Cono's star group of 2015!

We look back with nostalgia at these high-achievers! (Cono's class of 2015-2016)

Saint Patrick's Day

What do you know about Saint Patrick? Do our quiz and find out!

Saint Patrick is the patron saint of Scotland / Ireland.

Saint Patrick is celebrated in March / June.

Saint Patrick was born and brought up in Wales/ France.

Saint Patrick is said to have expelled all the snakes/ tigers from Ireland.

Now read this text and find out more:

Saint Patrick's Day is celebrated on March 17th every year. It is a hugely popular holiday, not only in Ireland but also in The USA and other countries too. Although Saint Patrick is the Irish patron saint, he was probably born in Wales, where he was kidnapped and taken to Ireland as a slave. After working as a shepherd for a few years, he managed to escape back to Britain. A strong religious faith, however, made him go back and convert thousands of pagans to Christianity. Many miracles are associated with Patrick, including driving away the last snake from the country (although this seems rather improbable!). Nowadays, Saint Patrick's day is really just a great excuse to meet up with friends, dress up in a green costume and have a few pints of Guinness!
Now try to match these famous Irish people with their descriptions:
1: Pierce Brosnan a. A famous Irish actress, famous in Hollywood.
2: Bono b. One of The USA's most famous presidents.
3: Oscar Wilde c. The lead singer of U2.
4: Saoirse Ronan d. This actor played James Bond.
5: John F. Kennedy e. One of Ireland's most most successful playwrights and novelists.

Answers: 1d, 2c, 3e, 4a, 5b.

Christmas English. Are you a Scrooge?

Do you love Christmas or do you hate it? Either way you can't avoid it! perhaps you feel the same way as Ebeneezer Scrooge, the famous character from Charles Dickens' novel "A Christmas Carol". It took FOUR GHOSTS to get him to even think about celebrating this festive occasion!  Take this test to find out if you are a Scrooge!

Read the questions and answer A or B:

1:  When do you buy your Christmas presents?

a. I start buying them at least one or two months in advance. You can never be too prepared!

b. I pick up a couple of cheap gifts a day or two before Christmas Day.


2:  What is your ideal way to spend the Christmas holiday?

a.  I love large gatherings of friends and family!

b. Alone, with a large bottle of whisky, lying on the sofa.


3:  A group of children come over singing Christmas carols. Do you...

a. Welcome them in and hand out sweets?

b. Slam the door in their face?


4:  Your neighbours organize a Christmas party. Do you...

a. Join in the fun and get to know them?

b. Hide under the bed until it is over?


5:  It's Christmas Eve and time to leave out your stocking. Do you...

a. Leave out your best designer patterned stocking?

b. Grudgingly leave out a mouldy old sock with holes in it?


6:  How do you see in the New Year?

a.  You knock back a bottle of champagne while loudly singing "Auld Lang Syne"!

b. You have an early night with a hot-water bottle.


7:  What is your idea of a Christmas meal?

a.  Turkey (or goose) with all the trimmings!

b. Yesterday's leftover boiled vegetables.


8:  You wake up on New Year's Day. How do you feel?

a.  You have a splitting headache and a terrible hangover!  But hey, it was worth it!

b. Just the same as every day: grumpy and miserable.

Result:  If you answered mostly A then you are a PARTY ANIMAL. You love Christmas and everything it stands for! If you answered mainly B then I'm afraid you are nothing but an old Scrooge!  Cheer up, it's Christmas! Don't wait for the ghosts to pay you a visit!

Useful Christmas vocabulary:  

Gift =  present

Gathering = a large group of friends or family (SEE verb to gather)

Christmas Carols = traditional songs sung at this time of year.

Stocking = a item of clothing usually worn by women on their legs. 

Turkey = a large bird similar to a chicken.

To see in = to stay awake for the New Year

Now for a difficult word: Grudgingly!

If you do something grudgingly you do it unwillingly (or with negative feelings).





Are you snowed under?


All this winter weather is a great excuse to brush up on our  SNOW and ICE idioms:

January has come. We associate this time of year with new beginnings, but it can also be linked to a rise in depression, brought about by the cold and dark.  We go back to school and back to work.  Sometimes our work has been piling up over the holidays so when we return to the office we find we are snowed under (have too much work).

There are also a couple of useful idioms with the word ice.  Do you feel shy at parties?  Maybe you need to break the ice (make the atmosphere less awkward or feel less nervous). 

Perhaps you are taking too many risks. In this case you are skating on thin ice. Thin ice can break and you call fall through. 

Other winter idioms refer to relationships.  On cold winter mornings the ground is often covered by frost (ice).  If you meet someone and receive a frosty reception this means they are probably not too pleased to see you. Literal cold is often used to express figurative cold.

After winter comes the spring.  As temperatures increase, the snow begins to melt.  We call this the thaw.  In cold regions like Alaska or Siberia this is a great relief associated with new life and optimism.  Sometimes we talk about a thaw between countries when they forget their differences and try to establish good relations.

As the new years kicks off though, it's definitely worth staying on the right side of the law.  If you are caught robbing your local bank, the police might ask you to freeze. They probably aren't too concerned about your body temperature. What they want is for you to stop moving.  Futhermore, if the law suspects that your money has been earned illegally, they might decide to freeze your assets.  Just like a motionless bank robber, if you assets are frozen then they are not going anywhere.

Anyway, don't let the chilly (cold)  weather get you down.  Wrap up in a nice warm scarf, put your mittens on and go out there and enjoy yourself!

Back to school!

Back to school!

Summer is almost over and autumn in LOOMING! You've packed your beach towels away and are facing the dreaded return: back to work, back to school, back to life!

In today's article we look at Phrasal Verbs and Idioms with back in them!  As we shall see, there are plenty!

Am I annoying you already?  Perhaps you could tell me to back off.

To back off = to leave someone in peace

Maybe you need someone to back you up (to support you).  Back up is also used with computers when you have a spare copy of something or a back-up. Police-officers can also call for back-up if they are  surrounded by dangerous criminals.  They want someone to support them:  "back-up, back-up!" can be heard from the police radio.

If these policemen or anyone else get scared of a situation they can always decide to back out of it. Maybe you had planned a mountain expedition but when you heard there were bears you backed out. To back out of something means to decide not to do something, often at the last minute and because you are scared or cautious. 

There are several interesting idioms with back. Here are a few:

To stab someone in the back = to attack someone by surprise before they can defend themselves. "John's best friend stabbed him in the back when he told his friends his secrets."

To be back in business = to return to something following a setback or a problem. "The team scored a goal so they are back in business."

The straw that broke the camel's back = The last of many bad things that have been building up over time and can no longer be tolerated. You may hear, "that's the last straw."

Ok, so I hope I haven't interrupted you. If you were doing something important then you can get back to it!


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