MonthAugust 2014

English conservatories

A conservatory is an extension or room that is usually attached to one side of the house using glass roof and walls. It is known by other names including greenhouse, sun-room, and solarium, among others. By Britain standards, a structure is considered a conservatory if at least half of its side wall area is glazed and at least three-fourths of its roof is glazed with translucent materials such as glass or poly-carbonate sheeting.

The first known English conservatories were made during the 16th century. They were owned by rich landowners who started cultivating citrus fruits which only normally grew in warmer regions such as lemons and oranges. For places that have cold climates such as England to enjoy tropical plants and flowers, there is a need to provide for the right environment through conservatories. Conservatories eventually served other purposes such as venues for tea parties, breakfast areas or simply covered areas in gardens.

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Improve your English vocabulary with 10 great alternatives to “Good”

Are you tired of always saying “good”? Maybe you’d like to try some new English vocabulary words instead? Using new vocabulary might not make you more popular or happier…, but it probably will make you smarter, and also improve your ability to communicate – which can lead to many other good things!


In addition to being used to describe temperature, “cool” also means very good or fashionable. For example, you might describe stylish clothes as “cool” or a performance by a musician that you really enjoy.

It can also be used to express acceptance when someone makes a suggestion. For example, if someone suggests meeting to go to a movie, you could say “Cool! I’ll see you at 6pm”. Like “awesome”, “cool” is a popular expression for younger people, and you shouldn’t use it in more formal conversations.

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The famous Redbox

To many, the red telephone box is something rather unique on England’s streets. In a modern England where everyone is well equipped with mobile phones, there really isn’t much need to visit a little cubicle and search the pocket for 30p. However, in its heyday the fast disappearing red telephone box was a real beacon of comfort provided you didn’t have to queue for too long.

In the past, it was a true life-saver for people who had no home telephone, and it also offered not only privacy but also shelter for users. Many old English people I know often say it was a kind of public amenity in which you didn’t mind waiting for the rain to stop. Some people also claim to have had their very first kiss in one, much to the entertainment of curious passers-by of course.

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IELTS Writing: Letter-Broken microwave oven

You recently bought a piece of equipment for your kitchen but it did not work. You phoned the shop but no action was taken.

Write a letter to the shop manager. In your letter

1. describe the problem with the equipment
2. explain what happened when you phoned the shop
3. say what you would like the manager to do.

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Words in the news: Detox


Do you sleep with your smartphone or tablet by your bedside? Do you check your email, Facebook page or Instagram the moment you wake up? Do your family members implore you to look up from your phone?

You might need a digital detox.

Constant use of email, social media and constant news feeds can be damaging to one’s health, according to several recent studies. Internet addiction disorder is now a recognised problem. Indeed, when frequent internet users turn off their devices, they undergo withdrawal symptoms similar to those experienced by drug users, according to a 2013 study at Swansea and Milan Universities.

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IELTS Writing: Letter-Moving to the new house

You have recently moved to a different house. Write a letter to an English-speaking friend. In your letter

1. explain why you have moved
2. describe the new house
3. invite your friend to come and visit

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