Phrase of the day: When I win the lottery

Almost everyone who has learned English in class has probably had that lesson where you study second conditionals. In a second conditional, we use a past tense to describe an imagined, unlikely or impossible situation and would to describe the result…

Read more

Phrase of the day: not bat an eyelid

One of the things that our students often comment on when they come to London is the fact that they often see things here that seem strange or that would cause upset or offence in their own country, but people…

Read more

Phrase of the day: go with the flow

My preferred way of getting around London is by bike. I usually cycle in and out of town, and on my way home, I often go past the offices of Age UK, which is a charity that campaigns for old people and…

Read more

Phrase of the day: making a rod for your own back

I had dinner round at a neighbour's place the other week. Our kids go to the same school, which is how we know each other, and while we were eating and drinking wine, the kids played happily upstairs. Well, actually,…

Read more

Phrase of the day: How long is a piece of string?

As a coursebook writer, there’s one question about my work I dread more than all others. I’ll sometimes be at a conference, standing around on the publisher’s stand - the display space they have where they show all their books…

Read more

Phrase of the day: a double-edged sword

For many years, Hugh Grant was perhaps the most famous English actor there was. He rose to fame playing . . . well, himself, really. In films such as Notting Hill, Love Actually and Four Wedddings and a Funeral, he…

Read more

Phrase of the day: raining cats and dogs

We're joking, of course. This is really NOT our chunk of the day. Only students of English and people who haven't lived in the UK since about 1950 actually use this idiom – and it probably wasn't even used that…

Read more

Phrase of the day: bon appetit

You probably don't need me to tell you that food culture here in England is (and yes, I am using the classic English art of understatement here!) slightly different to much of the rest of the world. We seem to…

Read more

Phrase of the day: on the cheap

Some of you may have heard on the news this week that dozens of people were injured when a floor overlooking the main lobby of the Indonesian Stock Exchange building collapsed. You may even have seen the shocking video of…

Read more

Phrase of the day: Christmas cheer

Despite my mutterings of Bah humbug! in the last post, I do actually like a bit of Christmas cheer. Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve been out quite a bit catching up with friends who I haven’t seen for…

Read more