at an airport
Click here to see our video on how to check in at an airport
Click here to learn the lyrics of the beautiful Doris day song ‘Sentimental Journey’
Click here to learn about a road trip Jay and Vicki took
And click here to see lots more videos on tricky English words and vocabulary

Travel trip and journey video transcript

How are you?
We wanted to speak to you about our business trip.
You know we’re travelling to California next month?
Can we travel business class?
Absolutely not!
But it’s a six hour flight.
It’s such a long journey.
Business class is far too expensive.
I think that was a ‘no’.

Here are three words my students often muddle up. They have similar meanings. In this video we’ll learn how to use them correctly and fix some common mistakes.

Wow! Look at that view. Isn’t that beautiful?
Yeah! Let’s go up to the top of that mountain, Jay.
That’s a long walk.
I think we can travel by cable car.

The word ‘travel’ is usually a verb – an action – and it means to go from one place to another.

Riding a bike is a great way to travel around the city. I can slip through all the traffic.

You know we’re travelling to California next month?
Can we travel business class?
Absolutely not.

We spell the word ‘traveling’ with one ‘L’ in American English and two ‘Ls’ in British English. And we call people who travel, travellers.
In American English we spell that with one ‘L’. And in British English it has two ‘L’s.

I’m traveling to New York today and then on to Boston. It’s a business trip.

Travel’ is normally a verb, but not always. Let’s look at another example. Is ‘travel’ a verb here?

My job involves a lot of travel. I’m often away from home.
My job involves a lot of travel. I’m often away from home.

In this sentence, travel is a noun – a thing. And here’s where it get tricky. If ‘travel’ is a noun, we use it to talk about travel in general. So we might talk about air travel, rail travel, space travel or time travel.

The rising price of jet fuel is pushing up the price of air travel for business travelers.

When ‘travel’ is a noun, it’s normally uncountable. That means we can’t talk about ‘a’ travel. This is wrong. We use it to talk about travel in general, so this question is wrong too.
If you’re talking about a specific piece of travelling, you need to use other words instead, like journey or trip.

But it’s a six hour flight.
It’s such a long journey.
Business class is far too expensive.

We use ‘journey’ when places are a long way apart, so there’s a big distance or a lot of time involved. We might talk about a journey acrosss the Sahara, or a journey to outer space.

How long does it take you to commute to work, Jay?
Two hours.
Wow! That’s a long journey!
I guess that’s why you’re always tired when you get to work.

So a journey involves a long distance or a lot of time. Trips are similar.

I’m traveling to New York today and then on to Boston. It’s a business trip.

We can take trips for business or trips for pleasure. Tourists in Paris like to take boat trips for fun. When you know someone is going to travel somewhere, you can say, ‘Have a nice trip’.

Have a nice trip, Frank. Sure Kitty. See you when I get back. Bon voyage.

Now be careful with this word. If it’s a verb, it means something different. If you catch your foot on something and almost fall, you trip. Jay nearly tripped over there. But when trip is a noun, it means a journey to a place and then back again.

So how was your trip?
It was great. I think we got the contract.
Oh well done!
And what about your journey?
How was that?
There were a lot of delays.

Trip and journey are both nouns here and they mean slightly different things. Journey refers to the travelling, but trip is the travelling and everything that happens on the way, so the whole visit as well as the journey.

So how was your trip?
It was great.
I think we got the contract.
Oh well done!
And what about your journey?
How was that?
There were a lot of delays.

So let’s review. There’s travel. It’s normally a verb. We travel from place to place and sometimes it’s a noun – an uncountable noun. When we’re talking about a specific piece of travelling, we use journey and trip.
Journeys are often longer than trips. Also journey is just the travelling and trip is the travelling and everything that happens on the way. And that’s it. Now you know how to use these words.

Oh hi Kathy!
So how was California?
The journey was terrible. The airline lost my luggage. I hate traveling.
My journey was wonderful. I got upgraded to first class for free.
Oh that’s nice. But what happened in your meetings?
Nothing! My trip was a waste of time. I didn’t sell anything.
I got three new clients.
Oh well done Vicki. What a successful trip!

Are you travelling anywhere soon? Have a safe journey and enjoy your trip.

