This page features only the updates for 2020. Click here for 2019, 2018, 2017 and 2015-2016.
16 December 2020
Here is my final update for 2020, and this week we complete the perfect tenses article with focus on the future perfect and future perfect continuous. A reminder that I've also updated my controversial Christmas Blogspot text. If you aren't already familiar with it, it is an expanded text for my students outlining why Christmas in Poland isn't as good as the ones I'm used to. But it is tongue-in-cheek and not meant to be taken seriously! I hope you enjoy it for what it is and allow for the fact it also moans at the British Christmas too. Finally there is the addition of the annual collection of Miserable student quotes from the past year. Merry Christmas everyone, and let's hope that 2021 can only be better.
Miserable student quote: 'If you rearrange the letters to 'Merry Christmas', you get 'Mr Starchy Miser'. That describes some people at Christmas perfectly...'
9 December 2020
Another seven days closer to Christmas and this week, well, I've excelled myself a bit. As well as uploading the next part of our tenses feature, with the explanations for the past perfect and past perfect tenses, I've also updated my controversial the Christmas Blogspot text. If you aren't already familiar with it, it is an expanded text for my students outlining why Christmas in Poland isn't as good as the ones I'm used to. But it is tongue-in-cheek and not meant to be taken seriously! I hope you enjoy it for what it is and allow for the fact it also moans at the British Christmas too.
Miserable student quote: 'There's nothing like the joy on a child's face when he gets a PlayStation box containing the socks I got him for Christmas.'
2 December 2020
Well, it's nearly Christmas - although for many of us it won't be like a normal Christmas thanks to that pesky COVID-19, but the weeks leading up to it will be busy for me on this site - yes, there will be updates every week leading up to Christmas! It's all down to a brand new feature, with hopefully nice, detailed, easy-to-understand explanations on how the present perfect tenses work. This was meant to be one of my student conversation topics, but it took on another life, becoming such a big feature that I've had to spread it over three pages and three weeks. So let's begin with our introduction and then the present perfect tenses...
Miserable student quote: 'You know, worrying can be a good thing because most of the time the things you worry about never happen.'
3 November 2020
Apologies for the delay in any new material, but to be honest I have just been so busy I haven't been able to think about anything. So this week I'm going to add another one of my texts to Blogspot, and as a follow-up to the last blogspot about conspiracy theories, I'm going to discuss all the theories revolving around COVID-19, all of them pretty much coming from unspecified and uncredited sources from the internet. As before, it's laid out as a discussion topic, so if your teacher feels free to discuss this with you, please do.
Miserable student quote: 'I had a terrible holiday with everything going wrong visiting Chalapy, Kuznica, Jastarnia and Jurata. Quite simply, I went to Hel and back.' (If you're Polish and know your country's geography quite well, you're more likely to understand this one-liner.)
9 September 2020
This week in Blogspot: Do you always believe what you are told by your government? When something strange, unexplainable and/or fantastic happens, do you usually accept official explanations? Do you believe that there are many happenings from history that we haven’t been given all the information about? Do you think there are secret agendas affecting your life, country or even the world that we don’t know about? In my latest blogspot entry, I look into what is a conspiracy theory, why people believe them, and using a certain air crash that killed a president as a case study. It also mentions COVID-19 in passing...
Miserable student quote: ''Going to bed early. Not going to parties. Not leaving my house. Doing my homework. All my childhood punishments have now become my adult goals....
2 September 2020
This week I've updated the fifth part of the history of the English language to take into account events in the EU once the UK leaves at the end of 2020.
Miserable student quote: 'A cat has claws at the end of its paws; a comma is a pause at the end of the clause.'
13 August 2020
This week I have provided an area of my website to deal with two very similar words; in What's the difference, we have room and space.
Miserable student quote: 'Three intransitive verbs walk into a bar. They sit. They drink. They leave.'
6 August 2020
Another piece of text for my blogspot, and this week is some text that I'd originally written for one of my conversation lessons that would be connected to the subject of email. But as the quiz was about writing emails, a reading text solely on spam seemed too disconnected with the subject, so I've decided to put it here and, instead, have to write something else on email. I don't think my students would be that interested in my spam files, but you might. Behold: the history of spam, the rubbish I received and a few warnings on it.
Miserable student quote: 'What is the definition of irony? When someone writes 'Your an idiot.'
