Making a Presentation – finding a friendly face

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A Friendly Face When you stand up in front of that audience, you’re going to be really nervous. Poor speakers pay little or no attention to their audience as people. Big mistake. If you can see your audience as a group of individuals, you’ll be much more likely to connect with those individuals. Start looking […]

Phrasal verbs with up – part 4

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If someone ‘beats you up’, they hit and kick you and hurt you a lot. The muggers beat him up badly. I was beaten up so badly that I was off work for a month. If you ‘bottle up’ a feeling or emotion, you suppress them and don’t express them. If you bottle up your […]

Business English Vocabulary – pay part 3

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More vocabulary on the important topic of money: ‘commission’ is paid to people in sales based on the amounts of goods sold. Working here I get paid a fixed salary and commission based on my sales. I get paid a commission on the deals I negotiate. People who are ‘hourly paid’ are paid a fixed rate for each […]

Phrasal Verbs with up – part 3

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If you make a mess, you need to ‘clear it up’. It was your party. You clear up the mess. Don’t expect me to clear up after you. If you need some support, you need somebody to ‘back you up’. If you report it, I’ll back you up. Nobody would back me up when I […]

Business English Vocabulary – pay part 2

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We all go to work to earn money. Let’s look at more vocabulary to talk about our salaries: ‘gross salary’ is the salary before anything is deducted for contributions and tax. Her gross salary is £50 000 but obviously she takes home considerably less than that. He earns £40 000 a year gross. ‘net salary’ is the […]

Up Phrasal Verbs 2

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There is a group of expressions using ‘up’ where the ‘up’ is not necessary. For example you can say ‘fill’ or ‘fill up’ and it means almost the same thing. So why do we add the ‘up’? Well one possible answer is that ‘we do it because we do it’ – we have just developed […]

Pay vocabulary

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‘Pay’ is money that you get from your employer, either as a wage or as a salary. What are the pay and conditions for the job? Pay rates in the industry are very poor. ‘Back pay’ is money owed to you by your employer for work done in the past which has not yet been paid. I’m […]

Up Phrasal Verbs 1

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I’ve had a lot of requests for some lessons on ‘up’ so here is the first of several. We’ll cover the easy part today. One common use for ‘up’ in phrasal verbs is to indicate An upward movement An increase An improvement See how that applies to these eight verbs. If you display something such […]

Business Vocabulary – employment

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If you ‘hire’ someone, you employ them. We hired him on a six month contract. I hear that they are not hiring people at the moment because of budget problems. If you ‘fire’ somebody, you dismiss them from their job, usually because of something they did. I had to fire Sally because she kept on making mistakes. If you […]

Eating phrasal verbs

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If you ‘bolt down’ food, you eat it very quickly. This expression is informal. He bolted down the food. He really enjoyed it. I’m so busy that I’m going to bolt down some food and get straight back to work. If you ‘wolf down’ food, you also eat it quickly but specifically because you are […]

Emotions – phrasal verbs

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If something ‘gets you down’, it makes you feel unhappy. This uncertainty is beginning to get me down. The way everybody keeps complaining really gets me down If somebody or something makes you feel upset or unhappy, they ‘get to’ you. This is an informal expression. The way he whistles all the time when we […]

Down phrasal verbs

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If you ‘lie down’ you go for a rest on a bed or a sofa. You look exhausted. Lie down for a while. I lie down for ten minutes after lunch every day. If you ‘slow down’, you go less quickly than before. As I have got older, I seem to have slowed down and […]

No Idioms

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If you have absolutely no knowledge of something, you have ‘no idea’ about it. I have no idea what caused my computer to crash. I have no idea where she is. If something is not at all surprising, it is ‘no wonder’ that it happens. You are only wearing a small tee-shirt. No wonder you […]

Swimming Idioms

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If you are ‘out of your depth’, you don’t have the necessary knowledge, experience or skill to deal with a particular situation or subject. When she started talking about quantum physics, I felt completely out of my depth. I’m an engineer. I feel out of my depth when we discuss accounting problems. If you are […]

English Idioms – anger

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Learn new expressions in English with these exercises: If you are ‘at the end of your tether’ or ‘at the end of your rope’ (US only) you are so tired, weary or annoyed with something that you feel unable to deal with it any more. He hasn’t been able to find a job and is […]

Great English Reading for Free

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Finding good English books has always been expensive if you don’t live in an English-speaking country. When I lived in France, I used to spend a small fortune in the only local bookshop that stocked English books. When I came back fom England, my car was absolutely full of DVDs and books. I don’t know […]

More Animal Idioms

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Learn new expressions in English with these exercises: If you search for something which is futile, pointless or unattainable, you are on a ‘wild-goose chase’. He sent us on a wild-goose chase for a book that isn’t being published until next year. She sent us on a wild-goose chase looking for their beach house. A […]

Do you want to listen to the BBC?

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Good news. IF you live in Western Europe and IF you have an iPad, you can now watch a lot of programmes from the BBC for less than a euro a week. Not perfect but it is a start.

Idioms- animals

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Learn new expressions in English with these exercises: If you have an idea that has become an obsession, you have a ‘bee in your bonnet’. He’s got a bee in his bonnet about politically correct language. She’s got a bee in her bonnet about recycling. When somebody loses a boyfriend or girlfriend, we can tell […]

Idioms – way

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If you ‘pave the way’ it means to make progress easier. The agreement on trade paves the way for better relations between the countries. The discovery paved the way to the development of a new drug to treat diabetes. If you are ‘set in your ways’ , you resist any changes. He’s only 45 but […]