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General English

5 steps in critical thinking

5 steps in critical thinking

Being able to critically consider something you are reading is essential these days to make sure what you are reading is true. Here are 5 points to consider for critical thinking: 1. Consider the source Where is the information you are reading, watching or listening...

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Talking about diet

Talking about diet

'Diet' refers to the food you eat, and can also mean an attempt to reduce your weight by eating fewer calories a day. Collocations: a balanced diet (a diet consisting of a variety of different types of food that have enough of the nutrients necessary for good health)....

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The future perfect and the future continuous at Level B2

The future perfect and the future continuous at Level B2

In this lesson, we will look at the future perfect. We have already looked at the future continuous in Level B1. Here are examples of each form: The future continuous: He will be working tomorrow afternoon. The future perfect: He will have worked 8 hours by the end of...

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The importance of critical thinking in English

The importance of critical thinking in English

In this section of our course, we will look at critical thinking- what it is, why it's important and how it can help you improve your English. Let's start with a definition - what is critical thinking? In short, critical thinking is the ability to think clearly and...

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The present perfect at CEFR Level A2

The present perfect at CEFR Level A2

The present perfect at CEFR Level A2. On this page, we will look at another common English tense - the present perfect. Here are some examples of the present perfect tense: I have cleaned my shoes. He has finished work for today. I have travelled through Asia, but I...

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The present simple to talk about the future

The present simple to talk about the future

The present simple to talk about the future. In Level A2, we have already looked at how the present continuous and will can both be used to talk about the future. On this page, we will also look at the 2 ways the present simple can also be used for the future. As you...

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4 differences between going to and will

4 differences between going to and will

4 differences between going to and will. In previous lessons about using the future simple (The future simple with be going to in Level A1 and The future simple with will in Level A2), we have looked at some of the rules for will and going to. In this lesson, we will...

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The future simple with will

The future simple with will

The future simple with will. In Level A1, we looked at using the future simple tense with be going to. On this page, we will look at the future simple with will. Here are some examples: A: "Oh no! We don't have any milk!" B: "No problem - we will go to the shop and...

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The past simple with TO BE

The past simple with TO BE

The past simple with TO BE. On the previous page, we looked at how to form the past simple by adding +ed or +d to the verb. For example: He played outside yesterday. He lived in New York for 2 years. On this page, we will look at what happens when we use the verb TO...

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The future simple with be going to

The future simple with be going to. To talk about the future in English, there are lots of different tenses you can use. One of the most common forms is (be) going to. Here are some examples: I am going to have lunch with John tomorrow. They are going to see a movie...

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Stative verbs and continuous tenses in English

Stative verbs and continuous tenses in English. Verbs can be divided in to two groups - stative verbs and dynamic verbs. Stative verbs talk about states - how you feel, what you see, what you like, what you hate. It is important to know the difference between stative...

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The present continuous at CEFR Level A1

The present continuous at CEFR Level A1. In this lesson, we will look at the the present continuous. The present continuous is used to talk about what is happening now (or around now). For example: I am studying English grammar now. They are visiting friends at the...

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The differences between adjectives with ING and ED

The differences between adjectives with ING and ED

The differences between adjectives with ING and ED. In this lesson, we will look at the difference between adjectives that end with ING and ED. Here are some examples: I think football is boring. I am bored by football. This book is interesting. I am interested in...

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How to make uncountable nouns countable

How to make uncountable nouns countable. When making an uncountable noun countable, we often use a unit of measurement - a cup of, a bottle of, a piece of, a kilo of, a lump of. Here are the most common units of measurement (note that these units can be used with...

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5 more rules for using countable and uncountable nouns

5 more rules for using countable and uncountable nouns. On this page, we will look at the differences between countable and uncountable nouns when used with some, no, any, many, and much. Let's start with some and no. Rule #1. Use some when talking about more than one...

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Comparing 3 or more adjectives in English

Comparing 3 or more adjectives in English. When we compare one adjective to another adjective, we use comparative adjectives. When we compare 3 or more things in English, we superlative adjectives. For most adjectives, we can compare them by adding the +est to the...

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Using a range of verbs for reported speech at Level B2

Using a range of verbs for reported speech at Level B2. We have already looked at reported speech in Level B1, with lessons on the 4 rules for reported speech as well as some additional information you need to know. On this page, we will further develop your skills by...

