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Online English Conversation and Writing lessons on Skype with English Teacher Philip


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Idiom – couch potato: someone who spends too much time watching TV. “You’re a real couch potato, Maria. You need to get more exercise!” Visit the skypeclass Student Zone to practice more idioms and watch a selction of idiom videos.      
The IELTS speaking test is the number one test for students who want to study or work in the UK. The format of the test is in 3 parts as detailed below. Our classes at skypeclass will help you prepare for this test. The total test time is 11-14 minutes. Part 1. In this part, the ... Read more IELTS Speaking Test – what to expect
What is a compound Word? Compound words  are made up of two (or more) separate words. You can combine nouns (a flatmate), adjectives (lovesick) or verbs (jump-start) to make compound words. Practice these words with your online Teacher. Sometimes they become one word flatmate (noun) lovesick (adjective) Sometimes they become two words: tourist guide (noun) ... Read more Compound Words
Sugar – Today’s Podcast Do you really know how much of the sweet stuff you eat? Neil and Rob talk about sugar and teach you some tempting new vocabulary. Download the BBC MP3  Podcast This week’s question – Do we need sugar ? If a food contains 5% total sugars per 100g, is it… a) ... Read more Do we need Sugar ? – Podcast
Coffee – How different are cafes of the 21st century from the very first coffee houses? Cafes have become free wifi hotspots. Has the internet replaced the lively debate and intellectual discussions that used to be their main feature in the past? Rob and Catherine discuss this over a coffee and teach you new vocabulary ... Read more How do you like your coffee?
Conjunctions We can join two sentences or clauses together using conjunctions (or linking words). We can use conjunctions to add ideas together, contrast them, show the order that things happened in or show the reason why things happened. Conjunctions – adding and I’m missing my mum’s cooking and I don’t know how to cook the ... Read more Conjunctions
We can use these words with or without ‘Christmas’ before them:  A lot of Christmas vocabulary can be used with or without the word ‘Christmas’ in front of it. For example we can talk about ‘Christmas crackers’ or just ‘crackers’: a cracker (n): a small paper tube which is pulled from each end by two people ... Read more Christmas New Year Vocabulary
Pedestrianisation Norwich was the first city in the UK to ban cars from parts of the city centre. Planners wanted to protect pedestrians from cars and to reduce pollution in its old and narrow streets. That was 50 years ago. There’s a fresh interest in keeping cars out of cities now for the same reasons. ... Read more Pedestrianisation – is it good for cities?
Meaning: slap in the face. A sharp rebuke or rebuff, as in Being criticized in front of my staff was a real slap in the face, or We thought it quite a slap in the face when they returned our letter unopened. The figurative use of this term, which can also refer to a literal ... Read more Today’s Idiom – A slap in the face
Linking Words and Phrases Linking words and phrases are used to show a relationships between ideas. They can be used to join 2 or more sentences or clauses (a clause is a group of words which contains a subject and a verb). Linking words/phrases can be used to add ideas together, contrast them, or show the reason for something. Practice your ... Read more Linking Words and Phrases
Below you will find a selection of important vocabulary connected with kichen equipemnt and tools in English. Utensils and Equipment a knife a basic, hand-held tool for cutting food a peeler a hand-held tool specially designed for removing the skin from vegetables such as potatoes a spatula a thin tool – sometimes made of wood ... Read more Kitchen Vocabulary
Types of Hotels budget hotel economical or cheap hotel that is usually part of a chain (or group) of hotels; one that’s cheaper than a business hotel or a 5-star hotel The flights were so expensive we decided to save some money on accommodation. She didn’t like how basic the rooms were, but the budget hotel was ... Read more Hotel Vocabulary
English Podcast – Should schoolchildren have jobs ? For some, it’s a way of learning valuable lessons about with world of work and earning a bit of money; for others it’s a distraction from the important business of education. Schoolchildren in part-time work is something which divides opinion. It used to be normal in the ... Read more English Podcast children work
Here are some pairs of verbs you might sometimes find confusing. See and watch, hear and listen to: In these pairs of verbs it’s important to know if we are intentionally doing something or if it is just happening without us trying to do anything. We use ‘see‘ and ‘hear‘ for sights and sounds that come to our eyes and ears, without us trying to see ... Read more See and watch, hear and listen to
Present Forms We can use the present simple to talk about habits (things that we do regularly), facts (things that are always true) or states (facts that are true for a long time). We can use the present continuous to talk about an activity that’s happening now, (or around now) or to talk about planned future arrangements. Present Simple Habits: We give Helen the rent every month. She sends the cheque ... Read more Present Tense Forms
English advice on when to use  the following English terms. Remember! you can always practice this grammar tip with Philip your Skypeclass English Teacher Someone, anyone, no one, everyone Someone, anyone, no one, everyone mean the same as somebody, anybody, nobody, everybody. They all mean one person, no person or all people: Is there someone ... Read more Grammar – Someone, anyone, no one, everyone
BBC 6 Minute English Podcast Download Is Man Flue Real For a while now, the expression ‘man flu’ has been controversial. Many men say their illness is real, while many women say they are just being weak. But why is it that some men seem to suffer, or complain, more when they get sick than women? ... Read more Podcast – Is Man Flue real ?
