B1 · B2 · B2 word formation · Grammar · vocabulary activity

Word formation related to personality and behaviour

How would you describe your best friend? Would you say he or she is kind? Does this person always treat people with great kindness? Does your friend always behave kindly in all the majority of situations? And have you ever seen this person be unkind? Here we’ve used the word kind, which is an adjective in different ways, as a noun, as an adverb and even with a negative prefix. To achieve a good level of English, you’ll have to be pretty good at noticing how a word is used or the type of word you will need to complete a sentence. You’ll also need to have a good knowledge on the use of prefixes and suffixes in order to change words from one class to another or even give them a negative meaning. The bad news is that there are quite a few rules and also quite a few exceptions to these rules, but the good news is that through practice, you’ll eventually achieve a reasonable degree of skill for this type of activity.

Every now and then, I’ll try to place some activities on the blog to cover this part of learning English. Please don’t leave this type of content until the day before your exams, as it is only through practice that word formation samples ‘will stick’.

Here’s an activity related to words that we could use to describe people’s characters and they way in which they behave.

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A2 · B1 · B2 · Vocabulary · vocabulary activity

Confusing words: dish/meal/recipe

Many students get these word wrong and since I’ve uploaded some vocabulary for ingredients, it may be a good idea to go over them or learn them.

Dish

The word dish when used as a noun and not a verb, has two meanings. One is the type of recipient we use for putting food on. A dish is usually shallow or almost flat, so for a soup we would rather use a bowl.

  • Nothing like a nice dish of pasta!
  • Who broke the glass dish?
  • He was awarded a silver dish for his fortieth anniversary in the company .

The second way of using the word ‘dish’ is when we are talking about a special recipe and way to prepare it. Usually these dishes have a special name that might or might not give us any information about the ingredients. Some examples are: paella, roast beef, lasagne, Welsh rarebit, haggis, etc.

  • What’s your favourite dish?
  • Paella isn’t the only Spanish dish you can have in Spain. This country has a wide variety of traditional dishes from all over the country.
  • I can recommend the chef’s dish of the day.
  • What shall we have for main dish?

There is another use for the word dish, but nobody seems to like using it after having a meal. Saying ‘doing the dishes’ or ‘ the dishes’ has a funny effect on people and it must be magical because people just seem to disappear. 🙂 Notice that here we use this word in the plural form.

  • Who’s going to help me do the dishes?
  • It’s not fair. I did the dishes yesterday!

Meal

This is a general word for the food we eat during the day, when it isn’t a snack (for instance, a packet of crips isn’t a meal no matter what some people may claim). A meal could be breakfast, luch, dinner or supper ( by the way, I’ll post something about these names for meals a little later on). And the main meal of the day depends where you are from. Some people in England have their main meal in the evening while in Spain it is usually in the afternoon.

  • I try not to eat between meals.
  • Next Saturday we’re going out for a meal at that really posh restaurant they have just opened.

Recipe

Recipe refers to the way in which we choose to prepare a meal. A recipe usually is a set of instructions telling us how to cook something and what ingredients we need. For example, if I want to prepare a traditional dish like paella, because I want to serve this for lunch (a meal), I may need the recipe to make sure I do it properly.

  • Can I get the recipe for that delicious chocolate cake you made the other day?
  • I’ve lost the recipe book and I can’t remember the amount of flour I will need.
B1 · Listening · Vocabulary

The computer says no, again

Here’s another funny listening activity starring Carol Beer with her jolly friendliness and helpfulness at the workplace.

B1 · B2 · Vocabulary · vocabulary activity

Confusing words: ache/hurt/pain/damage

Ache

Ache (verb) meaning that a part of your body hurts in a continuous and dull way. Ache (noun) referring to a continuous dull pain. This word is usually used in combination with the part of body that is in pain.

  • Stomach ache, toothache, headache, or my stomach aches.