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More rules for reported speech at Level B1

More rules for reported speech at Level B1. We have already looked at the 4 rules for reported speech, so now we will look at some additional notes about reported speech. 1. Using 'that' in reported speech When reporting speech, you can add 'that' to the sentence....

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Different types of jobs in English

Different types of jobs in English

Different types of jobs in English. On this page, we will look at different types of jobs. How many of these jobs you know? Health: Doctor, nurse, dentist (teeth), veterinarian [also called vet] (animal doctor) Shopping: salesperson, sales assistant, shopkeeper People...

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Giving personal information in English

Giving personal information in English

Giving personal information in English. In English conversations, you need to give people information about you. For example, 'My name is..'. On this page, will look at ways of giving personal information about yourself. Your name: Hello, my name is.... Hi, I'm... I...

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Different types of journalism in English

Different types of journalism in English. On this page, we will look at the different types of journalism that you can find around the world. This page continues on from the information presented on the news in Level B1, so if you haven't seen that lesson yet, we...

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Vocabulary for talking about the news at Level B1

Vocabulary for talking about the news at Level B1. Let's look at some of the vocabulary we use to talk about the news. Types of news: current affairs (also called 'current events') politics weather traffic entertainment local/national/international news People...

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Tips for better spelling in English

Tips for better spelling in English

Tips for better spelling in English. Improving your spelling can be difficult these days. Modern technology, although very useful, has made poor spelling increasingly common even among native speakers - autocorrect on phones and computers has often corrected our...

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Telling the time in English

Telling the time in English. On this page, let's look at telling the time. This is more than just numbers - you need to be able to use different phrases. Let's start by looking at parts of the day.   Time Part of the day 0:00 to 12:00 Morning 0:00 to 11:59 A.M....

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Intensifiers and mitigators in English

On this page, we will review and compare intensifiers and mitigators in English. As we have seen on the previous pages in this lesson, intensifiers increase the intensity of an adjective. For example, hungry can become very hungry, then absolutely starving. On the...

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Prepositions of time for Level A1

Prepositions of time for Level A1. Prepositions of time (like all prepositions) can be one of the hardest parts of English to use correctly. This is because the rules are often quite difficult and there are lots of exceptions! In this lesson, we are looking at the...

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The present perfect v the past simple

The present perfect v the past simple. On this page, we will look at the differences between the present perfect (which we looked in Level A2) and the past simple (which we covered in Level A1). Let's start by looking at two examples - what's the difference in...

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Prepositions of place at Level A1

Prepositions of place at Level A1. Prepositions of place (like all prepositions) can be one of the hardest parts of English to use correctly because the rules are often quite difficult and there are lots of exceptions. In this lesson, we are looking at the following...

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Adjective and noun collocations in English

Adjective and noun collocations in English. On this page, we will look at the common collocations which are created using adjectives and nouns. Unfortunately there are no rules to help you work this out - you just have to learn them one by one! However, to make this a...

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Using the present continuous for the future

The present continuous at CEFR Level A2. In this lesson, we will look at how the the present continuous is used to talk about the future. We have already looked at the present continuous in Level A1, but let's start with a review of how the present continuous is used...

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Agreeing or disagreeing with an opinion in English

Agreeing or disagreeing with an opinion in English

Agreeing or disagreeing with an opinion in English. On the previous page, we looked at better ways that you can express an opinion in English. On this page, we will look at some of the ways you can react to an opinion or statement you have heard. We'll start by...

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The past continuous at CEFR Level A2

The past continuous at CEFR Level A2

The past continuous at CEFR Level A2. The past continuous (also known as the past progressive) is used to talk about something that was happening in the past. Here are some examples: He was washing his hands when the phone rang. We were singing and they were dancing...

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Adverbs of place in English

On this page, we will look at adverbs of place. These adverbs tell us where the action takes place. Here are some examples: The children are playing football outside. John is sleeping upstairs. These adverbs can also tell us the direction. Here are some examples: They...

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Understanding abstract nouns and articles for Level B2

Understanding abstract nouns and articles for Level B2. So far in our site, we have looked at 18 rules for using articles (that's A, AN, THE or no article): 6 simple rules for articles (Level A1) 6 more rules for articles (Level A2) 6 more advanced rules for articles...

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Another 6 rules for using articles in English

Another 6 rules for using articles in English. We have already looked at 6 simple rules for using articles in Level A1, so now we will look at another 6 rules for when to use A, AN (the indefinite articles), THE (the definite article) or no article (this is shown as Ø...

