William Blake quote

My wrath JPEG


Economics news: British economy – the 2013 Budget

Every year in March, the Chancellor of the Exchequer (the politician in charge of our economy) must present the Budget, which is effectively a set of new economic policies for the year and details of how the country’s economy is performing.


George Osborne holding the traditional Budget briefcase

George Osborne holding the traditional Budget briefcase

The Chancellor, George Osborne, presented the Budget on Wednesday and, unfortunately, it mostly was not good news, the main problem being that growth of the economy was much lower than predicted, although the UK will not go into recession again.


This is a particularly bad omen for the coalition government, including Mr Osborne and David Cameron, who are under severe pressure due to the economy performing less well than they basically promised.


Please read here a BBC article summarising the key points:



Meanwhile, elsewhere in Europe, it is a critical weekend in Cyprus as the government is trying to work out how to get a new bailout (loan) from the EU:


British English vs American English: more key vocabulary

British English vs American English key vocabulary 2 JPEG

English conversation practice: special guest star


Here my brother (special guest star Rob) and I discuss common daily subjects in special English conversation practice lesson. Please see notes and resources below.




A vegetarian is someone who doesn’t eat meat. (Including fish.)

Rob is a vegetarian.

There are vegetarian products in UK supermarkets and animal rights groups who campaign.

People may choose to be vegetarians because they don’t like the taste of meat, are against mistreatment of animals, believe animals deserve to be treated like humans, or for health reasons.


Studying at university

Can start at 0900 and finish at 1800, but unusual to have lessons all day.

Lectures, tutorials and laboratory sessions are different.

Socialising at university: clubs and societies

Examples of clubs: caving; hiking; kung fu; kite-surfing; athletics; French; maths; chemistry

Joining clubs relevant to you is one of the best ways to meet new friends at university.




Pop (popular)




Rob likes classic rock, for example David Bowie, Led Zepellin and Dire Straits



Means talking like other people (normally celebrities)

Rob impersonating David Tennant (Scottish actor)

Rob impersonating David Attenborough (English wildlife presenter)

Rob impersonating Lloyd Grossman (British-American television presenter)

British introductions and greetings (featuring special guest star)


In this lesson I, Chris, and my brother, Rob, (special guest star) discuss common introductions and greetings in British English, giving brief example conversations.

Please see notes below. Suggestion by Mojtaba.




Nice to meet you

Good to meet you

Pleased to meet you

A pleasure to meet you

(It’s) a pleasure

How do you do?

What do you do? (What is your job?)


Shaking hands

We shake hands the first time we meet someone but not after. If you are meeting a friend, you do not shake their hand.

Shaking hands is commonplace in other situations such as finishing a game of sport, like football.





How are you?

Nice / good to see you again



How’s it going?

What are you doing?

What’s going on?

What’s new?

Learn British English: telephone vocabulary


Key preposition: “on”

Use “on” to describe when someone is talking “on” the telephone:

“I am on the telephone”.

“She can’t speak to you right now – she’s on the phone”.


British vocabulary and slang

“Blower” is a slang synonym for “telephone”.

“Lisa’s on the blower.” (Lisa wants to talk to you on the telephone.)

“Phone” = “Telephone”

British English calls handheld phones “mobile phones”, or just “mobiles”.

“Can I please have your mobile number?”

“Cell phone” is the American English term – not used in the UK.


Please see the visual below (via English is Fun) for phrasal verbs.

Telephone phrases via EIF

“The mind is its own place…”

Milton JPEG

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