Free Vocabulary Lessons

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Phrasal Verbs

The difference between GO AWAY andGO OUT when we talk about leisure activities. When we say ‘go away’ we mean you have left your hometown for more than one day.

Basically you are spending at least one night in another town.
​ ‘I am going away to Scotland for the weekend.’ ‘We are going away for our honeymoon.’ ‘Let’s go away for the week.’

When we go out we are leaving our home but we are not going too far. We will be sleeping in our own beds that night.

If you lived in London, these could be your examples:  ‘I am going out to Greenwich for the day.’ ‘Let’s go out to Brighton for the day.’

​It would be strange and incorrect to say,  ‘Let’s go away for the day.’ X ‘I am going out for the week.’ X

KNUCKLE DOWN The meaning of this expression is to work hard. ‘I need to knuckle down and do my project tonight.’ ‘Stop being lazy, knuckle down and do some work.’
TO BE BLOWN AWAY When we are extremely shocked or excited by something. We usually use it in the passive.
I was blown away by how good the food was in that restaurant.’
TURN OUT Meaning something that results in a certain way, usually an unexpected one.
EG, ‘ when I first met him I thought he was nice. However, he turned out to be mean. ‘
TO BE FED UP To be annoyed or bored about a situation that has been continuing for a long time.  ‘I am fed up with the terrible weather.’ ‘The manager is fed up with his workers always being late.’
‘BUMP INTO’  meaning to meet somebody by chance or by accident.
For example, ‘I was in Harrods and I bumped into my friend. I was very surprised to see him.’
‘DROP OFF’ meaning to take something or someone to a location and leave it there.
E.g, ‘ I need to drop off my passport photos at the office. ‘
It can also be used when you are driving somebody: ‘I drop my children off at school every day. ‘
‘BREAK UP’ meaning the end of some kind of relationship. E.G, ‘The Beatles broke up a long time ago.

‘Johnny Depp and Vanessa Paradis broke up a few years ago.’

‘KEEP UP’ meaning to maintain something at the same level.

For example, ‘ I am doing well at work but I need to keep it up if I want to pass my test.’ Remember, if you are using it with a pronoun then it needs to be in the middle. If you are using a regular noun you can use it in the middle or at the end.

E.g ‘ I need to keep up my fitness for the marathon. ‘

‘LOOK FORWARD TO meaning to be excited about something that is going to happen in the future.

For example, ‘ I am really looking forward to having a couple of beers tonight!’

‘Get Over’ we use this to talk about recovering from something, both emotionally and physically.

For example, ‘ I had a cold but I have got over it.’ or ‘It will take me a long time to get over my ex-girlfriend.’

‘ Stick Up For’  we use this when we want to defend something or somebody.

For example, ‘ those boys were saying unkind things to Peter so I decided to stick up for him. ‘

‘Take Up’ meaning to start a new hobby or habit.

For example, ‘ I have just taken up skateboarding.’ Remember after phrasal verbs we always use a gerund (ing) or a noun, NEVER an infinitive

 

Everyday Expressions and Vocabulary

IN VAIN  This expression is used as an adverb. It means that we have tried to do something but we were not successful.  ‘I tried in vain to pass my driving test.’ ‘I waited in vain for the bus to arrive but it never came. ‘  ‘ I gave up smoking in vain, after two weeks I was smoking again. ‘
YOU WHAT? This is a very interesting expression. It is not really polite, but it is used in everyday conversation all the time. It is used instead of ‘ pardon, ‘ or ‘ excuse me, could you repeat that? ‘  We use it when we didn’t hear something properlyand we want somebody to repeat it.

A: Do you want a drink?  B: You what?

A: I said, do you want a drink?  B: Yeah sure, cheers.

OK, it is time to teach you all some everyday English expressions. You might not find these in your textbooks, but they are things we say in normal conversation all the time. Enjoy!! I’M OFF = I am leaving now
‘Right, I’m off. I have to meet John at Costa.’ NICE ONE = Congratulations or thank you
A: I just passed my driving test.
B: Nice one!
A: I got you a present on my holiday.
B: Nice one! GET A MOVE ON = Hurry up!
‘I need to get a move on, my bus leaves soon.’
DEAD SET ON +ING To be very determined to do something. You will try your hardest and are sure you will succeed.’I am dead set on saving money to buy a car.’
‘I am dead set on learning Arabic.’
HAVING SAID THAT An excellent expression used to contradict or go against the first thing you have said.

‘I think Robert DeNiro is a great actor. Having said that, his last few films have been terrible. ‘

NOT AT ALL This is a very British expression that has two meanings :
1) to politely reply when someone thanks you.
A: Thanks for helping me.  B: Not at all2) To say no very strongly  I’m not at all hungry.
A: Do you like carrots ?  B: Not at all
SMUG This is an adjective to describe someone who is TOO pleased with their achievements or successes.
The adverb is ‘SMUGLY’ and the noun is ‘SMUGNESS’That man is acting very smugly.
I think he is a good actor but he has been so smug since he won that Oscar.
I don’t like smugness in a person.
UP FOR We use this expression to say that someone wants to do something. We can use it in a question, negative and positive.

