Britlish

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158 Britlish Library Lessons, Guest

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Here are the current lessons in the Britlish Library. You can get full access with a Britlish Library Membership.

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The colon is the two dots, one above the other: few people seem to know how to use it, and most, consequently, don’t. Many writers believe that the colon has only one purpose: to introduce a list. This lesson aims to put your right as to the use of the colon.

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The Cambridge Proficiency Exam (CPE) reading and use of English is a set of 7 questions from the full CPE exam for which students are given 90 minutes to complete the exam. I have created an example exam using the same format as in the CPE and you can do a full, reading and use of English exam timed for 90 minutes to help you get used to planning your time wisely in the actual exam. You can als...

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The full stop or period is the most commonly used punctuation mark in English. The most common use of the full stop is to mark the end of declaratory sentences. It can also be placed after initial letters used to stand for a name, as in R.I. Chalmers, and also to mark the individual letters of some acronyms and abbreviations. While first introduced by Aristophanes of Byzantium in the third cent...

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Oscar Wilde, a great British writer, once admitted to spending an entire morning removing a comma from a poem. Asked if that was all he had done, Wilde replied, “By no means: on mature reflection, I put back the comma.” If a great writer like Oscar Wilde had difficulty in deciding where and when to use a comma, what chance have the rest of us got? In this lesson I will teach you abo...

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This is my retelling of Aesop’s fable, The Ant and the Grasshopper. It tells the tale of the hardworking ant and the apparently lazy grasshopper and presents the moral message that we ought to enjoy our lives while we can. The lesson is also packed with vocabulary which you can test yourself on in the two activators in the lesson. There are lots of useful vocabulary items to lear...

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The sea covers two thirds of our planet. The sea has always been an important source of food. Any food that we take from the sea is called seafood. There are various types of seafood and many idioms related to seafood in English. In this lesson, I will introduce you to idioms like blue around the gills, loan shark, a find kettle of fish, holy mackerel, a beached whale, red herring, hook, line and ...

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In this lesson, we will look at two of my video English lessons, one showing you how homonyms can be the basis for English jokes, and the other looking at the two words minute and minute. If you don’t know why these two words are different, then this lesson is certainly for you. The first video takes just one minute and 216 words to teach you all about the words minute and minute. The other video ...

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The Fisherman and the Little Fish tells the moral that it's better to accept what you have than to gamble on what you might not get. I have rewritten the Aesop's fable using as many phrasal verbs as I could come up with. If you are interested in learning some new phrasal verbs, this video is not to be sniffed at. Don't let your interest fizzle out and see what phrasal...

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Blood is the vital fluid found in humans and other animals. There are many expressions in English that use the word blood. The expressions in this lesson include get blood out of a stone, blood is thicker than water, bloodshed, cold-blooded, in cold blood, hot-blooded, blood up, blood boils, blueblood, fresh blood, new blood, half-blood, run in the blood, own flesh and blood, young blood, blood...

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When do we use the /s/ sound and when do we use the /z/ sound, and what’s the difference? Let’s find out… The two sounds /s/ and /z/ are very close and cause endless confusion for students. There are some rules and the rules are normally to do with the voiced and unvoiced sounds. A voiced sound is that made when we use our vocal cords. /z/ is the voiced form of the sound /s/,...

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This vegetable idioms activation pack will help you to learn remembers and use some common English idioms related to vegetables. The idioms include, spill the beans, veg out, couch potato, without a bean, carrot and stick, know your onions, in a pickle, hot potato, two peas in a pod, red as a beetroot, and as cool as a cucumber.

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A look at the phrasal verb, pick up, with a listening activity to help you develop your listening skills, a video to sit back and enjoy, and some interactive questions to help you learn, remember, and use this important phrasal verb.

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Learn about the history of our use of electricity as well as some very useful vocabulary including amber, atom, attract, battery, charge, conductor, current, electricity, electron, flow, frog, generator, Leyden, magnet, negative, neutral, neutron, positive, potential, proton, repel, scrap, shell, shock, spark, and static.

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However you prefer to travel, be it by car, by plane, by bike, or simply walking, transport of some form is part of your life. If you don't know the vocabulary to use when travelling or deciding on which transport to use, you're going nowhere. This lesson will teach you much of the language you need to know to talk about transport. The lesson looks at canoes, boats, walking, horse riding, horse...

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The language in this lesson is very important and yet it is never covered in any English textbooks or English classrooms. It is the language of the toilet and it is language that you need to learn if you are ever to call yourself proficient. It's not surprising that students never learn this language and that teachers never teach it as almost everyone in Britain is too shy to talk about it. Thi...

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Political correctness or PC is a term used to describe language designed not to cause offence to members of a particular group in society. The term is usually used to imply that the language is unwarranted and unnecessary. Political correctness extends beyond language to government policies and measures which are supposed to be more inclusive towards those traditionally discriminated against. T...

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In today’s virus-ravaged world, it is important to learn the language you need to speak about viruses and illness. This lesson will give you all the information you need. It’s based on a video English lesson I made in 2011 when I came down with flu. I thought I should revisit it during the Great Lockdown of 2020. After watching the videos, do the quiz to practice what you have learnt.

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It's a source of great confusion to both natives and non natives alike when writing its and it's. This lesson will explain how to know which one to use and why it's needed. It's got questions to help you practice, too. Learn when to use it's as the contracted form of it is or it has, and when to use its as the possessive adjective.

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The fruit idioms in this lesson include a real lemon, sour grapes, another bite of the cherry, a peach, tree is known by its fruit, bear fruit, drive someone bananas, the apple of my eye, the fruits of my labours, forbidden fruit, rotten apple, Adam’s apple, life’s a bowl of cherries, and as brown as a berry. It also contains some English humour.

