1. Mind your head: Be careful not to hit your head
Mind your manners: Be nice!
Mind the gap: … between the train and platform
Would you mind + -ing …?: Is it a problem if you help me do something?
Do you mind?!: You’re bothering me. Get out of the way!

    Mind your head: Be careful not to hit your head

    Mind your manners: Be nice!

    Mind the gap: … between the train and platform

    Would you mind + -ing …?: Is it a problem if you help me do something?

    Do you mind?!: You’re bothering me. Get out of the way!

  2. Think there’s only one “English”? Think again. Came across this word, busking, for the first time in my life, today while walking the streets of London. It struck me immediately as British English — the mere sound of it in my head was of the Queen, not a cowboy.
In any language — yours or another’s — there are tricks to learning the meaning of words you don’t know. Using context and environment are key. Here, I was near a large construction site. It was clear the authorities wanted to keep the area clear, no one hanging around.
What sort of people hang around? Homeless and beggars. Also musicians and street performers.
Check the dictionary: How close was I?

    Think there’s only one “English”? Think again. Came across this word, busking, for the first time in my life, today while walking the streets of London. It struck me immediately as British English — the mere sound of it in my head was of the Queen, not a cowboy.

    In any language — yours or another’s — there are tricks to learning the meaning of words you don’t know. Using context and environment are key. Here, I was near a large construction site. It was clear the authorities wanted to keep the area clear, no one hanging around.

    What sort of people hang around? Homeless and beggars. Also musicians and street performers.

    Check the dictionary: How close was I?

  3. On this week’s Saturday Night Live, Sofia Vergara and “Penelope Cruz” (played by Kate McKinnon) demonstrate the difference between hard and easy English words. Some are very hard to pronounce

  4. German “angst”. English “angst”

    Anna, a reader of English mit Bill, points out that the German word, angst, is also used in English. It means almost the same thing, too. Look it up here.

    Often, “angst” in English is in the context of adolescence and puberty — those wonderful teenage years.

    Thanks for the note, Anna!

  5. The Daily Show with Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
    The Borscht Whisperer
    www.thedailyshow.com
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    How does Russian sound in English? Threatening. Daily Show’s Jon Stewart gives a funny lesson in why it’s important to choose the right word and phrase carefully. If you don’t, the whole meaning — though grammatically correct — may be wrong.

    Also another fine reason bilingual dictionaries and translators aren’t helpful: They know the word, but not the context.

  6. Unsure of a word I’ve used? No problem!

    There may be words here you don’t understand. That’s ok. For vocabulary I think might be a little difficult, I’ve made that word a link to a definition. Click the link and learn more about that word. Then come back to read more.

    It’s as easy as that!

  7. Vocab for lawyers →

  8. Forget LEO. You need a real dictionary! →

    Language learners understandably rely on translators and bi-lingual dictionaries to help them with vocabulary. It seems logical and it feels easy.

    Really it’s slowing down your ability to understand the language you want to learn.

    You probably don’t believe me (of course you don’t, which is why you have your trusty translator in the first place). So think of the English verb ”get”.

    It has a lot of uses. How many? Click here to find out. Your translator or bi-lingual dictionary can give you a translation, but without knowing the context, chances of finding the correct translation aren’t very good.

    You need a real, English dictionary. I reccomend Merriam-Webster’s, the leading dictionary for American English. You can go to it using the headline link, or check out their dictionary for learners.

    Real dictionaries give you lots of great information that will help you understand a word and build your vocabulary. Not only do you get the definition, but also pronunciation, part of speech, spelling, and a list of synonyms and antonyms (sometimes found in a thesaurus).