Click here to see an earlier version of this video with a clickable transcript
Click here to see our video on how to check in at an airport
Click here to learn the lyrics of the beautiful Doris day song ‘Sentimental Journey’
Click here to learn about a road trip Jay and Vicki took
And click here to see lots more videos on tricky English words and vocabulary


Fit, Suit and Fit In – how to use these English words

Fit, suit and the phrasal verb, fit in – English learners often make mistakes with these words. Learn how to use them correctly and fix some common mistakes.

To see a song about making arrangements with fit and suit, click here.
To see more videos on some other tricky English words, click here.

Fit and Suit Video Transcript

You can’t put that there.
Yes, I can.
It doesn’t fit.
It does now.

We bought Carter a new coat.
He’s a very fashionable dog.
Does he look good in it?
Oh yes, it suits him.

The coat fits Carter, and it suits him too, but fit and suit mean different things. In this lesson we’ll learn how to use these verbs. Let’s start with fit.

This is the wrong key. It doesn’t fit the lock.

I’m hoping this table will fit in that space. Yes. Perfect!

If something fits, it’s the correct size and shape.

I’ve put on some weight and I can’t close this jacket. It doesn’t fit.

What do you think?
I like it.
Can I help?
Oh, can I try this on?
Yes, the fitting room’s over there.

When we shop for clothes, we try them on in a fitting room.

So what do you think?
It fits OK.
Yes, it fits, but does it suit me?

Clothes that fit you are the correct size and shape. But clothes that suit you are rather different.

Does it suit me?
Yes, you look very nice in it.

If clothes suit someone then the styles and colors make them look attractive.

What hat shall I wear? Does this one suit me?
Hmmm. Try this one. Now that one suits you.

Hey, new hair-do.
Does it suit me?
It’s very pink.

So suit is about looking good. Fit is about being the correct size. We can use both these verbs to talk about schedules. But again, they mean different things. Let’s start with fit. When we have a busy schedule, it can be hard to make space for other things.

We need to meet.
I could come tomorrow.
It’s difficult.
I’ve got to go to the bank and we’ve got a marketing meeting.

So fitting someone in means making time for them, even though you have a lot of other things to do. In British English we can also use suit to talk about schedules, but the meaning is different.

How about 3 o’clock on Friday?
Yep – that suits me.
Good, that works for me too.

In British English, if something suits us, then it’s convenient or acceptable.

How about 3 o’clock on Friday?
Yep – that suits me.
Good, that works for me too.

Now one more expression. When people are accepted by other people as part of a group, we can say they fit in.

But I don’t think I ever will fit in, not here. I’m different from the guys in this town.
Well, as far as that goes Phil, everybody’s different. That’s what makes people interesting.

So at work, when someone gets along with a team and works well with them, we can say they fit in.

So how are the new employees doing?
Well, Sally’s great. She’s serious and hard working and she gets on well with everyone.
She’s fitting in well.
And what about Jay?
There might be a problem?
He just doesn’t fit in.

Click here to watch this video with a clickable transcript.
To see a song about making arrangements with fit and suit, click here.
To see more videos on some other tricky English words, click here.

play go do

Play Go Do – the words we use to talk about sports in English

Play, go and do are the verbs we use most to talk about sports in English. In this video you’ll learn when we use each one, along with lots of other sport words. Watch and see. How many different sports and games can you name?

Have you checked out our Grammar Videos? You’ll find information lots more useful verbs here.

Play Go Do video transcript

What do you want to do this weekend?
We could go to the gym and do some weight lifting.
Urgh! That’s too energetic.
Or we could play some golf.
No, let’s go bowling.
But you always win.
That’s why I like it.

We use these verbs to talk about sports in English. So we do weight lifting. We play golf. And we go bowling.

I play golf.

In this video you’ll learn which verbs we use with which sports. And you’ll learn the names of lots of sports. Let’s start with the verb ‘play’.

In America, we play football.
That’s American football, Jay.
The rest of the world plays football like this.
No, we call that soccer.
In British English it’s football.
But the ball’s the wrong shape for football.

If it’s a sport with a ball, we generally play it. There are exceptions, like we go bowling. But usually we play ball sports. So we play cricket. We play tennis. We play snooker and we play pool. We often use ‘play’ where there’s a competition, so someone wins or loses. And of course we can play other games like cards and chess. So we play darts, and we play scrabble.
OK, let’s move on to the verb ‘go’.

