Monday, 30 May 2016




The word no never precedes: a, an, at, in, the, any, much, many, enough.

No is used:

  • as an exclamation.
  • as an adjective before singular and plural nouns.

Not is used:

  • as an adverb to make a sentence negative. 
  • to make an adjective or adverb negative.
  • in short replies with a number of verbs.


  • We have no money in the bank now.
  • We do not have any money in the bank now.

  • There are no books in the bookcase.
  • There are no English books in the bookcase.
  • There are not any books in the bookcase.

  • Do you like coffee? No, I don't.
  • Didn't you finish it? No, I didn't.

  • Don't you want this? Not at all.
  • Won't you be mad at us? Not in the least.
  • Aren't you going to go? Not right now.
  • Who took my book? Not me.


Sunday, 29 May 2016



Summer is coming and there are plenty of leisure activities we can practice and talk about. Here are some ways to talk and ask about general hobbies, interests and favourite sports in English.

When you want to get someone to know you well or if you want to know someone better, you can always talk and ask about your hobbies and interests:

Saying what you like

like + noun / ing form
I like tennis / I like playing tennis
love + noun / ing form
He loves football / He loves watching football
be keen on + noun / ing form
She's keen on the cinema / going to the cinema
enjoy + noun / ing form
We enjoy sports / playing sports

Remember: I like (+ ing / noun) is for general likes.
I like going to the cinema.
I'd like + verb is for a specific occasion:
I'd like to go to the cinema next weekend.

Adding emphasis:
You can add "very much" at the end of the sentence.
I like tennis.
I like tennis very much.
You can add "at all" to a negative sentence if you don't like something.
I don't like cricket.
I don't like cricket at all.

Talking about your hobby

Use adverbs of frequency (always, usually, often, sometimes, rarely, never, etc) or another phrase to talk about how often or when you do your hobby.

only watch football at the weekends.
I go to the gym four times a week.
don't often have time to socialise with friends.
You can say why you like your hobby by describing it with an -ing adjective.
I like swimming because it's relaxing.
Watching football is exciting.
It's interesting to surf the net.

Example conversations

What do you enjoy doing in your free time?
I spend a lot of time going to discos with my friends.
Are you keen on sports?
Yes, I love playing tennis in summer.
Are you a sports fan?
Not really. I prefer relaxing with friends in a restaurant.
Do you like going to restaurants?
Not much. I prefer cooking at home.

Typical hobbies

These hobbies are popular with British people:

Watching television
Visiting friends
Entertaining friends (when friends come to your house for dinner, etc)
Listening to music
Reading books
Going to the pub
Going to a restaurant
Going for a drive
Going for a walk
DIY (doing DIY = doing home-improvement activities)
Photography / Taking photographs
Surfing the net

Typical sports

Here is some vocabulary for different sports:

Ball games

Martial arts

Extreme sports
Rock climbing

Water sports

Other activities
Keeping fit

Using play, do and go

When we talk about our hobbies, we can use the verbs play, do, or go:

My sister plays tennis every weekend.
My brother likes doing DIY.
go swimming three times a week.
Play + sport / game
play football / play video games / play chess
Do + hobby / individual sport
do DIY, do judo
Go + activity
go swimming, go fishing

Questions you can ask

What do you like doing?
What sort of hobbies do you have?
What do you get up to in your free time?

How to reply

In my free time I…
When I have some spare time I…
When I get the time, I…
I relax by (watching TV)
I'm interested in (+ noun / gerund)
I'm keen on (+ noun / gerund)
I'm into (+ noun / gerund)
I enjoy (+ noun / gerund)
You can add "really" or "quite" after "I'm…" for emphasis.
"I'm really keen on football."

Giving a longer reply

You can add more details about your hobbies and interests:
I like arts and crafts. I'm a creative / practical person, and like doing things with my hands.
I'm an outgoing person, and like socialising / hanging out with friends.
I enjoy being physically active, and spend a lot of time playing sports and team games.

Saying why you like your hobby

You can also explain why you spend time on your hobby to make the conversation longer and more interesting.

I really enjoy going to the gym because
…it keeps me fit.
…it gets me out of the house, you know!
…it's sociable. I've met lots of new people.
…it gives me something interesting to do with my time.
…it's not very expensive, and anyone can do it!

More words that you can use to describe your hobbies:

Like doing vs like to do

We use like + gerund (ing form) to talk about general likes:
like fishing.

