5 Top Tips To Help You Successfully Pass The IELTS Essay Writing Task

IELTS Writing tipsThe IELTS Essay Writing Task is often considered to be the most difficult of the two writing tasks IELTS aspirants have to complete. However, whilst it is challenging, with plenty of practice, dedication and study, you can successfully pass the task. Here are 5 top tips to help you prepare and succeed in your essay writing task.

1. Understand What Is Being Asked

To begin with, you need to ensure that you have a clear and secure understanding of what an essay is. Make sure that you spend some time before your test familiarizing yourself with the structure of essays and study the different sentence types and the range of vocabulary used. Continue reading

The 8 Best Ways to Learn English by Yourself

There is a common misconception that you need guidance and a tutor to learn English. Although many professors will tell you that classes are essential to your learning progress, this claim has no basis in science.

A recent study proved that self-learning and tutelage are equally effective and that the student’s work ethic and talent and the most important factors.

English is a truly global language and you can’t avoid it even if you wanted to. All the tools are around and we’ve decided to show you how to utilize them. In this article, you will master 8 ways that will help you learn English by yourself. Continue reading

24 Unique British Slang Terms You May Not Have Heard of

The English language is easily one of the most interesting languages in the world. By far one of the most complicated languages to learn thanks to the infamous silent letters, uncertain rules and funny phrases, it’s still one of the most widely spoken languages in the world.

However, travel to the UK itself, England in particular, and you may find you discover a whole new language that you’ve never heard before. This even happens to individuals who live in the UK and travel to another part of it!

I’m talking about British slang. But, British slang is easily one of the most humorous, funny and witty languages in the world and no matter what area you live in or are travelling too, it’s worth brushing up on your slang so you can use it with the locals.

To help you get started, here are 24 of the most common, awesome and downright hilarious slang terms that you need to learn today! Continue reading

It was hilariously, unbelievably, ridiculously funny!

weddingIntensifying and emphasising adverbs

There are a lot of great ways to make English more interesting. Intensifying and emphasising adverbs are two of my favourite. You can make any story sound more interesting by using them. These are my favourites:

absolutely – simply – utterly – totally – completely – perfectly – bitterly – intensely – unbelievably – thoroughly – incredibly – awfully

Compare the stories see for yourself which has a greater impact in each case, the first or the second?

1. I went to the worst conference last week. The speakers were boring, the food was served late and was poor when it came. The venue was miserable and everyone left feeling demotivated.

2. I went to the worst conference last week. The speakers were thoroughly boring, the food was served incredibly late and was awfully poor when it came. The venue was utterly miserable and everyone left feeling completely demotivated. Continue reading

‘Used to’ + infinitive vs. ‘be used to’ + -ing verb


When we move to a new country, life changes, doesn’t it? Last year, my daughter left university in England and went to live in the north of Honshu, Japan. How is her life different now? How has her routine changed? What does she find difficult?

In England, ………….

she usually got up at 8 o’clock in the morning
she often cycled to the university campus from home
she cooked chicken casserole or spaghetti bolognese most nights
she studied music and Japanese at university
she didn’t understand Japanese very well
she liked watching films

In Japan, ………………..

she usually gets up at 6.30 am.
she always drives to work
she sometimes cooks sushi or spaghetti bolognese
she teaches English in a school
she understands Japanese much better
she likes watching films Continue reading

‘Don’t have to’ vs ‘shouldn’t’

working remotelyYou don’t have to work such long hours, and you really shouldn’t

A couple of friends of mine both work remotely doing different jobs; one is a graphic designer and the other is a teacher. Their lifestyle is very flexible and works well for them as they manage their time according to their plans. However, sometimes they do seem like workaholics because their working hours can be late at night, meaning they miss out on plans we have together now and then. Our friend Jane said; “you don’t have to work such long hours you know, and you really shouldn’t!”

I thought that was a perfect sentence to help explain the difference between ‘don’t have to’ and ‘shouldn’t’, which are easily confused because ‘have to’ is the same as ‘must’. Unfortunately, ‘don’t have to’ is NOT the same as ‘must not’. Continue reading

Write an object poem

Poem BlackberriesHave you ever thought of writing a poem in English?
It might be easier than you think.

In summer hedgerows,
Blackberries sit,
Round, plump and ripe
Like purple jewels in a crown –
Thorns guard them well.
I think of lazy days and laughter –
And know that autumn will soon be here.

Here are some tips for writing poems in English: Continue reading

And guess what happened in the end….?

In the end, At the end pic‘In the end’ vs ‘at the end’

I saw ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ for the first time recently. Have you seen it?  It’s a wonderful film, as the title suggests. It’s in black and white as it was made in 1946 and that adds to its charm. It’s a Christmas film really but for me it was heart-warming even with the 30 degree heat outside. It’s a story about the hardships of life and how the protagonist, George Bailey overcomes them. He gets the chance to see what life would be like if he had never existed and that gives him some perspective. The film highlights the importance of love in life, and despite all his problems, in the end everything turns out well for George.

Telling a friend about it yesterday made me think about the difference between ‘at the end’ and ‘in the end’ and how we use them in English. The two are easy to confuse and many learners do because the difference is subtle. I will do my best to make it simple. Continue reading

Choosing the right adjective

picBored v Boring

On Friday night I went to see a film at an open air cinema in London.  We started eating our picnic whilst we waited for the film to start. My friend Rob was telling a funny story when my sister Anna started yawning. Rob stopped mid-sentence and said; “I’m sorry Anna, am I boring?”

Anna was embarrassed and explained that she hadn’t slept the night before because of the thunder storms, so Rob forgave her.

That conversation reminded me of a common problem for English learners, and that is choosing the right adjective between those that end with ‘ing’ and those that end with ‘ed’. Continue reading

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