Hurt

Hurt (verb transitive and intransitive) to cause physical pain to yourself/somebody. This verb doesn’t give information on the type of pain/ache it only explains that somebody is in a certain degree of pain or that somebody/something is causing it.

Hurt (verb transitive and intransitive) to cause physical pain to yourself/somebody. This verb doesn’t give information on the type of pain/ache it only explains that somebody is in a certain degree of pain or that somebody/something is causing it.

We can also use hurt when it involves somebody’s feelings when we mean that somebody or a situation has made somebody unhappy or upset.

  • Stop! You’re hurting me!
  • Yesterday I fell over. Now my leg hurts/I hurt my leg.
  • This shoes are too tight and hurt my feet.
  • I’m sorry! I didn’t want to hurt his feelings when I criticized his work.

Pain

Pain (noun) Not usually used as a verb. Meaning referring to physical suffering in general, often more severe than ‘ache’, used with parts of the body. e.g. pain in my leg, arm, shoulder etc.

  • He was clearly in pain.
  • This should help relieve the pain.

Damage

Damage can be a verb. When we use this word we mean that something physical has been done (usually to an object or a quality) and that the object is now, ruined, less attractive or is not working properly.

  • The flood damaged her house.
  • Smoking damages people’s health.

We can also use damage as a noun. It refers to the physical harm caused by an external agent. We usually use this noun with objects, but it is also used when we are talking about health or physical conditions.

  • The car accident has caused sever brain damage.
  • Luckily, the storm didn’t cause much damage to the roof.
B1 · B2 · culture · Grammar activity

Where did Christmas crackers come from?

crackers
Photo from Getty

In Britain not pulling a cracker means that something is missing! Both children and adults love them and they add more fun and laughter to Christmas dinner and parties. But where did this tradition come from? I came across this article and found it such a sweet story that I just couldn’t help not using it, so this one is to help you go over past tenses (active and passive ) and some  present tenses too.

The source is Metro.co.uk

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B1 · B2 · culture

How much do you know about British Christmas?

 

Trafalgar_Square_Christmas_tree8
Picture from Wikipedia

I say British because Christmas is celebrated almost all over the world and obviously, everybody has their way of doing this. If you’re from a country but you live in another one (like me), you will most probably blend both traditions which means that on Christmas Day you might eat a typical Majorcan soup for starters and have turkey as main dish, just to set an example. It might also mean that you have to behave extra-well if you want both, Santa and the Three Kings to call round, but it will also sound a bit awkward for relatives back in England when you tell them that you are still feasting and celebrating when they have already got back to their daily routine at the workplace and have probably been on a diet for the last fortnight (getting rid of those extra Christmas calories). Anyway, whatever you do and whatever your beliefs are, I think Christmas is a lovely moment to enjoy time with your loved ones and to reach out to those you haven’t seen for some time just to remind them how much you love and care for them. That for me is what really matters at Christmas, don’t you agree?

Here you have a Christmas quiz on some cultural aspects from British Christmas. I hope you enjoy it.

Ho, ho, ho!!!!

A1 · A2 · B1 · Grammar activity · Vocabulary

Do, go, play or nothing?

Which option should we use? Here are a couple of tips. After, click on the activity button for some practice.

Go + place

  • for when we go to a specific place to do it. For example: We go to the gym.

Go + -ing (activity noun)

  • Go + activity usually before words that end in -ing and especially if we have to go somewhere to do this activity. Here’s an example:

‘Where do you usually go on Saturdays?’  On Saturdays I go dancing (here the person goes somewhere to do this).

Do + noun 

  • Recreational activities that are not in teams and not played on a board. For example: Do aerobics or or do sport (we can also say play sport).

Play + noun

  • Play + noun not ending in -ing. When it refers to a team game (football, basketball, etc),  or a board game (chess, ludo, etc).

Play + the name of instrument

  • Play + the+ name of an instrument.

I play the piano. What instrument do you play?

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