Category Speaking

What do you THINK / MEAN?

“WHAT DO YOU THINK?” and “WHAT DO YOU MEAN?” are not the same, folks. I hear them being misused regularly during group or class discussions. Whether you are discussing the latest Big Brother episode or your company’s new advertising strategy, if you want to know your friend’s or colleague’s opinion, then ask, “What do you […]

Agree or disagree with someone

There was a lively discussion in the classroom today. The topic was stereotypes, specifically that of men and women. My students had to discuss a number of statements, such as: Women are better at multitasking than men Men are more interested than women in power Women spend more time than men on social networking sites […]

Vary your vocabulary

This afternoon’s class focussed on alternative words for common adjectives. Have you ever used any of these before? happy => CHUFFED sad => GUTTED good => TERRIFIC bad => DIRE angry => CHEESED OFF interesting => MIND-BLOWING attractive => STUNNING shocked => FLABBERGASTED Over to you … Can you think of a situation you have […]

Killing a conversation

The following happens (too) often between students who have paid good money to practise their English language skills: Student A: Did you have a good weekend? Student B: Yes, but it was like every other weekend. End of conversation as they turn to their phones or books. Now isn’t that a wasted opportunity? Either of […]

Greetings – how should you answer?

What I’m going to ask you might seem obvious, yet it surprises me how often students get it wrong. Those of you who were in class today know exactly what I mean. So please, be patient and tell me how you would reply to the following greetings: How do you do? How are you? How […]

Tired of saying “good morning”?

It has always amused or annoyed me (depending on the mood) how some students can walk into the classroom for the first lesson of the day without even saying good morning to those present. They head to their favourite chair, sit down, take out their phone and have a silent conversation with its screen. I can […]


The best way to kill a conversation is to keep silent.

The second best way to kill a conversation is to answer someone’s question with a “yes”, “no” or “it DEPENDS” and then keep silent.

First day at an English language school?

It’s a Monday, new faces at school, new people to meet. Here are a few questions to help you start a conversation: Ask Where are you from? and you will  find out which country the person lives in If you want to know their job, then ask What do you do? And when you want the name […]