The Digest: 31st May 2014

the digest

Quite a busy week, this week.

On Monday I talked about weather and how to describe it like the British.

On Tuesday I gave some examples of how to use ‘whatever’ and ‘however’ and such.

I made a podcast about football on Wednesday.

I told you how to make yourself study English on Thursday.

And yesterday I made a video lesson so you can talk about experiences.

How to Make Yourself Study English


This is how to make yourself study English.

  • Change your phone’s settings to English if you haven’t already (or if you can).
  • Change your computer’s OS language to English (if you can).
  • In your work or college bag, take out any books, magazines or anything else that you don’t need that is not English and replace them with English ones.
  • Only have music on your computer, phone and music player that is English.
  • Only play videos in English.
  • Write notes to yourself in English.
  • Write your diary, daily planner and to-do lists in English.
  • Use the ATM in English.

Repeat these as often as necessary to make it a habit.

Podcast: Football


I’m talking about football today because I’m excited about the World Cup in Brazil. There are some special football words and a lot of enthusiasm.

Who are you supporting? Let me know in the comments!


The podcast is also available in the iTunes Store by searching for Get Great English or clicking here.

Also, you can stream it on Stitcher here or in the sidebar.

‘Whatever’, ‘However’, ‘Whoever’, ‘Whenever’, ‘Wherever’


Pronoun determiners using interrogative roots (‘whatever’, ‘however’, ‘whoever’, ‘whenever’, ‘wherever’) can be used to dismiss alternative options or state that different options have the same outcome.

“I will always love you whatever you do.”

Whatever you decide to do tomorrow, you know you have to study English, too.”

However you study is unimportant as long as you practise old skills or learn new ones.”

‘However’ can also be used as ‘but’, so be careful!

“He disagrees with whoever talks to him. He’s so stubborn!”

Whenever I go to work my wife always kisses me goodbye.”

Wherever you choose to live, you have to consider your neighbours unless you can afford to live somewhere with a lot of land.”

Talk about Weather like the British


The British love to talk about the weather, probably because it’s so changeable in our country. Today, I’m going to give you some weather vocabulary.



If the weather is sunny, we often say that it is bright. If there is going to be a change in the weather, we may also say that there will be sunny intervals: this means it will be sunny from time to time.

Every time that the sun comes out in Britain, everybody starts to think about wearing shorts because there are only about two weeks of sunshine in Britain per year.



The British love rain because it gives us a chance to complain about it. It is extremely unusual for a week without rain, and if you visit Britain in Autumn don’t take an umbrella; take a waterproof coat for the cold, wet rain that comes down in buckets. It is always pissing down in the Lake District on bank holidays (public holidays, like today) just to annoy tourists.

What people call ‘rain’ in southern England, the Welsh, Scots and people from northern England call ‘drizzle‘. What people in Wales, Scotland and northern England call ‘rain’, southerners call ‘torrential rain‘. Drizzle is light rain, often the kind that hangs in the air; torrential rain is the kind that falls heavily and causes floods, and it often comes with storms.



If it isn’t a rainy day or one of the few days of sunny weather, the weather is probably cloudy. There are several types of cloud that scientists talk about but the three types of cloud for normal people are: light, wispy clouds; big, fluffy white clouds; and massive, grey rain clouds. If you can’t see the sky through the clouds, the weather is called overcast.



If you are walking through the cloud and can’t see very much, the weather is foggy: you are walking through fog. If the fog is so thick that you can’t see your hand in front of your face the fog is often called a pea souper. If it is thin and wispy, it is mist and the weather is misty. If the mist moves quickly from the sea, it is called a fret.



When I was young, snow fell and life was normal. Nowadays snow closes roads and schools and Britain becomes Greenland for a week. A snow storm is called a blizzard. Hard snow that falls as balls of ice is called hail and the balls of ice are called hailstones. Snow that is half melted is called sleet.

Links: Simple English Wikipedia

LinksWikipedia in English has been very complex and scientific, and very difficult for a lot of students to understand. However, now, there is Simple English Wikipedia.

Don’t be afraid to use Simple Wikipedia; it’s worth looking at topics you know in your own language to build intermediate-level vocabulary (and even some common technical vocabulary).

The Digest: 24 May 2014

the digest

Every Saturday there shall be a post with links to the main posts of the week. This week I’ve covered a lot.

On Monday I posted about describing games so that you can play with other people.

Tuesday was a follow-up post about phrasal verbs with ‘drop’. There are some idioms in there and some straightforward verbs, too.

The podcast on Wednesday was about sleep, of which I need more.

I gave some examples of nouns used as verbs on Thursday.

On Friday I put up a video about books and how to select an English book that is right for you.

Nouns Used as Verbs

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Sometimes nouns (words for things) are used as verbs (words for actions). They are rather easy to understand although some of them really get on my nerves due to the fact that there are existing verbs that can be used for the same job. I also prefer the sound of the longer expression of the real verb and the noun. However, it is easy to see these examples in books, magazines and newspapers and on television.


noun: a plaything

That car? It’s my new toy!

verb: play with something or someone; manipulate someone

I think you’re toying with that girl. Show her you’re serious or leave her alone.


noun: a piece of metal as a reward for military action or sporting ability

My grandad sold all his World War II medals. What a shame!

verb: to gain first, second or third place in a sporting competition

What a shock result! The Americans have failed to medal, with Kenya gaining gold, Ethiopia silver and Jamaica bronze.

There are also some example of this in communications


noun: a tray for new communications; a directory for new messages in an email program

I have 231 unread messages in my work inbox.

verb: to send an email

If you don’t know how to access the site, inbox me.


noun: a facsimile; a copy of a document sent by digital telephony

I received your fax and I have a few questions.

verb: to send a copy of a document by digital telephony

Can you fax me the latest price list because I can’t open your email attachment.