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!


Phrasal Verbs and Idioms for the Beach!

Welcome to the summer!

Image result for jpg images beach

It's summer again and time to hit the beach as we bring you another list of useful phrasal verbs and idioms, this time related to the beach.

Hit the beach means to go to the beach.  You can also hit the water and hit the bars.

Are temperatures soaring where you are? It's time to cool off

Cool  off is a colloquial way of saying to become cooler, often by swimming or lying in the shade.

Are you going away this summer? Perhaps you want to get away from it all!

Go away is to leave.  To get away implies to escape, so if you get away from it all you are escaping the heat and stress of normal life to go somewhere nice.

Do you always check into a hotel at the same popular resort or do you go off the beaten track?

To go off the beaten track involves travelling somewhere where tourists don't tend to go. 

What do you do at the beach? Are you a beach bum or do you work out by running or doing water-sports?

A beach bum is a term that describes a lazy person who just hangs around the beach doing nothing in particular (except maybe hitting on members of the opposite sex!). 

Anyway, when  the summer is over, don't despair! You can always head back home and show off your tan!

To show off is just to boast about something or claim you are the best in something.

Image result for jpg images beach

Words for Spring

Do you have a spring in your step?

As the days get longer and brighter, we are reminded that we are in the season of SPRING? But what does SPRING actually mean?  What other words do we associate with this joyful season?

  • To spring literally means to come up or to jump.  We can trace the origin of the word to the idea of nature springing into life.  After the long winter, flowers and plants “spring up”.
  • Many machines contain springs.  This is a coil, usually made of metal, that will apply a force when you push it down. 
  • A spring is also where water originates or come to the surface.  Lost Springs, Wyoming or Alice Springs in Australia are example of towns named after springs.

    Remember that spring is an IRREGULAR VERB:  Spring, Sprung, Sprung.

    These are a few idioms that contain the word spring:

have a spring in your step





Do you have a spring in your step?  =  to walk in a happy, confident manner.

If your country is attacked will you spring into action? = Hurry to take action

The bath has sprung a leak = when a leak appears suddenly

I am no spring chicken = I am not as young as I used to be.

Other words we associate with this season include:


The flowers are blooming!  = the flowers have come out!

Blossom  = similar to bloom, often used as a noun too.

Key Aircraft Expressions!

As the weather starts to warm up and summer draws near, we start to think about heading off for a quick break abroad.  Inevitably this means trying to understand the special terminology used by pilots on board aircraft.

Unfortunately, aircraft announcements are often poor in terms of sound quality and to make matters worse, they often rely on very specific jargon. 

Anyway, here are the top ten expressions that  you need to know:

1:  “Please stow your hand-luggage in the overhead lockers above your head
This is often the first thing you hear upon entering the aircraft.  The verb “stow” is to put something
away.  It is rather uncommon as it  is used almost exclusively on ships and aircraft. If you want to travel free on a ship you can also become a “stowaway”. This is someone who hides in the ship's hold and travels for free!  The locker is the cupboard where you put the hand-luggage.

2:  “Fasten your seatbelts
To “fasten” means to connect the seatbelt to the seatbelt holder.  You will hear this before take-off.
3:  “Cabin crew prepare for take-off
The term “cabin-crew” refers to what used to be called “air-hostesses” in the past.  The term “air-hostess” only refers to women, though, so cabin-crew is used to include both men and women workers. 

4:  “There are two emergency exits located at the rear of the aircraft
In everyday English we usually use the word “back”. However, with vehicles we prefer the term “rear”.  It just means the back.

5:  “The cockpit
While you may not actually hear this term on the announcements, you should know it refers to the cabin where the pilot and copilot sit to control the plane.

6:  “Ladies remove high-heels
You will hear this during the instructions for using the emergency slide during an evacuation.  High heels are shoes that women often wear to elegant occasions. Because the heel is sharp, it can damage the inflatable slide.

7:  “Make sure your table is stowed and your arm-rest down
Again, this is a common announcement before landing.  “Stow” here means to push the table back in a vertical position. Your arm-rest is the place separating seats,  where you put your arms.

Are you ready for take-off?  Go and book that flight now!

Welcome to English Month by Month

Welcome to English Month by Month, the new blog by Language House!

In this first edition we look at 6 top tips for learning English in an ORIGINAL WAY!

1. Become a slave in an English Speaking Country!

Slavery has a long history going back to the Ancient Egyptians and beyond! Obviously we don't mean that literally, but you might consider going abroad and finding a job. Whilst it may not be easy to find the job of your dreams, you should be able to find a menial job that allows you to live in the country and hopefully pick up the language! Examples of "slave" jobs include: cleaner, aupair, care-worker, waiter dog-walker and many more

2. Be a couch potato!

Couch potatoA couch potato is defined as someone who spends all day on the couch (or sofa), watching rubbish on tv. Whilst this is generally considered to be a somewhat unproductive activity, if you watch your favourite series and films in English, you can make sure that your potato pursuits are put to good use! Having trouble understanding? Try watching with subtitles at first, or you can simply watch a film that you know already so as not to miss out on key plotlines.

3. Make your living-room a Hollywood set!

Do you spend melancholy hours on rainy afternoons wondering what to do? Put those days behind you and turn your home into a Hollywood film set. You will need: a family, a home and a cheap mobile phone with a camera.

Choose your favourite Hollywood blockbuster and assign roles to family members. Rehearse a scene from the film and when you are ready, just film yourself with a mobile phone camera. If you live on a boat you could try Titanic! Go crazy with your mum's old clothes and film a costume drama like "Gone with the wind"!

4. Subscribe to popular website TED TALKS and listen to an inspiring speech every day

Some are better than others but you can always learn something. Having trouble understanding? Try putting the subtitles on (in English, not Esperanto!). Other geat ways to practise listening include just typing "learn English" on Youtube. You will find a wealth of useful (albeit random!) things to watch.

5. Keep an English diary!

It's just like a normal diary but you write it in English. Update it every day with details of your thoughts and daily activities. You could also write reviews of movies you
have seen or comment on news headlines. Use a dictionary or even Google Translate to help you find the right expression.

6. Marry an English speaker.

Wedding with dogDoes your partner always accuse you of going out with him for his money? Not any more! Now you can go out with him just for his language! Finding an intelligent and good-looking partner is also advisable as you will want to spend more time with them. Too much of a commitment?

How about getting a dog and talking English to it? There are many English breeds of dog to choose from, but remember: English dogs say '"woof' not ·'guau"!

Were these tips helpful? Do you have any other ones?

No more excuses! Happy learning!

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