Word of the Day: baffle

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It’s baffling, but this is the first time that I really feel like I need a garden!

If you baffle someone, it means that you puzzle them, or make them a bit confused. When you’re baffled, you are surprised or taken aback. It means that the situation or person is strange and has made you stop and think.

You can describe something or someone as baffling. For example: his behavior is baffling.

Have you got any questions? Are you baffled? Leave us a comment and we’ll get back to you!

Grammar Mondays: modals 6

Améliorez votre anglais avec nos Grammar Mondays; chaque semaine, une nouvelle astuce avec Groupetude !

The modal may is used to express two things: politeness and possibility.

In terms of possibility, it can replace might, though might is more commonly used than may in this context.

More often, school children learn that may is used for good manners. For example, rather than using the modal can when asking for something, use may:

  • May I have another cookie please?
  • May I go to the bathroom? (A child asking at school.)
  • May I leave the table?
  • May I? (Said simply when it is obvious what the question is, for example, when you’re indicating that you’d like to offer your help.)
  • How may I help you? (If you’re a shop assistant speaking to a customer.)

Do you have any questions? Leave them in the comments, or email me directly!

Friday Idiom: under the weather

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« I’m feeling a bit under the weather today, so I don’t think I’ll make it to your party. »

« Josh can’t come to school today because he’s a little under the weather, I’d like him to rest. »

If you’re feeling « under the weather » it means that you’re not at your best. Use it within a sentence when you’d like to tell someone that you’re not feeling well. It generally means you have a cold, and isn’t used for more serious illnesses.

Parenting and entrepreneuring: episode 3

I’ve decided that I’m going to change the name for what I call « my son taking care of himself while I work. » I’m going to call it: free play time.

Why? I think the name works better, it makes me feel better, and honestly? It’s really not so bad for him. Child specialists the world over toot the advantages of free play time for children. So why not call our Wednesday mornings that?

Our kiddo spends basically all of Wednesday morning playing on his own. At the moment, I’m pretty sure he’s drawing something. Maybe ten minutes ago he was playing with his toys, and before that, he got himself a banana to top up his breakfast. It’s 10am and he hasn’t even asked for TV or the tablet yet! I’m sure the time will come, but so far, I’m impressed.

So what’s the point of this post? Don’t feel guilty for letting your kids play alone! There is nothing wrong with your child spending time using his or her imagination and inventing games for him/herself. In fact, it’s good for them. It helps them become more autonomous, develops the imagination and shows them that they’re not the center of the universe.

To me, this last point is super important. My kid needs to understand that when I’m on a call, he has to be quiet, he can’t talk to me unless he’s « dying » and he needs to figure things out for himself. It may sound harsh, but he has to learn how to wait. Patience is a virtue, right?

I opened my business so that I could spend less time at work, make my own money (more than what I was making previously) and spend more time with my family. However, I didn’t open it to become a stay-at-home mom. There is nothing wrong with being a stay-at-home parent, but it’s a different ball game.

So, if you have to work, forget feeling guilty. Organize your day so you can set aside family time, but when it’s your work time, guilt has no place. Your company is important, your well-being is important, and your kids need to learn to respect that; it’ll serve them in the future.

Word of the Day: remote

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Okay

Okay, for this word, there are at least a couple of useful meanings.

Remote, as per the definition above, means far away and/or secluded. So, we might say that a person lives in a remote part of the world. That could be a village in the mountains somewhere, an island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, or in the middle of the woods somewhere in Canada!

Another meaning for the word remote is the thing you use to change the channel on your TV! Technically, it’s called a remote control. Can you guess why? That’s right! It’s because you change the channel remotely, ie., from far away! Of course, most of the time, we just say: « Pass the remote. » Everyone will know what you’re talking about, you don’t generally need to add the « control » part.

Have you got any questions? Have you got more examples? Drop us a line!

Grammar Mondays: modals 5

Améliorez votre grammaire anglaise avec nos astuces tous les lundis !

Might reflects possibility. We use this modal if we are unsure that something will or will not happen.

For example, if you’re unsure of your plans for the evening, you could say: I might go out, but I’m not sure.

If you’re unsure if you’d like to go out, you could also say: I might not go tonight, we’ll see.

