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  • 2017-09-18 07:41Business English, Language

    Brexit basics - 10 terms you should know


    Brexit has been the focus of media attention and speculation for well over a year now. It’s also led to the creation of many new buzzwords. But what do they mean and how should they be used? Here’s a short guide to some Brexit basics to help clarify any confusion. The guide takes up 10 buzzwords and commonly used terms.

    1. Brexit
    This is the popular term for the prospective withdrawal of the United Kingdom (UK) from the European Union (EU), which was decided in a referendum held in the UK on 23 June 2016.

    2. Brexiteer

    A noun i.e. A person who is in favour of the United Kingdom withdrawing from the European Union. E.g. Brexiteers were delighted with the outcome of the referendum.

    3. Brexiting
    A verb e.g. UK citizens were able to vote on Brexiting in the referendum in 2016.

    4. Pulling a Brexit
    An adjective e.g. Other countries have been accused of trying to pull a Brexit (i.e. copy the UK’s actions)

    5. Hard(er) Brexit
    Media slang for a ‘complete Brexit’ trading deal between the EU-UK i.e. one that does not allow for the free movement of goods, services, capital and/or people.

    6. Soft(er) Brexit
    Media slang for a ‘less-than-a-complete Brexit’ trading deal between the EU-UK i.e. one that preserves the free movement of goods, services, capital and/or people.

    7. Brexit means Brexit

    A catch-cry to convey that the UK will go through with the process of leaving the EU and that there should be no backtracking on this intent.

    8. Brexpert

    Someone who claims to be an expert on what is happening and the likely outcomes of Brexit.

    9. Invoke
    Meaning: To use a law in order to achieve something. E.g. On 29 March 2017, the British government invoked Article 50 of the Treaty on the European Union. The UK is thus on course to leave the EU by March 2019.

    10. Revoke
    Meaning: To officially cancel. E.g. Revoking article 50 of the Treaty on the European Union might be legally possible.

    Need help with formulating a Brexit policy or response for your organisation?

    Please don’t hesitate to contact us for professional communication advice.

    The London School of English offers high quality English language training for motivated adults from all professional backgrounds. We give you the tools and skills you need to communicate successfully in your field of expertise and to expand your business and career opportunities. Call us on +46 8 5999 4000 or email us at info@londonschool.se for more information about our tailored tuition or simply take our online test to check your English level.

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  • 2017-08-28 13:16Business English, Language

    Which English words should you never use on your CV?

    Recruiters often spend less than 30 seconds scanning a CV before deciding to move on to the next applicant. With such a short time to make a good impression, you need to rigorously edit your CV. We’ve put together a list of overused buzzwords and words which create a rather boastful impression to help you with the editing process.  

    8 overused words that make recruiters yawn

    1. Results-driven
    2. Team player
    3. Driven
    4. Hard worker
    5. Strategic thinker
    7. Self-motivated
    8. Detail-oriented

    It's far better to describe your accomplishments specifically. Use words like “improved” and “created” and provide a specific explanation of exactly what you did, including numbers whenever possible. In other words, instead of saying you are results-driven, show the results you achieved.

    8 boastful words you should remove from your CV

    1. Innovative
    2. Dynamic
    3. Savvy
    4. Smart
    5. Talented
    6. Well rounded
    7. Well balanced
    8. Visionary

    The common denominator in all these words is that they are “praising adjectives”, i.e. words we hope others would use about us but which are not a good idea to use about ourselves.

    Need help with writing or editing your CV in English?

    Please do not hesitate to contact us.  

    The London School of English offers high quality English language training for motivated adults from all professional backgrounds. We give you the tools and skills you need to communicate successfully in your field of expertise and to expand your business and career opportunities. Call us on +46 8 5999 4000 or email us at info@londonschool.se for more information about our tailored tuition or simply take our online test to check your English level.
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  • 2017-08-21 08:19Language, Business English, Grammar

    10 English mistakes that can ruin your professional image

    It’s easy to make mistakes, even simple ones. Saying or presenting something incorrectly is bad enough but publishing flawed content online increases the potential exposure of your mistake enormously, which can lead to serious embarrassment.

    Most of us instinctively shy away from using words we feel unsure of, especially if they are not commonly used or seem complicated. However, it’s the words that we think we’re using correctly that can really ruin our image. The following simple mistakes are also made by a lot of native English speakers.

    1. Teach Vs Learn
    You can teach yourself or other people but you cannot learn other people. People learn things themselves, which they can then teach to others.

    2. There/their/they’re
    These words sound the same but have different meanings.
    • Use “there” to refer to a place that isn’t here – “over there”.
    • We also use “there” to state something – “There are no chairs in the room”.
    • “Their” indicates possession – something belonging to them, e.g. "their books are new".
    • “They’re” is short for “they are” e.g ."they’re very happy to be on holiday".

    3. I.e. and e.g.
    I.e. is the abbreviation for “that is to say” and is used to add explanatory information.
    Example: A synthetic shoe i.e. not made from leather.
    E.g. is the abbreviation for “for example”.
    Example: He loves fruit and vegtables  e.g. apples and carrots.

    4. Me/myself/I
    • When referring to yourself and someone else, put their name first in the sentence e.g. John and I are going to the cinema (Not “John and me are going to the cinema” or “Myself and John are going to the cinema” or “Me and John are going to the cinema”).
    • You only use “myself” if you’ve already used “I”, making you the subject of the sentence e.g. “I’ll do it myself” or “I thought to myself”.

    5. Your/you’re
    “You’re” is short for the two words “you are”. The apostrophe stands for the omitted “a” of “are”.
    E.g. You’re going to enjoy this.
    “Your” is a possessive determiner and pronoun which means “belonging to you”.
    E.g. What’s your name?

    6. Its/it’s
    The difference between these two words gets lots of people confused. Apostrophes should be used to indicate possession, but there is one exception to this rule, and that is the word “it”.
    • “It’s” is usually used  short for “it is” e.g . "it’s raining". (Note:" It’s" is also short for "It has", e.g. it’s been a while…)
    • “Its” indicates something belonging to something that isn’t masculine or feminine (like “his” and “hers”). E.g .the book looks great with its new cover.

    7. Then/than
    Confusion between “then” and “than” probably arises because the two look and sound similar.
    • “Than” is used in comparisons e.g. “ John is taller than Jack” or “ It was more than enough”
    • “Then” is used to indicate something following something else in time, as in step-by-step instructions, or planning a schedule “we’ll go to the cinema first and then to the restaurant”.

    8. Affect vs. Effect
    This is another easy enough mistake to make given how similar these two words look and sound, but there’s a simple explanation to help you remember the difference.
    • Affect is a verb – “to affect” – meaning to influence or have an impact on something. E.g. He hoped the company’s excellent results would have a positive effect on his salary.
    • Effect is the noun – “a positive/negative effect” – referring to the result of being affected by something. E.g his job was directly affected by the organisational change.
    • There is also a verb “to effect”, meaning to bring something about – “to effect a change” but this is not commonly used.

    9. Farther vs. Further

    • Farther refers to physical distance, while further describes the degree or extent of an action or situation. “I can’t run any farther,” but “I have nothing further to say.”
    • If you can substitute “more” or “additional,” use "further".

    10. Imply/Infer

    To imply means to suggest something without saying it outright e.g. "The reporter implied the politician was lying, without explicitly stating it". To infer means to draw a conclusion from what someone else implies e.g." From the facts in this report we can infer that there is a property bubble". As a general rule, the speaker/writer implies, and the listener/reader infers.

    One mistake can be dismissed as a typo but making the same simple mistakes repeatedly looks very unprofessional. We strongly recommend getting someone to proofread important presentations and documents. Please feel free to contact us for a professional proofreading quote. You are also very welcome to follow us on LinkedIn or Facebook for regular updates and English language advice.

    The London School of English offers high quality English language training for motivated adults from all professional backgrounds. We give you the tools and skills you need to communicate successfully in your field of expertise and to expand your business and career opportunities. Call us on +46 8 5999 4000or email us at info@londonschool.se for more information about our tailored tuition or simply take our online test to check your English level.
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  • 2017-08-14 07:46Language

    Beating the back-to-work blues


    Are you back at work again after your summer holidays? Re-entry to the work place is rarely easy after a fun-filled break.

    Here are some positive expressions in English about starting up again. You can use them at the office to create the right impression or just to gear yourself up.

    6 Positive expressions

    It feels good to be back in the saddle
    It’s good to get back into the swing of things
    It’s great to gear up again
    I’m refreshed and ready to go again
    My batteries are completely recharged
    I’m firing on all four cylinders and ready for work

    Need some inspiration?

    If you would like to improve your English language skills this autumn please don’t hesitate to contact us.

    The London School of English offers high quality English language training for motivated adults from all professional backgrounds. We give you the tools and skills you need to communicate successfully in your field of expertise and to expand your business and career opportunities. Call us on +46 8 5999 4000 or email us at info@londonschool.se for more information about our tailored tuition or simply take our online test to check your English level.
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  • 2017-08-08 13:07Language, How to series

    How to speak rib- the essential English barbecue glossary

    Know your ribs
    Planning a barbecue this weekend?  Read on to learn more about rib types and don’t forget to check out part 1 of our essential English glossary for barbecue enthusiasts.

    Baby backs: Loin ribs (approximately 11-13) connected to the backbone
    Spare ribs: The larger section of ribs (approximately 10-13) that run from the ends of the baby back bones to the belly/breast bone area. A whole slab of spare ribs includes part of the sternum (breast bone) and a strip of cartilage and meat (aka rib tips).
    Rib tips: The meaty, belly-side strip of cartilage and meat that runs along the bottom end of spare ribs
    St. Louis-style ribs: Spare ribs with rib tips removed
    Shiners: When ribs are cut too close to the bone and the bone "shines" through

    The bigger picture

    Have a look at this diagram of pork cuts for clarification.

    The art and science of grilling
    Is there really such a thing, as many barbecue enthusiasts maintain? Courses in grilling and barbecue science certainly lend support to this argument. If you'd like to get certification, you will be delighted to hear that not only are there grill academies, but Ohio State University has been offering courses in barbecue science since 2012. And if ut certificate doesn't convince, you can always settle the argument with a barbecue cook-off.

    Happy grilling!


    The London School of English offers high quality English language training for motivated adults from all professional backgrounds. We give you the tools and skills you need to communicate successfully in your field of expertise and to expand your business and career opportunities. Call us on +46 8 5999 4000 or email us at info@londonschool.se for more information about our tailored tuition or simply take our online test to check your English level.
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  • 2017-06-22 09:35Language

    Nice words for drunk


    Midsummer and the classic Swedish snaps season is just around the corner again. “Drunk” is a blunt word, especially when used in a work context. When describing Midsummer celebrations or any party activities, it’s usually a good idea to choose a more toned down word, if you need this description. Here are a number of alternative and more subtle words and phrases you can use:

    1. Over served

    Example. He was over-served by the barman

    2. A little tipsy

    Example: She was a little tipsy by the end of the evening

    3. A little merry
    Example: He was slightly merry by the time the meal was over

    4. A bit under the influence

    Example: I suspected they were already a bit under the influence by the time I arrived at the party

    5. To have one too many
    Example: Could you give a short speech instead? – She may have had one too many.

    Happy Midsummer!

    The London School of English offers high quality English language training for motivated adults from all professional backgrounds. We give you the tools and skills you need to communicate successfully in your field of expertise and to expand your business and career opportunities. Call us on +46 8 5999 4000 or email us at info@londonschool.se for more information about our tailored tuition or simply take our online test to check your English level.

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  • 2017-06-20 08:22How to series, Language, Culture

    How to speak grill - the essential English glossary for barbecue enthusiasts


    Mmm...BBQ. If just thinking about barbecue brings a smile to your face, this glossary is a must-read for you.


    Indulge your passion in all things barbecue by learning to hold forth on an international level with some barbecue bravado. Our glossary covers all the essential terms you will need to speak fluent grill this summer (or year, depending on how hardcore you are!).

    Barbecue basics

    Any self-respecting barbecue expert should be familiar with the following equipment:

    • Charcoal or gas cylinder (fuel)
    • Fork
    • Tongs
    • Spatula
    • Scraper  
    • Skewers
    • Basting brush/grill brush
    • Steak thermometer
    • Gloves
    • Apron

    Barbecue types

    As far as the equipment is concerned, there are two basic types:

    • Gas barbecue
    • Charcoal barbecue

    What type are you?
    When it comes to the person manning the barbecue, you get to decide what type of griller you are. This is usually one of highpoints of barbecue bravado and self-proclaimed barbecue titles commonly include:

    • Classic griller
    • Grill innovator
    • Grill expert
    • Griller extraordinaire

    Key words for boasting about your barbecue equipment

    • Quality
    • Performance
    • Value
    • Durability
    • Proven success

    Bonus points
    For bonus points as a barbecue expert, you need to be able to describe your meat. Watch out for our next article on "How to speak rib".

    The London School of English offers high quality English language training for motivated adults from all professional backgrounds. We give you the tools and skills you need to communicate successfully in your field of expertise and to expand your business and career opportunities. Call us on +46 8 5999 4000 or email us at info@londonschool.se for more information about our tailored tuition or simply take our online test to check your English level.
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  • 2017-05-31 14:27How to series, Language

    How to offer your congratulations in English


    Are you invited to a student graduation party this week? Or has one of your colleagues got a new job or promotion? Whether the occasion is a new baby, a major anniversary or recognition of an achievement, it’s always good to be able to offer your congratulations with a suitable expression or phrase.
      
    Congratulate “ON” something

    Examples: Congratulations on your
    • accomplishment
    • achievement
    • anniversary
    • graduation
    • new baby
    • new home
    • new job
    • promotion
    • success
    • victory

    Short and sweet

    Congratulations!
    Congrats!
    Way to go!
    Well done!
    Keep up the good work!
    Such wonderful news!

    Being Specific

    Good work on that project
    Great job on the new account
    Well done on your exam results
    Congratulations on this wonderful recognition of your research

    Some useful expressions

    1. I love to see good things come to good people. This is one of those times.
    2. Just when we thought you couldn’t impress any more, you did it again.
    3. We are very happy for you and wish you the very best for the future.
    4. Your success is very/so well deserved.
    5. A just reward for all the hard work you put it.
    6. It is a success you truly deserve.
    7. It is an achievement you have really earned.
    8. Your hard work has finally paid off.
    9. Your dedication (commitment/hard work/ talent/ enthusiasm/insight) is really inspiring.

    The London School of English offers high quality English language training for motivated adults from all professional backgrounds. We give you the tools and skills you need to communicate successfully in your field of expertise and to expand your business and career opportunities. Call us on +46 8 5999 4000 or email us at info@londonschool.se for more information about our tailored tuition or simply take our online test to check your English level.
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  • 2017-05-24 07:32Culture, Business English, Language

    The Swedish holiday calendar in English


    The months of May and June offer a host of occasions to celebrate and lots of public holidays.  But what is “Kristi himmelfärdsdag” in English and what are the big occasions called? Here’s a useful overview of all the standard Swedish holidays in English.

    Jan 1      Sunday             New Year’s Day
    Jan 5     Thursday           Twelfth Night (Trettondagsafton)
    Jan 6     Friday                Epiphany (Trettondedag jul)
    Apr 14   Friday               Good Friday
    Apr 15   Saturday           Holy Saturday
    Apr 16   Sunday             Easter Day
    Apr 17   Monday            Easter Monday
    Apr 30   Sunday             Walpurgis Night (Valborgsmässoafton)
    May 1    Monday            May Day/Early May bank holiday
    May 25  Thursday          Ascension Day (Kristi himmelfärdsdag)
    May 28  Sunday             Mother’s Day
    June 3    Saturday           Pentecost Eve
    June 4    Sunday             Whit Sunday /Pentecost Sunday (Pingstdagen)
    June 6    Tuesday            Swedish National Day
    June 23  Friday               Midsummer Eve
    June 24  Saturday           Midsummer Day
    Nov 3     Friday              All Saints’ Eve
    Nov 4     Saturday          All Saints’ Day
    Nov 12    Sunday            Father’s Day
    Dec 24    Sunday            Christmas Eve
    Dec 25    Monday           Christmas Day
    Dec 26   Tuesday            Boxing Day
    Dec 31    Sunday             New Year’s Eve

    What’s a bank holiday?
    A bank holiday is the British equivalent of a “röd dag” in Swedish

    Where does the term bank holiday come from?

    A bank holiday is a public holiday in the United Kingdom, some Commonwealth countries, other European countries such as Switzerland, and a colloquialism for a public holiday in Ireland. There is no automatic right to time off on these days, although banks close and the majority of the working population is granted time off work or extra pay for working on these days, depending on their contract.

    What’s the difference between a public holiday and a bank holiday?

    In England and Wales, a bank holiday tends automatically to be a public holiday and the day is generally observed as a holiday. In Scotland this may not always be the case.

    Mondays rule

    With few exceptions, Bank holidays are on Mondays. If a bank holiday is on a weekend, a ‘substitute’ weekday becomes a bank holiday, normally the following Monday.

    UK Bank Holidays 2017
    Please note that there are quite a number of differences between British and Swedish public holidays. If you are planning a trip or an important meeting with British colleagues or customers, it’s a good idea to check the UK holiday calendar first.

    The London School of English offers high quality English language training for motivated adults from all professional backgrounds. We give you the tools and skills you need to communicate successfully in your field of expertise and to expand your business and career opportunities. Call us on +46 8 5999 4000 or email us at info@londonschool.se for more information about our tailored tuition or simply take our online test to check your English level.
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  • 2017-05-10 08:58Language

    10 great ways to say “I understand”

    Why be dull by repeating this commonly used phrase all the time? Here are 10 new ways for you to let people know that you understand what they mean. They are all commonly used phrases which can be used more or less interchangeably. Most importantly, they will help create the impression that you command native expressions.

    1. To catch on
    Example: I tend to catch on fairly quickly

    2. To catch one’s drift
    Example: It’s Ok, I catch your drift

    3. To grasp something
    Example: I am able to grasp things pretty quickly

    4. To get something
    Example: Sometimes it takes me a while to get something if very technical language is used

    5. To get the idea
    Example: Don’t worry, I get the idea

    6. To get the picture
    Example: I would like to get the full picture before I have to explain it to my colleagues

    7. To get the hang of something
    Example: I’m usually quite good at getting the hang of new techniques

    8. To catch/get the gist of something

    Example: Could you please repeat that so I can check if I caught the gist of what you said

    9. To get the point

    Example: Yes, I get your point

    10. To follow

    Example: Yes, I think I follow you

    The London School of English offers high quality English language training for motivated adults from all professional backgrounds. We give you the tools and skills you need to communicate successfully in your field of expertise and to expand your business and career opportunities. Call us on +46 8 5999 4000or email us at info@londonschool.se for more information about our tailored tuition or simply take our online test to check your English level.
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  • 2017-05-08 13:18Business English, Swinglish series, Language

    Have you these common English mistakes on your LinkedIn profile?

    1. Spelling
    Don’t forget to use your spell check. Few things look as unprofessional as incorrect spelling and it’s so easy to correct by just remembering to use spell check.  Some of the most common mistakes we come across are  “Managment”, Responsable” and “Webb” (Correct spelling: “Management”, “Responsible” and “Web”).

    2. Use of capital letters
    Names should also have capital letters e.g. Stockholm University. The same applies to languages e.g English, Swedish (never “english” or “swedish”).

    3. Use of tense
    When describing previous roles, don’t forget to change the verbs to the past tense e.g. “was responsible for” instead of “am resposible for”.

    4. Misuse of the word “branch”
    “Bransch” in Swedish refers to an industry or business.
    “Branch” in English means filial or avdelningskontor.

    5. Incorrect translation of the word “kunskap”
    The literal translation of “kunskap” is “knowledge”, but this is often not the right word to use. Consider whether one of the following words would be a better fit:
    • Skills/Skills set
    • Competence
    • Experience
    • A solid grounding in
    • A solid understanding of
    • Information

    6.  Verb forms
    Few things are as grating to an English speaker as using the incorrect form of the verb e.g. “is” instead of “are” or “was” instead of “were”. It is also one of the most common mistakes that Swedes make in English and is prevalent even amongst those with a very high level of English.

    7. Describing groups
    Another typcial mistake made by Swedes is the description of how many people are involved in a group or project. For example “We are eight persons working on this project”.

    English: We are a team of eight working on this project/There are eight people working on the project/There are eight people involved in the project.

    Tip: Avoid saying ‘persons’. This word is not commonly used in English with few exceptions e.g. missing persons.

    If you would like help with proofreading job applications or your profile, please do not hesitate to contact us for a quote.

    The London School of English offers high quality English language training for motivated adults from all professional backgrounds. We give you the tools and skills you need to communicate successfully in your field of expertise and to expand your business and career opportunities. Call us on +46 8 5999 4000or email us at info@londonschool.se for more information about our tailored tuition or simply take our online test to check your English level.
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  • 2017-05-02 08:20How to series, Language

    6 ways to deal with the gender neutral “hen” in English

    Unfortunately there is no direct translation of the new Swedish gender neutral personal pronoun “hen”. Attempting to write English in a unisex way has always been tricky and work-arounds are required.

    Some argue that a perfectly fine neutral pronoun already exists – “they”. This option is increasingly popular. However, in the case of single individuals this is grammatically inaccurate as pronouns should match both gender and number.

    Without getting into complicated grammatical explanation, here are 6 tactics you can employ to translate “hen” to English. They aren’t perfect, but unfortunately an ideal option does not currently exist.

    1. He or she

    This is the most straightforward option i.e. Use both he and she.
    Example: He/she would like to try out his/her new computer.

    2. They
    Example: It’s best to give the customer exactly what he or she wants, especially when his or her patience has already been tested.
    Rewrite: It’s best to give customers what they want, especially when their patience has already been tested.

    3. One
    Example: Sometimes he/she wonders what his/her response should be.
    Rewrite: Sometimes one wonders what one’s response should be.

    4. Use the passive form

    Example: He/she should take his/her medicine as prescribed.
    Rewrite: Medicine should be taken as prescribed.

    5. Remove the possessive form altogether (where possible)
    Example: The average student is worried about his/her finances.
    Rewrite: The average student is worried about finances.

    6. Reverse the order (where possible)
    Example: If an employee works hard he or she will succeed.
    Rewrite: Employees who work hard will succeed.

    The London School of English offers high quality English language training for motivated adults from all professional backgrounds. We give you the tools and skills you need to communicate successfully in your field of expertise and to expand your business and career opportunities. Call us on +46 8 5999 4000 or email us at info@londonschool.se for more information about our tailored tuition or simply take our online test to check your English level.

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  • 2017-04-24 15:01Language, Business English

    10 over-used buzzwords you should give up


    Few things irritate in a meeting or presentation as much as cliché buzzwords and metaphors. You may feel clever spouting newly acquired English business jargon but it can also be extremely annoying for your audience.
    Here are 10 phrases that we recommend you steer clear of if you want to avoid people grinding their teeth. Try to catch yourself before your audience starts to wince.

    1. Think outside the box
    Alternative: It’s time to get creative

    2. Get the ball rolling

    Alternative: Let’s get started

    3. Let’s touch base
    Alternative: I’ll contact you tomorrow

    4. Win-win
    Alternative: We can all really benefit from this

    5. Low hanging fruit
    Alternative: It makes sense to start with the easiest options

    6. It’s on my radar
    Alternative: I’m aware of this or I’m on top of this

    7. Take it to the next level
    Alternative: Move forward/ahead

    8. Paradigm shift
    Alternative: A very significant change

    9. No-brainer
    Alternative: An easy decision

    10. Move the needle
    Alternative: To make real progress/To make a real difference

    If you would like help with jargon free and crystal clear communication in English, please do not hesitate to contact us. Whether you need coaching for an important presentation, editing services or creative copywriting, we can help.

    The London School of English offers high quality English language training for motivated adults from all professional backgrounds. We give you the tools and skills you need to communicate successfully in your field of expertise and to expand your business and career opportunities. Call us on +46 8 5999 4000 or email us at info@londonschool.se for more information about our tailored tuition or simply take our online test to check your English level.
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  • 2017-04-19 13:09News, Language

    10 election terms you should know


    Theresa May has decided on a snap general election. With just weeks to go before 8 June, media coverage will only intensify. As the sheer volume of political information and terminology can be overwhelming and difficult to follow, we’ve put together a glossary of the most important terms you should know. We hope you find it helpful.

    1. MP
    This stands for Member of Parliament, a person elected by voters to represent a constituency in parliament.

    2. Constituency
    The UK is divided into areas called constituencies. One MP is elected to represent each of these areas.

    3. Frontbencher
    The term ‘Frontbencher’ is used to describe either a government minister or opposition shadow spokesperson. This comes from the seating arrangements where the most important members of Parliament sit at the front.

    4. Backbencher

    The backbenches are the seats where an MP sits if he or she is neither a minister nor a spokesman for his or her party i.e. not in the front rows.

    5. First-past-the-post
    ‘First-past-the-post’ is the name usually given to the electoral system used for election to the House of Commons. In this system each area (constituency) elects one MP from a choice of candidates. Voters can only vote for one candidate and the candidate that gets the most votes becomes the MP. This system generally results over time in a two-party competition.

    6. House of Commons
    The House of Commons is the lower house of the parliament of the United Kingdom which meets in the Palace of Westminster. The house is an elected body consisting of 650 members known as members of parliament MPs. Members are elected to represent constituencies.

    7. House of Lords
    This is the upper house of the parliament of the United Kingdom. Like the House of Commons, it meets in the Palace of Westminster. Unlike the House of Commons, the number of members is not fixed; There are currently 805 sitting Lords. The public does not elect members of the House of Lords and its members are called peers.

    8. Peer

    A Peer is a member of the House of Lords. Some titles are hereditary but most members are Life Peers. The public does not elect members of the Lords. Hereditary Peers inherit their titles and Life Peers are appointed by the Queen on the advice of the Prime Minister to serve for their life. Since the year 2000, most hereditary peers have lost the right to sit in the House of Lords.

    9. Polling card
    An official poll card is a document which is sent to all registered voters shortly before an election in the UK. The poll card gives information about the election and the voter such as the date of the election, the location of the polling station, opening and closing times and the name, address and electoral number of the voter.