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Learn some common English idioms with this vocabulary activation pack. The idioms are: Give someone the cold shoulder, To have broad shoulders, Rub elbows or shoulders with, Shoulder to cry on, Shoulder to the wheel, Have a good head on your shoulders, Carry the world on your shoulders, Look over your shoulder, Stand on the shoulders of giants, Shoulder to shoulder, A chip on your shoulder, Fall s...

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Question tags are short questions placed at the end of statements in informal writing and normal speech, and they are used to indicate that we want some information or that we want confirmation of something we believe to be the case. Usually we use positive question tags with negative statements and negative question tags with positive statement. We can, however, use positive with positive in s...

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How to talk about the weather in English using a video lecture and some self-test questions to help you learn. This lesson also looks at some English idioms related to weather and will help with your listening skills and your pronunciation. If you want to learn how to talk about the weather in English, you need to do this lesson.

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A common mistake that students of English make is the use of the words fun and funny. Both can be used as adjectives, but they are not interchangeable and have some important differences of meaning. Only fun is used as a noun. This lesson will help you to understand the difference between fun and funny and give you some practice to help you better un...

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Learn some common British English idioms in this video English lesson from Britlish. The idioms are: As plain as the nose on your face, Keep your nose out, Turn your nose up at, Stick your nose in where it’s not wanted, Can’t see further than the end of your nose, Under your nose, Cut off your nose to spite your face, Brown-nose, Put someone’s nose out of joint, No skin off my nose, Look down your...

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If we look at the words homophone and homonym we see that they both start with homo which means same. In the last part of homophone, phone means sound and in homonym, nym means name. Homophone means words that have the same sound but different meanings. There are several hundred homophones in Engl...

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Learn some common British English idioms with this lesson from Britlish. The idioms are: Pay lip service, Lick your lips, Bite your lip, Give someone lip, My lips are sealed, Smack lips, Slip of the lip, Tight-lipped, Lock lips, Pass my lips, Stiff upper lip, A bit lippy, Read my lips, Loose lips, Button your lip, and On everyone’s lips. This lesson is part of the Body Idioms series at Britlish.co...

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Learn some common British English idioms in this video English lesson from Britlish. The idioms are: Tail between your legs, On its last legs, Get a leg up, Pulling your leg, Shake a leg, Break a leg, Not have a leg to stand on, Stretch your legs, Legwork, and Sea legs. This lesson is part of the Body Idioms series of idioms lessons.

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The problem of using in to, or into is a problem that even native speakers of English face. It’s a problem because in spoken English there is no difference in pronunciation between the two. Nevertheless, both into and in to have different meanings which are important in written English. In this lesson I’ll explain t...

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The three verbs, look, search, and seek, are very similar but are used in different situations. In this lesson, I will first look at how the verbs are used, then we will see some examples of usage, then I will give you some exercises to help you learn, remember, and use the three verbs correctly. If you have been searching for the way to use these three verbs, you need look no further. As we sa...

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A look at how and why speech is broken up into parts, or segments, and how this segmentation affects pronunciation. This lesson will help you to hear the breaks in speech that we get at speech segment boundaries but not within the segments themselves. This look at this important feature of pronunciation also looks at content and function words and shows how these words are hear prominently or l...

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A quick look at how not all English from Britain sounds the same and how it can be quite confusing for students. There are 100s of regional accents and many distinct dialects in Britain. Many English people have difficulty understanding some of the more unusual varieties of English found in the British Isles, so it's no surprise that students of English are completely confounded when they first...

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Lost or dropped syllables are an important feature of British English pronunciation. Every word has at least one syllable, and many have more. Some words lose a syllable when speaking in order to make it easier to keep the underlying rhythm of English. This lesson explains in detail what syllables are and shows you which words lose syllables when speaking. The exercises in the interactive quiz ...

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Rocío from Spain asked about a lesson on how to write dates. We are spoilt for choice when writing dates, but this choice makes it seem complicated. The general rule to follow is that you are consistent in your choice of style and that you choose a style appropriate to your audience. The more complicated the style, the more formal the audience. This lesson will show you all the ways to w...

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Rocío from Spain, and several other students, have asked me to recommend the best ways to use the word recommend. The verb recommend is used to offer suggestions as to what to do or where to go. We recommend things to others based on our personal experiences. I recommend that you do this lesson and see how we use this verb and I recommend&...

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The lyric poem, I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud, also commonly known as Daffodils, is Wordsworth’s most famous poem. I have designed this lesson as a way of showing you the rhythm of English. Because of their structure, poems like this one are a very useful way of demonstrating the typical rhythm of the English language. In this lesson you will first listen to the poem, then read it, and the...

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Whether you are English, Chinese, Polynesian, Russian, or any other nationality, you share the same anatomy as me. This anatomy, in terms of our vocal tract, limits the sounds that we can easily say in a sentence. Of the two types of sounds in English, consonants and vowels, we cannot easily say two vowel sounds one after the other. Linking sounds bridge the gap between such d...

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Ellipsis is the missing out of words or sounds. When writing, it is shown by the ellipsis sign of three dots … When speaking, we just don’t hear certain words in a sentence. It’s not that the words are not present, just that they are obvious and need not be spoken. Ellipsis can cause considerable problems for students of English who are used to saying every word in a sentence...

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Normally, pronouns are used after we have mentioned something. Pronouns stand in for the nouns, compound nouns, and proper nouns in a sentence, so that we don’t have to repeat ourselves. Generally, pronouns need something to refer back to. The pronoun, it, however, is a different kettle of fish. The pronoun, it, can be used for what is sometimes called the empty pron...

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Fixed pairs, or fixed binomials, are pairs of words separated by a conjunction, which are always used in the same order. They sound unnatural if they are used in the wrong order. If you learn how to use these fixed pairs, your English will be more natural and fluent and, as with phrasal verbs or idioms, you will have learnt an important aspect of English. So, if you are sick and tired ...