15 July 2020
It's officially my summer break, but, well, anyway, I thought I'd add another entry to my blogspot, and this week, I look at whether I have simply got too old to appreciate modern pop, or is today's 'pop' simply 'pap' that won't be remembered in the future, unlike songs from late 20th century?
Miserable student quote: 'I bought a book on really excellent and useful bathroom and kitchen sponges for washing and cleaning. I thought it was very absorbing.'
23 June 2020
Officially this is the last update before the summer break, but I may add more stuff over the next ten weeks or so; it just won't be weekly (like recently). This week in Not4GrammarBores we have the same word used for two areas of language: accent.
Miserable student quote: 'I thought my friend said that the city where he was studying was full of psychopaths... until I visited the place and it was full of cyclists on special roads for bikes.'
10 June 2020
Nothing new in the subject of English this week, although a new comic strip now appears in cartoony universe.
Miserable student quote: 'The only time I was perfect was in the information I presented on my CV.'
3 June 2020
To 'celebrate' the fact that I've lived in Poland now for just over 22 years, here is an extended blog from one of my discussion texts about those first few months and years being here. And it was a very different world.
Miserable student quote: 'Having a girlfriend or boyfriend is practice in finding that special person who will annoy you for the rest of your life.'
27 May 2020
This week we've added a little more information on the subject of transitive verbs, plus a new Not4GrammarBores glossary entry in the form of ambitransitive verbs.
Miserable student quote: 'I just went to the optician to get my eyes checked and found out I’m colourblind. This diagnosis came completely out of the purple.'
13 May 2020
I can't believe I haven't included transitive and intransitive verbs. Or three-word phrasal verbs. I was preparing a new section for the site on phrasal verbs, checked the Not4GrammarBores glossary to add that phrasal verbs are always transitive and... then realised there's nothing. Whoops. So these words have been added this week. I don't know how long it will take to prepare the phrasal verbs feature (I have a normal job and family life to do as well), but hopefully I'll get something up by the end of the month.
Miserable student quote: 'I often wondered why a baseball bat is so dangerous. Then it hit me.'
6 May 2020
This week: well, I don't quite know what to make of this short story submission, but it's so weird I just had to publish it...
Miserable student quote: 'I told my girlfriend that the last thing I want to do today is clean the toilet. She said, 'Good, as it’s still on today's list.'
29 April 2020
This week we've added extra information to our text on the participles been and gone in What's the difference.
I'm also in the process of updating the individual introduction pages in Examples so that they now list actual example sentences and not page numbers. First up: Misunderstandings, colloquialisms, wrong words and false friends.
Of course, we've added some more new terms have been added to our Coronavirus glossary As things stand, I don't plan to add any more entries and will leave the page as it is unless there are any new significant words, terms and names to be added. So check out the page and find out about contact tracing, contact tracing apps and many more.
Miserable student quote: 'You realise what a boring life you led when a coronavirus happens and you have to make zero changes to your lifestyle.'
22 April 2020
Some more new terms have been added to our Coronavirus glossary, although I'll give it one more week and then I'll leave it, although if there are any other interesting updates to add, then I'll add them. So check out the page and find out about care worker, health care assistants, community carers, domiciliary carers, clap for carers, and many more.
Miserable student quote: 'When I entered my second day of self-isolating watching TV at home I found a nice lady sitting on my sofa. Apparently she's my girlfriend."
15 April 2020
I hope that, under the unfortunate circumstances that we have all found ourselves in, that you all managed to have a happy Easter holiday. No real new stuff to add this week although new terms have been added to our Coronavirus glossary. There's been a lot of new and perhaps unfamiliar vocabulary connected with COVID-19. So this may be a good opportunity to get to know some of them (with more to be added, I'm sure). So check out our and find out about Johns Hopkins University, fomite, Li Wenlaing, and many more.
Miserable student quote: 'During this difficult time, introverts are now considered experts on the field of "How to keep yourself from dying of boredom."
8 April 2020
Within the media, both in the English-speaking world and abroad, there's been a lot of new and perhaps unfamiliar vocabulary connected with COVID-19. So this may be a good opportunity to get to know some of them (with more to be added, I'm sure). So check out our Coronavirus glossary.
Miserable student quote: 'I now find it strange that, in a complete role reversal to my teenage years, I'm shouting at my parents for going out.'
