Category Archives: Word of the Day

Word of the Day: to Suggest and How to Make Suggestions

Would you agree with me if I said one of the trickiest verbs in English is ” suggest“?

This is one of the most common mistakes students make with this verb. Do you have this mistake?

My  mother suggested me to learn English

The sentence above is wrong  because “suggest” is not followed by object+infinitive. 

Below you’ll find some of the most common structures with “suggest”:


  • Suggest+that clause:  We can use present, past, should+infinitive and subjunctive in the that clause. That  can be omitted in informal style.

My mother suggested (that) I should learn English.

I suggest (that) you study a bit more

  •  Suggest+-ing

I suggest eating in that Italian restaurant.

  • Suggest+ Wh-word (when, where, who, how..etc)

Can you suggest where we  can have a nice meal?

  • Suggest+ noun

He suggested  the new restaurant in town for the wedding.

If we need to mention the person who receives the suggestion, we use a to-construction.

He suggested a new restaurant to me.

     He suggested me a new restaurant.


And now that we are on the subject, do you know how to make suggestions in English?

Click “play” on the interactive mind map below to study the different ways we can suggest in English and then see the video to do some practice.

Mapa Mental creado con GoConqr por cristina.cabal

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Tools used: Goconqr and Picovico

Word of the Day: Bring Up and Educate


These two words can be a bit confusing for some learners as in some languages the translation is the same, for example in Spanish.

  • BRING UP is used for the moral and social training that children receive at home. The noun is upbringing.
  • EDUCATE is used for the intellectual and cultural training people get at school and university. The noun is education.


I was brought up by my grandmother.

She was brought up as a Catholic

Her strict upbringing shaped her whole life

My mother was educated at a private school

His lack of education prevented him from getting a good job.

NOTE: Don’t confuse being educated with having good manners. 

Ex from WikiHow

If you want to have good manners, then you have to master dining etiquette, phone etiquette, as well as to learn basic etiquette, which includes being polite and holding doors for people.


Word of the Day : High and Tall


This forest has very tall trees

  • TALL. This simple idea is easy to remember: if a thing is higher than it is wide, then we use Tall .

People , trees , ladders, street lamps,  buildings with a lot of floors are Tall

I am 1,70 cm tall

I live in a very tall building. It has 20 floors

  • HIGH: we use high for things which are wider.

There are some high mountains in Austria

Prisons have very high walls


  • When talking about measurements, Tall is used for people and High for things. So, as you can see there are things that can be “tall” or “high” depending on the context

I am 1,70 cm tall

This building is 25 m high (tall) / I live in a very tall building

  • The adjective High is used when talking about distance above the ground

The shelf is too high for me to reach. Can you help me?

  • Parts of the body are long, not tall


The clouds are very ... today



This park has very ... trees


The woman is six feet ___


What is the ___mountain in the world?


This building is 75 metres ___

High ( we are talking about measurement)

This is a very ___ building. It has 30 floors.

tall (higher than wide)

The fence was too ___for a man of his age to climb





Word of the Day: Expressions with MIND

How many expressions do you know containing the word MIND? Have a look at these ones:

Can you guess their meaning? Click to display

What gift do you have in mind for Harry?

 Intend ( to get)

Emily has set her mind on a degree on medicine

decided to try and achieve// it can also be followed by “to”

You should bear in mind that the text is only one hour


I must be out of my mind lending Gavin money!


I tried to remember her name, but my mind went completely blank

cannot remember anything

He turned to go and then seemed to change his mind

Adopt a different opinion or plan

He made up his mind to attend the meeting although it was a difficult decision

Make a decision

I do not have any particular person in mind for this job

Be thinking of someone or something

We should take Alice to the cinema tonight.It will take her mind off her exams

make her stop thinking about


Now , try to answer these questions containing expressions with the word “mind”

  1. What do you need to bear in mind when …?
  • buying a second-hand car?
  • setting up your own business?
  • writing a composition?
  1. Are you an indecisive person ? Do you often change your mind? Do you change your mind about trivial things or about more serious ones? When was the last time you changed your mind about something?
  2. Are you planning your next holidays? What sort of holidays do you have in mind?
  3. Do you find it easy to make up your mind ..
  • when you are buying clothes?
  • when the option is telling a lie or telling the truth?
  1. Talk about the last time your mind went blank. Where were you? What were you doing? What happened?
  2. Talk about a time
  • you went out of your mind with grief
  • you wanted something so much , you just went out of your mind and paid a fortune for it
  • you were bored out of your mind
  1. Finish the sentence: It seemed impossible at first but I set my mind on …. and
  2. Where do you go and what do you do to take your mind off your problems?

