Friday, 26 February 2010

English Lesson - Bailout or Bail Out

In this mini English lesson I want to look at the phrase bailout, which when used as a noun is one word and when used as an intransitive verb is two words.

Bailout - noun


Bail Out - intransitive verb

If you have been following the business news in English over the last few months you will have heard the phrase bailout used as a noun.

Bailout - used as a noun

For example:

" The bank happily took the bailout given to them by the government, but they still are paying themselves big bonuses."

In business English we use the phrase bailout to describe the act of giving money to a bank or company who is danger of financial failure.

When we spit bail out into two different words we are using it as an intransitive verb.

Bail Out - when used as an intransitive verb, has three distinct:

1) To describe the act of parachuting from an aircraft

"I bailed out of the plane with my parachute at 20,000 feet and it took me 4 minutes to land"

2) To describe the act of leaving a harmful or difficult situation

"We bailed out of the bar when the two men started fighting"

In American English when we use bail out to describe the act of leaving a harmful or difficult situation bail out can be shortened to balled.

"I bailed on maths class because I didn't have me homework done."

And 3) to describe the act of removing water from a boat

"It was a nice day so we rented a row boat to go out on the lake, unfortunately the boat was leaking and we had to use our shoes to bail out the water"

So there you have it Bailout or Bail Out, now you know!

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Thursday, 25 February 2010

Using Will to express the future

When talking about the future we can use the verbs will, going to and the present continuous used with a future time point.

In this mini English lesson from I am going to talk about using will to express the future.

Will has three different and distinct future uses in English, however in this mini lesson I will focus only one of the three uses.

In English Will is used to express promises and offers.

To use will as a promise:
"If you let watch TV now, I promise I will do the washing up tomorrow."

To use will as an offer:
"Oh sit down I will do the washing up for you."

As mentioned will has two other uses in English and you will find those uses explained in other blogs from

Of course learning English is a two way interactive process, and the best place to learn online with live interactive English teachers is at

Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Phrasal verb Bring About

In this mini English Lesson I want to explain the phrasal verb, "bring about", which can also be expressed as "bring around", or "bring round".

When you hear a native speaker using the phrasal verb bring about, they are usually using the phrase to express a situation where someone or something caused someone or something to adopt an opinion or take a certain course of action.

For example:

"The merger of the two companies brought about many changes."

In this sentence the speaker is saying that when the two companies joined together, the result was that there were many changes to the running of the companies.


"The amount of customer complaints brought the airline around to a new business model."

In this sentence the speaker is expressing the change in the company after listening to customer complaints.

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Tuesday, 23 February 2010

The English Idiomatic Expression: "Clear the Air"

In this English lesson from I am going to look at the idiomatic expression "Clear the Air".

In English when you hear someone using the expression Clear the Air, it means to ensure certainty, or in other words to remove doubt or confusion.

"I read the contract, but I didn't understand it, however after speaking to my friend he was able to clear the air regarding some the big words and strange legal terms in the contract."

In this sentence, I am saying that when I first read the contract there were so many big words and legal terms in it, I did not understand the contract and found it confusing.
However a friend was able to explain the big words and legal terms and this cleared the air for me.

Clear the air, means free from doubt or confusion.

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Friday, 12 February 2010

Birrr Cold Feet

As you know in English we love to use idioms, and one strange idiom that is used very often is "cold feet".

Obviously there are two meanings to the expression "cold feet", one meaning, is the literal meaning, which is to describe the fact that a person actually has cold feet.
"I have been standing in the snow in my sandals, I have really cold feet"

However this is not the idiomatic meaning, idiomatically when someone says they have "cold feet" they are using it to describe fear or strong doubt.

"I wanted to ride the roller coaster, but when I got to the line I got cold feet so I didn't ride it"

This means that speaker wanted to go on a roller coaster, but became afraid and didn't ride it.

Remember, don't get cold feet when speaking English, just ask your online English teacher to help you.

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Thursday, 11 February 2010

That's a Killer

From time to time you may hear English speakers use the word killer in a sense that has nothing to do with killing something!

Killer can be used as an adjective to describe something that is very good, excellent or even hard.

"That was a killer game of football" = It was a very good game of football.

"That was a killer exam" = It was a very hard exam.

Killer can be used as a noun, in the form of a greeting that suggests the person being greeted in a very cool person.

"Hey Killer, how are you today?"

Remember unless you are 100% sure of English and English slang, we recommend you don't use it as if used wrongly it may cause great offence.
However we do recommend that you learn slang so that when you hear it, you understand it.

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Wednesday, 10 February 2010

One use of the Present Simple Tense

In English grammar it is generally accepted that there are 3 uses of the present simple tense.

In this blog I only want to focus on one of them.

We use the present simple to describe our habits.
A habit is something we do regularly, something that is part of our everyday life.

They eat dinner every day at 5PM.
He drinks too much beer every Saturday.

Remember the construction of the present simple

I, we, you, they + infinitive of verb + object.
I drink coffee every day.

He, she, it + infinitive + s + object
She runs 5KM every day.

In another post I have explained the other uses of Present Simple.

Remember keep the Present Simple, simple!

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Tuesday, 9 February 2010

Have to

In English when we want to express an obligation, we combine "have" and "to" with an infinitive (first from of the verb).
For example, "I have to be in work at 9AM"

Here you can see the construction "Have" + "to"+ "be"

Remember an obligation is something that comes from "outside" such as a rule or a law we obey.

"You have to drive at 30KM in the city centre"

"Do you have to wear a uniform?"

The past tense of "have to" is "had to" + infinitive.
When we use the past tense we express and obligation that we no longer do.
"When I was a child I had to make my bed in the morning"

The future of "have to" is "will + have + to" + infinitive.
We use the future tense to express a future obligation that we don't have at the moment.
"When I get to the airport tonight I will have to show my passport"

We hope this helps you.

If you have any questions please let us know.

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Monday, 8 February 2010

A Pigs Ear!

This English lesson focus on the use of the phrase "A Pigs Ear".
This phrase has its roots in cockney rhyming slang, but is mostly used in Ireland.

When someone says they or someone else makes a pigs ear of something it means that have made a mistake, mess or a muddle of something.

"I made a pigs ear of dinner", means the dinner I made was really bad.

"He made a pigs ear of his exam", means that he made a mistake in his exam and got low marks.

We recommend that you take care when using idioms, as when used incorrectly they don't make any sense. We would also recommend you don't use either idioms or slang unless you are an advanced user of English, BUT you should learn their meanings so when you hear someone else using them you understand what they are saying.

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