LOS Kudos

Check this out! Some great examples of our students’ progress, and how we at LOS “accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative, latch on to the affirmative and don’t mess with Mister In-Between” (Bing Crosby). Error correction is obviously an important factor in language teaching, but nothing fires up a student like a well-timed and heartfelt pat on the back.

Jarda H. makes PREDICTIONS. Who saw that coming?

Michal makes MODIFICATIONS. He’s changed!

Josef doesn’t just go to the airport, he LEAVES HOME to get there! Not permanently, I hope!

You and I may talk of an Empire, but Jarda V.  talks of an IMPERIUM. He likes to Caesar the moment.

Lukas likes to talk of SLASHES/between/words. So did Freddie/Krueger. 😱

Some things are DOABLE according to Misa N.. Could you make that work?

Misa J. feels an INTERNAL FIRE about her job. Is she ever put out, do you think?

Standa talks about Wi-Fi COVERAGE, but sometimes it is barely available!

Is your day sometimes messy, or CHAOTIC like Jarda H’s? I’m confused.

 
For Misa J., some proposals are simply not ON THE TABLE.  That floored me!
 
Is your area BICYCLE-FRIENDLY? Jana’s is. For wheel!
 
Jarda V. finds certain things UNIMAGINABLE. I can picture that.
 
Lukas talks about building on BROWNFIELD sites. I’m green with envy.
 
Michal’s garden is an IRREGULAR SHAPE. He’s no square.
 
Do you experience a HIERARCHICAL STRUCTURE at work like Tomas? Or is that above your pay grade?

Do you have very bad days sometimes or NIGHTMARES like Misa? In your dreams!

 
One of Standa’s friends recently BAILED OUT of public speaking. Happy landings!
 
Some people see how land stretches out in front of them; Michal sees TERRAIN. It’s one of his good properties.
 
You and I might have repetitive chores, but Jarda V. has REGULAR TASKS. Nice job!
 
Lukas gives a certain amount of AUTONOMY to his staff. Cry freedom!
 
Josef has HIGH EXPECTATIONS of people. I hope they are up to the job!
 
Speaking English has OPENED DOORS for Tomas during his career. That’s key!
 
We might have electricity power cuts, but Petr has OUTAGES. Black to basics!

Jarda H. thinks HUMILITY is important. A modest ambition.

Misa J. arranges ANONYMOUS surveys. Name anyone else who does that!
 
Majorca is Jarda V’s favourite island CURRENTLY, and Lukas’s FOR NOW. There’s no time like the present!
 
Online fraud, or attempted SCAM, as Michal would say? Tricky, isn’t it!
 
Certain things are allowed, or LEGITIMATE as Petr puts it. He’a a law unto himself.
 
Do you have everything you need, or WANT FOR NOTHING like Tomas? Something to celebrate!

Do you put stuff into a suitcase before going on holiday? Why not just PACK, like Jarda? 

Top marks  to Tomas for using MARQUE. I love his brand of English. 

WELL, well, well. This was how Michal told me his cottage has its own water supply.

What connects an apple on the ground and unexpected money? They are both WINDFALLS, as breezily noted by Tereza.

Do you have a way of approaching life or a PHILOSOPHY, like Jarda? Sounds like a plan.

Some people attempt new things, but Michal HAS A GO at them. Nice try!
 
FRANKLY SPEAKING, Tomas is always very direct. What do you really think?
 
Petr sometimes eats BRUNCH. A great mix!

Would you like your work performance to be OPTIMAL like Tomas’s? Best of luck!

If super isn’t  a big enough adjective for you, go HYPER like Lukas!

Do you like a bit of French flavour to the English language? Jarda thinks that may be a FACADE.

NICELY SAID, a student complimented me recently. Back at you, Tereza!

Olga finds certain things PROBLEMATIC. I have no problem with that.

Do you travel to tourist destinations? Or RESORTS, like Michal?

Is the world due for more trouble? Petr thinks A STORM IS BREWING.

Do you think the current political situation is pulling the market out of shape, or DISTORTING it, like Tereza does? I love it when a verb takes out verbiage.

Irregular verbs can be a pain, but Michal has BUILT a reputation for remembering the most difficult ones.

Petr is BECOMING ACCUSTOMED to lessons with a native speaker. Get used to it!

Isn’t it great using a gerund instead of a basic noun? That’s Olga’s THINKING. What are your thoughts?

Jarda H. takes a ROUND TRIP when he travels between his holiday cottage, the local town and back home again – probably mixing in the best circles.  

Jarda V. explained the reality of business through the medium of Abba: “THE WINNER TAKES IT ALL!” Unfortunately he sang it as well!

Lukas, on the other hand, talks in terms of SUPER-SENSITIVITY – but probably only when he wins!
 