Oooo. What’s the matter?
I went jogging this morning and I hurt my back.
You poor thing!

Notice Jay said ‘went jogging’. ‘Went’ is the past tense of ‘go’ and ‘jogging’ is a gerund – a noun made from a verb by adding ‘-ing’. There are lots of sports that follow this pattern, and they’re generally activities that we don’t do at home. We go out to another place to do them. So we go swimming, we go fishing, we go skiing, we go surfing and we go skateboarding.

I’m playing golf tonight. I love golf.
What’s your favorite sport, Vicki?
But you don’t do gymnastics.
No, I just like watching it on TV.
So do I.

Our last verb is ‘do’ and we use it with newer more modern sports. We ‘practice’ or ‘do’ them. So we do yoga, do aerobics, do pilates, do judo and do kendo and other martial arts.
We also use ‘do’ to talk about specific exercises. So we do squats and we do leg lifts.

I do this exercise to build my chest and arm muscles.

OK, now it’s your turn. You’re going to see some different sports, games and exercises. Can you say which verb we use with them?
Did you get them all? Let’s review.

Go horse riding. Play basketball. Do push ups.
Go sailing. Play baseball. Go cycling.
Do parkour. Play rugby. Go paragliding.
Play shuffleboard. Do karate. Go rafting. Go rock climbing.
Play volleyball. Go ballooning. Do tai chi. Play rock paper scissors.

So are we playing golf or are we going bowling?
We’re going bowling.
I know. We’ll play rock paper scissors and the winner chooses.
So if I win, we’ll play golf.
And if I win, we’ll go bowling.
Rock, paper, scissors. Ha, ha! Go and find your bowling shoes.

Click here to watch this videro with a clickable transcript

Have you checked out our Grammar Videos? You’ll find information lots more useful verbs here.


Due – a verb we use to talk about the future in English

We don’t always use a future tense to talk about the future in English. We often use a particular word or expression instead and the word due is one of them.
In this video you’ll learn three of its meanings.
This word is particularly useful for business English students.

We also use the verbs wait, hope, expect and look forward to talk about the future. Click here to see a video about them.
Do you want to learn more words and expression you can use at work? Click here to see more Business English videos

Video transcript

Hi Rachel.
Hi Rachel. You’re pregnant!
Yes, I’m going to have a baby.
Oh congratulations! That’s wonderful!
Babies are a lot of work.
When’s the baby due?
Next month. We’re very excited.
Get ready for some sleepless nights.

Here’s a useful little word that has several different meanings. In this video, you’re going to learn three of them.

My baby’s due next month.

So use due to say something is expected. It’s useful for talking about arrangements and schedules.

Are you coming?
We’re due at your mother’s at three. Remember?
But the match is due to start.
Oh Jay!

Jay and I pronounce this word a little differently. Did you notice? Listen again.

We’re due at your mother’s at three. Remember?
But the match is due to start.

Due. Due. Due. Due.

Generally speaking, the pronunciation is a little different in American and British English. Due. Due. OK. Let’s look at another meaning of this word. We can use ‘due’ to talk about money that’s owed.

Have Patterson’s paid us?
No they haven’t.
The invoice is due at the end of the month.
Don’t worry, they always pay on time.

So we use ‘due’ to say when payments are scheduled. And if an invoice or bill needs to be paid immediately, we say it’s due.

Can you transfer $10,000 to our checking account?
$10,000! Why?
The rent, the business loan, the electric bill. They’re all due.

So use ‘due’ to talk about scheduled payments. Now money isn’t the only thing we can owe or be owed.

I am so tired.
Why don’t you take a day off?
I’ve used up all my vacation days.
Really? I’m due two weeks.
You’ve got two weeks coming?
You lucky thing.
I think I’ll go to the beach.

If things are owed to us as a right, we can also say they’re due. And it might not be tangible things. For example, we might owe people things like respect and recognition, or credit for doing a good job.

Now the final item on the agenda: the sales training course. We’ve had some excellent feedback on this event. It was very well organized. Our thanks are due to Vicki in Philadelphia for organizing it.
Thank you very much Craig.
Good work Vicki. It looks like you’re due for a promotion. OK everyone. That’s it for this week. See you all next Tuesday.
Good, eh?
But I organized the sales training course. You told him you did it?

