Tag Archives: general English


Here are the meanings of the idioms featured in our last blog post:

to beat about the bush:

  • to avoid the main issue; to not speak directly about a topic
  • Stop beating about the bush and get to the point!

a bed of roses:

  • an easy, comfortable situation
  • Living with my ex-husband was no bed of roses.

to bite off more than you can chew:

  • to take on a task that is bigger than you can really manage
  • My wife certainly bit off more than she could chew when she decided to cook for a dinner party of sixteen people.

to call it a day:

  • to stop working on a task
  • We can continue working on this tomorrow, but let’s call it a day for now.

cat nap:

  • to go to sleep for a short time
  • I’m just going for a cat nap now. See you in about half an hour.


Do you know the meaning of these frequently used English idioms? Have a think.

to beat about the bush

a bed of roses

to bite off more than you can chew

to call it a day

cat nap

The answers will be revealed in out next blog post.

For more information about studying General English, Cambridge Exam Preparation or IELTS Exam Preparation courses with Europeak Southampton or Eurospeak Reading, please contact us on:


When you write, it’s important you engage the reader so they’re interested in your writing and want to continue reading. So, here are some techniques you can use to achieve this…

One way is to address the reader directly. This means you need to use the word you a lot. You can see plenty of example of direct address to the reader in this blog – you can even see it in this sentence!

Another technique is to use questions. You can ask questions directly to the reader, for example, Have you ever thought about what you would do in this situation? Questions like this make the reader think about their own answer and they want to read on to find out what the writer’s answer is too. Alternatively, you could use a rhetorical question. A rhetorical question is a question where the answer is so obvious it doesn’t need to be stated, for example, Who would have thought it? These types of questions engage the reader because they’re persuasive – the reader already knows the answer, they agree with you and so they’re on your side.

A further technique is simply varying your vocabulary. Nobody wants to read something with the same words repeated over and over again – it’s boring! So, use lots of different words. You could do this by using synonyms – different words with the same meaning; another way is to use adverbs to make your writing more descriptive.

And finally, the reader will be much more engaged in your writing if you adopt an enthusiastic tone – if you don’t sound like you’re interested in the subject you’re writing about, how can you expect anyone else to be?

So, the next time you’re writing, try out some of these techniques to make the reader more interested and engaged in what you’ve got to say. Good luck!

For more information about studying General English, Cambridge Exam Preparation or IELTS Exam Preparation courses with Europeak Southampton or Eurospeak Reading, please contact us on:

3 ways to motivate yourself to study English

  1. Never compare your English skills to “others”!

One reason that many English language learners have a low opinion of their skills is that they’re comparing themselves to native English speakers or other learners who have reached fluency. You should also avoid comparing yourself to other English learners. The fact is that everyone is different – some people naturally learn faster, some people naturally learn more slowly. Some people have invested more time in studying, other people have studied “on and off.” Some learners have had excellent teachers, other learners have had trouble finding a good teacher or a good method. Just focus on your individual progress!

  1. When you feel lazy just take a “baby step”!

A baby step is a very small action.  Sometimes you just feel discouraged and lazy – you simply don’t want to study that day. Tell yourself you’ll just do one TINY thing.

  • I’ll read an article or a book in English for 5 minutes
  • I’ll watch a video on Youtube in English for 5 minutes
  • I’ll listen one song in English
  • I’ll learn 5 new words and 2 Idioms


The hardest part is often starting! However, if you take a “baby step,” you’ll definitely learn something – and you will probably regain your motivation in the process.

  1. Be encouraged! Your English is probably better than you think it is!

Unfortunately, a lot of English learners have a very negative view of their English skills. Yes, of course there is room to improve. But you already have good English skills. If someone can understand your speaking and writing, it is a really big accomplishment.

So if you tend to have a low opinion of your English, try to eliminate those negative thoughts by focusing on what you CAN do, and not in what you can’t do yet.

For more information about studying General English, Cambridge Exam Preparation or IELTS Exam Preparation courses with Europeak Southampton or Eurospeak Reading, please contact us on:




Listening Part Two in the B1 First and C2 Advanced exam is a gap-fill exercise. You are given a number of sentences with gaps and you need to complete the gaps with a word or short phrase. Here are some strategies that you can use to try to get the answers correct.

Firstly, you have time to read the text before you listen, so read it! But you need to read quickly because there isn’t a lot of time for this.

When you read, use the context to tell you the type of word or words you need to complete the gaps with – do you need a noun, an adjective, a verb, an adverb, etc.?

Also, use the context to predict the type of information that goes in the gap. This will help you to know what to listen for.

When you complete the gaps, you must use the exact word or words that you hear in the listening.

It is difficult to write one answer and continue to listen for the next one. Therefore, instead of trying to write the whole word or short phrase, just write an abbreviation (for example, the first letter of the word(s)). Then after you listen, you can write the full answer. Doing this means you can spend more time concentrating on listening and less time thinking about writing.

You listen twice. Use the first listening to listen for the answer; use the second listening to check that your answer is correct.

After you have completed the answers, read the sentences again to check that they make sense. The sentences always make sense when they are completed with the right answer. If the sentence makes sense, your answer could be correct; if the sentence does not make sense, you answer will not be correct.

ALWAYS GIVE AN ANSWER! You do not lose any marks for wrong answers, so if you are not sure, just guess – you might be correct and then you’ll get a point!

