The BLC Blog

A forum and learning place for British Language Centre students

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Expression of the Fortnight - 11


If you hear something straight from the horse's mouth or you know that a piece of information has come straight from the horse's mouth then you know that you can believe it because it has come from an authoritative or dependable source.

"Are you sure John is leaving the company?"
"Definitely, I heard it straight from the horse's mouth!"
(John told you himself)

"This comes straight from the horse's mouth so it has to be believed!"

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Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Missing nominees?

A couple of weeks back I posted about the upcoming Academy Awards so that you could take a peek at this year's nominees. The other day I stumbled across an article about some films that have been overlooked by the Academy this year but, perhaps they should have been included. What do you think? Have you seen any of these films? Do you think they are more Oscar-worthy than the films or actors that have been nominated? I'd love to hear your opinion.

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Monday, February 22, 2010

The Baftas

It's definitely the award ceremony season, we've had the Brits, the Goyas, The Golden Globes, we're waiting for the Oscars and last night it was the Baftas. The Baftas are the British equivalent of the Goyas or the Oscars and surprise, surprise Avatar didn't win Best film or Best Director. Go to the Bafta's website to find out who did win in those categories and the rest. There are a few surprises!
This year was also the first year for Prince William as the President of the Academy and he awarded Vanessa Redgrave with a Fellowship Award - the highest award available from the Academy. It is given in recognition of an outstanding an exceptional contribution to film. Previous winners include Charlie Chaplin, Alfred Hitchcock and Anthony Hopkins.

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Word of the Week - 63


This week's word of the week was inspired by my morning walk to the local supermarket. It wasn't really raining so I didn't take my umbrella with me. The drops that were falling from the sky were only light and I didn't get very wet. When the rain is light like this you can say informally that it is spitting. It is the informal equivalent of the verb drizzle, which was a word of the week a couple of years back.

The verb spit has another, not so pleasant meaning. In fact it describes a terribly bad habit which I have had the misfortune to witness all too often in Madrid. It describes the action of forcing out the contents of the mouth - especially saliva.

Some teenagers have the horrible habit of spitting in the street.

I hate it when people spit their sunflower seed shells on the floor!

He spat out his meal in disgust - he had never tasted anything so awful!

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Wednesday, February 17, 2010

The Brit Awards 2010

The Brits is the British Music Industry's pop award ceremony, which is held every year at a venue in London. This year it took place on the 16th of February and the main winner of the night was Lady Gaga who walked away with three awards for Best International Album, Best International Female Solo Artist and Best International Breakthrough Act. Robbie Williams, who has won more Brits than any other artist (13 as a solo artist and 3 as a member of Take That), was awarded a Brit for his outstanding contribution to British Music. This year there was a new category, The Best British Album of the last 30 years. Oasis won with their album (What's the story)Morning Glory?". Look at the list of nominees below and see if you agree with the winning album or if you would have voted for somebody else. I'd love to read your comments or opinions!

Coldplay - A Rush of Blood to the Head
Dido - No angel
Dire Straits - Brothers in Arms
Duffy - Rockferry
Keane - Hopes & Fears
Oasis - (What's the Story) Morning Glory?
Phil Collins - No Jacket Required
Sade - Diamond Life
The Verve - Urban Hymns
Travis - The Man Who

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Monday, February 15, 2010

Word of the Week -62


This week's word came to me while thinking of all things romance related. However, the word in itself is really the opposite of romantic! It is a noun that is used to describe a man who often has temporary sexual relationships with a lot of women and who is always trying to get women to sleep with him. Essentially, a womaniser (spelt womanizer in American English) is a man who uses and takes advantage of women.
One of the most famous womanisers in history is of course is the 18th century Italian writer, Casanova. In fact, his name has become synonymous with 'womaniser' and you can say 'John is a real casanova' and mean that he has had a lot of sexual partners and is therefore a womaniser!
Perhaps you have heard the word in one of Britney Spears' latest offerings since she has a song entitled 'Womanizer'. Maybe you are not a fan of hers but the video is pretty cool and gives you a good idea of what a womaniser is! Check it out here and practise your English listening skills!

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Thursday, February 11, 2010

True Romance

It's almost Valentine's Day again and a time for love and romance. Do you celebrate Valentine's Day by showering your loved one with gifts? Or do you think it is all a load of old codswallop? Whatever you think about this holiday of love, why not take the opportunity to learn some love related idioms in English. Here is a good web page with lots of relationship related idiomatic expressions and their definitions. Have fun learning and Happy Valentine's Day for Sunday!

