Saturday, March 16, 2019


An extract from a post on

A common figure of speech often uses an inanimate object to give a figurative instead of a literal meaning.

Very often we use similes and metaphors to express an idea or concept. Idioms are another type of figurative speech.

Figure of speech examples

We often use an object to create emphasis. For example, “It’s raining cats and dogs” and “I’ll give you a hand.”

If you are a writer, you are using words and expressions both literally and figuratively all the time. You might be trying to create verbal irony, express human qualities or add colour to your text.

Some forms use word order or repetition, such as, “In the wrong place at the wrong time.”

Others can use a chiasmus, where the second part of the expression is balanced against the first. For example, “you should work to live, not live to work.”

Exaggeration, or hyperbole in literary terms, can quickly turn literal language into figurative. “I have a million things to do at the office today”, or, “it cost me an arm and a leg.”

The opposite, of course, is understatement. “It’s only a scratch” when referring to a deep or nasty wound. Or, “It’s a little fresh today” when the temperature is well below zero. Or, “Tiger Woods was a half-decent golf player in his prime.”

Other figure of speech examples include euphemisms.They are a very common form of saying something in a way that is not as blunt or direct. He passed away instead of he died. I’m going to let you go to replace you’re fired. Or, it fell off the back of a truck, when in fact, it was stolen.

Some expressions use alliteration, where a consonant sound is repeated. Examples include, “I’m as busy as a bee” and “It’s as dead as a doornail.”

Cartoon by Ella Baron in the Times Literary Supplement on Twitter.

Did you know? Figures of speech in the picture above:

1. Put all eggs in one basket = Having all of your resources in one place; putting your money or hopes or future into one thing

2. Wear one's heart on one's sleeve = display one’s emotions openly

3. An ace up one's sleeve = a surprise or secret advantage, especially something tricky that is kept hidden until needed.

4. The joker in the pack= If you describe someone or something as the joker in the pack, you mean that they are different from the other people or things in their group, and can be unpredictable.

5. Don’t trust one's own shadow= not believe or trust people easily

6. Coming out of one's ears= (figurative) very numerous or abundant. (As if people or things were coming in great numbers from many sources including unlikely ones.)

7. Spill the beans= reveal the secret

8. Red herring= A red herring is something that misleads or distracts from a relevant or important question. It may be either a logical fallacy or a literary device that leads readers or audiences toward a false conclusion. 

 9. Big cheese= the most important person

10. Time flies= time passes quickly

11. Piece of cake =very easy to be done

12. Can't make an omelet without breaking an egg= If you say you can't make an omelette without breaking eggs, you mean that it is impossible to achieve something important without there being some bad effects. Note: `Omelette' is usually spelled `omelet' in American English.

13. Like a cat chasing its tail= chase (one's) tail To take action that is ineffectual and does not lead to progress. Refers to how a dog or a cat can exhaust itself by chasing its own tail.

14. Tie the knot= to get married

15. To be born with a silver spoon in your mouth or born with a silver spoon in your mouth= If you think that someone has a lot of advantages because they have a rich or influential family, you can say that they have been born with a silver spoon in their mouth.

16 Bird’s eye view= a view from a high angle as if seen by a bird in flight or an overall or cursory look at something

17 A stitch in time saves nine= if you sort out a problem immediately, it may save extra work later 

18 Tough nut to crack (plural tough nuts to crack) = A problem that is challenging to solve. (idiomatic, by extension) A situation, person, group, etc. which is difficult to deal with. (idiomatic) A place, opportunity, etc. to which it is difficult to gain entry. An amount that is difficult to finance.

19 Ride one’s coattails= To benefit from someone else's success; to use someone else's success as a means to achieve one’s own.

20 Get cold feet= hesitate or have second thoughts about sth

21 Sth is full of holes= Unsound or flawed; having many faults that do not stand up to scrutiny or criticism. Alludes to a leaky, porous vessel—hence the related expression, "doesn't hold water."

22 The cherry on the cake= A desirable feature perceived as the finishing touch to something that is already inviting or worth having. Related Idioms : a bite at the cherry. an attempt or chance to do something.

Taken from here.

23 Kick the bucket = to die, pass away

24 Hit the nail on the head= do or say something that is precisely right

25 Cat got one's tongue= Used when someone has nothing to say.

26 An earworm= (informal) a song that you keep hearing in your head

27 Pull your socks up = If someone tells you to pull your socks up, they want you to improve your behaviour or work.

Now visit these websites to find out about the surprising origin of most of these idioms. Then, use this information to write as many example sentences as possible in the comments below.