We use like + infinitive to talk about more specific likes:
I like to go fishing at the weekend.





Saturday, 28 May 2016


An Extensive List of Phrasal Verbs
Phrasal Verb
abide by
To respect or obey a decision, a law or a rule
If you want to keep your job here, you must abide by our rules.
account for
To explain, give a reason
I hope you can account for the time you were out!
add up
To make sense, seem reasonable
The facts in the case just don’t add up.
advise against
To recommend not doing something
advise against walking alone in this neighborhood.
agree with
To have the same opinion as someone else.
agree with you. I think you should go as well.
allow for
To take into consideration
We need to allow for unexpected charges along the way.
appeal to
1.     To plead or make a request
2.     To be attractive or interesting
1.     He appealed to the court to change its decision.
2.     A vacation of sunbathing doesn’tappeal to me.
apply for
To make a formal request for something (job, permit, loan etc.)
He applied for a scholarship for next semester.
back away
To move backwards, in fear or dislike
When he saw the bear, he backed away in fright.
back down
To withdraw, concede defeat
Local authorities backed down on their threats to build on that part of the beach.
back up
1.     To give support or encouragement
2.     To make a copy of (file, program, etc.)
1.     I’m going to be very strict with him. I hope you’ll back me up on this?
2.     You should back up all your computer files in a secure location.
bank on
To base your hopes on something / someone
I’m banking on you to help with the charity event.
black out
To faint, lose consciousness
Jenna fell in the parking lot and blacked out.
block off
To separate using a barrier.
The police blocked off the street after the explosion.
blow up
1.     To explode
2.     To get angry
1.     Tommy blew up the red balloon.
2.     Don’t blow up at me. It’s not my fault.
boil down to
To be summarized as
It all boils down to who has more power.
boot up
To start a computer by loading an operating system or program
You need to boot up your computer before you begin to work.
break away
To separate from a crowd
One of the wolves broke away from his pack.
break down
1.     To go out of order, cease to function
2.     To lose control of one’s emotions
1.     The washing machine broke downso we had to call in the repair technician.
2.     John broke down when he heard the news.
break into
To enter by force
Burglars broke into my car last night.
break out
To start suddenly
Rioting broke out after the government raised the fuel prices again.
break out of
To escape from a place by force
Several prisoners broke out of jail.
break up
To come to an end (marriage, relationship)
She broke up with Daniel after dating him for five years.
bring up
To raise (a child)
Sara is bringing up her children by herself.
brush up on
To improve, refresh one’s knowledge of something
I must brush up on my French before going to Paris next month.
bump into
To meet by chance or unexpectedly
bumped into Adam at the bank. He says “hello”.
burn out
1.     stop (something) working
2.     become exhausted from over-working
1.     The light bulb burnt out. Please change it.
2.     She needs to work fewer hours. Otherwise she will burn out.
call back
To return a phone call
Could please call back in ten minutes?
call off
To cancel
The game was called off because of bad weather.
calm down
To become more relaxed, less angry or upset
It took Kylie several hours to calm down after she saw the accident.
carry on
To continue
The soldiers carried on walking in order to get to their post before dark.
carry out
1.     To do something as specified (a plan, an order, a threat)
2.     To perform or conduct (test, experiment)
1.     His orders were carried out to the letter.
2.     That company does not carry out tests on animals.
check in
To register at a hotel or airport
They said I must check in at least three hours before my flight.
check out
1.     To pay one’s bill and leave (a hotel)
2.     To investigate
1.     Donna checked out of the hotel this morning.
2.     I don’t know if this price is correct. I’llcheck it out online.
clam up
To refuse to speak
When the police started asking questions, the suspect clammed up.
clamp down on
To act strictly to prevent something
The local authorities have decided to clamp down on illegal parking in handicapped parking places.
come across
1.     To find by chance
2.     To appear, seem, make an impression
1.     I was cleaning up and came across some old photos of you.
2.     The politician came across as a complete fool during the TV interview.
come forward
To present oneself
Has the owner of the winning lotto ticket come forward?
count on
To rely or depend on (for help)
You can count on me to keep your secret.
cut down on
To reduce in number or size
I’ve decided to cut down on the amount of sweets I eat.
cut out
1.     To remove using scissors
2.     To stop doing something
1.     She cut out a coupon from the newspaper.
