Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Vocabulary test

Check out this Vocabulary test here and find out your score!


Just remember (if you are an English learner) that a person with a vocabulary size of 2,500 passive word-families and 2,000 active word-families can speak a language fluently!!!

So if you scored lower than that get down to some serious studying ;)


source: google images

Sunday, 15 December 2013

Because evolution.


Some of you may have noticed that there is something interesting going on with the word because.
So far, in standard English, we have known and used because to connect two parts of a sentence in which one explains the other :

Because reasons...

I told you my secret because I trust you.
I did it because I wanted to.
Because it didnt rain yesterday, I am going to water my plants.


I don't eat starwberries because of my allergy.
Because of the weather, we didn't go for a trip.

Apparently, another usage of because is getting wider and wider popularity (especially on the internet).

Because + noun

I don't have enough time because work.
I was late because facebook.
Grammar is changing because evolution;)

It sounds a little slangy at the moment and is still treated as non-standard English. However, linguists have already named it as "prepositional because" or "because NOUN". Personally, I think it is incredibly handy since you no longer have to think of elaborate explanation and you can simply give one-word reason to anything:) How easy and time-saving is that?

Well, I'm gonna finish now because dinner :)

Stay posted!

source: google images.

Friday, 22 November 2013

Punctuation marks

A few days ago, I read a very interesting article about punctuation marks. It was written by an English professor and writing consultant, Janis Bell. Below, you can find bits and pieces of the article which I have found the most illustrative:


First of all, a dash is not a hyphen. It is twice as long (you need to hit the hyphen key twice to create one dash) and it performs very different functions.
Dashes do three jobs, each of which can be accomplished by another punctuation mark. Why, then, use dashes? Because they carry two messages—one related to the job they are doing and the other related to emphasis, clarity, or formality. Here are the roles of dashes:
1. They surround an interruption
My daughter—Rebecca—has an imaginary playmate. – more emphasis
My neighbor’s children—Sima, Sarah, and Sam—interact with the real kids on our block. – more clarity

2. They lead to an afterthought
Rebecca speaks to her friend in a private language—one that I don’t understand.
Her friend replies with abundant good humor—at least, that’s the way it appears.

3. They introduce a specific explanation.
Rebecca has a name for her playmate—Stefan Stefanopolis.
Stefan has one great quality—he makes Rebecca laugh.


Hyphens connect multiple adjectives that appear to the left of a noun. What is a multiple adjective? Two or more descriptive words that need each other to create the meaning you want—for example, blue-eyed boy: he is not a blue boy or an eyed boy; blue and eyed must be linked, to make proper sense.
Furthermore, blue-eyed is hyphenated because it appears to the left of boy. If it appeared to the right, it would not be hyphenated—for example, the boy is blue eyed.
nine-hole golf course
300-page book
no-nonsense approach
life-affirming goals
labor-intensive work

Note: Don’t hyphenate when the first descriptive word is an adverb ending in ly—for example, poorly written script or highly regarded institution.


Parentheses are for surrounding background information, aside comments, material of secondary importance. They de-emphasize the text they contain; they prompt the reader to lower her voice until she exits the parenthetical remark.
Parentheses can occur within a sentence, referring to a given word or phrase; at the end of a clause, referring to the entire statement; or around an upcoming new sentence. (In other words, they can surround an interruption, an afterthought, or a sentence, like the one you’re reading now.)
Apparently, Stefan Stefanopolis (my daughter’s imaginary playmate) is quite amusing.
He keeps Rebecca laughing throughout the day (and sometimes into the night).
I’m a little worried that Rebecca doesn’t know what’s real and what’s not. (This morning she asked me why I hadn’t served Stefan any pancakes.)

Note: The second and third examples show that a period can go either outside or inside the closing parenthesis, depending on what just ended—a sentence containing a parenthetical remark or a separate sentence within parentheses.

Double Quotation Marks

Double quotation marks do four jobs:
1. they surround words spoken or written by someone else
Patrick Henry said, “Give me liberty or give me death.”
When he mentioned “liberty,” was he, by any chance, married?