The Idioms - Largest Idioms Dictionary


Idioms and phrases - The Free Dictionary

Sunday, February 10, 2019

The evolution of art

Watch the video, having activated the English subtitles, and reflect on the following:

What is your favourite art period?

What is your favourite art movement?

Bonus reading: Italian Renaissance facts (related to our class discussion)

Tuesday, February 5, 2019


Free: Computer-based sample tests

  • Watch this tutorial before you start.
  • Check your answers as you do the test. Once the test has finished you will not be able to check them.
Answer keys:
There is no answer key for the Writing paper, but there are sample answers and examiner comments on the relevant pages of the B2 First handbook.

Saturday, January 26, 2019

Free Posters Celebrating Mighty Women Role Models

The History of English

The English language spoken today has evolved over a period of approximately 1500 years, or better since the arrival of the Angles, Saxons and Jutes on the shores of England around the 5th century. 

They brought with them various Germanic languages that would gradually evolve into the English we speak today. 

During those 1500 years, the English language has added or ‘borrowed’ words from many other languages to create a rich, complex and sophisticated language. In some cases, an existing English word has been replaced with one from a different language, in other cases the new word has been added as a variation or alternative to the English original. 

English is now a language full of ‘loan words’.

Friday, November 2, 2018

Sugata Mitra: Build a School in the Cloud

Watch the video and click on the interactive script underneath to read the speaker's words

Use this online dictionary to help you with difficult words when necessary.

Read more about Sugata Mitra.

Now write your opinion on this TED talk in a comment or in a new post:

  • What is the 'Hole in the Wall' experiment all about? 
  • Do you agree that Minimally Invasive Education is effective? 
  • Could it ever replace traditional schooling?

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Writing an article




  • Opening- Paragraph 1                                       
Introduce the topic. 

  • Body- Paragraph 2 
Say how your interests developed 

  •  Body- Paragraph 3               
Describe what you enjoy about it.

  • Conclusion- Paragraph 4             
Sum up and make a recommendation  
  1. ask a question :What would you say if I told you my hobby was reading?   
  2. gives a general statement about the topic: Many people believe you to have to be a gifted artist to enjoy painting 
  3. says the task makes you think about the topic: It's not easy for me to decide what my favourite pastime is. 
Try to support your ideas with examples from your own general  knowledge or personal experience.


Expressing your ideas in a variety of ways makes your writing more interesting. 


1) Analyse the task: Who is going  to read the article? What kind of information should you include?
2) Brainstorm ideas: Where do you go in the summer? What do you enjoy doing? How often do you do this activity? Is this activity something you do alone or with others? Why does this activity appeal to others? 
3) Organize your article: Use the plan
 4) Write your article: Remember to write a catchy opening and to support your ideas with examples.  

CNN news can be fun!

CNN articles on current affairs with a number of words explained for you.

You can learn the ropes by clicking here first:

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

The reasons behind the success of a company

 In this video we watch the Bill Gross describes how a company can become successful. Bill Gross has founded a lot of startups, and incubated many others and he got curious about why some succeeded and others failed. So he gathered data from hundreds of companies, his own and other people's, and ranked each company on five key factors. He found one factor that stands out from the others and surprised even him. This video was helpful for me and all the other people who want to create a company.

Helping others

This is my favourite video! It is about helping other people. In my opinion it is very important to help people who live next to us . We should be grateful  for all  the things we have and we shouldn't make a fuss for everything, because other hymans haven't got enough money  to buy food or pay for their children's education.
If we have a lot of money, it would be nice to give some money to humans who really need that!I hope you like this video because it has a strong message ! 

A Message To All Women

This is one of my favourite videos with meaning. I like this video because it gives a strong message about women. How we are worth it and deserve more than we think.We know that women used to be really dependent and didn’t have many opportunities.This video talks all about that and more. We all have the same rights and chances.I  for sure recommend it .Go Watch it! You are awesome!!!

Nervous Vs. Excited

This is one of my favourite videos. I find it very interesting and helpful, as it helps us to improve our way of thinking to a more positive one and create a happy and productive life.You should check it out. Simon Sinek has helped me to have a positive attitude.

A simple theory of evolution

This video is from the Ted channel and has been presented from Prosanta Chacrabarty .He says that we began as a fish and after the fish we continued as a monkey.With his theory he says that the fish  was the first that had back bone and some other things that will make you think if he is correct.