How to greet someone in English There are all sorts of different ways to greet people. Today, we learn some of the most popular and useful expressions for greeting friends or other people in relaxed situations. Remember you can practice these greetings with Philip – your Skype English Teacher. You also like to visit the ... Read more English Greetings
Bitcoin: digital crypto-currency Podcast Download Here  It’s something that makes the world go round, but it doesn’t really exist. In fact, if we all stopped believing in it, it would have no use at all! It is, of course, money. But not just any money, in this 6 minute English, we’ll be talking about the ... Read more 6 Minute English BBC Podcast -Bitcoin: digital crypto-currency
Ethical Coffee Listen to podcast Would you pay more for coffee if you knew it was doing some good? Dan and Catherine discuss the pros and cons of ethically produced coffee. It’s one of the most popular drinks on the planet and something many people have for breakfast. Coffee is a widely exported product. However, ... Read more BBC – 6 Minute English Podcast – Ethical Coffee
English Tenses English Tenses -The tense of a verb tells you when a person did something or when something existed or happened. In English, there are three main tenses: the present, the past, and the future. You can practice the following tenses with your skypeclass Teacher. The present The present tense (e.g. I am, she works, we swim, they believe) is also ... Read more English Tenses
Can Could – We use can, could and may to ask for permission. We use can and may, but not could, to give permission. May is less common: Compare. asking for permission. formal/polite? giving permission. formal/polite? Can I ask you a question? informal. Yes, you can. Yes, you may. Yes, you could. informal. Could I use your phone? ... Read more Can or Could
Water is one of the most important substances on earth. All plants and animals must have water to survive. … Apart from drinking it to survive, people have many other uses for water. Learn new words below to help you understand more about water and practice new words with your skypeclass Teacher Philip. The National Geographic has a great article about ... Read more Water Vocabulary
Indirect questions There are two main ways of asking questions – directly and indirectly. Both have the same meaning but we use indirect questions when we want to be more polite, more formal or less confrontational. We can ask a direct question – Where is Brighton Pier? Or to be more formal or polite, we can ask an indirect question – I wonder if you could tell ... Read more Indirect Questions
Phrasal verbs, or multi-word verbs, are verbs that are combined with one or two particles (a preposition or adverb), for example, ‘up’ or ‘down’, to make verbs with new meanings. Visit the BBC for more info on Phrasal Verbs. These new meanings are usually non-literal. For example, to pick means to select or choose (she picked him for her team), ... Read more Phrasal Verbs with ‘go’
Podcast Robots The Rise of Machines Download MP3 recording here Download PDF Script here Practice new words with your Skypeclass English Teacher Are robots and artificial intelligence taking over from humans? Dan and Neil discuss the rise of the machines An American company has said its ambition is to achieve an AI that can beat ... Read more Podcast robots – BBC 6 Minute English
English articles A/an and the English articles – Today we are exploring how to use these 3 types of articles in English.  Remember you can always practice these articles with Philip your skypeclass Teacher. You might like to visit the Cambridge English for further info. A/an and the: meaning A/an and the are articles. They are a type of determiner and they go ... Read more English articles
IELTS Videos The following videos show exactly what is expected of you in the IELTS speaking test Video One – Band score 8.5 Video Two – Band score 6   The IELTS speaking test is the number one test for students who want to study or work in the UK. The format of the test is ... Read more IELTS Exam Videos for Test Takers
Complaining in English Listen to BBC Podcast Dan and Alice talk about complaining in English, and how British people may be getting better at it. This week’s question: According to the Wall Street Journal, what was the cause of most airline complaints in the US in 2010? Was it: a) Delayed or cancelled flights b) ... Read more Complaining in English
Idioms use language metaphorically rather than literally. When Tim told Khalid there was ‘no point crying over spilt milk‘ he was making a joke because he was using the idiom metaphorically and literally. Usually we only use idioms metaphorically. This idiom  means ‘don’t get upset about something in the past that you can’t change’. The literal meaning is ‘don’t cry when ... Read more Idioms with ‘no’:
BBC 6 Minute Vocabulary Words like excitement, performance and difference have suffixes that turn verbs and adjectives into nouns. Listen to Finn and Catherine talk about the suffixes -ment, -ence and -ance in this 6 Minute Vocabulary. Nouns ending in –ment: enjoyment the process of enjoying something (feeling pleasure in something) replacement someone or something ... Read more Suffixes: -ment, -ance, -ence
Describing Temperament – When Tim says ‘I’m all calm and controlled on the surface’ he’s describing his temperament. Temperament is the part of your character that affects your feelings and moods and the way you behave. Read this BBC article about how temperament differs around the world. Practice the following vocabulary with your Skype Class ... Read more Describing Temperament
