Sunday, October 28, 2012

Phrasal verbs based on take

We use phrasal verbs based on the verb take quite often. Test your knowledge with these exercises. Have a look at the table and try working out their meanings and doing the exercises without looking them up first. But if you get stuck, you can quickly check their meanings at the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary or one of the other websites linked to below.
Phrasal verbs based on take can have a physical sense - take something back somewhere implying that you physically move something or accompany somebody somewhere. They can also have a more metaphorical sense, but still implying this movement - This music takes me back to my childhood, or a completely non-literal sense - She has taken up jogging.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Forming abstract nouns using suffixes

Two quizzes based on a 'bank' of more than 200 abstract nouns. View by base word type or go for a random selection.

Saturday, October 20, 2012


A year or so ago, the BBC website published a rather silly article, where they invited readers to write in with the Americanisms which annoyed them most. The BBC published these without any comment, causing a bit of a stir in the (mostly American) linguistics blogosphere. In fact it turned out that many of these 'pet peeves' that people sent in weren't even Americanisms at all, and of the five examples the journalist had opened the article with, only one hadn't started life in Britain.
Perhaps in an attempt to redress the balance slightly, the BBC have recently published an article about Britishisms (also known as Briticisms) that have been creeping into use in North America, and invited American readers to send in examples of Britishisms they had noticed being used. Thirty of these were then published in a follow-up article, with definitions from Oxford English and Collins dictionaries.
Note - a lot of these words are informal or colloquial, and one is downright rude (in the sexual sense), or as one dictionary has it - 'vulgar', and another 'taboo, slang'. But none of them are particularly nasty. Try your hand at using them with four short exercises.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Stative verbs plus

What are stative verbs?

Stative verbs (or state verbs) are a relatively small group of verbs which describe states rather than actions, and so are in contrast to dynamic (or action verbs), which form the vast majority of verbs.
Stative verbs tend to be connected with existence, thoughts, emotions, the senses and possession. They often describe states which last for quite a long time. The most common is the verb be.
The most important thing to remember about stative verbs is that they are not normally used in continuous (progressive) tenses, which are usually used to describe actions or change. However quite a few verbs can be both stative and dynamic, and some stative verbs can even occasionally be used in continuous tenses, so we need to be able to distinguish how they are being used.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Video lesson - classic comedy sketch - Four candles

This sketch is a popular favourite from what was one of the most popular British TV shows of all time - The Two Ronnies. It was placed fifth on Channel 4's list of the fifty greatest comedy sketches of all time, and the sketch has had at least one pub named after it: The Four Candles in Oxford.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Verb patterns - new page

Verb patterns - verb + ing form, verb + infinitive, verb + that clause

I've put together what I think is a fairly comprehensive table of structures that can come after just over 400 different verbs. There's also a feature where you can look up a verb and see a short list of its possible structures.
One of these days I'll get round to doing some exercises on verb patterns. Meanwhile this should help as a reference.
And as this is for reference I've done it as a page rather than a post. Just click here or on 'Verb patterns' in the list of pages above.