Newsletter: week 12

Weekly English Fix

This week: Chocolate Chip and Banana Muffins

Photo by Taylor Grote

By Klaudyna Piatek March 22, 2021

Wonderful news everyone, we are now an official business and have received our temporary SIRET number! And, what better way to celebrate than by baking Chocolate Chip and Banana Muffins this Saturday, March 27th?! Join us for this week’s workshop and delight in the deliciousness of these scrumptious muffins! 

Also, don’t forget that you can now sign your children up for our online English lessons over the Easter holidays. We will play games, learn about music, talk about films and help them find their comfort zone in English. Each lesson is 45 minutes long, for elementary aged children we offer 1 lesson per day; for middle and high school, it is 2 lessons per day, Monday to Friday. 

Don’t miss them! 

THIS WEEK’S

TOP STORIES

Spread the love! 10 scrumptious Marmite recipes, from roast potatoes to spaghetti

Stuart Heritage

https://www.theguardian.com/food/2021/mar/22/10-scrumptious-marmite-recipes-roast-potatoes-spaghetti

Okay, Marmite is really not my thing, but I think that we should all be open to trying new foods and experiencing other cultures. So, have a go! Read about all the different ways that you can prepare Marmite, and who knows, maybe you’re one of the lovers?!


Arrests after 6,000 people gather for illegal ‘carnival’ in Marseille

https://www.thelocal.fr/20210322/arrests-after-6000-people-gather-for-illegal-carnival-in-marseille/

Want to read about French news in English? Try out The Local. Here’s an article to get you started about the recent “carnival” in Marseille! 

THIS WEEK’S

TOP TIPS

Long Term Improvement

I recently saw a post on Facebook advertising Yoga in English. I think that’s a great idea. Pick an activity that you enjoy, and do it in English, or in whatever language you are trying to learn! It’s important to find enjoyment in language learning and it doesn’t really matter how you do it as long as you get to practice enough. 

Vocabulary

I have been learning lots of new words lately by reading books with my young son. Children’s books are great because they’re often written in a very rhythmic way, they rhyme, and we tend to read them aloud! Great practice! 

Grammar Spot

Since I mentioned reading in the vocabulary advice above, I’ll mention it here too. While I was learning French, reading books with lots of dialogue really helped me understand how to use the imparfait and pasé composé tenses. They helped because I could follow the conversation on my own time, and I didn’t have to worry about interrupting the people speaking to ask about a word. Dialogue-rich novels are fabulous! 

GroupEtude SARL

21 AV Jean Giono

13090, Aix en Provence

Grammar Mondays: adjectives 4

I often hear my students make the following mistake: “I am very interesting in this subject.” Or, they might say, “I am boring,” when they mean: “I am bored.”

These are very common mistakes. So how can we remedy them?

Try to pick up an example that you feel comfortable with, like: I am bored. = I feel bored. When you are unsure which form of the adjective to use, think back to your tested and tried example. Do you feel interested? If yes, then you should say: I am interested.

Let’s have another one. The Ring is frightening. I am frightened. = The Ring is a frightening film, therefore I feel frightened. If you say: I am frightening, that means you think people are afraid of you!

Okay, now you try it. Make three sentences with the following adjectives: tempted/tempting; excited/exciting; embarrassed/embarrassing.

Grammar Mondays: adjectives 3

The nice thing about adjectives in English is that they’re not terribly complicated. There are a few rules to remember, but on the whole, there isn’t that much to it.

Let’s look at an example of a descriptive paragraph, all the adjectives are in bold:

The sun’s rays beamed into the large room through the French doors. It illuminated everything, and gave the sparsely decorated office a warm and welcoming glow. The furniture was all made of wood: the chairs were upholstered, red velvet and of polished dark mahogany; the desk, also a dark mahogany, was wide and comfortable, with papers and books scattered all over; and not to forget, the potted plant stood upright on the hardwood floor with its leaves bursting joyfully from its soil, brining in air and life.

a large room.

upholstered chair

red velvet

a wide and comfortable desk

hardwood floor

potted plant

French doors

decorated office

polished dark mahogany

Now, can you try to describe either, the room you are in, or an imaginary room. You don’t need to use terribly complicated language, use the words you are comfortable with. If you’d like to step out of your comfort zone, you can reach for a thesaurus, which is a dictionary where you will find synonyms. You can find this online by typing “thesaurus” into Google. Good luck!

Don’t forget to post your descriptions here!

Grammar Mondays: adjectives 2

Did you notice, also, how the nationality always comes right before the noun? So, the order here would be: adjective, color adjective, nationality, noun.

Example: The old blue book. Or, a black French bulldog.

Of course, don’t worry if you mix some of these up, people will still undersand you, and the point is to be understood. The main thing to remember, really, is to keep nationalities right next to the noun. Example: a tall Polish man.

Now it’s your turn to try. Look around you and write a paragraph describing what you see. That could mean: describing the room you are in, the view from your window, or the person sitting next to you at the office. The best way to improve is to practice a specific skill until you get it right. So if that skill is descriptive writing, then you must describe things as well as you can, then go back and edit. Ask someone who has already mastered the skill to give you feedback, then edit again, etc.

Good luck. If you have any questions, let me know, I’m here to help!

Newsletter: Week 9

Weekly English Fix

This week: Brownie Bonanza

Photo by Klaudyna Piatek

By Klaudyna Piatek March 2, 2021

Welcome everyone to this, the week before we open officially! Our very first event: the Brownie Bonanza. Join our baking workshop and learn how to make brownies for free! You can easily sign up by clicking on the link: https://groupetude.com/event/brownie-bonanza/ and filling in our sign-up form. 

