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The Summer is over and things are turning cold – Useful Winter English Vocabulary

If you are learning English and have any experience with British people you will know that they like to talk about the weather a lot. There are lots of jokes about how British and English people enjoy talking about the weather and moaning about it too! So we thought it would be a good time to write a blog post about some useful words British people use to talk about colder weather. While Summer in the UK is often not as long or hot as many other places in the world it is still something people look forward too and something people are often unhappy when it is over. It is now nearly October and Autumn is here and things are getting colder!

Chilly – This is a common word that simply means cold. It is used in many different situations and can be used in formal or informal settings. “It is very chilly today”  – Someone would say this to another person to say it is cold. Chilly is used to describe cold but not extreme cold. Chilly can also be used in a building or home to say it is a little bit cold.

Freezing  – “It’s freezing out there!” This term is used to describe a more intense cold. The word actually means when a liquid turns to a solid – water into ice, but as with many British words, this one is overstated to make a point. In many cases, it may not actually be “freezing” but people use the term to explain it is very cold. Someone may walk into a room and say “I’m frozen” – they do not mean they are literally turning to ice, but they are telling you they feel very cold.

Pouring – It often rains in the UK and there are a lot of different words for rain commonly used by people. “It’s pouring out there” is a very common way to talk about how much it is raining and can be used in any situation. This term is actually common in American English too. It can be used in conjunction with the word down “it’s pouring down” or just on its own. There is a traditional children’s rhyme that uses this term:

“it’s raining it’s pouring, the old man is snoring, he went to be and bumped his head and couldn’t get up in the morning”

Chucking it down – This is a term more associated with friends and family. It is not a formal term but means it is raining a lot. Someone may walk into a pub and say “it’s chucking it down out there”. This would mean there is a lot of rain and not just a small amount.

Drizzle  – This is a very common word for light rain. Drizzle is light, fine, small droplets of rain and can get you quite wet if you stay out in it. People may use this to say it’s not raining very much Person A – “It’s pouring out there” Person B – “no it isn’t, its only drizzles” This could be a normal disagreement about how much it is raining.

Blowing a Gale – A gale is a strong wind over around 40 mph. If it feels very windy, people may say “It’s blowing a gale out there”. They may not know how fast the wind speed is but may just use this term to explain there is a strong wind.

If you are learning English for work, travel or to move to an English speaking country some of these words may be very useful, especially if you are planning to visit the UK!


A Guide to Speaking Like a Geek..or a Nerd

The terms Geek and Nerd have been around for a very long time but it is only in the last 10 years or so that they have really become popular and used as a positive way to describe yourself. Once being called a geek or a nerd was a serious insult. It normally described people who found it very hard to speak to people in a social situation, could not talk to the opposite sex and spend a lot of time studying and learning. 20 years ago playing video games was not very cool and the term nerd and geek was also associated with that movement, now video games are very popular and played by all sorts of people.

The TV show “The Big Bang Theory” also helped make geeks and nerds popular and cool and it is a very funny and useful show to watch if you want to learn more terms around this subject.


The terms used in this guide are all slang and many are only rally used online or on messaging services like WhatsApp as well as online gaming platforms. These terms are fun to use and very useful to understand if you are learning English and you are a bit of a geek or nerd yourself.

Geek Terms

Pwned – This word is a misspelling of the word “powned” which originally comes from the word “owned. It means to be beaten and dominated. The original term came from World of WarCraft when a player was beaten the computer game said “you have been owned” but there was a spelling error and it said, “pwned”. This can be used if you have in any way been beaten in a game or by a task.

Noob – This is a derivation of the word “newbie” which means someone new and someone who doesn’t know very much. Again, this comes from video game culture but is used in other ways. If you were new to a workplace someone might call you a noob but it would be quite a geeky thing to say.

Woot – This is a very interesting word that came from role-playing board game culture. It was once used when the characters in the game found some treasure or “loot” and they said, “wow, loot”. This was shortened to woot. But since then it has simply become a word to describe the excitement in the geek and online world.  “I have a day off work woot!” would be a good example of how to use it.

Fanboy – This word is used to describe someone who is an extreme fan or follower of a certain game, TV show, comic or any kind of medium. The term refers to someone who likes something so much they are not able to hear any negative comments about it. Many people like Apple products a lot and often these people are called “apple fanboys” because they will not consider using any other type of phone.

Easter Egg – While you may know this term and think it describes chocolate eggs given out around Easter time there is another meaning. In the geek world, Easter eggs are hidden items or moments placed in a movie, TV show or video game. These items, mentions, references or secret things are things geeks love. It is assumed only true fans of a movie or game would see and find the Easter egg. In gaming terms Easter eggs are often hidden in very hard parts of the game. The term actually came from the 1975 movie “the Rocky Horror Picture Show” where the cast had a traditional Easter egg hunt but most of the eggs were never found. However, they could be seen in the movie in silly places throughout the duration.


These are just a few terms you might come across when speaking to people online playing games or just speaking to people who enjoy the geeky nerd culture. While these terms do not really make up part of learning English they are words that are used and therefore can be helpful to understand.


How to Say Happy Christmas in the UK

Christmas is coming and for people in the UK and other English speaking countries, it is a very important festival or holiday. It is worth noting that for a lot of people it is less about the religious significance and often more about seeing family and friends, taking time off work and sharing presents. There is still a strong Christian theme for some people but not everyone will consider it like that. It is a month away but many people in the UK will be putting up decorations on the 1st of December and the shopping and planning have certainly started.

We thought it might be useful to look at some key phrases that are useful to know around this time of year.

How to Say Happy Christmas

First of all, just saying Happy Christmas is a very common phrase and a very simple and easy way to be polite and to give someone your best wishes. But there are other ways to express this.

