30+ Testimonial by Robert Schmidt

Here at EC Covent Garden 30+ we like to collect testimonials from our students. Here Robert writes a 30+ testimonial about his experience at EC Covent Garden and in London. Robert booked an Intensive English course and hopes in the future to use his English in a business environment. Robert has been a fantastic student who has benefited a great deal from learning English and we wish him all the best! We’re really going to miss him here at EC, and I’d just like to take this moment to congratulate him on making such excellent progress. It was an absolute pleasure to give him feedback from his exit test as well as informing his teachers how well he had done. They were so proud and are really going to miss him in class. So, congratulations again and keep up the work, Robert. Now, that’s enough from me. Enjoy his testimonial. I have been at EC Covent Garden for 10 weeks and I’ll totally recommend EC Covent Garden 30+!  The friendly, helpful people, great organisation and high qualification. I would try to come back to EC Covent Garden 30+! Robert Schmidt (Germany) For more information about our courses and prices across our schools worldwide, please check out our Adult English Courses in London.

Words of the Week: 9 Phrasal verbs

Ahhhh Phrasal verbs. We all love them but in my experience a lot of students in the school are scared of them. DON’T BE!!! They’re just like any other piece of vocabulary. Check out some of the highlighted words below, can you think of any phrasal verbs that you could replace them with, that have the same meaning? I rang someone. I collected my parents. I wrote his number on a piece of paper. I asked her to go on a date with me. I ended the phone call. I started a new hobby. I stopped doing this habit because it was disgusting. I went on a date with her. We have a very good relationship.   If you’re not sure, have a look at the highlighted phrasal verbs in the story below:   I called Joan up yesterday to ask her out. When I was finished, I hung up. We decided to go out on Friday night, I told her I would pick her up from her house at 8:00. When I arrived, I rang the doorbell and she answered with a cigarette in her hand. I told her that I had recently given up cigarettes because I hated the smell. She blew the smoke in my face and said she had recently taken up smoking because she loved the smell. We left and I drove us into town. I couldn’t remember the name of the restaurant but luckily I had taken it down on a piece of paper which was in my pocket. When we got to the restaurant, the waiter showed us to our table. We had a beautiful dinner and we got on really well but at the end Joan told me she was really interested in going out with my brother. We never went out … Read more

Weekly Grammar Question: Be/Get used to

So, be/get used to, it’s one of those language points that people have a lot of problems with…but why? Let’s have a look at it in context. Check out this short paragraph about when I first came to London. I’ve lived in London for almost 5 years now and I have to say it’s a lot easier for me than it was when I arrived. When I first arrived there were a lot of differences between London and my city that I just couldn’t get used to. For example, when I first got her, I was standing on the left side of the escalator in the tube stations, which is a big no-no in London. People got really annoyed with me. After a week, of course, I didn’t even think about it anymore and I was used to standing on the right and walking on the left. Soon I even started getting annoyed with other people who stood on the left. That was when I knew that I’d never leave London. I imagine if I went back to Dublin now, I’d find it pretty hard to get used to the slower pace of life. Now, let’s take be/get used to apart and see what it’s made up of. Let’s focus on this sentence first:  “People got annoyed with me“. Let’s break it down. “Annoyed” is an adjective. We know this. “Get” is a verb, in this situation it means that the people are becoming annoyed. Now how about this sentence: “I couldn’t get used to it“. Again, “get” means “become”, so what kind of word is “used” here? Well it’s an Adjective of course. In this situation it means comfortable with,  familiar with or accustomed to. So what about this one?: “I was used to standing on the right”. This time we’re using … Read more

WHERE AM I? England, Great Britain, the United Kingdom…what does it all mean?