In Wimbledon fortnight, how appropriate that Tomas has invoked tennis when describing a work situation where “THE BALL IS IN THE OTHER PERSON’S COURT.”
 
Petr hopes to stay in a PRESIDENTIAL SUITE one day. Perhaps he should go into politics!
 
It was so so good for me, if not for him, when Michal recently described an experience as SO-SO.
 
Have you ever done something at noon-ISH, like Olga has? It’s about time you did.

When Petra doesn’t like something, it’s not her CUP OF TEA. Can you get more English without being the Queen?

Do you think England is THE CRADLE OF FOOTBALL?  Of course, I do. But so does Jarda, and he said as much!
 
IF NOT TODAY, WHEN? Not me posing this classic English form of question, but Tomas.
 
If you have a showroom, Standa recommends it isn’t IN THE MIDDLE OF NOWHERE. Beautifully concise and descriptive.
 
Michal doesn’t just disapprove of Russia’s actions in Ukraine, he CONDEMNS them. What an excellent intensifying verb.
 
How would you describe an aircraft without a pilot? Petr uses PILOTLESS. A good suffix saves so much time, doesn’t it?

Jarda managed to slip PRIMA DONNA into our conversation. OK, I know, that is Italian, strictly speaking, but used by native speakers of English all the time in reference to people with a difficult temperament. As a bonus, when I asked who he was talking about, he went all POLICE DRAMA on me and replied NO COMMENT!

When Petra described a surprising situation as an EYE-OPENER, I found it satisfyingly eye-opening!
 
SHIFT PATTERNS is a phrase well-known to native English speakers, but it’s impressive to hear this expression coming from a non-native speaker like Tomas.
 
Is NOVELTY new to you? That’s a word joke, inspired by Míša.
 
Michal got SEX ON THE BEACH last weekend. I think he was talking about cocktails. 🙂
 
When you feel tired, with only a short time to sleep, do you TAKE A NAP? Petr does.

Míša used a linguistic term CHUNK when talking about a phrase or group of words that can be learnt as a unit.

When Petra’s manager called a meeting at short notice, she described this as AD HOC. English sounds so much better with a sprinkling of Latin, don’t you think? Carpe Diem!
 
When I asked Jarda about what might happen in the future, he talked in terms of his PREDICTIONS rather than just saying what he thought would happen. Another great example of one word doing the work of several.
 
When Petr’s Covid19 test came back negative, even though he was showing a lot of symptoms, he concluded that he must have CLASSIC FLU. What an inventive way to make this important medical distinction!
 
Michal remembered from our last lesson that a cabinet for storing clothes is a WARDROBE. He loves that being specific saves explanation, and so do I!

Jarda described the Czech economy as being ADDICTED to Russian gas. Irrespective of the politics, the register of English is very high.

Michal is a great advocate of electric cars and talked about THE LIFETIME OF batteries rather than wasting time and energy on a long explanatory sentence about how long it takes before the batteries need to be replaced. Like I just did then. I’m exhausted!
 
While on the subject of gas, Standa didn’t take the easy option of saying that prices had risen greatly. He said they had SKYROCKETED. Blast off!
 
Instead of saying she had known a friend ‘since they were children’, Míša used the beautiful and quite poetic alternative FROM CHILDHOOD.

Petra described what she would do in a particular situation as her APPROACH to that situation – metaphorically, and poetically, walking towards it. This sounds so good to the native ear.

When Standa used MORE THAN THAT as an alternative to the more prosaic also, it demonstrated how a well-chosen phrase can liven up conversation. But, as Standa would also say, that’s PRETTY NORMAL for him.
 
When Míša mentioned someone’s FIELD, she wasn’t talking about a farmer, but using a good and high-register synonym for a person’s area of expertise or interest. Although I suppose if you are a farmer, your field is fields!
 
Pavel and his excellent HOT POTATO isn’t for eating but used to describe a situation which nobody wants to take responsibility for and which is constantly passed around as too hot to handle.
 
Michal complained that his daughter’s ability to plan only extended to one day in advance, MAX. If there’s one thing better than a one-word explanation, it’s shortening the word (in this case maximum) itself!
 
One of the most charming words in the English language is, er … CHARMING, which Olga used to describe the Prague Christmas markets, unfortunately cancelled this year!
 
What better PROOF of progress than to start using the suffix – proof, as Petr did when referring to something that protects against a particular problem, whether a fireproof chair, a bulletproof vest or a waterproof jacket.

When Petra reduced a potentially problematic situation that is under control” (8 words) to NO BIG DEAL (3 words and an idiom to boot), she moved ever closer to native speech as well as making her teacher a very happy man!

Jarda is an avid watcher of documentaries in English and, having seen one about someone living alone in “an uncultivated, uninhabited, distant and inhospitable region”, had added WILDERNESS to his vocabulary. Native speech does save a lot of breath, doesn’t it?
 