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I’d like to thank Monica, in Italy, for requesting this lesson. The verbs, bring, fetch, get, and take, cause confusion for many students of English. Part of the confusion arises from the fact that these verbs all seem to be fairly similar in meaning. The verbs all describe the action of moving an object from one place to another. What you need to do when using these verbs is to consider where the...

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My reason for creating Britlish was to help as many students as possible to improve their English. After all, that is what an English teacher is supposed to do. An individual English teacher, however, has a limited number of hours in a day in which to teach. I saw that this would limit me in the number of students that I could help if I taught them in private classes on Skype. Even if I taught ...

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Numbers can be difficult for students, particularly big numbers and dates. I have designed this English lesson at the request of Nataliya in Moscow who said that she was having difficulty listening to and transcribing dates and numbers. There are over 1000 audio files in this lesson. You can choose to test yourself on British English dates, small numbers, big numbers, and decimal numbers. There...

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If you learn just 4,015 British English words, you will be able to understand 90% of normal, everyday conversations in British English. You will also be able to understand most written material such as that found in newspapers, magazines, and Internet articles. After years of extensive research using the latest technology to access lists of millions of examples of spoken and written English, I ...

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Idioms are expressions that are natural to native English speakers. They are very confusing for non-native English speakers. They're confusing because idioms don't mean what the words say. You cannot literally translate English idioms into another language. For example: A black mark has a literal meaning of a black mark on clothing or any other material. It also ...

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Are you frustrated at not being able to remember new vocabulary? You are not alone! One of the biggest problems faced by anyone learning a new language is the memorisation of new vocabulary. One of the questions that I am most often asked by students is, "Do you have any advice on how to remember new vocabulary?" This got me thinking, and I decided to do something to help not only my students b...

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Questions that visitors to Britlish often ask. A conversation simulation to provide you with the answers.

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If you are looking to take online English classes, this presentation will hopefully answer some of your questions.

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The poem is written with 8 syllables per line, and a rhyming word at the end of a pair of lines.oOoOoOoO is the stress pattern and this is a good poem with which to practice the rhythm of English.You can listen to the poem, then read and listen, then listen while you read the IPA transcription.There is also an English Activator at the end of the pack to give you some p...

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The three words, both, either, and neither, are very important in English, but they are confusing for both native speakers and students alike. In this Vocabulary Activation Pack, I will show you how to use these three word correctly. They are not very difficult to use once you get the hang of them. The difficulty lies in the fact that e...

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This Vocabulary Activation Pack will help you to learn, remember, and use the following vocabulary items: a wealth of information, around, at your fingertips, bite off more than you can chew, blow your own trumpet, brush up on, chuffed to bits, coding, get a buzz out of, get your head around, get your teeth into, lean, make headway, mind you, no spring chicken, put off, reach the end of life, r...

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An essay by George Orwell which will help you improve your reading while developing your vocabulary. This essay is from one of my favourite English authors, George Orwell. Eric Arthur Blair, as Orwell was christened, was born in British India in 1903, and sadly died terribly young in 1950 in London. He died of tuberculosis, back then, an untreatable infection of the lungs. Orwell gave us such w...

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Practice hearing the changes in fast spoken speech. When we speak quickly, sounds that we expect to hear may be missing. It’s not only sounds that go missing in fast spoken English. Whole words may disappear, too. Sounds also change in fast spoken English and some words will not sound the same as they do when spoken slowly, or the way they are shown in dictionaries. In these exercises, I ...

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An explanation of function and content words in English. The difference between function and content words is one of the key factors in English sentence stress and the rhythm of English. This lesson help you to better understand them. I’ve used the terms function and content words several times in this course up to now. I thought it was a good time to tell you what they are. Function word...

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Learn about pronunciation in connected speech and how it can lead to missed or added sounds. When students begin to learn English, they learn words in isolation. Teachers drill their students to pronounce individual words as though these words will always sound the same. Yet, words are seldom heard in isolation, and are usually produced in a stream of sound. In the stream of sound, words join t...

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Learn about and practice syllables and word stress. In this Pronunciation Activation Pack, we are going to practice hearing the correct stress in English words. First, we will practice counting the syllables in words. Then, we will practice hearing where the main stress is in words. Finally, we will look at a comedy sketch which shows what happens when you mispronounce English words. Sounds Bri...

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Any student of English will have quickly become aware that the spelling of English appears to have been devised by a lunatic. The few spelling “rules” that exist are of little use, as most have multiple exceptions. The absurdity of English spelling has inspired many teachers and writers to demonstrate just how ridiculously complicated it is. Chief among these was Gerard Nolst Trenit...

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Matthew Gregory Lewis (9 July 1775 – 14 or 16 May 1818) was an English novelist and dramatist, who wrote Gothic horror stories. He was often called Monk Lewis, due to the success of The Monk, a Romance, his 1796 Gothic novel. The book, The Monk, a Romance, was first published in 1796 and has become required reading in many literature courses. I have edited the text to modernise some of th...

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In 1843, a man by the name of Samuel Griswold Goodrich wrote and published a book called Famous Men of Ancient Times. In the book, Goodrich looked at the lives of Mohammed, Belisarius, Attila, Nero, Seneca, Virgil, Cicero, Julius Cæsar, Hannibal, Alexander, Aristotle, Demosthenes, Apelles, Diogenes, Plato, Socrates, Alcibiades, Democritus, Pericles, Aristides, Æsop, Solon, Lycurgus,...

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Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus was written by Mary Shelley (1797–1851), an English author, and tells the story of Victor Frankenstein. Victor is a young scientist who creates a creature in a scientific experiment. Shelley started writing the story when she was 18, and the first edition was published anonymously in London on 1 January 1818, when she was 20. Her name first...

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The Importance of Being Earnest, A Trivial Comedy for Serious People is a play by Oscar Wilde. The play was first performed on 14 February 1895 at the St James’s Theatre in London. The Importance of Being Earnest is a comedy farce This play marked the moment that Wilde’s homosexuality became publicly known when it was revealed in a court case. Wilde was sentenced t...

