Words of the Week: Health

It’s pretty cold here in London and everyone’s health is at risk, it seems like everyone in the city is ill. It’s nothing serious of course, just a cold or the flu but it’s everywhere. Just this morning on the tube somebody sneezed on the back of my neck…this was not pleasant. But it got me thinking about the vocabulary a student might need to use in order to describe their cold or flu. Check out the words, idioms and phrases below for help describing your ailment. Pay careful attention to how they are used and if there’s anything you don’t understand, just click on it for a definition.   “I’m a bit under the weather.” = I’m a little bit ill. “I’m on the mend.” = I’m getting better. “My head is killing me.” = I have a terrible headache   I can’t stop sneezing                       coughing                       vomiting / throwing up     I feel dizzy            weak             nauseous             constipated             much better now   I have  a headache                a stomachache                a sore throat                a fever / a temperature               diarrhea                a blocked / runny nose   So if you’re feeling a little under the weather, get out there and use these handy words / phrases to let people know. But please try not to sneeze on anybody’s neck on the tube…that’s just disgusting. If you’d … Read more

Tips for learning English: English-English dictionaries by Ayan Ali

  Translators can give you help with vocabulary quickly, but English-English dictionaries have a lot of information including: pronunciation – a speaker button so you can hear the word or phonemic script grammar (e.g. uncountable nouns) example sentences to help you understand the word in context register (how formal the word is) collocations (words it often appears next to) and phrases using the word connotation (the associations of a word e.g. ‘fat’ is more negative than ‘big’ for describing people) word families e.g. photograph, photographer, photography, photographic   Students below intermediate level should start with the learner dictionaries below and Macmillan dictionary is particularly good. Here are some good online dictionaries and their best features.   LEARNER DICTIONARIES 1) MACMILLAN DICTIONARY http://www.macmillandictionary.com/ Simple definitions Three-star rating to show the frequency of a word. E.g. ‘car’ is a three-star word whereas ‘tram’ has no stars at all. Macmillan say that the most common 7,500 words in the English language are used in 90% of speaking and writing and these words will have either one, two or three stars. Low levels should focus on frequent words with stars. Remember that a word might not be common in general English but useful in your life e.g ‘dye’ has no stars but is an important word for hairdressers. Thesaurus to help you learn words with a similar meaning Information about grammar e.g. verb patterns, prepositions Common word combinations (collocations)   press this symbol to hear sounds for words such as ‘horn’ and ‘rustle’   2) CAMBRIDGE DICTIONARY http://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/british/ Gives both the British English pronunciation AND the American English pronunciation. Useful if you’ve studied American English at home and want to compare the pronunciation. For example, the ‘a’ in ‘elementary’ isn’t pronounced in British English so the word has 4 syllables but it creates a … Read more

Tips for learning English: vocabulary cards by Ayan Ali

When you’re studying English, you learn so many new words inside and outside the classroom, but what can you do to remember them? The key is to review and use the word many times and one good way is to use vocabulary cards. The advantage is that you can arrange the cards in different ways. It’s a good idea to take a photo of the different arrangements on your phone so you can study when you have a few minutes free e.g. when travelling by train. Little and often is a good approach! Below are some adjectives to describe people’s personalities from an upper intermediate class at EC Covent Garden 30+. Look at the cards in the picture. Can you guess how they have been arranged? (check below for the answer!)     Answer: they put the positive adjectives on the left and the negative adjectives on the right with two neutral words in the middle (reserved and eccentric). We call this the ‘connotation’ of a word. Maybe you disagree with their choices?   What other ways can you arrange personality adjectives? In opposites e.g. mature and immature. In groups with a similar meaning e.g. annoyed, upset, angry and furious. If you like, you can line them up in a row showing stronger/extreme words at the end (e.g. furious).   Vocabulary cards are creative and you can include lots of information on them. You could show the pronunciation by highlighting the stressed syllable in your style e.g. mature/maTURE/mature or write the sound in phonemics /məˈtʃʊə/. Click here to see the phonemic chart and hear the sounds. You can write the translation in your language on the back and test yourself by trying to remember the English word before checking the other side. What other information can you write on the … Read more