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February 14, 2018
by Bloomsbury International

The Meaning of Love

“Nothing is mysterious, no human relation. Except love.”
Susan Sontag

Hi Everyone,

Welcome to the month of LOVE!

Valentine’s Day is upon us and once again shops are filled with cutesie love hearts and chocolates. Florists are brimming with roses, restaurants are making preparations for this wonderful day and anywhere you go there is always a reminder- online promotions and deals, TV/radio ads, shopping suggestions on free commuter magazines. It’s madness! As the date draws closer the hype gets stronger and stronger and people find themselves going doolally trying to find the perfect present for a loved one or a date for this fateful night:

GOTTA get a date, GOTTA get a date, GOTTA get a Valentine’s date!!!!

The meaning of love, Red gerbera flowers, glitter hearts and ribbons

The importance of being loved or finding love has clouded our judgement as millions of pounds are being spent around the world to inform someone that you have a crush on, fancy or love them.  So has Valentine’s Day lost its true meaning?  Shouldn’t  it be less about the showy things and more  about the simple things, like passing a note to a sweetheart during class, or just smiling or plucking up the courage to speak to someone you have fancied for months on the bus?

valentine's day coupleLOVE… what a word! Such a mysterious and all-encompassing word.

In many languages there are different ways of expressing love.

For example, in Portuguese I love you would be translated to Te amo, but there is another way to tell somebody that you care for them dearly, which is  eu gos to (I like you a lot)

The same applies to Italian with Ti amo and Ti voglio bene, in French with Je t’aime and  je t’aime bien and even in German Ich liebe dich and Ich mag dich.

However, in English we only use one expression, and that is I love you, and it can mean different things depending on who you are speaking to. Let’s look at some examples:

To a partner

I love you is often whispered softly into an ear, or uttered after a lingering stare. You all know this feeling, don’t you? This is the most romantic use of the expression and shows commitment and a strong connection to the other person.

To your best friend

  • I love you is often said to a friend after a couple of drinks (or more!) and what it really means is “You are my friend and I really, really like you, and you get me, so I will stick with you through thick or thin, and I am a bit tipsy but you know what I mean” usually followed by a bear hug and a couple of tears.
  • I love you could also mean “thank you” to a friend for helping you out when you are in difficulty: “I can’t believe you agreed to help me move….I love you!”

To your hairdresser

When you say “oh my god, I love you” at the end of your hair appointment, you want to tell your hairstylist that that they did an amazing job and that you are extremely pleased with your new haircut.

To a colleague

You can use I love you when you have managed to get somebody to cover for you or agree to something.

“So you can come in early to cover my shift? OMG I love you!” or in this conversation

Fay: “I’m rushing off to class and I don’t have time to photocopy page 75.”

Simon: “I’m free now. I’ll do it for you.”

Fay: “Thank you sooooooo much. I LOVE you!”

To your barista

Imagine you are a regular at a coffee shop and after a night out you come in looking and feeling a bit worse for wear and your coffee is made without you even ordering it. As you collect your coffee you sheepishly say “Oh my God, thanks, I love you!”

This I love you means “I am so totally grateful that you acknowledge me every day and that you remembered my order, particularly when I NEED coffee the most!”

To a shop assistant

You can use I love you when your size is unavailable on the shop floor and the shop assistant goes out of her way to find your item in the warehouse.

When she arrives holding your item you shout out “I can’t believe you found it. I absolutely love you” in delight.

These are just a few examples, but my point is, don’t be afraid to declare your love on any day of the year, not just on Valentine’s Day!

Happy Valentine’s Day!

February 1, 2018
by Bloomsbury International

How to Say “Hello” and “Goodbye” in English

Hello and Goodbye!

The first time you meet someone it’s polite to greet them. The way you greet someone depends on the situation and the relationship you have with the person. There are two types of greetings: formal and informal, and we will be looking at them in detail.



Sentence Response Sentence Response

How do you do?

I’m doing well, thank you, and you?

How do you do?


It was nice meeting you.



 Nice meeting you, too.



Hello, pleased to meet you.

Pleased to meet you, too.



It was a pleasure to meet you.


Pleasure to meet you, too.


Good Morning,

Good Afternoon,

Good Evening





Have a good day.



Thank you. You too.



The MOST formal greeting in English is “how do you do?”. This greeting is used most frequently in the workplace, or to show respect towards somebody who is older or more important than you. The most obvious response to this greeting would be “I’m doing well, thank you, and you? ”, however, most people just repeat “How do you do?” right back, and it is perfectly acceptable to do so.

Giving a handshake at school

A: How do you do?
B: How do you do?

Another variation of this greeting is “Hello, nice to meet you”. This is a polite way of introducing yourself and is often followed by “Pleased/Nice to meet you, too”.

Greeting someone according to the time of day is another popular form of greeting. Please be aware that Goodnight is never used, unless you are saying “goodbye” to someone after an evening meal, drinks or event. If you are meeting someone at 9pm before a meal or an event, remember to use “Good evening”. A more informal way of using these types of greetings is to shorten them and simply say “Morning”, “Afternoon” and “Evening”. The best way to reply is to repeat the greeting back.

