Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Win 8 weeks of free English lessons in London!

Why do you want to learn English? 

Your answer could win you 8 weeks of free English lessons from Twin!

Entering the competition is easy:
  1. Share this article on facebook or twitter using the buttons next to the picture
  2. Leave a comment below saying "I want to learn English because..." followed by your reason for learning English
  3. The most creative reason for wanting to learn English will win! Please remember to email your name and address to rferguson@twinuk.com so we can notify you if you win the competition.

Terms and conditions

  1. The Free English Lessons Competition will run from January 22nd, 2013 until February 28th, 2013. The winner will be chosen on March 1st and announced on our blog the following day.
  2. If deemed necessary, Twin reserves the right to disqualify any entrant at any point in time and for any reason.
  3. Twin reserves the right to post any text sent as an entry to this competition on our website, blog and social media channels. 
  4. Send any questions to rferguson@twinuk.com
  5. If the winner of the competition is a current Twin student they will be eligible to receive the competition prize of 8 free weeks of General English lessons only after their original booking has finished. 
  6. The free English lessons prize cannot be redeemed between June 1st and October 31st 2013, however the prize must be redeemed by Dec 31st 2013.
  7. By entering this competition you consent to receive occasional email contact from Twin with carefully selected content that we think you will find useful. We will never pass your details on to any third party.

 Don't delay, submit your comment explaining why you want to learn English now!

Monday, January 14, 2013

English travel phrases: before you leave and when you arrive

There are lots of amazing places to see in the UK, and travelling around the UK is a good chance to practise your English skills. Sometimes though, travelling can be scary because it forces you to speak to people you don't know! To help you feel more confident about travelling around, we have written a guide to some of the most common English travel phrases you might hear or use.

Before you leave

How much is a ticket to London?

If you are using public transport (bus, train or aeroplane) to travel to your destination you will have to buy a ticket.

You will need to find the ticket office to buy a ticket or ask how much a ticket will cost, but all public transport stations should have signs pointing the direction to the ticket office. Asking how much the ticket costs will help you choose a type of transport you can afford!

Can I have a ticket to London?

When you have decided which type of transport you want to use, this is what to say when you are ready to buy your ticket.

One way or return?

You will often be asked this when buying a ticket to travel somewhere. One way means that you are only buying to ticket to go to your destination, and return means you are buying a ticket to go and come back. Unless you are not planning to come back from your travels, you will need a return ticket!

Where do I get the bus to London from? When?

If you are at a bus or train station or airport, you will need to find out where the bus, train or aeroplane you need will be leaving from. When you are asking this question it is also helpful to mention the time your transport is leaving, as there might be several journeys to your destination each day leaving from different platforms or stops.

The train has been delayed.

This means that your train (or whatever transport you are using) will not be leaving at the time it was meant to. In this situation you will need to ask "What time will the train to ... be leaving?" to find out the new time your train is leaving.

How long will the journey take? What time will we arrive?

You can ask the person who sells you the ticket for your bus (or whatever transport you are using) these questions to find out what time you will get to your destination.

When you arrive

Can you help me find...? How do I get to...?

When you are travelling you will often find yourself in areas that you don't know very well. If you need to ask for directions to a certain place or attraction, you can add the place you are looking for to the end of the phrases above.

Do you know where the .... hotel is?

If you know the name of your hotel but not how to get there, insert the name of your hotel in the dots of the sentence above to ask someone for directions to it.

Where is the public toilet?

This is the most important question of all! Most places in Britain have toilets which anyone can use, so if you need to use the toilet while you are on your travels, now you know how to ask someone where to find one!

How much is that?

You will probably want to buy a souvenir from the place you went to, but if you don't know the name of the thing you want to buy, you can point to it and ask the question above to the owner of the shop.

Have a good trip! Enjoy your journey!

When you have been asking someone you don't know some of the questions from this guide, they might say one of the sentences above to you. This is a friendly way for them to finish the conversation with you and also say that they hope you enjoy your time travelling. If someone says this to you remember to say "thank you"!

We have covered a few words in this guide that you might not know, so the definitions of those words are listed below.

Public transport - A method of transport which anyone can pay to use.
Ticket office- A place in a public transport station where you can buy tickets to use the transport.
Platforms- This is the part of the transport station where your bus, train or plane will leave from. Public transport stations are often quite large so it is important you go to the right platform at the right time or you will miss you transport!
Souvenir- A luxury item to help you remember a holiday or journey somewhere you haven't been before.

