Mighty oaks from little acorns grow

Tomorrow is 11th November and the day on which we traditionally commemorate soldiers who have fallen in battle, usually with a minute’s silence at 11am.  The poppy is a poignant symbol, representing Flanders fields in France, where many died in the trenches in WW1.  Click on this link  to read John McCrae’s poem, In Flanders Fields.   Continue reading


Liar liar, pants on fire!

This post is two pronged. Firstly, I wanted to share an interesting TED talk related to children lying and whether we are good at spotting it. Kang Lee’s talk is here for you to view.  Apart from being interesting, it is good one to watch thinking about word formation.  If you watch it with English subtitles you can stop every now and again to check that you know the various forms of the words he uses.

Secondly, yesterday was the 5th November and in England Bonfire night is celebrated with fireworks and bonfires. Continue reading

Food for thought

I’m currently enjoying season two of Chef’s Table, a Netflix series that goes into the kitchens and lives of some of the best chefs worldwide at the moment.  It really makes you think about the many concepts related to eating, cooking and food production.  It also gives you a glimpse of the weird and wonderful ingredients available around the world.  Two chefs so far have prepared dishes with ants and praised them for their rich flavour.  Why do we have such an aversion to eating creepy crawlies? Will they be the food of the future as many people say? Hhhmmm… Continue reading

Turn the ultimate fiend into a friend

To mark tomorrow being Halloween and Netflix releasing season two of their spooky series, Stranger things, I thought we could look at some expressions using the word devil.  Take a look at the following phrases and have a ponder as to what they could mean:

  1. Talk/speak of the devil
  2. The devil’s in the details
  3. Devilishly handsome
  4. Better the devil you know
  5. Play devil’s advocate
  6. Between the devil and the deep blue sea
  7. The devil finds work for idle hands

Continue reading

Counting sheep

In yesterday evening’s CAE Complete class we were on a bit of a word formation frenzy.  When looking at suffixes that make words into verbs a student pointed out that -ish is one such suffix, exemplifying the case with the verb flourish.  More examples?…hmmm.  At that moment my brain became void of all words.  However, the brain is an infuriating beast and at 5am the examples started to flow.

So let’s start with NOURISH, a rhyming pal to FLOURISH.  From there we go to GARNISH, which shares a link to food and from there we go to VARNISH.  If the R disappears, we are left with VANISH.  From there we make a leap to the fancy ADMONISH, despite scolding myself for not thinking of BAAANISH earlier.

By now, I am not just counting sheep, I am counting sheep who have taken on the quality of their verb.  Surreal.  I try and distract myself, but end up thinking about formal letter writing (as you do) and one of my favourite phrases: I would RELISH the opportunity… (to go back to sleep.)  I love this last example because of its positivity, its keeness, and in spite of my yawn, I smile.  And ping! CHERISH.  Now there’s another beautiful word.  Yet alas the sublime cannot last forever!  All good things must come to an end, so I rounded up my counting of sheep with PERISH.

As an extension to this, it would be interesting to look at the other forms of these verbs.

Also bonus points for anyone who can explain the meaning of the adjestive SHEEPISH.

“Time is free, but it’s priceless.” – Harvey Mackay

We could all sometimes do with having a little extra time sometimes.  It’s something we run out of, something we waste, and from time to time we even kill it.  However, we are in control of our time so we need to organise it to get the best out of it.

There are a plethora of expressions related to time in English.  Some of them appear in previous posts.  Have you clocked them yet?  If not, it’s high time you did.

Make time for time

A timely piece

Here you will also find some other time expressions in picture form, something which can be really useful to memorise them.

Thank you to my sister and her snazzy, yet motivational, clock!