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Activate the consonant semivowel sounds / w / in Wasp and / j / in Yellow. In this Pronunciation Activation Pack we will be looking at the consonant sounds / w / and / j /. We will look at the letter combinations that give the / w / and / j / sounds. We will look at lots of words which have the / w / and / j / sounds in them. Finally, we will activate your ability to hear and produce the / w / ...

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Activate the consonant approximant sounds / l / in Lamb and / r / in Ram. In this Pronunciation Activation Pack we will be looking at the consonant sounds / l / and / r /. We will look at the letter combinations that give the / l / and / r / sounds. We will look at lots of words which have the / l / and / r / sounds in them. Finally, we will activate your ability to hear and produce the / l / a...

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Activate the consonant sound / h / in Hat. In this Pronunciation Activation Pack we will be looking at the unvoiced glottal fricative consonant sound / h /. We will look at the letter combinations that give the / h / sound. We will look at lots of words which have the / h / sound in them. Finally, we will activate your ability to hear and produce the / h / sound correctly. The / h / sound is a ...

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Activate the three confusing words, See, Look, and Watch. See, Look, Watch - Vocabulary Activation Pack

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designed the Britlish Library for students of Intermediate (B1) level or higher. I designed this English Level Test to test your level and make sure that you have a level high enough to benefit from the English Activation Packs in the Britlish Library. How To Read Your Results Take the test and complete all 100 questions. Your score will reflect your level:

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Activate the nasal consonant sounds / m n ŋ /. In this Pronunciation Activation Pack we will be looking at the nasal consonant sounds / m n ŋ /. We will look at the letter combinations that give the / m n ŋ / sounds. We will look at lots of words which have the / m n ŋ / sounds in them. Finally, we will activate your ability to hear and produce the / m n ŋ / sounds correctly. The / m n ŋ / soun...

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Activate the consonant sounds / ʃ / and / ʒ /. In this Pronunciation Activation Pack we will be looking at the consonant sounds / ʃ / and / ʒ /. We will look at the letter combinations that give the / ʃ / and / ʒ / sounds. We will look at lots of words which have the / ʃ / and / ʒ / sounds in them. Finally, we will activate your ability to hear and produce the / ʃ / and / ʒ / sounds correctly. ...

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English spelling is difficult because the way we pronounce words does not always match the way they are written. Words can also contain letter combinations that sound differently in different words. I have designed this Spelling Activation Pack to help you to spell 189 of the most troublesome words in British English. 189-Word Spelling Activator.

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Activate the consonant sounds / s / and / z /. In this Pronunciation Activation Pack we will be looking at the consonant sounds / s / and / z /. We will look at the letter combinations that give the / s / and / z / sounds. We will look at lots of words which have the / s / and / z / sounds in them. Finally, we will activate your ability to hear and produce the / s / and / z / sounds correctly. ...

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Activate the consonant sounds / θ / and / ð /. In this Pronunciation Activation Pack we will be looking at the consonant sounds / θ / and / ð /. We will look at the letter combinations that give the / θ / and / ð / sounds. We will look at lots of words which have the / θ / and / ð / sounds in them. Finally, we will activate your ability to hear and produc...

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Activate the consonant sounds / f / and / v /. In this Pronunciation Activation Pack we will be looking at the consonant sounds / f / and / v /. We will look at the letter combinations that give the / f / and / v / sounds. We will look at lots of words which have the / f / and / v / sounds in them. Finally, we will activate your ability to hear and produce the / f / and / v / sounds correctly. ...

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Activate your use of prepositions of place. Prepositions of Place

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Activate the consonant sound / g / in Gun. In this Pronunciation Activation Pack we will be looking at the consonant sound / g /. We will look at the letter combinations that give the / g / sound. We will look at lots of words which have the / g / sound in them. Finally, we will activate your ability to hear and produce the / g / sound correctly. The / g / sound is a voiced velar plosive made b...

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Activate the consonant sound / k / in Key. In this Pronunciation Activation Pack we will be looking at the consonant sound / k /. We will look at the letter combinations that give the / k / sound. We will look at lots of words which have the / k / sound in them. Finally, we will activate your ability to hear and produce the / k / sound correctly. The / k / sound is an unvoiced velar plosive mad...

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Activate the consonant sound / dʒ / in Jam. In this Pronunciation Activation Pack we will be looking at the consonant sound / dʒ /. We will look at the letter combinations that give the / dʒ / sound. We will look at lots of words which have the / dʒ / sound in them. Finally, we will activate your ability to hear and produce the / dʒ / sound correctly. The / dʒ / sound is a voiced postalveolar a...

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7 English jokes to help you understand English humour and improve your vocabulary. Just for Laughs 1

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Listen to some short and amusing clips from Creature Comforts and answer some simple questions to help with your listening skills. Creature Comforts is a British stop motion clay animation comedy mockumentary franchise originating in a 1989 British humorous animated short film of the same name. The film matched animated zoo animals with a soundtrack of people talking about their homes, making i...

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Even proficient students make mistakes! No matter how much you study English, you will always make mistakes. Even native English speakers make mistakes. In this English Activation Pack, we will look at 35 common mistakes that even proficient students of English make. By working your way through these mistakes, you can learn to avoid them yourself. 35 Proficient Mistakes

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To Err is Human! We all make mistakes yet mistakes can be useful in helping us learn. If you are afraid of making mistakes, you will never achieve fluency in English. Even native English speakers often make mistakes when speaking, so why should you worry? 35 Advanced Mistakes

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Everyone makes mistakes! You’re only human and humans make mistakes. If you are not making mistakes, you are not learning something new. I created this English Activation Pack to help you avoid 35 common mistakes in English. 35 Common English Mistakes

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Activate the consonant sound / tʃ / in Chin. In this Pronunciation Activation Pack we will be looking at the consonant sound / tʃ /. We will look at the letter combinations that give the / tʃ / sound. We will look at lots of words which have the / tʃ / sound in them. Finally, we will activate your ability to hear and produce the / tʃ / sound correctly. The / tʃ / sound is an unvoiced postalveol...

