Phrasal Verbs

Phrasal Verb: To Look (Something) Up

Recently, I was chilling out with a friend. He was very occupied on his laptop so I wondered what he was doing.

I asked him: “What are you up to?” (What are you doing?)
He replied: “I’m just looking up new startup companies on Amazon.”

He was looking up new companies because he was trying to find some specific information. He was doing research because he is going to start a company on Amazon. So, to look up something means to find some information about something specific. He was researching new companies (something specific) to find some information to help his new business (competitors, prices etc).

You can also look up a word in a dictionary. For example:

Student: “Teacher, what does this word mean?”
Teacher: “Why don’t you look it up in the dictionary?” This means, look in the dictionary to find the word you don’t know.


Which word have you looked up in the dictionary recently? Write a sentence below and I’ll check it!

Tips And Advice

Tips for learning English: 11 – Listen and imitate

Listen and imitate. When I was learning Portuguese, I learned so many phrases by listening to a famous Brazilian singer (Seu Jorge) and repeating exactly what he was singing. I obviously did this alone in my room because I didn’t want to inflict my voice upon anyone!

My method was to listen to his songs and find songs not too difficult to copy. Firstly, I played the first line of the song and then copied what he said out loud, then secondly, repeated the process with the first line until I could say the words at the same speed and with similar pronunciation as him. After a few times of doing this with the whole song, I started to write down what I heard phonetically while I was listening (not the correct spelling most of the time!) and then analysed how the words joined together to create fast and fluent speech. It didn’t matter that I had no idea about some of the vocabulary or what the vocabulary meant. This exercise focuses purely on your English pronunciation and something called connective speech.

In the English language, a lot of words in a sentence are joined together based on consonants and vowels, making this exercise really useful for that. Take your time with one song, don’t change the song too quickly, continually practise the same song for a week or two, and then after that, you can look for any unknown vocabulary in a dictionary. And it really doesn’t have to be a song you love, it’s more about practising natural and authentic speech.

Listening to a singer and repeating what they say improves;

  • pronunciation
  • fluency
  • sounding natural
  • listening skills.

This method helps to join your words together in a more fluent and natural way. Start with slow music or something that you like. Listen Pause Imitate Repeat Listen Pause Imitate Repeat. This is especially useful for people whose language has different rhythms such as Spanish, French, Italian and Japanese.



Tips And Advice

Tips for learning English: 10 – All skills are linked!

All skills are linked. Listening, writing, reading, speaking – they’re all linked. If you’re main goal is to learn how to speak better, it could help you to write phrases down and repeat them, or listen carefully to what other people say. If you want to improve your writing, reading will definitely help you with sentence structure and grammar. If you want to improve your pronunciation and vocabulary base, you can listen to music or watch films and copy what you hear. You can do this in the comfort of your own home. Even if reading is not your cup of tea, or you feel too lazy to write, get motivated to do a little bit, even once a week. It really helps your overall progress.

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Tips And Advice

Tips for learning English: 9 – Find a speaking buddy

Find a speaking buddy. Okay, it sounds simple and I know this isn’t very easy BUT these days there are so many apps available to help you find someone to share your language skills. You can find a TANDEM partner with who you can exchange languages. You can speak for some time in your language with that person and then you can switch to English for some time. It’s a great way to practise conversational English and improve your confidence and the best thing is that it is free, it won’t cost you any money. Repeating conversations makes you CONFIDENT too so repeating topics with your tandem partner can work well. I used to practise my Portuguese with a Brazilian student on Skype, so it’s definitely possible.

This website works well. Click here >


Tips And Advice

Tips for learning English: 8 – Guess the meaning of words

Deduce meaning from context. This is a tip that most teachers use and it works well for more advanced learners of English or students preparing for exams such as IELTS or CAE/FCE. If you’re reading and you don’t understand one word, try to figure it out, try to guess the meaning of the word. Try to see if you can understand the context of the sentence and what that word might mean in context. Is it a positive or negative word? What kind of word is it – noun, verb, adjective, adverb? Is the word used to show contrast? What is the sentence about and what is the tone of the writer? Can you understand the general meaning of the whole sentence or paragraph without understanding one or two words? Sometimes this doesn’t always work but if it’s just one word you don’t understand, you probably can continue without needing to know it. You can write it down and look it up later. Happy reading!

