Monday, 29 October 2012

Verbs - Present Continuous

We use Present Continuous for:-
  • Actions that are happening now e.g. What are you doing?
  • Temporary situations e.g. They’re living with an Australian family in Sydney.
  • Future arrangements e.g. We’re going to the cinema this evening.
Expressions used with Present Continuous:- at the moment, right now, now, at present, currently.

We don’t use the Present Continuous for verbs which describe a state (thoughts, feelings, senses, possession) e.g. agree, be, believe, belong, contain, exist, forget, hate, have (possession), hear, imagine, know, like, love, mean, mind, need, notice, owe, prefer, realise, remember, seem, suppose, understand, want, wish

sit sitting
plan planning
run running
stop stopping
swim swimming

come coming
live living
make making
smile smiling

die dying
lie lying

I am walking.
You/We/They are walking.
He/She/It is walking.

She is talking to Betty at the moment.
He’s going out this evening.
Her boyfriend broke up with her and she is in her room crying.
They are currently reading a novel for their assignment so they can’t go out tonight.
I think she is hiding behind the chair.
We are helping the homeless this weekend.
Stop! A pedestrian is crossing the road.
They are building a row of houses in this street at present.
His car broke down and he’s pushing it to the garage.
Look! That man is shouting at the children.
The workers are carrying bags of supplies to the supermarket right now.
They are jumping over the last hurdle now.

I am not
You/We/They are not
He/She/It is not

They aren’t working today as it’s a public holiday.
The film isn’t starting for another hour so take your time.
He isn’t studying for his exams.
They aren’t meeting up this week to discuss the project.
He isn’t running very fast. I don’t think he’ll win the race.
She isn’t calling us to eat dinner. She just wants to see if we’re alright.
We aren’t looking at the accounts today because we don’t have time.
They aren’t going to Spain this summer.
I’ll call her. She isn’t sleeping.
She isn’t cutting the bread. She’s making some cupcakes for the party.
They aren’t arguing about football this time.
She isn’t putting the books on the shelf. She has gone to get a ladder because she can’t reach. 

Am I
Are you/we/they
Is he/she/it

Is she eating in the kitchen or the living room?
Are you writing a response to the email?
Is he booking a table for tonight?
Are they cooking potatoes or rice for us?
Is she asking for directions? I hope we can find the place.
Are you opening the suitcase to put more clothes in or are you looking for something?
What’s he doing over there? Is he sitting or standing up?
Is she listening to Pink’s new album now?
Can I speak to dad or is he watching TV?
Are they playing the guitar in the band tonight?

Saturday, 27 October 2012

Verbs - Present Simple

We use present simple for:-
  • Habits or repeated actions (every day, once a week, etc.) e.g. We telephone each other twice a month.
  • Things that are always true e.g. Adele sings very well.
  • Timetables e.g. The train leaves at 7:30 in the morning and arrives at 9am. I go to work at 7am daily and return at 5pm.

Use present simple with:-
  • Verbs that are not activities - think, know, understand, agree, want
  • Adverbs of frequency - sometimes, often, always, usually, never, occasionally
I/You/We/They work
He/She/It works (add 's' or 'es' to the verb)

Verbs ending in sh, ch, ss, o, x add 'es'
wash washes
teach teaches
cross crosses
go goes
mix → mixes

Verbs ending in consonant (b, c, d, f, g, h, j, k, l, m, n, p, q, r, s, t, v, w, x, y, z) + y, change to 'ies'
carry carries
study studies
cry cries

I usually walk to work.
She often drives into town on Mondays.
We park our car in front of the supermarket.
They wait at that bus stop over there.
I wake up at 7:30 every day.
She sometimes sleeps late at weekends.
We make sure we wash our face every morning.
I always eat a sandwich for lunch because I don't have time to cook.
Ahtletes drink a lot of water.
He frequently buys ice-cream in the summer.
That shop sells frozen yoghurt too.
I like ice-cream.

I/you/we/they do not (don’t) cook.
She/he/it does not (doesn’t) cook.

He doesn't always cook for his family.
He doesn't watch TV at all.
She doesn't listen to rock music.
We don't usually play the guitar when we perform live.
They don't play games in their free time.
They don't dance when they go to clubs.
I don't read any books that don't have pictures in them.
Unfortunately I don't sing very well. 