When Pavel used VICE VERSA, originally a Latin phrase meaning simply “the reverse is also the case”, he spared himself at a stroke the arduous task of repeating the relevant sentence in reverse.
 
Michal pulled off making a joke in English when he said he had a serious male illness: A RUNNY NOSE. This had the added bonus of allowing me to teach him the phrase MAN FLU.
 
It may not sound like much but Petr, in the context of IT, used the word APP, rather than the longer “Application”, which absolutely no-one uses in native English unless talking about job-seeking.

When talking about the organisation of a particular set of circumstances, Petra employed the noun SET-UP, which nicely packaged a number of considerations into one word, which could then be re-used in context without re-listing all the individual circumstances.

Jarda talked about a Czech village that BORDERS Poland, nicely using the relevant verb rather than creating a sentence around the usual noun.
 
When I asked Standa a question in respect of which he was unsure of the answer, instead of saying “I don’t know” – which is the usual response, even amongst native speakers – he replied: “IT’S HARD TO SAY“. This may sound insignificant, but it demonstrates that his English is functioning at a level which is constantly pushing his own boundaries.
 
Rather than just comment that it was very easy to hear all the words and music at a particular venue, Míša referred to its PERFECT ACOUSTIC. Another great example of letting one high register noun do all the heavy lifting.
 
Michal has a cold at the moment, and replied “SO-SO when asked how he was feeling, once again demonstrating how one little adjective or adverb can be an ideal substitute for a long explanatory sentence.
 
Petr described items being STACKED rather than just placed one on top of another. This is not just a higher register word; it also conveys a sense of significant size which lower register alternatives do not.
 
Olga deployed the modern, classic idiom BUCKET LIST instead of using more prosaic vocabulary such as ambitions I want to achieve before I die, and sounded all the more English for it!

Petra put most native English speakers to shame when she referred to one of two options as the MORE IMPORTANT rather than the more common, and grammatically incorrect, most important.

Jarda sounded almost aristocratic at the start of this week’s lesson when he WONDERED WHETHER I COULD DO HIM A FAVOUR. This is the sort of brilliantly polite way of speaking which will have native speakers prepared to do anything for you.
 
Pavel used the modern English idiom “COMPTURE SAYS NO” to express his frustration with the customer service (or lack of it) he is receiving from a certain company at the moment. This comes from the famous English comedy series Little Britain, which aired in the mid-2000s, in which a running joke saw a woman (played by a man) just feed all customer questions into her PC and then announce that she couldn’t assist with whatever the problem was because the PC had given a negative answer. English idiom is constantly being informed by popular culture, and this particular idiom – which didn’t even exist 20 years ago – is used up and down the country every single day. So well done, Pavel, for tapping into something so modern and relevant.
 
Michal was explaining that in the Czech Republic , it is necessary to change from summer to winter tyres at the end of October, and back again at the end of March, but that to avoid this inconvenience he was looking to buy some ALL-WEATHER tyres. With one brilliantly chosen and pithy adjective he saved himself from a long and potentially tortuous explanation.
Jarda was telling us about the current supply-chain problem which is especially hurting the economy of the Czech Republic, and how the famous Skoda Company is to cease car-production for 3 months, affecting DIRECT LABOUR of 30,000 people and INDIRECT LABOUR of 25,000 people. This is such a good example of a well-placed adjective (or two) cutting through what might otherwise have been a long and winding sentence.
 
Although Apple have brought out a brand new PC, Pavel says he is resisting the temptation to buy one because he simply doesn’t need all the additional BELLS AND WHISTLES that are boasted by the latest version. This is a wonderfully colourful, well-used and often-heard idiom for the technical functions that accompany anything mechanical or computerised.
 
Petr perfectly deployed the commonly-used Latin expression MODUS OPERANDI (often stortened to M.O. and literally meaning ‘method of working’) when talking about his professional week being split between working from home and going into the office.

Jarda and I were discussing what athletes do when they retire from their chosen sport, when he volunteered that in the Czech Republic we have a lot of SPORTSPEOPLE in politics. This was a very interesting observation expressed in perfect English, even down to the gender neutral term which shortened the sentence to a nicely manageable length.

I was asking Pavel how a couple of potential apps he is working on are progressing. His reply, in which he admitted having neglected them for a while, was prefaced with the phrase “SHAME ON ME“. This took the usual third-party criticism ‘shame on you’ and switched it to be self-critical, showing how easy (and acceptable) it is to take English and play around with it.
 
