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English Expressions from The Sea

It’ll be smooth sailing from here on (also ‘plain sailing’) – easy progress. No big waves or rough sea.

Rock the boat – to do or say something that will upset people or cause trouble. Don’t rock the boat / Don’t make waves.

Like ships that pass in the night – people who meet for a brief but intense moment and then part, never to see each other again. Has that ever happened to you?

That ship has sailed – an opportunity that has passed or a situation that can no longer be changed. – You’ve missed the boat.

“Three sheets to the wind” – someone who has had too much to drink. It comes from a term that originally described a ship in a complete mess, with its sails flapping and moving around in the wind.

“Taking the wind out of someone’s sails” means beating them in an argument, or making them feel less confident in their actions.
Originally, the term referred to a naval maneuver. One ship would pass close to its opponent and block its access to the wind. – very useful tactic in battle.

Between the devil and the deep blue sea (between a rock and a hard place) – entre la espada y la pared – When you face a dilemma. – Going to the dentist – if you go you suffer, and if you don’t go you suffer!



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Words in the News

Remember that ‘news’ is an uncountable noun (some news / a piece of news / I have good news)

deadline – fecha límite, fecha tope
headlines – titular, cabecera
foreign correspondent – corresponsal extranjero, corresponsal en el extranjero
researcher – investigador, investigadora (do research, not make!)
to bury the lead
to cover a story – to report on an event or development
eyewitness reports
breaking news
newsreader (UK) / newscaster (USA) – presentador de noticias

More vocabulary words in the news

To axe – cut, cancel (axe = hacha) – More jobs have been axed at the Toyota plant.

To back – respaldar – support, agree with. Will you back me if I ask for a pay rise?


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Would and Used To

We use used to and would for past habits. Things that we don’t do now or that are not true now.

I used to live in London.
I used to work in an office and I would get the bus to work every day.
What did you use to do in Belfast that you don’t do now?

We can use ‘used to’ and ‘would’ to talk about repeated past actions:

When I was growing up in London I used to/would go to the park with my best friend and play football.
We’d cycle to the local park and we used to meet up with other kids to play for a couple of hours before lunch.
I used to want to stay longer, but Graham would always make sure that we were home in time for lunch.



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A History of Britain in 20 minutes

The Celts settled in Britain around 700 BC history of britain

The Celts are ancestors to many people in Scotland, Wales and Ireland (and also England).

A famous Celt is Boadicea. She fought against the Romans. The Celts often had female leaders.

The Romans occupied most of England and Wales in 43 AD. They built a wall along the Scottish border, called Hadrian’s Wall (after the Roman Emperor Hadrian) to keep the barbarians in the North.
The Romans stayed in Britain for a long time. By the 5th Century, they were losing control and the Angles and the Saxons attacked Britain.
Then, in the 9th century the Vikings came from Scandinavia attacking monasteries, killing monks and stealing gold and silver.
The Vikings stayed in Britain for almost 300 years. They were finally defeated by the Saxon king, Alfred (Alfred the Great) – the first great Anglo-Saxon King of England.
In 1066, the Norman invaders from France, under William the Conqueror, defeated the Anglo-Saxon King Harold and took control of the kingdom, introducing many French words and customs.
During the Middle Ages, England became one of the strongest nations in Europe.


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