    10. Poll

    This can be a tricky word as it has more than one meaning.
    1) A survey
    Example: The newspaper conducted a poll to predict the election results.
    2) The place where votes are cast or recorded —usually used in plural at the polls aka Polling station.
    Example: The polls are open until 8:00 tonight.

    The London School of English offers high quality English language training for motivated adults from all professional backgrounds. We give you the tools and skills you need to communicate successfully in your field of expertise and to expand your business and career opportunities. Call us on +46 8 5999 4000or email us at info@londonschool.se for more information about our tailored tuition or simply take our online test to check your English level.
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  • 2017-04-10 10:58Culture, Language

    A very British Easter

    Easter is one of the major Christian festivals of the year in the UK, full of customs, folklore and of course, traditional Easter food. From hot cross buns to Easter egg rolling, improve your English vocabulary with our Easter Guide.

    Origins of Easter

    Easter in the UK has its beginnings long before the arrival of Christianity. Many theologians believe Easter itself is named after the Anglo-Saxon goddess of the dawn and spring - Eostre.

    Maundy Thursday
    This is the name given to the Thursday before Easter. Christians remember it as the day of the Last Supper. The word Maundy" comes from the French word, "Mandé"  meaning "command" or "mandate” and is taken from the command given by Christ at the Last Supper, "love one another as I have loved you.”

    Good Friday
    On the Friday before Easter, Christians commemorate the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. It is a day of mourning in church and special Good Friday services are held.

    Easter Sunday
    People who regularly attend church often attend special services on Easter Sunday, celebrating the resurrection of Jesus. Unlike Sweden, Easter Sunday is the big family day when families usually gather for Easter lunch.
    Easter Holidays
    Good Friday and Easter Monday (the day after Easter Sunday) are bank holidays (i.e. public holidays) in the UK.

    Easter Eggs
    Exchanging and eating Easter eggs is a popular custom. As  in many countries, focus has shifted from hard-boiled dyed in various colours and patterns to confectionary eggs. Unlike Swedish Easter eggs, which are made of cardboard and then filled with a selection of sweets, English Easter eggs are usually hollow eggs made of chocolate, wrapped in brightly coloured foil and packaged in an elaborate box. Worthy of mention is the Cadbury creme egg, which is about as classic at Easter as a Swedish box of Aladdin is at Christmas.

    Easter Bunny and Egg Hunts
    British children believe that if they are good the "Easter Bunny" will leave (chocolate) eggs for them. An Easter egg hunt is a fun holiday activity for kids of all ages. The object of this Easter activity is to simply find the eggs that the Easter bunny has left for them.

    Egg Rolling
    The tradition of rolling decorated eggs down grassy hills goes back hundreds of years and is known as "pace-egging", from the old English Pasch meaning Pesach or Passover. Real eggs are rolled against one another or down a hill. The owner of the egg that stays uncracked the longest wins. Even today in the north of England, they still carry out the custom of egg rolling. Hard boiled eggs are rolled down slopes to see whose egg goes furthest. In other places another game is played. You hold an egg in the palm of the hand and bang against your opponent's egg. The loser is the one whose egg breaks first.

    Easter Bonnets
    Easter was once a traditional day for getting married, which may be why people often dress up for Easter. Women would make and wear special Easter bonnets - decorated with flowers and ribbons.

    Hot Cross Buns

    Hot cross buns, now eaten throughout the Easter season, were first baked in the UK to be served on Good Friday. These small, lightly sweet yeast buns contain raisins or currants and sometimes chopped candied fruit. Before baking, a cross is slashed in the top of the bun. After baking, a confectioners' sugar icing is used to fill the cross.

    Simnel Cake
    A traditional way of breaking the Lenten fast is to eat some simnel cake. These are raised cakes, with a crust made of fine flour and water, coloured yellow with saffron, and filled with a very rich plum-cake, with plenty of candied lemon peel, and dried fruits.

    DIY
    For many in the UK, Easter is synonymous with the Great DIY weekend (DIY: Do it yourself aka home renovations) as the combination of a long weekend and spring weather inspire to get things done.

    A taste of British Easter

    Watch out for our next blog post “A taste of British Easter” where we’ve comprised recipes for traditional British Easter foods from some of the country’s best known chefs.

    Wising you a very Happy Easter from us all at the London School of English!

    The London School of English offers high quality English language training for motivated adults from all professional backgrounds. We give you the tools and skills you need to communicate successfully in your field of expertise and to expand your business and career opportunities. Call us on +46 8 5999 4000or email us at info@londonschool.se for more information about our tailored tuition or simply take our online test to check your English level.
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  • 2017-04-07 10:53Culture, Language

    What’s Skärtorsdag (and other Easter words) in English?


    Why not expand your seasonal vocabulary by learning the individual names of the days that make up Easter Week.

    Easter Week


    Palmsöndagen - Palm Sunday

    Dymmelonsdagen -  Holy Wednesday aka Spy Wednesday

    Skärtorsdagen - Maundy Thursday aka Holy Thursday

    Långfredagen - Good Friday aka Holy Friday

    Påskafton - Holy Saturday aka Easter Eve

    Påskdagen - Easter Sunday

    Annandag påsk - Easter Monday

    Have a great weekend!

    The London School of English offers high quality English language training for motivated adults from all professional backgrounds. We give you the tools and skills you need to communicate successfully in your field of expertise and to expand your business and career opportunities. Call us on +46 8 5999 4000 or email us at info@londonschool.se for more information about our tailored tuition or simply take our online test to check your English level.

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  • 2017-04-06 09:51How to series, Business English, Language

    Backtracking and backing down in English

    Following on from our article The art of denial, we’ve put together a short guide and some useful phrases to help you communicate in English when you need to back down or backtrack, difficult situations which sometime arise when mistakes have been made or a situation has been misjudged.  

    Backtrack

    Meaning: To reverse a position.
    Example: He was forced to backtrack on previous statements.

    Distance
    Example: She is trying to distance herself from the problem to avoid further complications.

    Offer
    Example 1: I have offered to clarify my previous comments.
    Example 2: Of course we will offer to look into the matter.
    Example 3: They are going to offer a full explanation.

    Retract

    Meaning: To take back.
    Example: He is willing to retract his previous claims.

    Tone down
    Example 1: It would be a good idea to tone down your argument in this situation.
    Example 2: She tried to tone things down by calling their reaction a simple misunderstanding.

    Upcoming articles


    Look out for our upcoming article “How to come clean in English – the art of confession”.

    Previous articles


    You may also be interested in the following articles:
    Nice words for mistakes
    Nice words for problems
    Alternative words for alternative facts

    The London School of English offers high quality English language training for motivated adults from all professional backgrounds. We give you the tools and skills you need to communicate successfully in your field of expertise and to expand your business and career opportunities. Call us on +46 8 5999 4000 or email us at info@londonschool.se for more information about our tailored tuition or simply take our online test to check your English level.
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  • 2017-04-03 08:24Language, Business English

    The art of denial


    The new political era has seen unprecedented instances of denial, side-stepping and “alternative facts”. Although current political discourse sometimes appears to have moved to a parallel reality, mistakes do sometimes genuinely occur in political, business and everyday life. Dealing with these situations in another language can be very stressful. We’ve put together a short guide to help you communicate in English in challenging circumstances.

    Claim
    Example 1: She claimed that the accusation was unproven

    Deny
    Example: He denied all knowledge or involvement

    Disagree

    Example: I disagree with the conclusions

    Dismiss
    Example: They dismissed the claim as groundless

    Refute (Meaning: to deny/contradict or to prove that someone is wrong)
    Example: Defence lawyers refuted the evidence presented

    Reject
    Example: I (fully) reject the accusations

    Repudiate (Meaning: to refuse to accept/to reject)
    Example: The company repudiated the report’s claims

    Upcoming articles


    Look out for the following related upcoming articles:
    -How to come clean in English – the art of confession
    -Backtracking and backing down in English

    Previous articles


    You may also be interested in the following articles
    -Nice words for mistakes
    -Nice words for problems
    -Alternative words for alternative facts

    The London School of English offers high quality English language training for motivated adults from all professional backgrounds. We give you the tools and skills you need to communicate successfully in your field of expertise and to expand your business and career opportunities. Call us on +46 8 5999 4000 or email us at info@londonschool.se for more information about our tailored tuition or simply take our online test to check your English level.
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  • 2017-03-31 10:24Language, Swinglish series

    Moral or Morale?


    Both words look alike but are pronounced quite differently and have very different meanings.

    Moral

    A moral is a lesson learnt, usually from a story.
    Example 1: Children’s fairy tales often offer a moral.

    Moral is an adjective meaning ethical or virtuous.
    Example: She felt she had a moral victory when the case against her was dismissed.

    Morals
    are the standards someone adopts to determine right from wrong.
    Example 2: The company’s morals were called into question following their latest acquisition of environmentally hazardous production facilities.

    Morale

    Important: Unlike “moral”, the accent is on the second syllable in “morale" and it sounds like a longer word.

    Morale means mental or emotional state (e.g. spirit or attitude).
    Example 1: Staff morale is usually a major concern following the announcement of redundancies.
    Example 2: Team building events are considered to be good for building morale.

    The London School of English offers high quality English language training for motivated adults from all professional backgrounds. We give you the tools and skills you need to communicate successfully in your field of expertise and to expand your business and career opportunities. Call us on +46 8 5999 4000or email us at info@londonschool.se for more information about our tailored tuition or simply take our online test to check your English level.
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  • 2017-03-22 13:54Language

    5 very English idioms that will make you sound like a native

    Here are five fun and informal idioms that will really help give the impression of fluency in English and give your vocabulary an impressive boost.

    1. Dilly-dally

    Meaning: Waste time through aimless wandering or indecision.
    Example: Don’t dilly-dally. Let’s get on with things.

    2. Wishy- washy

    Meaning 1: (For drinks or liquid food) weak; watery (drink or liquid food).
    Example: This smoothie is a bit wishy-washy.
    Meaning 2. (For people) feeble or insipid in quality or character, half-hearted, spiritless, irresolute, indecisive.
    Example: This candidate seemed a bit wishy-washy. I don’t think she’s up to the job.

    3. Namby-pamby


    Meaning: Lacking in character, directness, or moral or emotional strength.
    Example: He was a good boy, a namby-pamby, who kept the place assigned to him.

    4. Higgledy-piggledy

    Meaning: In a jumbled, confused, or disorderly manner.
    Example: We really need to sort out and renovate our home this year as everything is so higgledy-piggledy.

    5. Hanky-panky

    Meaning 1: Unethical behaviour; deceit: suspicious behaviour.
    Example: When the former waiter opened his own exclusive restaurant, they suspected there might be some hanky-panky going on.
    Meaning 2: Illicit sexual relations.
    Example: Hanky-panky at the staff Christmas party is not acceptable.


    The London School of English offers high quality English language training for motivated adults from all professional backgrounds. We give you the tools and skills you need to communicate successfully in your field of expertise and to expand your business and career opportunities. Call us on +46 8 5999 4000or email us at info@londonschool.se for more information about our tailored tuition or simply take our online test to check your English level.

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  • 2017-03-16 11:55Business English, Language

    Alternative words for “alternative facts”

    To "call a spade a spade" is a figurative expression which refers to calling something "as it is", that is, by its right or proper name, truthfully, frankly, and directly, even to the point of being blunt or rude, and even if the subject is considered coarse, impolite or unpleasant.

    Tragically, certain political rhetoric seems limitless when it comes to exaggeration or untruths. Sometimes, however, it is expedient to practise caution in calling something an outright lie. The following alternatives allow you to choose a more measured and nuanced approach when necessary.

    Nice words for alternative facts
    Mistakes, inaccuracies, flaws, fibs (less serious lies), white lies, confusion

    A common euphemism is “being economical with the truth”. However this implies leaving out important information rather than inaccurate or false information.

    Uncensored alternatives

    Lies, falsehoods, untruths, distortions, fiction, fabrication, misinformation, disinformation

    Need help with sensitive texts?

    Please do not hesitate to contact us for expert advice on all your international communication. Whether you need help with a presentation, report or website, we can help you to set the right tone and communicate effectively.

    The London School of English offers high quality English language training for motivated adults from all professional backgrounds. We give you the tools and skills you need to communicate successfully in your field of expertise and to expand your business and career opportunities. Call us on +46 8 5999 4000or email us at info@londonschool.se for more information about our tailored tuition or simply take our online test to check your English level.

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  • 2017-03-08 15:51Language, Business English, Courses

    Popular Intercultural and Communication Skills Courses in London 2017


    The London School of International Communication offers a broad selection of popular intercultural and communication skills courses for 2017. These courses are held at its training centre in Holland Park, London, and attended by individuals from a wide range of organisations and professions.  

    Developing Intercultural Competence
    Build stronger relationships with colleagues and partners from other backgrounds and cultures.
    18 - 19 October
    https://www.lsictraining.com/courses/intercultural/developing-intercultural-competence/

    International Email Writing
    Write clear and effective business emails that are quickly understood and actioned by clients and colleagues anywhere in the world.
    3 April, 2 October
    https://www.lsictraining.com/courses/communication/email-writing/

    International Presentation Skills Training

    Become a more confident presenter and learn new techniques for engaging with international audiences.
    9 May, 17 October
    https://www.lsictraining.com/courses/communication/presentation-skills-training/

    Professional Writing Skills
    Improve your ability to produce accurate, clear and reader-friendly written communication.
    17 May, 4 October, 25 November
    https://www.lsictraining.com/courses/communication/professional-writing-skills/

    Facilitating International Meetings

    Discover solutions to the challenges and frustrations of facilitating international meetings and learn practical communication techniques for working with a multicultural audience.
    26 May, 3 October
    https://www.lsictraining.com/courses/communication/meeting-facilitation-training/

    International Negotiation Skills Training
    Develop your own negotiation style, learn how to interpret the cultural nuances affecting negotiations and practise tried and tested negotiation skills and tactics.
    21 March, 19 May, 20 October
    https://www.lsictraining.com/courses/communication/negotiation-skills-training/

    Working across Cultures
    Develop your intercultural sensitivity and global skills so that you can build more effective relationships and communicate more efficiently with contacts from other cultures.
    20 March, 18 May, 11 September, 13 November
    https://www.lsictraining.com/courses/intercultural/cross-cultural/

    Working with the British

    Learn to understand the British mindset and know how to adapt to British business culture.
    8 May, 5 June, 20 November
    https://www.lsictraining.com/courses/intercultural/british-culture/

    Course customisation

    Customisation of the above courses and delivery  at your organisation is also possible to arrange.

    The London School of English offers high quality English language training for motivated adults from all professional backgrounds. We give you the tools and skills you need to communicate successfully in your field of expertise and to expand your business and career opportunities. Call us on +46 8 5999 4000or email us at info@londonschool.se for more information about our tailored tuition or simply take our online test to check your English level.
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  • 2017-03-06 14:56Language

    Recuse vs Excuse


    If the recent newspaper headlines about US Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ decision to recuse himself from any investigations into President Donald Trump’s campaign had you googling what this word actually meant, you weren’t alone. Online dictionaries reported a huge spike in the search for this rather uncommon word.

    Meaning of recuse

    To disqualify (oneself) as judge in a particular case; broadly: to remove (oneself) from participation to avoid a conflict of interest.

    Example: The reporter wrote that President Trump left the White House "in a fury" on Friday, fuming about Sessions’ recusal and telling aides that Sessions shouldn't have recused himself.

    Meaning of excuse

    1. To seek to lessen the blame attaching to (a fault or offence); try to justify.

    Example: He did nothing to hide or excuse the man’s behaviour.

    2. To release (someone) from a duty or requirement.

    Example: She has been excused from her duties.

    The London School of English offers high quality English language training for motivated adults from all professional backgrounds. We give you the tools and skills you need to communicate successfully in your field of expertise and to expand your business and career opportunities. Call us on +46 8 5999 4000or email us at info@londonschool.se for more information about our tailored tuition or simply take our online test to check your English level.
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  • 2017-03-01 14:48Language, Business English

    15 positive expressions in English to confirm your progress


    Have you managed to move ahead with your goals for 2017?

    Perhaps you’re working on a new project, making progress on your sales budget or in the process of building a new team?  Whatever your goal, whether it’s within a current role or you’re looking for a new job, it’s good to be able to confirm that you are making progress. We’ve put together some positive expressions that you can use when you need to communicate about working towards your goals.

    1. We’re starting to build up/create some momentum
    2. The project is steadily moving forward
    3. We’re moving ahead and making progress
    4. I’m on track to meet all my deadlines
    5. We’re starting to gain traction in this market
    6. I’ve got some wind in my sails
    7. We’re building up steam
    8. We’re seeing some promising signs on the market
    9. It’s full steam ahead with the project
    10. I’ve made clear/good/great/excellent progress this year
    11. We’ve seen some clear signs of improvement
    12. We’ve really managed to get the show on the road
    13. I’m now well underway
    14. The project is really up and running now
    15. The project is now firmly established

    Good luck with your goals for 2017! And if you’ve already made progress and are on a well-deserved sports break this week, congratulations and enjoy!

    The London School of English offers high quality English language training for motivated adults from all professional backgrounds. We give you the tools and skills you need to communicate successfully in your field of expertise and to expand your business and career opportunities. Call us on +46 8 5999 4000or email us at info@londonschool.se for more information about our tailored tuition or simply take our online test to check your English level.
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  • 2017-02-28 09:57Culture, Language

    Happy Pancake Day and Semeldag


    Happy days for those who celebrate both English and Swedish cultures.

    Pancakes or semlor or both? Life is full of tough decisions! Today is Shrove Tuesday (aka Pancake Day) AND Fettisdagen and therefore it is your right (or dare we say “duty”) to throw calorie caution to the wind and get stuck into some serious cream!

    For domestic divas


    If you would like to express your domestic divadom by making both, here are a few of our favourite recipes for pancakes and semlor from England’s and Sweden’s baking royalty, Nigella Lawson and Leila Lindholm.

    For everyone else

    If, however, like most people, you’re suffering from mid-week time constraints, we recommend the following establishments for pancakes and semlor: Sirap for pancakes and Vete-Katten for semlor.

    And when you’re finished scoffing


    Why not organize a traditional pancake race with some friends as a fun way to run off that excess sugar and cream. For inspiration on this great English tradition, check out the Olney Pancake Race which dates back as far as 1445, when (as the story goes) a housewife making pancakes heard the church bell signaling the start of the Shriving service and dashed with her frying pan and pancakes in hand to the church, still dressed in her apron and headscarf. These traditional clothes are still worn by pancake race participants.

    The London School of English offers high quality English language training for motivated adults from all professional backgrounds. We give you the tools and skills you need to communicate successfully in your field of expertise and to expand your business and career opportunities. Call us on +46 8 5999 4000or email us at info@londonschool.se for more information about our tailored tuition or simply take our online test to check your English level.
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  • 2017-02-27 13:44Culture, Language

    How to explain a semla in English


    The easiest way to explain a semla in English is “a cream bun” or more specifically “a cardamom-flavoured wheat bun which has its top cut off, and is then filled with a mix of milk and almond paste, topped with whipped cream. The cut-off top serves as a lid and is dusted with icing sugar”.

    What is fettisdagen in English?

    Fettisdagen is also known as “Fat Tuesday”, “Mardi Gras” (French for “Fat Tuesday”) or “Shrove Tuesday” in the UK and Commonwealth countries. The day marks the start of “Lent”, the Christian religious observance that begins on Ash Wednesday and ends approximately six weeks later, before Easter Sunday. The names Fettisdagen, Fat Tuesday and Mardi Gras reflect the practice of the last night of eating richer, fatty foods before the ritual fasting of the Lenten season.

    The traditional food on Shrove Tuesday, however, is pancakes, which is the origin of Shrove Tuesday’s other name in the UK, “Pancake Tuesday”. Learn more about Shrove Tuesday and Pancake Day at www.londonschool.se/blogg.

    Fortunately “Fat Tuesday” coincides with sportlov (the sports break) this year so it’s easy to indulge as much as you like when you can easily work off all those cream buns on the slopes.

    Looking for a recipe for semlor in English?

    Look no further. Here is a selection of recipes for you to try

    www.thelocal.se/20150123/how-to-make-the-swedish-semla-bun
    www.scandikitchen.co.uk/recipe-semlor-lenten-buns/
    www.swedishfood.com/swedish-food-recipes-biscuits-cakes/130-lent-buns-semlor

    We hope you enjoy them.

    The London School of English offers high quality English language training for motivated adults from all professional backgrounds. We give you the tools and skills you need to communicate successfully in your field of expertise and to expand your business and career opportunities. Call us on +46 8 5999 4000or email us at info@londonschool.se for more information about our tailored tuition or simply take our online test to check your English level.

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  • 2017-02-16 14:07Language, Business English

    Encouragement and positive feedback for your colleagues

    Do your colleagues need a few words of encouragement to lift their spirits? Would you like to expand your vocabulary beyond “Good job”?  Words really do have the power to build people up and there’s nothing like properly qualified feedback to express your admiration and gratitude for a job well done. Here’s a handy list of expressions that you can use to describe the act of giving encouragement and to provide positive feedback, an essential element of good communication.

    9 ways of encouraging your colleagues


    1. Spur
    Example: To spur your colleagues on
    2. Praise
    Example: To praise their efforts
    3. Boost
    Example: To boost their confidence/ To boost staff morale
    4. Support
    Example: To support people’s ideas
    5. Inspire
    Example: To inspire your colleagues to reach their goals
    6. Reassure
    Example: To reassure people that they can meet their objectives
    7. Buoy
    Example: To help buoy up staff in the face of challenges
    8. Prop
    Example: To prop up your colleagues in difficult times
    9. Pep
    Example: To give a pep talk

    10 new expressions for giving positive feedback


    1. Well done!
    2. Nice work!*
    3. Good stuff!
    4. Impressive work!*
    5. Very professional!
    6. Great job!*
    7. First class!
    8. Tremendous work!*
    9. Cracking performance!*
    10. Excellent contribution!*

    Qualifiers

    The following qualifiers can be used interchangeably with all of the expressions above which are marked with an asterisk *. Note: They are presented in order of the strength of the praise to be given, although it’s rather difficult to distinguish between the strength of the last four.

    • Nice
    • Good
    • Impressive
    • Great
    • Excellent
    • Fantastic
    • Brilliant
    • Magnificent


    The London School of English offers high quality English language training for motivated adults from all professional backgrounds. We give you the tools and skills you need to communicate successfully in your field of expertise and to expand your business and career opportunities. Call us on +46 8 5999 4000or email us at info@londonschool.se for more information about our tailored tuition or simply take our online test to check your English level.

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  • 2017-02-06 09:08Business English, Language

    5 new ways to ask for help

    Tired of asking for help? Why not try a different approach or at least re-name what you are looking for. Re-phrasing what you need might just work. Asking politely and subtly is rarely a bad idea and can even help you to build bridges.

    1. A hand
    Example: We would really appreciate it if you could lend a hand today.

    2. Assistance
    Example: A little assistance would be great.

    3. Support

    Example: Any chance of getting a bit of support?

    4. Hands on deck
    Example: A few more hands on deck would be good to get things moving.

    5. Reinforcement
    Example: We could really do with some reinforcement on this project.


    The London School of English offers high quality English language training for motivated adults from all professional backgrounds. We give you the tools and skills you need to communicate successfully in your field of expertise and to expand your business and career opportunities. Call us on +46 8 5999 4000or email us at info@londonschool.se for more information about our tailored tuition or simply take our online test to check your English level.
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  • 2017-01-23 11:23Language, Grammar

    Which should you use?

    They sound the same and even look similar (except that one is spelled with a “c” and the other with an “s”) but their meanings are different.

    The simple rule

    The word “practice” is a noun. It refers to an act itself, not who is doing it. On the other hand, practise is a verb meaning 'do something repeatedly to improve one skill'.

    If you're using American English, however, you don't need to worry about the difference as you can use practice as a noun or a verb.

    Examples of practice (as a noun)

    You need more practice
    Practice makes perfect
    Are you coming to football practice this evening?

    Examples of practise (as a verb)

    You should practise more
    Why don’t you practise what you preach?
    She is a practising doctor

    Take a quick test

    1. This is a cruel __________ which should be banned immediately.
    2. I need to __________ my English.
    3. He refused to play the guitar, because he was out of _________.
    4. She is a confident and ________ speaker.
    5. Everyone should have the right to ________ their religion.

    Answers

    1. Practice
    2. Practise
    3. Practice
    4. Practised
    5. Practise


    The London School of English offers high quality English language training for motivated adults from all professional backgrounds. We give you the tools and skills you need to communicate successfully in your field of expertise and to expand your business and career opportunities. Call us on +46 8 5999 4000or email us at info@londonschool.se for more information about our tailored tuition or simply take our online test to check your English level.
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  • 2017-01-17 13:51Language, Swinglish series

    5 of the most common Swinglish mistakes


    Swedes often have a great command of English. However, as with all non-native speakers, they make mistakes. Our Swinglish series covers the most common Swinglish mistakes we come across. Getting these phrases right is a small adjustment but makes a big difference as they are used frequently and sound really wrong to an English native speaker.

    1. Swinglish: Eating medicine. E.g. I am eating penicillin at the moment.
    English: Taking medicine/ on medication E.g. I am taking penicillin at the moment/ I am on penicillin at the moment.

    2. Swinglish
    : Good/bad economy. E.g. I haven’t got a good economy at the moment as I’m out of work.
    English: Personal finances. E.g. My personal finances have taken a bit of a hit at the moment as I’m out of work or I’m not in good shape financially at the moment as I’m out of work.
    Note: Economy in English refers to something larger than one’s own personal finances, usually the economy of a country. Another meaning for economy is to be careful with money, e.g. to use economy when spending.

    3. Swinglish: What is the cost for something?
    English: What is the cost of something?

    4. Swinglish: Over-use of the word “possibility”. E.g. Would you have the possibility to do X?
    English: Try substituting one of these words instead: opportunity, chance, capability, capacity. Alternatively, you could simply use some form of “can”, e.g. “Could you do X?” or “Would you be able to do X?”

    5. Swinglish:
    Are you satisfied? (after a meal)
    English: Would you like some more?
    To ask if someone is satisfied with the food they have eaten is like asking them to make a judgement on the quality of the food rather than inquiring whether they would like some more.

    If you are having trouble with Swinglish and would like professional help, please do not hestiate to contact us.