Test your knowledge below (only for Spanish students)


Word of the Day: Teacher , Professor and Lecturer

Do you know the difference between these three seemingly identical terms?

Let’s start by stating the obvious, all of them are related to “teaching”; but is there a difference between them? Indeed there is, as otherwise I wouldn’t be bothering you with this issue and well you know it!  🙂

Alright,  let’s get down to the point. I know you’re all on tenterhooks and I don’t want to see you suffer.

At school, there are teachers. At university , there are lecturers and professors.

♥A lecturer  is a university teacher who has just started teaching at college or university. Lecturers do not have tenures ( permanent position) and they are at an early stage of their careers.

Some words that collocate with lecturer are:

I was a junior  lecturer in Spanish at Oxford  University when I was in my 30s

♥A professor, on the other hand,  is the principal teacher in a department and he usually has a doctorate degree. When he   first gets his doctorate degree, he becomes an assistant professor  and teaches  for 5 or 6 years. Then, he is  given tenure and  becomes an associate professor and finally he  can promote to become a  full professor. So, professor is the highest rank an academic can get.

Some words that collocate with professor are

I spent  a year as a visiting professor at Oviedo University. He is a distinguised professor of history.

 To finish, I would remind you that teachers give  lessons and lecturers and professors  give lectures.



Word of the Day: Finish and End Up

I don’t know about other languages, but these two verbs  can be easily confused in


Very often, we  see this kind of mistakes:  We missed the bus and finished taking a taxi .

So what is the difference between these two verbs? How can we use them?

♥ End Up

– if you end up somewhere, you eventually arrive there, even though you did not originally intend  to go there.

Many of his friends ended up in prison for different crimes

– if you end up  doing something or end up in a particular state, you do it or get to that state even though you did not originally intend to.

We missed the bus and ended up taking a taxi

I f the crisis continues, we will end up with millions and millions of unemployed

♥ Finish

-If you finish, or finish something you are doing, producing or dealing with, you reach the end of it, so there is no more for you to do, produce  or deal with .

I’ve just finished doing the ironing

When we finished eating , we left

– When a  course, film, sale, etc finishes , especially at a planned time, it ends

The course starts in September and finishes in May

The good news is that both verbs are followed by gerund so, you see, here you can not make a mistake.

See how the following sentences are translated

Have a look at these quotes now and pay attention to how these two verbs are being used. Which quote do you like best ? Why?

Source: Collins Cobuild

Confusing Words

Can you tell the difference between  farther and further or especially and specially? Do you know for certain when to use arrive in or arrive at?  Which one is American English at the weekend or on the weekend, math or maths? Is it think of, about, in or on?? Do you have problems using and/or pronouncing weigh, weighed and weight? You are pretty certain you know how to use boring and bored, but  does it work the same for stressed and stressing?  If these questions have raised serious doubts, then this post is for you. 🙂

Click on the picture if you want to go straight to the section

I sometimes have to remind my students  I’m not a walking dictionary !!  I honestly believe what makes a good teacher is not how many words  he knows in the dictionary or whether he knows a  given idiomatic expression. I don’t  think knowing what “stuck in a rut” means makes you a good  or a bad teacher. I firmly believe a good teacher is the one who loves his work and is able to transmit his love for what he does to  his students  and  is able to keep them motivated  whenever  they want to give up. I  have learned that being a good teacher is not teaching to those who want but to those who don’t.

