Britlish

Orientation of Things

Vocabulary | Grammar | Phrasal Verbs | Prepositions

Vocabulary

Did you know that there are over 600,000 words in English? That's a lot of words, and far more than any human being could ever manage to learn. Even Shakespeare only used around 55,000 different words in all of his works. Mind you, he did actually invent quite a few of them. To get a good mastery of English, you do need to expand your vocabulary as much as possible. The more words you know, the better your English will be. The Activities here will help you to quickly develop your vocabulary.

Grammar

These Activities focus on the grammar of English. English grammar compared to other grammars is quite simple, but in its simplicity lies its complexity. The Activities here cover all aspects of English grammar from the aspects and tenses to sentence structures. English grammar covers the structure of words, phrases, clauses, sentences, and entire texts. There are eight parts of speech in English: nouns, determiners, pronouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, prepositions, and conjunctions. The largest of these parts of speech are the nouns which, unlike most European languages, do not have grammatical gender. English grammar has largely done away with the inflectional case system of other European languages and bases its grammar on analytic constructions. The Activities in this category will go some way to helping you get a better understanding of English grammar.    

Phrasal Verbs

Phrasal verbs are like idioms and have to be learnt individually. They are an essential part of your English vocabulary, and without them you will not be able to say that you have any degree of fluency in English. These Activities have been designed to make learning, remembering, and using phrasal verbs as easy and enjoyable as possible. English speakers use phrasal verbs all the time, so you need to at least be able to understand what they mean. Use them yourself and you will sound much more like a native speaker and your English will sound much more natural.

Prepositions

Prepositions are short words that usually go before nouns and sometimes before gerunds and which tell us about the time or place of things in relation to other things. There are few rules when it comes to learning prepositions and you really just have to learn them one by one. Most students of English find prepositions very difficult to learn and confusing to use. Prepositions are also important in phrasal verbs, and these also need to be learnt and memorised one by one. These Activities are designed to help you learn some of the more common prepositions in English.

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There are several fixed expressions using prepositions in English with which we talk about the orientation of things. If you have ever put on a jumper to find that the front is on your back and the back is on your front, or the inside is showing and the outside is hidden, then these expressions are important for you. In this lesson you will learn about inside out, back to front, upside down, the right way up, and the wrong way up. You will also learn the vocabulary: artist, button, conform, design, expose, fasten, hang on wall, point out, printed, rough, seam, smooth, and tailored.

The inside of an object is the side that is not supposed to be exposed to the world. Typically for a t-shirt, for instance, the inside will not have a design printed on it. The seams of the t-shirt will be rough and unfinished on the inside as they are not meant to be seen. The outside of an object is the side that we are expected to see. The outside is the side of a t-shirt that will have the design printed on it. The seams will be smooth and nicely finished, as they, too, are meant to be seen. Thus, to say that you are wearing a t-shirt inside out is to say that you have managed to put it on with the outside against your body and with the inside showing to the world. Interestingly, we never say outside in. Our clothing normally conforms to the shape of our bodies, and our bodies have different shapes to the front and to the back. Likewise, clothing such as t-shirts, trousers, and dresses are tailored to fit the shape of the body at the front and at the back. If you put a shirt on back to front, then the buttons that would normally be down the front of the shirt would be down the back and impossible for most people to fasten. Few people make the mistake of putting a shirt on back to front, but with t-shirts, skirts, and other items of clothing, such a mistake is quite common. Normally, you will immediately feel that your clothing is on back to front and correct it, but it may not always be the case and someone else may have to point out your mistake. The upside of an object is the part that is designed to be at the top. With many objects, such as bottles, glasses, plates, and t-shirts, it is easy to see which part is supposed to be at the top. For objects like these, they do not work well if they are upside down. Other objects, however, are more difficult to place the right way up. Modern art paintings might be very difficult to put the right way up when hung on the wall, and only the artists themselves might be able to say that they are upside down, and even then, they might not know which was truly the right way up. While everyone has put their t-shirt on inside out or back to front, I doubt whether anybody has ever tried to put a t-shirt on upside down as such clothing would obviously be the wrong way up.

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