Homophones

Homophones are words that are pronounced the same but have different spellings and meanings.

The words but are easy to say but it’s important to know the spellings and meanings og the most common English homophones. Even native-speakers of English sometimes make mistakes in there their writing.

Test yourself with our interactive homophone quiz.

TRY THE QUIZ

Homophones interactive quiz

Did you find this useful? We’re always interested to get feedback or suggestions so feel free to use the comment box below and send us a message.

 


Do you need to develop your spoken and written English? Contact us to talk about doing a  course.

 

Using email templates

Every day, all around the world, business people write hundreds of millions of emails.

However, there is a limited number of different types of business emails. This means that many of the emails you send are very similar. For example, they are emails requesting information, asking for and confirming payment, arranging and confirming meetings and so on. They contain the same standard email phrases. It’s just the specific details that vary.

One way to save time and make your emails more accurate is to use emails templates. A template has the structure of a common email. All you need to do is change the details to fit the specific situation.

Watch the video to see some examples of using email templates.

The emails in the video use standard business email phrases. Download this pdf for more information about those phrases.

DOWNLOAD


If you have any questions or comments, leave a reply below.

Do you need to write emails in English? Contact us to talk about doing a writing course.

 

Story Writing Project – Travel Vocabulary – Part 7

Atfer a break for the summer, here is part 7 of our story.

You can catch with parts 1, 2, 3, part 4 and parts 5 and 6.

~ My trip to Paris ~

Part 7: The Eiffel Tower

I remembered I could use the internet and the navigation system on my phone. This was a very good idea. I only needed to walk for ten minutes to get to the hotel.

It was a little hotel in an old house. It had lovely rooms in the French style. A few minutes later I was on my way to the Eiffel Tower, the most famous building in Paris. It has always been my dream to visit it.

Eiffel Tower

It was easy to find because I could see it from the hotel. However, when I arrived there, all I could see were a lot of people standing in queues. I’d understood that you could go up the Eiffel Tower inside the four legs. There are elevators in two of the legs. The other two only have stairs. Unfortunately, one elevator had broken down and its entrance was closed.

I decided to take the stairs because the queue was not so long. When I arrived at the first platform, I was pleasantly surprised by the view over Paris. Then I looked again and I couldn’t believe what I saw.


Many thanks to Angela for writing this part of the story.

Go to Leave a Reply at the bottom of this page and tell us what should happen in part 8.

Story Writing Project – Travel Vocabulary – Part 6

Here is the next part of our story. We’ve highlighted the functional phrases in part 5. Look out for question forms in part 6.

You can read earlier parts of the story here: Parts 1, 2, 3 and part 4.

~ My trip to Paris ~

Part 5: The train journey

I said, “I’m sorry. I don’t speak French. Do you speak English?

Of course,” she said. “You need to go to platform 3. The next train leaves in 5 minutes.”

I thanked her and walked quickly to platform 3. I checked my ticket for the carriage and seat reservation. My seat was in carriage D. It was a window seat but there was someone sitting in it.

Excuse me,” I said. “I think that’s my seat.”

The man said, “Oh! I thought it was my seat.” He checked his ticket. “You’re right. I’ve got the aisle seat. Sorry about that.”

He stood up to let me sit down.

The sights along the journey were very interesting. I saw some beautiful English and French countryside. There were also some traditional buildings in the distance.

Gard du Nord
Gard du Nord railway station in Paris

Suddenly we were travelling through the suburbs of Paris. Finally, the train arrived at the Gard du Nord. I collected my bag and jumped off the train.

As I walked out of the station, I could smell the French perfume which I love. I’d always dreamed of visiting the Eiffel Tower. I wanted to go there straightaway but first I had to drop my bag at my hotel.

I decided to walk to the hotel but after 5 minutes I realised I was lost.

Part 6: Lost!

Paris Street by FreeImages.com/ Javier Rodriguez
Paris Street by FreeImages.com/ Javier Rodriguez

I said to myself, “OMG! Where am I going? Should I go right or left? I don’t know.”

I stopped walking for a little bit to collect my ideas.

“OK, no problem,” I thought. “ I should ask a policeman.”

Luckily, there was a policeman standing on the corner of the street. I went over to him. “Do you know the way to L’hotel de Ville?” I was surprised he didn’t understand me. Maybe he didn’t speak English.

I tried again but I didn’t have a card with the address of the hotel. “What am I going to do?” I asked myself.

Then I had an idea. I got out my phone.


Thanks again to Shehnaz for her ideas for this part of the story.

Go to Leave a Reply at the bottom of this page and tell us what should happen in part 7.

 

Story Writing Project – Travel Vocabulary – Part 5

Here is the next part of our story. We’ve highlighted the linking words and phrases in part 4. Look out for useful functional phrases in part 5.

You can read earlier parts of the story here: Parts 1, 2 and 3.

~ My trip to Paris ~

Part 4: The lost passport

I looked in my bag for a while, however the passport was nowhere to be found. I put my hands on my hips and looked up at the sky. I was so upset!

Passport

At that moment, I noticed something in my pocket. “Here it is!” Fortunately, the passport was in my trouser pocket. I remembered putting it there after I went through the metal detector. I felt so relieved and went towards the passport control.