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Activate the Vowel in Toy / ɔɪ / with this English Pronunciation Activation Pack. In this Pronunciation Activation Pack we will be looking at the fifth of the gliding vowels / ɔɪ /. We will look at the letter combinations that give the / ɔɪ / sound. We will look at lots of words which have the / ɔɪ / sound in them. Finally, we will activate your ability to hear and produce the / ɔɪ / sound corr...

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Learn the phrase "in a Jiffy" in just a few minutes. This conversation simulation will help you to see just how we use the common English phrase, in a jiffy.

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Activate the consonant sound / d / in Duck. In this Pronunciation Activation Pack we will be looking at the consonant sound / d /. We will look at the letter combinations that give the / d / sound. We will look at lots of words which have the / d / sound in them. Finally, we will activate your ability to hear and produce the / d / sound correctly. The / d / sound is a voiced alveolar plosive ma...

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Activate the consonant sound / t / in Tattoo. In this Pronunciation Activation Pack we will be looking at the consonant sound / t /. We will look at the letter combinations that give the / t / sound. We will look at lots of words which have the / t / sound in them. Finally, we will activate your ability to hear and produce the / t / sound correctly. The / t / sound is an unvoiced alveolar plosi...

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An anecdote from Richard's time as a police officer to help improve your listening comprehension skills as well as developing your vocabulary. Listening Activator - You're in Trouble

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Activate the consonant sound / b / in Bubble. In this Pronunciation Activation Pack we will be looking at the consonant sound / b /. We will look at the letter combinations that give the / b / sound. We will look at lots of words which have the / b / sound in them. Finally, we will activate your ability to hear and produce the / b / sound correctly. The / b / sound is a voiced bilabial plosive ...

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Activate your listening skills with a short story, then enhance your understanding with a short video, and finally activate some phrasal verbs with a substitution exercise. Phrasal Verbs Activation Pack 4 - The Black Hole

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Listen to a short story to improve your listening skills and develop your vocabulary. Listening Activator - Cupboard Love. A romantic fiction story.

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Activate the consonant sound / p / in Pepper. In this Pronunciation Activation Pack we will be looking at the first of the consonant sounds / p /. We will look at the letter combinations that give the / p / sound. We will look at lots of words which have the / p / sound in them. Finally, we will activate your ability to hear and produce the / p / sound correctly. The / p / sound is a plosive ma...

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This Conversation Activation Pack will give you practice in using the following expressions in a natural, realistic way: a bit rich, bail out, bite the hand that feeds you, build bridges, bump into, by any means, call on, come across, come by, come off it, contrite, get out of hand, hear someone out, hook up, jammy, make amends, not have the foggiest, not put something past someone, olive branc...

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Practice how to greet someone with this conversation activator which will also teach you some useful vocabulary and expressions. Britlish uses cutting-edge technology to bring you ways of learning that are not only more natural than books, but are also more engaging, effective, and enjoyable than most other methods.Improving your English through conversation is perhaps the most natural way...

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An introduction to Britlish English Consonants (I have hayfever so had to use AI voices for this pack). There are 24 consonant sounds in British English. The consonant sounds are shown in the blue box at the bottom of the British English IPA chart, under the vowels. A consonant is a basic speech sound in which the breath is at least partially obstructed and which can be combined with a vowel to...

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If you are easily offended by language that Sounds Rude, go no further. If you would like to learn the vocabulary which every native-born Englishman, or woman for that matter, is very familiar with, then I urge you to read on. Vocabulary is vocabulary and it all makes up the English language. The vocabulary in this English Activation Pack is the language that is not normally found in textb...

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Created using industry-leading e-learning software, English Mysteries are finding new ways to make learning interesting, engaging, and effective, through the gamification of the learning process. Interact with each character and ask questions to help you uncover their secrets and reveal the clues that will help you accuse the right character of the crime. To check that you understand everything...

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In Grammar Activation Pack 13, we looked at how we use will and shall to talk about the future. In this Pack we will be looking at other ways to use will to talk about the future. You already know that the future tense is marked by will, the continuous aspect is marked by be +ing, and the perfect aspect is marked by have plus past participle. In this pack we will be looking at the differences b...

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My dog’s got no nose! No nose? How does the poor thing smell? He smells horrible! In fact, he stinks! Why is this funny? It’s funny because a dog without a nose would not be able to smell smells, but it could still be a very smelly dog. Smell is both a verb and a noun, while smelly is an adjective. In this Vocabulary Act...

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Activate the Vowel in Owl / aʊ / with this Pronunciation Activation Pack. In this Pronunciation Activation Pack we will be looking at the eighth and last of the gliding vowels / aʊ /. This is also the last of the 20 British English vowels on our IPA chart. We will look at the letter combinations that give the / aʊ / sound. We will look at lots of words which have the / aʊ / sound in them. Final...

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The second most common way, after will, of talking about the future in English is by the use of be going to. I have already shown how an –ing form needs the finite verb be to form the continuous aspect. Be going to is the present continuous and acts as an auxiliary verb, like will, to talk about the future. We use be going to to talk about future things which are already planned. We use b...

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The food idioms are: Red herring, Look to laurels, A different kettle of fish, Chicken and egg, Jam down throat, Too many cooks, Drive bananas, Easy meat, Spill the beans, and Half-baked. Idiom Activation Pack - Food Idioms 9

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Activate the Vowel in Boat / əʊ / with this Pronunciation Activation Pack. In this Pronunciation Activation Pack we will be looking at the seventh gliding vowel / əʊ /. We will look at the letter combinations that give the / əʊ / sound. We will look at lots of words which have the / əʊ / sound in them. Finally, we will activate your ability to hear and produce the / əʊ / sound correctly. Letter...