2. they surround words used as terms (this purpose can also be served by italics)
What do you suppose “liberty” meant to Mr. Henry? (meaning “the term liberty”)

3. they surround words used sarcastically
People in many countries enjoy the “liberty” of voting for the only candidate on the ballot.
4. they surround titles of chapters or articles (in contrast, titles of books and periodicals are underlined or italicized).
Did you read “Bush on Fire” in Time Magazine?
No, but I read “My Dungeon Shook” in The Fire Next Time.

Single Quotation Marks

A single quotation mark (the same symbol used to create an apostrophe) serves only one purpose: to surround a quotation that occurs inside another quotation. Since double quotation marks encompass the overall quote, you need another way to distinguish the quote within.
The instructor said, “Whenever I explain punctuation, someone asks, ‘What’s the purpose of single quotes?’”

Note: The example ends with both a single and a double quote because both quotations finish at the same time. 

If you want to read more about: apostrophes, ellipses, brackets, slashes, question marks and exclamation points, go to the original text here, or if you want to improve your general writing skills you can visit this website:

Stay tuned:)

source: google images,

Sunday, 17 November 2013

Presentation language

In case you need to prepare a presentation in English on any topic, the following phrases should be of some help to you:


§                       Good morning and welcome to (name of company, name of conference hall, hotel, etc.).
§                       Thank you all very much for coming today.
§                       I hope you all had a pleasant journey here today.

Introducing yourself

§                       My name is James Bond and I am responsible for … .
§                       My name is Mark Watson from [name of company], where I am responsible for … .
§                       Let me introduce myself; my name is Mark Watson and I am responsible for … .

Introducing your presentation

§                       The purpose of today’s presentation/meeting is to … .
§                       The purpose of my presentation today is to … .
§                       In today’s presentation I’d like to show and explain to you how our investment policy looks like .Firstly,…..I’ll show you….Secondly,….(Then)…..Finally, 
§                       In today’s presentation I’m hoping to … give you an update on… . / give you an overview of … .
§                       In today’s presentation I’m planning to … look at … . / explain … .

You can also outline your presentation to give the audience a clear overview of what they can expect:
§                       In today’s presentation I’m hoping to cover three points:
§                       firstly, … , after that we will look at … , and finally I’ll … .
§                       In today’s presentation I’d like to cover three points:
§                       firstly, … , secondly … , and finally … .

Explaining that there will be time for questions at the end

§                       If you have any questions I’ll be happy to answer them at any time..(even during the presentation)
§                       If there are any questions you’d like to ask, please leave them until the end, when I’ll do my best to answer them.


Starting the presentation

§                       To begin with … .
§                       To start with … .
§                       Let’s start by looking at … .

§                       I’d like to start by looking at … .
§                       Let’s start with presenting our current portfolio.. / start by looking at … .

Closing a section of the presentation

§                       So, that concludes [title of the section] … .
§                       So, that’s an overview of … .
§                       I think that just about covers … .
§                       To sum up this part,…

Beginning a new section of the presentation

§                       Now, let’s move on to … .
§                       Now, let’s take a look at … .
§                       Now I’d like to move on to … .
§                       Next I’d like to take a look at … .
§                       Moving on to the next part, I’d like to … .
§                       Moving on to the next section, let’s take a look at … .

Concluding and summarising the presentation

§                       Well, that brings us to the end of the final section. Now, I’d like to summarise by … .
§                       That brings us to the end of the final section. Now, if I can just summarise the main points again.
§                       That concludes my presentation. Now, I can just summarise the main points.
§                       That’s an overview of … . Now, just to summarise, let’s quickly look at the main points again.

Finishing and thanking

§                       Thank you for your attention.
§                       That brings the presentation to an end.
§                       That brings us to the end of my presentation.
§                       Finally, I’d like to finish by thanking you (all) for your attention.
§                       Finally, I’d like to end by thanking you (all) for coming today.
§                       I’d like to thank you (all) for your attention and interest.

Inviting questions

§                       If anyone has any questions, I’ll be happy to answer them.
§                       If anyone has any questions, I’ll do my best to answer them.
§                       If anyone has any questions, please feel free to ask them now.
§                       If anyone has any questions, please feel free to ask them and I’ll do my best to answer.

Referring to a previous point made

§                       As I mentioned earlier … .(jak wcześniej wspominałem)
§                       As we saw earlier … .
§                       You may recall that we said … .
§                       You may recall that I explained … .