So our thanks can be due to people. And people can be due a promotion. We say these things when we think they deserve something as a right.
So let’s recap. There’s due in the sense of expected. There’s due in the sense of money that’s due. And there’s due in the sense of something that’s deserved.
And if you master these three meanings, you’re due a pat on the back.

Come on Vick. What? We’re due at the theater in half an hour. Oh yes. Bye everyone.

Click here to watch this video with a clickable transcript
We also use the verbs wait, hope, expect and look forward to talk about the future. Click here to see a video about them.
We also use the expressions About to and Bound to: About to and Bound to
Do you want to learn more words and expression you can use at work? Click here to see more Business English videos

sympathetic kind and nice

Sympathetic and Nice – don’t let these false friends catch you out

The English words sympathetic and nice are false friends in many languages, so English learners might think they mean one thing when in fact they mean another. Let us help you get them right.

The meaning of sympathetic is more specific than kind or nice in English. It involves understanding other people’s feelings, especially when they have problems. In this video you’ll learn useful expressions you can use when bad things happen to other people, and you want to be able to show you care about them.

Note that ‘What a bummer!’ is a very informal phrase – probably something you’d say to a friend rather than your boss.

Click here to learn more useful everyday English expressions.

Sympathetic and Nice Video Script

We had a big phone bill last month.
Oh really? Why?
I sat on my phone and it called China.
That stinks. How much was it?
Six hundred dollars.
What? That’s awful. What a bummer!

Sympathetic and nice. What’s the difference?

Ashley’s got a bad cold.
Oh you poor thing.
Do you want a hot drink? Oh, I think I’ve got some aspirin in my bag.

Someone who’s sympathetic understands other people’s feelings, especially their problems.

Oh Jay. Look at you!
I spent too long in the sun.
You poor thing! Let’s go and find some cream to put on it.

Hey. I just got a parking ticket.
Oh, that’s terrible.
Oh my!
Thirty six dollars.
I’m so sorry.

So what can we say when we’re sympathetic?

That stinks.
Oh that’s terrible.
What? That’s awful.
What a bummer!
On my!
You poor thing!
I’m so sorry.

So people who are sympathetic are kind to people who have problems and they show they care about them.

Poor Maria. You really have had a wretched time of it.
You are very understanding.
If only there was something I could do.
Just now if you could bring me an aspirin. I have a headache.
Don’t move. Just you wait there. I’ll be back in a moment.

But sympathetic doesn’t mean friendly and pleasant in English. Someone like that is nice.

I met the new logistics manager. She was very friendly and pleasant.
Yeah, she’s very nice, isn’t she?

Nice. We use this word a lot. Especially in British English.

That was a fantastic movie.
It was awesome.
Yeah, it was nice.
Just nice?
Yeah, I really liked it.

I’ve got so much to do.
I’m worried. How am I gonna get it all done.
Oh Jay.
Well you’re not very sympathetic.
Hey. Have I told you that I love you very much?
Oh. He’s not very sympathetic, but he’s very nice.

Click here to watch this video with a clickable transcript.
Click here to learn more useful everyday English expressions.

worth trustworthy

Worth and Trustworthy – really useful English words

Worth – you’re going to love this adjective. It’s surprisingly useful and you can use it to make new words like trustworthy and untrustworthy.
It means ‘having value’ and you just need to know how we use it. We put it in front of nouns and gerunds (-ing forms) and numbers, so we say things like ‘It’s worth $10.’
Learn this word. It’s worth it!

Click here to watch this video with a clickable transcript.
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Worth and Trustworthy video script

So what do you think?
It’s very interesting.
We bought it at a flea market.
It cost a hundred dollars.
Is it antique?
It’s about a hundred years old.
And how much is it worth?
Maybe five, maybe ten…
Ten thousnad dollars?
No, ten dollars. It’s not worth very much.

Worth. It’s a word worth learning. Let’s look at what it means.

Have you sold your car yet.
No. Jay took it to a dealer.
They offered me $8,000, but it’s worth a lot more than that.
Jay thinks it’s worth $12,000.
I’m going to sell it privately.
Well good luck with that.

We use ‘worth’ to describe the value of something in terms of money.

Burglars broke into a Center City store last night and stole designer jewelry worth over a hundred thousand dollars.

