Learn British English with Anastassia

Exciting Adventures in the English Language and Culture

Is it all right if it’s alright?

You must have come across both variants, probably wondering which one is more preferable. Well, the quick answer to this question is all right.

The tea was all right.

Unlike much older mergers such as altogether and already that are fully acceptable, using alright, especially in formal writing, is still highly likely to make your readers think that your English is far from perfect.

So play it safe and use all right.

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It’s not rocket science

It’s not rocket science is commonly used to say that something is not very difficult to do or understand.

Designing a website may be a lot of work but it’s not rocket science.

The expression comes from the States.

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The Three Foxes by Alan Alexander Milne

Image by Amir Boucenna from Pixabay

Alan Alexander Milne (1882 – 1956) was an English author, known in all corners of the world thanks to his books about a teddy bear called Winnie-the-Pooh. He also wrote poetry. I chose his verse The Three Foxes to share with you today because it reminds me of a curious linguistic anecdote.

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The Mysterious Case of the Word ‘Ghost’

Have you ever questioned the purpose of the silent H in ‘ghost’? It’s absolutely useless, but there’s a great story behind it.

It goes back to William Caxton, an English merchant and diplomat, who lived in the 15th century. While in Germany, he became familiar with Gutenberg’s latest invention – the printing press, – and liked the idea so much that he set up one of his own in Flanders.

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Make Learning a Foreign Language a Habit

Image by congerdesign from Pixabay

We’re all creatures of habit. Routines make life easier – instead of figuring out how to do something each time, you can rely on good old well-tested practices. Probably more importantly, once established habits stay with us forever, which means you can’t possibly get rid of bad ones; all you can do is replace them with new, better ones. Easier said than done though, as your old habits will resist to the last.

How can you win this battle? Start small. Set yourself a goal, say, to do 10 minutes of listening or make 5 flash cards a day. That’s pretty doable and will make you proud of yourself each time you achieve your daily objective. However, for it to become a habit you must do it every day. If you’re asking yourself ‘why bother?’, then it’s probably time to talk about reasons to learn a foreign language.

To be continued…

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Desiderata by Max Ehrmann

Desiderata (Latin: “something that is wanted or needed”) was written in early 1920s by the American writer Max Ehrmann as a prose poem, i.e. in the form of one long prose paragraph. It was only long after the author’s death in 1945 that the poem got its verse-like appearance. It is now his most well-known piece of poetry.

I like it a lot, despite its lack of rhyme, for the wisdom of the advice and encouragement it offers and for the sense of internal peace it creates in your heart.

Go placidly amid the noise and haste,
and remember what peace there may be in silence.
As far as possible without surrender
be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly;
and listen to others,
even the dull and the ignorant;
they too have their story.

Avoid loud and aggressive persons,
they are vexations to the spirit.
If you compare yourself with others,
you may become vain and bitter;
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.

Keep interested in your own career, however humble;
it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs;
for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is;
many persons strive for high ideals;
and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself.
Especially, do not feign affection.
Neither be cynical about love;
for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment
it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years,
gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.
But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.
Beyond a wholesome discipline,
be gentle with yourself.

You are a child of the universe,
no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God,
whatever you conceive Him to be,
and whatever your labors and aspirations,
in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.
Be cheerful.
Strive to be happy.

© by owner, provided at no charge for educational purposes

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In one ear and out the other

I find it very annoying when people seem to listen to you, but when you later get back to what was said, you realize they can’t remember it. In this case we can say that your words went in one ear and out the other.

It went in one ear and out the other

Obviously, this has been happening for thousands of years, as one of the early written uses of the idiom dates back to the times of Ancient Rome.

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