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6 simple rules for using articles in English (Level A1)

In this lesson, we will look at 6 simple rules for using articles. Understanding when to use A/AN or THE is difficult in English, but by the end of this lesson you will be able to you use the right word for CEFR Level A1. Rule #1: Use A or AN the first time you talk...

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Attitude adverbs for CEFR Level B2

Attitude adverbs (also called attitudinal adverbs) show the speaker / writer's attitude toward the state or action described in the sentence. Attitude adverbs are most commonly placed before the subject of the sentence, but they can be placed in the middle or end of...

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Defining and non-defining relative clauses explained

Defining and non-defining relative clauses explained. There are two common types of relative clause: Defining relative clauses (also called 'restricting relative clauses' or 'identifying relative clauses') Non-defining relative clauses (also called 'non-restricting...

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Strong adjectives and intensifiers

On this page, we will look at strong adjectives and intensifiers. At a basic level, we use words like very, really or extremely can be used to make adjectives stronger. These are called intensifiers. Let's start by looking at a table: Basic adjective That's an...

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Contributing during a business meeting in English

Contributing during a business meeting in English. On this page, we will look at what ways you can say something in a meeting and how you can ask other people to say something. Make sure you've looked at the previous pages in this lesson - how to start a business...

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Staying on topic in a business meeting

Staying on topic in a business meeting. On this page, we will look at what you can do to make sure the meeting stays on the topic. A lot of meetings would be a lot short if other people didn't try to change the subject or talk about things that are not relevant to the...

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Starting a business meeting in English

Starting a business meeting in English. On this page, we will look at some of the language used to start a business meeting in English. Keep in mind that the language you use will depend on how formal or informal the meeting is. Before we being, let's just take a...

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Using WOULD to talk about past habits

Using WOULD to talk about past habits in English. On this page, will look at another way you can refer to a past habit. We have already looked at the 2 different meanings of USED TO, but let's quickly review with some example sentences: I used to smoke but I quit 3...

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The differences between USED TO and WOULD

The differences between USED TO and WOULD. Both USED TO and WOULD can both be used to talk about past actions. ‘Would’ can be used to speak about past actions as an alternative to the simple past or ‘used to’. We have looked at this already in Level B1, so if you...

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Showing interest in English conversations

Showing interest in English conversations can be difficult - you are trying to follow the conversation, understand what the speaker is saying, thinking about how you might need to answer, what vocabulary to use and so on. The problem is that while you are thinking and...

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Linking words for sequence at CEFR Level B1

Linking words for sequence at CEFR Level B1. In this lesson, we will look at some of the linking words you can use to show order. Here are two examples - one is good and one is bad. Bad example: He finished cleaning the kitchen. Then he cleaned the bathroom. Then he...

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Interrupting in English conversations

Interrupting in English conversations. On this page, we will look at how to stop someone when they are speaking, how to change the topic and how to continue a conversation after an interruption. Being able to use a range of phrases to hope you manage conversations is...

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Improve your conversation skills in English

Improve your conversation skills in English. On this page, we will look at some of the important language and phrases you can use to further improve your conversation skills. We will look at how to ask if the listener understands, how to interrupt and how to continue...

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How to start and finish a conversation in English

By now, you should already know how to start and finish a conversation in English in a basic style. However, in this lesson we are going to extend these skills looking at more natural ways of opening and closing a conversation. Let's start with opening the...

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Better ways to express opinions in English

Better ways to express opinions in English. On this page, we will look at 5 ways you can present an opinion in English in a softer, less aggressive way. Here's an example of a bad way to present an opinion. John's ideas are stupid. Now let's look at 5 better ways to...

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Pronunciation of past simple verbs

Pronunciation of regular past tense verbs can change. There are three 'sounds' that are used when saying past tense verbs, so to improve your pronunciation of the past simple, you need to become familiar with which past tense uses which sound. For example, 'He worked'...

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The past simple at CEFR Level A1

The past simple at CEFR Level A1. In English grammar, the past simple is used to talk about things that finished in the past. Here are some example sentences including the past simple: I worked last Monday. They studied for an English test last week. She smiled when...

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The present simple at CEFR Level A1

The present simple at CEFR Level A1. In English grammar, the present simple is used to talk about habits and routines. Here is an example of the present simple in a sentence: I work on weekdays. The present simple can also be used to talk about something you don't do....

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IN CONTRAST or ON THE OTHER HAND?