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Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Expression of the Fortnight - 10


This expression is related to last fortnight's expression (beauty is only skin deep). It means that you cannot know what something or someone is really like just by looking at their appearances. It is often used in the imperative 'Don't judge a book by its cover!" when you want to remind someone that there are more important things than just the aesthetic qualities of something.
Two famous examples of judging a book by its cover can be seen in the last two seasons of Britain's Got Talent. The looks on the faces of the panel of judges when they met both Paul Potts and Susan Boyle were priceless. (Click on the names to see the video clips) And look at the shock they got! This just proves that we should not be led by what is on the outside!

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Monday, February 8, 2010

Word of the Week - 61

This week's word is an adjective (pronounced /ˈbɒð.əd/). If you say that you are bothered about something then you are saying that it is important to you or that it worries you. If you say that you are not bothered about something then you are saying that you don't care about it and it isn't important to you.

I'm not bothered about what other people think of me - I think it is more important to be myself and not put on a show.

What do you want for dinner, James?
I'm not bothered - whatever's easiest.

(You need to be careful with the intonation of this phrase if you use it to answer a question because you can come across as being rude.)

This expression became something of a catchphrase for British comedienne, Catherine Tate, who uses it often in her sketches of Lauren, a rude high-school student from London. You can check out some of these sketches on Youtube, but you will need a high level of English to understand the accents and humour in the clips. Here is one for you to watch - I highly recommend the videos of Lauren in French class, Chemistry class and English class too!

This word also appears in the expression 'can't be bothered'. Here the meaning is that you don't feel like doing something because you are too tired, too lazy or just not in the right mood to do it.

I can't be bothered to cook dinner tonight - shall we order a Chinese?

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Thursday, February 4, 2010

Facebook Mania!

Unless you have been living under a rock for the past couple of years, you will have heard of the social networking website, Facebook. Facebook was founded by Mark Zuckerberg, a Havard University student, and his roomates and fellow Computer Science students. At first it was only accessible to Harvard students, but soon expanded to include all Ivy League universities, then all US colleges and high schools and then to anyone over the age of 13. The social networking site then caught on in the UK and Australia and after being translated into over 70 languages, it now boasts over 350 million users worldwide. Although the Facebook craze has infected most countries, it hasn't taken everywhere by storm. In fact, the site is actually banned in several countries including Vietnam, China, Syria and Iran. It has also been banned in many places of work because bosses don't want their employees wasting company time using this service.
Using Facebook in work time is not the only job-related risk; these people either almost lost or did lose their jobs because of foolish things they posted on the site. Read on...
So, next time you are posting something on your profile, just think carefully about who may be reading!
Some people are believed to have a Facebook addiction because they go on the site so much. Do you think you are a Facebook addict? To find out you can do this online quiz > > >

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Wednesday, February 3, 2010

The Academy Awards

The Academy Awards, more commonly known as the Oscars, are just a month away and the nominations have just been released. If you are eager to find out who has been nominated in each category, you can get all the information on the official Oscars website.
Who do you reckon is going to take home the award for Best Leading Actor? Who are going to place your money on for Best Actress? Which film do you think is going to sweep the board this year? Who do you think doesn't stand a chance of winning anything? Do you think Penelope can bring home the Best Supporting Actress Oscar for a second year in a row? Leave a comment and share your thoughts with me. Or, even better, if you have seen one of the films which have been nominated this year, why not write us a review and tell us all about it. I haven't seen any of this year's films and would love to hear your rave reviews. Of course, if you wish to pan the nominated films - that is fine too!
Don't be shy! This is great practice for those of you who are preparing for the Cambridge Exams!

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Monday, February 1, 2010

Word of the Week - 60

This week's word is a noun which will come in handy for those of you who are doing a Cambridge exam this year. Your teachers will often tell you about the importance of not repeating common words such as good and bad, advantages and disadvantages, important, etc. You get more marks if you try to vary the language you use in your writing and speaking.
This week's word is a synonym for 'disadvantage' and is used to refer to the negative part of a given situation.

The main drawback of living with someone is having to share a bathroom.

Young people should be educated in school about the drawbacks of smoking.

For the opposite of 'drawback' and a synonym for 'advantage' you can use 'benefit'.

The discovery of oil brought many benefits to the town.

One of the many benefits of living in Madrid is having easy access to theatres and cinemas.

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