2.     You need to cut out all red meat from your diet.
deal with
To handle, take care of (problem, situation)
Catherine is not good at dealing with stress.
die down
To calm down, become less strong
After the storm died down, we went outside to see the damage it had caused.
do without
To manage without
She didn’t get a salary this month, so she’ll have to do without extra treats.
drag on
To last longer than expected
The suspect’s trial dragged on longer than we had expected!
draw up
To write (contract, agreement, document)
They drew up a contract and had me sign it.
dress up
wear elegant clothes
Their wedding gave us a chance to dress up and get out of the house.
drop in
To visit, usually on the way somewhere
Why don’t you drop in to see us on your way home?
drop off
1.     To deliver someone or something
2.     To fall asleep
1.     I’ll drop off the papers later today.
2.     I often drop off in front of the TV.
drop out
To leave school without finishing
Zack dropped out of college and joined the army.
ease off
To reduce, become less severe or slow down (pain, traffic, work)
Traffic usually eases off about 7pm
end in
To finish in a certain way; result in
Her marriage ended in divorce.
end up
To finally reach a state, place or action
If you don’t improve your work habits, you’ll end up being fired.
fall through
To fail; doesn’t happen
His plans to trek through South America fell through when he got sick.
figure out
To understand, find the answer
He’s trying to figure out how to earn enough money to go on the trip to Spain.
fill out
To complete (a form/an application)
Please fill out the enclosed form and return it as soon as possible.
find out
To discover or obtain information
I’m going to to find out who’s responsible for the power cut.
focus on
To concentrate on something
Tom had difficultty focusing on work the day before his holiday started.
get along (with)
To be on good terms; work well with
It’s important to get along with your team supervisor.
get at
To imply
What are you getting at? Do you think I’m to blame?
get away
To escape
I think we should get away for the weekend.
get by
To manage to cope or to survive
Students without jobs have a hard time getting by.
get in
To enter
When did you get in last night?
get into (+noun)
To enter
How did you get into your car without the keys?
get off
1.     To leave (bus, train, plane)
2.     To remove
1.     You should get off the train in Kings Heath.
2.     I can’t get the ink stain off my shirt.
get on
To board (bus, train, plane)
I’m trying to get on the flight to Brussels.
get on with (something)
To continue to do; make progress
After they split up, she had a hard time getting on with her life.
get on (well) with (somebody)
To have a good relationship with
He doesnt get on very well with the other members of the committee.
get out
To leave
He had a hard time getting out of Newark because of the snow?
get out of
To avoid doing something
Edna’s trying to get out of working the night shift.
get over
To recover from (illness, disappointment)
Has she gotten over the flu?
get over
To recover from (illness, disappointment)
Mary had the chickenpox last week but she got over it.
get rid of
To eliminate
Please get rid of that old t-shirt. It’s so ragged.
get together
To meet each other
Let’s get together for your birthday on Saturday.
get up
To rise, leave bed
Will you please get up? You’ve got a class in 20 minutes.
give in
1.     To cease opposition; yield
2.     To To hand in; submit
1.     We will never give in to the terrorists’ demands.
2.     I’ll give in my paper tomorrow.
give up
To stop doing something
Morris gave up drinking 10 years ago.
go through
To experience
Andy went through a lot of pain after his mother died.
grow up
To spend one’s childhood; develop; become an adult
He’s like Peter Pan. He never really grew up at all.
hand in
To submit (report, homework)
Please hand in your papers before Friday.
hand out
To distribute
Susan volunteered at the shelter where she handed out warm clothes.
hang out
To spend time in a particular place or with a group of friends
Which pub does the team hang out at after the game?
hang up
To end a phone conversation
If you hang up now, I’ll never speak to you again.
hold on
1.     To wait
2.     To grip tightly
1.     Please hold on and a representative will answer your call.
2.     She was so scared on the rollercoaster ride that she held onfor dear life.
hurry up
To be quick, act speedily
Hurry up and finish your lunch or we’ll miss the train.
iron out
To resolve by discussion, eliminate differences
The two countries met at the conference to iron out their differences.
join in
To participate
Yes David, you can join in the discussion any time you like.
join up
1.     To engage in, become a member of
2.     To meet and unite with
1.     There was a war on, so some kids were only sixteen when they joined up.
2.     Let’s separate now and join up later at the restaurant.
keep on
To continue doing something
If you keep on making that noise I will get annoyed.