Do I/you/we/they live in Spain?
Does she/he/it live in Spain?

Do you choose what to wear to work?
Does she telephone you when she wants something?
Do you remember that house?
Do you think it's a good idea?
Does he live in Vietnam?
Do the neighbours clean their house every week?
Do he usually study for his exams?
Do they meet up once a month to discuss business?
Does he work in a factory?
Do they often laugh at my jokes?
Do we usually order the salad? I can't remember.
Do I often write long letters? Yes, I do!

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Sunday, 21 October 2012

Speaking IELTS - Part 2 & 3 (Model notes)

Question taken from IELTS Testbuilder 2 p.64

Speaking IELTS - Part 2 & 3 (Model notes)

Question taken from IELTS Testbuilder 2 p.119

Saturday, 20 October 2012

Academic Writing - Model Answer (Task 1)

The diagram illustrates the way in which rainwater is processed to be used in households and how wastewater is disposed of.

Initially, rainwater is either collected in a dam or a tank that is attached to a house. If rainwater is collected in a tank it is used directly by a household for the inhabitant’s individual purposes. Dam water needs to be treated prior to being delivered to houses for drinking purposes.

Household wastewater is treated at a wastewater treatment plant and is either recycled back into homes for further use or is disposed of into rivers if there is an excess amount of water. Similarly, treated stormwater is taken by underground pipes to rivers.

To sum up, rainwater is either used directly for household purposes or is treated at a treatment plant. Likewise, once treated wastewater may be re-used or directed towards a river.

Question taken from IELTS Testbuilder 2 p.87

Friday, 19 October 2012

Academic Writing - Model Answer (Task 1)

The bar chart shows the sectors that employed workers in 2005 in the U.K according to gender.

The greatest number of men were employed in skilled trade (20%) followed by managerial and senior official positions at 18%. All other categories were below 15% with smaller employment levels for sales, administrative and personal service positions.

The opposite trend can be seen the case of females where 22% were in administrative and secretarial positions. Associate, professional and technical work was also undertaken at around 15%. Other categories employed approximately 12% female workers. Very few women, in fact less than 4%, were employed in manual labour positions such as skilled trade and operating machinery.

To sum up, we can notice a difference between the professions chosen by men and women. Men had senior positions and worked in skilled vocations whereas women were mostly engaged in administration work. Equal numbers (about 12%) were involved in elementary tasks.

Question taken from IELTS Testbuilder 2 p.115

Academic Writing - Model Answer (Task 2)

Recent research has shown that media like the Internet and TV have a greater influence over people’s lives than politicians.

Which do you consider to be the greater influence?

Advances in technology means that people have access to the Internet and TV on an on-going basis. It is also for this reason that politicians use mass media to reach a wide audience. Due to the fact that viewers are tuned in so frequently, this media has a powerful influence on them. We often hear stories, for example, of how violent behaviour is triggered by violent images seen on the screen.

First of all, politics is not for everyone. Many people do not exercise their right to vote and do not take the opportunity to control how their lives are run by the government. For this reason, a politician would be unable to get their attention. Let us not forget that many citizens have a negative view of politicians and oppose their policies so this lessens their authority and influence. In fact, there are very few politicians who are seen as positive role models.

On the other hand, the media is able to send out messages that touch people’s lives and can sway public opinion either positively or negatively. All this depends on how a news story is broadcast. Social network sites and amateur videos capture a truer image of events and ordinary people have now taken on the role of journalists.

In my opinion the influence of politicians on everyday life is diminishing. The media is a powerful tool for communicating and passing on information and even politicians employ this source to advance their positions.

Question taken from IELTS Testbuilder 2 p.89

Thursday, 18 October 2012

Words with 'mate' (Vocabulary)

Mate is when two or more people share a space or are take part in the same activity.

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Academic Writing - Model Answer (Task 2)

The world has seen an enormous increase in flights for leisure, business and commercial purposes around the world over recent years.

What do you think are the main advantages and disadvantages of such flights?

Do you think flights should be taxed more?

Air passengers have different agendas and travel as tourists or for business purposes. Millions of people take to the skies around the world because of advances in technology and the availability of connecting flights.

