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     Volume 2 Issue 12 | June 09, 2007 |


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Learner's Club

General Tips and Some More Idioms

Improving your English speaking skills will help you communicate more easily and effectively. But how do you become a more confident English speaker?

Practice where you can, when you can. Any practice is good - whether you speak to someone who is a native English speaker or not.

It's important to build your confidence. If possible, use simple English sentence structure that you know is correct, so that you can concentrate on getting your message across.

Try to experiment with the English you know. Use words and phrases you know in new situations. Native English speakers are more likely to correct you if you use the wrong word than if you use the wrong grammar. Experimenting with vocabulary is a really good way of getting feedback.

Try to respond to what people say to you. You can often get clues to what people think by looking at their body language. Respond to them in a natural way.

Try NOT to translate into and from your own language. This takes too much time and will make you more hesitant.

If you forget a word, do what native English speakers do all the time, and say things that 'fill' the conversation. This is better than keeping completely silent. Try using um, or er, if you forget the word.

Don't speak too fast! It's important to use a natural rhythm when speaking English, but if you speak too fast it will be difficult for people to understand you.

Try to relax when you speak - you'll find your mouth does most of the pronunciation work for you. When you speak English at normal speed, you'll discover that many of the pronunciation skills, such as linking between words, will happen automatically.

Remember, when speaking English…

Try to become less hesitant and more confident.

Don't be shy to speak - the more you do it, the more confident you'll become.

Remember to be polite - use "please" and "thank you" if you ask someone to do something for you.




Weather idioms

An idiom, is an expression that only makes sense in that particular language. Translating it using grammatical rules will not give you the intended effect. Here are some English idioms that use the weather.

a face like thunder = to look very angry: "What's up with him today? He has a face like thunder!"

a fair-weather friend = a friend who doesn't support you in bad times: "I'm a bit disappointed in John and David. It turned out they were only fair-weather friends."

a snowball's chance = very little chance (as much chance as a snowball has in hell): "We don't have a snowball's chance of winning that contract!"

a storm in a teacup = a lot of fuss over something small: "Don't worry about those two arguing. it's just a storm in a teacup."

be a breeze = to be easy: "The exam was a breeze."

be snowed under = to be very busy: "We're snowed under at work."

blow hot and cold = to keep changing your attitude: "They're blowing hot and cold over this issue. It's impossible to know what they want!"

brass-monkey weather = very cold weather: "It's brass-monkey weather today. You'd better wrap up warm!"

come rain or shine = whatever happens: "He's always working in his garden - come rain or shine."

the lull before the storm = a quiet time before a busy or difficult time: "It's going to get very busy on Thursday. Today and tomorrow are just the lull before the storm."

save up for a rainy day = put money aside for when you might need it later: "I don't want to spend this extra money. I'll save it up for a rainy day."

see which way the wind blows = to analyse a situation before doing something: "I'm going to see which way the wind blows before asking her about a raise."

steal someone's thunder = do what someone else was going to do and get all the praise: "You'll steal her thunder if you wear that dress tonight!"

take a rain check = postpone something: "I don't really want to go the cinema tonight. Can we take a rain-check on it?"

under the weather = not feel very well: "I'm feeling a bit under the weather at the moment."

weather the storm = to survive a difficult situation: "This recession is quite serious and it's becoming difficult to weather the storm."



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