Here is some vocabulary related to dentistry and teeth. Watch this old dental advertising video. Practice your dental vocabulary with Philip your skypeclass Teacher People who work in dentistry a dentist a person whose job is treating and looking after people’s teeth a receptionist a person who books appointments, greets patients and looks after the ... Read more Dental Vocabulary
Valentines Day – Read the story Listen to Audio It’s that time of the year when couples show their love for each other by sending cards, flowers and chocolates. But Valentine’s Day is not only about public displays of affection: in recent years it has also become big business. In the UK alone, more than 20 million ... Read more Valentines Day
Here is some vocabulary to describe some of the different stages of a relationship. Practice your love vocabulary with Philip your Skype Class Teacher. MP3 Download about marriage and relationships from the BBC. Chat up – starting a relationship  to chat (somebody) up to talk to somebody in the hope of starting a romantic or sexual relationship to ... Read more Relationship Vocabulary
Practice environment vocabulary with Philip your skypeclass Teacher. Words connected with ‘environment’: Watch a Video documentary  about Recycling the environment the natural world, including the air, water and land in or on which people, animals and plants live We need to do more to protect the environment from pollution. environmental relating to the natural world and the ... Read more Environmental Vocabulary
Mor Phrasal Verbs connected with the letter S As you know, native speakers of English tend to use a lot of phrasal verbs (sometimes called prepositional, multi-word verb, verbs) in everyday spoken English. In fact, this is quite frustrating for students who often have learned one-word verbs during their English studies and then are confronted ... Read more Today’s Phrasal Verbs
Drones have become commonplace in the skies above our heads. In certain cases they have been dangerous, but there are many new uses for them that are bringing us benefits too. From delivering parcels to saving lives, drones are taking off. Join our discussion about them and learn some new vocabulary in 6 Minute English. ... Read more Podcast – The rise of Drones
Grammar Imperatives are verbs used to give orders, commands,warning or instructions, and (if you use “please”) to make a request. It is one of the three moods of an English verb (indicative, imperative and subjunctive). For example: Give me that tape, please ‘Don’t forget to make a wish!’ ‘Don’t say it out loud!’ These are examples of what are called ... Read more Grammar – Imperatives
Do you need to upgrade your phone? Transcript Download Download MP3 recording Book your next Skype English Class Many people are holding onto their old phones longer – instead of rushing out to buy the latest model of phone. What are the advantages or disadvantages of getting the latest model? Rob and Catherine talk about ... Read more Podcast – 6 minute English
BBC 6 minute English – Laughing could kill you Podcast download Transcript download Book your next skype English Class In a competition for control between laughter and breathing and speaking, laughter always wins, says a neuroscientist. Neil and Tim discuss the dangers of laughter and teach you some related words. This week’s question: How many times ... Read more Podcast – Laughing could kill you
Here is some vocabulary to describe different types of film and some people connected with the cinema. Practice these and other Phrases with your online English Teacher at Types of film, using the word ‘film’: A horror film: A film that scares you A science fiction film (a sci-fi film): A film set in the future, or an imaginary ... Read more Cinema Vocabulary
Do you want to take the Cambridge CAE Exam? Watch this Tutorial Video that shows you exactly what you need to do and how.   What does Cambridge English: Advanced involve? Cambridge English: Advanced is at Level C1 of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR). It is accepted by universities, employers and ... Read more CAE Examination (Cambridge Advanced English)
Geography Vocabulary Listen to the following BBC Boradcast talking about Geography Geography is the study of the systems and processes involved in the world’s weather, mountains, seas, lakes, etc. and of the ways in which countries and people organize life within an area Example: We’re studying the geography of India just now in school. cardinal points the ... Read more Geography Vocabulary
What’s in the CAE Speaking paper? The Cambridge C1 Advanced Speaking test has four parts and you take it together with another candidate. There are two examiners. One of the examiners conducts the test (asks you questions, gives you the paper with things to talk about, and so on). The other examiner listens to what ... Read more CAE Speaking Test
All right and alright All right is an adjective or adverb.   All right as an adjective We use all right as an adjective after verbs such as be, feel, seem or look, but not before a noun (predicative adjective). It means ‘well’, ‘OK’, ‘satisfactory’: A: How are you? B: I’m all right. A: Is everything all right? B: Yes, fine thanks. Was your meal all right? ... Read more Grammar – all right or alright