Have you got it ready yet? Come on! You got it? Atta boy! Oh this paper here’s worth a million dollars.
A million dollars? Well I mean, after all I did it. Give me something. I’ve got to have something for it.
Oh sure, sure. I intended to. Here. Here. Here’s a nickle.
Thank you.
Atta boy.
Oooo, a nickle.

But we don’t just measure worth in terms of money. We can measure value in other ways too.

Z. I. P.
That’s erm… fourteen points.
No, the zed is on a triple letter score. It’s worth thirty.
Thirty points?

Mostly we use ‘worth’ when we’re talking about the practical value of something, so how useful or enjoyable it is.

We’re cleaning out the office today. It’s a lot of work.
It’ll be worth it. Come on Jay.

How much is it?
A pound, but it’s totally worth it. Look at the view.
OK, I’ll get a pound.

Hi Kathy. How are you?
You know we’re both flying to Frankfurt next month?
Can we fly business class?
Absolutely not. The tickets would cost five thousand dollars.
It would be worth it for such a long flight.
Business class is really comfortable.
Forget it!
Ah well. It was worth a try.

So if something is worth it, it’s worth spending money, time or effort on. We can also say it’s worthwhile.

It takes a lot of practice to learn the piano but I love it. It’s so worthwhile.

Now some things require too much money, too much time or too much effort. They’re not worth it – not worthwhile.

We could try to sell it on Ebay.
It’s not worth the bother.
Let’s take it to the charity shop.

It’s grammar time. ‘Worth’ is an adjective and it’s followed by a noun or a noun phrase. If you want to use a verb, you’ll need to use a gerund – a noun form of the verb. Let’s look at some examples.

I’m just buying our flights.
Oh yeah?
Is it worth getting travel insurance?
How much is it?
Fifty dollars.
It’s not worth it.

Oh no Jay. There’s a long queue. Look at all these people.
Yeah, but it’s worth waiting. It’s a Star Wars movie.

Jay doesn’t need this anymore. It’s not worth keeping.

Did you spot the gerunds. Here they are again.

I’m just buying our flights. Oh yeah? Is it worth getting travel insurance?
Look at all these people. Yeah, but it’s worth waiting. It’s a Star Wars movie.
Jay doesn’t need this anymore. It’s not worth keeping.

And now let’s finish with another bonus word. You can combine the word ‘worth’ with the word ‘trust’ to make another adjective. If someone is trustworthy they’re reliable and you can depend on them because they do what they say. When companies look for employees, they want people who are trustworthy.

I need to learn to trust you more Vicki. How can I do that?
Oh, we could play the trust game.
The what?
The trust game. Turn around.
That’s right. And then you fall back.
And you’ll catch me.
OK. You didn’t catch me.
I’m just not very trustworthy.

Click here to watch this video with a clickable transcript.
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American baseball idioms

American Baseball Idioms (See examples in action)

If you need to understand Americans, it really helps to understand baseball idioms. They often come up in conversation.

We use many of these idioms in British English too, but not all. Watch these videos to learn their meanings and see lots of examples.

There are four baseball idiom videos here, so keep scrolling down to watch them all. They’ll help you hit it out of the ball park!

Baseball Idioms Video 1

(hit it out of the park, hit a home run, pitch an idea, a strong pitch, right off the bat, take a rain check)

Football! The most popular sport in the world.
No, no, that’s soccer.
In America, we play football.
That’s a different kind of football. But this lesson’s about your favourite sport, Jay.
Yeah. Well, sort of. It’s about baseball idioms.
Fantastic! We’re gonna hit this one right out of the ball park. It’ll be a home run.
When he starts talking about baseball, sometimes it’s hard to know what he means.
I’m British and when I came to the United States I discovered there were lots of baseball idioms in American English. They’re easy. But you need to know something about baseball or they don’t make much sense.
Baseball’s easy. Let me tell you about the scoring system.
Hang on, Jay. Let’s keep this simple.
Let’s start with the basics. Americans play baseball in a park.
A ballpark.
And there’s grass. It’s like a pitch.
No. You play soccer on a pitch. We play baseball on a field.
One person has a bat and another has a ball.
The pitcher pitches the ball to the batter.
‘Pitch’. Our first idiom.

I’ve got a great idea.
Can I tell you about it?
Err, I’m busy at the moment. Pitch it to me later.

So ‘to pitch an idea’ is to present it. A good pitcher makes a strong throw.

