Thursday, December 20, 2012

Quick lesson: apostrophes

Using an apostrophe correctly is one of the hardest parts of learning English. Apostrophes are little marks mostly used to indicate whether something belongs to someone, or whether something is plural.

Read the rules below to see how to use apostrophes correctly when you are writing in English!

1. Is the thing you are talking about plural? (Plural means more than one)
In this case you should not use an apostrophe.

Example sentence: "I have two dogs with long tongues."

2. Are you trying to indicate possession? (Possession means to own something)
In this case you should use an apostrophe.

Example sentence: "Jenny's shoes look like bananas, she is so silly!"

3. Are you using a contraction? (A contraction is when you remove some letters from one or two words to make a shorter word)
In this case you should use an apostrophe

Example sentences: "I can't (this is a contraction for the word cannot) fit my whole hand in my mouth."

"I don't (this is a contraction for the words do not) like broccoli."

We hope our lesson has been helpful, let us know some of your own examples of how to use apostrophes in the comments section!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Learn English with Santa

If you are in the UK in December you will probably hear people talking about Santa Claus. As we all know, Santa brings everybody presents while they are asleep on December 24th, but he can also teach you English!

Here is a list of words associated with Santa that you can use to help you improve your English vocabulary!

Sleigh - This is what Santa uses to travel round the world delivering presents to everyone who has been good all year.

Reindeer - These are the animals that Santa uses to pull his sleigh all around the world in one night. They must be very fast!

Chimney - This is how Santa enters your house so he can give you your present. Chimneys are normally used to let the smoke from a fire escape, so don't light a fire on the 24th December or Santa might get burnt feet!

Jingle bells - Santa is thought to have bells on the back of his sleigh that ring when his reindeer pull him through the sky to deliver his presents to people. These are also sometimes called sleigh bells. Have you ever heard bells ringing on December 24th? Maybe you heard Santa!

Carrots and mince pies - It is traditional to leave a carrot and a mince pie out for Santa and his reindeer to eat. Santa eats the mince pie and his reindeer eat the carrot. Delivering presents all around the world in one night must make them hungry!

Ho Ho Ho! - This is Santa's catchphrase, which he is known all over the world for saying because he is always happy, especially at Christmas time!

Now that you know more about Santa and the words associated with him, listen to the song below and tell us in the comments section how much you understood. Happy Christmas!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Top 10 Winter activities in London

London is beautiful (but cold!) in Winter. If you want to know more about the best things to see and do in London when the temperature drops, read our guide below.

1. Ice skating at Somerset House 

Somerset House is an arts venue on the North Bank of the Thames, between Covent Garden and Waterloo Bridge. In Winter the owners of the building operate a beautiful ice skating rink which is very popular with tourists and people who live in London.

2. Winter Wonderland at Hyde Park

When Winter hits London, Hyde Park becomes home to a massive selection of shops, amusements and even a mini theme park! Try some of the famous mulled wine with a delicious mince pie.

3. Christmas Market on the South Bank

The Southbank of the Thames has a range of stalls selling foods and craft materials from around the world during the Winter months. The stalls start outside the Tate Modern art museum and stretch all the way down to Waterloo bridge. Our favourite is the stall selling home-made churros with hot chocolate sauce, mmm!

4. Christmas tree at Trafalgar Square

Every December Londoners and tourists stand side by side to gaze up at the massive Christmas Tree in Trafalgar Square. The tree has been one of the most well-known symbols of Christmas in London since the first tree was placed in the square in 1947.

5. Carnaby Street Christmas Lights

London has many different displays of Christmas lights worth seeing, but Carnaby Street is one of the best for music lovers. This year's lights are themed around the 50th anniversary of rock band The Rolling Stones. The famous tongue and lips logo will be sitting at the top of the massive arch welcoming people to the street.

6. Pantomime

Pantomimes are comedy theatre that is a British tradition for Christmas time. Adults as well as children attend the pantomime and members of the audience are encouraged to shout catchphrases at the main characters. Popular pantomimes this year include Aladdin, Beauty and the Beast and The Snowman.

7. Classical Christmas in Greenwich

Each year the BBC holds a special concert celebrating the best Christmas music written by British composers. This year the concert is being held in the beautiful Chapel at Greenwich's Old Royal Naval College.

8. Camden Lock Night Market

The famous Camden Market opens late over Christmas and includes special stalls offering a range of fashion, vintage, accessories, arts, craft goods. When you have done all your Christmas shopping why not pop down to one of Camden's famous live music venues and check out a band?

9. Santacon

Everybody loves Santa right? Well, what better way to show it than by joining thousands of other people dressed as Santa in central London. Santacon is an international event dedicated celebrating the spirit of Christmas by wearing Santa costumes, singing carols and hugging strangers.

10. Santa's Grotto at Harrods

Finally, if you would like a slightly more conventional Santa experience during your Christmas time in London, why not try visiting Santa's Grotto in the famous department store Harrods? The Grotto is open every day from now until the 24th of December so you still have time to get your request in to Santa!