The world has become a smaller place to live in and aircrafts provide the opportunity for people and products to be transported anywhere. Travelling for leisure introduces us to new lands, cultures and ways of living leading to acceptance and open-mindedness. Business people are able to make new contacts, get better deals and import and export products from far-away destinations. All this would not be possible without travelling by aircraft. In fact, in some isolated parts of the world or in the case of islands this is the only option available.

The environmental impact of flying however is great. A single flight emits a large amount of pollution, especially long-haul flights which consume large amounts of fuel. It is for this reason that some people believe that flights should be taxed more. That is, travellers should think twice about the carbon footprints they leave behind when going abroad.

The airline business is competitive and added taxes might reduce sales and cause a company to shut down. Even though the travel industry brings valuable money into a country and provides jobs to millions, the environment is a serious issue that needs to be addressed. Instead of taxing passengers, a better solution would be to spend money on research and development to produce aircrafts that use alternative sources of energy.

Question taken from IELTS Testbuilder 2 p.61

Academic Writing - Model Answer (Task 1)

The information given shows how visitors feel about the facilities provided at a recently opened shopping complex in Auckland.

To begin with almost half (45%) of the male shoppers are satisfied with the shops. The other levels of satisfaction are almost or exactly 20%. Similarly a large percentage of women were either satisfied (37%) or very satisfied (34%) with the shops. The level of dissatisfaction was the same as for the males while less than 10% did not comment on this facility.

More than half (55%) of the men were satisfied with the restaurants and very few (5%) were dissatisfied. 25% were very satisfied and 15% gave no answer to this question. The satisfaction percentage ranged between 20% and 32% with respect to woman, with 32% being satisfied with restaurants and as many as 20% not commenting.

The majority (62%) of shoppers were satisfied with the design of the complex and only 10% were dissatisfied which was almost equal to the amount of those who didn’t comment.

Concluding, both men and women are generally satisfied with the shops, restaurant and design of the complex, with men having higher levels of satisfaction in all categories.

Question taken from IELTS Testbuilder 2 p.59

Academic Writing - Model Answer (Task 1)

The line graph shows how many people used three types of train travel in Great Britain over a 55 year period.

The National rail network was used most frequently in 1950 with 1,000 million passengers while in 1955 the usage reached its peak. Between 1960 and 1985 this amount decreased and ranged between 600 - 1,000 million passengers. This mode of transport picked up again after 1992 and surpassed 1,000 million passengers.

Travel by London Underground was stable at approximately 740 million passengers in the first 25 years. The lowest usage was in 1980 when passenger numbers fell to just below 500 million. An increase is then noted with numbers close to those of the National rail network.

The Light rail and metro system was built in the 60s and less than 240 million used this means of transport. Prior to 1980 passenger numbers dropped. In 1980 nobody used this means but then more passengers used it after this time period.
All in all, the most popular way to travel was national rail while light rail and metro were not preferred. There is also an upward trend in recent years in all types of train transport.

Question taken from IELTS Testbuilder 2 p.30

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Expressions with 'self' (Vocabulary)

Self-addressed = an envelope having your own address on e.g. If you want your assignment returned, you need to include a self-addressed envelope.

Self-appointed = to have a position/role without the authorization of others e.g. The committee didn’t select him. He was self-appointed.

Self-awareness = to know one’s own character e.g. Ever since she started psychoanalysis her self-awareness has improved.

Self-centred = to think only of oneself e.g. I don’t think she will help you as she’s so self-centred.

Self-confident = to trust one’s abilities, qualities and judgement e.g. You will do well in the interview. We can all see how self-confident you are.

Self-conscious = to think of oneself, appearance, actions in a negative way e.g. I can’t wear a bikini as I feel self-conscious about my body.

Self-control = to control emotions/desires e.g. She has no self-control and eats too much at parties.

Self-defence = to protect yourself/interests e.g. After they were attacked they learnt some self-defence techniques to protect themselves in the future.

Self-destruct = something/someone that destroys itself /themselves e.g. All that smoking is self-destructive.

Self-development = development of a person’s character/abilities e.g. The company encourages the staff to attend self-development courses.

Self-discipline = the ability to control one’s feelings and overcome weaknesses e.g. If you are self-disciplined I don’t think you will overspend on holiday.

Self-educated = education through one’s own efforts e.g. I didn’t study Computer Science at university. I’m self-educated.

Self-employed = to work for oneself e.g. I started my own internet business and I’m self-employed now.

