Modal verbs – must/must not

Must and must not are somewhat unique among the modal verb pairs. How can the positive and negative form of a verb mean the same thing??? Read more about it here

Past Simple Verb Categories

The past simple is probably the hardest tense to learn in English in terms of the wide variety of irregular verbs. While these sometimes fall into categories, identifying whether a verb should fall into one category or another can be a difficult if not impossible task. For example, ‘cleave’ (to cut something in two) becomes…

A Review of Conditionals and Conditional Sentences

Conditionals sentences are an integral part of the English language. They are used every day in many situations; from the bank to driving to giving directions, they can be found just about anywhere. Let’s go through a review of conditional sentences. Basics of Conditional Sentences While conditional sentences come in many forms, shapes and sizes,…

Hedging

Time to get out the trimmers! No, not that kind of hedging!! Hedging is an important tool that all writers should have in their arsenal, especially when writing in an academic or scientific context. But what is hedging? Hedging is a writing style used to make the meaning of a sentence less absolute. For example:…

A New Series of Posts

As I mentioned in a previous post, I have recently started teaching English at Friedrich-Schiller-Universität in Jena, where my focus is on teaching Scientific English (along with General English) for Natural Sciences. I have been enjoying this quite a lot, but as I have been busy, my blog has fallen by the wayside. In an…

Steg, Liechtenstein – Halfway up the Liechtensteiner Alps

Making our way up from Triesenberg, the next stop in our trip through Liechtenstein was in Steg, a small village in the Liechtensteiner mountains. It is accessible only through a tunnel. Steg is so small that its population is simply added to the municipality of Triesenburg rather than counted separately. The grand total population therefore…

Great Vowel Shift

Have you ever wondered why English pronunciation is so difficult? Why are words written one way but pronounced in another? In addition to English’s bastard origins, there was a great event over a couple of centuries of extreme linguistic and phonological importance called the Great Vowel Shift. Questions, questions? So what is this Great Vowel…

Black Forest (Schwarzwald), Germany – Here there be witches

The Black Forest (Schwarzwald) is a major feature of the state of Baden-Württemberg. It runs from flatter areas in the north to mountains separating Switzerland and Germany in the south. The Schwarzwald contains a cornucopia of geography, geology and topography. These include mountains, valleys, large lakes and even the largest waterfall (in Triberg) in Germany….

Ruine Hochburg, Germany – Defending the entrance to the Black Forest

As I promised those who follow this blog on Instagram, this blog post is on the Ruine Hochburg (High Castle Ruins). The Ruine Hochburg is located in Baden-Württemberg near Freiburg im Breisgau between the villages of Emmendingen (where I used to live) and Sexau. Originally known as Hachberg, the castle was built in the 11th…

Puns – Watt is Love? Baby don’t Hertz me, don’t Hertz me, no Morse

A pun is a joke that exploits the different possible meanings of a word or the fact that there are words which sound alike but have different meanings. Puns are rife in languages that have words called homophones, or multiple words that have the same or similar pronunciation but have different meanings. English is rife with…

Saxon Switzerland (Sächsische Schweiz), Germany – A hike through nature

On the border between Germany and the Czech Republic lies a natural park called Saxon Switzerland (Sächsische Schweiz). The park lies in the Elbe Valley (the river runs through Austria, the Czech Republic, Germany and Poland) and attracts nature-lovers both locally and internationally due to the abundance of nature trails and climbing spots (which literally…

Wartburg Castle, Germany – The birthplace of religious resistance

Eisenach is a town in western Thüringen (Thuringia). It is well known for its UNESCO World Heritage site, Wartburg Castle. This town has a surprisingly star-studded history: Martin Luther translated the Bible from Latin to German in Eisenach, Johann Sebastian Bach was born here in 1865, and hosted the famous writer/statesman Johann Wolfgang Goethe, all…

Partnach Gorge (Partnachklamm), Germany – Olympic hiking

When one thinks about Germany, the usual stereotypes that one has of German culture is from Bavaria, with its Oktoberfest, Lederhosen and Oom-pah music. One of the things that you think about with Alpine culture is the mountains. However, did you know that there are other famous geographical formations around the Alps? How about Partnach…

Pont de Pedret (Pedret Bridge and Church of Sant Quirze), Spain – High in the mountains

Since around the 10th century, a church and bridge of some kind have stood in a secluded location near the River Llobregat near the town of Berga. Fast forward eleven centuries and today, the Pont de Pedret and the Església (Church) de Sant Quirze still stand. The Inventari del Patrimoni Arquitectònic de Catalunya (Inventory of the…

Pembrokeshire Coast National Park, Wales – Mum wants to live by the sea

Pembrokeshire is well known for its Pembrokeshire Coast National Park. Can you guess where it is?Pembrokeshire. Can you guess what it contains? The majority of the Pembrokeshire coast. The Pembrokeshire Coast National Park is also the only national park in the UK created primarily for coastal areas. The only non-contiguous parts are a few port…

Oystermouth Castle, Wales – Guarding the Bay

One of the castles overlooking Swansea Bay is Oystermouth Castle in Mumbles, the village of the rich just outside of the city of Swansea. Oystermouth Castle has a thousand-year-old history, although the present castle of stone has only been standing for around 800 years (and underwent refurbishment, meaning they added a few things like a visitors…

Antigua

So my travel posts so far focus on Europe (which, admittedly, is where I have done the most travelling and is the most recent). However I would like to begin to rectify this imbalance with a post about a wonderful island in the Caribbean that I visited in July 2009 named Antigua. In 2009 Antigua was…

Blog Premise

Welcome Hello everyone! My name is Jamie and I have decided to start a blog that documents some happenings in my life as I move from my student life to a more professional one (but still fun, I hope!). “WHO IS THIS GUY? WHAT ARE WE DOING HERE?,” I hear someone yell from the back…