B2 · C1 · Vocabulary · vocabulary activity

Confusing words: remember/remind

Here’s an entry on two words that very often confuse learners of English. In Spanish and Catalan both verbs ‘remind’ and ‘remember’ are mostly covered by recuerda (Spanish) and record (Catalan) like in Recuerdo haber dejado las llaves sobre la mesa or Recuérdale a Jorge que llame a su madre. However, in English here we’d use different verbs, I remember leaving the keys on top of the table and Remind Jorge to call his mother. Things can even get a little worse in the case of ‘remember’ and its different verb patterns that change the meaning like in the examples below.

I remember leaving my keys on the table. (I have a mental picture of me doing this in the past)

I remembered to leave my keys on the table. (I didn’t forget to do this)

If you click on the lesson, you’ll get a short presentation on how to use both verbs. Afterwards, you can practise by doing the sentence completion task filling in the missing words.

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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.
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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.
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A1 · A2 · B1 · Grammar activity · Vocabulary

Confusing English words: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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A2 · B1 · B2 · Vocabulary

Confusing words: travel – trip – journey

travel/trip/ journey

travel (uncountable noun) term used to refer to the act or activity of travelling.

travel (verb intransitive transitive)  to go from one place to another. When meaning long distances, we usually use travel instead of trip. We also use this word when we talk about travelling for a reason such as work, etc.

  • I love travelling – I’d love to travel around the world – Tomorrow I have to get up early. I’m travelling.

trip (countable noun) an excursion or a journey somewhere and back, especially for pleasure.

  • We went on a boat trip to the island.

journey (countable noun) the act of travelling from one place and another. Here the focus is placed on talking about what happens between the beginning and ending of these points. For example, if going from Madrid to Paris on a train, you enjoyed it because it was quick, you had a good meal and a nice nap, you would say something like ‘your journey was nice’. But if you had bad weather, the food was horrible and the person on the seat next to you, kept dropping off, snoring almost all the way, you’d probably say that your ‘journey was horrible’.

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A2 · B1 · B2 · Vocabulary

Confusing words: say – tell

say/ tell

Both are verb associated to communication but both are used quite differently. Look at some of the examples of how to use these words.

say

say something/say something to somebody/say  as a reporting verb.

  • Ask him to say something in English.
  • She didn’t say anything to him about the party
  • She said that she liked it very much.

Say in impersonal passive structures

  • It is said that many lost their lives in WWII

Say + what/how/when/why

  • He didn’t say why he had come.

Tell

 tell somebody something / tell somebody to do something

  • She told him a bedtime story
  • They told me to get the job done as soon as possible.

tell somebody about something/tell a joke or a story

  • The company manager told them about the strike.
  • Mike told us this really funny joke.

We don’t  use say to somebody.

  • She said to me that I couldn’t go. She told me that I couldn’t go.

It is much more common to use ‘tell’ for orders

  • The fireman told us to be careful.

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