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Odd words in the English language

As languages go, English is arguably one of the strangest out there with its confusing idioms, bizarre words and contradictory rules. If you are learning English online then it can be quite hard to understand a lot of the more unusual words. From Shakespeare’s inventions to the blend of influences from other languages, English has developed a reputation for having something of a unique vocabulary compared to other languages in the world. These are some of the oddest words you’re likely to come across in the dictionary.

Bruxism

If you’re someone who has a habit of grinding their teeth without noticing, often when you’re asleep, then there’s a word for that – bruxism! This is the technical term for teeth grinding and jaw clenching and was first coined in 1931.

Chad

The small rounds of paper produced by punching a hole, such as for putting documents into a ring binder, are called chads.

Fipple

Those who play a lot of music may be familiar with this part of a wind instrument, but many won’t know what it’s called. The mouthpiece of a recorder or a similar instrument is actually called a fipple.

Kerfuffle

This word has been in existence since the early 1800s and is believed to have come either from Scottish dialect or Celtic Irish. The noun kerfuffle means to make a fuss or have a disagreement over something – if two speakers have different points of view and are making a bit of a noise about it, then they’ll be said to be making a kerfuffle.

Cloying

If you eat something that’s overwhelmingly sweet, it can be described as cloying. For example, if you put too much sugar into a dessert, the result will be cloying to anyone who eats it.

Woebegone

This fantastic adjective was first used in the Middle Ages and comes from two words– woe, which means sad, and begone, which means surrounded by something. Together, they describe someone who looks miserable.

Flummoxed

If you’re confusing someone you’re speaking to, they’ll wind up flummoxed. This word came into the English language in the 19th century and was formed from different dialects in the UK.

 

Watch More Movies – and improve your spoken English

There are not man times in school where a teacher will say ” you should watch more movies” but when it comes to learning English movies (or films as many English people call them) can be a brilliant way to improve your English learning both in terms of listening and understanding English conversations and improving your spoken English.

Movie or Film?

There are many things in the English language that have more than one word to describe it and movies are one of them. The word movie is something that has come from the USA and is certainly a term that is not traditionally used in the UK. British people tend to use the word film instead. However, ironically due to American movies being watched more and more across the world the word film is now less common and movies is used a lot. Both words are fine to use in the UK but movie is probably better in other English speaking countries.

How Do Movies Help Your Improve Your English?

Quite simply a movie in English is 1.5-2 hours of solid English speaking and if you are trying to learn English this is a great way to hear new words, understand new ways of saying things and also improve your spoken English because you get to hear how people say words you may have learned in a lesson. While full online English courses are the best way to learn English watching movies will help further improve and broaden your knowledge. It is like being in a room with people speaking English without having to find a group of people to be in a room with.

Accents

One of the hard things but also very useful things about watching movies is the different ways people speak. While the teacher in your online video lessons may be easy to understand in the real world people speak with a huge range of accents. By watching a range of movies you can pick up and understand some of these accents and this will help you understand people in the real world. However it is worth be careful to choose movies with mainstream accents and initially avoid rural accents in places you are not likely to visit. For example, if you are planning on working in Australia then watching a movie about rural Scotland may not be very useful and may be very hard to understand.

How to Watch a Movie?

Depending on how advanced you are at English you can watch a movie in different ways. If you are a beginner then use English subtitles while listening to your native language. This will help you associate words. If you are more advanced then try watching in English and using native subtitles. If you are even more advanced then aim to watch the whole movie in English. If you have to pause the film to think about some words or rewind to hear again then do but the best way to get better is to try and watch it all in English.

If you can you should watch at least one movie a month but one a week would be better. Try getting a group of people together so you can talk about what is happening and learn from each other. Quite often one person will hear something another person may have missed so it is useful to share the learning. If you cannot do this then find some people on our Facebook page who may wish to watch the same movie and then talk about it afterwards on whatsapp or messenger.

Movies can be a really fun way to help improve your understanding of spoken English and improve your own ability to speak English. TV shows are also useful and seasons on platforms like Netflix can be good if not better than movies because there are hours of watching time with the same accents and people to listen too.

English Speaking Practice

Learning English isn’t easy but with the right online English courses it is certainly something anyone can do. An important part of learning English is getting time to practice speaking English as well as watching online video lessons and learning written English. However, finding people to help with English speaking practice can be hard.

Friends and Family

One of the best sources of English speaking practice is, of course, friends and family. If other people you know are learning English too or have already learnt and are more advanced than you then getting time with them as often as you can is a brilliant way to get some English speaking practice. This can be done on the phone, in person or even with skype or whatsapp video calls. Even just 5 minutes of practice once a week can be helpful. If you are living with other English learners then having “English only” days in the house can be a brilliant way to improve your spoken English skills.