WHERE AM I? So where are you? You might be sitting in your house in your country or you might be at work, taking a quick break to check out the EC Covent Garden blog or you might be here at EC Covent Garden, London, learning English. If you are here with us…do you where you are exactly? Are you in England? Are you in Britain? Are you in Great Britain? What about the United Kingdom or the UK? And what are Wales, Scotland and Ireland? What is the difference between  Ireland and Northern Ireland? And are you in Europe? All the result of a complicated history – but here is your simple geographical guide!     What is Great Britain? Great Britain is an island – it is surrounded by the sea. Inside Great Britain are the two ‘kingdoms’ of England and Scotland, and the ‘principality’ of Wales. Great Britain is made up of: England – The capital city is London. Scotland – The capital city is Edinburgh . Wales – The capital city is Cardiff. HISTORY: The Union in 1707 joined Scotland and England and Wales to create Great Britain.     Is Great Britain the same as the United Kingdom? No, Great Britain and the United Kingdom (UK) refer to different areas. Great Britain is an island, which is only part of the UK. The UK is a state. The full name is the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Or to say it another way, the UK includes Great Britain AND Northern Ireland). London is the capital city of the UK (as well as the capital city of England). The United Kingdom is a member of the European Union, or EU, and so officially is part of Europe.   Is Great Britain the same as Britain? Great … Read more

Afternoon Tea – Social Programme

This week on our social programme we decided to go for Afternoon Tea in Bill’s, a lovely restaurant in the heart of Soho. We originally booked it for about 10 people but it was soon clear that we were going to need more space and a bigger sign-up sheet. In the end we had twenty students signed up and ready to eat. Our receptionist, Sarah, took them all to Bill’s and Afternoon Tea commenced. As you can see from the pictures, there was more than enough food and everyone had a wonderful time. If you’d like to check out our social programme or book an English language course for adults, have a look at our English Courses in London Covent Garden for more details.

Word(s) of the Week: Giving Advice

As an English teacher, I find myself giving a lot of advice to students. This week, I have decided to look at a few different ways / phrases for giving advice. Check out the examples below. Please leave me any comments if you have any questions.   (1) Modal verbs: – You should call your mother, you haven’t talked to her in ages. (Meaning: in my opinion, this is a good idea) – You shouldn’t go outside without a coat, you’ll catch a cold. (Meaning: in my opinion, this is a bad idea) – You have to see the new Batman film, it’s amazing. (Meaning: This is very strong advice, not an obligation) (2)  Hypothetical conditionals: – If I were you, I’d give her a piece of my mind. (Form: If I were you, I’d + verb) If I were in your position, I’d call her up this second. (3)  Phrases: – That shop assistant has given you the wrong change again. you should give her a piece of my mind. (Meaning: I’m going to tell her exactly what I think about this situation) – Oh it’s not a big problem, don’t lose any sleep over it. (Meaning: Don’t worry about it. It’s not important) (4) Other ways: – Why don’t you give her a call when you get home. (Form: Why don’t you + verb) – Just give her a call. (Meaning: This is the imperative. It is quite an informal suggestion. The intonation here is quite important so that it doesn’t seem like an order) So my advice to you is to get out there and give some people some advice, even if they don’t want it. You should go and find people who you think need advising and just go for it. If I were you, I’d give … Read more

Weekly Grammar Question: Is the Past Perfect as simple as it seems?

I can’t count the number of times over the years that students have said something along the lines of: “Teacher teacher, I don’t understand the present and past perfect, it’s too difficult”. Now, the present perfect can be quite tricky to get your head around for a number of reasons. The main one being that there are a variety of different uses and also that while there is a version of the present perfect in many languages, it is slightly different in English, which can be confusing. The Past Perfect, however, is great! It has one use and it doesn’t really change. It’s also not as common as the Present Perfect and isn’t as big a deal. So, there’s nothing to worry about. It’s all fine. Check out the examples and explanations below for more info on how we use it.   I didn’t eat a curry for two months. My wife cooked a curry. I came home from work the other day and saw the curry. I ate it very quickly and it was absolutely delicious.  what do you think of this story? Is it interesting or boring? Clearly, it’s ridiculously boring. It’s also incredibly unnatural. When we tell stories, we like to make them more interesting by changing the order of events so that the listener/reader is kept interested. We also think of pieces of information while we are speaking/writing and we add them in as we think of them. These pieces of information often happened before the actions we’ve already talked about. This is when we need the Past Perfect. We use it when we’re telling stories to describe actions or situations that happened before the story or before other actions in the story. Compare the story above with the one below. Which one do you prefer? … Read more