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In the previous Grammar Activation Packs I have introduced you to the present and the past tenses, along with the simple, continuous, and perfect aspects. I also mentioned that English has only the two tenses, present and past. This lesson looks at Will or Shall for Future, Asking for Decisions, Promises and Threats, Decisions Made at the Moment, Predicting, Conditionals, Giving Orders or Instr...

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The phrasal verbs are: cancel out, check in, come by, go off, hold up, knock about/around, monkey around/about, run up, shut down, and turn up. Phrasal Verbs Activation Pack 3

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Activate the Vowel in Eye / aɪ / with this English Pronunciation Activation Pack. In this Pronunciation Activation Pack we will be looking at the sixth of the gliding vowels / aɪ /. We will look at the letter combinations that give the / aɪ / sound. We will look at lots of words which have the / aɪ / sound in them. Finally, we will activate your ability to hear and produce the / aɪ / sound corr...

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In the previous Grammar Activation Packs I have introduced you to the present and the past tenses, along with the simple, continuous, and perfect aspects. I also mentioned that English has only the two tenses, present and past. So where does this leave us when we want to talk about the future? Don’t worry, there are several ways that we can talk about the future, including using the prese...

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The idioms are: A banana republic, Bitter and twisted, Head on plate, Rotten egg, Sow your oats, On thin ice, Wolf down, Melt in mouth, and Lemon. Idiom Activation Pack - Food Idioms 8

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Regular verbs form their past tense by adding ed. Irregular verbs have a past tense form that you must learn individually. Remember, too, that the continuous aspect of the past tense is marked by the auxiliary verb be plus the ing form of a verb. If you see the verb be followed by an ing form, it’s the continuous aspect. Verb to be plus ing! is really all you need to know to identify the ...

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The phrasal verbs are: be in for, be with, bring round, call on, catch on, dry up, get across, get away with, lay off, and see through. Phrasal Verbs Activation Pack 2

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The idioms are: Beef about, An acquired taste, Eat alive, Salt-and-pepper, Bad apple, Carrot and stick, Take candy from a baby, Water off a duck's back, Save bacon, and Bad egg. Idiom Activation Pack - Food Idioms 1

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Activate the The Vowel in Horse / ɔː / with this Pronunciation Activation Pack. In this Pronunciation Activation Pack we will be looking at the eighth of the pure vowels / ɔː /. We will look at the letter combinations that give the / ɔː / sound. We will look at lots of words which have the / ɔː / sound in them. Finally, we will activate your ability to hear and produce the / ɔː / sound correctl...

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I told you about the past and present tenses in Grammar Activation Pack 1. I also introduced you to the aspects – simple, continuous, and perfect, and showed you why the three key verbs, do, be, and have, are so important. In this Grammar Activation Pack, I am going to tell you about the first of these key verbs, do, and how it is used for the simple aspect, present tense. The simple aspe...

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The idioms are: Break bread, Bread and butter, Crackers, Crumpet, Earn crust, Crusty, Best thing since sliced bread, Upper crust, Bun in the oven, Piffy on a rock bun, Finger in the pie, Humble pie, Nice as pie, Easy as pie, Finger in too many pies, Pie in the sky, Knuckle sandwich, and Warm as toast. Idiom Activation Pack - Bakery

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Activate the The Vowel in Bird / ɜː / with this English Pronunciation Activation Pack. In this Pronunciation Activation Pack we will be looking at the seventh of the pure vowels / ɜː /. We will look at the letter combinations that give the / ɜː / sound. We will look at lots of words which have the / ɜː / sound in them. Finally, we will activate your ability to hear and produce the / ɜː / sound ...

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Welcome to the first in my series of Grammar Activation Packs at Britlish.com. Together, the Grammar Activation Packs combine to provide you with a clear overview of English grammar in use. When I teach grammar to my students, I first teach them what I call the three keys to English grammar. The three keys are the three verbs, do, be, a...

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There are 13 arms idioms in this Idiom Activation Pack. To be up in arms, Have one arm tied behind your back, Cost an arm and a leg, Lay down your arms, Strong-arm tactics, Keep somebody at arm’s length, Have a list as long as your arm, To give your right arm, Welcome someone with open arms, The long arm of the law, Twist someone’s arm, Chance your arm, and To bear arms. After you h...

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Activate your use of the Schwa, the most common English sound, with this Pronunciation Activation Pack. In this Pronunciation Activation Pack we will be looking at the sixth of the pure vowels the schwa / ə /. The schwa is the most commonly heard vowel sound in English. The schwa / ə / is a neutral central vowel which occurs as the peak of unstressed syllables. The exact sound and quality of th...

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Activate the Vowel in Train / eɪ / with this English Pronunciation Activation Pack. In this Pronunciation Activation Pack we will be looking at the fourth of the gliding vowels / eɪ /. We will look at the letter combinations that give the / eɪ / soun...

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As you have already learnt, the past tense is indicted by the past forms of the three key verbs, do, be, and have. With do, the past is indicated by did for all persons. With be, the past is indicated by was for third persons, and were for all other persons. With have, the past is indicated by had for all persons. The past tense is shown by the inflected past form of the verb have, had, and thi...

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The idioms are: Over-egg the pudding, Sour grapes, Throw into the pot, Bone to pick, On a silver platter, Think moon made of green cheese, Turn to jelly, Just deserts, Have cake and eat it, and Let stew. Idiom Activation Pack - Food Idioms 7

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Activate the Vowel in Bear / eə / with this English Pronunciation Activation Pack. In this Pronunciation Activation Pack we will be looking at the third of the gliding vowels / eə /. We will look at the letter combinations that give the / eə / sound. We will look at lots of words which have the / eə / sound in them. Finally, we will activate your ability to hear and produce the / eə / sound cor...