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Tips And Advice

Tips for learning English: 7 – Read what you enjoy

Read about something you like in English! You will enjoy your English learning experience if you read about what you are interested in. If you like to keep up-to-date about the news, read online news websites, if you like fantasy fiction, read Harry Potter. There are many grammatical functions in different genres of reading material, for example in the news you will find passive sentences and reported speech, while in fiction books you will find creative writing with lots of adjectives and adverbs, and in magazines you might find more informal, colloquial language. There is so much material out there for you, so read what you enjoy in your spare time. You don’t have to read a lot, just little every day. And if you find reading in English difficult or you are new to reading in English, try children’s books (Children’s Books on Amazon).

Reading can help;

  • improve and expand vocabulary base,
  • sentence structure,
  • grammatical structures (passive, reported speech, direct speech + more)
  • the rhythm of English and pronunciation if you read aloud.


So, what are you waiting for?

If you would like to practise your reading, writing, speaking or listening skills, contact me by clicking right here for an informal chat.

Tips And Advice

Tips for learning English: 6 – Read Aloud

Read aloud. It works. When you’re reading anything, and if you’re alone, read out loud. In front of a mirror! You may feel silly doing this one but it’s very useful for your reading skills, pronunciation and mastering the rhythm of speaking in English. It’s good to know how to have a natural reading rhythm, in any language and if you do it in front of a mirror, or record yourself, you will see how the shape of your mouth changes. Don’t worry about feeling silly or embarrassed, nobody will see or hear you!

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Tips And Advice

Tips for learning English: 5 – Embrace your mistakes!

When you learn English as a second language, you are going to make mistakes. It’s a fact. In my experience as a teacher, every student I’ve taught has made mistakes. In fact, this is one of the biggest reasons why some learners are scared to speak in English. It’s easy for me to say but the rule is: don’t be afraid of making mistakes!

Mistakes help teachers understand your problems .. and if you’re speaking to someone and they don’t understand you, try again. It’s okay! It’s all in the mind because nobody really cares if you make a mistake while you speak. When you are free while speaking, you will naturally improve your confidence, and if you improve your confidence, you’ll improve your speaking fluency. It’s a cycle! Of course, focusing on your problems and being open about them can help you improve more quickly. Mistakes can be corrected by a teacher or by a language exchange friend. Be open about your mistakes – it’s a great way to improve.

Remember: EVERYBODY makes mistakes – you NEED them to learn, in life and in learning a language.

If you want me to correct your mistakes and improve your fluency, contact me 🙂

Tips And Advice

Tips For Learning English: 4 – Record your improvement

When you learn anything, it’s such a good idea to record record your improvement. It’s no use only focusing on what you think is difficult while learning English. Many students just forget or don’t know the benefits of recording their improvement. It’s good to focus on your problems but only to improve on them, only to solve them. Keep a diary, write down what you learnt or practised in the week. If you learnt a new word today, make a note of it. If you find 5 new words through reading, write them down. If you successfully had an easy conversation with someone in English, write it down. If you remind yourself of your improvement and what you’ve practised, you will feel more positive about your learning experience. Take small steps, remind yourself of every step and you’ll know you are reaching your goal.

Tips And Advice

Tips For Learning English: 3 – Be open about any difficulties

Be open about your English language problems. While learning English, you will experience individual problems specific to you. If you have any problems with English, be open about them. It’s OKAY. Identifying and knowing your problems will help you to focus on what you need to improve. It could be basic grammar or it could be using phrasal verbs in context or even pronunciation – it doesn’t matter. Life is full of problems but there are solutions to everything. So focus on the problem and work on it to make it better.