Season’s Greetings – This is a simple phrase and is often used as a welcoming phrase. You will see it written on signs above shops or as you enter a restaurant or bar. It is not something you would say while saying goodbye to someone, but it could work well if you are welcoming someone to your home or place of work. It is often used in greetings cards too.

Merry Christmas – This is a very common and very friendly thing to say. It is simply saying “I hope you have a happy Christmas”. Merry is another word for happy.

Happy Holidays – This is a very American term and really not used in the UK at all. You may hear it on movies and TV shows, but it is worth remembering it is a very American phrase. It still means happy Christmas but in America they say Holidays.

…and a Happy New year

It is very common for people to say Happy Christmas and also Happy New Year at the same time. This becomes more common as Christmas gets closer. It is not very common to say earlier in the month. New Year’s Eve is a very important part of the Christmas season and it is polite to say “Happy New Year” to people around that time.

There are a number of other ways to say happy Christmas as you may be saying goodbye to people as you leave work.

Enjoy Your Christmas – this is a good example of how to express good wishes for Christmas as you may be leaving work or someone else is leaving. You can also say Enjoy Your Christmas Break. The word break is used to describe a period of not working over Christmas which can be very important.

It is very polite to say Happy Christmas in whatever way you prefer and can be a very positive and happy way to greet or to say goodbye to someone in the UK.

Some of the Hardest English Words to Learn and Spell

We know learning English can be hard work and we love helping people get batter through our videos and courses. However, we thought it might be useful to share some of the words students tell us are some of the hardest to learn in the English language.


This is a really confusing word and for such a small word it causes big problems. It is a word used in the same way as “who” but there are subtle and important differences. One easy tip to know if you should use Who or Whom is to answer the question yourself and see if the answer is “him” or “he”. “Who/Whom are you going to the cinema with?” – “I am going with him”  – Him means you should use “whom” in the question. “Who/Whom said the film was really good?” “He did” – The answer is He then use “who”. In reality, many English people fail to use “whom” but if you want to get it right then try to learn how to use it properly.


This is an important word if you are planning on working in the UK or another English speaking country. The word refers to someone you work with. It is a more formal word for “workmate” because you would not use such a casual term unless you were talking with friends. In a business and work situation colleague is the correct term. It is a hard word to say but even harder to spell. It uses “ea” in the middle rather than “ee” and it also confuses students with the use of “ue” at the end. It is a very useful and important word, it is just a shame it is such a hard one!


This is another very important word for people who want to work in English speaking countries. While it is easy to say, when you look at the spelling it can get confusing. It is spelt like “bus-i-ness” which would sound like “busyness” but it is said “buzness” which makes it a very hard one to learn how to spell and say. It is a very very common word so it is really important to try to learn it.

Country and Countries

Both of these words are spelt differently to how they sound. Going just by spelling they should be said like the word “count”. Without being rude it is very important to get this right as there is a very rude and very offensive word that can get used by accident here. The best way to make sure you have got this right is to ask a teacher or an English speaking friend to help.

Our online English courses are designed to help you learn these words and so much more. Learning English following a full course structure like Perfectly Spoken you will find these harder words much easier to learn.




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.


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.


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


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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 tell 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.

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5 Useful English Slang Words

Slang is a word that describes another word that is not in the English dictionary but is 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 or a 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.


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.


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.


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.

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  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 different ways we can say sorry and how we can let people know we made a mistake. This can be very important in the workplace 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 email 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 workplace “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 email 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.

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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 workplaces, 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 its 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 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.

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Phrases and Sayings – November

Here is a list of all of the sayings and phrases we have looked at and discussed on our Facebook page this month. This are all commonly used and are useful to know and understand. If you are learning English these sayings and phrases can really help you add more feeling and personality to your spoken English. If you would like to join in the discussion then like or follow us on Facebook.

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Has the cat got your tongue?

This saying is used when someone is asked a question and they do not answer. They may not be sure what they can say, they may be scared to answer if they are in trouble or have done something wrong. It is not a friendly saying and should only really be used if you are having a strong discussion or argument.

On cloud nine

Cloud 9 or cloud nine is a term used to describe a very happy place. If someone is on cloud nine they are very very happy. You might see a friend who has just got a new job and see she is very happy; you could say “she is on cloud nine about her new job”.

Storm in a teacup

A storm in a teacup is a big argument or disagreement about something very small. The idea behind this is that a storm is a big thing but when it’s in a teacup it is obviously very small. You may hear about an argument among two work colleagues that was very loud and angry but about something very small. It could be described to another friend as a storm in a teacup.

The lion’s share

The lion’s share is the biggest share of something. If three people shared a pizza but one person ate almost all of it you could say “he has had the lion’s share.” This could also be used at work if the jobs were shared between workers and one person got more work than the others.

They are selling like hot potatoes

The term hot potatoes describes anything that is being bought or sold very quickly. It can even be used if something for free is being taken by people very quickly. You may have made a new product at work and the sales manager says “they are selling like hot potatoes”. This is good news and it means they are selling fast!

Don’t miss the boat

This phrase is used when there is something good that you may want to buy, or a trip you may want to go on and you do not have much time to join. Missing the boat describes the time when the offer is gone and you cannot have it anymore. There may be a sale on some new shoes but it only lasts for 2 days. Someone might say don’t miss the boat; this means go and buy the shoes before the sale finishes or the shoes run out.

Over the top

This phrase is used to describe doing more than you need too or doing something so much it is far more than it should be. For example, if someone asked you to make a cake for a party and you made 10 cakes they may say you went over the top. It is also used if someone gets very angry with another person, more angry than anyone would expect. Going over the top in an argument is not a good thing.