keep up with
To stay at the same level as someone or something
I read the paper every day to keep up with the news.
kick off
To begin, start
The rugby match kicked off at 3 o’clock.
leave out
To omit, not mention
Please check your form again and make sure nothing is left out.
let down
To disappoint
I feel so let down because they promised me a puppy but all I got was a doll.
look after
To take care of
Andy can you look after your sister until I get back?
look down on
To consider as inferior
She’s such a snob. She always looks down on anyone who is poor.
look on
To be a spectator at an event
If you don’t want to take part in the game you can look on for now.
look for
To try to find something
Harry went to the shop to look for a new computer.
look forward to
To await or anticipate with pleasure
I’m looking forward to my birthday. It’s in two days time.
look up to
To admire
I always looked up to my father. He was a great man.
make fun of
To laugh at/ make jokes about
It’s not nice to make fun of people in wheelchairs.
make up
To invent (excuse, story)
That’s a good excuse. Did you make up it up yourself?
mix up
To mistake one thing or person for another
She had so many cats that she kept mixing up their names.
move in
To arrive in a new home or office
Did you hear? Our new neighbors are moving in this afternoon.
move out
To leave your home/office for another one.
When are you moving out? We need your office for the new guy.
nod off
To fall asleep
You were so tired after the game that you nodded off on the couch.
own up
To admit or confess something
Come on. Own up. We know you did it!
pass away
To die
Your grandfather passed away peacefully in his sleep last night.
pass out
To faint
He didn’t drink enough water so he passed out at the end of the race.
pay back
To reimburse
I’ll pay you back as soon as I get the loan.
put off
To postpone, arrange a later date
Don’t put off until tomorrow, what you can do today.
put on
To turn on, switch on
It’s very dark in here. Please put on the light on.
put out
To extinguish
The fire fighters were able to put out fire in ten minutes.
put up
To accommodate, give somebody a bed
I can put you up until the weekend but then I’m going away.
pick up
To collect somebody
I’ll pick you up at around 7:00 to take you to the airport.
point out
To indicate/direct attention to something
As I already pointed out, there was a mistake in your calculation.
rely on
To count on, depend on, trust
You can rely on me. I always arrive on time.
rule out
To eliminate
Since he had a sound alibi, the police ruled him out as a suspect.
run away
To escape from a place or suddenly leave
He ran away from home and joined the circus.
run into
To meet by accident or unexpectedly (also: bump into)
I’m so glad I ran into you. I need to ask you something.
run out of
To have no more of something.
We’ve run out of milk. I’ll just pop next door to borrow some.
set off
To start a journey;
Let’s set off early to miss the rush hour traffic.
set up
To start a business
They set up their own company when they were still in high school.
shop around
To compare prices
Don’t buy that. Let’s shop around and see if we can find something cheaper.
show off
To brag or want to be admired
He’s such a show off. He has to tell everybody about his new computer.
show up
To appear/arrive
I don’t think she’ll show up tonight. Her daughter is sick.
shut up (impolite)
To be silent, stop talking
Shut up, you’re spoiling the movie!
sit down
To take a seat
I think you should sit down. It’s bad news.
stand up
To rise from a sitting position
The whole stadium stood up for the national anthem.
stick up for
To defend
My big brother always stuck up for me when I got into a fight.
take after
To resemble, in appearance or character
Angie really takes after her grandmother.
take care of
To look after
Please take care of my cat when I’m away.
take off
To leave the ground
The plane will take off as soon as the fog lifts.
take on
To hire or engage staff
I hear they’re taking on extra staff for this event.
take out
To remove; extract
Please take out your mobile phones and turn them off.
tell off
To reprimand/criticize severely
The coach told her off for not trying hard enough.
think over
To consider
Take your time and think it over before you decide.
try on
To wear something to see if it suits or fits
Go ahead, try it on and see if it fits?
turn down
To refuse
I asked her out but she turned me down flat.
use up
To finish a product (so that there’s none left)
Your parents used up all the coffee!
watch out
To be careful
Watch out! There’s a dog in the road.
wear out
1.     To become unusable
2.     To become very tired
1.     Julie wore out her shoes running the marathons.
2.     Julie was worn out after all that running.
work out
1.     To do physical exercise
2.     To find a solution or calculate something
1.     You should work out twice a week at the gym.
2.     Can you work this out? I’m no good at math.
wipe off
To clean (board, table).
I’ll wash up if you wipe off the table.