Two linking phrases that are often confused are 'In contrast' and 'On the other hand'. Compare examples A and B. A. Tourism often has a positive impact on less wealthy countries. On the other hand, this can damage local culture. B. New Zealand has a good reputation...

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CEFR Level C1 reading test 6 – The GM controversy

Test your Level C1 reading skills with this text. Read the article then answer the 5 questions that follow. The GM controversy – is it worth it? A Four genetically modified foods are currently being tested in the UK in the hope that they will be resistant to the most...

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CEFR Level B2 Reading test 4 – The home office

Test your Level B2 reading skills with CEFR Level B2 Reading test 4. Read the article then answer the 9 questions that follow. The home office A Can you feel your anxiety and stress levels increasing every time you get caught in a traffic jam? Do you find it difficult...

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CEFR Level C1 Reading test 7 – Mark Inglis

CEFR Level C1 Reading test 7 – Mark Inglis. This should take you about 10 minutes to complete. NO MEAN FEAT Every now and again, amid the doom and gloom of war, violence and poverty, our attention is drawn to the achievements of individuals who have overcome...

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CEFR Level B2 Reading test 2 – Internet safety

Test your Level B2 reading skills with this text. Read the article then answer the 6 questions that follow. Internet safety As adults, how do we encourage our children to explore the rich resources of the Internet without exposing them to a steady stream of marketing...

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CEFR Level C2 reading test 1 – ADHD

Challenge yourself! In the time I have used this exercise with my classes, very few students scored 100% - see what score you can get! Read the text below and complete the task that follows. Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD as it is more commonly...

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CEFR Level C1 reading test 4 – Maori tattooing

Test your Level C1 reading skills with this text. Read the article then answer the 10 questions that follow. Ta moko The practice of making markings on the human body has long been in existence. These days, it is commonly expressed by the wearing of tattoos or...

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CEFR Level C2 reading test 2 – Auckland

Test your Level C2 reading skills with this text. Read the article then answer the 10 questions that follow. Read the following passage and select the best heading for each paragraph. A. Lapped on all sides by water, it’s hardly surprising that the country’s largest...

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CEFR Level B2 Reading test 3 – What is culture?

Test your Level B2 reading skills with this text. Read the article then answer the 6 questions that follow.   What is culture? Culture is defined as the ‘socially transmitted behaviour patterns, arts, beliefs, and institutions that are the expression of a...

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CEFR Level B2 list 2 vocabulary exercises

Before you take the practice test below, make sure you have looked through CEFR Level B2 vocabulary list 2. See how many you can complete! The first 2 letters of each word are given - all you need to do is decide which word best suits the context .   1. In some areas...

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CEFR Level A2 list 1 pronunciation

Now test your pronunciation! Click the 'Push to speak' button and say the word you see. For this practice exercise to work, you will need to be using a mobile device or the Chrome browser. Unfortunately it doesn't work yet with other browsers.

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100 words for CEFR Level C1 list 2

These 100 words for CEFR Level C1 list 2 are designed to help you improve your general English skills, but also to help you prepare for formal English test like IELTS and PTE. Tips for using these vocabulary lists: look carefully through the list to make sure you know...

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TOO or ENOUGH?

COMMONLY CONFUSED WORDS: Too or Enough Too and enough are used to talk about the quantity or size of something. Look at the sentences below. What is the difference in meaning? The dress is big enough. The dress is not big enough. The dress is too big.   Meaning...

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CEFR Level C1 reading test 2 – The Olympics

Here's a reading exercise for CEFR Level C1. Read the text and answer the questions that follow. If you are Level C1, you should answer at least 10 out of 12 questions correctly. A brief history of the Olympics Most people have heard of the Olympics, a sporting event...

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CEFR Level C1 list 4 vocabulary exercises

Before you take the practice test below, make sure you have looked through CEFR Level C1 vocabulary list 1. See how many you can complete! The first 2 letters of each word are given - all you need to do is decide which word best suits the context .   1. Many poorer...

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CEFR Level C1 list 3 vocabulary exercises

Before you take the practice test below, make sure you have looked through CEFR Level C1 vocabulary list 3. See how many you can complete! The first 2 letters of each word are given - all you need to do is decide which word best suits the context .   1. The...

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CEFR Level C1 list 2 vocabulary exercises

Before you take the practice test below, make sure you have looked through CEFR Level C1 vocabulary list 2. See how many you can complete! The first 2 letters of each word are given - all you need to do is decide which word best suits the context . 1. It is important...

