Don’t let grammar be a big problem

Grammar: don’t let it be a big problem
Lower intermediate to advanced level (B1-C1) 

Learning English outside the UK, the US, Australia etc can often be about learning ‘grammar’. This makes people think you need to know ‘rules’ before you can speak or write. However, in my experience, a heavy focus on a grammar problem can stop people learning and communicating. Continue reading

Adverbs for Cambridge English Advanced and IELTS interviews

Exam tips: the Cambridge English Advanced and IELTS interview
Upper intermediate to advanced levels (B2-C1)

You only have a short time to show how good your English is in the Cambridge English Advanced (CAE) or IELTS interview. How can you do it? Continue reading

Grammar: I’m loving it??

Grammar: loving, liking etc – advanced points
Upper intermediate to advanced level (B2-C2)

Some English verbs are not usually used in the continuous form. ‘Love’ and ‘like’ are two of them. For example:
A: On Saturday, there’s a Pink Floyd tribute band playing at the National Arena.
B. Really? I love Pink Floyd. Continue reading

Listening: Good website for podcasts

Listening: Good website for English podcasts
All levels


Here is a link to nearly 300 English podcasts from a teacher called Luke: 
These ones have full transcripts:

Continue reading

Speaking: Checking you have understood correctly

Speaking: Expressions to check you have understood something correctly
Lower intermediate to advanced level (B1-C1)

Even native speakers need to check that they have understood what they heard or read. To do this, you can use a range of expressions. Continue reading

Pronunciation: The ə sound in British English

Pronunciation: the ə sound
Elementary to advanced level (A2-C1)

The ə sound is everywhere in English. It’s almost impossible to speak British English for more than a few seconds and not use ə! It is not a letter but many vowels can be pronounced /ə/. Continue reading

Pronunciation: Silent ‘e’

Pronunciation: silent ‘e’
Elementary to Intermediate (A1-B1)

English pronunciation has changed over hundreds of years. Today you will often see a silent letter ‘e’ at the end of words. This ‘e’ often shows that the vowel sound in the syllable before it is long. Continue reading

Pronunciation: Hesitating to sound natural (2)

Pronunciation and speaking: hesitating
Lower intermediate to advanced level English (B1-C1) 

Speaking continuously is quite difficult, even for native speakers. Almost all speakers of English need to pause frequently. Hesitating gives you more time to think and choose the right words. Continue reading

Speaking and writing: Giving a presentation

Speaking and writing: giving a presentation
Intermediate to higher level (B1-C1) 

Have you ever listened to a presentation and thought: ‘Why are they just reading what’s on the slide?’? Not only can this quickly send the listener to sleep but it’s also a waste of a great opportunity. Here are some tips for giving a presentation: Continue reading

Speaking and grammar: How to make an offer

Speaking: making an offer
Intermediate to higher level (B1-C2)

You can make an offer in English in many different ways. Here are some examples:

  • ‘Would you like a cup of tea?’ or more informally just ‘Like a cup of tea?’
  • ‘Do you fancy a cup of tea?’ or just ‘Fancy a cup of tea?’
  • ‘Do you want a cup of tea’ or just ‘Want a cup of tea?

Continue reading

Speaking: Congratulating a business colleague

Speaking: Business dialogue
Intermediate to advanced (B2-C2)

Imagine you have just come out of a business meeting where a close colleague (Harry) was very impressive. You decide to tell him what you think. Here is a possible English dialogue: Continue reading