    The London School of English offers high quality English language training for motivated adults from all professional backgrounds. We give you the tools and skills you need to communicate successfully in your field of expertise and to expand your business and career opportunities. Call us on +46 8 5999 4000or email us at info@londonschool.se for more information about our tailored tuition or simply take our online test  to check your English level.
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  • 2017-01-16 14:32Language, Business English

    10 words to use instead of “busy”

    Are you tired of being busy? Why not try a new word or an expression which describes your level of busyness a little more precisely. Here are some alternatives which allow you to better express exactly how busy you are and how soon you are likely to be available.  There is, after all, a world of difference between being “a little tied up” and being “completely snowed under”.

    10 alternative expressions

    1. Tied up

    Example: I’m a little tied up with this new project

    2. Occupied
    Example: She’s a bit occupied today dealing with new staff

    3. Overstretched
    Example: He’s slightly overstretched at the moment

    4. Over-extended

    Example: She’s quite over-extended in this particular role

    5. Overloaded
    Example: We’re rather overloaded with all these new cases

    6. Swamped
    Example: They’ve been completely swamped with new customers this week

    7. Snowed under

    Example: He’s been snowed under with complaints

    8. To have enough/rather a lot/too much on one’s plate at the moment

    (Meaning: To have too much to do)

    9. To have other/bigger fish to fry

    (Meaning: to be busy with more important things to do)

    10. To have other priorities today/this week /this month

    (Meaning: to be busy with more important things)

    Use Qualifiers for greater precision


    Note: The following qualifiers can be used interchangeably with expressions 1- 7 above
    • A little
    • A bit
    • Slightly
    • Quite
    • Rather
    • Completely

    Declining politely


    You may also be interested in reading our article on Nice ways to say no, which provides some very useful expressions for when you are too busy to take on anything new.

    The London School of English offers high quality English language training for motivated adults from all professional backgrounds. We give you the tools and skills you need to communicate successfully in your field of expertise and to expand your business and career opportunities. Call us on +46 8 5999 4000 or email us at info@londonschool.se for more information about our tailored tuition or simply take our online test to check your English level


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  • 2017-01-11 09:16How to series, Language

    15 ways to “Start over” in 2017


    2017 offers endless possibilities and new chances.  Why not start the New Year by expanding your English vocabulary and learning some synonyms for new beginnings. We’ve put together some expressions to help you express new starts like a native English speaker.

    Starting for the first time


    1. Starting out
    Example: She’s just starting out in this business
    2. Starting from scratch
    Example: Starting a new business from scratch can be quite challenging
    3. Building from the ground up
    Example. He’s starting with just the basics and plans to build from the ground up

    Starting again


    4. Starting over

    Example. He’s starting over in a new business
    5. Starting afresh/ making a fresh start
    Example: She’s making a fresh start in a new location
    6. Rebuilding
    Example:  Rebuilding your CV to appear as relevant as possible for the job you are interested in is highly recommended
    7. New beginnings
    Example: New beginnings are always exciting
    8. Laying new foundations
    Example: Voluntary work experience is one way of laying new foundations if you want to change industry.
    9. Taking a new direction/Embarking on a new path
    Example: Embarking on a new path takes courage

    Recovering after a fall and starting again


    10. To rally

    Example: The ability to rally after a fall is essential
    11. To bounce back
    Example: It’s not how hard you fall that counts, but how high you can bounce back
    12. To pick yourself up
    Example: When things go wrong, you just have to pick yourself up and start again
    13. To dust yourself off
    Example: This new job offers you a chance to dust yourself off and start over.
    14. To make a comeback
    Example: Everyone is keeping their fingers crossed and hoping that you will make a comeback
    15. To turn things around
    Example: With the right people in place, we can easily turn things around

    Good luck!

    Best of luck with all your new goals and plans for 2017!

    The London School of English offers high quality English language training for motivated adults from all professional backgrounds. We give you the tools and skills you need to communicate successfully in your field of expertise and to expand your business and career opportunities. Call us on +46 8 5999 4000or email us at info@londonschool.se for more information about our tailored tuition or simply take our online test to check your English level

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  • 2017-01-03 10:19Business English, Language

    Is your English fit for 2017?

    A new year is upon us presenting a fresh set of challenges and opportunities. Will your English be a help or hindrance in the year to come?

    Want a fast and free analysis?
    Welcome to our Online English Level Test. This test takes just 20 minutes to complete and provides immediate feedback on your level of English.  Your test results are kept fully confidential.

    Hoping to get a new job this year?
    Putting together a CV will be your first challenge. Have a look at "5 Common Swinglish Mistakes on CVs" before you submit yours. You might also want to check out "How to ace your interview in English" and some of our other blog articles designed to help you with your job hunting.  

    Planning to visit friends abroad?
    Don't miss our articles on "How to be a great guest in English" if you're travelling abroad or even if you're just spending time with English speakers here in Sweden.  They will help you to avoid some common social pitfalls.

    Is improving your English a resolution on repeat?
    Wanting to improve your English is a great new year's resolution. It's easy to want to improve but the follow-through can seem like a lot of work and commitment. Starting a course or getting a personal language trainer usually makes all the difference. Why not give us a call or check out our services to help you take action on your resolution.  Our business is helping you to achieve your goals in English.

    The London School of English offers high quality English language training for motivated adults from all professional backgrounds. We give you the tools and skills you need to communicate successfully in your field of expertise and to expand your business and career opportunities. Call us on +46 8 5999 4000or email us at info@londonschool.se for more information about our tailored tuition or simply take our online test to check your English level.
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  • 2016-12-07 08:22Business English, Language

    20 Christmas greetings in English for your business contacts


    Wondering what's the best way to wish your business contacts a Happy Christmas? From short and sweet to a little more nuanced, we've put together our top 20 Christmas greetings to provide you with a variety of greeting options for your Christmas cards, emails and social media.

    Popular standard greetings

    1. Happy Christmas  
    2. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year
    3. Merry Christmas and Best Wishes for a Happy New Year

    A little less formal

    4. Merry Christmas and all the best in the New Year

    Suitable for all religions

    5. Season’s Greetings
    6. Holiday Greetings
    7. Happy Holidays
    8. Season’s Greetings and best wishes for the New Year
    9. Holiday Greetings with all good wishes for the New Year
    10. Greetings of the Season and Best Wishes for the New Year
    11. Warmest thoughts and best wishes for a wonderful Holiday and a Happy New Year
    12. Wishing you every happiness this Holiday Season and throughout the coming year

    Incorporating a business angle
    13. Season’s Greetings from all of us at [name of company]
    14. Best wishes for a Happy Christmas and a prosperous New Year
    15. All of us at [name of company] join in sending season's greetings with good wishes for the New Year
    16. In warm appreciation of our association during the past year, we wish you a Merry Christmas and every success in the New Year
    17. With thanks for our fruitful cooperation during the past year, we wish you a very Merry Christmas and look forward to continuing our joint success in the New Year
    18. All of us at [name of company] join in saying “thank you” and wishing you a happy holiday and prosperous new year
    19. With thanks for our successful partnership this year, we wish you all a very Happy Christmas and look forward to working with you in the New Year.
    20. In warm appreciation of all your hard work this year, we wish you a very happy and relaxing Christmas and look forward to working with you in 2016.

    What not to say
    Happy Christmas and a Merry New Year ("Merry New Year" just sounds wrong)
    Wishing you a prosperous Christmas and a merry New Year ("Prosperous Christmas" sounds even more wrong)

    The London School of English offers high quality English language training for motivated adults from all professional backgrounds. We give you the tools and skills you need to communicate successfully in your field of expertise and to expand your business and career opportunities. Call us on +46 8 5999 4000 or email us at info@londonschool.se for more information about our tailored tuition or simply take our online test to check your English level.
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  • 2016-12-01 14:28Language, Business English

    10 words to use instead of important


    There are few things as tedious as hearing or reading the same word over and over again and the word “important” is used frequently in business and working life. Why not expand your vocabulary by learning and applying synonyms for this common word . It will help you avoid repeating yourself and it’s a great opportunity to showcase your English language skills.

    1. Critical

    Example: Positive results are critical for success.

    2. Crucial

    Example: Their behaviour has a crucial impact on the outcome.

    3. Essential

    Example: Only essential team members have to work at the weekend.

    4. Imperative

    Example: It is imperative that you understand what needs to be done, if this project is to succeed.

    5. Paramount

    Example: The interests of the children should be paramount in divorce
    and custody cases.

    6. Urgent

    Example: Please let them know that this is an urgent matter.

    7. Decisive

    Example: Your argument was the decisive one.

    8. Meaningful

    Example: It’s unclear whether their input had any meaningful effect on the result.

    9. Significant

    Example: The findings of the report are very significant.

    10. Influential

    Example: Her opinion is very influential and may change the direction of the project.

    Need help with texts or presentations?

    We have extensive experience of English language coaching as well as writing and editing professional English texts. Call us on +46 8 5999 4000 or email us at info@londonschool.se for more information about our tailored tuition and editing services.
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  • 2016-11-29 14:06Business English, Language

    Nice words for problems

    Problems are a normal part of life and the ability to communicate about them diplomatically can build or break relationships.  We've put together some useful synonyms and smart tactics for softening the blow of announcing that problems exist, which should help avoid negativity and will also help showcase your English language skills.

    6 Alternative words
    • Difficulty
    • Challenge
    • Hitch
    • Setback
    • Hurdle
    • Complication

    Use modifiers

    Using modifiers like “slight”, “little”, “a bit of”, “minor” and “a few” also help to soften and diminish the effect of the words you choose.

    Examples
    • There’s been a slight hitch
    • We’ve had a bit of a setback
    • There’s been a minor complication

    Classic euphemisms
    The classic euphemisms for "problems" are "challenges" or "opportunities".

    Alternative strategy
    An alternative strategy is to avoid mentioning the word “problem” entirely, or any word with a negative connotation, by focusing on what needs to be done instead.

    • Example 1: These are the areas that we need to focus on.
    • Example 2: This is what requires our immediate attention.
    • Example 3: What are the steps we need to take to get things back on track?
    • Example 4: How do we turn the matter at hand around?

    Crisis management communication
    Problems are commonplace.  The communication surrounding crisis management and damage limitation, however, is extremely sensitive and each word needs to be carefully considered. Please do not hesitate to call us if you need professional help with this or any other form of international communication.

    The London School of English offers high quality English language training for motivated adults from all professional backgrounds. We give you the tools and skills you need to communicate successfully in your field of expertise and to expand your business and career opportunities. Call us on +46 8 5999 4000 or email us at info@londonschool.se for more information about our tailored tuition or simply take our online test to check your English level.
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  • 2016-11-24 09:04Language, Culture

    Happy Thanksgiving Day


    It's Thanksgiving today, a great American holiday where people give thanks for all the blessings of the past year.  It's a unifying celebration and tradition that is celebrated across the USA by all cultures and religions.

    The background story
    The story dates back to the early 1620s, when the Pilgrim Fathers set sail on the Mayflower ship from Plymouth in England, seeking religious freedom and prosperity. After reaching the New World, they faced tremendous hardship including a brutal winter, disease and near starvation. Friendships forged with native Americans helped save them as they taught the pilgrims how to live off the land. The first Thanksgiving feast was held in November 1621, when the pilgrims had reaped their first successful harvest.

    When is Thanksgiving held?

    The fourth Thursday of November, not to be confused with Canadian Thanksgiving, which is celebrated on the second Monday in October.

    How is it celebrated?
    This weekend is a time for meeting up with family and friends over Thanksgiving dinner. The two busiest days of the year for travel, in the United States, are the Wednesday before Thanksgiving and the Sunday after Thanksgiving.  More Americans travel to be with family at this time than for any other holiday, including Christmas.

    Eight essential Thanksgiving dishes

    The Thanksgiving menu varies around the country but usually consists of eight essential dishes; turkey, bread stuffing, gravy, sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, green beans, cranberry sauce and  pie (preferably pumpkin, but apple or pecan pie are also popular).

    More recent traditions
    Watching the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade on TV is a tradition for many families who cannot line up in NYC to witness it in person. Thanksgiving also marks the start of the "Holiday Season" with the arrival of Santa, the main star of the parade. The other great tradition on this day is watching American football on TV. The most famous game is between the Detroit Lions and the Dallas Cowboys who have taken the field for a Thanksgiving Day game every year since 1934.

    Celebrating Thanksgiving in Stockholm?
    -Our best turkey tips: Ingelsta Kalkon has specialist turkey shops in Stockholm, Gothenburg, Malmö, Lund and Österlen.
    -Menu tips: Try a Classic Thanksgiving menu from the Food Network.
    -Our top three restaurant tips: You can celebrate without all the hassle of preparation and doing dishes at American Table Brasserie & Bar or the Hard Rock Café, both of which offer Thanksgiving menus. Or why not sample Thanksgiving Dinner at Stockholms Stadsmission, organised by The American Club of Sweden.

    Happy Thanksgiving from all of us at the London School of English

    The London School of English offers high quality English language training for motivated adults from all professional backgrounds. We give you the tools and skills you need to communicate successfully in your field of expertise and to expand your business and career opportunities. Call us on +46 8 5999 4000 or email us at info@londonschool.se for more information about our tailored tuition or simply take our online test to check your English level.
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  • 2016-11-16 15:04Culture, Language

    'Post-truth' named Word of the Year 2016

    After much discussion, debate, and research, the Oxford Dictionaries Word of the Year 2016 is ‘Post-truth’ – an adjective defined as ‘relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief’.

    What’s the idea behind ‘Word of the Year’?

    The Oxford Dictionaries Word of the Year is intended to reflect the passing year in language. Use of the term ‘post-truth’ increased by around 2,000% in 2016 compared to last year, driven by the era of Donald Trump and Brexit. The publisher’s US and UK dictionary teams sometimes make different choices but this year teams on both sides of the Atlantic chose the same word.

    Where does the word ‘post-truth’ come from?

    According to Oxford Dictionaries, the first time the term post-truth’ was used in a 1992 essay by the late Serbian-American playwright Steve Tesich in the Nation magazine. Tesich, writing about the Iran-Contra scandal and the Persian Gulf war, said that “we, as a free people, have freely decided that we want to live in some post-truth world”.

    Which other words were shortlisted?


    Contenders for the 2016 title included the following choices.

    Adulting
    , n. [mass noun] informal the practice of behaving in a way characteristic of a responsible adult, especially the accomplishment of mundane but necessary tasks.

    Alt-right, n. (in the US) an ideological grouping associated with extreme conservative or reactionary viewpoints, characterized by a rejection of mainstream politics and by the use of online media to disseminate deliberately controversial content.

    Brexiteer, n. British informal a person who is in favour of the United Kingdom withdrawing from the European Union.

    Chatbot, n. a computer program designed to simulate conversation with human users, especially over the Internet.

    Coulrophobia, n. [mass noun] rare extreme or irrational fear of clowns.

    Glass cliff
    ,  n. used with reference to a situation in which a woman or member of a minority group ascends to a leadership position in challenging circumstances where the risk of failure is high.

    Hygge, n. [mass noun] a quality of cosiness and comfortable conviviality that engenders a feeling of contentment or well-being (regarded as a defining characteristic of Danish culture)

    Latinx, n. (plural Latinxs or same) and adj. a person of Latin American origin or descent (used as a gender-neutral or non-binary alternative to Latino or Latina); relating to people of Latin American origin or descent (used as a gender-neutral or non-binary alternative to Latino or Latina).

    Woke, adj. (woker, wokest) US informal alert to injustice in society, especially racism.

    Previous winners

    Previous Word of the Year winners have included ‘emoji’ (2015), ‘vape’ (2014) and ‘selfie’ 2013. Last year’s winner caused quite a lot of controversy but in the wake of the American election and the EU referendum, the 2016 winner seems to be a popular choice.

    The London School of English offers high quality English language training for motivated adults from all professional backgrounds. We give you the tools and skills you need to communicate successfully in your field of expertise and to expand your business and career opportunities. Call us on +46 8 5999 4000 or email us at info@londonschool.se for more information about our tailored tuition or simply take our online test to check your English level.

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  • 2016-11-09 14:58Language

    Comforter and other winter wonderland words to concentrate on today

    1. Comforter (in American English), aka continental quilt or simply quilt or duvet (Täcke)

    2. Icicle (Istapp)

    3. Ice crystal (Iskristall)

    4. Long johns aka thermal underwear (Underställsbyxor/underställ)

    5. Sledge (Släda)

    6. Toboggan (Kälke)

    7. Snowflake (Snöflinga)

    8. Mittens (Vantar)

    9. Fireplace (Eldstad)

    10. Hot chocolate (Varm choklad)

    The London School of English offers high quality English language training for motivated adults from all professional backgrounds. We give you the tools and skills you need to communicate successfully in your field of expertise and to expand your business and career opportunities. Call us on +46 8 5999 4000 or email us at info@londonschool.se for more information about our tailored tuition or simply take our <1.online test> to check your English level.
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  • 2016-11-03 00:00Culture, Language

    Bonfire Night - the UK's answer to Valborg


    Bonfire Night will be lighting up the skies across the UK this Saturday. This British version of Valborg is a much bigger event in the UK than Halloween, which is viewed by some as an American cultural import.

    What is Bonfire Night?
    Immortalized in the nursery rhyme “remember remember the 5th of November“, Bonfire Night, aka Guy Fawkes Night, commemorates the Gunpowder Plot of 1605 when a group of disaffected Catholics plotted to assassinate King James 1 by blowing up the House of Lords (parliament) with 36 barrels of gunpowder.

    What was the gunpowder plot about?
    The plotters hoped to restore Protestant England to Catholicism and end the persecution of their faith. They planned to put Kings James’ daughter, Elizabeth, on the throne, returning Britain to the Catholic fold.

    Who was Guy Fawkes?
    Guy Fawkes was the most famous of the plotters.

    What happened to him?
    Guy Fawkes, along with seven other conspirators, was tortured and executed by being hanged, drawn and quartered on 31 January1606. You didn’t cross the king in those days! A further three conspirators who died escaping were exhumed (dug up from their graves) and decapitated (beheaded).

    How is Bonfire Night celebrated?
    A highlight of every child’s social calendar in the late autumn darkness, the night is celebrated with bonfires and firework displays throughout the UK.

    What’s that thing on top of the bonfire?
    A Guy Fawkes effigy (a home-made model of a man, like a scarecrow, supposed to represent Guy Fawkes) is burned on top of the bonfire. The burning of a “guy” on top of a bonfire has ensured the gunpowder plot endures in the national memory.

    Happy Bonfire Night from us all at the London School of English!

    The London School of English offers high quality English language training for motivated adults from all professional backgrounds. We give you the tools and skills you need to communicate successfully in your field of expertise and to expand your business and career opportunities. Call us on +46 8 5999 4000 or email us at info@londonschool.se for more information about our tailored tuition or simply take our online test to check your English level.
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  • 2016-11-02 14:13Language

    Cat Idioms in English


    Continuing our series “Which animals get a bad rap in English”, today’s subject is cats, who are nearly always used in a negative context when it comes to idioms. Learning idioms is strongly recommended as this really helps to give the impression of fluency and superior language skills.

    Expression 1: Cat's got your tongue?

    Meaning: When someone doesn’t speak because they don’t know what to say.
    Example: I’m still waiting for an explanation but it seems like the cat’s got your tongue.

    Expression 2: Copycat


    Meaning: Someone who does the same thing as someone else.
    Example: He’s just a copycat without any original ideas of his own.

    Expression 3: Let the cat out of the bag


    Meaning: To reveal a secret.
    Example: Who let the cat out of the bag about the surprise party?

    Expression 4: To look like something the cat dragged in

    Meaning: When someone looks very untidy or messy.
    Example: Can you please get cleaned up - you look like something the cat dragged in!

    You might also be interested in reading our first article in the series Which animals get a bad rap in English?, which covers rats and monkeys.

    The London School of English offers high quality English language training for motivated adults from all professional backgrounds. We give you the tools and skills you need to communicate successfully in your field of expertise and to expand your business and career opportunities. Call us on +46 8 5999 4000 or email us at info@londonschool.se for more information about our tailored tuition or simply take our online test to check your English level.

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  • 2016-11-01 15:17How to series, Language

    A lot of people get “compliment” and “complement” mixed up. It’s not surprising as they are both pronounced the same way and have very similar spellings. They do, however, have completely different meanings:

    Complement/Complementary

    This word is used when saying that something goes well with something else.
    E.g. “The addition of garlic complements the use of ginger in this dish” or “The wine complements the meal”. When ingredients (or foods, clothes, personalities etc.) work well together they are said to be complementary.

    Compliment /Complimentary

    Compliment has two common meanings:

    1. When someone expresses something nice about someone
    E.g. “It’s always nice to get compliments” or “She made some very complimentary comments about you”.

    2. When something is free of charge or done as an act of courtesy
    E.g. “This airline always provides complimentary drinks”

    The London School of English offers high quality English language training for motivated adults from all professional backgrounds. We give you the tools and skills you need to communicate successfully in your field of expertise and to expand your business and career opportunities. Call us on +46 8 5999 4000 or email us at info@londonschool.se for more information about our tailored tuition or simply take our online test to check your English level.
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  • 2016-10-28 10:12Culture, Language

    What is the history behind Halloween?


    When most people think of Halloween, they think of trick or treating, costumes and family friendly activities. There is, however, a long history behind Halloween. Both Christian and pagan practices have evolved into Halloween as we know it today.


    Christian practices

    The word “Halloween” is a contraction of All Hallows' Evening, which is also known as Allhalloween, All Hallows' Eve or All Saints' Eve i.e. the day before All Hallows’ Day a.k.a. All Saints’ Day. A lot of people know the word “Hallows” from Harry Potter but “Hallows” is a synonym of the word “Saints”.

    Halloween is celebrated on 31 October and it begins the three-day observance of Allhallowtide, when Christians would honour saints and pray for souls who had not yet reached heaven.

    The pagan festival of Samhain

    Halloween also originates from the Celtic pagan festival of Samhain (pronounced “sah-win”), which means 'Summer's End' in Gaelic. This festival celebrated the end of harvest season.

    Gaels believed that it was a time when the walls between this world and the next became thin and porous enough to allow spirits to pass through, come back to life on the day and possibly even damage their crops. To appease and welcome the spirits, places were set at the dinner table or food was left outside the front door. Gaels also lit bonfires to ward off the evil spirits.

    The practice of trick or treating and dressing up originates as far back as the 16th century in Ireland, Scotland and Wales where people dressed in costume and went door-to-door asking for food in exchange for a poem or song. Many dressed up as souls of the dead, and were understood to be protecting themselves from the spirits by impersonating them.

    Souling and guising

    Souling and guising in medieval Britain were also forerunners to trick or treating. “Souling” was when poor people would go door to door on November 1, receiving food and soul cakes in return for prayers for the dead.

    “Guising” was when young people would dress up in costume and go door-to-door, accepting food, wine or money in return for performance such as singing, reciting poetry or telling jokes.

    Revived by Irish and Scottish immigrants

    In nineteenth century America, Irish and Scottish immigrants revived these traditions, laying the foundations for how Halloween is celebrated today.


    Happy Halloween to everyone from all of us at the London School of English.

    The London School of English offers high quality English language training for motivated adults from all professional backgrounds. We give you the tools and skills you need to communicate successfully in your field of expertise and to expand your business and career opportunities. Call us on +46 8 591:99 4000 or email us at info@londonschool.se for more information about our tailored tuition or simply take our online test to check your English level.
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  • 2016-10-20 12:29Language

    Which animals get a bad rap in English?

    Animals are frequently used in idioms and can have both positive and negative attributes associated with them. We’ve selected five animals which have developed a bad rap in English i.e. they are nearly always used in a negative context. These idioms are well worth learning as using them will really help to give the impression of fluency and superior language skills.

    Rats

    Expression 1: To smell a rat
    Meaning: To recognise that something is not as it appears to be or that something dishonest is happening.
    Example: They have been working late together every night this week - I smell a rat!

    Expression 2: To rat on someone
    Meaning: To be someone who tells on someone or sells someone out.
    Example: She called in sick so she could go to the concert – now she’s worried her colleagues will rat on her.

    Expression 3: The rat race
    Meaning: An unpleasant way in which people compete against each other at work in order to succeed.
    Example: The left their jobs in the city and moved to the countryside to escape the rat race.

    Monkeys

    Expression 1: Speak to the organ grinder, not the monkey
    Meaning: Talk to the boss, not the subordinate.
    Example: I want to speak to the organ grinder, not the monkey.

    Expression 2: Cheeky monkey
    Meaning: To be flippant or to have an answer for everything and always have the last word.
    Example 2: “You cheeky monkey" was what my mother said to me all the time when I was a kid.

    Expression 3: Monkey see, monkey do
    Meaning: Set a good example, not a bad one.
    Example: Our one-year-old is saying bad words now. I told my husband, "Monkey see, monkey do".

    Pigs, sheep and cats are also usually used in a negative context in English - Watch out for upcoming blog posts on this theme


    The London School of English offers high quality English language training for motivated adults from all professional backgrounds. We give you the tools and skills you need to communicate successfully in your field of expertise and to expand your business and career opportunities. Call us on +46 8 5999 4000 or email us at info@londonschool.se for more information about our tailored tuition or simply take our online test to check your English level.
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  • 2016-10-18 14:33Language, Business English

    Nice words for mistakes


    "Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new.” – Albert Einstein. Mistakes happen all the time, especially when you’re dealing with people, so it’s a good idea to learn a few handy phrases which help you to contain and deliver the bad news. The following “nice words” for mistakes and problems should help you to soften the blow when they occur.

    1. Hiccup
    Example: I’m afraid we’ve had a few hiccups with this project.

    2. Slip-up

    Example: There was a little slip-up in the presentation.

    3. Mix-up

    Example: There’s been a bit of a mix up with the figures.

    4. Miscalculation
    Example: Unfortunately there was a slight miscalculation in the programme.

    5. Teething problems

    Example: We’re experiencing a few teething problems with the launch.

    6. Oversight
    Example: I wonder if there has been a minor oversight with invitiations to the meeting.

    7. Wobble
    Example: He had a slight wobble today.

    Important: Using modifiers like “slight”, “little”, “a bit of”, “minor” and “a few” also help to soften and diminish the effect of the words you choose.

