The BLC Blog

A forum and learning place for British Language Centre students

Friday, January 29, 2010

National Soup Month

While surfing the net this morning, I discovered that January is National Soup Month. This is more than likely because January is such a cold month and we need something nice and hot to warm us up - and what could be better than a big bowl of soup?

Here you can read an article about how soup got its name and how Campbells' is one of the world's most famous soup manufacturers.

Go to the article > > > >

I love making soup at home, it's relatively quick and easy. I think it's a real comfort food.

If you fancy trying to whizz up your own soup, you could check out this Jamie Oliver recipe for Real Mushroom Soup - one of my personal faves!

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Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Expression of the Fortnight - 9


This is a saying which means that what a person is like on the inside is much more important than their physical beauty. So, someone may be unbelievably attractive on the outside, but mean and cruel on the inside. Or on the other hand a person may be quite plain on the outside but they seem all the more attractive because of the inner beauty they possess. So next time you are talking to someone and they are going on about somebody's looks perhaps you should say to them "Remember that beauty is only skin deep!"

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Monday, January 25, 2010

Word of the Week - 59


This week's word is a noun which is used to describe a person who lives in an empty building without permission. The building, house, or flat which is illegally occupied is called a squat.

A group of young squatters have refused to leave a 17th-century Parisian mansion they have occupied for more than two months.

(You can read the related news article for the above example here >>>>>)

There is an internationally recognised symbol for squatters, which you can see here on the right, and according to one author there are over one billion squatters worldwide - which would mean one in every seven people illegally occupy land or buildings!

Do you know of any squats and their squatters?

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Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Monday Morning Blues!

I asked some students to describe how they had felt during the day yesterday and most of them were in agreement that Mondays in general are hard and a bit depressing! Then when I got home after class I discovered an article on the internet about how the third Monday in January is considered by many to be the worst day in the whole year! And yesterday was the third Monday of January! Apparently this title of 'Worst Day' comes from the fact that the third Monday is about the time when the Christmas bills are coming in, we have already broken most of our new year resolutions and the weather is often gloomy and wet! So, if yesterday you were feeling particularly down - now you know why!
For some tips on how to survive those blues why not check out this article > > >


What's the Difference? - 6


Many a time my students have looked at me with a puzzled expression on their face when I have asked them what the two past participles of go are. Two? They ask, confused. Well, there is gone and that's it, right? No, wrong! There is also been. Been? But isn't that the past participle of the verb be? Well, yes but, it is also the past participle of the verb go. So, how do we know which to use?
BEEN suggests that a person has travelled to a place and has also returned from that place. Therefore BEEN suggests that the action has been completed.
GONE suggests that a person has travelled to a place and remains in that place.
Compare these sentences:
I've been to the office this morning because I forgot to bring my laptop home.
(I went to the office and I came back home again)
"Where's John?"
"He's gone to the office because he has left his laptop on his desk."
(John has travelled to the office and he is still there or on his way back but he is not at home yet)

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Monday, January 18, 2010

Word of the Week - 59

I came across this week's word while reading an article on the BBC website about the terrible earthquake which devastated Haiti last week. It is a noun and it is used to refer to the bits of broken stone and bricks which are left after a building has fallen down or been destroyed.
The fire reduced the house to rubble.
A woman was found alive under the rubble of the supermarket.
You can read the article I was looking at by following this link > > >

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Friday, January 15, 2010

New Year's Resolutions

So it is that time of year again when people decide to make changes in their lives. Have you decided to alter anything in your life this year? Perhaps you have decided to give up smoking or to quit drinking or to stop swearing so much. Or on the other hand maybe you are thinking about taking up a sport or starting to learn something new? I, personally, never make New Year's resolutions because I find them so terribly difficult to keep, but if you are considering leaving behind your bad habits to turn over a new leaf perhaps you could do with a little help. Videojug has some interesting videos you can watch about almost anything in the world! Take this video on stopping biting your nails for instance. (> > > > Go to video)

If you have a resolution in mind, why not check the Videojug website to see if they have any useful tips to help you on your way to success!


Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Expression of the Fortnight - 8


This is a saying which is used when you haven't seen somebody for a long period of time. It is what you may be thinking about this blog right now since it hasn't been updated since July 2009!

"Hey, John! Long time no see, mate! Where've you been hiding?"
"I've been working in New York for the last four months."

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Monday, January 11, 2010

Word of the Week - 58


The first word of the week of 2010 is weather related and pretty useful for what is occuring around Europe at the moment. The word is a noun which describes a severe snow storm with strong winds.
Here is an example from this week's news stories:
"...police and mountain rescuers trekked for an hour through driving snow to reach five experienced walkers stranded in blizzard conditions..."
"Jill, in the Wirral, said her 12-year-old daughter was left stranded six miles from her house in a blizzard when her school closed early."
The word can also be used metaphorically to mean a large amount of something.
"2010 will see a blizzard of television innovations" (meaning lots of new innovations in television)


Happy New Year!

First of all, I would like to wish everyone a Happy New Year. Secondly, I would like to apologise since the latter half of 2009 was a bit of a quiet year for the BLC Blog. Some of you may know that I have been off on maternity leave and have had my hands quite full for the past few months. However, now it is 2010 and the blog and myself are making a comeback! I wish I could say that we were back by popular demand but no-one seems to have queried our disappearance! :-( Anyway, I won't bear a grudge and will just hope that you all return to reading the blog frequently throughout the new year.