That was a very persuasive presentation.
Yes, it was a strong pitch.

So ‘pitching an idea’ is like throwing the ball out there.
That’s right. Then the batter hits it as far as they can.
They want to get a home run.
A home run! There’s another one.
Yeah, a baseball field has four bases.
If the batters run around all four bases, they’ve hit a home run.

That presentation was amazing. Was it OK?
Fantastic! What a great job!
I think the audience liked it.
Liked it? You hit it out of the ballpark.
You hit a home run.

So what does ‘hit a home run’ mean?
It means be very successful.
And ‘hit one out of the ball park’?
That’s a fantastic success. You can’t do better than that.
And if you hit a home run right off the bat….
Hang on. ‘Right off the bat’. That’s another one.

So what happened?
I walked in the room and right off the bat I knew something was wrong.
Right off the bat? Yeah.
Right away he said, ‘You’re fired’.
He said that immediately?
Yep. No delay.

So ‘right off the bat’ means with no delay.
Yes. As soon as the ball hits the bat it comes right off it. It happens immediately.
And speaking of things that are happening immediately….
I’ve gotta go.
Why? The game is starting in five minutes.
But we haven’t finished the idioms.
We’ll have to take a rain check.
Stop! ‘A rain check’. What’s that?
Oh, sometimes the weather’s bad and then the game is cancelled. If you have a ticket to a game but it rains, they give you a ticket to another game. It’s called a rain check.

I’ve got a problem.
What’s that?
I can’t make Monday’s meeting. Can I take a rain check?
Sure. Are you free sometime next week?
Yeah. How about Tuesday?

The game’s starting. I need to take a rain check.
OK, then please come back later guys and we’ll have some more baseball idioms for you then.
We ‘hit things for six’ in British English.
I have no idea what that is.
Well, if you…. if you’re playing cricket and you hit the ball a long way, then you can make six runs.
Oh, I think I get it. Six runs around the bases?
Yes, well back and forth ’cause there are only two wickets.
What’s a wicket.
A wicket… a wicket is, oh you’ll be stumped by this Jay…
A wicket is, is three sticks in the ground with some little pegs on the top.
And you have to bowl a ball and hit the wicket.
What? Do you bowl the str…. Do you… what …bowl…. bowl… we bowl ..
We bowl a ball in bowling. No, we bowl the ball.
How do you strike the batter out?
You don’t strike the batter.
That would get you disqualified if you hit the batter. It would be terrible.
Click here to watch this video with a clickable transcript.

Baseball Idioms Video 2

(touch base, off base, caught off base, cover all the bases, drop the ball, a curve ball)

Welcome back to another video on baseball idioms.
Yeah. Now Vicki last time I never actually told them how to play baseball.
Yeah, you did. I didn’t. You did. I didn’t. You did. I didn’t.
Baseball is very easy. Here’s what happens. The batter hits the ball and then runs around the four bases.
The bases.
Yeah. And they briefly touch each one. The batter needs to get to each base before the ball.
Hang on. These are the bases. Yeah.
If the batter touches base before the ball, they’re still in the game. But if they don’t, they’re out.
So they have to make contact with the bases.

OK. I’ll talk to Pete about this.
And I’ll contact our suppliers.
And I’ll find out about the packaging. Let’s all keep in touch.
Yes. We need to know what we’re all doing.
Can you both let me know how you make out?
Yes. Let’s touch base soon.
Why don’t we meet again on Friday? Yeah.

So here’s an idiom: touch base. It means maintain contact to make sure everyone has the same information.

Can we touch base soon? It’s been a while since we spoke.
Great. Let’s meet on Monday.

What happens if a batter doesn’t touch a base?
That’s a problem. If they’re off base and the other team catches the ball, the batter could be out. You don’t want to be caught off base.
Caught off base.

Why have we got all that ice cream in stock?
Well, the weather forecast said it would be hot on Saturday.
So you bought lots of ice cream.
We thought we’d sell lots.
But then the weather turned bad.
It caught us off base.

Off base. You don’t want to be caught off base.
That’s when something unexpected and bad happens.
Our next idiom: caught off base.
Yeah, you want to be prepared. The other team is going to position someone at each base so they can try to stop you from making a home run.
They’ll try to cover all the bases.
Cover all the bases. I know this one.