Self-esteem /self-respect = confidence in one’s own abilities e.g. When she lost her excess weight, her self-esteem improved.

Self-evaluation/self-assessment = to evaluate yourself e.g. Our manager asked us to complete a self-evaluation form on our performance throughout the year.

Self-explanatory = obvious e.g. You can read the rules and regulations yourself. They are self-explanatory.

Self-governed = a government elected by its own people e.g. India used to be an English colony but now it’s self-governed.

Self-guided = a visit to a tourist attraction without supervision e.g. We took a self-guided tour around the castle as we didn’t want to wait in the queue for a tour guide.

Self-help = to not rely on others e.g. I find self-help books very useful as they teach you how to get what you want.

Self-induced = brought about by oneself e.g. I don’t feel sorry for them. The situation is self-induced.

Self-made = to become rich/successful by one’s own efforts e.g. He worked extremely hard and is a self-made millionaire.

Self-pity = excessive unhappiness over one’s own troubles e.g. You need to get over your self-pity and start looking for another job.

Self-portrait = when an artist creates his own portrait e.g. Vincent van Gogh’s self-portrait is in the museum.

Self-service = when customers choose goods for themselves e.g. They have a self-service salad bar at the restaurant so you can select what you want.

Self-reliance = to depend on one’s own powers/resources rather than those of others e.g. Even though he is 80 he is self-reliant and does everything himself.

Self-absorption = preoccupied with one’s own emotions/interests/situation e.g. A few days after the break-up of her marriage she became self-absorbed.

Friday, 12 October 2012

Specialists/ Academic Experts (IELTS reading vocabulary)


AgriculturalistAgriculture → the study of farming and farming methods

AnthropologistAnthropology → the study of humanity

Archaeologist Archaeology → the study of the remains of ancient civilizations

Architect Architecture → the study of the design and construction of buildings

Biologist Biology → the study of living organisms and their relationship to their environment

Demographer Demography → the study of living populations

EconomistEconomics → the study of money and financial systems

Educationalist Education → involved in all areas of education

Engineer Engineering → the use of scientific knowledge to design and build structures

Environmentalist Environmental Studies → the study of pollution and other factors that affect the environment

Geologist Geology → the study of rocks and the earth’s surface

HistorianHistory → the study of the past

Journalist Journalism → the recording of events for the media

LinguistLinguistics → the study of the development and use of language

MathematicianMathematics → solves mathematical problems

MeteorologistMeteorology → the study of the atmosphere e.g. weather and climate

Neuroscientist Neuroscience → the study of the structure and function of the brain and nervous system

NutritionistNutrition → the study of food and how it affects our bodies

Ornithologist Ornithology → the study of birds

Palaeontologist Palaeontology → the study of prehistoric life

Philosopher Philosophy → the study of ideas and knowledge to better understand the world

Physicist Physics → the study of the natural world

Psychologist Psychology → the study of the human mind and how it works

Zoologist Zoology → the study of the animal kingdom

Thursday, 11 October 2012


I wish I had taken a taxi.  I wish I hadn’t ridden there. I was so tired when I arrived.
The restaurant wasn’t very good. I wish I had suggested a better place to meet. 
It was really cold and I wish I had dressed better for the occasion. 
She told me she was romantic and I wish I had brought her some flowers. 
I wish I hadn’t eaten so much.  I felt really bloated afterwards. 
I was nervous and laughed too much and I wish I hadn’t.
Do you wish you hadn’t worn a tie?
I spilt some wine on her dress and of course I wish I hadn’t. 
I wish I hadn’t tried to kiss her at the end of the night.
I wish I had gone home earlier as I feel exhausted today.

Using were instead of was makes a sentence more formal e.g. I wish I were a little taller.

I wish I was rich. I wish I had a car and owned a house in a good neighbourhood.
I wish I went on holiday more often.
I wish I ate hot meals as I don't get the opportunity to do that now.
We wish he knew how to skate.
They wish they kept some animals as pets.

She wishes it would stop raining.
He wishes he could play in the natch next Saturday.
They wish they could go on a trip in March.
I wish he would decide what he wants to do.
I wish they would fall in love with each other.
Don't you wish your neighbours could be quiet during the evenings?
I wish he would buy me that ring.