    Crisis management communication
    Small mistakes are commonplace.  The communication surrounding crisis management and damage limitation, however,  is extremely sensitive and each word needs to be carefully considered. Please do not hesitate to call us if you need professional help with this or any other form of international communication.

    The London School of English offers high quality English language training for motivated adults from all professional backgrounds. We give you the tools and skills you need to communicate successfully in your field of expertise and to expand your business and career opportunities. Call us on +46 8 5999 4000 or email us at info@londonschool.se for more information about our tailored tuition or simply take our online test to check your English level.
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  • 2016-10-05 10:35Language, Business English

    8 tips for successful international negotiations in English


    English may be the default international business language but using English for international negotiations is far from uncomplicated. This is particularly true when the stakes are high and one or more parties have a language other than English as their first language. This can easily result in an imbalance in negotiating power, poor communication and ultimately, failure to reach agreement. To increase the likelihood of successful international negotiations, we recommend that you keep in mind these eight essential pointers.

    1. Keep it simple
    Language used should be clear and basic to help avoid misunderstanding. Use simple words wherever possible.

    2. No showing off
    Avoid idiomatic expressions, nuances and jargon as they can be very challenging or even impossible for some to understand. Any form of linguistic styling also runs the risk of being interpreted as “showing off” and being disrespectful. Unless all parties in the negotiation have a very high level of English, international negotiations are not the time to showcase your full vocabulary.

    3. Speak in short sentences and short segments
    It’s harder to process information in another language. Avoid information overload by speaking in short sentences and give people time to digest your information and proposals.

    4. Use visual aids wherever possible
    A picture is worth a thousand words and is usually the best way to communicate information.

    5. Take plenty of breaks
    International negotiations are usually challenging and tiring. Make sure you build in plenty of time for breaks to ensure people have the energy to stay focused.

    6. Allow frequent opportunities to ask questions

    When a lot of information is presented, it’s very important to allow plenty of opportunities for people to pose questions to ensure they really understand. Don’t wait for questions to be asked but stop and invite questions on a regular basis.

    7. Get a professional interpreter

    If there is any risk of negotiations failing due to lack of English skills, ensure that a qualified interpreter is available.

    8. Always provide a written summary

    When the negotiations have finished, send a written summary of the discussion, even if nothing was formally agreed.

    Good luck with your negotiations!


    If you would like professional help with preparing for upcoming negotiations with experienced coaches, please do not hesitate to contact us at The London School of English on Tel +46 8 5999 4000 or email us at info@londonschool.se for more information.

    You may also be interested in:

    How to win over your international negotiation partners - a free webinar by the London School of International Communication on 11 October, 3pm CEST. Learn how to minimise resistance and increase your chance of a successful international negotiation. Register here
    10 negotiation terms you should know in English

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  • 2016-10-03 19:52Language, How to series

    How to soften bad news in English


    Do you have some bad news to communicate in English? Cancellations, scheduling clashes or perhaps cutbacks? Wondering how best to soften the blow? We’ve put together some language tips which should help you.

    1. Choose positive phrasing instead of negative

    Examples
    Negative phrasing: “The damage won’t be fixed for a week.”
    Positive phrasing: “You can pick up your car next week.”
    Negative phrasing: “The enclosed statement is wrong.”
    Positive phrasing: “Please recheck the enclosed statement.”

    2. Avoid negative words – use positive words in a negative form instead


    Examples
    Don’t say: “I think that’s a bad idea.”
    Say: “I don’t think that’s such a good idea.”
    Don’t say: “It’s too expensive for us.”
    Say: “It’s not as reasonable as we had hoped “

    People react better to positive sounding words, even if they are used with a negative auxiliary.

    3. Use modifiers to make things seem less or smaller

    Examples
    “That may cause a slight problem for us.”
    “We have a bit of a problem with the accounts.”

    Using ‘slight’ here helps the speaker to be softer. Phrases like “a bit of”, “sort of”, “kind of” have the same effect.

    4. Use phrases to signal bad news for the listener

    Examples
    Unfortunately….. / I’m afraid….. / I’m sorry but….. / With respect…..

    These phrases can soften bad news

    5. Use negative questions to make suggestions to improve the situation

    Examples
    “Wouldn’t it be better to…….?”
    “Couldn’t we……..?”

    These questions carry the speaker’s opinion in a diplomatic way and ask for a reaction.


    The London School of English offers high quality English language training for motivated adults from all professional backgrounds. We give you the tools and skills you need to communicate successfully in your field of expertise and to expand your business and career opportunities. Call us on +46 8 5999 4000 or email us at info@londonschool.se for more information about our tailored tuition or simply take our online test to check your English level.
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  • 2016-09-29 07:53Business English, Language

    10 negotiation terms you should know in English


    Negotiation and bargaining are an essential part of working life. Even if you don’t work in politics or direct sales, negotiating and bargaining skills are frequently required to ensure that you receive fair compensation for your performance and for the type and amount of work that you do. Negotiation usually feels more difficult if you are doing it in another language so we’ve put together some important terms you should know in English.

    1. Alternatives
    Meaning: Other options.
    Example: We can't afford to pay the price you have proposed but let's discuss some other alternatives.

    2. Arbitration
    Meaning: A conflict that is addressed by using a neutral third party.
    Example: It would be much better if we could work this out between us as formal arbitration will be very expensive.

    3. Bottom-line
    Meaning: The lowest (price) a person is willing to accept.
    Example: I'll accept a 10% salary increase but that's my bottom-line.

    4. Compensate
    Meaning: To make up for a loss.
    Example: If you are willing to work late we will compensate you by paying overtime.

    5. Compromise
    Meaning: To change one's mind/terms/position slightly in order to reach agreement.
    Example: This wasn’t part of our plan but we are willing to compromise on this matter if it means that you will stay on-board with the project.

    6. Deadlock
    Meaning: To have reached a point where neither party will give in.
    Example: When the discussions came to a deadlock we decided to move to arbitration.

    7. High-ball /Low-ball
    Meaning: Highball: To make a request that is much higher than you expect to receive.
    Meaning: Lowball: To offer something much lower than you think the party/person you are negotiating with will ask for.
    Example: It’s sometimes a good idea to high-ball salary expectations when applying for a job as you can always negotiate downwards afterwards to reach a compromise.
    Example: I was expecting my boss to low-ball his opening offer during our annual salary review meeting.

    8. Leverage
    Meaning: Bargaining power - something that gives one party a greater chance at succeeding over another.
    Example: We have a lot of leverage because we are the only members of staff who can actually work this weekend.

    9. Mutual
    Meaning: To be agreed by both or all parties involved.
    Example: The decision to end the partnership was mutual.

    10. Trade-off
    Meaning: Terms that are offered in return for something else.
    Example: We managed to negotiate higher salaries but the trade-off was shorter term contracts.

    How comfortable are you in international negotiations?
    If you get frustrated when international negotiations don’t go as smoothly as you had planned, why not sign up for How to win over your international negotiation partners”. This free webinar by the London School of International Communication will be held on 11 October at 3pm CEST.

    Watch out too for our upcoming article on international negotiations.


    The London School of English offers high quality English language training for motivated adults from all professional backgrounds. We give you the tools and skills you need to communicate successfully in your field of expertise and to expand your business and career opportunities. Call us on +46 8 5999 4000 or email us at info@londonschool.se for more information about our tailored tuition or simply take our online test to check your English level.
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  • 2016-09-14 06:56Language, How to series

    Nice ways to say B***S***


    It’s easy to resort to crude words and profanity but language skills are required for creative put-down material. Here are some alternative words and expressions for calling something absurd, ridiculous or complete nonsense. Using these words will not only showcase your language skills – it will probably give greater effect to your argument as they are not used as often.

    1. Drivel

    Example: That’s a complete load of drivel

    2. Gibberish

    Example: Such gibberish

    3. Codswallop

    Example: I think that's a right load of old codswallop

    4. Rubbish

    Example: What utter rubbish

    5. Balderdash

    Example: That is balderdash

    6. Hooey
    Example: What a load of hooey

    7. Poppycock
    Example: That’s absolute poppycock

    8. Hogwash

    Example: That’s just hogwash

    9. Tripe

    Example: That’s a load of old tripe

    10. Twaddle

    Example: That’s complete twaddle


    The London School of English offers high quality English language training for motivated adults from all professional backgrounds. We give you the tools and skills you need to communicate successfully in your field of expertise and to expand your business and career opportunities. Call us on +46 8 5999 4000 or email us at info@londonschool.se for more information about our tailored tuition or simply take our online test to check your English level.
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  • 2016-09-12 06:53How to series, Language

    How should Hilary Clinton be addressed if elected president?


    A new etiquette dilemma will have to be ironed out if Hilary Clinton is elected president of the United States - concerning her official title and how she should be addressed. A number of forms of address are possible.

    Possible alternatives

    • President Clinton
    • President Hilary Clinton
    • President Rodham Clinton

    How to address her directly?


    The most likely form of direct address is “Madam President”. Other options, however, could technically include “Mrs President” or even “Ms President”.

    What will Bill Clinton’s title be?

    The matter is further complicated by the fact that U.S. presidents retain their titles for life and all former presidents are referred to as President (last name). An equally interesting question therefore is how her husband should be addressed. Will Bill Clinton have to demote himself from “President Clinton” if Hilary Clinton is elected president? Possible variations of his new title include the following:

    • Former president Clinton
    • President Bill Clinton
    • The first gentleman

    Presidential precedents

    There are some precedents of presidents from the same family:

    • Theodore Roosevelt (26th president) was a cousin of Franklin Delano Roosevelt (32nd president). Both of the former President Roosevelts are most commonly called by their nicknames: Teddy and FDR.
    • George H.W Bush (41st president) was the father of George W. Bush (43rd president). They are usually distinguished by "H.W or W" or by "41 or 43."

    How to address a letter to the president


    One aspect, however, remains clear. A letter to the president should be addressed as follows – we’ve even provided the address:

    The President
    The White House
    1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
    Washington, DC 20500

    What salutation should you use on your letter?

    Standard etiquette would dictate the following salutations:

    • The Honorable Hilary Clinton, President of the United States
            (Note: British English uses the spelling “Honourable”)

    Or alternatively

    • President Clinton
    • Dear Madam President (if Madam President becomes the accepted form of address)

    It will certainly be interesting to see what their new official titles will be if she wins the election.

    The London School of English offers high quality English language training for motivated adults from all professional backgrounds. We give you the tools and skills you need to communicate successfully in your field of expertise and to expand your business and career opportunities. Call us on +46 8 5999 4000 or email us at info@londonschool.se for more information about our tailored tuition or simply take our online test to check your English level.


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  • 2016-09-07 08:32Language

    How well do you understand nuance? - 8 meanings of “get on”


    Understanding subtle differences or shades of meaning is a vital part of developing your English language skills. Nuance is the difference between these shades. Even ordinary words such as “get on” can have many different meanings. We’ve listed eight below.

    1. Get on (to grow older)

    Example: My grandfather is getting on in years

    2. Get on (to physically get aboard something)
    Example: to get on a bus, train or boat

    3. Get on with someone (relationships)
    Example: I get on very well with my parents-in-law

    4. Get on (to manage/carry on)
    Example: We can probably get on without you for a few days while you are on holiday

    5. Get on (to) someone (to remind someone)
    Example: I have to get on to my colleagues about our deadline

    6. Get on (to be successful)
    Example: She is getting on very well in this business

    7. Get on (to make progress with something)
    Example:  We need to get on with this if we’re going to meet the deadline. Example 2: How are you getting on?

    8. Get on (to physically put something on)

    Example: I got on my coat and hat and left the house

    Please do not hesitate to call us if you are unsure about how to interpret texts in English. It’s always well worth double checking that important texts written for your organisation do not have any unintended nuances.

    The London School of English offers high quality English language training for motivated adults from all professional backgrounds. We give you the tools and skills you need to communicate successfully in your field of expertise and to expand your business and career opportunities. Call us on +46 8 5999 4000 or email us at info@londonschool.se for more information about our tailored tuition or simply take our online test to check your English level.
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  • 2016-09-01 09:50Language, Grammar

    What’s the difference between i.e. and e.g.?

    These two abbreviations are commonly confused and many people use them interchangeably. However, their uses are very different.

    The simple rule
    • I.e. means “that is” or “in other words”.
    • E.g. means “for example”.

    Note: In formal documents, it is better not to use these abbreviations and to write out the meanings (“that is” or “for example”).

    Examples of e.g.
    I like a lot of different types of fruit, e.g. apples, pears and peaches.
    There are many ways of getting there e.g. by bus, train or car.

    Examples of i.e.
    He is still considering his options i.e. he won’t be making a decision today.
    It’s a bit too wet and damp for a picnic today i.e. I think we should postpone.

    Remember: I.e. is not used for listing examples - It’s used to clarify a statement.

    The London School of English offers high quality English language training for motivated adults from all professional backgrounds. We give you the tools and skills you need to communicate successfully in your field of expertise and to expand your business and career opportunities. Call us on +46 8 5999 4000 or email us at info@londonschool.se for more information about our tailored tuition or simply take our online test to check your English level.

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  • 2016-08-30 10:14Language, Business English

    10 working relationship phrases you should know


    How good are the relationships that you have with your colleagues?

    We all know that good work relationships make for a happier work place. Human beings are naturally social creatures – so it makes sense that the better our relationships are at work, the happier and more productive we're going to be. Whilst we don’t have to be good friends with everyone at work, it is important to be able to work together, which requires mutual respect and understanding. Here are a list of common phrases in English which we hope you find helpful.

    Idioms which describe good work relationships

    1. To see eye to eye (to be able to agree)
    2. To keep on someone’s good side (to maintain favour with someone)
    3. To get off on the right foot with someone (to start a relationship well)
    4. To get on with someone (to have a good relationship)
    5. To be on the same page (to understand each other and agree)
    6. To get in with someone (to be liked by someone)
    7. To rub someone the right way (to create a good impression)
    8. To rub along well together (to have a good relationship)
    9. To get on like a house on fire (to have a very good relationship)
    10. To be on the same wavelength (to understand each other/to have a good relationship)


    Most of the above expressions can also be easily negated to describe bad working relationships instead.

    Idioms which describe bad work relationships

    1. Not to see eye to eye
    2. Not to keep on someone’s good side/To get on the wrong side of someone
    3. Not to get off on the right foot /To get off on the wrong foot
    4. Not to get on with someone/To fall out with someone
    5. Not to be on the same page
    6. Not to get in with someone
    7. Not to rub someone the right way/ To rub someone the wrong way
    8. Not to rub along well together/To fall out with someone
    9. To be/fight like cats and dogs (to be opposites who argue)
    10. Not to be on the same wavelength


    The London School of English offers high quality English language training for motivated adults from all professional backgrounds. We give you the tools and skills you need to communicate successfully in your field of expertise and to expand your business and career opportunities. Call us on +46 8 5999 4000 or email us at info@londonschool.se for more information about our tailored tuition or simply take our online test to check your English level.
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  • 2016-08-23 12:33Grammar, Language

    What’s the difference between “affect” and “effect” and when should they be used?

    These two words are often confused as they look and sound very similar. However, there is a simple explanation to help you remember the difference.

    The simple rule

    • Affect is a verb – “to affect” – meaning to influence or have an impact on something.
    • Effect is the noun – “an effect (a positive or a negative effect) is the result of being affected by something.

    Warning
    There is also a verb “to effect”, which means to bring something about – “to effect a change”. However, this is not very commonly used.

    Examples of “affect”
    -Several of my colleagues have been directly affected by the re-organisation
    -High levels of stress can affect performance
    -The storm knocked down power lines, affecting thousands of people

    Examples of “effect”
    -My doctor said it would take a few hours for the medicine to take effect
    -Wet weather often has a bad effect on your mood.
    -We are still unsure what sort of effect the new regulations will have

    The London School of English offers high quality English language training for motivated adults from all professional backgrounds. We give you the tools and skills you need to communicate successfully in your field of expertise and to expand your business and career opportunities. Call us on +46 8 5999 4000 or email us at info@londonschool.se for more information about our tailored tuition or simply take our online test to check your English level.
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  • 2016-08-22 09:40Language, Business English, How to series

    How to clarify things on a phone call in English


    It’s easy to get confused or even slightly panicked if you are not used to speaking English on the phone and you need to have an important conversation. Communicating and listening on the telephone can be particularly challenging if the quality of the connection is poor or if the person you are talking to speaks quickly or has an accent that you are not used to hearing. It’s also normal to feel slightly thrown by a new word that you do not understand. Here are some phrases you can use if you run into difficulty.

    Difficulty hearing?


    “I’m sorry, but could you speak up a little?”
    “I didn’t quite hear that, sorry, can you say that again?”
    “I didn’t catch that last bit. Can you say it again please?”

    Difficulty understanding?


    “Could you speak more slowly, please?”
    “Could you repeat that, please?”
    “Would you mind spelling that for me, please?”
    “Could you explain that in another way, please?”
    “I’m afraid I didn’t get that”

    Wondering how to clarify spelling in English?


    See our previous article on how to spell in English about the NATO phonetic alphabet, also known as the ICAO phonetic or spelling alphabet and the ITU phonetic alphabet.

    Need to get end a conversation?


    If you are having severe problems, you might want to give up and try again later. But how do you do that without losing face and/or causing offence? Here are some ways to end a telephone conversation quickly, which also leave it open for you to have another attempt at a later point or to try communicating in writing instead.

    “I’m afraid the connection isn’t very good”
    “I’m entering a tunnel and will probably lose the signal”
    “I’m afraid the battery is about to run out on my phone so I may lose you”
    Followed by
    -“May I call you back another time/a bit later?”
    Or
    -“Could you please confirm what you just said in writing/by email?”

    The London School of English offers high quality English language training for motivated adults from all professional backgrounds. We give you the tools and skills you need to communicate successfully in your field of expertise and to expand your business and career opportunities. Call us on +46 8 5999 4000 or email us at info@londonschool.se for more information about our tailored tuition or simply take our online test to check your English level.
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  • 2016-08-12 06:27Language

    20 Olympic terms you should know

    The 2016 Summer Olympic programme features 28 sports and a total of 41 disciplines and 306 events, including the two new sports, golf and rugby sevens. Although impossible to cover the sports terminology for all these sports in one article, we’ve created a vocabulary list of 25 important phrases and words that you should know. Whether you’re glued to your screen following the games or just need some standard phrases for discussing the Olympics with international colleague or friends, we hope you find this list useful.

    1. To win a gold/sliver/bronze medal (Att vinna guld-, silver- eller bronsmedalj)
    2. To be an Olympic gold medallist ( Att vara OS guldmedaljör)
    3. To set a new Olympic record (Att sätta ett nytt olympiskt rekord)
    4. To be the Olympic record holder  (Att vara den olympiska rekordhållaren)
    5. To break the record  (Att slå rekordet)
    6. To tie for first/second/third place (Att vara delad etta/tvåa/trea)
    7. Photo finish/ neck and neck finish (Målfoto)
    8. To jump the gun/ To have a false start (Att tjuvstarta)
    9. To be disqualified for cheating (Att diskvalificeras för fusk)
    10. Athletes who are suspected of doping (Idrottare som misstänkts för dopning)
    11. To be banned  (Att vara avstängd)
    12. To qualify for the Olympics (Att kvala till OS)
    13. To win the heats/ preliminaries (Att vinna deltävlingar)
    14. Pentathlon (Femkamp)
    15. Heptathlon  (Sjukamp)
    16. Decathlon  (Tiokamp)
    17. Olympic torch  (Olympiska facklan)
    18. The opening ceremony  (Invigningsceremonin)
    19. The closing ceremony  (Avslutningsceremonin)
    20. Olympic Oath  (Olympiska eden)

    The London School of English offers high quality English language training for motivated adults from all professional backgrounds. We give you the tools and skills you need to communicate successfully in your field of expertise and to expand your business and career opportunities. Call us on +46 8 5999 4000 or email us at info@londonschool.se for more information about our tailored tuition or simply take our online test to check your English
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  • 2016-08-10 10:56Grammar, Language

    What’s the difference between “its” and “it’s” and when should they be used?

    These two words confuse a lot of people as the way they are used is an exception to the normal rule for apostrophes. Apostrophes usually indicate possession, but not in the case of the word “it’s”.

    The rule

    • “It’s” is used in 2 cases

    -as an abbreviation for “it is”.
    -as an abbreviation for “it has”

    • “Its” indicates possession i.e. something belonging to something that isn’t masculine or feminine, like “his” and “hers”. "Its" is used when you are not talking about a person.

    Examples of "it’s"

    -It’s raining outside (abbreviation for “It is”)
    -It’s really nice to meet you (abbreviation for “It is”)
    -It’s been very not recently (abbreviation for “It has”)

    Examples of “its”


    -Your office looks great with its new furniture
    -Your car works better now that its breaks have been serviced
    -The village had a lot more tourists once its restaurant opened

    The London School of English offers high quality English language training for motivated adults from all professional backgrounds. We give you the tools and skills you need to communicate successfully in your field of expertise and to expand your business and career opportunities. Call us on +46 8 5999 4000 or email us at info@londonschool.se for more information about our tailored tuition or simply take our online test to check your English level.
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  • 2016-08-09 10:38Language

    Beating the Brexit Blues


    It’s easy to succumb to the Brexit Blues when the fallout from the EU referendum shows no sign of abating. However, change brings opportunity and there are already glimmers of hope on several fronts.

    In difficult times, the importance of positive language cannot be understated. Here are some key words which can help to lift the mood when discussing Brexit or other difficult situations.

    10 positive words for discussing the way forward

    1. Optimism

    e.g. Maintaining optimism requires looking on the bright side

    2. Positivity
    e.g. Positivity is always helpful and often contagious

    3. Proactivity
    e.g. Proactivity and making things happen helps control the situation

    4. Resilience
    e.g. Resilience helps people to bounce back

    5. Confidence
    e.g. Confidence is key to a brighter future

    6. Cheer
    e.g. Spreading some cheer is crucial to moving things forward

    7. Aspiration
    e.g. Aspiration is the hope and ambition of achieving something  

    8. Action
    e.g. Actions speak louder than words

    9. Belief
    e.g. Belief and faith in one’s ability are essential to getting things done

    10. Reassurance
    e.g. Reassurance is always uplifting and welcome in times of upheaval

    Remember that these powerful words are can be applied in most challenging situations.

    The London School of English offers high quality English language training for motivated adults from all professional backgrounds. We give you the tools and skills you need to communicate successfully in your field of expertise and to expand your business and career opportunities. Call us on +46 8 5999 4000 or email us at info@londonschool.se for more information about our tailored tuition or simply take our online test to check your English level.
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  • 2016-08-03 10:35Business English, Language

    Back in the saddle or back to the salt mines?

    Back to work already after the summer holidays or perhaps your holidays are coming to an end? Re-entry to the work place is rarely easy after a fun filled break.

    How you express yourself when you get back to work will set the tone for the months to come.


    Here are some positive English expressions about getting back into work mode which you can use. We’ve also listed a few common sayings with a negative nuance which are best avoided to prevent all the energy and optimism you felt on holiday from evaporating.

    Positive expressions

    It feels good to be back in the saddle
    It’s good to get back into the swing of things
    It’s great to gear up again/ get into gear again
    I’m refreshed and ready to go again
    My batteries are completely recharged
    I’m firing on all four cylinders and ready for action

    Negative expressions

    It’s back to the salt mines
    Nose to the grindstone again
    Back to the grind

    Good luck with getting back into work mode!

    The London School of English offers high quality English language training for motivated adults from all professional backgrounds. We give you the tools and skills you need to communicate successfully in your field of expertise and to expand your business and career opportunities. Call us on +46 8 5999 4000 or email us at info@londonschool.se for more information about our tailored tuition or simply take our online test to check your English level.
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  • 2016-08-01 12:40Grammar, Language

    What’s the difference between “your” and “you’re” and when should they be used?

    Mixing up these two words in a very common problem, even among native English speakers. There is, however, a simple rule to get it right.

    The simple rule


    “Your” indicates possession, i.e. something belonging to you.
    “You’re” is short for “You are”.

    Examples of how to use “your”


    -Your CV is excellent.
    -Your offices could do with some maintenance.
    -Your colleagues are very helpful.

    How not to do it
    -Do you know when your going to be finished?
    -Your very talented.
    -Your going to meet a lot of people at the event tonight.

    Examples of how to use “you’re”

    -You’re a real asset to this team.
    -You’re bound to do well in this organisation.
    -You’re welcome.

    How not to do it
    -May I borrow one of you’re pens?
    -What does it say on you’re business card?
    -You’re offices are very modern.

    The London School of English offers high quality English language training for motivated adults from all professional backgrounds. We give you the tools and skills you need to communicate successfully in your field of expertise and to expand your business and career opportunities. Call us on +46 8 5999 4000 or email us at info@londonschool.se for more information about our tailored tuition or simply take our online test to check your English level.
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  • 2016-07-26 09:54Language

    10 new ways to say it’s hot


    Temperatures have risen and Sweden is currently basking in the sun. Summer has finally arrived! Whether you love the heat or find it a little overpowering, there are plenty of alternative ways to express how hot it is. Here are some of the most popular expressions which you can use to expand your vocabulary.

    1. It’s scorching! (Alternatively: It’s a scorcher!)

    2. It’s boiling (hot)!

    3. It’s sweltering!

    4. It’s sizzling!

    5. It’s roasting!

    6. It’s tropical!

    7. It’s hotter than blazes!

    8. It’s so hot you could fry an egg on the pavement!

    9. The sun in splitting the stones!

    10. We’re having a heatwave!

    Wising everyone a very happy summer!

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  • 2016-07-19 10:34Language, Grammar

    Fewer or Less?

    When should you use fewer and when should you use less in a sentence?

    The simple rule:


    Fewer is used for countable nouns e.g. cars, books, people
    Less is used for uncountable nouns e.g. alcohol, education, traffic

    A more detailed explanation

    Use fewer if you’re referring to people or things in the plural e.g. children, men, houses
    Examples
    Fewer than 100 children die of this deadly disease each year.
    Fewer men opt for nursing as a career than women.
    Young people are buying fewer houses as they have become so expensive.

    Use less when you’re referring to something that can’t be counted or doesn’t have a plural e.g. rain, privacy, money
    Examples
    Our holiday would have been more enjoyable with a little less rain.
    More people in this house will mean less privacy.
    This role is good experience but pays less money than other jobs.