Since the queue was not so long, my turn came quickly. I handed my passport to the officer, he inspected it then gave it back in a matter-of-fact manner. In the end, I went through passport control without any problems.

Now I needed to check which platform I should go to. I tried to ask one of the station staff. But, they started speaking to me in French!

 

Part 5: The train journey

I said, “I’m sorry. I don’t speak French. Do you speak English?”

“Of course,” she said. “You need to go to platform 3. The next train leaves in 5 minutes.”

I thanked her and walked quickly to platform 3. I checked my ticket for the carriage and seat reservation. My seat was in carriage D. It was a window seat but there was someone sitting in it.

“Excuse me,” I said. “I think that’s my seat.”

The man said, “Oh! I thought it was my seat.” He checked his ticket. “You’re right. I’ve got the aisle seat. Sorry about that.”

He stood up to let me sit down.

The sights along the journey were very interesting. I saw some beautiful English and French countryside. There were also some traditional buildings in the distance.

Gard du Nord
Gard du Nord railway station in Paris

Suddenly we were travelling through the suburbs of Paris. Finally, the train arrived at the Gard du Nord. I collected my bag and jumped off the train.

As I walked out of the station, I could smell the French perfume which I love. I’d always dreamed of visiting the Eiffel Tower. I wanted to go there straightaway but first I had to drop my bag at my hotel.

I decided to walk to the hotel but after 5 minutes I realised I was lost.


Thank you to Shehnaz for her ideas for this part of the story.

Go to Leave a Reply at the bottom of this page and tell us what should happen in part 6.

Story writing project – travel vocabulary – part 4

Here is the fourth part of our story writing project based on your suggestions. We’ve highlighted the useful travel vocabulary in part 3. Look out for linking words and phrases in part 4.

You can read parts 1 and 2 here.

~ My trip to Paris ~

Part 3: Passport control

Passport control - picture from the UK Border Force
Passport control

Luckily, thirty minutes was just enough time to go through the security check and passport control because the queue was short.  At the security check, I opened my bag and took out my smart phone, my e-reader, and my toilet bag and put them into a tray. The security people passed the tray through their x-ray scanner. I walked through the metal detector and it made a “beep” sound!

“Oh, dear. It must my belt,” I said. I took my belt off, put it in another tray and then I went through the metal detector again. This time there was no sound.

I collected my things from the trays and put them back into my bag. Now all I had to do was go through passport control and get on the train. I started looking in my bag for my passport. Where was it? I remembered putting it in my bag at home but now I couldn’t find it.

What was I going to do?


Part 4: The lost passport

I looked in my bag for a while, however the passport was nowhere to be found. I put my hands on my hips and looked up at the sky. I was so upset!

Passport

At that moment, I noticed something in my pocket. “Here it is!” Fortunately, the passport was in my trouser pocket. I remembered putting it there after I went through the metal detector. I felt so relieved and went towards the passport control.

Since the queue was not so long, my turn came quickly. I handed my passport to the officer, he inspected it then gave it back in a matter-of-fact manner. In the end, I went through passport control without any problems.

Now I needed to check which platform I should go to. I tried to ask one of the station staff. But, they started speaking to me in French!


Many thanks to Taichi for this part of the story.

Go to Leave a Reply at the bottom of this page and tell us what should happen in part 5.

Story writing project – travel vocabulary – part 3

Here is the third part of our story writing project based on your suggestions. Part three contains lots of useful travel vocabulary items. How many can you spot?

The story so far …

~ My Trip to Paris ~

Part 1: The start

Last month I wanted to go away for a long weekend. I decided to go to Paris because I could take the train from London and I’ve never travelled on the Eurostar. I booked the tickets and the hotel online and got a great discount so I was really pleased.

I had to arrive at the station half an hour before the train was going to leave because I had to check in and go through passport control. It’s really difficult to park in London so I decided to go by taxi. That’s where things started to go wrong!

Part 2: The cab journey

black cab
Black cab

I took a long time to pack and forgot to book a taxi to the station. Instead, I left my flat and flagged down a black cab.

Unfortunately the streets were very crowded because there was an annual carnival that day! I was very tense as the taxi drove slowly along narrow back streets. Thankfully, I arrived at the station thirty minutes before the train was due to depart.


Part 3: Passport control

Passport control - picture from the UK Border Force
Passport control

Luckily, thirty minutes was just enough time to go through the security check and passport control because the queue was short.  At the security check, I opened my bag and took out my smart phone, my e-reader, and my toilet bag and put them into a tray. The security people passed the tray through their x-ray scanner. I walked through the metal detector and it made a “beep” sound!

“Oh, dear. It must my belt,” I said. I took my belt off, put it in another tray and then I went through the metal detector again. This time there was no sound.

I collected my things from the trays and put them back into my bag. Now all I had to do was go through passport control and get on the train. I started looking in my bag for my passport. Where was it? I remembered putting in my bag at home but now I couldn’t find it.

What was I going to do?


Thanks to Tamara for her idea.

Go to Leave a Reply at the bottom of this page and tell us what should happen in part 4.