In our last lesson, Michal absolutely rocked the pronunciation of the past tense in regular verbs. You know; the ones with the infamous ‘ed’ ending, which usually require the speaker to resist the logical pronunciation to rhyme with ‘head’, and instead shorten them to just apostrophe D. So, LOCKED came out beautifully as lock’d, WATCHED as watch’d, TALKED as talk’d and RECEIVED as receive’d. And when he came across one of those occasional regular verbs which does actually require the full pronunciation, he was again up to the task, and started was given its full length version.
 
After working from home almost exclusively during the pandemic, Petr was finally able to meet up with his colleagues at the company offices in Prague, and described how great it was to be able to see everyone FACE-TO-FACE rather than just online. This expression, which can be an adjective or, as used by Petr, an adverb, is such a wonderfully emotive alternative to more functional expressions such as ‘in reality’ or ‘in person’, and really conveys the humanity of this type of situation.
 
Jarda said: “The journey FROM DOOR TO DOOR takes three hours.”
 
Míša used “IN MY CHILDHOOD” rather than “When I was a child”. Nice high register! I think the sentence was something like “I lived near here in my childhood, but we moved here for other reasons.”
 
Standa referred to one of the top Czech politicians as being “LOST IN HIS LIES“. What a fantastic creation of a phrase!
 
Michal corrected himself by using my mistake. “I went to the cottage on Friday; SORRY, MY MISTAKE, Thursday.”He also said “HALF 10” instead of “half-past 10” or “10.30”, which is exactly how a native speaker talks.
 
Petra used “ON A DAILY BASIS” which I thought was fantastic, rather than “every day” or “each day” – which are all good, but just not as high register. The context was having to speak English ‘on a daily basis’ because it is the Lingua Franca as between Czechia (at her end) and Slovakia and Hungary (at the other).
 
Pavel used PERKS (“Contract workers don’t have the perks that are enjoyed by the permanent staff”). He also used “THE PENNY DROPPED” – I was struggling with my guitar technique, but one day the penny dropped, and now I know what I’m doing.’

Petr now regularly uses the following phrase when thinking about what he’s going to say. He used to say things like “Maybe this way” and “Maybe like this” but now uses “HOW SHALL I PUT IT?” which is as English as the Queen! 

Do you think the newspapers sometimes exaggerate or, like Jaroslav, do you find them SENTATIONAL? I get that feeling.

 
Some people list things according to importance. Lukas RANKS them. That’s in order. 
 
When Jarda comments that ‘mistakes CASCADE‘, maybe he’s going with the flow.
 
If your life is restricted in any way, Tomas would call that a HANDICAP. I bet he plays Golf.
 
Michal has a pile of logs at his cottage. Except he calls it a STACK. Wood you believe it?

Do you think older and younger people have different attitudes, or like Jarda can you see a difference between THE GENERATIONS? Electric!

Misa has GREAT EXPECTATIONS when she visits a new city. What the Dickens can she mean?

Do you take a friend or partner to a party, or a +1 like Michal? PLUS çA CHANGE 

When Lukas gets A WAKE-UP CALL, he knows he needs to take notice. Alarming!

Tomas’s employees are UNDER HIM. Is that a subordinate clause?

Jarda V. likes NAVIGATION SYSTEMS. He’s still finding his way.

When Michal talks about the first written MENTION of somewhere historical, it’s a point of reference.

Tomas is a “NEVER SAY NEVER” character. Sometimes.
 
If Jarda H. called you a HOTHEAD, would  you be cool with this?
 
Petr recently RACED in a Skoda. I’m fast starting to doubt his judgement.
When you decide to have a few drinks, do you just drink the beer or HIT it, like Michal? No contest!
 

Jarda was in Monza recently, and referred to CLASSIC Italian driving. Nice gesture!

 
I want to give Standa a shout out for making GOOD CALLS!
 
Do you know which English football team is nicknamed THE GUNNERS? It’s definitely in Petr’s arsenal.

Lukas describes certain aspects of human behaviour as SPECULATIVE; but maybe he’s just guessing!

For better or worse, Tereza refers to PROS AND CONS. Definitely better!

If a course achieves capacity, Misa calls it a FULL HOUSE. I bet she’s a poker player. 

When you are in a hurry, do you read things quickly or, more poetically, SKIM READ like Olga?

The ‘journey is the destination’ for some, but for Michal the TRIP IS THE GOAL. He’s going in the right direction.

Some things need building again, or COMPLETE RECONSTRUCTION according to Jarda H.. Back to square one!
 
The complications of life are a BIG MOSAIC, aren’t they? Jarda V. thinks so. He’s got it together.
 
How would you describe the view from the top of a mountain? Michal refers to a LANDSCAPE. I wonder if he did a portrait!
 
Do certain tunes stick in your head? Misa H. thinks they are CATCHY – the first 100 times, anyway.
 
What is the most positive adjectival phrase you can come up with? Tomas is going with FRESH AND HEALTHY. Hard to better!