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English Teacher Jonathan
Works at English Teacher Jonathan
Lives in UK
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English practice recommendations: Video

I strongly recommend a BBC drama/comedy from last year called Marvellous to people who want to practise their English through listening and video. You can download this show from the Internet. It tells the story of a man with so-called learning difficulties who manages to achieve a lot of different things in his life. In fact, you could say he achieves than many people who don't have learning difficulties. Watch the trailer below to see if you might be interested in this story.

If you watch the program or have already seen it, you can add your comments below to tell others what you think!
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Learn British English slang on Google Plus

#49 a spud  (n) = a potato

Example: I think you need to buy some spuds if you go to the supermarket.
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Thank you 
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#47 as thick as two short planks  (phrase) = describes a person who is very stupid

Example: Don't ask him to do it. He's as thick as two short planks.

Note: A plank is the name for the piece of wood you can see in the picture. Usually, a plank is a long piece of wood. This is quite a rude and offensive way to say someone is stupid and should only be used in suitable contexts.
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#45 a petrolhead  (n) = a person who is crazy about cars and everything to do with cars

Example: My old flatmate Dean was a real petrolhead. He could talk about cars for hours and watched nothing but Top Gear on TV.
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I´m not a petrolhead at all, however I enjoyed watching Top Gear on TV. The presenters were amusing and I always learnt something about cars.
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#43 he/she/they couldn't organise a piss-up in a brewery (n) = describes a person who is unable to do even the most simple possible task

Example: All he had to do was book a table at the restaurant and he couldn't even do that. Honestly, he couldn't organise a piss-up in a brewery.

Note: This phrase seems quite complex but once you understand the vocabulary it's not so difficult to understand. A piss-up means a party involving alcohol. A brewery is the place where beer is manufactured. The phrase means that if someone is in a situation that should be easy to manage, they still can't do it.

Watch the video to listen to an example of how this phrase was used in a modified form to make a joke in the British Parliament a few years ago.
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#41 a shambles (n) = a mess or untidy place or a very disorganised situation

Example: Can you please tidy up your bedroom? It's a complete shambles.

Note: A shambles often describes a place but it can also describe something that people are doing wrong or badly. For example, if you were working on a project with other people and it was a disaster you could also describe it as a shambles.
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#40 to have a face like thunder (n) = to look angry

Example: A: Sir Alex Ferguson has a face like thunder because his team is losing the game

Note: This phrase is usually used to describe a person who looks angry and is also silent and not saying anything. You don't use this expression to describe a person who is actively being angry. For example, a person could enter a room with a face like thunder or someone could be sitting on a chair with a face like thunder. If two people were arguing passionately with each other, you wouldn't use this phrase to describe their faces.
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Learn British English slang on Google Plus

#50 to know your onions (phrase) = if a person knows their onions it means they are very knowledgeable about a subject and how to do things in the correct way

Example: You should ask Dave to help you with that. He really knows his onions.
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You really know your onions +English Teacher Jonathan. Please lend me some!
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#48 What time do you call this?  (phrase) = a phrase used when another person is late to show your anger or disapproval

Example: A: What time do you call this? B: Sorry I'm late.

Note: This phrase usually expresses the fact that you are unhappy with another person because they are late. It is an example of a rhetorical question because there is no answer to the question. It just expresses your disapproval of another person's lateness.
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#46 tara  (interjection) = goodbye

Example: A: See you later! B: OK, tara.

Note: Tara is a very casual and informal way to say goodbye in the UK. I always think it sounds very cheerful when people say it, as if they are in a good mood. The pronunciation is 'tuh-rah' so it starts with a short vowel sound and then finishes with a long vowel sound.
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#44 a wet blanket (n) = a negative person who spoils other people's fun and enjoyment

Example: Don't let John come our trip, he's only going to be a wet blanket and take the fun out of everything.

Note: There is another way to say something similar in English which is the word party-pooper. This has more or less the same meaning as a wet blanket.
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#42 a scaredy-cat (n) = a person who is easily frightened by things

Example: Come on! Don't be such a scaredy-cat. It's only a mouse.

Note: This word always has a negative meaning and suggests that a person is being weak or pathetic in their fear of something.
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At the university I knew the cleverest programmer who was very shy. As it usually happens he liked a wonderful girl a lot. But even her approaching made him a scaredy-cat. Fortunately, after couple terms he acquired some confidence and started dating with another beauty
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Online English Teacher
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Teaching English as a Foreign Language
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  • English Teacher Jonathan
    English Teacher, 2005 - present
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Online English teacher working with English learners from all over the world using Skype and screen-sharing software. I'm using Google Plus for a series of posts about British English slang.
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My name is Jonathan and I've been working as an online English teacher since 2005. Visit my website at English Teacher Jonathan to find out more about my online teaching system.
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