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.

Friday Idiom: break a leg

Learn an English idiom every Friday with Groupetude!

This idiom is used in theatres; before an actor goes on stage, rather than saying “good luck”, which incidentally is supposed to bring bad luck, you say, “break a leg!”

I have always wondered why we say break a leg… it is a bit strange after all. Its origins, however, are uncertain, so we’ll just have to remember not to say “good luck” to anyone about to perform!

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!

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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Word of the Day: watertight

The definition I provided above has to do with the more figurative sense of the word, because I think we can all figure out what it means literally. So, here are a few more examples of watertight with the meaning above.

  1. Jeremiah must have a watertight alibi if he wants to be beyond suspicion.
  2. The contract is watertight, you don’t have to worry.
  3. That’s a pretty watertight argument, well done.

Can you think of any other examples?

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.

It’s brownie time!

I just love this brownie recipe. It’s a mix of two recipes I had been using previously, and decided to take the basic principles form both and see what happens. Well, what happens is fab! It’s not very hard to do, even if browning the butter takes a little while, but trust me, it’s worth it!

The extra chocolate chips are an option, this one was a test run for my son’s birthday, hence the little stars!

Let’s practice our cooking vocabulary with this delicious brownie recipe! 

What you will need:

  • Measuring cups
  • ½ tablet of dark cooking chocolate
  • ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • ½ cup unsalted butter
  • 3 large eggs at room temperature
  • 1 ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • baking pan (the last time I made this I used a glass oven pan, which worked really well because I have a gas oven where all the heat comes from the bottom, so it really protected my brownie from burning).

Method:

  • Preheat your oven to 180°C and grease your pan with butter, or line it with baking paper. 
  • Melt the butter in a saucepan, if you really want it to taste great, you should brown the butter. To do this, you need to not only melt it, but keep it over the heat until it bubbles and browns. So, continue stirring the butter after it melts, it will begin to foam and make a crackling noise, stay close to it, after a while, brown bits of butter will begin to form at the top. You don’t have to do this, but it adds a richness to the brownies. 
  • Break up the chocolate into squares and place it in a heat safe bowl, then add in the butter, stir until the chocolate chips are completely melted and mixed nicely with the butter. Set it aside to cool for about 10 minutes. 
  • In another bowl, whisk together the sugar, cocoa powder and salt, then add the butter and chocolate mixture and vanilla extract. 
  • Add the eggs, one at a time, whisking between each addition. 
  • Add in the flour until just combined (don’t mix it too much).
  • Pour the mixture into your pan and bake for about 30 minutes, or until the centre is just set. If you put a toothpick in the centre, it should come out clean, with maybe just a bit of the batter sticking to it. The baking time for my gas oven is about 25 minutes because it gets very hot, and I don’t have a thermostat on it. Either way, you should check on your brownie after 20 minutes as baking times may differ based on the type of pan you use. 
  • Let it cool before serving.

I used to make this recipe without melting the chocolate with the butter, but it’s so much better this way! 

I hope you enjoy this brownie, it’s a mix of two recipes I found online; you can find the links below. 

Just a Taste: Quick and Easy Skillet Brownie

Browned Butter Blondie: The Best Brown Butter Brownies

Glossary

mid middle
measuring cups cups used to verify the quantity of ingredients
all purpose flour de la farine tout usage
sugar du sucre
unsalted butter beurre doux
egg oeuf
unsalted butter not from the refrigerator
unsalted butter a dish used to cook things in the oven 
oven four
preheat prechauffer
grease rub the butter into the pan to make it greasy
baking paper papier sulfurisé
melt heat it until it becomes liquid
saucepan a pot
taste le goût 
bubbles des bulles
stir mélanger
crackling crépitant
bit a small amount
form become
safe not dangerous
bowl un bol
whisk fouet
set become solid
toothpick un cure dent
batter the mixture you just made, before it becomes a cake
stick to become fixed to something

Word of the day: flamboyant

Flamboyant is an excellent word. It’s fun and colourful and filled with confidence. You might use the word flamboyant to describe a person who has a larger-than-life personality, and/or who has a colourful and original style. A friend of mine in university had a very flamboyant personality, and he was the life of the party!

Is there anything or anyone you can describe as flamboyant?

IMMERSION EN ANGLAIS À TRAVERS LES SÉRIES

Personne ne veut que son enfant passe trop de temps devant les écrans, mais si on est réaliste, on admet que nos enfants regardent quand même des dessins animés. Alors, pourquoi ne pas en profiter pour qu’il apprennent en même temps ? 

C’est bien connu que les personnes dans les pays scandinaves, tel la Norvège, parlent très bien anglais. Alors voyons pourquoi. 

Il y a, bien sûr, des raisons linguistiques et économiques pour ces compétences. Les pays scandinaves ont des petites populations; ils ont besoin de parler l’anglais professionnellement pour pouvoir communiquer avec des étrangers. Les langues scandinaves sont aussi plus rapprochées linguistiquement de l’anglais que les langues latines. 

Aujourd’hui, cependant, je vais vous parler des médias. En Norvège, ou en Suède, les séries et les films ne sont généralement pas doublés. Si la version originale est en anglais, elle reste en anglais. Grâce à ça, les scandinaves ont l’anglais tout autour d’eux, alors qu’en France, regarder une série ou bien un film en VO n’est pas toujours possible. Ça change, bien-sûr, mais pour moi, on pourrait vraiment faire mieux. Je connais très peu de français qui regardent leurs médias en VO, même ceux qui parlent anglais ! 

C’est important, pour l’apprentissage d’une langue, de l’entendre. Si le seul endroit où l’on rencontre une nouvelle langue est dans un livre de grammaire, ou dans un cours à l’école où il y a tellement d’enfants que même si l’enseignant est bon, il y a peu de chance qu’il arrive à aider tous les élèves; alors c’est certain que l’on n’apprendra pas. 

Alors, mettez les séries en VO ! Mettez les films et les jeux en VO. Si vous souhaitez que votre enfant parle bien anglais, mettez lui ses dessins animés en anglais. Il n’est pas important ce que vous lui mettez, tant que c’est en anglais, mais voici quelques séries bien aimées de mon fils de 4 ans: Paw Patrol ; Peppa Pig ; Mickey Mouse Club House (génial pour l’apprentissage car en plus d’être en anglais, c’est une série où les enfants apprennent plein de choses) ; Mickey Mouse Roadster Racers ; Curious George et Llama Llama.

Ce n’est pas une liste exhaustive, mais elle est déjà pas mal. Je recommande vivement Mickey Mouse Club House pour les plus jeunes, car c’est vraiment basé sur l’apprentissage des plus petits. 

Donc voilà, j’espère que je ne vous ai pas trop ennuyé ! Si vous avez des questions, n’hésitez pas à nous écrire ou laissez un commentaire ci- dessous.

Bonne journée et bon week-end à tous !  

P.S. Cet article est écrit avec l’anglais à l’esprit, mais vous pouvez tout à fait transférer ces idées à n’importe quel autre langue !