So if it’s sunny we’ll eat outside.
Yep. And if it’s raining we’ll eat inside.
Yep, and if it’s snowing we’ll cancel the party.
Good. I think we’ve covered all the bases.

It means deal with all the possibilities. Plan ahead so there are no shocks or bad surprises.
You know we use a lot of these idioms in the UK too. But here’s an idiom that I’ve only heard in the US.

Hey Jennifer.
Hi Jay.
I’m calling about the video.
Oh yeah? How’s it going?
Do you have the pictures? The pictures?
Yeah, you were gonna get some images.
Oh, you’re waiting for me to send the pictures.
I’m sorry. I’ve really dropped the ball on this one.

You said ‘dropped the ball’.
Yeah, I meant I hadn’t done what I was supposed to do.
Dropping the ball is about a failure, making an error.
That’s right. Now I never drop the ball normally.
No, but you did then. That was an idiom I hadn’t heard in the UK.
I know. We threw you a curve ball, didn’t we?
Curve ball. That’s another one.

OK. I want detailed plans before that meeting.
Yeah, yeah.
I want to know exactly what’s happening.
Yeah, yeah.
I don’t want any surprises.
Don’t worry. I won’t throw you any curve balls.

In British English we’d say ‘curved ball’.
Yes. It means do something unexpected, something that’s surprising.
But it’s a nasty surprise.
Yes, a curve ball is usually unpleasant for the batter. It’s devious. You think it’s going one way but then it goes another.
It’s a trick. Yeah.
It’s like American baseball idioms then. They can be tricky.
OK. We’ve got to stop now but we haven’t finished.
Please check back later because we’ll have another video on baseball idioms.
And don’t worry. We’ll cover all the bases.
‘Cause in British English we say ‘curved ball’. Yep. It comes from cricket.
But the ball’s not curved. It’s… it’s round. No, no, no. It’s… it’s curved as in the adjective. E -D. It’s the past participle adjective.
A curve ball follows a curved path so it’s a curve ball. It’s a compound noun. Curve ball.

Click here to watch this video with a clickable transcript.

Baseball Idioms Video 3

(a ballpark figure, big leagues, play hard ball, in a league of your own, batting a thousand)

Welcome back to our third video on baseball idioms.
Baseball is such a great game.
If you can understand it.
Baseball’s really popular in the United States.
Everyone loves a trip to the ballpark.
Ballpark. It’s part of our first idiom.

How much will you need to fix the roof.
I don’t know. There’s materials, paint, labor.
Well, just give me a ballpark figure.
Maybe five thousand dollars.

Ballpark figure. It’s an estimate. So many people attend a big game that it’s hard to count them accurately.
So a ballpark figure is a rough estimate of a big number.
Yes, basball crowds are large. The thing is everyone grows up playing baseball here.
There are lots of little leagues. Leagues – we have them in football too.
Leagues are groups of teams that play one another.
Yeah. Kids play in little leagues and professional players play in the big leagues.
Big leagues! Another idiom.

Oh boy, have we got a problem.
We’d better hire a lawyer.
We’d better hire a big league lawyer.

So what’s a big league lawyer?
A very important one. They operate at the top level.They know how to play hard ball.
Hard ball?
You can play baseball with a hard or a soft ball. Hard balls are dangerous so kids learn to play with softballs.

It’s a lot of money.
Everyone wants to win this contract. The competition will be tough.
Yep, they’ll be playing hard ball.

So if someone plays hard ball?
It means they’re strong, experienced and willing to take risks.
So to play hard ball is to play tough. Maybe aggressively. Baseball can be a dangerous game.
Now here’s another idiom with the word ‘league’.

Everybody say hey!
What are you watching?
Oh I love this video that Jason made.
Me too. He’s fantastic in it.
Yeah, he’s in a league of his own.

If you’re in a league of your own you’re exceptional.
Yeah, you’re too good even for the top team.
Now statistics are important in baseball, aren’t they.
Yes, we have batting averages. If a batter has a perfect record for hitting the ball, they get a batting average of a thousand.

I’ve been reviewing everyone’s sales figures. Vicki, your results are excellent.
Thank you.
You’ve been our top salesperson every month this year. You’re batting a thousand.
Batting a thousand.
Now Jay.
It’s been a difficult year for me.
I can see that. You’re in a slump.