1 April 2020
Something that has been finally fixed in Not4GrammarBores: we now have the explanation for the term weak form.
Miserable student quote: 'Perhaps the most unfortunate anagram for coronavirus is the adjective meaning 'animals that eat meat.'
25 March 2020
A new question added by a reader who asks: Do you write or type emails? Doctor Dot Fullstop provides a reasonably detailed answer.
Miserable student quote: 'One other thing I hate about the coronavirus: I can't cut short a phone call to say 'Sorry, I have to go out'... when I can't.'
18 March 2020
A nice little musical blog describing what could be the first example of a punk approach to music: the Portsmouth Sinfonia.
Miserable student quote: 'I saw an injured man who said, "Call me an ambulance". So I said, "Okay, you're an ambulance." Ah, the old jokes are the best.'
11 March 2020
Only an extra N4GB entry this week: we already have the term base; now we're adding base form.
Miserable student quote: 'My friend told me he was going out of his mind. Then he said he'd be back in five minutes.'
4 March 2020
How do you correctly pronounce all those past tense verbs that end in –ed? Well, if you have always wanted to know, here is my handy guide on how to say them properly. Check out -ed; how to pronounce regular past tense endings.
Miserable student quote: 'My doctor told me he hasn't got any patience. Then I realised he meant he worked in an empty hospital.'
26 February 2020
Two new additions to add to Not4grammarbores, and we're going to start filling in some of the gaps that are still in 'A': active (verb form) and adjective clause.
Miserable student quote: 'I've got a friend who enjoys pretending to be false people. I told him to get real.'
19 February 2020
A possible new feature for TEE? A short story for you to read, but with the rule that it should not be more than 1500 words. See what you think.
Miserable student quote: 'I've been spoken to about flaps on the back of cars to help create drag. But I can't tell you what they are called yet - spoilers!'
12 February 2020
Another new addition to Blogspot - this time, asking questions about nimbyism. What is nimbyism? What is a nimby? For all learners of English, here's a reading, vocabulary, and comprehension exercise for you.
Miserable student quote: 'They say money talks. Mine only says goodbye.'
5 February 2020
We're going back to our Top Ten Typical Errors In English article to add some little bits of extra information, and some minor rewrites to help explain one or two things a little better.
Miserable student quote: 'Alcohol is the best solvent ever. It dissolves everything, including relationships.'
29 January 2020
This week, we are looking at an expanded text from the book which has been inspired by the Top Ten Typical Errors In English article, and it's in translations: How and why: the two most confusing of question words.
Now a note to all you so-called web designers who have been bugging me over the last few weeks wanting to offer me your services. I've fixed the problems associated with the phone display version of these pages, so please do not ask for my help. I know some of you are also a bunch of con artists, going by the quality of your English...
Miserable student quote: 'I used to work for an envelope factory, but due to financial problems, it eventually folded.'
22 January 2020
For those of you who know me for my real job, I often put together texts, often edited and rewritten from other articles, to present to my students as conversation topics. Sometimes, however, these topics can, after a while, seem a bit dull and uninteresting, or even go out of date. This is one situation, so I've written a new text for my conversation students, but rather than just scrap the old one, I'll present it in my blogspot index and you see what you think. The topic: Old age!
Miserable student quote: 'I met an American who, for some reason, could only say 'trousers, trousers, trousers.' I thought he was just talking pants.'
15 January 2020
Realistically, nothing new has been added to the site unless you count the fact that the update pages have been updated to take into account that we have started 2020. Plus, of course, we have a new one-liner joke. But that's it, I'm afraid...
Miserable student quote: 'I was once arrested for stealing a rotisserie. I was grilled by the police but they could seer I was innocent.'
8 January 2020
Happy New Year and all that!
We're going to start with some old news (but not to us).
Quizzes and exercises: On Thursday, 7 November 2019, Collins Dictionaries announced their shortlist for words of the year. Many of these words have even entered the lexicon of many other European languages. Apart from French, of course, as they've probably insisted on having their own, well, 'French' versions of these words. So I'm pretty sure you know what they mean, but just to check, I've given you THREE possible meanings of these words. So can you choose the best meanings to these new words?
Miserable student quote: 'I was having dinner with a chess champion. Unfortunately we had a checked tablecloth so it would take him an hour to pass me the salt.'