Study Online English


Hobby and Exercise Phrasal Verbs

Hi Everyone!
Phrasal verbs help people sound more fluent when speaking English, especially in the English speaking exams!


Here is the transcript of the lesson and links with the explanations of the phrasal verbs. Enjoy!

  • Hi, this is Amy from Study Online English. Today I’m going to teach you some phrasal verbs that you can use to talk about exercise, or to talk about a hobby.
  • So, at the moment I’m on my way to the gym to try out a new class. So, Try Out means to see if I like it. Okay. So you might try out a sport. You might try out tennis, or you might try out yoga, might try out knitting, creative writing, etc.
  • So, you go to the gym to work out. So, to Work Out is to do exercise. So, it could be swimming, tennis, walking in the evening, anything. So, that’s called Working Out.
  • So, when you decide to work out you take up something. So, you Take Up a sport. So, for instance, you would take up running. You could take up aqua-aerobics. So you would say, if someone said, “What have you been doing recently,” you could say, “Oh, I’ve taken up running.” You can also use take up for hobbies. So you could say, “I’ve taken up creative writing.” “I’ve taken up learning English.”
  • So when you go to the gym, and start a class, usually you Warm Up first. So you warm up, which basically means you do easy exercises before you do more intense exercises. Then at the end of class you Cool Down. So you do some stretches. You do some slower movements, breathing exercises, etc. so, warm up and cool down.
  • Next phrasal verb, give up. Give Up basically means to stop doing something. So you might say, “I’ve had to give up running, because I hurt my knee,” or, “I’m going to give up swimming, because I have no time.”
  • I’ve left a description of all the phrasal verbs I’ve spoken about in this lesson below, but if you have any questions please do not hesitate to ask. So if you like this video please Like, or Subscribe!
    The Phrasal Verbs:
    Try Out:
    Work Out:
    Take Up:
    Warm Up:
    Cool down:
    Give Up.


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How to Speak Like a Native English Speaker – IELTS Speaking Preparation


In this video, you are going to hear a conversation between two native English speakers. It will help you to learn new vocabulary and phrasal verbs, such as: finish off, look forward to, take care of, look after, without a doubt etc.

For people preparing for IELTS, it is really helpful because a lot of the questions I ask are used in IELTS but also in normal everyday conversations. Listen to the way I ask Katy questions to keep the conversation going because a lot of examiners do the same. They want you to express yourself as confidently as possible.

The transcript is below with links and explanations of the phrasal verbs, vocabulary and phrases that we used in the conversation.

Happy learning!


