Monthly Archives: November 2013

Over and Across

English by Luka

Over and across are both prepositions that are used when someone needs to get to the other side of something, the other side of a bridge or a road, for instance.

Here are the rules:

When getting to the position on the other side means getting over something that is high(er), use “over”.


They climbed over the wall.

Use “across” when the position on the other side is reached on something flat, for instance when it’s a floor or the sea. “Across” is also used for a country.


The dancers moved across the ballroom.

We drove across the United States.

When rule 1 and 2 don’t apply, you can use both “over” and “across.” In that case, the position on the other side isn’t higher, or reached over something flat, and you can choose what to use.


The car drove across the bridge. (okay)

View original post 187 more words


Idioms: Keep a Straight Face


Keep a Straight Face: Keep a serious expression and demeanor when you have the urge to laugh.

Charlie struggled to keep a straight face when Marie said she had seen a real UFO. 

This saying usually refers to concealing the urge to laugh, but it also extends to concealing any emotion. It implies that laughing or being overly emotional would be inappropriate in the current situation. It can also be used if someone doesn’t want to tell a secret or expel personal information in a particular situation.

What is a Prepositional Phrase?

From Towson University’s website:

Prepositions are words which begin prepositional phrases.

prepositional phrase is a group of words containing a preposition, a noun or pronoun object of the preposition, and any modifiers of the object.

A preposition sits in front of (is “pre-positioned” before) its object.

The following words are the most commonly used prepositions:

about below excepting off toward
above beneath for on under
across beside(s) from onto underneath
after between in out until
against beyond in front of outside up
along but inside over upon
among by in spite of past up to
around concerning instead of regarding with
at  despite into since within
because of down like through without
before during near throughout with regard to
behind except of to with respect to



Read the rest of the article here.


Idioms: Word-of-Mouth


word-of-mouth: Spoken conversation from one person to another.

The hair salon’s business doubled from positive word-of-mouth from its customers. 

This phrase may appear to have an unusual structure, but its meaning is quite literal: It refers to the words coming out of your mouth! “Word-of-mouth” is often used in an advertising or marketing context, in which it describes the powerful way people can spread positive or negative feelings about a brand or product through personal conversations with family or friends. It can also be used in a personal setting to generally describe spoken conversation.

What is a Phrasal Verb?

Sourced from a great website for English idioms, The Idiom Connection:

A phrasal verb is a two-part or three-part verb and is sometimes called a compound verb. It is a combination of a verb and an adverb, a verb and a preposition, and a verb with an adverb and a preposition. It can have a literal meaning that is easy to understand because the meaning is clear from the words that are used. It can also have an idiomatic meaning which cannot easily be understood by looking at the words themselves.

Verb and Adverb (run + around)

to run around (something) – to run in a circle around something (literal meaning)
The dog ran around the tree.
to run around (somewhere) – to go to various places to do something (idiomatic meaning)
I spent the day running around downtown.

Verb and Preposition (run + into)

to run into (someone or something) – to hit or crash into someone or something (literal meaning)
The car ran into the truck on the busy street.
to run into (someone) – to meet someone by chance (idiomatic meaning)
I ran into my friend in a restaurant yesterday.

Verb and Adverb and Preposition (run + around + with)

to run around with (someone) – to be friends and do things with someone or with a group of people (idiomatic meaning)
The boy is running around with a bad group of people.

Some idiomatic expressions are made with a phrasal verb plus some other words. These words are used in a fixed order to give an idiomatic meaning.
to run (verb) around (adverb) like a chicken with its head cut off – to run around with no purpose
I ran around like a chicken with its head cut off as I prepared for my holidays.

A Reading Exercise | How to Build your Vocabulary

Learning to understand new vocabulary through context is a very useful thing for native and non-native speakers alike!

Al-English Blog

Here is one way you can improve your vocabulary the next time you are reading in English and don’t know advanced vocabulary.

As a native English-speaker, I too must learn new vocabulary every time I read a new book. This is especially the case for me when I read medical or scientific articles, but sometimes I find it with short stories by writers whose style is very sophisticated. Similarly, non-native English-speakers must always seek to increase the vocabulary count in the memory bank as much as possible to become a better writer in the future. A richer vocabulary allows you more flexibility during communication (either orally or in in written form). Here are a few recommendations for anyone (native, and non-native) to build their vocabulary.


When you are reading, underline or circle any unfamiliar words you come across. Do not look for the word in the dictionary immediately…

View original post 141 more words

Quizicon’s 100 most common words quiz

A Hive of Activities

What are the most common words in English and how can this question help FCE students prepare for Open Cloze exercises?

In this simple online quiz from Quizicon you have 5 minutes to guess the 100 most common words in English. Simple, eh? And a good challenge! And, guess what, these words all happen to be articles, determiners, pronouns, auxiliary verbs, modals, prepositions, possessive adjectives, linkers, etc, ie. exactly the kinds of words students need to be aware of when completing an open cloze.

When I’ve done this with my students they’ve enjoyed the challenge and on one occasion even asked to try it again! I found it an interesting way to introduce the exam exercise and it was a good way to get the students working together – I had one student typing while the rest were calling out suggestions for him to type.

If you know any other…

View original post 19 more words