Informal Sentences:

Greetings Goodbyes
Sentence Response Sentence Response





Nice meeting you.

Take it easy.

Have a good day

You too, bye
How are you? I’m fine, and you?

All right, and you?

Ok, see you soon.

See ya.

How’s things? Pretty good. How/What about you? Take care. You too, bye.
How’s it going, (mate)? OK.

Not bad.

How/What about you? I’m off. OK, bye.
How’re you doing?

How’s life?

Hello, how are things with you?

Very well. Pretty good.

Not Bad.

How/What about you?  

I’ve got to go.

See ya.

Bye for now.

See you later.


What’s up? Nothing much, and you?

Nothing special, and you?


So long

See you later.

Catch you later.

See you soon, bye
What’s new? Not much. I’m good.
All right, mate?

All right!

Yep, pretty good

Yep, hunky dory.


Have a good one. You too.

Hello is the easiest and most popular way of greeting someone in social or semi-social occasions or even in some relaxed workplaces. This is often abbreviated to Hi or Hiya! Hiya is an abbreviation of ‘How are you?’ but in most cases there is no need to say ‘How you are’ and all you need to do is repeat Hiya back.Words hello

All the How questions are pretty informal and are usually used to greet somebody you know or have met before. In response it is polite to show an interest in the person and to follow your reply with “what/how about you?” or something similar.

The degree of formality in What questions is very low as the relationship between the speakers is well-established. You probably know what they have been up to, hence the answer, “nothing much.” The respective goodbye response in such situations in the UK are Catch you later and a Have a good one (a cool way of saying have a good day!).

(often pronounced “y’rite”)

This greeting is British through and through and literally means “are you all right, my friend?” Nowadays, it simply means ‘Hello, how are you?’ between close friends and family. The informality transpires in the answer as well (Yep, and you?/ Yep, hunky dory/ Yep, hiya!).

Time to Say Goodbye Text written on notebook page

January 18, 2018
by Bloomsbury International

Homophones, Homonyms and Homographs (with Examples)

Homophones, Book with flying letters art.This week’s topic is about homophones, homonyms and homographs.

Have you ever been confused about a word that looks like another word or sounds like another word but has a different meaning?

If the answer is YES, then try reading this sentence out loud. Did you notice anything strange?

“This mourning eye went too sea to friends. Won has long hare and the other won’s had there hare died blue.”

Well, if you say the sentence out loud, the sentence seems to make sense, but if you look at it in detail it is incorrect. This is because the sentence is full of words that have the same pronunciation of the words that should be there.

E.g.: eye=I

Can you find the others? Clue: There are 11 mistakes in total.

Words that have the SAME PRONUNCIATION but a DIFFERENT MEANING and SPELLING are called homophones.

Some examples are:
To, too, Two  /tu:/
There, their, they’re  /ðɛː/

Homophones are very common in English and you can find a full list here:

Girl blowing blue bubble gum near pink wall➢ Can (n) = a metal container for drinks like “a can of Coke”.
➢ Gum (n)= short for chewing gum or bubble gum
➢ Gum (n)= the soft pink flesh above your teeth




These types of words are called homonyms.
You can find a comprehensive list of homonyms here:


Now, there is a third category of words called homographs. These are words that have THE SAME SPELLING but have DIFFERENT PRONUNCIATION and MEANING, depending on the context.

➢ object (N) /ˈɒbdʒɛkt/= a thing that can be seen and touched.
There are many objects on the shelf.

➢ object (V) /əbˈdʒɛkt/= say something to express one’s opposition to or disagreement with something
“We all wanted to have pizza, but my parents objected.”

➢ Polish (adj) /ˈpəʊlɪʃ/= relating to Poland, its inhabitants, or their language.
“Have you ever tried Polish food?”

Polish sour soup made of rye flour

Polish Sour Soup

➢ Polish(v) /ˈpɒlɪʃ/= to make the surface of (something) smooth and shiny by rubbing it.
“I need to polish the table. It’s looking a bit dull.”

➢ Bow(V) /baʊ/ = to bend the head or upper part of the body as a sign of respect or greeting.
My teacher bowed to the Queen when he met her.

➢Bow(n) / bəʊ/= a knot tied with two loops and two loose ends, used especially for tying shoelaces and decorative ribbons.
“I’ve never learned how to tie a bow in my shoelaces. I just knot them.”

➢ Bow (n) / bəʊ/= a weapon for shooting arrows, typically made of a curved piece of wood joined at both ends by a string.
“Robin Hood used a bow and arrow.”

Statue of Robin Hood

Statue of Robin Hood

A full list of homographs can be found here: List of English homographs.

So to summarise, here is a table that will help you understand the key differences:

  Meaning   Spelling Pronunciation   Example
 Homophones  x  x  I/eye
 Homonyms  x  Gum/gum
 Homographs  x  x  Object/object

Now I think you are ready for a bit of practice!
Look at the poem below and choose the correct alternative:

Angry Friend
Wear/Where were you yesterday
Who were you meating/meeting?
I saw poor /pour John waiting
Out there in the reign/rain
I know/no you were busy
And had not much time/thyme,
Sow/So now I’m going to give you
A peace/piece of my mind!