Category Archives: Word of the Day

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. 🙂

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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.

Word of the Day: stressed or stressful?

Probably some  of the most popular words in nowadays society where we are always running to and fro and with little time to unwind.

Aren’t some people always complaining of suffering from stress, of having had a very stressful day or feeling very stressed?

  • Stress  is a noun.
  • Stressed and Stressful are both adjectives .

What’ the difference between Stressed and Stressful?

The difference between them is the same that exists between other pair of adjectives ending in -ed and -ing  such as interesting/interested, bored/boring, tired/tiring , annoyed/annoying…etc. Let’s see this difference:

1. Adjectives ending in -ed  express how someone feels about something (stressed)

I am interested in this book  or I am really annoyed today

2. Adjectives ending in -ing describe the thing or situation  that causes the emotion. (stressful)

It was a boring film or  The teacher’s explanation was confusing

The adjective STRESSED can be explained  as belonging  to the first group of adjectives (bored,interested…)  and STRESSFUL as belonging to the second group  (boring, interesting…)

  • Stressing is just the -ing form of the verb To Stress

Stop stressing me, please!!!

Hope it helps you improve! 🙂

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