Although initially English is not such a difficult  language to learn, it cannot be argued that for some students it is easier than for others. Take for example , a native speaker of Dutch or German  and a native speaker of Japanese or Russian. Obviously, German and Russian are closely related to English whereas  Japanese or Russian are completely unrelated so I’m sure   you can draw your  own conclusions in this matter.

Very often students tend to systematically makes mistakes with a given word either in its pronunciation or in the way it collocates with certain prepositions, adjectives …etc and we cannot forget here the issue of false friends which causes so many problems and, trust me,  sometimes funny misunderstandings, like in Spanish, the false friend “embarrassed ” and “pregnant”.

To help my students and readers of this blog overcome  these difficulties, I have created a new section in this bog called CONFUSING WORDS. I hope it’s helpful!

Word of the day: Dream Of/About, Get Married/Marry

Although my favourite expression in class is ” It is very easy”, there’s no point in denying English prepositions are hard to learn, if you can ever say you learn them. I don’t know about other languages but Spanish students seem to consistently make mistakes when using prepositions after these two verbs. Let’s study them:



  •  marry somebody (no preposition required)

Please, marry me !! he said

I married a person I am still in love with

  • be/get married to somebody. (not with)

She used to be married to my brother

I got married to my childhood sweetheart


  • dream about sth /sb when you are sleeping

Last night I dreamt about the exam

  • dream of  you are awake, you think about something pleasant you would like to happen .

I have always dreamt of visiting Japan

She had this romantic dream of changing the world

Hope it helps!! 🙂

 A little quiz , perhaps?
She dreamed ___becoming a chef.


I dreamt ___ you last night.


I married__ Alex because I love him.


I got married __ Peter in Asturias (Spain)


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Word of the day: Go on Holiday or Go on Holidays?

Happy, happy Monday!  Today is my son’s birthday, 15 years  in this world and every minute of it making me feel the proudest mum on earth. Lucas , I love you to the moon and back!!.

I have had lots of English teachers in my life so I wouldn’t know who to blame, if any, for some of the mistakes I ‘ve made  when teaching English. Some of these mistakes I have been correcting over the years and  as about the others, I´ll let you know as soon as I spot them. The truth is that  one is never aware  what  one is saying is wrong  until suddenly the penny drops.

When I first began teaching, like 24 years ago, I believed that as the teacher I always had to be perfect and know everything there is to know about English. At the beginning , when my students asked me to translate into English a word I didn’t know I’d make one  up and if I made a mistake sometimes I would cover it up.My only excuse is that I was 23 and my students were much older than me.  When I realised that I was not a machine but a far from perfect  human being , only then did I begin to enjoy what I was doing and only then did my lessons begin to get better , mainly because I was enjoying myself and finally putting all my heart into it.

♥Going on Holidays was one of my mistakes. It is easy for a Spanish student to make this mistake as we translate as Ir de Vacaciones and we use the plural here. But speakers of British English use (be/go) on holiday or return/get back from holiday

I met my husband while I was on holiday in Cuba

I am going on holiday next month

Speakers of American English use (be/go) on vacation

♥The plural Holidays is used with the/my/your etc

During the summer holiday(s) my son is going to work in a shop.

She doesn’t want anybody to know where she is going for her holiday(s)


♥By the way, do you know what a (BrE) bank holiday/public holiday (AmE) is ??? An official day when banks and most businesses are closed.

In Spain ,12th October is a bank holiday.


Word of the Day: Roast and Baked

Hope you are having a great week!! I can’t complain!! Apart from a visit to the hospital and another one to the doctor to have my wrist bandaged I can say that , all in all , it’s been a great week so far.

I understand  you might be a bit tired of reading about food , but that’s what I am teaching and that’s where my  brain is focused right now. In fact, I have just found a video in youtube to add to the growing list of food related posts. Keep poted !!

Today I just want to point out the difference between these two words which are very similar and therefore raise doubts

♥Both are adjectives

♥Both  mean cooked in the oven

Baked is used for bread, cakes and most sweet things, and also fruit and vegetables.

♥Roast  means cooked with fat, and is used especially for meat and potatoes.