Whether you use the affirmative or negative form is really up to you and how you want to spin your sentence. Do you want to emphasize that you might NOT do something (you’re leaning towards no)? Or that you might do something (you’re leaning towards yes)?

Give it a try, and don’t forget, if you have questions, give us a shout!

Grammar Mondays: modals 2

Suivez nos conseils de grammaire chaque lundi !

Must reflects an obligation. It is usually used to talk about rules or prohibitions. For example:

  • You mustn’t run by the pool.
  • You must wear a helmet when you ride your bike.
  • Pupils must raise their hand when they want a turn to speak.
  • A receptionist must answer the phone when it rings.
  • You mustn’t go swimming immediately after a meal.

Now it’s your turn, try to think of three things you must do, and three things you musn’t do.

Grammar Mondays: adjectives 8

Improve your English grammar with our tip of the week!

As you may have noticed, there are many ways to compare things in English. So here’s just one more!

Using the « as…as » formula is very useful when you want to compare two things that have the same quality. Often, children compare their heights in this way. They might stand on a chair and say to their mom or dad: « I’m as tall as you! » Or they might compare themselves to their peers: « Jenny’s not as tall as me. »

There’s also a film from the late 90’s with Jack Nicholson: As Good as It Gets.

Here are a few more examples:

  • My husband doesn’t like his job as much as I like mine.
  • Our games aren’t as good as our friends’ games.
  • My cats are as big as my dog.
  • The day is as beautiful as it was yesterday.
  • You are as beautiful as the first day I met you.
  • It’s not as hot as yesterday.

Got any examples of your own? Leave them in the comments!

Groupetude Newsletter! week 18

Weekly English Fix

May

By Klaudyna Piatek May 3rd, 2021

I always love the month of May. Doesn’t everyone? It’s spring, flowers are in bloom everywhere, and the warm weather becomes a more regular visitor. 

So what’s on the menu this month? 

We are going to be organising a series of Facebook Lives for all of you lovely people. Yes, you read that right, we’re giving away lots of learning tips. However, we need your help! Join our group, Groupetude Community, where the Lives will be hosted, and post your questions! There will be two threads, one for English and one for French learners. We will use these to organise the Lives and do our best to answer as well as possible. 

So get ready, we’re starting the week of May 17th! 

THIS WEEK’S

TOP STORIES

French Réunion: the postmen of the peaks

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/may/03/french-reunion-the-postmen-of-the-peaks

This is an island I’ve wanted to visit for a long time. Interested in La Réunion? Read about the postal workers who scale peaks to collect and deliver the mail. 

EXPLAINED: Do you have to pay duty if you bring furniture from the UK to France?

https://www.thelocal.fr/20210416/explained-do-you-have-to-pay-duty-if-you-bring-furniture-from-the-uk-to-france/

I’ve read a lot of questions concerning this issue on various expat forums, so check it out. The article breaks down the most popular questions, hopefully it’ll help you or someone you know! 

THIS WEEK’S

TOP TIPS

Long Term Improvement

This one is going to seem so obvious, but, make a friend. It’s so much easier to learn when you’ve got someone to talk to. You get free practice and have a good time all the while. If it’s hard to figure out how to make a friend, join a club; anything you enjoy doing really, and you’ll meet people that way.

Vocabulary

Learning French: Here’s a site I found for French vocabulary. Let me know if you like it, it seems to be quite useful! https://www.transparent.com/word-of-the-day/today/french.html

Learning English: check out https://www.oxfordlearnersdictionaries.com/ it’s fantastic because it’s a dictionary for English learners and gives you a new word each day, along with the level and pronunciation. 

Grammar Spot

Learning French: When I was learning French I had trouble remembering when to use the verb être in the past. Here’s the House of être, useful as a memory tool and the website has some explanations on it too. https://www.cliffsnotes.com/study-guides/french/french-i/french-i-the-passe-compose/the-passe-compose-with-etre

Learning English: if you want to compare two things that are the same, you can use “as”. For example, Mary is as tall as John. The melon is as big as my head. You can also do this for the negative, when two things aren’t the same: my tea is not as hot as yours. 


Ok, do you have any questions? Drop me line, I’ll get back to you ASAP! 

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