Work

The reason many people learn English is for work. They may want to work in an English speaking country or they may already live their but want to get a better job where English is needed. This kind of environment is perfect for practising spoken English. Colleagues who speak English are great to chat to and ask questions too if there is a word you need help with. Listening to others speak around you is also great for improving your spoken English. Do remember that colleagues may be busy so it is useful to be aware they may not always have time to explain a phrase, idiom or word.

Other Learners

One way of practising spoken English that a lot of people don’t think about is linking up with other learners. There are 1000s of people learning English online with Perfectly Spoken and often this people connect on the Facebook page and then organise their own video chat groups to practice speaking English together. They may not be friends or family and you do not work with them but they can be the perfect people to practice with especially if they are the same level as you or more advanced.  Perfectly Spoken is a rapidly growing global English learning platform with full and totally free online English courses. By signing up and joining in the extra live lessons on Facebook you will not only learn English from our amazing teachers and the high quality video lessons but you may find some new friends to practice your spoken English with too.

What are or is an MOOC?

MOOC simply means – Massive Open Online Course or Courses

But what does it all mean?

Well a massive open online course is a course that anyone can join, log into and start learning anytime, anywhere and at any speed they want too. We have a number of MOOCs and we are very proud to be part of this exciting new way to learn English online. Of course MOOC is not a term exclusive to learning English, there are online courses for every kind of subject but the popularity of learning English online is so big it is often used as an example of a common MOOC.

What Are The Benefits of an MOOC?

To put it simply the benefits are mostly based around flexibility and convenience:

  • Anyone can sign up and learn so there is no need for entrance exams and most are free.
  • Courses and lessons can be viewed on any kind of digital device from phones and tablets to laptops and PCs.
  • Lessons can be taken at any time of the day or night.
  • Lessons can be taken anywhere with an internet connection, 3G, 4G or WiFi.
  • Courses can be taken over hours, days, weeks, months or even years.
  • Courses and Lessons can be taken at any speed. So pupils can do 10 lessons in one week and then no lessons for a month and still be able to complete them.

These advantages make signing up for an MOOC the perfect way to learn English for people busy at work, studying or even travelling. People can take a lesson before work on the train or bus, or maybe even at work in a lunch break. Lessons can be taken in the middle of the night or the day and can fit in with any lifestyle and working life.

What Else Makes Up an MOOC?

As well as the lessons and courses massive open online courses are often supported by forums or social media groups. These allow pupils and students to compare notes and share things they are finding hard or easy. This can be very helpful, especially when it comes to parts of the course learners are finding hard. Perfectly Spoken has a large Facebook community and offers extra free Facebook live lessons that run alongside the main online courses.

Join Us and Start Your MOOC Journey Today!

If you are looking into the world of MOOC English learning then you are in the right place. You can sign up for our free online English courses today and join thousands of other people learning English with us all over the world! Good Luck!

The Best Way To Learn and Practice English Online

Learning English Online is not easy, it is challenging but very rewarding thing to do. Learning to speak English can help with getting a job in an English speaking country, studying and travelling too. But with so many ways to learn English online what are the best ways to do it and what are the best ways to practice? In the post we look at some of the best ways you can learn English online to get the best results possible!

Online English Courses

There are a lot of online videos that can teach you English but the best way to learn English properly is to take a full English course. Just doing one video every few days from different teachers that are not connected can confuse you and may slow down your learning. The best thing to do is choose an online English school like Perfectly Spoken and sign up for a free online English course at the correct level for you. Our Forever Free courses are made up of over 40 video lessons and these can be watched on any device at any time.

Practice Your English Online

One of the hardest parts about learning English online is finding ways to practice. If you were in a classroom you might have other students to practice with but online you may not have anyone you know who is learning English with you. But do not be disheartened there are ways you can practice online. Facebook is a great place to start, there are lots of people who will also be learning English but it can be hard to find them. Look for groups of other English learners and message some of the members to see if they would be happy to swap messages or even have a video chat with you. There is a perfectly Spoken Facebook page where 1000s of other people are learning English and many of them will be very happy to find new people to practice with. There are also Whatsapp groups and many websites with forums where you could also meet people to practice with. The great thing about Whatsapp is you can use it as a video call system as well as a way of finding other people learning English.

If you would like to find out more about our free online English courses then have a look at our courses page. Join other people on our Facebook group and try our free extra live lessons and other people to practice with. The key is to learn in a structured way and to practice as much as you can even if you don’t have anyone at home to speak English with.