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Just to recap from earlier Grammar Activation Packs, the continuous aspect of the present and past tense is marked by the auxiliary verb be plus the ing form of the verb. If you see the verb be followed by an ing form, it’s the continuous aspect. Verb to be plus ing! is really all you need to know to identify the continuous aspect. I’ll remind you also that perfect means finished or...

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The phrasal verbs are: catch up, drive away, find out, fix up, get off, look round, pick up, run off, take aback, and throw down. Phrasal Verb Activation Pack 1

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Activate the Vowel in Pure / ʊə / with this English Pronunciation Activation Pack. In this Pronunciation Activation Pack we will be looking at the one sound on the British IPA chart that is in danger of disappearing in many words. The sound is the / ʊə / sound which used to be heard in words like pure and poor. I say used to be heard, because since the middle of the 20th Century, the / ʊə / sou...

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English uses time markers to accurately say when something happened or happens. Yesterday, last week, last month, last year, and many more expressions tell us the when of an action. We cannot use the above finished time markers with the present perfect because they show finished periods of time. We use these time markers with the past simple. We cannot use finished time markers like yesterday, ...

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The idioms are: Eggs in one basket, Cheesy, Cool as a cucumber, Forbidden fruit, Give a fig, Knife-edge, Mutton dressed as lamb, Proof of the pudding, Red as a beetroot, and Rest on laurels. Idiom Activation Pack - Food Idioms 6

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Activate the Vowel in Egg / e / with this English Pronunciation Activation Pack. In this Pronunciation Activation Pack we will be looking at the fifth of the pure vowels / e /. We will look at the letter combinations that give the / e / sound. We will look at lots of words which have the / e / sound in them. Finally, we will activate your ability to hear and produce the / e / sound correctly. T...

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Activate the Vowel in Food / uː / with this English Pronunciation Activation Pack. In this Pronunciation Activation Pack we will be looking at the fourth of the pure vowels / uː /. We will look at the letter combinations that give the / uː / sound. We will look at lots of words which have the / uː / sound in them. Finally, we will activate your ability to hear and produce the / uː / sound corre...

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Activate the Vowel in Woman / ʊ / with this English Pronunciation Activation Pack. The pure vowel sound / ʊ / can be formed by these letter combinations: U, OO, O, OU, OR, and OE. The pronunciation Activator will give you 10 randomly selected questions designed to activate your pronunciation and listening skills regarding the vowel sound in woman. Pronunciation Activation Pack 3 - Vowel in Woma...

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Learn to distinguish and produce the vowel in Insect / I / with this Pronunciation Activation Pack. The biggest problem for students is hearing and producing the difference between the vowel / ɪ / and the schwa / ə /. These two sounds are next to each other on the IPA chart and are thus very similar. Both vowels are common in unstressed syllables and even native speakers have trouble ...

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Master the Vowel in Tree / iː / with this English Pronunciation Activation Pack. The biggest problem for students is hearing and producing the difference between the long vowel / iː / and the short vowel / ɪ /. These two sounds are next to each other on the IPA chart and are thus very similar. The difference is one of length, and the Pronunciation Activator will give you lots of practice with m...

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English spelling is notoriously difficult, even for native English speakers. Very often, the letters used to spell the word and the pronunciation of the word differ greatly. It can be embarrassing to make spelling errors in emails or other correspondence. Such spelling mistakes can damage your career prospects. I designed this English Activation Pack to activate your English spelling skills. Fo...

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Learn to use the verbs, see, look, and watch, with this English Activation Pack. The three English verbs, see, look, and watch, are frustrating for many of my students. I think this is because they all seem very similar and are to do with the eyes. This English Activation Pack will help you see how the three verbs differ in meaning. We will look at ways for you to learn, remember, and use these...

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If you could predict the future with 100% accuracy, you would be the richest person on the planet. It is the uncertainty of the future which dictates how we talk about it. There are four common ways to talk about the future in English, and it is the purpose of this English Activation Pack to show you how to talk about the future accurately. We will explore the use of will and other modal verbs,...

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Have you ever wondered how to talk about the wind? If you have, then this English Activation Pack is for you. Activating your English Skills. Wind is a very important feature of the weather. Wind is so important that it has its own measurement system, the Beaufort Scale. The Beaufort scale runs from 0 to 12. This English Activation Pack gives you all the language you need to talk about windy we...

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In this English Activation Pack, we will be looking at the language you need when staying, or even working, in a hotel in an English-speaking country. If you travel abroad, you probably stay in hotels. To have a successful stay, you need to know how to reserve a room at the hotel, how to check-in and how to check out, and how to deal with any problems you may have while at the hotel. In this En...

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Bring and Take are two verbs which cause problems for many students. I believe this is because there are so many idiomatic expressions which use bring and take. At the request of my student, Monica, I have made this English Activation Pack to settle your doubts once and for all. Work your way through the theory part and then activate your English with the Activation Quizzes. The Activation Quiz...

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How to say all of the 118 elements of the periodic table while learning about comparatives and superlatives. I’m not a chemist, I’m an English teacher. That much, I hope, is apparent to you by now. I did, however, study Chemistry at school and found it fascinating. I thought it would be fun to make this English Activation Pack if only to refresh my own memory of the names of the ele...

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With over 200 pages, more than 7000 words and 10 interactive quizzes, this English Activation Pack will answer all the questions you have ever had about asking open questions in English. Using the question words what, why, when, where, who and how, is the easiest way to get all the information you need about any subject. This ...

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Activate the Vowel in Ear / ɪə / with this English Pronunciation Activation Pack. In this Pronunciation Activation Pack we will be looking at the first of the gliding vowels / ɪə /. We will look at the letter combinations that give the / ɪə / sound. We will look at lots of words which have the / ɪə / sound in them. Finally, we will activate your ability to hear and produce the / ɪə / sound corr...

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We can talk about finished actions using both the present perfect and the past simple. It’s logical that anything which is finished must be in the past. What the present perfect does that the past simple cannot do is to form a connection between the past finished action and the present. We can only use a finished time expression like last week with the past simple. ...

