Some very deadly false friends …

Hello, I hope this blog post finds you well. Last week a student directed me to an article with some lovely false friends. I thought I might share the deadliest with you today and add a couple of my own. Undertaker – Unternehmer This is my favourite of all the false friends. An “undertaker” is:Continue reading “Some very deadly false friends …”

“Someone’s been drinking my beer!” Present perfect continuous to describe ale theft.

The kids can’t go to school because of the pandemic, so this week I’ve been “homeschooling” and It’s not so easy to find an undisturbed minute to write. On the plus side it’s a great time to use the present perfect continuous! Everyone’s routines have been turned upside down. Some people, especially in the medicalContinue reading ““Someone’s been drinking my beer!” Present perfect continuous to describe ale theft.”

I’ve done it! -using present perfect simple to show off.

Yes! I’ve done it! I’ve started the third month of my blog! Woo, go me! This week we’re looking at the present perfect simple TO SHOW OFF! There are two reasons to use the present perfect simple To say “how long” something has happened for, (Something that starts in the past and continues to theContinue reading “I’ve done it! -using present perfect simple to show off.”

Sneaky commas and “that” or “which”?

Hmmmmmmm……which one, “that” or “which”? Many thanks to Andrew for suggesting this one. A warning first: We are getting into serious language nerd territory. It’s the kind of thing that native speakers get wrong all the time! *Cough* It’s all about two types of relative clause. A relative clause is part of a sentence startingContinue reading “Sneaky commas and “that” or “which”?”

“I’m lovin’ it!”, or: Why English teachers hate McDonalds.

I remember exactly when McDonalds adopted “I’m loving it!” as their slogan. I was working in Cologne. It must have been in 2001 or 2002. I was just coming home after a long day of teaching stative verbs, you know, the ones you can’t put in the continuous (to be/-ing) form. The verbs that describe:Continue reading ““I’m lovin’ it!”, or: Why English teachers hate McDonalds.”

Those pesky exceptions: “all” and “every”.

“Every breath you take…Every move you make…” oops! Back to those songs again. This week my son requested that I write about the difference between “all” and “every”. Mistakes with these expressions are very common. Quiz time. What words go here, “all” or “every”? Do you know the songs? -Watch out! It’s not as easyContinue reading “Those pesky exceptions: “all” and “every”.”

Lessons in “for” and “since” from Sam Smith, BB King and friends

Confusion with “for” and “since” is a very common problem for English learners. Often, even when people understand how to use each word correctly, there are slip-ups. The difference in the use of these two words is one of those things that is specific to the English language and therefore difficult to remember. Thankfully songwritersContinue reading “Lessons in “for” and “since” from Sam Smith, BB King and friends”

Mistakes with “get” and “become”, or : “I want to become a sausage.”

There is a legend in English teaching circles of a young man from Germany called Hans. Hans was a lively young man and decided one fine day to go for a walk in the forest. The forest was magical, as they often are in such stories, and soon poor Hans got lost and met aContinue reading “Mistakes with “get” and “become”, or : “I want to become a sausage.””

Mistakes using “by” and “until”

Hi English enthusiasts! I’ve decided to start a blog correcting errors that I hear from students and other speakers of English as a foreign language day after day here in Switzerland. I hope you will join me on this journey into the foul swamps of split infinitives and false friends. Let’s start with that oldContinue reading “Mistakes using “by” and “until””