Wednesday, 10 October 2012


'Let' and 'Make'

Let someone do something = to allow/permit someone to do something [let + object + infinitive without 'to']
Make someone do something = to force someone to do something [make + object + infinitive without 'to']

My teacher makes me study hard.
My room is always untidy and my parents make me clean it once a week.
I had an argument with a member of staff and my supervisor made me apologise.
My parents don’t make me practice playing music but I enjoy doing it.
My children let me sleep late at weekends.
The instructor makes me train as hard as the other athletes.
My friends don’t let me suntan without putting cream on my back.
During summer, I don’t go on holiday as my parents make me help out at the family restaurant.
Our landlord lets us party until the early hours.
Jason lets us play computer games when we visit him.
I don’t have insurance so Rahman doesn’t let me ride his motorbike.
They are flexible on campus and they let us listen to music at any hour.
Once I’ve done my homework my mother lets me play in the park.
Do you parents make you write ‘thank you’ notes?
My father doesn’t make me call my grandparents but I like to ring them up to see how they are.
His wife makes him go to the dentist every three months.
Do they let you eat unhealthy food?
The head teacher made the children wear sunglasses to protect their eyes from the sun.
Passengers don’t make drivers push the taxi when it runs out of petrol!
Their parents make them share their cake with other children.
The national park ranger let us camp near the lake.

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Have something done

Have something done is used when someone else does something for us. [have + noun + past participle]

You can use ‘have’ in different tenses e.g. going to have, will have, is having, had etc.

We are having the grass cut as it has overgrown.
They have had trees planted in that area to provide some shade.
I have my mail delivered to my new address.
Natasha is having her portrait drawn for her.
I couldn’t ring you as I was having my mobile fixed.
We had a family photo taken last week.
Ron is ill and is having his temperature taken.
Alex broke her arm and I think is has been placed in plaster.
We had our living room re-decorated to give it a new look.
They will have a cottage built in the countryside.
Are you having your windows washed?
He isn’t cooking today. He’s having his meals cooked for him by a chef.
We are going to have our engine checked by the mechanic.
She had her tea served on holiday.
They don’t have time to clean this weekend so they are having it done by an agency.
We had the TV repaired.
I know it’s old fashioned but I’m having my shoes shined.
In order to keep workers happy, the company is having an A/C unit installed.
We are just waiting to have our new kitchen put in. Then we can move in.
Your walls looked dirty. I’m glad you’re having them painted.
All passengers have their luggage weighed at the check-in counter.
All drivers in the company need to have their eyes checked before getting on the road.
She is having her dress made especially for the occasion.

Monday, 8 October 2012

'Too' and 'enough'

We use too before an adjective or adverb. e.g. He was too young to go on the rollercoaster.
We use enough after an adjective or adverb. e.g. I didn't finish quickly enough so I was late.

The bridge was too narrow/wasn’t wide enough for the man to get across.

The diving board was placed too high/wasn’t placed low enough. Diving from that height was too dangerous/wasn’t safe enough for the swimmer.

The dog’s leash was too long/wasn’t short enough for Jack to control it.

The fish was too small/wasn’t big enough so he threw it back in the water. The fish was big enough for bait to catch other fish.

The bag was too heavy/wasn’t light enough for her to carry.

I found the yoga exercises too difficult. They weren’t easy enough. They were easy enough for the instructor to do.

The music was too loud. The music was loud enough for us to hear at the back.

The museum was interesting enough for the children to spend a day there.

The car was driving too quickly/wasn’t driving slow enough to avoid the cyclist.

The diamond ring was too expensive/wasn’t cheap enough.

My dress was too dirty/wasn’t clean enough to wear to the event.

The man was too weak/wasn’t strong enough to pull the boat.

It was cold enough to wear warm clothes.

Gurbinder arrived too late for his appointment. He didn’t arrive early enough.

Saturday, 6 October 2012

Phrasal Verbs with 'talk'

Talk someone around = to persuade someone to agree e.g. They didn’t want to come with us to Barcelona but we managed to talk them around to flying with us.

Talk around something = to avoid dealing with important parts of a subject/problem e.g. We talked around the subject because it was sensitive and we didn’t want anyone to feel upset.

Talk back = a child who speaks rudely when they should be polite e.g. I don’t care who broke it. You shouldn't talk back to your elders like that.