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The idioms are: Eat your words, Teach grandmother to suck eggs, Cold shoulder, Cookie crumbles, Lolly, Blow off steam, Save own bacon, Run out of steam, Small beer, and In the drink. Idiom Activation Pack - Food Idioms 5

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Activate the Vowel in Clock / ɒ / with this English Pronunciation Activation Pack. In this Pronunciation Activation Pack we will be looking at the last of the pure vowels / ɒ /. We will look at the letter combinations that give the / ɒ / sound. We will look at lots of words which have the / ɒ / sound in them. Finally, we will activate your ability to hear and produce the / ɒ / sound correctly. ...

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I explained about the Key Verbs, be, do, and have and their inflected tenses in Grammar Activation Pack 1. I have looked at the simple and continuous aspects, both present and past tense in Grammar Activation Packs 2 to 5. In this Grammar Activation Pack, I am going to tell you how the third of the key verbs, have, is used for the perfect aspect, present tense. When a form of the verb have is n...

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All of the most common irregular English verbs are here pronounced and spelt to help you master them. The verbs are: eat, awake, beat, become, begin, bend, beset, bet, bid, bite, bleed, blow, bear, buy, bind, breed, break, bring, build, burn, burst, bust, come, cast, catch, choose, clothe, cling, cost, creep, crossbreed, cut, deal, do, disprove, dive, drink, dream, draw, drive, dig, dwell, feed...

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The phrasal verbs are: pick at, pick off, pick on, pick up, pick up on, pick out, and pick away. The idioms are: a bone to pick, cherry pick, have your pick of something, pick your nose, pick to pieces pick to bits, pick a lock, pick and choose, take your pick, pick of the bunch pick of the crop, pick brains, pick pocket, pick through, pick up speed, pick up the pace, pick up the tab, pick your...

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Inversion is the reversal of the usual order of the words in an English sentence. The normal order of an English sentence is subject – verb – object. We use inversion for various effects. There are two types of inversion in English. Subject and verb inversion to become verb – subject. Subject and auxiliary inversion to become auxiliary – subject – verb. This Englis...

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Do or Make are two verbs which cause frequent confusion for students. I have created this English Activation Pack as the ultimate resource to help you learn, practice, and remember how to use these two verbs. To see what’s in this English Activation Pack just watch the demonstration video. I can tell you that this English Activation Pack contains 3 embedded videos, a do or make quiz to te...

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Some English words begin with the letter H but don’t start with the / h / sound. This is because these words were borrowed into English from the original French. At first, they kept their French pronunciation, but gradually, over time, most of them became Anglicised and lost their French connection. Some of them, however, refused to lose their “posh” French pronunciation. Thes...

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The idioms are: Wine and dine, Jam tomorrow, Upset the applecart, Make mincemeat of, Play gooseberry, Eat my hat, Eat for breakfast, Drink like a fish, Simmer down, and Till the bitter end. Idiom Activation Pack - Food Idioms 4

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Activate the Vowel in Art / ɑː / with this English Pronunciation Activation Pack. In this Pronunciation Activation Pack we will be looking at the eleventh of the pure vowels / ɑː /. We will look at the letter combinations that give the / ɑː / sound. We will look at lots of words which have the / ɑː / sound in them. Finally, we will activate your ability to hear and produce the / ɑː / sound corr...

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I explained about the Key Verbs, be, do, and have and their inflected tenses in Grammar Activation Pack 1. I told you about the past tense, simple aspect in Grammar Activation Pack 3. I also explained the present tense, continuous aspect in Grammar Activation Pack 4. In this Grammar Activation Pack, I am going to tell you how the second of the key verbs, be, is used for the continuous aspect, p...

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This English Activation Pack will help you to get the most out of the YouTube video, Archie Grump Teaches the English of Debt. It contains the complete script of the video. It contains an MP3 of the original video as spoken by Archie. It also contains an MP3 of me reading the script in my own, natural voice, which you may find easier to follow. As well as helping to support my work, you will al...

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The idioms are: Pepper with, Butterfingers, Know which side your bread is buttered, Too much on plate, Lamb to the slaughter, Ginger group, Beer gut, Plenty of fish in sea, Let off steam, and Like a knife through butter. Idiom Activation Pack - Food Idioms 3

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Activate The Vowel in Sun / ʌ / with this English Pronunciation Activation Pack. In this Pronunciation Activation Pack we will be looking at the tenth of the pure vowels / ʌ /. We will look at the letter combinations that give the / ʌ / sound. We will look at lots of words which have the / ʌ / sound in them. Finally, we will activate your ability to hear and produce the / ʌ / sound correctly. T...

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I told you about the past and present tenses in Grammar Activation Pack 1. I also introduced you to the aspects – simple, continuous, and perfect, and showed you why the three key verbs, do, be, and have, are so important. In Grammar Activation Packs 2 and 3, I looked at the Present and Past tense of the simple aspect. In this Grammar Activation Pack, I am going to tell you how the second...

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The idioms are: A plum job, Boo to a goose, Chalk and cheese, Spice up, Greasy spoon, Sweet talk, Chopping block, Sweeten the pill, Done to a T, and Not cup of tea. Idiom Activation Pack - Food Idioms 2

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Activate the Vowel in Ant / æ / with this English Pronunciation Activation Pack. In this Pronunciation Activation Pack we will be looking at the ninth of the pure vowels / æ /. We will look at the letter combinations that give the / æ / sound. We will look at lots of words which have the / æ / sound in them. Finally, we will activate your ability to hear and produce the ...

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I told you about the past and present tenses in Grammar Activation Pack 1. I also introduced you to the aspects – simple, continuous, and perfect, and showed you why the three key verbs, do, be, and have, are so important. In Grammar Activation Pack 2, I looked at the Present tense, simple aspect. In this Grammar Activation Pack, I am going to tell you how the first of the key verbs, do, ...