Thursday, September 24, 2015

Trip Review: Twin English Centres Visits Stonehenge and Bath

Thinking of going on a trip with our English Centres team? London English student Dagmar Vykoukalova went on our Stonehenge and Bath trip with Anderson Tours, and after having such a good time, shares her day with us!


Saturday 18th September 2015

Both places were wonderful, although it’s not possible to come closer to the stones in Stonehenge, (but I do appreciate why that is). I enjoyed both places a lot – Bath is a beautiful city with many attractions.

We had an excellent guide – Stacey. She knew a lot about the places where we went to, and she also gave a lot of information about the places we passed, (our meeting point was at London Bridge, so we also had a “guided ride” through London, whilst picking up the other tourists from different places). Our guide Stacey was witty and funny, with a great sense of humour. The bus driver was really skilled.

I would recommend the trip because both Stonehenge and Bath are nice and interesting places to visit. Plus, if you have such a wonderful guide, good bus driver and you are lucky with the weather like we were, you will be satisfied.

By Dagmar Vykoukalova

Check out Dagmar's photos from the trip below:
The captivating stones at Stonehenge

Break for scones and tea

Beautiful Bath

Do you like the sound of this awesome trip? Then get in contact with our English team or message us on Facebook or Twitter to arrange your excursion to Stonehenge and Bath!

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Funny English Idioms and their Meanings

[id-ee-uh m]
: An expression that cannot be understood from the meanings of its separate words but that has a separate meaning of its own.

We love English idioms – if you look carefully at their literal meanings you will realise that most of them are very silly and some are even downright hilarious. If you’re currently learning English and have never been introduced to the wonderful world of idioms, then check out our list of our favourite funny English idioms – and try to see if you can use them when you speak English!

As cool as a cucumber
One of the funniest idioms (in our opinion anyway) – as cool as a cucumber is used to describe someone who is calm, composed and untroubled by stress. This idiom dates back to the 1730s, and we think it may be based on the fact that in hot weather the inside of a cucumber vegetable remains cooler than the air.

Example: “Despite the stressful day, Harry remained as cool as a cucumber.”

A piece of cake
Not just used to describe a tasty plate of spongey-goodness – a piece of cake is used to describe something which is really easy to do. Apparently this idiom originates from the Royal Air Force in the late 1930s, who used it to describe an easy mission. We can’t tell what this idiom is based on exactly, but we do know we could easily tuck into a piece of cake RIGHT NOW.

Example: “Charlotte didn’t take long to complete her homework – it was a piece of cake.”

Cat got your tongue

It would hurt SO MUCH if a cat actually bit your tongue that you wouldn’t be able to talk – and this idiom is directed at someone who isn't speaking. It is used to describe someone who is silent and is usually directed at someone who was quiet when they were expected to speak, as if to say “have you got nothing to say?” There doesn’t seem to be any evidence that this idiom originated from a cat actually biting off someone’s tongue, so we can presume that, like children’s nursery rhymes, this idiom may be a nonsensical invention.

Example: “What’s the matter? Cat got your tongue?”

Put a sock in it!
Don’t worry no one will actually be putting any socks anywhere – put a sock in it is an impolite way of telling someone to shut up and be quiet. The direct meaning of this idiom is unclear - it’s not really known why a sock is being used to keep someone quiet and what “it” refers to (we presume the mouth or whatever is causing the noise!), however we do know that this expression began to pop up as early as the 20th century and is now a commonly used idiom.

Example: “Put a sock in it Dad – I’m on the phone!”

When pigs fly

Have you ever seen a pig fly? Do pigs have wings? Obviously not, it is impossible for pigs to fly – which is precisely what this idiom means. It is used to describe something which will never happen. People often use it as a sarcastic reply to someone asking them to do something, indicating that they will never do this thing.

Example: “Yeah well, Ryan Reynolds will ask you on a date when pigs fly!”

Hold your horses
Don’t worry, you won’t actually have to hold any horses, this idiom is used to tell someone that they are doing something too fast and they need to stop and consider their actions, decision or opinion on something. This idiom is directly linked to our four-legged friends, and is based on the times when people used horse-drawn carriages and needed to keep the horses under control, they would literally hold them back from running.

Example: “Just hold your horses! Let’s think about this for a moment.”

Kick the bucket

Though this idiom sounds funny, this one actually has a sad meaning. Kick the bucket is an informal or slang term meaning to die. The original reference for this is still unclear as kicking a bucket isn’t associated with dying, however one theory is that in the 16th century the wooden frame used to hold up animals for slaughter was called a bucket, and as they would struggle before death, hence kick the bucket was born.

“The old horse kicked the bucket today – poor thing.”

Bob’s your uncle
This quirky idiom originating from Britain roughly means “it’s as easy as that”, and is often used immediately after simple instructions to indicate that the process or action is very simple. Dating back to 1887, this phase comes from when the British Prime Minister at the time, Robert Cecil (Lord Sailsbury) appointed his nephew Arthur Balfour to the prestigious post of Chief Secretary for Ireland. The phrase was coined when Arthur referred to the Prime Minister as “uncle Bob” – clearly it was very easy to gain a successful position if Bob’s your uncle!

Example: “You want to reach the town centre? Go straight on till you reach the church, take the first right and Bob’s your uncle – you’re there!”

Head in the clouds

This idiom is for the daydreamers – to have your head in the clouds is to be out of touch with the everyday world and to be living in a fantasy land, making you naive and unrealistic. Though it sounds nice to be living in your own world, this idiom is not used as a compliment and the speaker is usually trying to get the listener to consider the facts or reality of the situation.

“Marnie thinks we could drive to Scotland in just two hours – she has her head in the clouds if she thinks it’ll be that quick!”

The lights are on but nobody’s home
Similar in meaning to “head in the clouds”, the lights are on but nobody’s home is a light-hearted way of suggesting that a person lacks awareness or intelligence, and is also used when someone does not react to your question because they are distracted by something else. We believe it is based on if you go to a house and the lights are on you presume someone’s at home – so in the case of a person they appear to be “there” but they are not, they are distracted or are stupid.

“Where do you want to go for lunch Sam?”
*no reply*
“Sam?!! The lights are on but nobody’s home!!”

These are just 10 of our favourite idioms – have you heard of any others? Start a discussion with us in the comments or on Facebook and Twitter!

Written by Alissa Johnson