Golly Gee Whillikers

Relax, my dear readers. This blog is still in English. The title of this post is just to illustrate that sometimes  you will come across some really odd words in English. Golly Gee Willikers, for example, is an expression used to express surprise where “Golly” and “Gee” are used to substitute “God” and “Jesus” and [...]

Expressions with “figure”

Have you ever heard the expression “go figure”? And what about “it figures”? Well, here’s a quick explanation of these and other expressions with the word “figure”.   1) Go figure we usually say this when we mean something like “who knows /who can explain? / I don’t believe it / it’s strange”. Examples: a) [...]

Animal sounds

Do you know what an animal sounds like in English? No, I am not suggesting that animals can talk. What I’m saying is that the sound an animal makes in English is most likely different from the sound the same animal makes in your language. Take Portuguese, for example. In Brazil, a dog says au, [...]

Is ‘favour’ wrong?

Sometimes we have some students in our classes that have come from different English backgrounds. If they come from a school where European English is taught, they tend to spell some words differently from our students, who are more exposed to American English. So, a little boy from one of my classes has asked recently: [...]

Sport Metaphors III

How are you guys doing? Great I hope. So, going back to our topic of sports metaphors, I’m going to talk about some that are connect to another of American’s greatest passion: Baseball. I’d like to star with the famous home run, which happens when the batter hits the ball over the fence allowing him [...]

Portuguese may improve your English vocabulary

It’s well-know that in Brazil the use of English words is commonplace. In fact, any word from the English language has a chance to be used by Brazilians, no matter how hard its pronunciation might be for native speakers of Portuguese. For example,  the different ways in which Brazilians can pronounce words like mouse, self-service [...]

10% is or 10% are?

When writing in English, I usually have a doubt: should I say “10% is” or “10% are“. Well, it can be both. 1) singular We use the verb in the singular if the noun closest to the percentage is also singular. Examples: a) Ten percent of the population is illiterate. b) Eighty percent of the [...]

Syndicate x Trade Union

  These two words have the same meaning in Portuguese (sindicato), but there is a difference in usage between them in English. 1) Syndicate is when a group of businesses of a sector join together to achieve a common goal. Ex.: A syndicate of banks; a syndicate of the food industries.   2) Trade union [...]

Expressions with “Pay”

At the beginning of every year, we Brazilians are overwhelmed by things to pay, right? I guess it’s one of the most used verbs from January to March! Having that in mind, I thought about expressions with the word “pay” as our topic for today. 1) “pay for something” Ex.: How much did you pay [...]

Which Word? Some time x Sometimes

This is a very simple topic: when to use ‘some time‘ and ‘sometimes’. Some time means ‘one day’, ‘one occasion’ that is not very clear when it’s going to happen in the future. There in no idea of repetition involved. Examples: 1) Let’s have dinner together some time next week. 2) We could travel some time [...]