    Exceptions to the rule

    Time, weights and distances can be counted or measured but less is also used with numbers when they are on their own or with expressions of measurement or time.
    Examples
    His weight fell from 80 kilos to less than 70 during his illness.
    The journey took less than two hours.
    Uppsala is less than 100 km from Stockholm.

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  • 2016-07-15 10:16Business English, Language

    20 ways to exit turbulent politics


    It’s been a dramatic few weeks in British politics. Not only have many politicians fallen or been pushed following the result of the Brexit referendum, the new Prime Minister has now cleaned out most of the cabinet and announced her new appointments.

    There are many ways to describe an exit from politics, from fairly neutral descriptions to more nuanced forms with connotations of failure, weakness or being outplayed.

    Fairly neutral

    1. Resigning
    2. Withdrawing
    3. Walking away
    4. Standing down/aside
    5. Handing in one’s resignation
    6. Retiring
    7. Bowing out
    8. Relinquishing power

    Negative connotation – suggestion of weakness/failure

    9. Getting fired
    10. Throwing in the towel
    11. Giving up
    12. Quitting
    13. Capitulating
    14. Abandoning ship
    15. Bailing out
    16. Dropping out
    17. Pulling out

    Also negative connotation - being pushed, hijacked or outplayed

    18. Getting knifed /stabbed in the back
    19. Falling on your own sword
    20. Being out-manoeuvred

    If you need help formulating your organisation’s response to Britain’s withdrawal from the EU and how you may be affected, please do not hesitate to contact us.

    The London School of English offers high quality English language training for motivated adults from all professional backgrounds. We give you the tools and skills you need to communicate successfully in your field of expertise and to expand your business and career opportunities. Call us on +46 8 5999 4000 or email us at info@londonschool.se for more information about our tailored tuition or simply take our online test to check your English level.
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  • 2016-07-14 11:47Culture, Language, How to series

    Neutralising Boris Johnson

    As you are no doubt aware, there has been quite a lot of political turbulence since the Brexit referendum and the UK now has a new PM with a new cabinet of ministers. As with most politicians, many of the new ministers are relatively unknown outside their own country, but few observers can have missed the former Mayor of London and leading Brexit campaigner Boris Johnson, who has now been appointed to the post of Foreign Secretary.

    Few currently active UK politicians divide opinion as much as Johnson, and most opinion articles are negative or positive in tone. In the interest of balance, here are some useful adjectives that are descriptive but more neutral - perhaps not great for clickability, but infinitely better in terms of diplomacy.

    Loquacious
    Verbose
    Provocative
    Contentious
    Controvsersial


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  • 2016-06-30 08:33Culture, News, Language

    Anyone for tennis?


    Wimbledon starts this week and continues through to July 10th. You can follow this wonderful and quintessentially British event at http://www.wimbledon.com/

    What to wear

    Whites only please, if you’re playing. Off court, a sun hat is recommended – games are long and exciting and you won’t want to leave. Alternatively, rain wear, depending on the day.

    What to eat

    Afternoon tea has always been a tradition at Wimbledon. Hot tea, scones, clotted cream, and strawberry jam are essentials. Other Wimbledon classics include finger sandwiches and of course, strawberries and cream

    What to drink

    Champagne is never wrong at Wimbledon. When spectators aren't popping bottles, they're drinking Pimm's Cup, a gin-based cocktail with ginger ale, cucumbers, and a sprig of mint. If you want to stay
    completely alert, try tea, hot or iced.

    What to say

    Good shot!

    Bad luck!

    Game, set and match

    How to keep the score

    Scores are called as follows:

    15 , 0 (fifteen love)

    30, 30 (thirty all)

    40, 40 (deuce)

    40 +, 40 (advantage)


    Enjoy the championships!

    The London School of English offers high quality English language training for motivated adults from all professional backgrounds. We give you the tools and skills you need to communicate successfully in your field of expertise and to expand your business and career opportunities. Call us on +46 8 5999 4000 or email us at info@londonschool.se for more information about our tailored tuition or simply take our online test to check your English level.
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  • 2016-06-29 07:42News, Language

    Discussing the fall out of Brexit

    Many are dismayed and bewildered following the result of the Brexit referendum last week. As the dust settles, new discussions begin and will continue for some time to come. We’ve put together some phrases which we hope you find helpful if when your input on this subject is required.


    Describing the event

    Ground breaking situation

    Currently in uncharted territory

    Earth shattering news

    A line has been crossed

    A point of no return has been reached

    Describing chaos

    Frenzy

    Havoc

    Uncertainty

    Turbulence

    Commotion

    Describing upset

    Anger and fury

    Uproar

    Recriminations

    Indignation

    Acrimony

    Moving forward

    Absorbing the seismic implications

    Trying to contain and dampen hysterical reactions

    Assessing the future

    Attempting to predict the political consequences

    Reaching reconciliation and healing divisions


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  • 2016-06-22 12:14Business English, Language

    Winners, losers and making a comeback

    Brexit and football are dominating the news and media this week. One thing they have in common is that in any referendum or competition, there is always a winning and losing side.

    There are many different ways of expressing victory and defeat, whether a decisive outcome or a result with the narrowest of margins. A lot of these expressions are derived from sports but are also used in business, politics and wider contexts. We hope you find the following collection helpful.

    Victory
    A (big/colossal/decisive) win
    A successful outcome
    A landslide victory
    A triumph
    A (complete) conquest
    A success
    A positive outcome
    A clean sweep
    To gain the upper hand
    To sweep the board
    Sports related
    -A home run
    -Grand slam
    -Hole in one
    -Bull’s eye
    -To romp home
    -Winning side
    -Walkover
    -Game, set and match


    A narrow win

    A close call
    A narrow escape
    By the narrowest of margins
    To win by a hair’s breadth
    Sports related
    A photo finish
    Neck and neck

    A surprising or lucky outcome
    A fluke
    A surprising turn of events
    To get lucky
    A godsend

    To make a comeback

    To rally
    To recover
    To rebound
    To gain new momentum
    A resurgence of energy
    A turnaround
    To show clear signs of improvement

    Defeat
    A (big/humiliating/embarrassing) defeat
    A (big/huge) loss
    Trounced
    Whipped
    Licked
    Punished (at the ballot box)
    Sports related
    -To strike out

    A narrow defeat

    Sports related
    Pipped at the post

    May the best sides win!


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  • 2016-06-14 09:10Grammar, Language

    What’s the difference between of and off and when should they be used?

    The short answer

    Of shows connection
    E.g. The provinces of Sweden

    Off shows disconnection
    E.g. Turn the heating off

    A longer answer

    Of
    The word ‘of’ is most commonly used as a preposition that denotes various relations described in the sentence:

    -A point of reckoning
    E.g. North of the border

    -What something is made of or contains
    E.g.  A cup of tea; Doors of steel

    -To describe possession
    E.g.  The king of Sweden

    Off
    ‘Off’ is also a very common word with a large number of functions, but it is most frequently used as an adverb or a preposition.

    -As an adverb, it is usually used to describe a state of discontinuance or suspension

    Examples
    Turn off the light.
    The dishwasher is switched off
    He took off without a word

    -As a preposition, it is used to indicate physical separation or distance

    Examples
    Take it off the shelf
    The glass fell off the table
    The shopping centre is just off the bend ahead
    The boat sank 3 miles off the coast

    The London School of English offers high quality English language training for motivated adults from all professional backgrounds. We give you the tools and skills you need to communicate successfully in your field of expertise and to expand your business and career opportunities. Call us on +46 8 5999 4000 or email us at info@londonschool.se for more information about our tailored tuition or simply take our online test to check your English level.
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  • 2016-06-11 12:54Business English, Language

    5 football metaphors used in business

    To help mark the start of UEFA Euro 2016 today we would like to share some soccer metaphors which are frequently used in business.

    1. Kick off
    Football meaning: The start of the match.
    Business meaning: The start of any event.
    E.g. what time does the conference kick off?

    2. Moving the goal posts
    Football meaning: Hopefully this never physically happens but it can mean for example that rules are changed after a tournament starts.
    Business meaning: Criteria are changed after a goal has been set.
    E.g. it was unfair to move the goal posts on the bonus system.

    3. Level playing field

    Football meaning: It’s difficult to play a match if a pitch slopes or is tilted in one direction.
    Business meaning: If a person or group has an advantage over others from the start, it’s not a level playing field.
    E.g. we extended the length of the application period to ensure a level playing field.

    4. Shown the red card

    Football meaning: A referee sends a player off the field by showing him the red card.
    Business meaning: To be excluded from an event or activity or even fired.
    E.g. Peter was shown the red card after behaving inappropriately at the office party.

    5. Own goal
    Football meaning: A goal scored by a member of a team against his/her own team.
    Business meaning: Self-inflicted damage to a person or to his/her organisation
    E.g. He scored an own goal by presenting so badly.

    We wish England, Ireland, Northern Ireland, Sweden and Wales the very best of luck in the European championship! So many teams to cheer for……..good odds!

    The London School of English offers high quality English language training for motivated adults from all professional backgrounds. We give you the tools and skills you need to communicate successfully in your field of expertise and to expand your business and career opportunities. Call us on +46 8 5999 4000 or email us at info@londonschool.se for more information about our tailored tuition or simply take our online test to check your English level.
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  • 2016-06-08 10:34Language

    Brexit – weighing up the arguments in English


    Our third article on Brexit focuses on vocabulary you will need to discuss the advantages and disadvantages of a withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union as well as useful vocabulary for distinguishing between fact and fallacy.

    Comparing advantages and disadvantages

    Positive side vs negative side
    Plus side vs minus side
    Pros vs cons
    Benefits vs losses
    Better vs worse
    Better off vs worse off
    Stonger vs weaker
    Net contributor vs net beneficiary

    Separating facts and fallacy

    Certainty vs risk (also certain Vs uncertain)
    Rational vs irrational
    Viable vs inviable
    Sustainable vs unsustainable
    Clarity vs ambiguity (to be clear vs to be ambiguous)
    Predictable vs unpredictable
    Voice of reason vs voice of madness

    Don’t miss our previous articles on Brexit

    1. How to talk Brexit – 10 Rs that you should learn
    2. How to weigh in on the Brexit debate

    The London School of English offers high quality English language training for motivated adults from all professional backgrounds. We give you the tools and skills you need to communicate successfully in your field of expertise and to expand your business and career opportunities. Call us on +46 8 5999 4000 or email us at info@londonschool.se for more information about our tailored tuition or simply take our online test to check your English level.
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  • 2016-06-02 10:21Language, Culture

    10 running terms to learn for the Stockholm marathon


    Are you running or supporting the Stockholm marathon on Saturday? Why not give your mind a workout too by familiarising yourself with some running terms in English.

    1. Novice

    Someone who is new to the sport of running metric mile -1500m, the international racing distance closest to the imperial mile.

    2. Hamstring
    The muscles found just above your knees.

    3. Cushioning (or shock absorption)
    The ability of a shoe to absorb the impact of foot strike.

    4. Mile
    1609 meters, 5280 feet, or 1760 yards. Note: 1600m is not a mile.

    5. Metric mile
    A metric mile is 1500m, the international racing distance closest to the imperial mile.

    6. Dehydration
    Loss of water in the body.

    7. Hitting the wall
    The dreaded point (and awful feeling similar to what your body would feel like if you ran into a wall) during a race when your muscle glycogen stores become depleted and a feeling of fatigue engulfs you.

    8. Splits
    Refers to your times at mile markers or other pre-planned checkpoints along the way to the finish line.

    9. Lactic acid
    A substance which forms in the muscles as a result of the incomplete breakdown of glucose. Lactic acid is associated with muscle fatigue and sore muscles.

    10. Cool-down
    Slow running or jogging done after a workout or competition to loosen muscles and rid the body of lactic acid.

    Good luck!


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  • 2016-05-31 14:15Language, Grammar

    What's the difference between "who's" and "whose"?

    The reason why this is so confusing is that an apostrophe usually indicates possession. However, in the case of “who’s”, it is a contraction.

    Who’s is a contraction of “who is” or, alternatively, “who has”

    Example 1.  Who’s coming to the cinema tonight?
    Example 2. Who’s forgotten to switch the light off?
    Example 3. Who’s this?
    Example 4: Who’s already been to this restaurant?

    Whose is the possessive of “who”
    Example 1. Whose scarf is this?
    Example 2:  Do you know whose book this is?
    Example 3: Whose side are you on?
    Example 4. The man whose car crashed made a full recovery.

    A simple rule to follow
    If you can replace the word with who is or who has, use who’s. If not, use whose.

    The London School of English offers high quality English language training for motivated adults from all professional backgrounds. We give you the tools and skills you need to communicate successfully in your field of expertise and to expand your business and career opportunities. Call us on +46 8 5999 4000 or email us at info@londonschool.se for more information about our tailored tuition or simply take our online test to check your English level.
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  • 2016-05-26 12:43Culture, Language, How to series, Business English

    How to weigh in on the Brexit debate


    There is no escaping the subject of Brexit
    It’s the second time the British electorate has been asked to vote on the issue of European Union membership: the first was held in 1975, when it was known as the EEC. Membership was approved in that referendum by 67% of voters. On 23rd June, it’s up to the British voters again to decide their relationship with Europe.

    Taking sides in English

    Discussing politics in another language is usually a lot harder than other subjects. Whatever your opinion, it’s important that you can express it clearly. The easiest way of doing this is to take the lead from what has already been said and to agree or disagree with this. There are numerous different ways of doing this and this article outlines some ways of weighing in and sounding good in the process.


    1. In favour of vs Against
    E.g. I am in favour of Brexit/ I am against Brexit

    2. Pro vs Anti
    E.g. I am pro- EU/ I am anti-EU

    3. Supporters vs Opponents
    E.g. I am a staunch supporter of Brexit/ I am a staunch opponent of Brexit. Alternatively, I support/oppose Brexit

    4. To Welcome vs To find unacceptable
    E.g. I welcome the proposed terms/ I find the current terms unacceptable

    5. Accept vs Reject
    E.g. I  accept the idea of a unified Europe/ I reject the idea of a unified Europe

    6. Agree vs Disagree
    E.g. I agree with most of what you said but…../ I completely disagree with you because…..

    7. Praise vs Criticise
    E.g. I praise the new initiatives/ I am very critical of the new initiatives

    8. Applaud vs Condemn
    E.g. I applaud David Cameron’s stance on Europe/ I condemn his stance on Europe

    9. Celebrate vs Denounce
    E.g. I think the new proposals should be celebrated/denounced

    10. Allies vs Detractors
    E.g. Allies of Brexit would agree with that /EU detractors would slam those proposals

    Check out our previous article: How to talk Brexit – 10 Rs that you should learn

    The London School of English offers high quality English language training for motivated adults from all professional backgrounds. We give you the tools and skills you need to communicate successfully in your field of expertise and to expand your business and career opportunities. Call us on +46 8 5999 4000 or email us at info@londonschool.se for more information about our tailored tuition or simply take our online test to check your English level.
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  • 2016-05-18 13:48How to series, Language, Business English

    How to talk Brexit – 10 Rs that you should learn

    Where does the word come from?
    Brexit is an abbreviation of "British exit" and mirrors the term Grexit ("Greek exit"). It refers to the possibility of Britain's withdrawal from the European Union, currently a hotly debated topic in both the UK and the rest of Europe.

    10 R’s that will get you through any discussion in English on Brexit
    Brexit is a complex subject which we plan to address in a series or articles. First up is an easy glossary list that should help you participate in any discussion or debate that you happen to get involved in.

    1. Renegotiation ( e.g. Renegotiating terms)
    2. Referendum (e.g. A referendum has been promised)
    3. Redefining ( e.g. Redefining Britain’s relationship with Europe)
    4. Relationship (e.g. Relationship with other European countries)
    5. Reform (e.g. Reform of legal rights)
    6. Realism/Reality /Realistic (e.g. How realistic is Brexit?)
    7. Risk (e.g. Leaving the European Union is not without risk)
    8. Retention (e.g. Retaining/retention of national sovereignty.)
    9. Rights (e.g. What rights would be lost?)
    10. Repercussions (e.g. What would be the repercussions of Brexit?)

    Bonus points for alliteration
    An added benefit to learning these 10 R’s is that they also combine well, which will give you additional style points for alliteration.

    E.g. A referedum raises the issues of reform and redefining and renegotiating Britain’s relationship with the rest of Europe. It also raises the questions of rights, risks and repercussions.

    The London School of English offers high quality English language training for motivated adults from all professional backgrounds. We give you the tools and skills you need to communicate successfully in your field of expertise and to expand your business and career opportunities. Call us on +46 8 5999 4000 or email us at info@londonschool.se for more information about our tailored tuition or simply take our online test to check your English level.
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  • 2016-05-12 13:24Language, Business English

    8 double-edged words you should avoid on your CV


    Most words have more than one meaning. When it comes work situations, you need to choose your words carefully, especially when you are presenting yourself for the first time.

    Certain attributes and characteristics may be celebrated and popular in films and in the media but are actually rather risky choices when it comes to CVs and interviews. You may think that the word "go-getter", for example, conjures up a positive image. However, this word could easily be interpreted as aggressive by those screening your CV and an undesirable characteristic in a potential new colleague. Here's a list of 8 other risky words which are best avoided in job applications.

    1. Single minded

    Can be interpreted as overly focused.

    2. Strong willed

    The risk posed by this word is that it can interpreted as the opposite of the ever-popular Swedish characteristic “lyhörd” (responsive).

    3. Relentless
    Risks being interpreted in the same negative ways as numbers 1 and 2 above. Also risks being  viewed as someone who is overly-determined, uncompromising and difficult to work with.

    4. Meticulous
    Can be interpreted as someone who is overly fussy and too focused on detail.

    5. Guru
    These adjectives are very subjective and could easily be interpreted as boasting. It's also better to describe your accomplishments in detail than to use sweeping terms of self-praise.

    6. Unconventional

    Although this word usually implies brilliance in lead characters in movies, in a work situation it can be interpreted negatively as someone who is a risk taker or who plays by their own rules.

    7. Assertive

    This characteristic can be interpreted as an aggressive person; unfortunately this is particularly true when used in relation to women.

    8. Extrovert
    This attribute can be viewed as someone who is overbearing or just too much.

    Need help with writing or editing your CV in English?

    Please do not hesitate to contact us.

    The London School of English offers high quality English language training for motivated adults from all professional backgrounds. We give you the tools and skills you need to communicate successfully in your field of expertise and to expand your business and career opportunities. Call us on +46 8 5999 4000 or email us at info@londonschool.se for more information about our tailored tuition or simply take our online test to check your English level.

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  • 2016-04-29 12:02Language, Culture

    This weekend in the UK – Morris Dancing, Maypoles and May Queens

    Forget Valborg
    If you’re in the UK over the weekend, forget about Valborg (or Walpurgis Night). This weekend is all about May Day and the Early May Bank Holiday.

    Holiday season has begun
    It’s usually very hard to compete with Sweden for public holidays in May but this year the UK compares well with its two May bank holiday weekends (public holidays). The next one is the Spring Bank Holiday on Monday 30th May. (Bank holidays are usually on Mondays in the UK, regardless of the date of the occasion they are celebrating)

    How is May Day celebrated?
    May Day (May 1st)  has been a traditional day of festivities throughout the centuries. The day is most associated with towns and villages celebrating springtime fertility (of the soil, livestock, and people). There are usually plenty of  village fêtes, celebrations and community gatherings.

    What you can expect to see
    Traditional English May Day rites and celebrations include Morris dancing and crowning a May Queen.  Perhaps the most significant of the traditions is the maypole, around which traditional dancers circle with ribbons – Probably the closest thing Britain has to Sweden’s mid-summer celebrations!

    Happy May Day from us all at the London School of English!

    The London School of English offers high quality English language training for motivated adults from all professional backgrounds. We give you the tools and skills you need to communicate successfully in your field of expertise and to expand your business and career opportunities. Call us on +46 8 5999 4000 or email us at info@londonschool.se for more information about our tailored tuition or simply take our online test to check your English level.

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  • 2016-04-28 09:47Language, Culture

    Valborgsmässoafton - named after a British saint.


    Ironically, even though the night is named after a British Saint and is celebrated all over Europe, it’s not widely known or celebrated in the UK.  

    Where does the name come from?
    Walpurgis Night (Valborgsmässoafton) is the English translation of Walpurgisnacht, one of the Dutch and German names for the night of 30th April, so called because it is the eve of the feast day of Saint Walpurga.

    Who was St. Walpurga?
    Walpurga or Walburga (Old English: Wealdburg) was an 8th-century English missionary to the Frankish Empire, which included large parts of modern day Germany and France. She was born in Devon in the UK in 710 AD and moved to Francia to assist Saint Boniface, her mother's brother, in evangelizing among Germans. Walpurga became a nun in the double monastery of Heidenheim am Hahnenkamm, later became the abbess (head person) and died in Bavaria aged 69. She was canonized on 1 May ca. 870 by Pope Adrian II. Walpurgis Night is the name for the eve of her day, which coincides with May Day.

    Has she any special powers?
    St. Walpurga is invoked as special patroness against hydrophobia, and in storms, and also by sailors.  In simpler terms, this means that it’s supposed to be a good idea to pray to her if you get caught in a storm at sea or suffer from an irrational fear of water.

    Witches night
    The night is also called Hexennacht in German or heksennach in Dutch, literally "Witches' Night". As with most European traditions, Walpurgis Night has roots in ancient pagan customs and festivals. Most festivals on 30th April celebrate fire and the coming of the spring, as well as warding off evil spirits.

    How to explain Valborgsmässoafton to a Brit

    As most British people have never heard of Walpurgis Night let alone Valborgsmässoafton, the best way to describe the occasion is ‘a bit like bonfire night in Britain but without a guy on top of the bonfire and fewer fireworks’.

    Congratulations!
    If you manage to remember the name “Walpurgis Night”, you’ve one up on the average British person.

    Happy Walpurgis Night from us all at the London School of English!

    The London School of English offers high quality English language training for motivated adults from all professional backgrounds. We give you the tools and skills you need to communicate successfully in your field of expertise and to expand your business and career opportunities. Call us on +46 8 5999 4000 or email us at info@londonschool.se for more information about our tailored tuition or simply take our online test to check your English level.
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  • 2016-04-26 08:38Culture, Business English, Language

    Advise or advice?

    What's the difference between advise and advice?

    Quite a big difference actually, as one is a verb and the other is a noun. Both words sound and are spelled very similarly, which is the reason that many native English speakers also confuse them. Take our quick quiz to test your English and see if you can make the important distinction between 'advise' and 'advice'.

    Take our quick quiz


    1. The doctor did not________me of the  possible side effects of the medication.
    2. The company's legal representative would like to offer you some ________.
    3. The travel agent ________them not to travel to Brussels.  
    4. Following a number of break-ins, the police sent a letter to all home owners  __________them to be vigilant.
    5. What sort of ________ would you offer to your friend in this situation?
    6. The bank issued a debit _______after he withdrew the money.

    Answers

    1. advise
    2. advice
    3. advised
    4. advising
    5. advice
    6. advice

    The London School of English offers high quality English language training for motivated adults from all professional backgrounds. We give you the tools and skills you need to communicate successfully in your field of expertise and to expand your business and career opportunities. Call us on +46 8 5999 4000 or email us at info@londonschool.se for more information about our tailored tuition or simply take our online test to check your English level.
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  • 2016-04-19 13:36Language, Culture

    Is your English good enough to follow Shakespeare?

    Test yourself with Shakespeare Solos
    To mark the 400th anniversary of the playwright's death, the Guardian newspaper has brought together a line of outstanding actors who each perform a key speech from one of Shakespeare's plays. Eileen Atkins, Adrian Lester and Joanna Lumley are among the stars involved in this innovative project, which includes some of Shakespeare's most famous soliloquies.

    Two sets of films - A superb crash course in Shakespeare
    Not only do these short films offer wonderful acting, they also provide the opportunity to follow some of the greatest English dialogue of all time at your own pace, using video controls, as well as a wonderful overview of Shakespearean plays.  

    You can watch the first set of six films here

    Hamlet
    ‘To be or not to be’
    Romeo and Juliet
    ‘The mask of night is on my face’
    King Lear
    ‘Blow, winds, and crack your cheeks’
    Othello
    ‘I do think it is their husbands’ faults’
    Richard III
    ‘Now is the winter of our discontent’
    A Midsummer Night’s Dream
    ‘These are the forgeries of jealousy’

    The second set of films is available here
    Twelfth Night
    ‘I left no ring with her’
    The Tempest
    ‘Our revels now are ended’
    Macbeth
    ‘Is this a dagger which I see before me?’
    Henry V
    ‘Upon the king’
    All’s Well That Ends Well
    ‘Are you meditating on virginity?’
    King John
    ‘Thou art not holy’

    Happy viewing!

    More on Shakespeare
    You may also be interested in reading the following articles on our blog.
    Shakespeare for business: 10 quotes every business leader should read
    Shakespeare on Friendship
    Shakespeare As you Like It - In Stockholm, Uppsala or even London

    The London School of English offers high quality English language training for motivated adults from all professional backgrounds. We give you the tools and skills you need to communicate successfully in your field of expertise and to expand your business and career opportunities. Call us on +46 8 5999 4000or email us at info@londonschool.se for more information about our tailored tuition or simply take our online test to check your English level.
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  • 2016-04-13 10:16Courses, Business English, Language

    Shakespeare for business: 10 quotes every business leader should read

    As part of our celebration of Shakespeare's 400 year anniversary on April 23rd, we've gathered some of the great bard's timeless wisdom and insight into human nature, as relevant in today's business world as ever before.

    1. Resilience
    “Wise men ne’er sit and wail their loss, but cheerily seek how to redress their harms.”
       — Henry VI. Act v. Sc. iv.

    2. Self-confidence
    “Our doubts are traitors and cause us to miss the good we oft might win, by fearing to attempt.”
    —Measure for Measure, Act I  scene iv.