Where Can I Learn English Online?

There are many reasons you may want to learn English or improve you English spoken and written skills. The question “where can I learn English online” is a very common one and the answer can be quite complicated. There are a lot of different websites offering online English lessons but they are not all right for everyone. For a lot of people the question is actually more basic “Can I learn English online” and the answer to this is certainly, yes you can but choosing the right websites and courses is really important.

Online English Lesson Choices

There are lots of different places to learn English online.

YouTube

The most basic form of online English lesson is on YouTube. If you search there you will find 1000s of English lessons. There is certainly a lot of choice but most lessons are not part of a course or learning structure. While this may be OK if you just want some help with a certain word of set of vocabulary examples. But if you are looking to improve your English properly YouTube may not be the place for you.

Paying for Lessons

At the other end of the range there are a number of websites that offer online English courses for money. This may be suitable for some people but for others the cost is too much. The lessons and courses are likely to be better than many on YouTube but the cost can be quite high and often if you stop paying at the end of a course you can never go back and look at the videos again.

Free Online English Courses

There is a middle ground between general YouTube videos and expensive online courses. We offer a forever free set of online English Courses ranging from A1 to C1 level. The lessons are very high quality and you can take a full course and monitor your progress once you sign up. Not only is it free but the lessons are available for you forever so you can go back and look at them again anytime.

Where Can I Learn English Online?

The answer is here at Perfectly Spoken. You can join thousands of other people learning right now for free! Of course, you can use YouTube videos alongside our courses to help with extra practice but you do not need to pay to learn.

What to Say When You Know But You are Not Sure

When it comes to learning any language things get quite hard when you have to learn the small and subtle ways of saying the same thing. Saying you know something can be simple “I know the day is Wednesday” but what if you know something but you are not completely sure it is right? How do you tel someone you know it but you might be wrong? Well thankfully here is our helpful guide to not being sure about something!

As Far As I Know!

This is a very useful term. It will allow you to say what you know but clearly showing that you understand it may not be correct. It suggests that from the information that you have, or what you have been told it is correct.

Example “As far as I know we are meeting at the pub”

To The Best of My Knowledge!

This phrase works in the same way as “as far as I know” but it is a lot more formal. This would work very well in a work situation where you wanted to say the same thing but with the right amount of respect and politeness.

Example “To the best of my knowledge we are meeting at the pub”

Correct Me if I’m Wrong…

This is a different type of phrase. This would be used if you knew something and wanted to politely tell someone else they may be wrong. It can be a hard one to use politely so make sure you are comfortable with how to use it before trying it at work or with important people. It is a way of telling the person or people what you know so they can see if they agree.

Example “Correct me if I am wrong but I thought we were meeting at the pub”

I thought…

This is a very useful phrase. It allows you to say what you think is correct but saying it this way shows you are very happy for someone else to have a different answer. It is perfect if you really do not know if you are correct or not.

Example: “I thought we were meeting in the pub?”

These kind of phrases are good to try on your English speaking friends first so they can let you know if you are using it in the right way.

If you would like to learn English using a simple structured method with courses for all levels then sign up with Perfectly Spoken today and find out more.

5 Useful English Slang Words

Slang is a word that describes other word that are not in the English dictionary but are commonly used to describe things, place and feelings. They are very useful to know if you are planning on working or studying in the UK or with people from the UK. Many slang words are not found in other English speaking countries like America for example where they are likely to be confusing or misunderstood. Generally slang words are not suitable (1) for the workplace or formal situations but can be used with friends and family or in casual conversations.

Budge Up

This is a casual (2) term you might use with a friend of family member. It is used when you would like someone to move along a seat to give you some room to sit down. It is also used if you need someone to move to make some room (3) for you if you are standing watching something.

Cock Up

This is a common slang term used to describe something that went wrong. If you were talking about a mistake (4) with someone you could say “that was a cock up” or “that was a total cock up”. It is a very casual term but is used in a number of situations.

Fancy

This is a word used in a number of ways but all uses are similar. It means to like or want something. But it can also be used by men and women who like each other. For example “ I fancy a pizza” would mean you would like a pizza. But you could also see someone very attractive in a bar and tell your friend you fancy that person.

Mate

This is another word for friend. It is used very commonly (5)  and in many different situations. You could say “he is my mate” or “ my mate is coming to the pub with us”. But you could also use it to address (6) your friends by saying “hello mate, how are you”. It is not a word that should be used to describe your boss or someone important at work. It is a friendly term used with friends.

