Time to tell the time

There are at least 3 ways of telling the time in the photo above. How many do you know?

Put your answers in the comments box at the end of the page.

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Interested in learning
and practising English online
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For a free trial lesson,
message me on WhatsApp: 0035679664664
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Practise your tenses with Covid-19

This gap-fill exercise has Covid-19 as the main theme. The target level is very good intermediate and above.

Complete the sentences using the correct tense. Think carefully whether you need the active or passive form.

  1. When __________ the first case of Covid-19 __________ ? to record
  2. Where __________ it __________ from? to originate
  3. Covid-19 __________ also __________ as corona virus. to know
  4. The city __________ __________ in lockdown since the beginning of the month. to be
  5. My uncle __________ __________ Covid positive last week. to diagnose
  6. A student of mine __________ the virus in March. to catch
  7. Do you think the vaccine __________ __________ successful? to be
  8. We __________ __________ __________ __________ Christmas at home this year. to celebrate
  9. The economy __________ __________ __________ really well until the virus __________ the country. to do / to hit
  10. Giving a lesson while I __________ __________ a face mask is rather uncomfortable. to wear

Send me your answers for correction: sandro.tefl@gmail.com.

If you found this useful, please like and share. Thanks!



Interested in learning
and practising English online
but not sure how it works?

For a free trial lesson,
message me on WhatsApp: 0035679664664
or email: sandro.tefl@gmail.com.

Please include your first name
and your time zone.


Have you helped yourself?

[Before you carry on, read this first: Help yourself!]

Yesterday, we saw the first step to helping yourself increase your range of vocabulary. When you see something, ask yourself, “What is this in English?” Today, we move on to the second step. Ask yourself, “What is it for?”

Take another look at my breakfast:

Do you remember the word for that silver thing next to the cappuccino? It’s a teaspoon. So great, you know teaspoon. Now ask yourselves, “What is it for?” It’s not for mixing or turning. Find out using your favourite translation app or website. You can try this one, which was suggested by a follower of Not Only Grammar:

Remember, it’s easier and cheaper to help yourself. Plus, you can do it any time!

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Interested in learning
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Help yourself!

If I place some food and drink on the table and I tell you to HELP YOURSELF, it means that you can eat and drink without having to ask me all the time. It’s another way of offering, such as, “Do you want some?”

Today, I want to show you how you can help yourself to increase your vocabulary. Take a look at the photo of the breakfast I had this morning.

Help yourself!

It was a simple breakfast, so there are only a few things to see. However, do you know the English word for everything in the photo? Probably not, but why not? These are things you see and use regularly, maybe even every day. Have you never asked yourself, “Hmmm, how do I say this in English?” Once you ask yourself that question, the next step is very easy. Open a translator app on your phone (which is probably in your other hand) and discover some new vocabulary. You don’t need to spend money on books or language courses. Just help yourself!

If you found this useful, please like and share. Thanks!



Interested in learning
and practising English online
but not sure how it works?

For a free trial lesson,
message me on WhatsApp: 0035679664664
or email: sandro.tefl@gmail.com.

Please include your first name
and your time zone.


Use an English dictionary!

Many of my students are in love with Mr (or Ms) Google. When they find a word they don’t understand, their fingers switch on the phone and tap into Google translate. This is wrong for two reasons.

One. Depending on how important the task is, you can try guessing the meaning from context. Let me use sibling as an example. If you alreday know it, fine. If not, look at this sentence:

I have 3 siblings – 2 sisters and a brother.

From the context, you should be able to guess what sibling(s) means. If you still have problems, go to the next step …

Two. Use an English-English dictionary. There are so many free dictionary apps and websites whch are made for learners of English. Here are the links to my favourites:

Let’s get back to sibling. If you look up the word in the Collins dictionary, this is the definition you will find:

Your siblings are your brothers and sisters.

There. A short and clear explanation. You can undertand it in English, without having to translate into your own language.

So go on, download an English dictionary app now and start using it. Read, think and understand in English!

Do you know of another good dictionary? Tell me about it in the comments box at the bottom of this page.

If you found this useful, please like and share. Thanks!



Interested in learning
and practising English online
but not sure how it works?