‘Are you up for going out tonight?’ ‘Yes! Let’s go to the cinema!’ ‘I am not up for doing anything this afternoon.’ ‘I am up for tennis later if you like.’ We use it in the following ways: ‘up for + verb(ing_)’ ‘up for + noun Are you up for writing a sentence with this expression?

 

BEWILDERED Bewildered is an adjective to describe the feelings of somebody who feels confused and surprised about something. We use it with the preposition ‘by’.
​ ‘I was bewildered by what my friend said.’  ‘That film bewildered me.’
MAKE MY DAY If something ‘makes your day’ it makes you extremely happy. It means you are going to be happy all day.

​A: Dad, I got an A in my English test.
B: Well done, I am so happy. You have made my day.

CAN’T WAIT To be incredibly excited about something happening in the future. You want it to happen now!
‘I can’t wait for the England match.’ (for + noun)
I can’t wait to watch the England match.’ (to + verb)
TO BE CRAZY ABOUT  This means to really love someone or something. ‘I am crazy about my wife.’ ‘That man is crazy about chocolate.’ That girl is crazy about football.’ What are you crazy about?

 

‘ECSTATIC’  meaning very, very happy.

Eg, ‘I was ecstatic when I found out my exam results.’

TERRIFYING/TERRIFIED ‘Terrifying’ is an adjective that describes something very scary.
‘Terrified’ is how you feel when you are very afraid or scared.’Did you see that film last night? It was terrifying’
‘When I watched The Ring I was terrified!’
‘SOONER OR LATER’  we use this to say that something will definitely be done in the future, we just aren’t sure when exactly.

For example, ‘I have never been to Rome but sooner or later I will,’ or ‘I will clean my room sooner or later. ‘

UPBEAT This is an adjective we use to say that we are positive or optimistic about something.
It can be used generally:
‘He is an upbeat person.’
or it can be used to talk about something specific:
I am upbeat about England’s chances in the World Cup.What are you upbeat about?
SIBLING  This word means a brother or sister. Instead of saying, ‘ I have two brothers and one sister. ‘
I can just say, ‘ I have three siblings.’

 

Idioms

LIKE A FISH OUT OF WATER

The feeling you have when you are in an uncomfortable place or situation. One that you are not used to.  ‘When I moved to France I felt like a fish out of water. It was so strange.’ ‘I felt like a fish out of water when I went to watch American Football. ‘I did not know anything about it.’

TO GET A BUZZ

We use this expression when we get excited about something or to really enjoy it. ‘I get a buzz out of climbing.’ ‘I get a buzz out of playing computer games.’

LET THE CAT OUT OF THE BAG

We use this when we talk about revealing a secret accidentally.  “Don’t trust him, he always lets the cat out of the bag.” “I let the cat out of the bag when I told John about the surprise birthday party.”

CHEESED OFF

This is a fantastic idiom to mean that you are annoyed about something. I was really cheesed off with my friend because he was late last night. I was cheesed off about that film. The ending was really bad.  Use ‘cheesed off with + person, cheesed off about + thing’

 

TO LOSE YOUR COOL

We use this when we become angry and cannot control our emotions or be calm.
‘Pepe lost his cool in the game today and was sent off.’
‘I lost my cool when the car in front of me was driving badly.’

DON’T SEE EYE TO EYE

When two people don’t agree with eachother about something.

‘I don’t see eye to eye with my colleague about work.’

FINGERS CROSSED

You use this expression when you hope for luck or success for someone or something. ‘My team are playing in the final today, fingers crossed they will win.’

GIVE SOMEONE A HAND

We use this to talk about helping someone.

‘Can I give you a hand with your bags?’
‘I gave my son a hand yesterday with his homework.’
‘Can you give me a hand please? These books are really heavy.’

NO TIME LIKE THE PRESENT

We use this to say we want to do something now and not wait until some time in the future.

A: When should we do this work?
B: No time like the present!

‘NEVER BETTER’

meaning you feel good.

​EG, A: How are you? B: Never better.

‘WITHOUT A DOUBT’

meaning for certain or definitely. We usually use it as answer to a question.

For example,

A: ‘Are you coming to class tomorrow?’ B: ‘Without a doubt. See you then.’

‘ACHILLES HEEL’

we use this to describe someone’s weakness. Usually in an area they are good at. For example: ‘ I am good at sports but running is my Achilles heel. I am not very fast. ‘

‘FIRST THING 

meaning early in the morning. For example, ‘I got up first thing yesterday so I could finish my homework. ‘

‘AT A LOOSE END ‘

meaning you have free time but you have no plans.

For example, ‘Joe, would you like to come to the pub with me ? I am at a loose end.’

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