Category Archives: Vocabulary
Knowing when to use gerunds in English can be difficult. In this blog, we will explore the occasions when it is necessary to use the gerund form.
When a verb ends in “-ing”, it may be a gerund or a present participle. It is important to understand that they are not the same.
When we use a verb in the “-ing” form more like a noun, it is usually a gerund:
Example: Fishing is fun.
The name Bollywood is a portmanteau that comes from Bombay (the former name for Mumbai) and Hollywood, the centre of the American film industry. Unlike Hollywood, Bollywood does not exist as a physical place.
Many people within Hindi Cinema dislike the name. They feel that the name Bollywood makes the industry look like a poor cousin to Hollywood. In 2005, Bollywood was entered in the English Oxford Dictionnary.
Bombay + Hollywood = Bollywood
Why not invent your own portmanteau in English or tell us about your favourite one? We’d love to hear your ideas!
To take up something (usually a hobby, sport or activity)
see also: to start doing…
This phrasal verb is usually separated by its object only when the object is a pronoun – not a noun. Both parts of the verb remain together.
This phrasal verb follows the structure : to take up + object.
“to take up something” means to begin or start doing something (usually a hobby, sport or activity) regularly. Take a look at the following examples:
To bring about something
see also: to cause, to make happen, to provoke
This phrasal verb is not usually separated by an object. Both parts of the verb must remain together.
This phrasal verb follows the structure : to bring about + object.
“to bring about something” means to make something happen or to to cause something to happen. Take a look at the following examples:
“The current economic crisis has brought about a change in people’s spending habits.”
This means that the economic crisis has caused a change in people’s spending habits.
“The riots in Paris brought about the downfall of the French government”.
This means that the riots provoked the downfall of the French government.
The phrasal verb “to bring about” is often collocated with “change”. Other common collocations include: “downfall”, “rise”,”increase”, “decrease”
Describe a photograph competition
Desktop English has launched a monthly photo competition open to anyone and everyone with the prize being a £20 discount on any of our exam courses.
We want you to send us one of your favourite photos (that you, a friend, or a member of your family has taken) with a description of the photo and what it means to you.
Each month will have a theme which will be announced on our Facebook page on the first Friday of each month
The rules are as follows:
Describing photos for Cambridge exams
Remember, Part 2 of the Cambridge FCE and CAE speaking paper is called the “Long Turn”. Candidates are required to speak uninterrupted for a minute about a pair of photographs. You have to describe the photos, compare them, and answer a question about them so the descriptive systems, i.e. grammar and vocabulary, you need to describe your competition photo are the same as the skills you need to succeed in the Cambridge speaking exam. Entering the photo competition is a great opportunity for you to practice for an exam and have your contribution evaluated by trained Cambridge exam specialists.
All winners will be announced on this page and on our Facebook page.
Winners so far….
Month 1 – June 2012
June’s winner was Greg, from Greece. Greg is currently studying for his IELTS exam with Steve. He is a proud Greek and he sends this photo to illustrate the beauty of his country. Next time it could be you winning a special Desktop English prize!
I live in Greece which is a wonderful country, with many beautiful places. For the funs of swimming there are a lot of places with crystal clear water. Especially, chalkidiki has the most beautiful beaches. Also there are many mountains with a significant biodiversity and amazing picturesque sceneries. My favourite place is mountain Olympos, because it is a really virgin place with the biggest variety of plants in my country and also you can breath fresh air and relax far away of the everyday’s problems. Also, It’s a really fantastic place for walking. It’s a so wooded area and it’s got an amazing atmosphere. Here is a photo of that area
Month 2 – July 2012
This month’s theme is “Around the home”. Your photo can be anything associated with your home, family or daily life. Don’t forget, the closing date for this months competition is the 28th July so get your entries in now,
If you want to see all the other competition entries, visit our Facebook page. Don’t forget to keep a look out for the next competition, especially if you want to practise for your Cambridge Speaking paper.
In the second in our series of posts about the true meaning of prepositions in English, we examine the word up and look at how native speakers perceive the word both in isolation or as a particle in a phrasal verb.
Up – It’s real meaning
In this blog, I will demonstrate that the meaning of up is literally a direction (i.e. the opposite of down). Additionally, after hundreds of years of linguistic evolution, it has come to form part of a variety of what are known as phrasal verbs, frequently with a meaning that falls into one of the following categories:
- reconciliation/achieving parity
Understanding the complex meaning of English prepositions
Anyone who has learned English as far as intermediate level will know that English owes at least some of its global success to its relatively simple verb structure and word order. Those who have made it beyond B1 level soon realise that English is, perhaps, more complicated than they thought.
To End Up
Meaning: To finally be in a palce or a situation.
Remember that this phrasal verb cannot be split by it’s particle.
To Bring something up
See also: to mention, to discuss, to vomit
This verb follows the structure: to bring up + object. It is usual for this phrasal verb to be split by its object.
Example: I had hoped that he wouldn’t bring up the argument that we had last week.
Hello and welcome to our new blog on Phrasal verbs. As an experienced teacher of Cambridge exams I have come to recognise many of the phrasal verbs that commonly appear in reading, listening and use of English papers. In this series of blogs, we will take a look at some of these verbs and help you to understand their meaning.
To cope with something
Also to manage, to handle, to deal with.
This phrasal verbs follows the structure: to cope with + object. It cannot be split by it’s object.
The town hall decided to build more houses in order to cope with the increasing number of immigrants.
The meaning of this sentence is that because of the amount of immigrants entering the town, the town hall decided to build more houses to manage the situation. Continue reading