Grammar brush up: Short answers

Grammar brush up: Short answers

You’ve surely found the way English people speak a bit confusing, haven’t you ? ūüôā

Welcome to a brush up exercise on short answers. This style of speaking is typical of natural English and it can be a bit mind boggling for learners. 

Also it’s a great way to revise ¬†auxiliary verbs, which will help you formulate tag questions too.

Take a listen and see if you can answer as quickly as Chris. 


  1. Listen several times.
  2. Write down the conversation, underline the auxiliary verb in the first sentence.
  3. Write down your answer.
  4. Listen again and answer quickly

For a little help you can watch this short clip from our Instagram account, and if you like it you can follow our posts on english.podcasts



We all know what a verb is, but what’s a phrasal verb ?

Well, it’s a verb with a particle, that can be a proposition or an adverb. For example, LOOK FOR, LOOK INTO, LOOK UP.

Phrasal verbs are everywhere in English, we use them hundreds of times a day but they are not always easy for learners to understand because the addition of the particle changes the meaning of the original verb completely.

Sometimes when the particle refers to a movement, the phrasal verb is easy to understand. For example, to look AROUND means to turn and look around you, but in many cases the addition of the particle can make no logical sense at all.

In this podcast we looked at the verb TAKE and added different particles to come up with many new words.

Before listening try this quiz to see how you do and then do the quiz again after listening to check your understanding. Not every verb will be useful to you so we recommend that you learn what’s important and useful to you, but keep your ears open to other phrasal verbs you may hear in conversation.¬†

In this podcast we mention many other phrasal verbs with the preposition UP, you can go to the Grammar section to test your comprehension of our examples. 

The or no The

The or no The

For many learners using, or not using, “the” is a bit hit and miss !

There are some guidelines but to be honest the rules are not that clear ……. so you need some practice.

As a general rule we use “the” when we talk about a specific noun and no “the” when we are talking in general. The examples in the quiz will highlight this.

Also remember that countries do not generally have “the” in front of them except when the country is a plural noun. So watch out for “The United States” but America. Again you will see examples in the quiz.

We start the quiz with some easy questions and get more and more complex. 

  Do the quiz once to get the idea and then do it again and time yourself to go quicker and quicker.

Go for it !

THE or no THE ?


Know your nouns, verbs and adjectives

Know your nouns, verbs and adjectives

Knowing your nouns, verbs and adjectives is a key part to learning a new language and especially when taking a timed exam.

Practice your skills with this quick quiz.

 Whenever you learn a new word check out if it has an association noun, verb or adjective. For example: to weigh (verb) , a weight (noun) , heavy or light (adjectives)

Know your nouns and verbs.

How to use Tag questions in English

How to use Tag questions in English

Tag questions  are questions added to a short sentence, usually at the end, to engage the listener, check understanding or confirm that an action has heppened.

Tag questions are very common in natural English and they can also have distinct meaning according to the tone used with the tag, a rising tone and a descending tone can communicate very different meanings from the question asked as you will find out in this podcast.

Common tags include: Won’t you? Wasn’t it? Don’t you? Haven’t you? Wasn’t it? Wouldn’t you? Isn’t it? Isn’t there? etc.¬†

Listen to the tag question examples we use in the podcast.


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