Category Archives: Learning English

Idioms & Collocations: Colours

Do you have a blue sky dream?

It was Millennium Eve December 31st 1999. Several of us were musing about where we might be in 10 years’ time. I hadn’t given it much thought, but chipped in that I would perhaps like to live abroad again, having spent an enjoyable year in Lausanne back in the 70s. And so it came about: 10 years or so later, we moved to Puglia in Southern Italy. That was my “Blue Sky Dream.”

I am now using this as a lesson intro: “What’s your blue sky dream?”. The lesson then develops  into a discussion about other idioms using colours. I am not a fan of prescriptive lesson plans; I much prefer a student led lesson based loosely around my prompts. Here is my list of “colour idioms” which I dip into at regular intervals.

  • Black & white
  • A black hole; a black look, blacklisted, in the black, Black Friday
  • As white as a sheet,
  • Purple with rage, to hit a purple patch
  • A red rag to a bull, a red line, to turn red/red faced, in the red, a red letter day, a redneck
  • Feeling blue, blue sky dreams, once in a blue moon
  • Green with envy, a green-eyed monster, to give the green light to, green (inexperienced)
  • Browned off, a brown study
  • In the pink
  • To have a heart of gold
  • Every cloud has a silver lining
  • Incandescent
  • Rainbow alliance


This interactive tube map reveals where London’s second languages are spoken – Now. Here. This. – Time Out London

Welcome to multi-cultural Britain. A fascinating piece of research.

This interactive tube map reveals where London’s second languages are spoken – Now. Here. This. – Time Out London.

Word Banks: Keeping track of vocabulary

This is great. An excellent way to increase your vocabulary is to build connections, using as a starting point, the words that are most relevant to you . We all have different interests and therefore different needs when it comes to vocabulary. This tool is easy to use and a super point of reference. Thank you teknologic for sharing.

Word Banks: Keeping track of vocabulary.




Gobbledygook Recruitment Ads

Here’s a gem from LinkedIn who are rapidly becoming market leaders in the field of meaningless drivel, Learning English is hard enough without this dross.  The job is for a Sales Clerk in an office…


We’ve transformed ourselves in the last year with our exceptional and passionate global team of employees. We hire talented, motivated, interesting, people who think global and then we empower them to create outstanding results. We are looking for a candidate for the title of Associate Customer Success Manager for our growing team in Italy.

The right candidate will be responsible for maintaining and improving installed base customer relationships as a means to fostering customer satisfaction and creating new business opportunities in partnership with the larger $%£&?!!! team. This candidate will also play a critical role in the delivery of world-class client support. The Associate will be working closely with Senior Customer Success Manager(s) and also with other Customer Success Support members to help regional sales teams with operational and technical support. The CSS Associate will also be responsible for responding to technical and non-technical customer queries in their Italian and English. The success of the candidate will be measured in terms of customer satisfaction and efficiencies created within the regional sales team they support.

In bocca al lupo to all who can be bothered with this.Image

Native Speakers Don’t Learn Grammar.

ApostrophesIt was very noticeable, when teaching French & Italian in UK schools, that few students and alarmingly many young teachers, had had  any practical training in the correct use of English grammar. Nowadays, with the increasing use of mobile technology, it is all too easy to disguise errors in the cause of “efficiency” and to promote the mantra of speedy communication being more important than spelling & grammar. It is an interesting debate. I do not know whether the writer of this sign was a native speaker or not but I am beginning to wonder if (when ?) non-native speakers will soon overtake native speakers in their knowledge and correct usage of English. Certainly the former are adding to and enriching the language. The latter, unfortunately, seem to be travelling in the opposite direction.