Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Why do the English talk about the weather so much?

Have you ever wondered why English people talk about the weather so much? Well, it has been proven in a survey by the Telegraph that the forecast is the top conversation discussed by English people. Want to know why? Read on to find out what is so interesting about the weather in England.

If it’s filling in an awkward silence or breaking the ice at an interview, it is always very easy to get a conversation rolling when talking about what is going on in the skies. This is probably the main reason why we nervy Brits retreat to talking about the weather so much. We analyse it, complain about it, love it, hate it and are never completely satisfied with our climate. When it’s cold, we want to it be hot, and when it’s hot, we want it be mild, and when it’s mild, we want it to be hot again… the forecast will never win against Britain. To be fair to Brits, the weather in England is extremely random and you can never bet on what the weather will be like tomorrow even if you watch the weather forecast. It could go from being 20 degrees, to raining for 2 weeks straight, to snow and thunder, to sunny and bright but cold and crisp; British weather really is mayhem. If there’s a persistent outbreak of snow or rain, the English predictably resort to another trait they are well known for – moaning.

The truth is, we don’t have any reason to moan. We don’t have the freezing cold conditions of North America reaching -30 in the winter, or the danger of typhoons and hurricanes sweeping the roofs off our houses, and neither do we have 50 degree climates creating frantic forest fires. So why do Brits feel the need to talk about our low risk dull weather all the time? Experts claim that at our location on the globe, we have a very unpredictable and frequently changing climate. This is what can cause us to have brand new weather points to talk about every couple of days or even daily! It’s good to know that there is a reason behind the constant day-to-day chat about the weather, and we guess Brits aren’t moaning about how bad the weather is, they’re complaining about/discussing how inconsistent it is.

It is known that the British use unusual sayings to talk about the weather. Test yourself to see if you can understand or guess what these sayings mean…

1.       ‘Red sky at night, shepherd’s delight – Red sky in the morning, shepherds warning’
2.       ‘Three days of rain will empty any sky’
3.       ‘When the wind is in the East, ‘tis good for man nor beast’
4.       ‘In the morning mountains, in the afternoon fountains’
5.        ‘Cold is the night when the stars shine bright’

Now you’re waiting for the answers right? If you’ve guessed any of these sayings right then you’ve done pretty well… Scroll down to find the answers.

1.       Deep red sunsets are associated with dry weather. This could indicate a spell of nice weather in days to come. It’s the red sky around the sun, not the clouds, that indicates this weather.
2.        In the British climate heavy rain doesn’t last for a very long time. Gloomy days and cloudy days can last for a while but heavy rain normally clears in a day or two. Very rarely does it last for three.
3.       This saying is insisting that Britain normally gets its harsh winter from Eastern Europe. Years ago, if a farmer in Britain felt a cold, icy wind, he would expect snow and cold conditions to be on their way.
4.       Clouds building in the morning tend to turn into thunderstorms in the afternoon. This happens more often in the summer months as the sun heats the ground and air; it causes these clouds to build up in the morning and rain in the afternoon.
5.       This weather saying has the answer in the title already… When the air is dry and cold, (having come from the artic), it’s much easier to see the stars shine at night. 

Thursday, March 20, 2014

American English Vs British English

If you have compared the way an English person speaks with the way an American person speaks, you probably noticed the difference straight away. To English people American English sounds cool and laid back but not correct, and to American people British English sounds posh and eccentric! This article will show you the differences in vocabulary and usage of words between American and British English.

We start off with the difference between the vocabularies of American and British English. If you have watched American and British TV you can see the difference in the use of words; for example, if you compare the American TV sitcom ‘Friends’ with  British sitcom ‘Gavin & Stacey,’ you will hear different words used for the same object or thing. Here is a list of different words used for the same thing...

British English
American English





Fries/French Fries




Cultural Differences
As the States and Britain are quite far away from each other, even though some people might say ‘just a across the pond,’ (meaning the Atlantic Ocean), of course there is going to be a massive difference in culture, the way language is used, and sayings and phrases. Many people know football in the US is not the same sport as in the UK, and the thought of peanut butter & jelly sandwiches to Brits sounds like hell inside to slices of bread! If you have ever been to America and England you might have noticed a difference in the use of the word ‘please’. British people use please a lot more. The British will use please when ordering food in a restaurant or requesting something in a store. On the other hand, Americans do not usually use ‘please’ in this context. Some Americans believe that there is no need to say please when ordering food or asking for something in a store as you are simply giving the worker the information that he/she needs to do their job… Doesn’t seem too friendly! 

Here is your chance to test your knowledge of British and American words! Scroll down and give yourself or a friend a quick test to see if you know which word belongs to which culture. The answers are at the bottom of this post so we trust you not to cheat!

American or British?
Cell Phone

British – American
British – American
American – British
British – American 
American – British
American – British
British – American
British – American
British – American
American – British
American – British
British – American
British – American
British – American

Monday, March 03, 2014

Things to do in London in March

Every month in England’s capital promises a vast variety of entertainment opportunities, and March 2014 is no different. If you’re coming to study at Twin’s English Centre in London, the vibrant heart of the capital will be in easy reach, so you’ll be able to make the most of everything it has to offer.

If you love good food, London is the place to be on Tuesday 4th March 2014, for Pancake Day celebrations. There’ll be events across the capital to mark the occasion, and, of course, plenty of delicious pancakes. You could undertake a pancake challenge, (if you eat enough pancakes in a certain amount of time you won’t have to pay for them!), or witness one of the many pancake races taking place; you might even want to see members of Parliament running for charity while flipping pancakes!

On March 16th, London will be celebrating St. Patrick’s Day for the 13th time, and everyone is invited to join in at Trafalgar Square and witness a showcase of Irish singing, dancing, culture and art. This year’s theme is ‘World of Dance’ and the festivities will be overflowing with London dance troops embracing Irish dances; on the main stage you’ll be able to see some brilliant performances, including Riverdance and a snippet from the hit West End Musical, ‘Once’. If you visit the Irish Dance Tent you could even learn some moves yourself! There’ll also be plenty of free comedy to enjoy from both established comedians and rising stars, and some delicious Irish produce to try at the Irish Food Market.

For any fans of the Bond movies, or anyone who loves cars, from 21st March 2014 the London Film Museum is well a worth a visit, as it will be hosting an exciting new exhibition dedicated to the original, iconic cars from the James Bond films, from ‘Little Nellie’, (You Only Live Twice), to the Lotus Esprit/submarine, (The Spy Who Loved Me).

Momentum at The Barbican actually opened in February, but it’s worth mentioning as a great thing to do to pass a bit of time in March; plus, it’s free. It’s always worth checking out what’s on at The Barbican as there’s always something new and interesting on offer; it was previously home to the highly popular ‘Rain Room’, (now hosted in New York), which, through cutting edge technology, allowed you to wander through the rain indoors, without getting wet. Momentum provides the perfect place to get lost in. Through a show of light, movement and sound, your perception of the space you’re in is manipulated, and the calm soundtrack that runs alongside the spectacle really allows you a brief escape from the outside world.

With all of these exciting new attractions and upcoming events, as well as London’s year-round attractions, you’ll never be short of things to do. Whether you love films, food, learning about different cultures or just want to escape day-to-day life for 20 minutes, London has something for everyone.