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CEFR Level C1 list 1 vocabulary exercises

Before you take the practice test below, make sure you have looked through CEFR Level C1 vocabulary list 1. See how many you can complete! The first 2 letters of each word are given - all you need to do is decide which word best suits the context .   1. In many...

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CEFR Level C2 list 2 vocabulary exercises

Before you take the practice test below, make sure you have looked through CEFR Level C2 vocabulary list 2. See how many you can complete! The first 2 letters of each word are given - all you need to do is decide which word best suits the context .   1. Many...

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CEFR Level C2 list 1 vocabulary exercises

Before you take the practice test below, make sure you have looked through CEFR Level C2 vocabulary list 1. See how many you can complete! The first 2 letters of each word are given - all you need to do is decide which word best suits the context .   1. In the 1920s,...

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Using ‘used to’ in English at Level B1

In this lesson, we will look at using Used to in English. There two common meanings of used to 1. Use(d) +infinitive is used to talk about repeated actions/states in the past. I used to smoke (i.e. I did smoke, now I don’t) 2. To be +used to + noun/verb+ing is used...

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Using ‘can’ and ‘could’ at Level A1

Deciding when to use can or could sometimes causes problems for English language students, especially as these words have a number of different uses. Can or could can be used to talk about: Possibility / Impossibility Ability / no ability To ask for / give permission...

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Speaking English at the bank

In this lesson, we are looking at what to say when you are going to the bank. Here is some useful vocabulary that you can use when you are at the bank: An account: this is where you would take your money from or put your money into at the bank. Account number: the...

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Comparing 2 adjectives in English

Comparing 2 adjectives in English. When we compare one adjective to another adjective, we use comparative adjectives. Note that we don't use comparative adjectives when comparing THREE or more things.  For most adjectives, we can compare them by adding +er than to the...

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CEFR Level B2 Reading test 1 – Gifu Castle

Test your Level B2 reading skills with this text. Read the article then answer the 10 questions that follow. Gifu Castle Gifu Castle is one of the most beautiful sight-seeing attractions in central Japan. The closest township is Gifu, which has a population of...

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CEFR Level C1 reading test 3 – Dyslexia

Practice by reading the text below and matching cause and effect in the table that follows. For many sufferers of dyslexia, the knowledge that they have this learning difficulty came too late to help. Having been through, and often dropped out of, the standard school...

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Irregular verbs list up to Level B1

Irregular verbs, as the name suggests, don't follow a pattern. You simply need to learn them. In this lesson you will find an irregular verbs list. We suggest you try to learn a few each each day. But before we look at an irregular verbs list, we need to think about...

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Parts of speech

In order to improve your English skills, both for speaking and writing, it is important to be aware of the 'parts' of speech that create sentences in English. It is commonly accepted that there are only 9* different parts of speech from which all sentences, phrases or...

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The past simple passive and ‘used to’

Tense Passive Form Passive Sentence Active Form Active Sentence Past simple was/were + past participle It was made compulsory by the government to wear a seat belt while travelling in a car in 1985. base verb +ed or irregular past The government made it compulsory to...

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When are participle clauses used?

Participle clauses express condition, reason, result or time. Here are some examples: Condition (used instead of an 'if' condition): Looked after carefully, the new smartphones will last at least three years. (If you look after it carefully, the new smartphones will...

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The subjunctive

The subjunctive is a grammar form that has no plural form or past form. It is generally used when something is considered important or desirable. It is part of a highly formal style of English often referred to as 'The Queen's English'. For example: It is essential...

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Understanding reference words in English

What's wrong with this sentence? Some people believe that a university education should be available to everyone as a university education will help with employment. The problem here is that 'university education' has been repeated - the sentence would have been...

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Reported speech

Reported speech

Reported speech, also called indirect speech, is what happens when we are telling someone about what another person said. Here is an example of direct and reported speech: Direct speech: I don't like this party. Reported or indirect speech: He said (that) he didn't...

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The 4 rules for Reported speech in English

The 4 rules for Reported speech in English. Reported speech, also called indirect speech, is what happens when we are telling someone about what another person said. Here is an example of direct and reported speech: Direct speech: I don't like this party. Reported or...

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Transitive and intransitive verbs

Transitive and intransitive verbs have different rules when you use them to make sentences. 1. The boss surprised his workteam.  TRANSITIVE VERB 2. The boss smiled. INTRANSITIVE VERB Transitive verbs A transitive verb needs a direct object to make a complete sentence....

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