Huh? How to … ask for clarification.

Huh? How to … ask for clarification.

What do you do when you’ve heard the teacher or another student speaking to you, but you’re not sure you know, or understand, exactly what they said? You have to ask for clarification. Here’s how… Sorry? and Pardon? are both used to show we don’t understand someone. If you want to be very informal you … Continued

How to … apologise.

How to … apologise.

In Ireland we apologise for everything. We are so enthusiastic about apologising that we even say “sorry” when we mean “excuse me”. We’re not really sorry, we just want to get past you.       Sorry, I just needed to get that off my chest. So, how do we apologise? The basic and most … Continued

How to … borrow something politely.

How to … borrow something politely.

How to…. borrow something politely (From Manners Matter in the Classroom by Lori Mortenson, illustrated by Lisa Hunt (1)) There’s a right way and there’s a wrong way to borrow things politely in English. Shouting ‘Give me your rubber!’ across the classroom won’t make you very popular; neither will just grabbing it off your classmate’s … Continued

How to … politely decline an invitation.

How to … politely decline an invitation.

It’s break time on Tuesday and the class are talking about going out to a pub tonight. (Is this a night out, or break time on Tuesday?) You like your class and you are very good friends with your classmates.   But you need to study for Friday’s test! (And because you love studying so … Continued

How to … check your work.

How to … check your work.

In a dynamic classroom there are many ways to check the accuracy of our work. We can ask the teacher, we can look up the answers ourselves, or we can work in pairs and groups with other students. They help us and we help them. Warning: do not carry other students on your back, but … Continued

How to … ask for permission.

How to … ask for permission.

Are you one of those students who just gets up and leaves class without asking for permission first? This may seem completely natural in some countries, but in most English speaking cultures this would be considered rude and may even anger your teacher. It’s not just the classroom where you might need to ask for … Continued

How to … greet new friends.

How to … greet new friends.

Monday morning is back again and every Atlas student is full of the usual enthusiasm. Yes, they’ve enjoyed the weekend, maybe been on the school trip, or been out for dinner with friends, but the classroom is where they really get excited! How many new phrases will I learn this week? What will I be … Continued

How to … apologise for being late.

How to … apologise for being late.

It’s Tuesday morning. Your teacher starts the class on time at 9.00am with a snappy quiz to review yesterday’s class. But today there are late-comers.   Who should be sitting in that chair? Perhaps it was the Dublin traffic, or a late night in one of the city’s pubs. Or, maybe you are just enjoying … Continued

How to … organise having lunch with friends.

How to … organise having lunch with friends.

Here’s the first in our series of “classroom language” blogs. And from the start we’ve decided to test the limits of the phrase “classroom language”. As you all know, lessons are not the only way to learn. One of the best ways to practise English outside the classroom is having lunch with friends. In the … Continued