Talk down to someone = to make someone seem less intelligent than you e.g. I don’t think he values my education as he constantly talks down to me.

Talk someone into/out of doing something = to persuade someone to do/not to do something e.g. I have a really busy schedule but she talked me into starting pottery classes.

Talk something over/Talk something through = to discuss a problem/situation before making a decision e.g. Let’s talk over the layout of the book  before it is printed.

Talk someone through something = to help someone understand/deal with something e.g. She didn’t know how to download movies so I talked her through the steps.

Friday, 5 October 2012

Phrasal Verbs with 'take'

Take after = to have a similar character/appearance as an older family member e.g. She takes after her mother. They are both perfectionists.

Take someone along = to take someone with you when you go somewhere e.g. She’s bringing her brother along with her to the graduation party.

Take something apart = to separate into different parts e.g. They need to take the computer apart to see what the problem is.

Take someone around = to show someone the interesting/important parts of a place e.g. The students take the parents around campus on open days.

Take someone aside = to speak to someone privately e.g. He took me aside and told me not to mention anything to the rest of the group.

Take something away = to remove something from its original place e.g. Can you please take away that vase and put it in the kitchen?

Take something away = to remove something from a person e.g. They are taking away his gym membership.

Take something away = to leave with an impression, message, etc. e.g. The message I took away from the play was that love conquers all.

Take it away! = start performing e.g. Take it away! Let’s hear your music.

Take someone away = to take someone with you e.g. I’m taking Adele away with me to Goa.

Take something back = to return something e.g. The toy was broken so I took it back to the shop.

Take something back = to admit you said something wrong e.g. I take back what I said earlier. I think the dress looks great.

Take someone back = something makes you remember the past e.g. Gosh, that song takes me back to high school.

Take someone back = to employ someone again or re-start a relationship after a disagreement e.g. He apologised a hundred times before I agreed to take him back.

Take something down = to remove something from a wall e.g. We need to take those offensive posters down before the students arrive.

Take something down = to write what someone says e.g. I hope you are taking down notes of this important lecture.

Take someone in = to let someone stay in your home e.g. They had nowhere to go so we took them in.

Take someone in = to take someone to the police station for questioning e.g. The policeman took him in for questioning about the accident.

Take someone in = to deceive someone e.g. They told her that was the only supplier and she got taken in.

Take something in = to observe all the details e.g. I just want to stand here a few minutes and take in the architecture of the building.

Take something in = to take a car/faulty equipment for repair e.g. We’ve taken our TV in for repair.

Take something in = to narrow clothes by sewing them e.g. He’s taken the trousers in a bit and they fit much better.

Take something off = to remove clothing items e.g. It was hot so I took my jacket off.

Take something off = to spend time away from work e.g. I’m taking next week off to go to Moscow with my girlfriend.

Take off = to fly e.g. The plane took off on time.

Take off = to suddenly become successful/popular e.g. Those sunglasses have really taken off in China.

Take someone off something = to stop taking medical treatment/food e.g. He’s been taken off the diet of soup.

Take someone on = to start employing someone e.g. The company is taking on twenty new staff members.

Take someone on = to compete against someone e.g. Who is Federer taking on this afternoon?

Take something on = to accept a job/responsibility e.g. I’ve been under stress ever since I took on the position of manager.

Take something out = to remove something from a place/container e.g. Take your passport out of your bag so we don’t delay at the check-in counter.

Take something out = to borrow books from a library e.g. I take out two book a week.

Take someone out = to do something with someone and pay for it e.g. Come on! Let me take you out for a meal, my treat.

Take something out of someone = to make someone exhausted e.g. Babysitting those active children really took the energy out of me.

Take something out on someone = to treat someone badly as you are upset/angry although they have done nothing wrong e.g. Just because you had a bad day at work you don’t need to take it out on me.

Take something over = to take responsibility or begin a job that someone else was doing e.g. I’ll take over writing the report from now.

Take over something = to get control of a company e.g. They bought most of the shares in the company so they are taking over.

Take someone through something = to explain something or show someone how to do something e.g. Let me take you through the steps of making a cake.

Take to someone/something = to start liking someone/something e.g. I didn’t like Jeff at first but now I’ve taken to him.

Take something up = to start doing it e.g. I’ve taken up Mandarin classes.

Take something up = to consume time/space/effort e.g. Learning Mandarin is taking up a lot of time.

