A Tip for Tuesday

To improve your listening skills watch some talks on TED.com.

With a variety of topics from speaking the language of dolphins to bringing Pac-Man to MOMA, and the options to watch talks in English with English subtitles, it really is a website that keeps on giving!



A Tip for Tuesday

Today’s tip is about combining two essential activities: learning and interior design.

A good way to learn (or remind yourself of) basic vocabulary for everyday things is by using post-it notes.

Sticking them on objects in and around the house will help remind you of the words every time you see them as well as add a touch of neon to your home decor 🙂


A Tip for Tuesday

Today’s tip is all about friends.

When teaching or learning English you find out there is a name given to words that look very similar to ones in another language but mean something different. These kinds of words are normally referred to as ‘false friends’. (An example is to assist and asistir which we wrote about a couple of weeks ago).

We at The English Garden however, feel this is somewhat harsh and rather than false friends we prefer to view these words as ‘potential new friends’ (or PNFs). They are not trying to trick you, they are just going about their wordy business and giving you a chance to learn a new bit of vocabulary, and ponder, wonder and celebrate the diversity of the universe and the fact that things can seem similar, but be totally different (which, yes, can be frustrating at times, but is just a fact of language learning and of life we all must come to accept and hopefully learn a lot from).

Like any friend, these PNFs should be appreciated, loved, and thought about often.
Unlike friends, they should be used (and if you really like them you can also adopt them)

Finally, as we are on the subject of friends, to my oldest one, who I’ve known my whole life minus the 5 days she wasn’t born yet, and who I met in a different land and a different language (and before either of us could even talk) I think of you always, love you very much and from across the Med I wish you a very very happy birthday!!

A Tip for Tuesday

Today’s tip is all about choosing wisely.

The 23rd of April is Saint George’s day, known locally as La Diada de Sant Jordi. The aforementioned saint is the patron saint of Catalonia, the land where The English Garden can be found.

As it also marks the recorded death-day of Billy and Mike (Thus also doubling as International Book Day), the custom is that boys get books and girls get roses, usually accompanied by a blade of wheat (although nowadays girls tend to get both – just as we deserve 😉 ).

And just as Shakespeare was sure that a rose by any other name would smell as sweet, be certain that this information, though seemingly random is relevant to our tip because what is a custom if not a collective habit?
And habits, as we all know are often hard to break, so when you form them, you should make sure you pick good ones.

To help, below is a short list we have put together, and feel free to add to it to your hearts’ content!

Recommended Habits for Better English:
Adopting words
Thinking (both in English and in general)
Not translating
And, now and then, looking things over again….

For now we wish you all a very feliz Sant Jordi, may your shelves be full of books and your gardens full of roses!


A Tip for Tuesday

Today’s tip is about collecting collocations.

As in all languages, in English too, certain words collocate with certain others (which simply means that they are commonly used together).

For some general examples you can click on the tag ‘collocations’ at the end of this post. If you want to use a specific word, however, but don’t know what it collocates with, it’s worth while looking it up either in a collocations dictionary or online (try http://forbetterenglish.com).

To give an example let’s look at the word ‘birthday’.

You can celebrate a birthday, have a birthday party or bash and eat an appetizing birthday cake.

Indeed, if today happens to be your birthday we wish you, from the bottom of our heart many happy returns and hope you are having a fabulously fun packed day!


A Tip for Tuesday

To practise your English look for opportunities to use it. Below are a few suggestions:

  • If some tourists stop you in the street to ask for directions don’t be shy, help them out.
  • If you are interested in a certain topic, say Extreme Bonsai Tree Trimming, look for forums about it in English.
  • If you are going away to an exotic destination, or are day dreaming about doingso, look for information about it in English.
  • Finally, if you are reading this post and need some practice, write a short comment below 🙂

The more you practise the more you’ll progress. As the famous saying goes ‘you’ll reap what you sow’ or, as we here at The English Garden like to put it, ‘you’ll enjoy what you mow’.


A Tip for Tuesday

Hello everyone and welcome back.

As many of you will have enjoyed the long Easter weekend and will thus be facing your first day back to life, back to reality (to quote the musical geniuses who are Soul II Soul) today’s tip is all about how to cope with this inevitable predicament.

As big fans of breaks ourselves (be they Summer, Easter and yes, even mid-morning) here at The English Garden we are well aware that once these are over it can be hard to get back to the routine of working, gardening, and indeed, learning.

In the case of Easter, your stomach is full of sweet chocolate and your head is full of sweet nothing most probably, so to make the transition back into learning smoother, we suggest you reacquaint yourself what you had learnt last term.

You can do so by looking over your notes, re-reading any articles you worked on or revisiting your favourite English Gardener’s Tips.

If nothing else, doing this should hopefully remind you why you decided to learn English in the first place and thus help you face the future with renewed motivation.

For when it comes to learning, much like when stacking shelves, chairs or even coloured boxes, motivation is half the battle.