  • Hello, this is Amy, from Study Online English, and you’re going to hear some more conversations with native English speakers.
  • This is my lovely friend, Katy.
  • This is Katy, who we bought the birthday present for.
  • Did you like your handbag, Katy?
  • Oh, I loved it.
  • Fantastic, and how was your day?
  • Did you have a busy day at work?
  • Busy day at work, finishing off the month, and just getting ready now for Easter holidays  Finishing off the month means finishing all the things you need to do such as, the policies or accounts. To finish something off:
  • And do you want to tell everybody what you do?
  • I’m an insurance agent, nothing too exciting, but hey.
  • Katy is one of the sportiest people I know. Katy, what are your hobbies? What have you been doing this week? Sportiest: A sporty person enjoys sports and is good at it. Sportiest is the superlative
  • Well, what have I been doing this week? I’ve been walking, cycling, and doing some obstacle training, as I quite enjoy Spartan races, obstacle races.
  • Can you explain what Spartan Race is?
  • Spartan Race is basically between eight and 10 kilometres and about twenty obstacles. Obstacle: an object that you have to go around or over : something that blocks your path
  • I wouldn’t be able to do that.
  • Oh, I’m sure you could. I’m certain you could
  • I wouldn’t mind doing a mini one, one day. One day I’ll come with you.
  • Exactly, why not?
  • So who introduced you to it?
  • Well, a friend of my sisters actually introduced me to it last year.
  • She said to me, “Why don’t you train for that?” and I was like,(my reaction) I wasn’t quite sure at the time, because I actually had a friend that did it a few years back(a few years ago) and I was like no, no, no, that’s definitely not for me, a bit too intense. And I did one race, and that was it, I was hooked.(addicted)
  • Do many girls do it? (Many for countable)
  • Quite a few actually. It’s getting really popular, believe it or not.
  • Do you think some people like to train toward something?
  • I think it’s important to have goals sometimes.
  • Have an objective.
  • When you’ve got your nine to five job, or you’re routine, I think it’s just nice, sometimes, to disconnect and give yourself something to look forward to.
  • Look forward to:
  •  Apart from the normal routine of things.
  • Apart from:
  • Yeah, do you think a lot of people are quite sporty here, or do you think it’s a mixture?
  • Oh, definitely. No, I think around here, especially a lot. And I think in general now people are taking more care of their health, you know physically, people are looking after themselves more. Taking care: to pay attention. Look after: you do what is necessary to keep yourself/someone/something healthy and safe or in good condition.
  • – Eating healthier. I just think people are more aware (more conscious) of it now than they used to be. (they were before)
  • Yeah, it’s over what, (how much time) the last 10 years people have become…
  • I think so, definitely. – Yeah, because we live in Spain at the moment, but I’m leaving sadly.
  • We’re going to miss you lots.
  • I’m not going for long. I’m going to go to Ireland for a little bit, to Southern Ireland. And visit my family, and just spend some time there for a couple of months and see if I like it.
  • What do you think people like doing here in their spare time?
  • I think, round here especially, cycling is huge.(huge can for used as very popular) I mean, a lot of people cycle, a lot of people run as well. Things like that. A lot of outdoor activities more so, because the weather’s so good here.
  • Yeah, there’s a lot of people who come and train here…(train for cycling races)
  • Oh, they’re from all over Europe. Yeah, they come and train.
  • They’re cyclist aren’t they? Why do you think that is?
  • I think because of the great weather conditions, more than anything. And it’s prepared for that.
  • It’s got a lot of mountains as well, haven’t we?
  • We have, and that we have for training purposes.
  • Yeah, it’s a bit annoying sometimes though. (however)
  • Yes, I do agree with that, even though I like to cycle, hey.
  • Because there’s just so many of them.
  • How often do you see your friends, how often do you see everyone? (everyone is used when the person knows who you are talking about)
  • Oh, I definitely see my friends a few times during the week.(few: more than two)
  • What, for the odd coffee? Odd:
  • For a coffee, when I’ve got a bit of free time. Coffee, maybe a walk after work, and things like that.
  • Yeah, and how often do you go back to the UK?
  • To be honest, not very often.
  • Do you ever miss the UK?
  • Not that much, I miss my family and friends that I’ve got there, but the quality of life, I love it here in Spain.
  • I must be crazy to go back.
  • I think she is. Are you not going to miss it here?
  • I am going to miss it, but I feel like a need a change.
  • But have you noticed that there’s more… it’s more cosmopolitan everywhere now?
  • I think so.
  • You notice there’s lots of different nationalities everywhere.
  • Definitely, without a doubt.
  • Without a doubt:
  • So if you liked this video, please like. Or?
  • Please subscribe.
  • Thank you!

What are your hobbies?


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Informal and Formal English

Part Oneinformal and formal english

Ways to speak, write a letter, email or even how to send an informal Whatsapp!

As with your native language we always use formal speech when we don’t know the person and for official documents, books, news reports, articles, business letters or official speeches. Once we are friendly with the person we use more casual speech or informal.

Asking for permission

  • Formal: Do you mind if I…? / Do I have your permission to…? / Might it be possible for me to…? / Would it be acceptable for me to…?

  • Informal: Is it alright (for me) to…? / Can I…? / Am I allowed to…?


Making arrangements ( suggesting a time and place to meet)

  • Formal: Would you be available…? /I can meet at 1pm if that is convenient with you.

  • Informal: Are you free…? / … is best for me. /

Inviting someone to socialise together

  • Formal: We would like to invite you to…/ Please find enclosed an invitation to…/ It would be our great pleasure if you could attend…

  • Informal: Why don’t you … (with me/ us)? / How about… (with me/ us)? / Fancy coming to…?

 Offering help

  • Formal: Please contact me if I can be of any assistance (with…). / It is our great pleasure to offer you…

  • Informal: Drop me a line if you want me to lend you a hand (with…)/ Give me a call if you need any help (with…).

I hope you have found this article helpful. Part 2 is coming up with some more useful examples.

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Driving me mad!

diving me mad

Drive someone up the wall

To make someone extremely angry.

  • My flat-mate is driving me up the wall.

Driving me round the bend

To make someone very angry, especially by continuing to do something annoying.

  • You’re driving me round the bend with your constant complaining.

 driving me mad twoDrive someone mad

To feel irritated

  • I wish that person would stop kicking my chair it’s driving me mad.


These are common idioms that you will hear a lot when you are with native English speakers when they want to express that they are feeling irritated or annoyed about something.



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Different ways to express you’re happy

Are you really happy about something???


These are different ways to express you’re happy in English.


Extremely happy:

  • I am ecstatic about my exam results.


A feeling of excitement, energy and pleasure.

  • I’m absolutely buzzing about my promotion.

Over the moonyellow again

To be very pleased:

  • She is over the moon with her new car.


Very pleased:

  • I’m delighted for you. What great news!


Extremely happy about something:

  • I’m so thrilled you’re coming to my housewarming.

yellow happyOverjoyed

Really happy:

  • Emma was overjoyed she got the job with Emirates.


How happy are you today?




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How to use THE


Ive noticed especially in writing activities that some people find how to use THE confusing.

