Education, Peculiar English

Have you ever wondered what you have your hands, eyes or mouth for?

You obviously have your hands for handing things! You have your eyes for eyeing people and you have your mouth for mouthing words!

Let me tell you a story.

Everybody loves getting presents and so do I! Recently, to my utter astonishment, my wife has handed (1) me a small box. I eyed (2) both her and the box suspiciously and all I could do was mouth (3) the words: “Oh my God!”

Only then did I recall her mouthing (4) some promises after I mouthed off  (5) about not getting anything the previous year. Feeling attacked and always being ready to face off (6), she responded aggressively with: “Back off (7)! There’s no need to yell at me!”

Because of all the excitement I backed (8) against the wall, exhilarated. Facing (9) the facts, it was obvious then what I needed to do. I backed down on (10) complaints about my wonderful wife and mouthed (11) words of admiration to her. I didn’t expect anything, so any present would have been a surprise for me. I got tickets to a concert of my favourite band!

Having opened the gift, I headed (12) immediately for the present for her. I knew that a squeezer headed (13) her list of wishes and I had bought one in advance. The shopping was crazy! I had to shoulder (14) and elbow (15) my way through a crowd of people to get what I wanted.

When I was handing (16) the nicely wrapped box, I thought the squeezer was nothing compared to the tickets. I was wondering whether to leg it (17) or shoulder (18) the responsibility for my choices but, in fact,  I had no other way but to face the music (19). “She might not want to divorce me…” – I thought. She fingered (20) the present carefully as if trying to find out what that was but suddenly she cheerfully exclaimed that she had nosed (21) the present out a month ago!

Fortunately, we weren’t heading (22) for divorce. As she unwrapped the present, she rewarded me with a big kiss and invited me to foot (23) the bill in a restaurant! I hoped I would be able to stomach (24) it if you know what I mean…

Meaning of:

  • gave
  • looked
  • move lips without making any sound
  • saying empty promises
  • complained
  • be ready to argue
  • stop
  • leaned
  • accepting
  • withdrew
  • moved lips without making any sound
  • went in the direction of
  • was at the top
  • push people with your shoulder
  • push people with your elbow
  • giving
  • run away
  • accept
  • accept punishment for something I have done
  • touched
  • found
  • going in the direction of
  • pay
  • both 1) like the food 2) have enough money to pay

Find out more about your body!

Education, Peculiar English

I Can’t Get No Satisfaction!

Some teaching techniques suggest using music in education. Music introduces a moment of relax. Music may increase motivation in students – the lesson will seem more interesting to them. Music is also a medium of systematic revision of vocabulary and grammar structures – recent studies have shown that on average a person listens to music from 6 to 8 hours a day – and it seems on the radios they keep playing the same songs all the time!

I decided to test this idea. Look what happened. I turned on the radio, I turned on the relaxation mode in my brain and I could hear Mick Jagger singing the famous: “I can’t get no satisfaction.” Did they really have to play a song with DOUBLE NEGATION?! Anyway, annoyed though I was by this DOUBLE NEGATION, I waited for the next song. Then, I understood what Steve Jobs meant when he said: “Sometimes life hits you in the head with a brick.” Pink Floyd did that with: “We don’t need no education!” – yes, actually you do! Jobs added: “Don’t lose faith.” – I didn’t. As Marvin Gaye sings: “Ain’t no mountain high enough!”

On the whole, what’s wrong with DOUBLE NEGATION?

You see a poor person, you can’t not help them. (You will help them.)

You receive a mail from your boss, you can’t not respond to it. (You will respond, or you have already done it…)

Your friends invite you to the best party ever, you can’t not come. (There is no party when you are away!)

Skipping this lesson won’t do you no good! (so let’s study together!)

It seems DOUBLE NEGATION works well in certain contexts and in certain dialects of English it is most welcome. I believe that Julius Marx, an American comedian known as a master of quick wit, couldn’t tell me: “I cannot say that I do not disagree with you.” (If you follow his logic, it will turn out that he disagrees with somebody).

Education, Peculiar English

Why are you always complaining?

We all have the things we always do. We sometimes like them or not, but we cannot imagine our lives without doing them. I, for example, always eat chocolate. I always wake up early in the morning. I always read something in the evening. I always run away from problems. Always, always, always…

But wait… Does the word “always” always refer to your routines? Perhaps yes, yet some of the routines are not neutral for the other people… Look:


My friend bought some flowers and a bottle of expensive wine to celebrate the Women’s Day with his lady. However, as usually, she was unhappy about that. He only asked her: Why are you always complaining? Why are you always criticizing me?






If, in your opinion, a situation happens too often and you want to show your criticism, anger or irritation about it, you may want to use “always” with the Present Continuous to let the other person know about your emotions.

So… What is he always doing? What is she always doing? What are they always doing? And finally: What are you always doing? Share your ideas and look at these sentences. Enjoy!

Why are you always complaining?


“Excuse me, Sir. I wonder if you could help me? I have just been robbed!” – Let’s Study some Grammar!

Do you like studying grammar?

Linguists (and most students of languages) agree that grammar is important while learning a second language. It is how grammar should be learnt that causes a lot of disagreement.

Basically, there are two approaches:
1) Students need explicit grammar instructions, they need clearly defined rules and a number of drill exercises in order to reinforce understanding.
2) Students will finally acquire (rather than learn) grammar simply by extensive exposure to a good grammar model (e.g. the teacher). Krashen’s INPUT HYPOTHESIS describes acquisition as “a subconscious process identical in all important ways to the process that children utilize in acquiring their native language.”
Wait… What is grammar?
Grammar stands for the ability to arrange words of a language into meaningful sentences. Bearing that in mind, it is vital
that speakers of a language follow certain rules in order to maximize communication.
“You don’t need grammar to communicate!” (the nightmare of a language teacher…)
Every now and then there is a student who fervently defies the value of learning grammar. In fact, there is a grain of truth
in that. You probably do not need much understanding of grammar when you urgently need to go to the toilet; the word
“toilet” is enough. You would not say: “Excuse me, Sir. I wonder if you could help me? I have just been robbed!” – the word
“thief” will do. Yet, you would look for something more sophisticated than: “Give me a pay rise!” while the annual
conversation with your boss.
Even though basic communication is likely to take place with no or very limited grammar skill, it seems that grammar
awareness is crucial to experience a language fully and to realize how beautiful in its complexity it may be. You will be
surprised how much meaning and information grammar constructions may carry.
Dear Student, shall we study some grammar together?