The BLC Blog

A forum and learning place for British Language Centre students

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Expression of the Fortnight - 15

This fortnight's expression came up in class when one of my students was paying me a compliment. I wondered if my student had an ulterior motive for being so nice to me. I asked her if she was trying to butter me up! To butter somebody up is to be very kind or friendly to them or try to please them in some way so that they will do what you want them to do. Buttering somebody up is a way of manipulating them.
You'll have to butter her up a bit if you want her to agree to that!

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Monday, April 26, 2010

Word of the Week - 71


This week's word of the week was one of the solutions from a crossword I was doing - (those of you who know me will be aware that I'm partial to a good cryptic crossword). The word is an adjective which is used to describe how you feel when you are slightly hungry and would like a little something to eat. 'Rather' and 'a bit' are often placed before this adjective.

I'm feeling a bit peckish, can we go and get a bite to eat?

Even though I've had a huge breakfast and it's only ten o' clock, I have to admit that I'm feeling rather peckish.

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Friday, April 23, 2010

British Cuisine - Fish 'n' Chips

Ok, so it's the stereotypical dish all people mention when they think about food in the UK. Students often say it with a look of disgust on their face and a tone of sarcasm in their voices as if to imply that it isn't really food. And while it is true that fish 'n' chips are quintessentially British, that does not mean to say that it is not a good dish.
Although fish 'n' chips can be ordered in most pubs from the lunch menu, and there are world -famous fish and chip restaurants such as Harry Ramsden's, this meal originated in the UK as a take-away food some time in the late 1850s. And, I personally believe the best way to enjoy fish and chips is at the seaside sitting on or by the beach. Great places to eat fish 'n' chips are Whitby or Scarborough where cod is often caught fresh from the sea and cooked the same day.
Traditionally the fish (usually cod, haddock or flounder) and chips were wrapped up in newspaper to be carried away and eaten at home or in the park. Nowadays, due to hygiene and possible problems from the newspaper ink - they are wrapped in plain white paper. The shop where fish and chips can be purchased is colloquially known as the chippy or the chipper, depending on the region.
So, before you turn your nose up at them, why not try eating some real fish and chips by the sea in England. It's quite an experience!

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Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Spot the Mistake

Walking around Madrid these past few days I have noticed some adverts promoting bilingual schools in the city. There are posters on the backs of buses, posters in the bus stops, billboards, and even spots on the TV and radio. I find it rather appalling that adverts for bilingual Spanish and English schools contain such a blatant grammatical error! I don't care if they are trying to play on the Obama slogan - it's just wrong! Surely the Communidad de Madrid has enough money to pay for some proper translators?! Can you spot the mistake and correct it?

Monday, April 19, 2010

Word of the Week - 70


This word of the week is related to last week's word in the way that it is used to refer to a person when you cannot remember or you do not know their name. In informal English -whatsisname or what's-his-name is used for men and whatsername or what's-her-name is used for women.

Have you invited Paul Whatisname to the party?

Give the file to whatsername - the new woman in Accounts.

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Friday, April 16, 2010

And you thought English was hard!

Students are always complaining that English is hard to pronounce and why do we have to write words one way and say them another! Why can't English be more like Spanish? Well, English isn't all that bad when you compare it to Icelandic! Here is a video from Youtube showing the correct pronunciation and all the different ways English speaking news-reporters have been pronouncing the name of the glacier where a volcano erupted this week -Eyjafjallajökul. It's proof that English isn't that odd after all.

Go to Video > > >

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Expression of the Fortnight - 14

To be two-faced

If someone is two-faced it means that they seem pleasant and kind when they are talking to you but then behind your back they say unpleasant things about you to other people. A two-faced person is insincere.

I don't trust her. I suspect she is a bit two-faced.

Jacky is completely two-faced. She pretends to be your friend but then she bitches about you to other people!

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Monday, April 12, 2010

Word of the Week - 69


This week's word of the week is a noun. I absolutely love this word because it comes in handy when you can't remember the name of something and it sounds funny! It is especially used in informal spoken English when the name of an object has been forgotten.
I need one of those thingamabobs to tie my hair back with.
Have you got one of those thingamabobs to make melon balls?
You can also say thingamajig and it means exactly the same thing!

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Monday, April 5, 2010

Word of the Week - 68


This week's word is a noun which is used to describe a device that is very useful for a particular job or purpose.

Have you seen this handy little gadget? - It's for separating egg yolks from egg whites.

My dad loves gadgets, he has allsorts of little toys for all kinds of jobs!

You could check out the Gadget Shop online to find out what gadgets are on offer! There is a whole range of goods from a self-stirring mug to a robotic dinosaur!

Go to the Gadget Shop >>>>

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