The is a Definite article. The list may seem long but the main rule is: we use the when we are talking about something or someone specific.share_image(1)

We use The in front of a noun when we believe the listener/reader knows exactly what we are referring to

I’ll pass by and collect the children at four o’clock.

or there is only one of those places  in those surroundings:

When you’re in town you must visit the zoo. (there is only one zoo normally in a town)

I’m going to the Eiffel tower.


The is also used to talk about a person or thing that has already been mentioned:

I received the shirt and dress I ordered from a shop on the internet. I really like the dress but the shirt is a little tight.

There’s a position available where I work. The job will involve some international travel.

In a situation where it is clear what is happening:

Could you pass me the salt? Everyone can see it.

Used to talk about a particular person or thing:

I don’t like the comedian. (I don’t like that particular comedian)

I don’t like comedians (in general I don’t like comedians)

To identify a particular person or thing:

The US president is visiting Russia in May.

The sweater is on the chair.

The oranges are on the table.

The man sitting over there is famous.

Use the with countries that include the words “republic”, “kingdom”, or “states” in their names:

The UK



Countries that have plural names:

The Netherlands.

With superlatives:

Everest is the highest mountain on the earth.

That’s the biggest sandwich l’ve never had.

With some adjectives to talk about groups of people:

A lot of rich people don’t know how the poor live.

We must look after the elderly.

When there is one of them in the world that everyone knows about:

The moon.

The sun.

The earth.

The internet.

When we talk about musical instrument:

I already know how to play the piano now I want to learn how to play the violin.

To refer to a system or service:

How long does it take on the train?
I heard it on the radio.
You should tell the police

For certain countries:


The UK


For ordinal numbers (First, Second, Third etc.)

The third house on the left.

The first women on the moon.









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When to use Then and Than

A trick to know when to use Then and Thanthen or than

English has a lot of confusing words especially those words that look and sound the similar.

Than and Then are hard to know when to use even for native users!

The trick to know when to use which is easy! Than is for comparisons so if you are not comparing something: use then.

Let’s talk about then.than and then

Then is used when you want to talk about a sequence of events, giving instructions in a step-by-step order or when time is involved the word then is used.

  • Come over this afternoon; I’ll be ready then.
  • If my flight is cancelled then I won’t be able to go to the wedding!
  • When you reach the traffic light then turn left.
  • Wash the dishes then dry them.

Than is used to compare.

  • A lion is more aggressive than a house cat.
  • I prefer biscuits than cake.
  • The Amazon River is wider than the Nile.

Here is a video explaining it all!

If you would like me to discuss any other words in English you find confusing, let me know by contacting me at:

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Understanding English

Improve your listening skills


Great ideas on how to improve your English listening skills

Languages never stay the same. Think about the place where you are from and the way people speak. Now think about a town or city a hundred kilometers in any direction. They probably speak in a different way to you. For any language learner it is important to learn and get used to the differences in: accent, speed, fluency, pronunciation, emotion and so on.

The best way you can achieve this in English is by exposing yourself to a variety of English accents through listening.

Listen to English as part of your everyday life whenever you can, when you are getting ready in the morning, cooking, cleaning, organizing your house or when you’re exercising.

You will be amazed how your English will improve because without realising you will learn new vocabulary and grammar.

Here’s what can help you!

  • Listen to an English radio station.
  • Watch your favourite TV series or movie in English with subtitles in your own language at first. When you feel more confident watch it only in English with English subtitles.
  • Get an Audiobook of one of your favourite books that you have already read and listen to it when you can.
  • When there is a language exchange event in your area try and talk to as many native English speakers as you can.
  • Listen to podcasts this is a great site it has lots and lots of  great topics to listen to: or google a topic that you are really interested in, e.g. type science podcast etc.

To improve your grammar

Here is a link to a great site of animated videos of conversations that focus on different grammatical structures, such as reported speech, articles and modals. Each video comes with activities and transcripts.

For intermediate to advanced learners

This is a collection of short audio recordings, suitable for intermediate to advanced students, about issues connected with business and academic issues, from biotechnology, eBay and developing creativity.  They are usually monologues

One of the best places to find high quality listening material

Is through the British Council websites and podcasts. They offer a fantastic selection of audio and video materials, most of which contain lesson plans and tasks that you can do.



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How do you say __________?


Sorry could you repeat that please?

When you have trouble understanding someone you can control the speed of the conversation.
It’s important to control the conversation, with nice English expressions that communicate to the other person that you don’t understand something and you need a little help and a little patience.
Listen to examples in this video!

Laugh at your mistakes, smile when you say something correctly.
When you are happy and relaxed you will speak better English!
Don’t worry if it goes badly.
Some conversations will go badly it doesn’t matter. Think about it, conversations sometimes go badly when you’re talking in your own language too! Smile take a break. Start again later.
Most importantly smile and have fun!

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