Posh

This is a very common (5) word used to describe things that are expensive or part of a luxury lifestyle. It can also be a little bit rude when talking about people. Calling someone posh is not really very nice as it means they are rich or wealthy but also a little bit rude (7). If you went out to a very nice restaurant you could say to your friends it was a posh place to eat and this would be fine.

If you would like to take a structured online English course then visit our course page to find out more.

 

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VOCABULARY:

  1. Suitable: appropriate.
  2. Casual: informal.
  3. Make some room: move aside or move something aside to allow someone to enter or pass or to clear space for something.
  4. Mistake : error.
  5. Common/ly : regular , frequently.
  6. Address : call.
  7. Rude: not polite.

How to Say I’m Sorry in English

We all make mistakes and one of the best ways to deal with a mistake is to say sorry and to tell people it was your fault. When learning English it is important to understand some of the different ways we can say sorry and how we can let people know we made a mistake. This can be very important in the work place where a mistake can be very serious.

I’m So Sorry

While saying “sorry” is good, if you want to say something stronger then adding “I’m so” at the start will work very well. This is a very polite thing to say and very common in all situations. It is a way of saying you are more than sorry you are “so” sorry. This phrase is very common if you knock over someone’s drink in a bar or walk into someone at the shops.

Example “I am so sorry I forgot to send the e mail you asked me to send”

My Fault

This is a very useful term that simply tells people that you made a mistake and that it was not anyone else. If two people walk into each other but one person was not looking where they were walking that person may say “Sorry, that was my fault” or “Sorry; my fault” which is a shorter version. There is a more casual and more American version of this term that is simply “my bad”. The word bad is used in the place of fault but means the same thing. In the work place “fault” is the correct word to use.

Sorry About That and Sorry About This

Just saying sorry is good but it is also quite common to use “that” if the mistake was more than a few minutes ago.

Example – “Sorry about that, I meant to send the e mail but I forgot”

If the mistake is part of something that is still going on then “sorry about this” is very useful. Perhaps you have asked for help in a shop queue and lots of people are waiting behind you. You could simply say “sorry about this” to them and it would be a very polite way of understanding they are waiting for you.

I Apologise

The word apologise is used to describe any term that tells someone you are sorry. Sometimes it can show more emotion if you tell someone you apologise. You could say “I’m sorry” but if the mistake is quite serious saying “I apologise” can be more effective.

Saying sorry is a very important part of the English language and culture. British people are very well known to be well mannered and people that say sorry a lot. Understanding how to use different types of apology can help make a situation a lot better and make people feel better.

If you would like to learn English online then click here to find out more.

A Vocabulary Guide to British Money

If you are learning English to work in the UK then knowing the vocabulary around money is very useful. As with most countries there are a number of slang terms used to describe different amounts of money. Not knowing these terms may just mean you are a bit confused but in some cases it could mean you end up paying more for something than you thought you would be and this could lead to other problems.

Here are some very commonly used words that describe different amounts of money in the UK. The currency is called Sterling or Pounds but also GBP (Great British Pound).

All of the terms below are used in casual situations with family, friends and in some work places, shops and markets. They are not suitable in a formal business setting or job interview.

P or Pence

The smallest amount of currency in the UK is 1 penny. There are 100 pence in every pound. It is very common in almost all situations to shorten the term “pence” to just “p”. For example a coffee in a vending machine at work might be 50p. This is the sort of money people may ask to borrow quite often for very small things.

A Quid

This strange little word is used to describe 1 pound. Someone may ask to borrow a quid for a snack or a bus ticket. While it is often used on it’s own the word quid can be used against any number of pounds. If something cost £60 someone might say it cost 60 quid.

A Fiver

The smallest value note in the UK is a 5 pound note. This is commonly called a fiver. However, people can also use this term to describe 5 pounds as an amount.  It is a fairly small amount of money and someone may ask to borrow a fiver for something though it is an amount of money that should not be given away without some thought.

A Tenner

A tenner is a term used to describe a 10 pound note or 10 pounds. 10 pounds is not a small amount of money and a very common note to use.

A Grand

A grand is 1000 pounds. This is a much larger amount of money and not an amount you would ever really lend to anyone. As with the term quid it can be used to describe any number of 1000s so 6000 pounds would be 6 grand.

K

K is a letter used to also describe 1000 pounds but normally only used for more than 1000. So a car might be worth 8000 pounds and someone might say “the car costs 8K”. Or perhaps the deposit to buy a house is 60k.

If you are not sure when it is right to use these terms then be safe and use pounds. These terms can be quite casual and may give the wrong impression in a job interview for example.

For more facts and information to help you learn English then visit our Facebook page or sign up and take one of our online English courses today!