So batting a thousand. That’s the maximum possible. You can’t do better than that.
And if a batter is in a slump? Their statistics have been very bad.
OK. It’s time to stop but we hope these idioms will help you bat a thousand.
And come back soon and we’ll have another baseball idioms video.
What are you eating.
Oh. Crackerjacks. People eat them at ball games. Would you like some?
Oh yes please.
Here we go.
They’re like in the song. Buy me some peanuts and crackerjacks.
You know we should teach them the song in the next video.
Yeah. It’s like popcorn.
Click here to watch this video with a clickable transcript.

Baseball Idioms Video 4

(a whole new ball game, step up to the plate, three strikes and you’re out, out of left field, stuck out in right field)

This is our final video on baseball idioms. You’ll learn some great new expressions.
And you’ll learn a song. Come on. Let’s get going.
The wonderful thing about baseball is you never know what will happen. Every game is different. It’s a new game with new possibilities.

We need an idea for a sales promotion.
Let’s have a competition.
We had one last year. And nobody entered.
Forget last year. It’ll be very different this time.
We do have a lot of new products this year.
Exactly. It’ll be a whole new ball game.

A whole new ball game? Yes, it means a completely different situation – totally new.
Now we’d better tell everyone about home plate. It’s a piece of white rubber and it has five sides.
It marks the place where the batter stands.
Yes, home plate is where a lot of the action starts.
When a batter steps up to the plate….
Hang on. There’s another idiom.

We’ve got a problem. The website went down three times last week.
Yes, I’m afraid the webmaster quit. There are problems with the code, but we have no control over that.
Well, who’s responsible then? Somebody’s gotta fix it.
Yes, fix the code. It’s quite a challenge.
Well, who’s going to do it?
What? Me?
Don’t worry Christina. Jay will fix it.
It’s a wonderful challenge for him. He can’t wait to start.
Excellent. Thanks for stepping up to the plate, Jay.
Bye now everyone.
But I don’t know anything about website code.

So to step up to the plate means to take on the responsibility for something.
Yes, when the batter steps up to the plate, they rise to a challenge.
Now how many chances does the batter get to hit the ball, Jay.
Well, it depends. They can only get three strikes. Now I’m the batter. The strike zone is from my chest to my knees. If the pitcher throws a ball and it’s in the strike zone and I don’t swing, that’s a strike. If I swing and miss, that’s a strike too. Three strikes and you’re out.
That’s another idiom!

You were two hours late this morning.
And you were two hours late last Wednesday. Yeah, sorry.
That’s two strikes.
If you’re late again, you’re out.
You’d fire me?
Yes. Three strikes and you’re out.

So a strike is a kind of failure. That’s right, and you’re only allowed to fail three times. After that, you’re out.
Now tell us about left field and right field. Left field is a long way from first base.
It’s hard to throw the ball to first base from left field.
So it’s surprising when balls come out of left field.

We have big plans for you, Graham. We’re going to give you a promotion.
You’re going to be our sales manager for all of Asia.
Gee, I’m sorry guys, but I quit.
You’re resigning?
Yeah, I got a better job.
But we had everything planned!
Wow! That came out of left field.

So something out of left field is surprising.
Yep. It’s odd or strange. It’s often something bad too. We don’t expect balls to come from left field.
They’re unconventional.
Yep. When ideas are crazy or eccentric, we might say they came out of left field.
So is it the same with right field?
No, that’s a little different. Right field is a quiet place. Nothing much happens there.

How long have you been working here, Jay?
Twenty seven years.
And you’ve always had the same job?
You’ve never had a promotion?
Sounds like you’re stuck out in right field.

So if you’re stuck in right field, nothing much happens.
Yeah, if you’re in right field, you’re disconnected from the action.
I’ve heard a lot of these basball idioms used in British business conversations as well. And some of them are similar to cricket. But some of them were a whole new ball game for me too. We hope you find them useful.
Yeah, we hope they help you hit it out of the park.
We’ll be batting for you.
Batting for you?
Yes, we’ll be on your side, rooting for you.
Rooting for you?
Yeah, you root for your favorite team.
You mean you support them.
Yeah, like I root for the Phillies.
Root, root, root for the home team, if they don’t win it’s a shame.
And it’s one, two, three strikes you’re out at the old ball game.

Click here to watch this video with a clickable transcript.