• Robo Writer

    As if there weren't enough challenges facing the EFL profession -  we are surely a dying breed! 

  • The Joy of Prepositions

    After commenting on the dedicated grammar guru who corrected the same mistake 47,000 times on Wiki, I have been thinking about the changing use of prepositions and whether such changes are justified or lasting.



    The article that caught my eye this week was the one about a so-called grammar vigilante who has corrected the same mistake on Wiki 47,000 times. Bryan Henderson has even developed a software program to help him in his seven-year mission. Presumably after a hard day at the office, he comes home, has a quick cuppa and gets down to work. Is he an obsessive or is he providing a public service? Certainly, after various stories in the British press, he must be pleased that so many of us have made a mental note to get it right next time.

    So what is the offending word? 

  • Words, Sex and Gender

  • Words, Sex and Gender

    This time I venture into the cultural war-zone of gender and vocabulary. I have recently seen two things that have  led me to this topic. First, I happened to come across an old BBC clip featuring a German stand up comic who tells us that English suffers language deprivation as our nouns do not have a 'gender' and consequently our articles (the and a) do not change according to the gender of the noun. German, as most of you surely know, enjoys not two but three genders - the famous der, die, das of our teenage classroom years.

  • Memes and Themes

    There is nothing quite like meeting a word every teenager knows, but you don't, for making you feel you are in the wrong generation. The same thing may happen with teenage music (how many people over 25 would recognise a One Direction hit) but as a language teacher you feel that words are your world and therefore you should be 'in the know'. This is especially the case as words have an etymology and surely the meaning can be derived from the Latin/Greek/French/German root. So it is with Meme.

  • The Rise and Rise of the Phrasal Verb

    Set up, start up, ramp up, tie up.....

    Listening to a TV interview in which the CEO of Ocado was talking about his company's new partnership deal with one of the UK's big supermarket groups, I was struck by the number of phrasal verbs and nouns that are increasingly used in business. And I don't mean so-called buzz words just normal business words.

  • 'Eton Style'

    In the last couple of weeks there have been two wonderful news stories involving Eton College - and, as some of you surely know, Jackson Junior attends this school in the eternal hope that it will instil a love of learning and culture into his teenage brain. For this reason, I tend to notice these stories and they are too good not to share.

  • Food Talk

    Another thing our students are interested in - or maybe worried about - when they come to Park House is the food. Of course it goes without saying that they are also interested in the English tense system, differences between adjectives and adverbs and how to form beautiful and grammatically correct questions, but food is most definitely up there alongside 'if' conditionals.

    As many of you know, our two cooks Jeannette and Miriam, are pretty talented and in the evenings we enjoy such tempting delicacies as - well let me give you a couple of menus from last week:

  • Bike Talk

    One real trend that we have seen at Park House this year has been an interest in cycling. Over the years, we have had many cycling enthusiasts at Park House but this year has been exceptional. Maybe it's the effect of the London Olympics (Team GB does seem to be rather good at cycling) or maybe it's the triumph of 'Wiggo' in the 2012 Tour de France. Bradley Wiggins rode his bike down the Champs d'Elysee in July to become the first Briton to win the world’s greatest cycle race since it began in 1903.