“The two most powerful warriers are patience and time” – LeoTolstoy


After spending the weekend in Madrid and paying a visit to the Reina Sofia art gallery to see Guernica again, I thought some phrasal verbs/ expressions related to everyday conflict could be a good idea.


5 Phrasals:

  • To fall out with sb – When you have an argument/ you are no longer on speaking terms.  You can also make it into a noun, eg. we had a fall out/ a falling out.
  • To fight off – To defend yourself from an attacker, either a physical one or an illness eg. I’m fighting off a cold at the moment.
  • To gang up on sb – When people get together to attack an individual in a fight or a discussion.
  • To lay into sb – When sb attacks sb rather fiercely, with physical violence or their words.
  • To stand up to sb – To be confident in your position and to confront your opposition.

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I think you’re suffering from a lack of vitamin ME!

What with today being Valentine’s day and all, the language of love deserves a look in.  Back in the day when technology was limited and people had to pluck up the courage to talk to people they fancied, the cheesy chat up line was king.  Here are my top 5 faves:

  1. Did it hurt? (What?) Falling out of heaven.
  2. Do you believe in love at first sight or should I walk by again?
  3. If I could rearrange the alphabet, I would put U and I together.
  4. I lost my number. Can I have yours?
  5. You must be tired; you’ve been running through my mind all night.

I really hope that lot didn’t make you throw up!!

Why not take the opportunity to cosy up to some love-related phrasal verbs:

  • Ask sb out= To ask someone to go on a date
  • Chat sb up= To talk to sb for the first time who you fancy
  • Fall for sb= To fall in love with somebody
  • Get (back) together= To (re)start a relationship
  • Go out with sb= To go on a date/be dating sb
  • Make up= To reconcile after an argument

And for if things go sour:

  • Break up/ split up = To end a relationship
  • Break down= To be in an emotional crisis
  • Cheat on sb= To be unfaithful/have an affair
  • Drift apart= To lose closeness in a relationship
  • Put up with sb/sthg= To tolerate/ deal with


Ok, time to go.  It’s not you, it’s me. Honestly.



Tuesday’s child is full of grace.

So if you believe that all human beings can be divided into 7 groups depending on the day of the week on which they were born, and you were born on a Tuesday, you are the graceful swans among us.  Tuesday is a funny day; some people see it as another Monday in disguise, the weekend still a long way off, whereas others see it as a more productive day, that the week is now in full swing.  What often happens to poor Tuesday though, is that it gets mixed up with Thursday.

To celebrate Tuesday in its own right here is comedian Miranda Hart battling with an automated voice: truly one of the most frustrating things in the world!

And if you are interested in the other days of the week and what they say about you:

Monday’s child is fair of face,

Tuesday’s child is full of grace,

Wednesday’s child is full of woe,

Thursday’s child has far to go,

Friday’s child is loving and giving,

Saturday’s child works hard for his living,

And the child that is born on the Sabbath day,

is bonny and blithe, and good and gay.

“To let oneself be carried on passively is unthinkable.”Virginia Wolf

This week C1 M/W has been looking at the immense topic of the Passive.  Here is a little support in its use.  A reminder, as always, seeing the structures for yourselves will give you more awareness of how and when it is used. Reading newspaper articles will help you no end in identifying it in various forms.  Reading in general will always be a good friend in language learning.

Things to remember:

  • Only with verbs that have an object (Transitive).  I like to think of an object being transported in a suitcase. The verbs that are greedy and take two objects behave in various ways, which is nicely summarised and exemplified here.
  • If we want to introduce the agent use ‘by’.
  • Phrasal verbs which may be split in the active, cannot be split in the passive. Eg. The spy picked the package up from the locker at the train station = The package was picked up from the locker at the train station.
  • Passive usually pops up in more formal or technical writing.
  • If used in informal speech, we can use ‘get’ instead of ‘be’. We need to be careful with the position of adverbs in this case.  The homework was ‘accidentally’ left behind in the classroom = The homework ‘accidentally’ got left behind in the classroom. (Please note the inverted commas are not only indicating position, but also skepticism at it being accidental!)

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“The language of friendship is not words but meanings.” -Henry David Thoreau

Some food for thought.  And quite a fitting quote for my gift for you today.  Click on the link for a beautiful pdf of the most common false friends that I have come across over the years.  Some of these little weasels never fail to make their way into students’ writings, stealing the true meaning of what they actually want to say.

My personal favourite though, was at a wedding in Portugal and the official translator told us in English that we were there pretending to marry the bride and groom.  Thankfully it wasn’t all pretend, they are legally married!