The BLC Blog

A forum and learning place for British Language Centre students

Monday, March 31, 2008

Word of the Week -12


This is a noun, usually used in the singular, to describe somebody who says or does things to try and stop other people from having fun. They tend to be pessimistic people. You can also call them killjoys or party poopers.

We were all having a great time until Harold walked in and started acting like a wet blanket!

Don't be a wet blanket! You are spoiling it for the rest of us!

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Thursday, March 27, 2008

some, any, no, every redux

Just over a week ago we were looking at the difference between the compounds formed with some, any, no and every. In relation to this point I thought it would be a good idea to look at some idiomatic expressions containing those words to help you remember them!

1. somewhere along the line = at some point during a period or an activity.

I don't know exactly what happened but somewhere along the line I just stopped loving him.

2. pull something out of the bag = to suddenly do something to improve a bad situation

If Barcelona want to win the League this year they really need to pull something out of the bag.

3. be all dressed up with nowhere to go = we say this when we have put on some nice clothes to go somewhere nice but then there is a change of plans and we don't go anywhere.

I had put on my sexiest black dress and my new Manolo shoes and then John phoned to say that he couldn't meet me after all! I was all dressed up with nowhere to go!

4. the lights are on but nobody's home = a phrase to describe somebody you think is stupid or somebody who is unresponsive because they are thinking about something else.

It's no good expecting John to participate in the meeting. The lights are on but nobody's home.

5. anybody who is anybody = if anybody who is anybody is doing something it means that all the most famous and important people are doing that thing.

Anybody who is anybody will be at the Madrid Nobu restaurant opening, we have to get tickets.

6. be on everyone's lips = when a word or question is on everyone's lips, a lot of people are talking about it or are interested in it.

The question on everyone's lips at the moment is, where will Angelina Jolie choose to give birth to her new baby?

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Monday, March 24, 2008

Word of the Week - 11

This is an adjective that is used to describe something that smells unpleasant because it is old and slightly wet. It is very similar in meaning to the adjective fusty too.

The hotel room was musty, it smelt as if nobody and been in there for years. Naturally, we complained to the hotel manager.

Put chunks of charcoal or a bowl of water and baking soda in your fridge to remove musty odours.

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Sunday, March 23, 2008

Happy Easter

Everyone at the BLC would like to wish you a very happy Easter.

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Thursday, March 20, 2008

Easter Eggs

Soon it will be Easter and people all over the world will be buying, making or decorating their Easter eggs ready to present them to their friends, colleagues and family.

Since eggs form a large part of Easter celebrations I thought it would be a good time to look at some idiomatic expressions related to eggs.

The first idiom is 'to put all your eggs in one basket' which means that you depend on only one person or one plan of action to succeed. Obviously doing this is quite risky as you may lose all you eggs and fail to succeed. It is often used in the negative; Don't put all your eggs into one basket!

The second idiom is 'to teach your grandmother to suck eggs' which means that you are giving advice to somebody about something that they are more expert in than yourself.

You are teaching your grandmother to suck eggs, Ted. I have been playing this game since before you were born!
The third and final idiom of this entry is 'to walk on eggs / eggshells' which is used when we want to describe somebody who is being very careful not to offend or upset another person.

We're walking on eggshells with our landlord at the moment, one more loud party and she is sure to throw us out of the apartment!

There are of course a lot more idiomatic expressions containing the word egg. Perhaps you would like to investigate more yourselves and then post a comment in the comment box about anything interesting you find!

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Monday, March 17, 2008

Word of the Week -10

This is an adjective that is used in informal British English to mean very pleased or happy. It is particularly common in the North of England.

John is really chuffed with his new bike, he's been riding around on it all day.

I was really chuffed you could make it to the party. It was great to see you again.

I'm not right chuffed about last night's football game!

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Thursday, March 13, 2008

Something, nothing, anything, everything ?

Today we are going to look at a grammar point which causes many problems for learners of English; the difference between the compounds formed from some, any, no and every.

someone / somebody, something, somewhere

We use the above primarily in affirmative sentences, although they can be used in questions of invitation when the speaker expects an affirmative answer.

I'd like to go somewhere quiet on holiday next year.

Someone called for you while you were in the shower.

Would you like something to eat?

anyone / anybody, anything, anywhere

We use the above in questions and negative sentences. They can also be used in affirmative sentences when we want to say whichever, wherever, when we don't mind.

Is anybody staying in your spare room at the moment?

Julie never wants to go anywhere, she is really boring.

-What do you want to eat tonight?
-Anything, I'm not bothered.

nobody, no one, nothing, nowhere

We use the above in questions and affirmative sentences to convey a negative meaning, They are usually used as subjects of a sentence or question. They cannot be used in conjunction with a verb that is already in the negative.

I fell in the street and nobody stopped to help me!

My landlord has thrown me out of the flat and I have nowhere to go!

Nothing to wear? Don't worry we can help you!

everyone / everybody, everything, everywhere

We use these compounds in affirmative, negative and interrogative sentences when we want to be inclusive.

I left an egg boiling while I was on the phone and when I went back in the kitchen it had exploded and there was egg everywhere!

Does everybody have a holy communion in Spain?

I still don't have everything I need, I'll have to go back to the supermarket again.

Finally here is a little riddle to help you remember the difference.

This is a story about four people named Everybody, Somebody, Anybody, and Nobody. There was an important job to be done, and Everybody was asked to do it. Everybody was sure Somebody would do it. Anybody could have done it, but Nobody did it. Somebody got angry about that, because it was Everybody's job. Everybody thought Anybody could do it, but Nobody realized that Everybody wouldn't do it. It ended up that Everybody blamed Somebody when Nobody did what Anybody could ...

So If you think that you have understood all of that, you should try to do this quiz. Good luck!

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Monday, March 10, 2008

Word of the Week - 9

This week's vocabulary item is a noun which describes a person who is not very willing to spend their money. It is synonymous with adjectives like tight-fisted and stingy.

My father is such a cheapskate that he puts a lock on the telephone!

John is a real cheapskate, he refuses to split the restaurant bill equally and will only pay for what he has had. It is quite embarrassing really.

Jeff Yeager has been named the Ultimate Cheapskate by NBC Today, you can read his humourous blog to find out all about being a super cheapskate.

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Saturday, March 8, 2008

International Women's Day

Today is International Women's Day but in fact the whole of the month of March is known as International Women's Month. The History Channel has got some interesting articles, quizzes and videos about the history of women and their notable contributions to society. Check it out!

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Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Online Supplementary Material

If you study in the actual academy of the BLC, you no doubt have a coursebook. Did you know that each suite of coursebooks has it's own website where you can access games, revision quizzes and tests based on the level and the individual units of your book? You should know this because the web address comes on the front or back cover of each student book. If you didn't know, don't fear for I am hear to inform you!

Click here....

If your book is a HEADWAY book > > >
If your book is a CUTTING EDGE book> > >
If your book is a NATURAL ENGLISH book > > >
If your book is a GOLD book > > >
If your book is a NEW ENGLISH FILE book > > >

If you are following a business book you can also benefit from online resources.

Click here to see the MARKET LEADER website > > >

Have fun learning and testing your own progress from the comfort of your own home, or from your work desk when you have a few spare minutes.

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Monday, March 3, 2008

Word of the Week -8

This Monday's word is a verb that means to think or to believe. It is informal but very common in spoken English.

What do you reckon is going to happen on tonight's debate?

How much do you reckon it will cost?

I don't reckon he knows what he's doing.

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