In the listening exam, you have a question paper and an answer sheet. After you have completed all parts of the listening exam (Part 1, 2, 3 & 4), there is time for you to transfer your answers from the question paper to the answer sheet. You must do this! If you don’t do it, you won’t get any marks! The answer sheet is sent to Cambridge and is marked, but the question paper is destroyed!

So, try out these strategies when you do practice tests, find out which ones work for you and then use them in the exam too. Good luck!

For more information about studying General English, Cambridge Exam Preparation or IELTS Exam Preparation courses with Europeak Reading or Eurospeak Southampton, please contact us on:

Eurospeak Southampton
10 Cumberland Place
SO15 2BH
+44 (0) 2380 636 494

Eurospeak Reading
29a Chain Street
+44 (0) 1189 589 599


Ain’t: you’ve heard people using this word – and you might even have seen it written down – but you’re not really sure what it means or how to use it. Well, read on and you won’t go wrong!


Here’s the short explanation:

ain’t = am not / isn’t / aren’t


ain’t = haven’t / hasn’t

And here’s more detail:

Ain’t exists in the same form for all persons:

I ain’t

you ain’t

he / she / it ain’t

we ain’t

you ain’t

they ain’t

You can basically use it any time when you would normally use am not / isn’t / aren’t or haven’t / hasn’t:

We ain’t finished yet. = We aren’t finished yet. OR We haven’t finished yet.

Ain’t you finished yet? = Aren’t you finished yet? OR Haven’t you finished yet?

You ain’t gonna be finished on time. = You aren’t going to be finished on time.

(More on gonna in a future post!)

Ain’t also exists in some fixed expressions, for example:

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. = If it isn’t broken, don’t fix it.

(Yes, this fixed expression does contain a grammatical error –  broke instead of broken!)

And there even used to be a comedy TV show in Britain with ain’t in the title:

It Ain’t Half Hot Mum

Ain’t only exists as a contraction – there is no full form. Contractions are informal; full forms are formal, so you can deduce from this that ain’t must be a pretty informal word. In fact, it is extremely informal – use it with your friends, maybe post it on social media, but definitely don’t write it in an academic assignment for university!

So, the next time you’re using English in a very informal situation, try using ain’t. There ain’t nothing stopping you!



The UK is one of the top most desired tourism destinations receiving more than forty million visits a year from people all over the world.

But it is not all about tourism, the UK is also one of the main destinations for lovers of the English Language. Thousands of  students decide to come to learn or improve their English skills in its birthplace.

What are the benefits?

  • Studying in the UK means that you will have total immersion in English, improving your language skills quickly on a daily basis.
  • Accredited English Language Schools are regularly inspected ensuring high quality teaching and learning experience.
  • People from all over the world come to study English in the UK giving you the most exciting experience of becoming friends and  learning about other students’ cultures and traditions.
  • Study English for professional purposes. English language  schools offer English courses that are specific to your career subject giving you advantage when applying for jobs.
  • The UK has a rich history and culture, many places to visit with easy planned journeys to vibrant cities, tourist sights and a beautiful countryside.
  • Living abroad and studying for personal, professional or educational purposes will develop your confidence, communication and independence skills.

Studying where the English Language was born will expose you to many accents and dialects which definitely make this experience challenging and very exciting!

To study with us please access our website.

Learn English in 2015!

Why learn English in 2015?

We all know that English is the international language, but there are many other great reasons to learn English this year..

The Internet

It is no secret that English is the language of the internet. Of all the languages used on the internet, English is the overwhelming favourite.

Internet Languages
Internet Languages






A study made by W3Techs showed that in April 2013, almost 55% of the most visited websites used English as their content language. Although, the number of non-English pages is rapidly expanding. According to Alexandru Rotaru, the use of English online increased by around 281% from 2001 to 2011, a lower rate of growth than that of Spanish (743%), Chinese (1,277%), Russian (1,826%) or Arabic (2,501%) over the same period.


English music sells well, nobody can argue about that. Not only is English language music popular in English speaking countries, but people from Portugal to Japan, Nigeria to The Phillipines, who has not heard of The Beatles, Michael Jackson, Madonna or Adele? Many foreign singers also like to use English to express themselves in song, for example, Gangnam Style and

English speakers  do not have a better musical sense or make the most romantic or poetic songs. Italian and French songs are arguably better in that respect. As far as English lyrics are concerned, most English songs are not concerned with poetry and language exploration. For example, have you ever heard ‘Barbie Girl’…!?

Summer School at Eurospeak UK

Eurospeak Summer SchoolThe weather is starting to perk up and Eurospeak is gearing up for summer in Britain. Our 2014 Summer school starts on the 16th of June and we have classes in General English, IELTS Preparation, Advanced, Upper Intermediate, Intermediate, Pre-Intermediate and Elementary Classes.

In addition, Eurospeak has an exciting list of activities and excursions lined up for our students this year. Our famous and well-loved barbeques will continue to take place every Friday afternoon, and we have bowling, boat trips and ball games.

On top of our regular activities, we are expanding our city and sight excursions to places such as Bournemouth, Cambridge, Bath as well as London, Oxford and Windsor Castle. For the more energetic students we have also planned paintballing and regular rock-climbing activities.

It promises to be a great summer, and we hope you will join us!