    3. Authenticity
    “This above all, to thine own self be true, and it must follow as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man.”
       —Hamlet, Act I , sc iii

    4. Insight
    The fool doth think he is wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool.
         — As You Like It, Act V, sc. i

    5. Honesty
    No legacy is so rich as honesty.
         — All's Well that Ends Well, Act III, sc. v

    6. Money management
    Neither a borrower nor a lender be;
    For loan oft loses both itself and friend,
    And borrowing dulls the edge of husbandry.
         — Hamlet, Act I, sc. iii

    7.  Time off
    If all the year were playing holidays,
    To sport would be as tedious as to work.
         — Henry IV, Part 1, Act I, sc. ii

    8. The danger of making excuses
    And oftentimes excusing of a fault
    Doth make the fault the worse by the excuse.
         — King John, Act IV, sc. ii

    9.  Moving forward
    What's done cannot be undone.
         — Macbeth, Act V, sc. i

    10. Making  choices
    There's small choice in rotten apples.
         — The Taming of the Shrew, Act I, sc. i

    You might also be interested in reading Shakespeare As you Like It - In Stockholm, Uppsala or even London or Shakespeare on Friendship.

    The London School of English offers high quality English language training for motivated adults from all professional backgrounds. We give you the tools and skills you need to communicate successfully in your field of expertise and to expand your business and career opportunities. Call us on +46 8 5999 4000or email us at info@londonschool.se for more information about our tailored tuition or simply take our online test to check your English level.
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  • 2016-04-11 10:16Language, Culture

    Spring is in the air - Test your English gardening vocabulary


    Have you joined the rush to spruce up your garden or balcony for the season? For those without a garden (and also less motivated owners who want to escape gardening duty) there’s a stampede to the nearest park or green area to enjoy nature as the first buds and spring flowers start to appear.

    Whether you’re working in your garden or happily watching someone else get on with the work in a park, you’ll proably come across the following gardening equipment. See how many items you know in English before turning to the translations provided below.

    In English
    1. a pair of secateurs
    2. a rake
    3. patio furniture /garden furniture
    4. a wheelbarrow
    5. a lawn mower
    6. a spade
    7. a pitch fork
    8. a pair of clippers
    9. a hoe
    10. a hose
    11. flower pots/ planting pots
    12. a watering can
    13. seeds
    14. a shed
    15. grass
    16. weeds
    17. leaves
    18. weed killer
    19. a trowel
    20. compost

    In Swedish
    1. en sekatör
    2. en kratta
    3. utemöbler / trädgårdsmöbler
    4. en skottkärra
    5. en gräsklippare
    6. en spade
    7. en pitch gaffel
    8. en häcksax
    9. en hacka
    10. en slang
    11. blomkrukor / planteringskrukor
    12. en vattenkanna
    13. frön
    14. ett skjul
    15. gräs
    16. ogräs
    17. blad
    18. ogräsmedel
    19. en planteringsspade
    20. kompost

    Tips for garden lovers
    Don’t miss the Chelsea Flower Show, Britain’s most famous gardening event held on the 24th – 28th May this year. Even if you can’t make it over to London, you can see some of the fabulous show gardens online. Much closer to home and also well worth a visit is the four day garden fair Nordiska Trädgårder, which opens on 21st April at Älvsjö in Stockholm.

    The London School of English offers high quality English language training for motivated adults from all professional backgrounds. We give you the tools and skills you need to communicate successfully in your field of expertise and to expand your business and career opportunities. Call us on +46 8 5999 4000or email us at info@londonschool.se for more information about our tailored tuition or simply take our online test to check your English level.
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  • 2016-04-06 10:08Culture, Language

    Shakespeare As you Like It - In Stockholm, Uppsala or even London


    2016 is the 400th year anniversary of the death of William Shakespeare – playwright, poet, actor, and arguably the greatest writer the English language has ever known. Theatre companies all over the world are gearing up to celebrate the occasion with performances of his work, with a focus on April 23rd, the date of Shakespeare's death.

    Why not take the opportunity to see Shakespeare played live at some of the many venues in Sweden this year, or ever further afield in London or Stratford-upon-Avon, Shakespeare's birthplace and the home of the Royal Shakespeare Company.

    Stockholm

    SEST -Stockholm English Speaking Theatre: The programme features a performance of Macbeth and some of Shakespeare’s most fascinating female characters take the stage in the performance Angry Shrews and Merry Wives.  Playing in the historical venue of Musikvalvet Baggen, the celebrations kick off on Friday the 22nd of April and run for two days.  See www.sestcompany.com


    Uppsala

    Uppsala stadsteater: Marie Göranzon stars in a production of King Lear in Swedish, which opened in January to great critical acclaim and has its final performance on April 23rd. Tickets are still available for seven performances. See www.uppsalastadsteater.se

    Other Shakespeare productions in Sweden

    A full list of Shakespeare productions to be held throughout Sweden in April May and June this year is available here.

    London

    The Globe Theatre is a unique international resource dedicated to the exploration of Shakespeare's work and the playhouse for which he wrote. This theatre is running an extraordinary collection of special events and performances marking  Shakespeare's 400th anniversary, which is worthy of a trip to London alone. See www.shakespearesglobe.com for full details.

    Stratford-upon-Avon

    Shakespeare’s hometown will host daylong celebrations on Saturday April 23rd, with events including live music, stage fighting workshops and a Blood, Guts and Gore demonstration (which shows how fake scars and bruises are created) all building up to a grand firework finale. You can also see the Royal Shakespeare Company's  full program of events here.

    To mark Shakespeare's anniversary, we will have a special focus on his works over the next few weeks in our social media channels. Don't forget to follow us on Facebook or LinkedIn to keep updated.

    The London School of English offers high quality English language training for motivated adults from all professional backgrounds. We give you the tools and skills you need to communicate successfully in your field of expertise and to expand your business and career opportunities. Call us on +46 8 5999 4000or email us at info@londonschool.se for more information about our tailored tuition or simply take our online test to check your English level.
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  • 2016-04-05 10:32Language, Culture

    Shakespeare on Friendship

    In honour of Shakespeare's 400 year anniversary on April 23rd, we've gathered some of the great bard's timeless wisdom and insight into friendship, as relevant in today's relationships as ever before.

    "Be to yourself as you would to your friend"
    -King Henry VIII

    "I count myself in nothing else so happy as in a soul remembering my good friends"
    -Richard II

    "I am wealthy in my friends"
    -Timon of Athens

    "A friend should bear his friend's infirmities"
    -Julius Caesar

    "Words are easy, like the wind; Faithful friends are hard to find"
    ―  The Passionate Pilgrim

    You might also be interested in reading Shakespeare As you Like It - In Stockholm, Uppsala or even London or 10 Shakespeare quotes every business leader should read.

    The London School of English offers high quality English language training for motivated adults from all professional backgrounds. We give you the tools and skills you need to communicate successfully in your field of expertise and to expand your business and career opportunities. Call us on +46 8 5999 4000or email us at info@londonschool.se for more information about our tailored tuition or simply take our online test to check your English level.
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  • 2016-04-01 09:30Language, Culture

    5 Charming Words for Fools & Idiots

    We all know the straightforward and downright crude words for fools and idiots. But language skills are required for creative put-down material that doesn’t resort to profanity. In honour of April Fool's Day, we’ve listed our top 5 alternative words for fools and idiots.

    1. Nicompoop

    Meaning: “not of sound mind” from Latin “non compos mentis".
    More information: http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/nincompoop

    2. Ninny

    Meaning: A foolish and weak person
    More information: http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/ninny

    3. Nitwit

    Meaning: a silly or foolish person
    More information http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/nitwit

    4. Blatherskite

    Meaning: A person who talks at great length without making much sense.
    More information: http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/blatherskite

    5. Lummox

    Meaning: A clumsy stupid person
    More information: http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/lummox

    Happy April Fool's Day


    The London School of English offers high quality English language training for motivated adults from all professional backgrounds. We give you the tools and skills you need to communicate successfully in your field of expertise and to expand your business and career opportunities. Call us on +46 8 5999 4000or email us at info@londonschool.se for more information about our tailored tuition or simply take our online test to check your English level.
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  • 2016-03-25 08:25Language, Culture

    A Taste of British Easter


    Delectable and doable traditional Easter food - we’ve comprised our favourite recipes from some of Britain's best known chefs. Why not try something different this year or try a second Easter lunch on Easter Sunday, the day on which British families celebrate?

    For starters
    Jamie Oliver's Spring Pie

    For the main course
    Gordon Ramsay's Leg of Lamb

    For dessert
    Nigella Lawson's Easter Egg Nest Cake

    And perhaps some fika for a little later on
    Mary Berry's Easter Simnel Cake

    Don't forget to check out our guide to A very British Easter

    Wishing everyone a very Happy Easter


    The London School of English offers high quality English language training for motivated adults from all professional backgrounds. We give you the tools and skills you need to communicate successfully in your field of expertise and to expand your business and career opportunities. Call us on +46 8 5999 4000or email us at info@londonschool.se for more information about our tailored tuition or simply take our online test to check your English level.
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  • 2016-03-22 09:37Language, Business English

    20 tax terms in English you should know


    It's that time of the year again. If you have electronic identification (eID) you can complete your Swedish tax returns online from today, 22nd March.

    We’ve tried to make tax terminology a little less taxing by putting together a list of common terms that you should know in case you need to discuss the subject, or even to files tax returns in English some day. We hope you find the list helpful.

    1. Skatteverket: HM Revenue and Customs (formerly called Inland Revenue) – UK. IRS (Internal Revenue Service ) – USA.
    2. Att deklarera: To complete/submit/file tax returns
    3. Skattskyldig: Liable to tax
    4. Skattesatser: Tax rates
    5. Skatteavdrag: Tax deduction
    6. Avdragsgilla: Deductible
    7. Källbeskattning: Deduction at source
    8. Skattebefrielse: Tax exemption
    9. Skattesmitningen: Tax evasion
    10. Skattebedrägeri: Tax fraud
    11. Skattekryphål: Tax loophole
    12. Skatteparadis: Tax haven
    13. Förmåner: Benefits
    14. Moms: VAT (Value Added Tax)
    15. Bolagsskatt: Corporation tax
    16. Skattefrågor: Tax issues
    17. Skatteåterbäring: Tax refund
    18. Skatterabatt: Tax rebate
    19. Skattebördan: Tax burden
    20. Svartarbete: The black economy

    Good luck with your tax returns!

    The London School of English offers high quality English language training for motivated adults from all professional backgrounds. We give you the tools and skills you need to communicate successfully in your field of expertise and to expand your business and career opportunities. Call us on +46 8 5999 4000or email us at info@londonschool.se for more information about our tailored tuition or simply take our online test to check your English level.
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  • 2016-03-18 09:03How to series, Language

    Nice ways to say you’re broke


    Telling people that you’ve no money can be a little embarassing. Here are some alternative phrases that should come in handy if you have to explain your situation or turn down an invitation  for financial reasons.

    1. I’m running a little low on funds
    2. I’m feeling the pinch at the moment
    3. I’m temporarily in the red
    4. I’m nearly running on empty
    5. My resources are a little depleted
    6. My bank balance is little bit strained
    7. My finances are a little strained at the moment
    8. I’m a little cleaned out at the moment

    English language tip for talking about money
    A typical Swedish mistake is to use the word “economy” instead of “finances”. The word “economy” in English is used to describe finances on a national or international scale. “Finances” is the word used to describe an individual’s financial situation. Example: Rather than translating directly from Swedish and saying “I have a good economy”, say “I am in a good position financially” or “I am comfortable financially”. Alternatively, you could say "I am not in a good position financicially" or "I am not very comfortable financially".  

    The London School of English offers high quality English language training for motivated adults from all professional backgrounds. We give you the tools and skills you need to communicate successfully in your field of expertise and to expand your business and career opportunities. Call us on +46 8 5999 4000or email us at info@londonschool.se for more information about our tailored tuition or simply take our online test to check your English level.
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  • 2016-03-14 11:41Language

    What's the difference between an English and American billion?

    In British English, a billion used to be equivalent to a million million (i.e. 1,000,000,000,000), while in American English it has always equated to a thousand million (i.e. 1,000,000,000). British English has now adopted the American figure, though, so that a billion equals a thousand million in both varieties of English.

    What about a trillion?
    The same sort of change has taken place with the meaning of trillion. In British English, a trillion used to mean a million million million (i.e. 1,000,000,000,000,000,000). Nowadays, it's generally held to be
    equivalent to a million million (1,000,000,000,000), as it is in American English.

    And a quadrillion?
    The same evolution can be seen with quadrillion and quintillion. In British English, a quadrillion used to mean a thousand raised to the power of eight, and is now understood to be a thousand raised to the power of five.

    How much is a zillion?

    Other terms follow the same linguistic pattern (ending with -illion) but do not refer to precise numbers. These include jillion, zillion, squillion, gazillion, kazillion, bajillion, and bazillion. All of these words are used informally to refer to an extremely or indefinitely large number. (Source: Oxford English Dictionary)

    Warning for Swedes
    A classic mistake made by many Swedes and other Europeans writing English is the incorrect use of decimal points and commas when writing figures. A comma denotes thousands in English, NOT the decimal mark. Ten thousand is therefore written as 10,000. in English, not 10.000, as Swedes usually write.

    The London School of English offers high quality English language training for motivated adults from all professional backgrounds. We give you the tools and skills you need to communicate successfully in your field of expertise and to expand your business and career opportunities. Call us on +46 8 5999 4000or email us at info@londonschool.se for more information about our tailored tuition or simply take our online test to check your English level.
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  • 2016-03-07 11:44Business English, Language

    15 English words you should have on your CV

    Estimates provided by recruiters on how long they spend looking at a CV before discarding it vary between 6 seconds and 2 minutes. That's a very short time to decide your employment future.

    You need to include the words that recruiters are actively scanning for, rather than old and tired phrases. Instead of using terms of self-praise like “team player”  and “dynamic ”,  it's far better to  describe your accomplishments specifically. Use words like “improved”  and  “created” and provide a specific explanation of exactly what you did, including numbers whenever possible. In other words, instead of saying you are results-driven, show the results you achieved.

    The words recruiters are looking for

    1. Achieved
    2. Improved
    3. Trained/mentored
    4. Managed
    5. Created
    6. Resolved
    7. Volunteered
    8. Influenced
    9. Increased/decreased
    10. Ideas
    11. Negotiated
    12. Launched
    13. Revenue/profits
    14. Under budget
    15. Won

    And the over-used words that make recruiters yawn

    1. Results-driven
    2. Team player
    3. Bottom-line
    4. Hard worker
    5. Strategic thinker
    6. Dynamic
    7. Self-motivated
    8. Detail-oriented
    9. Proactive
    10. Track record

    Need help with writing or editing your CV in English?

    Please do not hesitate to contact us.

    The London School of English offers high quality English language training for motivated adults from all professional backgrounds. We give you the tools and skills you need to communicate successfully in your field of expertise and to expand your business and career opportunities. Call us on +46 8 5999 4000or email us at info@londonschool.se for more information about our tailored tuition or simply take our online test to check your English level.
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  • 2016-03-02 12:17Language, Culture

    In celebration of World Book Day


    World Book Day is a celebration! It’s a celebration of authors, illustrators, books and reading. In fact, it’s the biggest celebration of its kind, designated by UNESCO as a worldwide celebration of books and reading, and marked in over 100 countries all over the world.

    The main aim of World Book Day in the UK is to encourage children to explore the pleasures of books and reading by providing them with the opportunity to have a book of their own.

    Find reading inspiration in English for your child
    Check out the World Book Day website. This inspirational site feature news and events, reading resources and even the latest book trailers.

    Wondering what to read next?
    The site also has a Parents’ Bookfinder to help find the best reading recommendations for your child and offers ideas for all ages, organised by age range and popular themes.

    Costume ideas for World Book Day

    Getting into costume is also a fun and inspirational way of encouraging children to read. If you are wondering what your child could  wear and would like some ideas, look no further than The Guardian newspaper’s guide for costume ideas on World Book Day.  

    Best children’s books of all time
    For some further reading inspiration,  we recommend the Telegraph's list of the 100 best children’s books of all time and BBC Culture’s 11 greatest childrens’ books as highlighted below. Pippi didn’t make the shortlist as unsurprisingly, the list favours books written in English. If, however, you are looking for an English language book recommendation for your child, it’s a great list.

    1. EB White, Charlotte’s Web (1952)
    2. CS Lewis, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (1950)
    3. Maurice Sendak, Where the Wild Things Are (1963)
    4. Lewis Carroll, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (1865)
    5. Louisa May Alcott, Little Women (1868)
    6. Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince (1943)
    7. AA Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh (1926)
    8. Roald Dahl, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (1964)
    9. Ursula K Le Guin, A Wizard of Earthsea (1968)
    10. Madeleine L’Engle, A Wrinkle In Time (1962)
    11. Laura Ingalls Wilder, Little House on the Prairie (1935)

    Looking for more grown up reading inspiration?
    Have a look at our article on the 100 greatest British novels of all time which should keep you busy over Sportlov and the rest of 2016.

    Happy World Book Day from us all at the London School of English!

    Footnote: In most of the world, World Book Day is held on 23rd April. In the United Kingdom, however, World Book Day is held annually on the first Thursday in March, as 23rd April clashes with Easter school holidays; 23rd April is also the National Saint's Day of England, St George's Day. In Sweden, the day is known as Världsbokdagen and is normally celebrated on 23rd April but is sometimes moved to avoid a clash with Easter.

    The London School of English offers high quality English language training for motivated adults from all professional backgrounds. We give you the tools and skills you need to communicate successfully in your field of expertise and to expand your business and career opportunities. Call us on +46 8 5999 4000or email us at info@londonschool.se for more information about our tailored tuition or simply take our online test to check your English level.
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  • 2016-02-26 11:30Language

    34 ski terms in English you should know

    Going skiing over sportlov? Whether you're heading for the Alps or just want to test your English vocabulary,  this glossary of essential ski terms should come in handy.

    Equipment
    1. Skis - skidor
    2. Ski bindings - bindningar
    3. Ski boots - pjäxor
    4. Helmet - hjälm
    5. Ski poles - stavar
    6. Ski goggles - skidglasögon

    Essentials
    7. Ski pass - liftkort
    8. Tissues - pappersnäsdukar
    9. Lipbalm or lip protection - läppbalsam
    10. Suncream - solkräm

    Ski clothes
    11. Ski pants - byxa
    12. Ski jacket- jacka
    13. Ski gloves - vantar
    14. Ski socks - sockar/strumpor
    15. Ski underwear /Thermal underwear - underställ
    16. Ski underwear pants/ Long johns - underställsbyxa
    17. Ski underwear top - underställströja
    18. Ski suit – skiddräkt

    Drinks
    19. Hot chocolate with whipped cream - varm choklad med vispgrädde
    20 . Après-ski - international

    Skiing
    21. Alpine skiing/Downhill skiing - alpin skidåkning/ utförsåkning
    22. Cross country skiing - längdskidåkning
    23. Ski slope - skidbacke
    24. Snow ploughturn - plogsväng
    25. Carving – carving
    26. Chair lift - sittlift
    27. T- bar lift - ankarlift
    28. Button lift - knapplift
    29. Gondola lift/cable car lift - kabinlift

    Snow
    30. Powder snow - lössnö
    31. Slush - blötsnö/slask
    32. Moguls/bumps - pucklar
    33. Snow cannon - snökanon
    34. Avalanche - lavin

    Happy skiing and have a great sportlov!

    The London School of English offers high quality English language training for motivated adults from all professional backgrounds. We give you the tools and skills you need to communicate successfully in your field of expertise and to expand your business and career opportunities. Call us on +46 8 5999 4000or email us at info@londonschool.se for more information about our tailored tuition or simply take our online test to check your English level.
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  • 2016-02-24 12:53Language, Business English

    Is being called feisty a good thing?


    Women and men face double-standards

    Unfortunately, this even extends to language. Take for example how a certain type of behaviour is described. Men who put themselves forward at work are “assertive”, whereas women who do the same are often  described as “pushy” or “bossy".

    Some words are ever trickier than double-standards
    Those using them may think they are paying a compliment but the words can be interpreted as insulting or condescending. Feisty is such a word. Those who use it might think that the word conveys “spirited” but, depending on the context and the audience, the word may be interpreted as aggressive behaviour.

    What does the dictionary say?
    Most words have more than one meaning and different dictionaries also give varying definitions of the word feisty.

    Urban Dictionary- Excitable, spirited (can sometimes mean irritable or easy to anger). Example: She's a feisty little goddess. Typically used nowadays to describe a smallish woman who is either opinionated and aggressive or plucky and spirited.

    Merriam Webster- Not afraid to fight or argue : very lively and aggressive. Examples: The novel features a feisty heroine; Even her opponents admire her feisty spirit.

    Oxford Dictionary
    -(Of a person, typically one who is relatively small) lively, determined, and courageous. Example: A love story with a feisty heroine who’s more than a pretty face. Feisty can also mean touchy and aggressive. Example: He got a bit feisty and tried to hit me.

    The common thread is a sense of smallness or underdog status
    Context is always crucial when interpreting language. However, feisty is usually positive when used to describe women but has more negative connotations when used to describe men.

    Wondering how to describe yourself?
    Are you writing a CV or thinking about applying for a new job? Don't miss our upcoming article on the best English words to have on your CV.

    The London School of English offers high quality English language training for motivated adults from all professional backgrounds. We give you the tools and skills you need to communicate successfully in your field of expertise and to expand your business and career opportunities. Call us on +46 8 5999 4000or email us at info@londonschool.se for more information about our tailored tuition or simply take our online test to check your English level.
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  • 2016-02-17 12:17Language, Business English

    Buttering up the boss in English


    Whether paying the boss a direct compliment or framing flattery as a question, you immediately know what your colleagues are up to when they try to butter up the boss.

    It may have everyone's teeth grinding at the office but the chances are that it's helping their careers.  More than doing the job well is required these days to get ahead  and a brilliant campaign of sucking up rarely goes amiss. Anyone who doubts whether sucking up works should read Marshall Goldsmiths blog post about the love we feel for our dogs, who are the most successful suckers-up ever.

    Whether it's something you aspire to or despise, as an integral part of office politics,  you should at least know how to describe this behaviour. Here are some alternatives you can use:

    8 polite phrases to describe buttering up behaviour

    1. Sweet talking the boss
    2. Sweetening up the boss
    3. Stroking the boss' ego
    4. Massaging the boss' ego

    Used a little more derogatively (nedsättande)

    5. Playing up to the boss
    6. Sucking up to the boss
    7. Laying it on thick
    8. Fawning over the boss

    For more advice on communications in English, please do not hesitate to contact us.

    The London School of English offers high quality English language training for motivated adults from all professional backgrounds. We give you the tools and skills you need to communicate successfully in your field of expertise and to expand your business and career opportunities. Call us on +46 8 5999 4000or email us at info@londonschool.se for more information about our tailored tuition or simply take our online test to check your English level.
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  • 2016-02-15 12:20Language

    If you like selfies, belfies and relfies are probably for you


    Love them or hate them, selfies are here to stay.  Not only has this word firmly established itself  in all the major dictionaries, it has also triggered a host of subgenres. Keep your English vocabulary updated by acquainting yourself with the selfie's latest friends.

    Belfie - bottom selfie. There is even a product for this...introducing the belfie stick.

    Relfie - relationship selfie. This means  a picture of you with your partner.  Relfie etiquette wisely dictates that you shouldn't flood your updates with these as too many very-much-in-love pictures is exasperating.

    Welfie - a workout selfie. Urban dictionary, however, has another definition for Welfie: A selfie taken in the welfare office (where you go to get unemployment benefit).

    Warning
    Exercise extreme caution if you choose to try out this new vocabulary gems; dozens of people were injured and killed in 2015 while taking selfies and new headlines about Belfies & Co. are probably inevitable.  They can also be very addictive; a recent One Poll survey claimed that the average 16-25-year-old woman spends more than five hours a week taking selfies.

    The London School of English offers high quality English language training for motivated adults from all professional backgrounds. We give you the tools and skills you need to communicate successfully in your field of expertise and to expand your business and career opportunities. Call us on +46 8 5999 4000 or email us at info@londonschool.se for more information about our tailored tuition or simply take our online test to check your English level.
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  • 2016-02-11 09:12Language, Culture

    The English Theory of Love


    If you've seen The Swedish Theory of Love at the cinema recently, you may be wondering how things work in other countries.  Are your chances of meeting a life-long partner better elsewhere and how is it in England?

    When is the right time to settle down?
    English mathematician, Hannah Fry of Head Squeeze, takes up this key question in her entertaining video. She's worked on the mathematics of love and how to find the perfect partner and come up with some interesting answers.

    Optimal Stopping Theory
    Hannah presents Optimal Stopping Theory, which addresses  how long  you should look and when you should  stop looking. It makes interesting viewing for anyone currently dating.

    But how do you get started?  
    If you are not a fan of office romance, should you believe in fables of folk finding love in supermarket aisles or are you more likely to just click with someone in cyberspace? In this sense, England is no different to Sweden; Cash rich, time-poor professionals now see a search engine as the obvious gateway to love.

    How to win at online dating

    Good news!  Following the publication of her video on Optimal Stopping Theory, Hannah Fry took on the role of maths-matchmaker and released another video which offers smart, scientific and rational advice on how to win at online dating and how maths can help you get ahead.

    Good luck and Happy Valentine's day from us all at the London School of English!

    PS. When you do finally meet your perfect partner, you may want some help with expressing this. Why not check out our article on the Top 10 ways to say "I love you".

    The London School of English offers high quality English language training for motivated adults from all professional backgrounds. We give you the tools and skills you need to communicate successfully in your field of expertise and to expand your business and career opportunities. Call us on +46 8 5999 4000or email us at info@londonschool.se for more information about our tailored tuition or simply take our online test to check your English level.
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  • 2016-02-08 15:11Culture, Language

    10 things you should know about the Year of the Monkey

    1. What is the Chinese New year?
    It's the Chinese festival marking the start of the new year, beginning on the second new moon after the winter solstice and ending on the full moon fifteen days later, so the date changes from year to year.  The new year, also known as the Spring Festival, is marked by visits to family and friends, special meals, fireworks, and gift giving.

    2. When does it start?

    Officially today, 8th February but the festivities usually start the day before the New Year and continue until the Lantern Festival, the 15th day of the new year.

    3. How is the symbol for the year chosen?
    Each Chinese New Year is characterised by one of 12 animals which appear in the Chinese zodiac. The Chinese zodiac is divided into 12 blocks (or houses) just like its western counterpart, but with the major difference being that each house has a time-length of one year instead of one month.