Take something up/Take someone up on something = to accept an offer/opportunity e.g. I’ve been offered a job in a law firm and I’m taking it up.

Take something upon yourself = to do something without consulting anyone e.g. Why did you take it upon yourself to drive him all the way to the airport?

Phrasal Verbs with 'stand'

Stand around = doing very little e.g. We were just standing around waiting for the concert to start.

Stand back = to move away from someone/something e.g. Stand back a bit because the oil is hot and it might burn you.

Stand over someone = to stand close to see what someone is doing e.g. My boss stood over me to see what I was going to write in the email.

Stand back = to consider a problem as an outsider e.g. We need to stand back and think about if for a few days before making a decision.

Stand by = to wait and be ready to do something e.g. There is always a doctor who stands by just in case there is an emergency.

Stand by someone = to continue to support/help someone in a difficult situation e.g. Her family stood by her when she lost her job.

Stand by something = to continue to believe a decision is correct e.g. I know the contestants disagree but I stand by my choice.

Stand down = to leave an important job so that someone else can do it e.g. The economy isn’t doing well and I think it’s time for the Prime Minister to stand down.

Stand in = to do someone else’s job for a short while or to replace a person who is away e.g. I’m standing in for Tim as he couldn’t be here today.

Stand for something = a letter represents a word e.g. U.N. stands for United Nations.

Stand out = noticeable because of differences e.g. He’s got pink hair so he stands out!

Stand someone up = to fail to meet someone e.g. I waited for an hour until I realized I had been stood up and he wasn’t coming on our date.

Stand up for something = to defend something/someone that you believe is important e.g. They were teasing the young child and I stood up for him.

Stand up to something = to state your opinion forcefully e.g. We stood up to the manager who was trying to increase our working hours.

Thursday, 4 October 2012

Phrasal Verbs with 'set'

Set against something = to be opposed to doing/having something e.g. I’m set against keeping pets in small flats.

Set against something = the action of a film/story/play takes place during a particular period/event e.g. The novel is set against the background of England in the 60s.

Set something ahead/back = to change the time according to the season e.g. Thank goodness the time has been set back and we get to sleep more in summer.

Set someone/something apart = to have a quality that makes a person/a thing better than others e.g. Her brilliant voice set her apart in the auditions.

Set something aside = to allow time for a particular purpose e.g. You should set some time aside to enjoy your hobbies.

Set aside = to not be influenced by your feelings/opinions e.g. You should set your feelings aside and make a decision based on fairness.

Set something back = to make it happen slower or later e.g. The fire in the warehouse set production back by a few months.

Set someone back something = to cost someone a lot of money e.g. That villa set Simon back.

Set something down = to officially state how something must be done e.g. Have you seen the manual that sets down the safety rules?

Set something out = to clearly explain something in writing e.g. The document will set out all the details of the project.

Set off/out = to begin a journey e.g. We set off early to avoid the traffic.

Set something off = to cause a series of event unintentionally e.g. The politicians comments have set off a number of demonstrations throughout the city.

Set up = to start a company/organisation e.g. We set up the company in 2010.

Set up = to arrange for something to happen e.g. After the flood they set up a fund to collect money for the victims and their families.

Set something up = to get the equipment ready for an event e.g. They need a whole day to set the stage up for the concert.

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Vocabulary - aim, goal, objective, etc.

Aim = direction or intention e.g. The aim of the video game is to collect as many coins as you can.

Goal = the object of a specific ambition e.g. We need to set some goals if we want to make a profit.

Objective = the overall purpose of an action e.g. The objective is to get as many gold medals as possible.

Target = a specific aim e.g. Our target is to increase sales by half a million dollars.

Monday, 1 October 2012

Vocabulary - large, big, great etc.

Large = refers to size, quantity and extent without saying anything about importance. e.g. We live in a large house in a large suburb as I earn a large salary.

Great = very large e.g. There has been a great change in the size of the population in that area.

Big = extensive in size and importance e.g. They are having a big wedding with high-profile guests.

Substantial/Considerable = extensive in size, amount, form or importance e.g. The company has given considerable thought to its marketing campaign.

Major = extensive in size or importance e.g. Building that highway is a major project and the government is investing heavily in it.

Enormous = huge e.g. The diamond on her wedding ring is enormous.