Advice and Guidance Regarding English!

Hello Everyone!

Post categories: Teacher blog 

Catherine | 14:30 UK time, Tuesday, 8 February 2011 

Hi Olga and everyone else,

Well here I am! My name is Catherine and I work right here at BBC Learning English. I’ll be blogging here for a month or so. I’m looking forward to meeting you Olga, and to chatting with you and swapping stories, and of course, offering a few (1) bits and pieces of advice and guidance regarding English!

So, a little about me: I was (2) born and bred in the UK, and I lived in this country all my life until I got itchy feet at the age of 32… so I (3) scrimped and saved every penny I had, until I had enough money to pay for a language teaching course, and as soon as I qualified, I upped sticks and left for Istanbul in Turkey to become an English teacher. That was 14 years ago (I will leave it to you to work out my age) and since then I’ve lived and taught English in Istanbul, Edinburgh. Buenos Aires, Dubai, Newcastle and now London, where I work for BBC learning English. It’s been a great 14 years and I’ve met some wonderful people and been to some amazing places. There have also been a few hairy moments, but I’ll tell you a bit more about the (4) trials and tribulations of being an English teacher another time…

And now for a little English challenge. You’ll see above that I’ve numbered and highlighted 4 phrases as follows:

(1) bits and pieces
(2) born and bred
(3) scrimped and saved
(4) trials and tribulations

These are known as ‘binominals’ in English. Binominals are fixed phrases, which are made up of 2 words, joined together in a particular way. All the binominals I’ve highlighted follow the pattern: noun or verb followed by the word ‘and’, followed by another noun or verb. Each binominal has a set meaning, and you can’t change the order of the 2 main words (for example, you can’t say ‘pieces and bits’). 

So the challenge is: can anyone match the binominals above with their meanings (a) – (d) below? Have a go, and I’ll give you the answers next time!

(a) problems, challenges, difficulties
(b) was born and grew up
(c) a variety; lots of different types
(d) saved as much money as possible, by only spending money on things that were absolutely necessary

Very best wishes

Useful vocabulary

  • got itchy feet – wanted to travel, see new places and do new things
  • upped sticks and left – stopped living in one area and went to live in another 
  • hairy moments – unexpected difficult or scary situations
  • a month or so – about a month

Please let me know what you think

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