Dealing with (difficult) questions

§                       I’ll come back to that question later if I may.
§                       I’ll / We’ll come back to that question later in my presentation.
§                       I’ll / We’ll look at that point in more detail later on.
§                       Perhaps we can look at it at the end / a little later.

Other phrases and key presentation language:


take a look at

take a brief look at

return to

I’ll outline

here we can see

as you can see here

(let’s) move on to

(let’s) continue with

(let’s) continue by looking at

to illustrate this point

let’s, we can, we will
let me get into details

 source: google images.

Saturday, 9 November 2013

Introducing yourself and others

Moving to another country and changing your job is always a big challenge. I'm now experiencing all the ups and downs of this situation and what struck me is that during the last several weeks I've introduced myself or have been introduced to other people for definitely more than a hundred times! That's made me thinking of how important it is to make this first impression the most positive one.
If you are a native speaker the only thing you have to keep in mind is your body language and the general positive attitude. But if you are not, you also have to think about what actually comes out of your mouth and most probably, it is English. Since these first words are so crucial, let's make a small revision. 

Introducing yourself:

- My name is...
- I'm......
- Nice to meet you, I'm....
- Pleased to meet you, I'm....
- I'd like to introduce myself, I'm...
- Let me introduce myself, I'm...
- I don't believe we've met before, I'm...
- I don't think we've actually met formally yet, I'm...

Introducing others:

- I'd like to introduce you to....
- Have you met....?
- I'd like you to meet...
- Jack, this is Daniel. Daniel this is Jack.
- There's someone i'd like you to meet, this is...
- Alex, please meet Ann.

Useful responses:

- Nice to meet you.
- Happy to meet you.
- Pleased to meet you.
- Very nice to meet you.
- It's a pleasure to meet you.
 -How do you do?

Remember 'how do you do?' is not really a question but it simply means 'hello'.
For 'how do you do?' always respond 'how do you do?'. :)

Returning a compliment:

 - Likewise.
- And you:)

A sample dialogue:

- Hello. My name is Jane Fox. The new sales director.
- Hello. I''m Peter Brown. Nice to meet you, Mrs Jane Fox.
- Peter, please meet Ms Still, my assistant.
- How do you do?
- How do you do?

Saying 'goodbye':

- I've got to be going.
- I really must be running along.
 - Is that the time? I've got to go.
- I've got to get back etc.
- See you later.
- Catch you later.
- Have a nice day.
- Goodbye.
- Take care.
- Bye!

In case you don't have enough, you can have a look at what bbc says about greeting people formally and informally here.

And good luck to everyone who has just changed their job or moved to a new place. Have fun!!! 

Seeya!!! :))

source: google images

Saturday, 14 September 2013

dream OF or ABOUT?

The next part of the series ' OF/ABOUT ' is:


= to wish or to desire

She dreamed of having her own house.

"Dream of" is usually a preface to a statement which reflects something that someone hopes for, that they aspire to be, or that is a goal of theirs.


= to have a dream about sth while sleeping

She dreamt about food.

"Dream about" denotes something which someone had a dream about, a series of mental images or scenes that one experiences while they're sleeping.

However, the difference is so subtle that in my personal non-native opinion it's almost non-existing. And since I heard a lot of OF/ABOUT mixtures I treat it as one of those language nuances that you may or may not pay attention to :))

source: google images

Thursday, 5 September 2013

Is "literally" not so literal anymore?

Inspired by the recent discussion about literally I decided to shed light on the issue since I felt a little confused myself by all that fuss.

So far, I've been teaching my Students that they should use literally very....literally;)
In other words, the meaning of literally is exactly, truly, actually.

On the contrary to figuratively, which is used in non-literal context, meaning metaphorically.


The name of the cheese is Dolcelatte, literally meaning 'sweet milk'.

I said I felt like quitting, but I didn't mean it literally.

They have a taste - figuratively speaking - for excitement.

More or less I've been acting like this Captain L below:

However, it'll probably be good news for my Ss when I tell them that the Oxford English Dictionary has incorporated this 'irregular' usage of literally.

"This newer, disputed usage (describing something non-literal, as a form of exaggeration) has become more frequent over time, and is now sometimes used quite deliberately in non-literal contexts."

Like in here:

So, it seems that literally will no longer have only literal but also figurative meaning. And, like it or not, now it's legitimate....:/

source: google images, youtube.