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…

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Phrase of the day: Bah humbug!

The phrase Bah, humbug! comes from the Charles Dickens’ story A Christmas Carol and is said by the main character Scrooge, who doesn’t like anything about Christmas. People can be called a scrooge when they don’t like spending money. You…

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Phrase of the day: cut your teeth

I usually try and avoid central London at this time of year. Streets like Tottenham Court Road are jam-packed at the best of times, but in the run-up to Christmas, they start to resemble the ninth circle of hell! Desperate…

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Phrase of the day: all the trimmings

If there's one thing I've learned over twenty years of teaching foreign students here in the UK it's that English food is misunderstood and much-maligned. The usual comments I've heard revolve around the idea that there's no such thing as…

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Phrase of the day: smash it

Every now and then, a phrase comes along that makes you feel really old. I'm not talking about things like the use of the adjective bare, which you hear teenagers and young adults using all the time on the streets…

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Phrase of the day: slap bang in the middle

Onomatopoeia is a strange thing. Officially, it's the use of words that supposedly sound like the sounds they refer to. If we only speak one language, we hardly ever even notice such words as buzz or thud, and if we…

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Phrase of the day: either or

As many of you will know, prepositional use in English is a particularly problematic area for learners. Imagine your frustration if you learn the supposedly 'basic' meaning of in via a picture that shows, say, a large block dot inside…

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Phrase of the day: one for the road

As you may have noticed from our last post, we ran our first-ever Lexical Lab summer school in London this summer. As well as designing, running and teaching on the courses, we also put together a full social and cultural…

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Phrase of the day: I think not

One of the courses we ran this July as part of our very first Lexical Lab summer school was ADVANCED LANGUAGE AND CULTURE, which lasted two weeks and which explored everything from the class system to education to Brexit to…

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Phrase of the day: rule of thumb

My mother turned 70 last month and to celebrate we took her to Majorca for a week-long break. We rented a villa in Puerto Pollensa up on the north coast. It was just about large enough for my mum and…

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