Do your best not to make a mess of your collocations

This week’s B2 revision quiz left some with doubts about colocations with make and do.

Here’s a list of the correct answers:

Make:

  • a phone call
  • breakfast/lunch/dinner
  • a complaint
  • a choice
  • a mistake
  • an appointment
  • a decision

Do:

  • business
  • a project
  • housework
  • the washing up
  • your best
  • an exam
  • someone a favour
  • research

A good way to learn them would be to try and make connections.  For example, ‘make a decision’ and ‘ make a choice’ are very similar ideas so you could group them together.

Another group you could make would be with ‘do’ and things related to work, either at school, at work or at home, although remember we say ‘make the bed’, but there has to be an exception to the rule!

 

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Eyes like a hawk.

Day 7 and time to get honest. Hands up if you have ever handed work in without reading it through first. Tired from writing and hoping for the best? Yep, we’ve all been there.  It’s not wise to return though. They say the devil is in the detail, and it really is.  Careless errors give a poor impression, even if your ideas are outstanding. So do yourself justice and make proofreading a priority. Continue reading

A penny for your thoughts…

Today’s money-based post stems from two sources: The book I am currently reading and M/W’s advanced class.  My book is about how the Spanish language originated and how it has transformed over the centuries. The authors are very keen on using ‘to coin a phrase’.  This expression is used to document when a phrase is used for the first time, but nowadays it is often used to refer to something you say which is somewhat clichéd.

Other common expressions related to money are: Continue reading

“All past events are historical, but only the most memorable ones are historic.”- William Safire

Day four’s bitesize morsel is related to those pesky words that seem the same, but in actual fact are not.  Take the two adjectives from the title.  Historical merely states that something happened in history, whereas historic describes something that happened as being important in history.  Continue reading

Work, work, work work, work

You can always learn a lesson from Ri Ri. Work and job are probably two of the most often confused words and this confusion often sneaks through into higher levels.  Time to stamp it out.

Key things to remember about WORK:

  • As a verb it describes the general activity and you can also say you work as a magician.
  • As a noun (uncountable) you use work when you are describing the activities that you do within your job role/ at your place of work.
  • Go to work (no article ever, ever, ever).
  • Be at work (no article ever, ever, ever).
  • Finish/start work (no article ever….you get the gist).
  • Being a student is like having a job, so you can say you have lots of work to do (uncountable), but if you want to specify individual things, you need to use the countable words: assignment, project, task, exercise or activity, or say piece of work.
  • As a noun (countable) you use work(s) when referring to the arts. Eg. Picasso produced many great works of art.

 

Key things to remember about JOB:

  • Only a noun (countable).
  • Referring to what work you do, the word job describes your profession.
  • At home we often say we have some (odd) jobs to do when we refer to chores.

 

With today being International Workers’ Day, you can have the day off, but for extra collocations check out Espresso English’s page on work, job and career.

No picture for this post.  What image would you put for work?

 

What came first, the chicken or the egg?

Cock-a-doodle-do! Day 2.

Many Spanish students learn the spelling rule ‘gallina, huevo, tortilla’ to remember the order of letters in words such as light, fight, bright, sight etc.  It’s a great little mnemonic, but as we progress we need to recognise where it works and where it doesn’t.  If we take a look at those words, the ‘gh’ does not make a sound, but it makes the vowel change from a weak to a strong sound. The ‘t’ is sounded at the end of the word.

Compare with words such as length and strength.  Here we have made an omelette without breaking an egg.  What we need to remember is that this type of word is the noun form of the adjective. Strong- strength and long- length. As the adjective ends with ‘g’, this is retained in spelling and sound, and the ‘th’ is added to finish the transformation into a noun.

The ‘th’ ending is a common one for nouns describing qualities:

  • long- length
  • strong- strength
  • wide-width
  • broad- breadth

Nevertheless, ‘height’ and ‘weight’ have a foot in both camps. They follow the ‘ght’ pattern so only the ‘t’ is sounded, yet they are similar to the qualities we’ve just looked at. What’s more ‘height’ is pronounced /haɪt/, whereas ‘weight’ is pronounced /weɪt/. Sorry!