This first week of March is proving to be a little unnerving due to Covid uncertainty. Nobody really knows what the government has planned, and this does nothing to help our collective anxiety. However, here is one way in which we can try to counter this. 

Hiking! My husband and I have discovered hiking with our 4 year old son. Of course, we don’t climb to the highest heights, but our kiddo has surprised us by being quite resilient and happy and even excited to go on our weekly hike. This way we not only enjoy the outdoors, but we’ve been able to see what our lovely region has to offer. Highly recommended to help with cabin fever. So, have a look around where you live, even a nice walk can do so much good! 

THIS WEEK’S TOP STORIES

10 virtual tours of spectacular buildings around the world

Phoebe Taplin

https://www.theguardian.com/travel/2021/mar/02/10-virtual-tours-spectacular-buildings-around-world-vr

If you have the travel bug without the possibility of travel, check out these virtual tours. The English level in this article is perhaps a bit difficult, but remember, the point is not to understand everything, the point is to practice and get used to the language. So don’t sweat it if you miss even 50% of the meaning, the point is to immerse yourself! 

Documenting emperor penguins in Antarctica

https://www.bbc.com/news/in-pictures-55857380

This is a beautiful story if you like nature. This photographer spent two winters alongside a colony of emperor penguins; the link will take you to the BBC article where some of his photos are documented. It’s worth checking out, if only for the pictures!

THIS WEEK’S TOP TIPS

Long Term Improvement

Download an English news app on your phone and make a vow to read at least one article everyday. I promise, this will not only improve your reading, but also your vocabulary and your general ease in the language! 

Some examples: BBC, The Guardian, The Observer, The Times, The Huff Post

Vocabulary

The Oxford Learner’s Dictionary has a Word of the Day; follow it! Make it your goal to use your new word at least once that day. If you don’t have anyone to speak to in English, then write a diary entry or join a Facebook English learner’s group and use it there! 

Grammar Spot

Did you know that adjectives in English are always invariable and always go in front of the noun? If you have trouble assimilating this, try to practice by looking around you and describing what you see. If you practice a little everyday, you’ll be a pro in no time! 

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GroupEtude SARL

L’astuce de la semaine: Quel(s) ou quelle(s)?

QUEL, QUELLE, QUELS, QUELLES… Encore des homophones grammaticaux que l’on confond souvent.

Attention à ne pas confondre QUELLE et QU’ELLE. Ils se prononcent de la même façon, s’écrivent différemment et n’ont pas le même sens ni la même fonction!

QU’ELLE s’écrit en deux mots. Il s’agit de la conjonction QUE et du pronom personnel féminin ELLE. On peut donc remplacer ELLE par IL.

Vous trouverez davantage d’explications ici !

Grammar Mondays: adjectives 1

I still sometimes struggle with adjectives in French, because they change. You have to know the gender of the noun, adjust for plurals, etc.; that confuses me, or, even when it doesn’t, sometimes I simply forget!

In English, adjectives are pretty simple. They never change! No matter what you pair it with, your adjective will always be the same. For example: your old shoe, and, your old shoes. There may be more than one shoe, that’s ok, it has no effect on the adjective.

Aldo, adjectives go in front of the noun. For example: a happy face.

There you go! More on this again next week, when we’ll deal with multiple adjectives to describe one thing.

Grammar Mondays

As you know, we don’t only use conjunctions for opposition, we also need them to add information or make a further point. That’s why these are great; you can use them all at the start or in the middle of a sentence, always at the beginning of a clause.

Can you make a sentence with each one?

Let us know if you have any questions!

Grammar Mondays: conjunctions 2

Today’s grammar spot is once again, about conjunctions. We’re going to persevere with these over the next couple of weeks because I think they’re very important. As I said previously, they’re marvelous in terms of increasing fluidity in writing.

Here are some more example sentences for each conjunction:

However

The trampoline is a great way to exercise, however, there is a maximum weight!

In summer time, the days a long and lazy. However, the days in winter are very short.

But

Add the eggs, but remember to keep stirring.

I like scrambled eggs, but I really prefer an omelet.

On the other hand

There’s something so romantic about an old-fashioned record player. On the other hand, it’s so much easier to just listen to music from my phone.

Wireless vacuum cleaners have become my absolute favourite, on the other hand, they’re much more expensive!

Do you have questions? Do you need more examples or help? Leave us a comment below!

Grammar Mondays: conjunctions 1

English has many conjunctions to choose from. Conjunctions make our sentences more fluid, and knowing alternatives to the ones we use everyday will help you become more fluent, and your writing less repetitive.

Today’s conjunctions: despite, nevertheless and although, all mean “even though”. They are not, however, all used in the same way. Notice where the conjunctions are placed in the examples above, and what kind of words they are paired with.

Here’s a quick look at their construction and use:

ConjunctionConstruction
Despitedespite + noun or noun phrase

It’s usually found at the beginning of a clause (a group of words separated by a period, comma, colon or semi-colon).

It can be at the start, or in the middle of a sentence.
NeverthelessIt can be found in the middle or at the end of a sentence.

You can use it to concede a point or argue against something.

For more examples, check: https://www.oxfordlearnersdictionaries.com/definition/english/nevertheless?q=nevertheless
AlthoughIt’s always found a the beginning of a clause.

It can be at the start or the middle of a sentence.

If you have any questions, or would like to see more example sentences, you can leave a comment. Alternatively, you could go to www.oxforlearningdictionaries.com to find definitions and examples.