Your Questions about Learning English Answered by Jack and Kate (Can You Follow this Conversation?)

Jack and Kate answer Questions img3

Today’s class is based on the real-life conversation which Kate and I had around English learning techniques. I will mention a few fantastic free resources which can help you out, and as always, some lovely phrasal verbs to practise!

Let’s get started.

I USED TO

I have explained the use of this in a previous video, but generally, it is used to describe a verb which you no longer do.

For example:

  • “I used to like swimming, but now I don’t”
  • “I used to cook with my grandma every week, but I don’t have the time now.”

TURN OUT

This phrase is used to show the end result of something, or to discover the outcome of something you don’t know.

For example:

  • “Let’s see how it turns out.” (Let’s see what happens in the end.)
  • “It turns out that I am not very good at football.” (After trying it, I discovered I wasn’t very good.)
  • “It might turn out that you like fishing.” (You might discover that you enjoy it in the end)

END UP

This is used to show the result of an action, usually resulting in the final action or at least hinting to it. Note: It is quite similar in use to turn out and can sometimes be interchangeable, but the meanings are subtly different.

For example:

  • “Let’s see where we end up.” (Let’s see what happens in the end for the both of us.)
  • “We ended up playing cards, after deciding for an hour.” (After deciding for an hour what to play, the end result is that we played cards.)
  • “You might end up liking fishing” (You might discover you like it after all.)

OPEN/ OPEN-UP

To Open is the verb used to physically open something, To Open Up has two meanings. One, is to physically open up something, usually an object with a lid or fastening on the top which you have to lift to open; like a box.

The second, more abstract meaning, but probably more common in this context, is to share an opinion or feelings about something, or be more receptive to hear someone else’s.

For example:

  • “I wish he would open up to me about how he feels.” (I wish he would express how he feels to me)
  • “You have to open up yourself to new experiences”  (You need to be more receptive/willing to do new things.)

WRAP IT UP

You can physically open something up, but generally, this expression is used to tell someone to finish a task off, usually with the slight connotation of rushing.

  • “Come on guys, wrap it up, we need to be out of here by 6 pm”- (Hurry up and finish what you’re doing, we need to leave.)
  • “We are going to wrap it up for today, but join us next week for more videos.” (We are going to finish our video now, but join us next week for more.)

WILL BE GOING TO

This is a phrasal verb, which is used to introduce a location which you are definitely traveling to in the future.

For Example:

  • “I will be going to Mallorca tomorrow morning.” (I will travel to Mallorca tomorrow.)
  • “I will be going to my parents next Christmas.” (I am definitely going to be at my parents for Christmas next year.)

I also made a video about the difference between ‘Will be going to’ and the ‘present continuous; see that below!

In the real-life conversation with Kate, we also mention a few resources/methods which are either cheap or free and really useful for English learners.

For Writing

We suggest writing as much as possible. You can write things on our Facebook page for example, and native English speakers can help correct sentences for you. Another techniques we recommend is copying English text. Try this method yourself:

– First, find an article or an extract from a text which interests you. (Try not to pick something too long!)

– A sentence at a time, copy out the phrase and then cover it up.

– See whether or not you can write out the sentence again without looking. (If you find that you are struggling, try breaking the sentence up into smaller sections.)

-After successfully writing out the small passage correctly sentence by sentence, try writing out the whole passage without looking!

(Note: Feel free to make it relaxing by playing some calming classical music to help keep you focused!)

For Reading

For reading, we think it is a great idea to try and get used to things gradually and build yourself up to reading more complex materials. One great way to practise reading and memory recall is memory cards (or flash cards).

These contain words or phrases with words on one side and explanations on the other. This can be used as a speaking technique as well if you say the phrases out loud to yourself. Another great way is through the use of subtitling.

If you find a film in English, try watching it first with your native language subtitles (to understand the story), then watch it again with English subtitles (to make the comparison to your mother tongue) and finally watch the film again with no subtitles (helping with cognitive fluency. Repeat the last two steps as many times as you need.

Graded readers are great as well because they provide simplified versions of classic stories for English learners, usually with explanations.

(Note: Many Disney films are translated into multiple languages, both audio and subtitle. If you know the story of a Disney film really well, these can be a great way to get familiar with reading and listening.)

For Listening

Use free resources such as our Youtube videos, which we upload weekly, which include real-life conversations as well as specialised lessons which focus on a particular subject or grammatical topic.

I also suggest watching/listening to things you are interested in as well, things which aren’t always designed for English learners, to boost your vocabulary and to improve familiarity with the sounds and rhythms of the English Language. Try videos and podcasts; audiobooks are also a great option, try listening to one you have read before first and see how it sounds to read the story aloud.

For Speaking

For this, we recommend recording yourself and listening back to how you pronounce things and compare it to a native English speaker. This can be really good for improving your confidence with word pronunciations as well.

Try speaking or sending voice notes to as many English speaking people as you can, we are really friendly, I promise! And we are usually more than happy to help out.

Check out my program for that here.

To finish, here are a few English slang words and abbreviations which you can use in friendly and familiar settings, not informal ones.

SMH –Shaking my head (ashamed of something.)

Bro/Bruh – Brother or very close friend, (can be used with close girls too, but make sure they are ok with it first.)

Bae – Online slang for babe. (Although, don’t say this to a Dutch person, as it means ‘poo’.)

Lit – Really cool/ Awesome.

Fam – Basically calling someone family, but usually referring to friends.

GOAT – Acronym for Greatest Of All Time.

Slay – To demonstrate how good someone is at something.