Goodbye Angela

Sadly, at EC Covent Garden we had to say goodbye to one of our long term students, Angela. Angela has been with us since the summer last year and unfortunately today was her last day. We wish her all the best in everything she does and hopefully we will see her back in London sometime in the future. She has promised to come back and visit us in two years as she is a keen marathoner and will hopefully be running in the London Marathon. Personally, I’m really looking forward to seeing how her English has come on. Keep practising, Angela, you’ll be proficient by the time you comes During her time here, Angela got to know every teacher and gave us all invaluable feedback. It was like she had become one of the team. She worked really hard during her time with us and we are all very proud of her and her efforts. She will be sorely missed. GOOD LUCK!!!! And just in case you missed your goodbye sign, here it is again! If you want to continue practising your English long after you leave EC Covent Garden, try our Learn English website for quick lessons. If you’re interested in booking English classes for adults, check out our English Courses in London Covent Garden for more details.

Words of the Week: Body Parts Idioms

Idioms, we all love them but their not always easy to understand. One way to help you learn them is to group them in some way. Today, we’re going to look at idioms related to body parts. Some of the meanings are quite clear and obvious but others can be slightly less easy to figure out. The important thing when using idioms is to make sure you get them 100% correct, even one incorrect word in an idiom can change everything.   (1) Hand – Can you give me a hand?  (Meaning: can you help me?) – Do you need a hand?  (Meaning: Do you need some help?) – I know London like the back of my hand. (Meaning: I know London extremely well) (2) Foot – I really put my foot in it last night. (Meaning: I made a big mistake and said something I shouldn’t have) – Don’t worry, the company is going to foot the bill. (Meaning: The company is going to pay the entire bill) (3) Head – I’m going to head off. (Meaning: I’m going to leave now) – I’m heading to the shops, do you want anything? (Meaning: I’m going to the shops) (4) Arm – I’d give my right arm for a glass of water. (Meaning: I’d do anything for a glass of water. I really want one) – He paid an arm and a leg for that car. (Meaning: He paid a lot of money. It was very expensive) (5) Leg – Don’t worry, I’m only pulling your leg. (Meaning: I’m only joking. I’m not being serious) – Don’t put anything heavy on that table, it’s on its last legs. (Meaning: It’s quite old and will break soon) (6) Face – You need to face the facts, you’re just not handsome enough for … Read more

Weekly Grammar Question: Will + Going to (making predictions)

A few weeks ago we looked at the difference between will and going to for making plans but what about predictions? How can we express our thoughts about what will happen in the future? Are will and going to the same? Are they completely different? Read on to find out.   The Rules: So, the rule is pretty simple: 1) We use will for predictions based on our opinions, without any evidence to back it up. e.g. “I think we will have flying cars by the year 2025”. (In this situation, the speaker is expressing their opinion about the future but they really have no concrete facts to support it)  2) We use going to for predictions backed up by evidence. e.g. “Ooh, look at those dark clouds above, I think it’s going to rain”. (Whereas in this situation, the speaker can see that the clouds above them are quite dark and therefore they think it’s going to rain. The dark clouds are the physical evidence that supports their opinion) 2) We could also use it in the negative. e.g. “Not I don’t think it’s going to rain, those clouds aren’t rain clouds.” The Reality: However, this is English and therefore rules are made to be broken and there are exceptions and oddities throughout our wonderful language, especially when it comes to the future. Take football for example. I’m Irish, our football team is awful, absolutely terrible, shockingly bad, and it has been awful for years and years. Spain, on the other hand, have an excellent football team and have won numerous competitions with some of the best players in the world. So, if Spain and Ireland were playing each other, the logical prediction would be: “Spain is going to win!” We have years of evidence to support out prediction. But what would … Read more