Do you have any useful English travel phrases? Tell us them in the comments section!

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

English telephone phrases: how to talk on the phone in English

One situation many English learners find difficult is talking on the phone in English. It can be difficult to hear people properly or they might talk faster over the phone than they would in person. If the person you are talking to has an accent this can also be more difficult to understand on the phone than it would be in person.

One technique that can help you is learning the kinds of phrases that are commonly used in telephone conversations.

In this blog entry we will tell you some of the most common words and phrases people use when speaking on the telephone in English, what they mean and when to use them.

Hello this is...

When you answer the phone it is polite to introduce yourself by saying something like: "Hello, this is John Smith". The person you are talking to will then usually introduce him- or herself to you. If they don't, you can find out who they are by saying: "May I ask who is calling please?".

May I speak to...

When you are calling a company to speak to someone specific, or the personal telephone number of someone you have not spoken to before, a polite phrase to use is: "May I speak to Andrew Scott please?".

If the person who answers the phone to you is not the person you want to speak to, they will transfer you to the person you want or give you another phone number to try.

If you don't know the name of the person you are looking for, but you have an extension number for a specific department of a company, you could try saying: "Could you transfer me to extension number 312 please?".

I am calling to...

If you are calling a company to purchase a service, like booking a table at a restaurant or an appointment for a haircut, you can say: "I am calling to make an appointment". This is a good phrase to use when you don't know who is the best person to ask for.

Please hold...

When you are on the phone to someone and they need to stop talking to you to find something out or transfer you to another telephone number, they will often say "Please hold" or "Please hold for a moment while I transfer your call". Another phrase you may hear which means the same thing is "Bear with me a moment".

Can I take a message?

When the person you want to speak to is not available, the person on the phone might ask you if you want to  leave instructions for them to read later. They will say: "Can I take a message?" or "Would you like to leave a message?". If your phone call is picked up by answering machine, it will usually ask you to "leave a message after the beep".

Whether you leave a message with a machine or a human being, it is important to leave your telephone number in the message if you want the person you are trying to reach to call you back.

Be honest!

If you are struggling with a phone conversation, it is OK to tell the person you are speaking this instead of trying to guess what they are saying. You can say something like: "My English isn't very strong, can you please speak slowly so I can understand you?".

One last thing...

The most important thing on a telephone conversation is to be polite and friendly. Manners are very important in English speaking countries, and if you remember this people will be more likely to help you in a telephone conversation!

Why not tell us some tips you have learned for speaking on the telephone in the comments section?

Monday, January 07, 2013

My experience in Twin/Mi experiencia en Twin

My experience in Twin

After nine weeks of intensive English courses in London with Twin, I have noticed a great improvement in terms of my knowledge and progress in that language. I arrived here knowing very little English and I can say I have improved my ability to speak and I can communicate in almost any situation. I have to thank Trevor and Clara for this because they are two magnificent and professional teachers, thanks to whom I would recommend coming to Twin.

When I return from my Christmas Holidays, I will start to work in a Marketing company as an internship student thanks to Twin’s “Work Experience” programme, and hopefully I will improve my English even more.

In conclusion, I think I came to the right place in order to learn form. I met lots of amazing people and the teacher-student atmosphere was superb.

Mi experiencia en Twin

Despues de 9 semanas de curso intensivo de ingles en Twin London, noto una gran mejoria en cuanto a mi conocimiento y progreso en dicha lengua. Llegue con poco nivel y aunque todavia no se ingles puedo decir que he mejorado al hablar y puedo comunicarme en casi todo tipo de situaciones.

Tengo que agradecer el que haya aprendido tanto a dos magnificos y profesionales profesores como son Trevor y Clara, gracias a los cuales recomendaria el venir a Twin a estudiar Ingles.
Cuando vuelva de vacaciones de Navidad empezare a trabajar como internship en una empresa de marketing gracias al programa “Work experience” de Twin, y como no, seguir aumentando mis conocimientos sobre el Ingles.

En conclusion, creo que vine al sitio adecuado a formarme, conoci a gente estupenda y el ambiente profesores-alumnos fue magnifico.

Javier Gonzalez Palacios.