For a free trial lesson,
message me on WhatsApp: 0035679664664
or email: sandro.tefl@gmail.com.

Please include your first name
and your time zone.


Time travel – notes from today’s whiteboard (part 2)

(Click here for part 1: Time travel – notes from today’s whiteboard)

I just love it when my students stay chatting to each other in English while I’m setting things up for the day’s lesson. I make it a point to keep one ear open to what they’re saying. If I hear something interesting, I don’t interrupt them but use the information as a warm-up for the first part of our class.

Yesterday, I picked up the term JET LAG. First, I got the student who used it to take my place up front and explain it to his classmates. Then, I took over and a mini-lesson developed, with the double theme of time and travel. I’m sharing the information I put on the whiteboard with you. Do you understand all the words, phrases and expressions? Like I tell my students, just ask me if anything is not clear. You can use the comments box at the bottom of the page.

If you found this useful, please like and share. Thanks!



Interested in learning
and practising English online
but not sure how it works?

For a free trial lesson,
message me on WhatsApp: 0035679664664
or email: sandro.tefl@gmail.com.

Please include your first name
and your time zone.


Time travel – notes from today’s whiteboard (part 1)

I just love it when my students stay chatting to each other in English while I’m setting things up for the day’s lesson. I make it a point to keep one ear open to what they’re saying. If I hear something interesting, I don’t interrupt them but use the information as a warm-up for the first part of our class.

Today, I picked up the term JET LAG. First, I got the student who used it to take my place up front and explain it to his classmates. Then, I took over and a mini-lesson developed, with the double theme of time and travel. I’m sharing the information I put on the whiteboard with you. Do you understand all the words, phrases and expressions? Like I tell my students, just ask me if anything is not clear. You can use the comments box at the bottom of the page.

And tomorrow, I’ll put more time and travel information for you to learn from. So make sure to come back to http://www.NotOnlyGrammar.com in 24 hours!

If you found this useful, please like and share. Thanks!



Interested in learning
and practising English online
but not sure how it works?

For a free trial lesson,
message me on WhatsApp: 0035679664664
or email: sandro.tefl@gmail.com.

Please include your first name
and your time zone.


The opposite of cheap is …

If I ask you for the opposite of CHEAP, I’m sure most of you are going to answer with …

E

X

P

E

N

S

I

V

E

… which is 100% correct. But how often have you thought of other ways of saying expensive? Do you know of other words for expensive?! Please, do not tell me not cheap. If you want to level up your language, you need a range of words with similar meanings to make your writing and conversation more interesting, and listening, easier.

Here are a few suggestions:

COSTLY – coming from the word cost, as in “How much does it cost?”

PRICY (or PRICEY) – coming from price, as in “What is the price of that jacket?”

to COST AN ARM AND A LEG – don’t try to understand why we use arm and leg in this expression, but it does mean very expensive. For example, “My new smartphone cost me an arm and a leg.

Of course, there are many more. Can you think of a few and share them in the comments box below?



Interested in learning
and practising English online
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For a free trial lesson,
message me on WhatsApp: 0035679664664
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Please include your first name
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Desert Island Discs – Nile Rodgers

Language learning should also be fun, don’t you think? And for fun, here’s an interview with Nile Rogers –  musician, record producer and Chic co-founder. It’s an episode from the classic BBC series – Desert Island Discs. Enjoy!

https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/m0000r6k

Over to you …

If there’s a film / TV series / documentary / podcast which you think is great for learners of English, send the link or details via the comments box below.



Interested in learning
and practising English online
but not sure how it works?

For a free trial lesson,
message me on WhatsApp: 0035679664664
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Please include your first name
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LOOK BACK ON

Some of you have returned to your countries and homes by now, happy to be back with family and friends. I hope you had a safe journey. Who knows, tomorrow (or on some other day), you might find yourselves looking back on your time in Malta, maybe even wishing you were still here!

Hmm….to look back on …. now what does that mean? Send me your ideas if you think you know. You can use the contact form below.



Interested in learning
and practising English online
but not sure how it works?

For a free trial lesson,
message me on WhatsApp: 0035679664664
or email: sandro.tefl@gmail.com.

Please include your first name
and your time zone.