    4. When was the last year of the monkey?
    2004 - The Year of the Monkey is the ninth animal in the cycle of 12 animals which means that the next Year of the Monkey will be in 2028.

    5. What's the personality of the monkey?

    Characteristics for the zodiac sign of the Monkey : Quick-witted, charming, lucky, adaptable, bright, versatile, lively, smart.
    Strengths: sociable, innovative, enthusiastic, self-assured
    Weaknesses: suspicious, cunning, selfish, arrogant, jealous

    6. What's the best time for monkeys?
    Monkeys are most lively between 3 and 5 pm. You call also check out the best time for your Zodiac sign here.

    7. Famous people born under the monkey sign

    Julius Caesar, Leonardo da Vinci, Charles Dickens, Lord Byron, Elizabeth Taylor, Diana Ross, Michael Douglas, Celine Dion, Tom Hanks, Will Smith, Halle Berry, Christina Aguilera, Owen Wilson, Daniel Craig, Mick Jagger, Bette Davis, Annie Oakley, Eleanor Roosevelt, Miley Cyrus,

    8. Lucky Signs for the Monkey
    • Lucky numbers: 1, 7, 8
    • Lucky colours: white, gold, blue
    • Lucky flowers: chrysanthemum, alliums
    • Lucky directions: north, northwest, west

    9. How do I find out the Chinese symbol for my year of birth?
    Try this handy zodiac calculator

    10. How do you say Happy Chinese New Year?

    Here's one way:
    新年好 / 新年好 (Xīnnián hǎo)
    'New Year goodness!'
    In Mandarin: /sshin-nyen haoww/
    In Cantonese: /sen-nin haow/

    Happy Chinese New Year from us all at the London School of English!


    The London School of English offers high quality English language training for motivated adults from all professional backgrounds. We give you the tools and skills you need to communicate successfully in your field of expertise and to expand your business and career opportunities. Call us on +46 8 5999 4000or email us at info@londonschool.se for more information about our tailored tuition or simply take our online test to check your English level.
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  • 2016-02-07 15:44Language

    In celebration of Semicolon Day

    To mark Semicolon Day on 6th February, we've translated an extract from Patrik Hadenius' article published in Dagens Nyheter, as requested by one of our readers.

    It's not really more remarkable than any other synonym. Think of the semicolon as a word, a resource - unusual and ostentatious, but exciting when it fits. Perhaps not unlike the exhaustively discussed  gender neutral Swedish pronoun " hen". "Hen" is also a resource, a modern synonym for "it" and "he" or "she". Sometimes it works nicely, but it also signals who you are and you can expect that some readers will react badly.

    The semicolon is a jewel amongst punctuation signs.  In the very minimum amount of space, it tells us more than what we otherwise would need significantly longer words and sentences to express. The semicolon is a linguistic luxury that everyone has access to; try using it sometime! But do not abuse the sign; it is fragile and sometimes bonkers.  On the other hand, the worst that can happen is that you are subjected to a refreshing language debate.

    How it works

    A semicolon marks the boundary of a sentence but also stresses the relationship between two sentences. If a full stop feels too limiting and a comma is inappropriate because what comes before and after the separator are complete sentences, then a semicolon is probably a good choice.

    The semicolon indicates to the reader: Take it easy and don't stop reading; there's more to come. It also says: See the connection! In practice, therefore, the first sentence is a prerequisite for what comes after the semicolon. The sign alerts the reader that what follows is a consequence or development of what has already been said.

    Source:
    Siv Strömquist's Punctuation Book (Morfem). Siv Strömquist will lecture on punctuation at the Language Forum at Nalen in Stockholm on 11th March.

    Quotes about semicolons
    1. "My main literary merit is not my thoughts' depth, superiority and clarity, not my human humor and my democratic irony, not my images' beauty, precison and context, not my style’s sophisticatedly satirical agility and dignity, naturalness and sovereignty. It's not even that I'm an advocate for the use of the singular verb for plural subjects. No, my greatest honour is that in a time of style erradication, I am one of the few who appreciates and correctly uses the semicolon." Sigfrid Lindström, author and journalist.

    2. "Here is a lesson in creative writing. First rule: Do not use semicolons. They are transvestite hermaphrodites that do not symbolise anything. All they do is show that you have gone to university. "Kurt Vonnegut, in" A Man Without a Country".

    3."I once left a publisher only because he tried to replace my semicolons with commas." Milan Kundera, the "Roman Art".

    4. "For educated people it is a matter of punctuation rules, but for me it's about feeling. But I must say that I have great respect for the semicolon; it is a useful little fellow." Abraham Lincoln.


    The London School of English offers high quality English language training for motivated adults from all professional backgrounds. We give you the tools and skills you need to communicate successfully in your field of expertise and to expand your business and career opportunities. Call us on  +46 8 5999 4000or email us at info@londonschool.se for more information about our tailored tuition or simply take our online test to check your English level.
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  • 2016-02-02 11:57Business English, Language, How to series

    Nice ways to say you're wrong in English


    Making mistakes is a normal part of life but how this is communicated can build or break relationships. Learning how to diplomatically point out that someone is wrong, or has made a mistake, is challenging, to say the least. We've put together some useful tips including synonyms for mistakes and smart tactics for softening the blow.

    Nice words for mistakes and problems

    • oversight

    • slip up

    • hiccup

    • confusion

    • bump

    • hurdle


    Always use modifiers to make things seem less or smaller

    • slight

    • little

    • a bit of

    • minor

    • a few


    Examples

    • This may create a slight hurdle for us

    • There's been a little confusion about x

    • It seems there was a bit of an oversight regarding x

    • It looks like we may have hit a bump with x

    • There are a few sections of the report that need to be changed

    • A minor slip up has surfaced

    • There have been a few hiccups along the way


    Avoid saying "you" to the person who made the mistake

    • There's been an oversight

    • There may have been some confusion

    • It seems like we've hit a bump


    Make positive suggestions instead of directly pointing out the mistake


    • Let's recheck the statement together

    • Let's look at it again later as it needs a little revision

    • We'll need to make a few minor adjustments/amendments


    The London School of English offers high quality English language training for motivated adults from all professional backgrounds. We give you the tools and skills you need to communicate successfully in your field of expertise and to expand your business and career opportunities. Call us on +46 8 5999 4000or email us at info@londonschool.se for more information about our tailored tuition or simply take our online test to check your English level.
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  • 2016-02-01 10:28Language

    12 Writing Tips for Legal English


    Need to brush up on your legal English? We offer specialist courses in legal English both in Sweden and in London. One of our trainers, Laura Stamps, shares her advice on writing for legal English.

    1)  As with all writing, think about your audience – writing to another lawyer will be very different to writing to a client who is a layperson.

    2)   If you’re aiming for clarity in your writing, then the Plain English campaign has two excellent writing guides.  The A to Z of alternative words gives you the ‘plain English’ versions of more formal words.  Of course, this could also help you to formalise your English if it’s too informal.  Again, the key is knowing what’s appropriate:

    The A to Z to alternative words (PDF)

    More specifically, The A to Z guide to legal phrases (PDF) gives clear definitions of many English legal words and expressions.

    3)  Clarity will help you to avoid ambiguity and grey areas.  A funny example of ambiguity from criminal law is the newspaper headline ‘Juvenile court to try shooting defendant’.  In legal English ‘try’ means ‘put on trial’, but the meaning in general English is ‘attempt’, which would mean that the court tried to shoot the defendant who was on trial!

    4)  Use layout and punctuation to clarify things, for example in a contract, number each clause and give it an underlined heading.  Use sub-clauses where necessary.

    5)  Use the active voice to make it clear who should do what, such as ‘The seller shall deliver the goods’, rather than ‘the goods shall be delivered.’

    6)  Be aware of words which have different meanings in general and legal English.  For example, in the sentence above, ‘The seller shall deliver the goods’, ‘shall’ means ‘must’, whereas in general English it’s used to make suggestions, such as ‘Shall we go to the pub?’

    7)  Be careful with numbers; to avoid confusion, always write them in words as well as figures.  For instance, in English, £100.00 is one hundred pounds, not ten thousand pounds; a difference of nine thousand, nine hundred pounds!

    8)  Similarly, dates should be written in words.  This date, 1/4/2015, is 1st April 2015 in British English but 4th January in US English.

    9)  Don’t (do not) use contractions in formal legal writing.

    10)  Legal English still uses a lot of formal adverbs of reference such as ‘herein’ to mean ‘in this document.’  While they can cause difficulties for the lay reader, when used correctly these adverbs help the reader to navigate the text.

    11)  Get a good legal dictionary.  I recommend the Oxford Dictionary of Law

    12)  Be accurate – a lawyer’s language is their tool.  Use the Spelling and Grammar tool and proofread everything!

    Note: 12 Writing Tips for Legal English was first published on our English blog in October 2015.

    Suggested courses
    You may also be interested in reading about our courses in legal English, including our online course Word Mine.

    The London School of English offers high quality English language training for motivated adults from all professional backgrounds. We give you the tools and skills you need to communicate successfully in your field of expertise and to expand your business and career opportunities. Call us on +46 8 5999 4000or email us at info@londonschool.se for more information about our tailored tuition or simply take our online test to check your English level.
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  • 2016-01-28 14:45How to series, Language

    Nice ways to describe body shapes and sizes in English


    Do you struggle with politely describing what people look like? Body shapes and sizes can be a very sensitive subject and an absolute minefield.

    If fat, skinny, short or giant are the first terms that come to mind, try to memorise some of the following diplomatic terms for describing appearance.

    Overweight

    plus-sized
    well-built
    Rubenesque (usually used for women)
    sturdy
    generously built
    rotund
    well padded
    plump (usually used for women)
    ample
    curvy (usually used for women)
    portly
    well upholstered
    full figured
    built for comfort, not for speed

    Underweight
    slender
    delicate
    fragile
    slight

    Short
    compact (usually used for men)
    petite (usually used for women)
    diminutive

    Very tall

    statuesque
    imposing
    stately

    Keeping politically correct - Even Barbie has a new body
    You might also find the following article on Mattel's iconic doll 'Barbie' an interesting read. Barbie, who has courted controversy since her creation, has a new body. Mattel has responded to pressure and made Barbie available in original, curvy, tall and petite.

    The London School of English offers high quality English language training for motivated adults from all professional backgrounds. We give you the tools and skills you need to communicate successfully in your field of expertise and to expand your business and career opportunities. Call us on +46 8 5999 4000or email us at info@londonschool.se for more information about our tailored tuition or simply take our online test to check your English level.
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  • 2016-01-22 11:06Language, Culture

    After FOMO: 5 trending acronyms for 2016


    FOMO (the acronym that stands for "Fear Of Missing Out") has some new cousins - five related acronyms that describe feelings of social media angst and pleasure.  If you haven't already stumbled upon them, you're almost certain to do so some time soon.

    MOMO
    This stands for the mystery of missing out. You are suffering from MOMO if you suspect that you are missing out on events that are not documented on social media, possibly because people are too busy enjoying the experiences IRL (In Real Life) or are just too cool to publish them.

    FOJI

    The fear of joining in. The premise of FOJI  is that fear of no-one following you or not knowing what to post is what's actually keeping you from joining in on social media.  

    BROMO
    A kinder approach to social media. BROMO describes the thoughtful act of your bros (i.e. friends) not posting pictures of the party or event you missed, so as to avoid “rubbing things in”.

    SLOMO

    Slow to missing out.  SLOMO is what happens when you've checked out of social media for a number of hours and reconnect to find your feeds littered with other people's fun and conversations.

    JOMO
    The joy of missing out. Arguably, nirvana for social media addicts.

    Does your English need some updating or refreshing?
    Why not have a look at our range of English courses  or contact us.

    The London School of English offers high quality English language training for motivated adults from all professional backgrounds. We give you the tools and skills you need to communicate successfully in your field of expertise and to expand your business and career opportunities. Call us on +46 8 5999 4000or email us at info@londonschool.se for more information about our tailored tuition or simply take our online test  to check your English level.
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  • 2016-01-11 13:43Culture, Language

    The 100 greatest British novels of all time


    New year's resolution to improve your English in 2016?  Or perhaps you would just like to read more? Then the 100 greatest British novels is a must read list for you.

    An international perspective on British novels

    BBC Culture recently polled book critics outside the UK to give an outsider’s perspective on the best in British literature. The critics invited to participate were book reviewers or editors from well known newspapers, magazines or literary blogs and literary scholars. From Australia to Zimbabwe, the results are now in.

    Middlemarch is No. 1

    Middlemarch won the top spot. Author George Eliot was followed closely by Virginia Wolfe whose novels  'To the Lighthouse' and 'Mrs. Dalloway' ranked number 2 and 3 respectively. Unsurprisingly, Charles Dickens also had two novels in the top 10 with Great Expectations edging in at number 4  and David Copperfield ranked number 8. You can see the full list of the 100 greatest British novels here.

    Women on top

    Women writers performed particularly well and dominated the top 10 with the Brontë sisters and Mary Shelly joining George Eliot (Mary Anne Evans) and Virginia Wolfe in the top rankings. Books by women also make up nearly 40% of the total 100 novels on the list.

    The classics rule
    Only 13 novels from the top 100 originate in our own century and not a single one from this century made the top 10. Most of the top 10 were written in the 1800s with just two written last century (To the Lighthouse, 1927 and Mrs. Dalloway, 1925).

    What's so good about Middlemarch?

    Want to find out a little more about this book before you commit to reading it? Or perhaps you'd like to suggest it for your book club and need to sell the idea. Try reading Michael Gorra's explanation of why Middlemarch is the greatest British novel and see if you agree.

    The London School of English offers high quality English language training for motivated adults from all professional backgrounds. We give you the tools and skills you need to communicate successfully in your field of expertise and to expand your business and career opportunities. Call us on +46 8 5999 4000or email us at info@londonschool.se for more information about our tailored tuition or simply take our online test to check your English level.
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  • 2015-12-03 10:25Language

    Regret not paying more attention in English at school?

    Good news - learning a language later in life has a transformative effect on the brain and can lead to better memory and sharper thinking.

    MRI studies have shown that learning a foreign language later in life is associated with thickening of the cerebral cortex — a layer of neurons specifically responsible for memory, thought, consciousness and, of course, language. This increased thickness can lead to improved memory and brain power as we grow older.  A sort of mental gymnastics and fitness  to keep you in good shape.

    Learning a new language can also change the way we see the world. The changes in our visual perception are particularly true in relation to our colour. For example, Japanese speakers have far more words to describe the colour blue, and as a result are generally able to see more shades of blue than English speakers.

    It's never too late to improve and there are multiple rewards for taking up a new linguistic challenge in any language. A huge variety of options are available from free online language courses to tailored tuition to specifically meet your personal goals.

    If you would like help with improving your English, please do not hesitate to contact us on tel.   +46 8 5999 4000, email us at info@londonschool.se for a personal assessment or simply take our English test online.

    Source: Medical Daily Pulse
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  • 2015-11-27 09:01Culture, Language

    Buy Nothing Day (BND)

    There is an alternative to flexing credit cards today - The  Black Friday counter-movement Buy Nothing Day (BND), which is our acronym of the week. The movement promotes locking up your wallets and purses, cutting up your credit cards and dumping the love of many people's lives- shopping.

    A 24- hour shopping detox
    The self-imposed shopping ban should last the whole day and  means no meals out, no coffees, no Friday drinks or Fredagsmys (unless of course you've already bought a variety of snacks during your weekly shop!)

    The background story
    The first Buy Nothing Day was organized in Canada in September 1992 as a day for society to examine the issue of over-consumption. In 1997, it was moved to Black Friday (1). The campaign was the brainchild of Kalle Lasn, the founder of a Vancouver-based magazine, Adbusters, "the journal of the mental environment", and author of Culture Jam, an exploration of consumerism, globalisation and advertising (2). Critics of the day, however, say that Buy Nothing Day simply makes people postpone their shopping until the next day.

    Intentional living
    A one day shopping ban is something most people would probably benefit from and is part of a growing movement of people who are turning their backs on consumerism.  The minimalists, for example, have taken this concept further and focus on an alternative approach,  "A rich life with less stuff". Living in  Missoula, Montana, their lifestyle has already attracted considerable media attention and makes for interesting reading, especially on Black Friday /BND.

    References
    1. The Online Dictionary
    2. The Guardian
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  • 2015-11-26 14:29Language, Culture

    Swedes rush to embrace Black Friday


    A new day has become established in the Swedish calendar as Swedes have rushed to embrace Black Friday. Introduced to Sweden a few years ago by a number of larger retailers, the concept is now widespread and fast becoming part of the Christmas shopping season.

    What is Black Friday?
    Black Friday is the Friday following Thanksgiving Day in the United States (the fourth Thursday of November). Since the early 2000s, it has been regarded as the beginning of the Christmas shopping season in the US, and most major retailers open very early and offer promotional sales. It has been the biggest shopping day of the year in the US since 2005.

    Born in Philadelphia
    The day's name originated in Philadelphia, where it was originally used by the Philadelphia Police Department to describe the heavy and disruptive pedestrian and vehicle traffic that would occur on the day after Thanksgiving, with massive traffic jams and over-crowded sidewalks as the downtown stores are mobbed from opening to closing.  Use of the term started before 1961 and began to see broader use outside Philadelphia around 1975.

    "In the black"-  an alternative theory
    Many merchants objected to the use of a negative term to refer to one of the most important shopping days in the year. By the early 1980s, an alternative theory began to be circulated: that retailers traditionally operated at a financial loss for most of the year (January - November) and made their profits during the holiday. The expression" in the black" means  making profit, just like "black figures" in Swedish.

    Gaining ground as an unofficial public holiday
    Black Friday is not a public holiday in the US, but California and some other states observe "The Day After Thanksgiving" as a holiday for state government employees, sometimes in lieu of another federal holiday such as Columbus Day. Many non-retail employees and schools have both Thanksgiving and the day after off, followed by a weekend, thereby increasing the number of potential shoppers. With the Swedish penchant for holidays, who knows where this could lead!

    Black Friday in the UK
    The UK was an early adopter of Black Friday, with retailers Currys launching a sale on electronic devices as early as 2003. The concept has continued to gain momentum  and this year  police forces were called to stores across the United Kingdom to deal with crowd control issues, assaults, threatening customers and traffic problems.

    Reaching critical mass in Sweden
    An increasing number of stores in Sweden are cashing in on the concept. Elgiganten, Media Markt and BR-Leksaker led the way two years ago and had an overwhelming response, even leading  to crashed websites. The magazine Leva & Bo has put together a handy list of Swedish retailers who are running Black Friday offers.  Black Friday seems to be here to stay!

    Happy bargain hunting from us all at the London School of English.
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  • 2015-11-24 10:47Language, Culture

    Are you a lumbersexual?

    Photograph: StockRocket/Getty Images

    Bearded? Prone to wearing plaid shirts? Generally on trend? If you can answer yes to these questions, then you tick the main boxes for our word of the week, which has been shortlisted by Oxford dictionary for word of the year 2015.

    Oxford dictionary's definition
    A young urban man who cultivates an appearance and style of dress (typified by a beard and checked shirt) suggestive of a rugged outdoor lifestyle.

    The word lumbersexual—bridging the vast gap between lumberjack and metrosexual —was coined as early as 2008, as beards and checked shirts began to be de rigeur among urban males, but it wasn’t popularized until late 2014. Usage was high in early 2015 and now seems to be plateauing. The word metrosexual itself turns 21 years old this month.

    Who are the top lumbersexual celebrities?

    Don't worry if you're unsure of what they may look like as Urban dictionary cites George Michael and Don Johnson as prime examples. We also found the following convenient list of celebrity lumbersexuals
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  • 2015-11-17 12:05Swinglish series, Language

    Swedish sayings that need a little fine tuning in translation

    Our third article on Swedish proverbs, part of our “Borta med svengelska” series, looks at Swedish sayings that are very similar to English sayings but just need a little fine tuning in translation. Translation is a fine art so check out our previous articles on Swedish sayings that are guaranteed to confuse English speakers and 10 Swedish sayings that actually work in English. If you would like to follow our Swinglish series, don’t forget to follow our blog or like us on Facebook or LinkedIn to ensure you are kept updated.

    1. Borta bra men hemma bäst.
    "There is no place like home" or "East or west, home is best"
    2. Bäst att smida medan järnet är varm
    Strike while the iron is hot
    3. Bättre en fågel i handen än tio i skogen
    A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush
    4. Delad glädje är dubbel glädje (och delad sorg är halv sorg)
    Joy shared, joy doubled (and sorrow shared, sorrow halved)
    5.  I krig och kärlek är allt tillåtet
    All is fair in love and war
    6.  Ju fler kockar desto sämre soppa
    Too many cooks spoil the broth
    If you need help with swinglish issues or guidance on professional international communications, please do not hesitate to contact us on tel.  +46 8 5999 4000 or email us at info@londonschool.se.
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  • 2015-11-11 13:35Language, Swinglish series

    10 Swedish sayings that actually work in English

    As part of our “Borta med svengelska” series we’ve turned the spotlight on Swedish proverbs. Sometimes life runs very smoothly and this article covers Swedish proverbs that work well in English too. However, this is not usually the case so check out our previous article on Swedish sayings that are guaranteed to confuse English speakers and don’t forget to follow our blog or like us on facebook or linkedin to make sure you catch the rest of the series.

    1. Allt är inte guld som glimmar
    All that glitters is not gold

    2. Barn gör som du gör, inte som du säger
    Children do as you do, not as you say

    3. Blod är tjockare än vatten
    Blood is thicker than water

    4 .Bättre sent än aldrig
    Better late than never

    5. Det är tanken som räknas
    It’s the thought that counts

    6. En kedja är inte starkare än dess svagaste länk
    A chain is only as strong as its weakest link

    7. En svala gör ingen sommar
    One swallow does not make a summer

    8. Gräset är alltid grönare på andra sidan
    The grass is always greener on the other side(of the hill)

    9. Ingen rök utan eld
    No smoke without fire

    10. Högmod går före fall
    Pride comes before a fall

    If you need help with swinglish issues or guidance on professional international communications, please do not hesitate to contact us on tel. +46 8 5999 4000 or email us at info@londonschool.se.
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  • 2015-11-07 15:59News, Language, Culture

    ‘Binge-watch’ declared word of the year 2015 by Collins Dictionary

    CollinsDictionary.com defines the verb as “to watch a large number of television programmes (especially all the shows from one series) in succession”.

    According to Collins, usage of the term is up 200% on 2014.

    Helen Newstead, Head of Language Content at Collins, said: “The rise in usage of ‘binge-watch’ is clearly linked to the biggest sea change in our viewing habits since the advent of the video recorder nearly 40 years ago”.

    Subscription services such as Netflix and digital video recorders services such as Tivo enable watching of what you want, when you want for as long as you want.

    “It’s not uncommon for viewers to binge-watch a whole season of programmes such as House of Cards or Breaking Bad in just a couple of evenings – something that, in the past, would have taken months – then discuss their binge-watching on social media.”

    Got a marathon TV session lined up this weekend? Then we wish you happy binge-watching from us all at the London School of English.
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  • 2015-11-02 10:19Language, How to series

    How to talk to your hairdresser in English and avoid haircut horrors

    Getting a haircut when you’re abroad can be a daunting experience if you don’t have the vocabulary to describe what you want to have done. We all have bad hair days but more permanent damage can be done from misunderstandings with your hairdresser.   We’ve put together some helpful tips to help you achieve the style that you want.

    Booking an appointment

    Your first task will be to make an appointment. Barber shops are hairdressers for men whilst hair salons can specialize in women’s or men’s haircuts or be unisex. When you call to make a booking, ask when they have any openings or say that you would like to make/schedule/book an appointment.

    Your choice of stylist

    A hairdresser can also be called a hair stylist (for men and women) or a barber (for men only). Perhaps you have already received a recommendation in which case you can say that (stylist’s name) has been recommended to you by (your contact). Alternatively you can ask for a recommendation. You might also want to ask for a colour specialist or colourist.

    Common questions

    Your stylist will probably start by asking “What would you like to have done today?” Other common questions are:

    How much would you like taken off?
    Would you like layering/your hair layered? (when longer hair is cut to different lengths)
    Would you like your hair blow dried (dried with a hair dryer) or leave it to dry naturally?
    Would you like to have your hair straightened/curled?
    Where do you usually have your parting? (the line that separates the way your hair falls e.g. a side parting or a middle parting)

    Standard requests

    I ‘d like to keep the same style
    Could you please take off the split ends (where hair is worn and split at the ends)
    Please just give my hair a trim (not cut very much)
    Can you try to keep the length as far as possible please (if worried the stylist might cut too much)
    I’d like to go for a new look. What would you recommend?
    I’d like to have a fringe please (Hair cut shorter at the front to fall across the forehead, usually to about eye brow length. Note: This is called bangs in American English)
    I’m trying to grow out my fringe/layers
    I’d like a crew cut/buzz cut (usually for men – when hair is cut really short, military style)
    I’d like to hide/cover the grey

    Hair Treatments

    You might also want to order one of the following services:

    A Perm (curling hair on a permanent basis)
    Colour treatments such as toning (can be permanent or non- permanent) , highlights (adding colour that’s lighter than your base hair colour on selected strands of your hair)  or lowlights (adding colour that’s darker than your base hair colour on selected strands of hair)

    Hair products

    Used when washing: Shampoo, conditioner

    Used to protect and nourish hair, usually when still wet: hair oil, hair serum

    Used for styling hair:  mousse, gel, spray, wax

    Hairdressing Tools


    The most commonly used hairdressing tools are scissors, hair dryers, flat irons (for making hair flat) and curling iron/curling tongs (for making hair curly)

    Tipping your hairdresser

    Don’t forget that in the UK and many other countries, it is customary to tip your hairdresser if you are pleased with the job they have done. The amount that you should tip will vary by country.

    Now you have the vocabulary you need to successfully get a haircut – good luck. If you need help with communications in English, please do not hesitate to contact us on tel.  +46 8 5999 4000 or email us at info@londonschool.se
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  • 2015-10-28 10:30Language, Culture

    10 great ways to celebrate Halloween

    Do you love Halloween too? Here’s our guide to getting the most out of Halloween, from classic ghost stories to Halloween hoots. Or perhaps you’d like to create your own haunted house? However you decide to celebrate, we wish you a very Happy Halloween.

    1. Make a weekend of it
    The timing couldn’t be better this year as Halloween falls on a Saturday. You have a whole weekend to make the most of this fun festival. (Halloween is celebrated on the 31st of October, not to be confused with All Saints Day on November 1st).

    2. Stock up on sweets
    There’s rarely a better excuse for stocking up on pick and mix (English for lösgodis) and sampling all those weird and wonderful colours, shapes and flavours you don’t usually select. Just don’t forget to leave a few for neighbourhood kids who come trick or treating.

    3. Half bury a skeleton in the garden
    This can cause a bit of a stir in the neigbourhood and has great entertainment value, especially if you have glow in the dark eyes.

    4. Get a new costume

    If you don’t feel like making one and you’ve left it a bit late to order online, help is at hand in the form of Buttericks on Drottningsgatan in Stockholm where you can pick up a costume right until the last minute.

    5. Trick or treat
    What better way to show off costumes than to go trick or treating. If you don’t have kids or fancy going out, you can always prepare a great welcome for those that call to your door, perhaps with some scary Halloween tricks of your own.

    6. Carve a pumpkin
    Never carved a pumpkin before or looking for inspiration? Here are 19 Seriously Spooky Pumpkin-Carving Ideas, or alternatively, 21 Creative Ideas for No-Carve Pumpkins.

    7.Create a haunted house
    Why not transform your home into a haunted house? You’ll find lots of tips from eerie lighting effects to easy sound effects at http://www.wikihow.com/Make-a-Haunted-House.

    8.Throw a Halloween party

    A great way to celebrate with family and friends and a wonderful show case for all your talents and creativity from costumes to themed foods and cakes . To help jumpstart the Halloween mood and instantly set the tone, check out Timeout’s 20 best Halloween songs. No prizes for guessing that Michael Jackson’s Thriller is number one but the others might surprise you.

    9. Watch your favourite scary movies

    Whether you revisit one of your old favourites or prefer new thrills, watching a scary movie is sure to set the tone for Halloween. If you’re looking for new film tips check out the following list of the Most Popular Horror Feature Films Released In 2015.

    10. Tell ghost stories
    A classic way to spend Halloween and why not try some in English? If you’d like some inspiration, check out the website for Scary stories to tell in the dark.

    Best wishes from us all at the London School of English Stockholm
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  • 2015-10-26 11:20Business English, Language, Swinglish series

    10 Swedish sayings that are guaranteed to confuse English speakers

    Ever met by baffled expressions when you try to use Swedish sayings when speaking English? Using proverbs shows linguistic skill but can also go badly wrong. Some Swedish sayings are international while others just don’t translate at all to English. As part of our “Borta med svengelska” series we’ve compiled some Swedish proverbs that work in English as well those that don’t and those that just need a little translating polish to make them sound right. First up is a list of 10 Swedish proverbs that you should avoid altogether, or better still, learn the English equivalent if you would really like to impress. Don’t forget to like us on facebook and linkedin to make sure you catch the rest of the series.

    1. Gör inte en höna av en fjäder

    Direct translation: Don’t make a hen out of a feather
    English equivalent: Don’t make a mountain out of a molehill

    2. Lika barn lekar bäst

    Direct translation: Similar children play best
    English equivalent: Birds of a feather flock together

    3. Arga katter får rivet skinn

    Direct translation: Angry cats get scratched skin
    English equivalent: Quarrelsome dogs come limping home

    4. Smaken är som baken, delad
    Direct translation: Taste is like the buttocks, divided
    English equivalent: There’s no accounting for taste, or alternatively,Beauty is in the eye of the beholder

    5. Den enes död, den andres bröd

    Direct translation: The death of one, the bread of the other
    English equivalent: One man’s meat is another man’s poison

    6. Köp inte grisen i säcken

    Direct translation: Don’t buy the pig in the bag
    Closest English equivalent: Let the buyer have a thousand eyes for the seller wants only one

    7. Lagt kort ligger

    Direct translation: Laid card lies
    English equivalent: You can’t un-ring a bell

    8. Eget beröm luktar illa
    Direct translation: Self-praise smells bad
    English equivalent: Don’t blow your own horn

    9. Först till kvarn får först mala
    Direct translation: First to the mill will grind first
    English equivalent: First come, first served

    10 Man ska inte döma hunden efter håren
    Direct translation: You should not judge a dog by its fur
    English equivalent: Never judge a book by its cover

    If you need help with swinglish issues or guidance on professional international communications, please do not hesitate to contact us at The London School of English on tel. +46 8 5999 4000 or email us at info@londonschool.se.
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  • 2015-10-16 10:25Language, Business English

    8 rugby metaphors used in business

    Check out the quarter finals of the Rugby World Cup 2015 this weekend. Sadly, host country England has been knocked out but you can catch some exciting action as Argentina, Australia, France, Ireland, New Zealand, Scotland, South Africa and Wales battle it out. Why not also check out these 8 well known rugby metaphors which are frequently used in business

    A safe pair of hands


    Sports use: Someone who is good at catching the ball and rarely drops it

    Business use: Someone who doesn’t make many mistakes

    Example: We hired him as we thought he would be a safe pair of hands

    A hospital pass

    Sports use: A pass made to a team-mate who will clearly be tackled heavily as soon as the ball is received

    Business use: Giving someone a task that they are very likely to fail at

    Example: Giving Jack responsibility for health and safety was a hospital pass

    Kick for touch

    Sports use: A safe option. You can gain ground without risk – particularly useful when you can’t think of anything better to do

    Business use: Giving a safe answer and not really answering the question

    Example: The chief executive kicked for touch when asked a question about the environmental impact

    No pushover

    Sports use: A team with a strong scrum can score a try by pushing the other team over their end line

    Business use: Proving that you can’t easily be set aside

    Example: The leadership debate proved that he was no pushover

    Wrong footed

    Sports use: When a player tries to block an opponent but is caught by surprise when the opponent changes direction

    Business Use: Using surprise tactics on the competition

    Example: Intersport was wrong footed by Stadium’ s new marketing campaign

    Scrum

    Sports use: A scrum is when players from one team engage with eight players from the other team and everyone pushes

    Business use: A group of people who take on someone/another group

    Example: The prime minister was greeted by a media scrum outside his office

    Carry the ball

    Sports use: The ball can be carried to advance towards the end line to score a try (points)

    Business use: Used to describe someone who takes on responsibility and moves forward

    Example: She will make a great leader and have a successful career as she’s used to carrying the ball

    Drop the ball

    Sports use: The ball is dropped allowing the opposition to take possession

    Business use: Used to describe someone who makes mistakes or misses an opportunity

    Example: We didn’t hire him as we heard he has a tendency to drop the ball

    If you are interested in finding out about more sports metaphors in English please do not hesitate to contact us at The London School of English on tel.  +46 8 5999 4000 or email us at info@londonschool.se
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  • 2015-10-02 10:43Swinglish series, Language, Culture

    “Bort med svengelskan del 1-999….” – Red Days

    Swinglish: red day,
    English:
    bank holiday or public holiday

    Where does the term bank holiday come from?
    A bank holiday is a public holiday in the United Kingdom, some Commonwealth countries, other European countries such as Switzerland, and a colloquialism for a public holiday in Ireland. There is no automatic right to time off on these days, although banks close and the majority of the working population is granted time off work or extra pay for working on these days, depending on their contract.

    What’s the difference between a public holiday and a bank holiday?

    In England and Wales, a bank holiday tends automatically to be a public holiday and the day is generally observed as a holiday. In Scotland this may not always be the case.

    Regional differerences
    A handy list of national and regional Bank Holidays in the United Kingdom is provided below which shows regional differences.

    Mondays rule

    With few exceptions, Bank holidays are on Mondays. If a bank holiday is on a weekend, a ‘substitute’ weekday becomes a bank holiday, normally the following Monday.

    Don’t forget to check out the following list if you’re planning meetings or trips in the UK

    Upcoming bank holidays in England and Wales
    2015
    25 December Friday Christmas Day
    28 December Monday Boxing Day (substitute day)
    2016
    1 January Friday New Year’s Day
    25 March Friday Good Friday
    28 March Monday Easter Monday
    2 May Monday Early May bank holiday
    30 May Monday Spring bank holiday
    29 August Monday Summer bank holiday
    26 December Monday Boxing Day
    27 December Tuesday Christmas Day (substitute day)

    Upcoming bank holidays in Scotland
    2015
    30 November Monday St Andrew’s Day
    25 December Friday Christmas Day
    28 December Monday Boxing Day (substitute day)
    2016
    1 January Friday New Year’s Day
    4 January Monday 2nd January (substitute day)
    25 March Friday Good Friday
    2 May Monday Early May bank holiday
    30 May Monday Spring bank holiday
    1 August Monday Summer bank holiday
    30 November Wednesday St Andrew’s Day
    26 December Monday Boxing Day
    27 December Tuesday Christmas Day (substitute day)

    Upcoming bank holidays in Northern Ireland
    2015

    25 December Friday Christmas Day
    28 December Monday Boxing Day (substitute day)
    2016
    1 January Friday New Year’s Day
    17 March Thursday St Patrick’s Day
    25 March Friday Good Friday
    28 March Monday Easter Monday
    2 May Monday Early May bank holiday
    30 May Monday Spring bank holiday
    12 July Tuesday Battle of the Boyne (Orangemen’s Day)
    29 August Monday Summer bank holiday
    26 December Monday Boxing Day
    27 December Tuesday Christmas Day (substitute day)

    Do you need help with Swinglish issues or guidance on professional communications with the UK or internationally? Please do not hesitate to contact on tel. +46 8 5999 4000 or email us at info@londonschool.se.
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  • 2015-09-27 15:07Culture, Language

    Can you name the world's top 10 languages?


    English is often thought to be the world's most spoken language, but in terms of native speakers, it only ranks third. Other surprises are that French, usually deemed to be a world language, doesn't even make the top 10. As for Swedish, it comes in at place 91, outranked even by such exotic languages as Zulu and Kinyarwanda (Rwandan).

    Language    Native Speakers (millions)   Fraction of world population

    1. Mandarin                               935                                              14.10%
    2. Spanish                                 390                                               5.85%
    3. English                                  365                                               5.52%
    4. Hindi                                     295                                               4.46%
    5. Arabic                                   280                                                4.43%
    6. Portuguese                            205                                                3.08%
    7. Bengali                                  200                                                3.05%
    8. Russia                                   160                                                2.42%
    9. Japanese                               125                                                1.92%
    10. Punjabi                                 95                                                1.44%

    You can see the complete list of fact and figures here

    We're not experts in all of these languages but we would be delighted to help you with any questions you have about communicating professionally in English. Please do not hesitate to contact us at The London School of English on tel. +46 8 5999 4000 or email us at info@londonschool.se.
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  • 2015-09-22 15:28Business English, Language

    5 essential elements for automatic replies in English

    It's a short text to let people know you are out of the office. How hard can it be - right? Unfortunately, we come across incoherent and badly spelt texts all the time. Here's a simple and effective check list to put a professional out of office text together and some sample messages in English.

    Checklist for out of office texts

     Thank the sender for his/her message
     Explain how long you will be unavailable
     Explain who to contact during your absence
     Specify your return date
     ALWAYS use spell check and proofread your text

    Some sample messages

    Example 1:

    Thank you for your email. I’m out of the office and will be back on (Date of Return). During this period I will have limited access to my email.

    For immediate assistance, please contact me on my mobile phone on (Your mobile phone number).

    Best Regards,
    [Your Name]

    Example 2:

    Thank you for your message. I will be out of the office starting (Starting Date) and returning (Date of Return).

    If you need immediate assistance during my absence, please contact (Contact's Name) at (Contact's Email Address). Otherwise I will respond to your email as soon as possible upon my return.

    Warm Regards,
    [Your Name]

    Need help with communicating professionally in English? Please do not hesitate to contact us at The London School of English on tel. +46 8 5999 4000 or email us at info@londonschool.se
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  • 2015-09-16 15:53Language, Business English

    Nice ways to say you're sick

    Looking for a little variation on a tired theme? Here are some polite ways of informing your employer that you are unwell.

    1. I'm feeling a bit under the weather

    2. I'm a little off colour

    3. I'm a little peaky

    4. I am not myself /feeling myself

    5. I feel a bit funny

    6. I feel a little out of sorts

    7. I am indisposed

    8. I don't feel too good

    Need help with communicating diplomatically in English?
    Please do not hesitate to contact us at The London School of English on tel. +46 8 5999 4000 or email us at info@londonschool.se.
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  • 2015-09-14 15:58Business English, Language

    How to spell on the phone in English

    Y as in Ylva and S as in Sigurd -  Familiar with the confusion this usually causes? Spelling on the phone in English can be tricky, especially when it comes to names and email addresses. Learn the following list of 26 words and never be misunderstood again.

    The list constitutes The International Radiotelephony Spelling Alphabet, commonly known as the NATO phonetic alphabet and also known as the ICAO phonetic or spelling alphabet and the ITU phonetic alphabet. It is the standard English spelling alphabet.

    A Alfa

    B Bravo

    C Charlie

    D Delta

    E Echo

    F Foxtrot

    G Golf

    H Hotel

    I India

    J Juliett

    K Kilo

    L Lima

    M Mike

    N November

    O Oscar

    P Papa

    Q Quebec

    R Romeo

    S Sierra

    T Tango

    U Uniform

    V Victor

    W Whisky

    X X-ray

    Y Yankee

    Z Zulu

    Need help with communicating professionally in English?
    Please do not hesitate to contact us at The London School of English  on tel. +46 8 5999 4000 or email us at info@londonschool.se
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  • 2015-06-10 16:17Language, Culture

    Your essential guide to English wedding vocabulary


    With just a few days left to the royal nuptials on Saturday, wedding excitement is reaching fever pitch in Stockholm and in the Swedish media. We’ve compiled an essential guide to English wedding vocabulary and idioms which we hope you find useful if you are invited to an English speaker’s wedding, or if you are planning a wedding abroad.

    Getting engaged

    Getting down on one knee (the traditional way to propose marriage)

    Popping the question (asking someone to marry you)

    Introducing your fiancée or fiancé (wife-to-be or husband-to-be)

    Selecting engagement rings

    Shot gun wedding (the term traditionally used for a wedding that is hastily planned and brought about due to pregnancy)

    Wedding planning


    Choosing a wedding dress and possibly a train (material from the dress that covers the floor behind the bride), a veil (to cover the bride’s face) or a tiara for her hair

    Selecting a bouquet of flowers

    Choosing a morning suit (traditional wedding suit for men – a coat with tails and a waist coat)

    Avoiding pre-wedding nerves or pre-wedding jitters (doubts about getting married and wedding stress)

    Drawing up a guest list

    Booking a reception venue (the place where the wedding will be held)

    Compiling a wedding list (a wish list for wedding presents)

    Choosing bridesmaids, maid of honour (chief bridesmaid, also called matron of honour if she is married)

    Choosing the best man

    Organising a stag night (pre-wedding party for men) or hen night (for women)

    A traditional white wedding (usually held in a church)

    A civil ceremony (usually conducted at a Registry Office)

    Booking a honeymoon (the holiday after the wedding)

    The big day

    The groom (the man who is getting married) usually arrives first

    The father of the bride (the woman getting married) usually walks her down the aisle (the passage way in the church leading up to the altar where the wedding ceremony is performed)

    The priest asks if there are any objections to the wedding and says “Speak now or forever hold your peace”

    Exchanging wedding vows (the promises that the bride and groom make to each other during the ceremony)

    The couple exchange rings at the altar and are proclaimed “man and wife”

    The couple sign the marriage register

    Confetti (small pieces of coloured paper) is thrown at the newly wed pair by guests

    And finally, some wedding vocabulary for word nerds

    Bridaller: If the expression "wedding guest" feels too impersonal or generic for your tastes, perhaps you'd like to call your beloved revelers bridallers. The singular of this rare word means "a guest at a wedding”.

    Epithalamion: Defined as "a song or poem in honor of a bride and bridegroom." It is very close in meaning to the word prothalamion; both words are built on the Greek word for “bedroom” or “bridal chamber,” thalamus. The difference lies in their prefixes: epi- means "upon," and pro- means "before."

    Paranymph: One lesser-known wedding word with unisex applicability is paranymph, meaning "a groomsman or a bridesmaid." It translates literally from the Greek paránymphos as "the person beside the bride."

    Need help with wedding speech preparations?

    Among our most unusual and challenging assignments for clients are requests to help them write or edit wedding speeches in English or to translate them into English”, usually when a son or daughter is marrying an English speaker. If you are interested in finding out more about this service or if you need help with other English communications, please do not hesitate to contact us on tel. +46 8 5999 4000 or email us at info@londonschool.se
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  • 2015-06-04 15:28Language

    5 English words that come from the Vikings

    Sweden has made quite an impact on the world. Can anyone have missed ABBA, Volvo and IKEA? But Sweden's international influence started with the Vikings. Not only did the Vikings leave a legacy of   terror and trade, they also had an influence on the English language.  Did you know that the following English words are derived from Norse, the ancient language spoken by Vikings, from which modern Scandinavian languages are derived.

    1. Viking

    This word comes from the Old Norse "vīkingr" meaning "to go on an expedition"

    2. Thursday

    The word Thursday stems from "Thor's Day". Thor was of course the Norse god of Thunder

    3. Window

    Literally translated from Old Norse "vindauga", window means a wind-eye

    4. Knife

    This word derives from the old Norse word "knīfr", put to a lot of use by the Vikings and not exactly a million miles from the modern Swedish word "kniv"

    5. Berserk

    The word "berserk" came into English in the early 19thcentury, as a noun used to describe an ancient Norse warrior who fought with uncontrolled ferocity (also known as a berserker).

    If you are interested in finding out more about this subject or if you need help with your English or English communications, please do not hesitate to contact us on tel. +46 8 5999 4000 or email us at info@londonschool.se
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  • 2015-05-27 15:21Language, Business English

    10 words you should have on your English CV

    Whatever your field of specialisation and regardless of your chosen industry or business sector, there are certain key general competencies that are essential for successful working. We've listed the key characteristics that employers are currently looking for, along with some alternative forms to help you work these words into your CV and letter of application

    1. Tenacious
    Alternative forms: to have tenacity / to demonstrate perseverance / to have staying power / to possess the ability to hang in and work under pressure
    2. Trouble shooter
    Alternative forms:  to trouble shoot / to solve problems
    3. Influencer
    Alternative forms: to influence / to persuade/ to be persuasive / to have powers of persuasion
    4. Initiator
    Alternative forms: to initiate / show initiative / to be proactive / to work proactively
    5. Negotiator
    Alternative forms: to negotiate / to have negotiation skills / to mediate/ to have the ability to mediate
    6. Innovator
    Alternative forms: to be innovative /to be a pioneer / to innovate / to be inventive
    7. Self-motivated
    Alternative form: to be a self-starter
    8. Commercially aware
    Alternative forms: to have commercial awareness /to demonstrate business acumen
    9. Communicator
    Alternative forms: to communicate well / to have communication skills
    10. Team player
    Alternative form: to have a team focus

    Good luck with your job application. If you need help preparing for an interview in English or with proofreading services, please do not hesitate to contact us on tel.  +46 8 5999 4000 or email us at info@londonschool.se
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  • 2015-05-20 10:30Grammar, Language

    Do you make these spelling mistakes?


    Despite the easy availability of spell check tools, it's amazing how often people, even native speakers, misspell common words. Have a look at the following list, which consists of 20 of the most commonly misspelled words in English, to check if they ever cause you any spelling confusion. Remember, good spelling is never noticed but bad spelling sticks out like a sore thumb.



    Correct spelling           Remember   Common misspelling

    accommodation                 two cs, two ms, accomodate
    achieve                         i before e, acheive
    business                  starts with bus, buisness
    calendar                   -ar not –er, calender
    colleague                   -ea- in the middle, collegue
    committed                     double m, double t, commited
    disappear                       one s, two ps,       dissapear
    disappoint                      one s, two ps,       dissapoint
    forward                    begins with for,     foward
    government                   n before the m, goverment
    independent                 ends with –ent,     independant
    liaise, liaison         two i's, liase, liason
    noticeable                    remember the middle e,   noticable
    occasion                     one c, two s’s,       occassion
    preferred                      two rs,       prefered
    separate                 -par- in the middle, seperate
    successful               two cs, two s’s, succesful
    tomorrow                   one m, two rs,    tommorow
    referred                  two rs,      refered
    unfortunately                 ends with –ely,   unfortunatly



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  • 2015-05-12 15:34Language

    10 New English Words for 2015

    If it’s in the Oxford Dctionary of English, it’s official. An entry in this word bible settles all arguments about a word’s validity, from prose to scrabble. Here are 10 new entries that made the cut for the Oxford dictionary in 2015, even though some of them already seem to have been around for a long time. See how many of them you know.

    1. Havey–cavey
    Precariously balanced: unsteady

    2. Earworm
    A catchy tune, piece of music, or phrase which persistently stays in a person's mind, especially to the point of irritation.

    3. Lookbook

    A set of photographs displaying a fashion designer’s new collection, assembled for marketing purposes.

    4. Whitsuntide
    The weekend or week including Whit Sunday. Whitsun (also Whitsunday, Whit Sunday or Whit) is the name used in the UK and Ireland for the Christian festival of Pentecost, the seventh Sunday after Easter, which commemorates the descent of the Holy Spirit upon Christ's disciples.

    5. Whitsuntiding
    The action or practice of celebrating Whitsuntide, or of spending the Whitsuntide holiday somewhere

    6. Mahoosive
    Exceptionally big; huge: “You don’t need a mahoosive bag for a night out.” “The screen is mahoosive.”

    7. Crony capitalism
    (Derogatory) an economic system characterized by close, mutually advantageous relationships between business leaders and government officials

    8. Digital footprint
    The information about a particular person that exists on the Internet as a result of their online activity

    9. Duck face
    (Informal) An exaggerated pouting expression in which the lips are thrust outwards, typically made by a person posing for a photograph

    10. Permadeath
    (In video games) A situation in which a character cannot reappear after having been killed
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  • 2015-03-09 13:28Swinglish series, Business English, Language

    5 Common Swinglish Mistakes on CVs


    English can be very tricky, especially when it’s important to get it right. This is particularly true when writing a CV. As the saying goes, you only get one chance to make a first impression. Short and condensed CVs require concise writing, which usually highlights translation errors. Use spellcheck tools wisely and, if possible, get a native English speaker to proofread your CV for you.

    1. Incorrect translation of the word “kunskap”

    The literal translation of “kunskap” is “knowledge”, but this is often not the right word to use. Consider whether one of the following words would be a better fit:
    • Skills/Skills set
    • Competence
    • Experience
    • A solid grounding in
    • A solid understanding of
    • Information

    2. Incorrect translation of the word “möjlighet”
    The direct translation of “possibility” is another word that is often incorrectly used on CVs and application letters. Consider the following options instead:
    • Ability
    • Opportunity
    • Chance
    • Capacity
    • Capability
    • Potential
    • Method
    • Way

    3. Prepositions
    Prepositions are usually one of the most challenging aspects of learning another language. One mistake, however, comes up time and time again on CVs when referring to results achieved; the use of the preposition “with” instead of “by”.

    Swinglish: Increased/decreased/raised/fell “with” X%
    English: Increased/decreased/raised/ fell “by” X%

    4. Misuse of the word “branch”
    “Bransch” in Swedish refers to an industry or business
    “Branch” in English means filial or avdelningskontor

    5. Overuse of the word “competence”
    The word “competence”, which is the direct translation of the Swedish word “kompetens” is not used at all as often in English as its Swedish counterpart. Try substituting one of the following words instead:
    • Skills
    • Skill set
    • Experience

    If you would like professional help with writing, editing or proofreading your CV or other English texts, please do not hesitate to contact us.  

    The London School of English offers high quality English language training for motivated adults from all professional backgrounds. We give you the tools and skills you need to communicate successfully in your field of expertise and to expand your business and career opportunities. Call us on +46 8 5999 4000or email us at info@londonschool.se for more information about our tailored tuition or simply take our online test to check your English level.
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  • 2015-02-12 14:27Language

    Top 10 ways to say "I love you"

    From the honest and heartfelt to the confessional or romantic, there are countless ways to express this feeling in English. We’ve selected our top 10:

    1. "I'm in love with you"
    2. "I adore you"
    3. "I love you from the bottom of my heart."
    4. "I'm addicted to you”
    5. “I’ve totally fallen for you”
    6. “You’re the one”
    7. “I’m captivated by you”
    8. "You complete me"
    9. “There is no other”
    10."We're meant for each other"

    Have you a favourite? Why not share it with us?

    The London School of English offers high quality English language training for motivated adults from all professional backgrounds. We give you the tools and skills you need to communicate successfully in your field of expertise and to expand your business and career opportunities. Call us on +46 8 5999 4000or email us at info@londonschool.se for more information about our tailored tuition or simply take our online test to check your English level.
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  • 2017-06-27 12:25How to series, Language

    How to be a great guest in English

    Have you been invited to an English speaker’s home? Knowing the appropriate responses makes for a much smoother visit and will greatly boost your chances of receiving a second invitation.

    We’ve listed some key phrases you should know and will point out potential pitfalls you can easily avoid in our next article.

    Do say

    “Thank you for inviting me”

    “How nice to meet you” (if you are meeting other family members for the first time)

    “You have a lovely home”

    “You have a charming family”

    “Could you pass me the salt/x please?” (When sitting at the table and in need of something out of reach)

    “Thank you, that was delicious”

    “It was delicious but I really couldn’t eat any more”

    “You shouldn’t have”/ “You shouldn’t have gone to so much trouble”

    “Thanks for your hospitality/ a delicious lunch/ a lovely evening”

    “You’ve been a wonderful host/hostess”

    “I hope we meet again soon”/ ”You must come over to our place sometime”

    We hope you find these phrases helpful. In our second article on how to be a great guest in English we will cover some common mistakes that Swedish guests often make, both from a language perspective and also in terms of cultural differences.

    The London School of English offers high quality English language training for motivated adults from all professional backgrounds. We give you the tools and skills you need to communicate successfully in your field of expertise and to expand your business and career opportunities. Call us on +46 8 5999 4000or email us at info@londonschool.se for more information about our tailored tuition or simply take our online test to check your English level.
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