Using the Youglish Search

This is a short post explaining how to use the Youglish search on the right of the page–>

Youglish is a search engine that looks for YouTube videos containing the words you search for. It can give you examples of pronunciation in UK, US and Australian English. You can skip through the videos and hear real people pronouncing real words in real context.

Searching

To search for a word, just type it in, choose the accent you want to hear and press the search button or press enter.

A search for “banana”

Next, you’re presented with a mini YouTube player and subtitles underneath.

If you hover over the video, you will see the previous video, next video, pause, replay and seek back 5 seconds buttons.

You can use keyboard shortcuts to navigate more easily.

  • CTRL + Left Arrow – plays the previous video
  • CTRL + Right Arrow – plays the next video
  • CTRL + SHIFT + Left Arrow skips back 5 seconds

Definitions, Translations and more

To search for a definition, you can click on any word in the subtitles.

Definitions, synonyms, usages and translations

You are presented with a menu at the top and a list of definitions.

Guess what clicking on “Synonyms” does…

It shows you a picture of a cat :O

I’m joking.. It shows you synonyms. There aren’t really synonyms for banana, so we’ll move on.

“Usages” shows you the word in context, using sources from the web to demonstrate how it is used.

Finally, “Translations” will show you,  you’ve guessed it, translations. It has a lot of languages to choose from, so I hope it has yours.

I don’t know which translation dictionary this search uses, so you might want to search using your favourite online dictionary too, just to be sure.

I have included this tool because I think it will be useful for learners using the website. I’d like to say that I am in no way affiliated with Youglish and cannot be held responsible for any content that you see on Youtube.

Happy pronouncing!

Perfecting the Perfect Tenses

What’s so perfect about the perfect tenses? Why do we call it that, and why can’t I just use the past simple tense?

Why Perfect?

In the beginning there was Latin, and Latin had a perfect tense. The Latin for perfect is perfectus meaning completed.

Latin speakers used the perfect tense to speak about any complete action in the past. In English, we have two verb forms to do this. The past simple and the present perfect.

What’s special about the perfect?

Perfect tenses talk about the completion, or the result of an action (the result of seeing something is that you have seen it). The exact time the action happened isn’t important.

The perfect tenses show that something was completed before another time.

With the present perfect, we are considering the present time, now. With the past perfect, we are considering the time of another event that happened a little more recently in the past.

Perfect Tenses

Present Perfect

With the present perfect, we keep some link to the present. Think about your life experiences. The events may be finished, but your experience and your memory is still alive and you still see how these events affect you now.

In the first diagram above, the person speaking has taken the car. We can see this result in the present because the car isn’t at the home of the owner.

Past Perfect

With the past perfect, we keep a link between two events in the past. In the second diagram, I ate some cake and this affected the answer to my friend’s question.

Have a look at another example below:

Past Perfect

The time in consideration is when the person turned 18. Everything happened before that. The exact time of all these events isn’t important.

Past Simple vs Present Perfect

When should you use the past simple, and when should you use the present perfect then?

Use the present perfect:

When talking about things that recently finished (with “just”)

“I have just finished doing yoga” – @Summer

“You have just bet 10$” – @Gamble Bot

To talk about when the result is more important

“yay I’ve lost all my money :D” – @anonymous

To talk about states that started in the past and still continue

“I’ve been here about 2 weeks” – @Olympia

with unfinished time words*

“The best thing I’ve seen today is baby shark” – @Grammar

with words and phrases that are connected to the present **

“I’ve learnt recently that prey mammals usually sleep 4 hours per day” – @anonymous

When the time is not defined

“I’VE BEEN SUMMONED” – @Anima

Use the past simple:

For events that are not connected to the present

“Beep! I was born in Autumn :3” – @Summer

For a series of events in the past

“I fell asleep and had a sleep paralysis” – @Summer

When one action interrupts a continuous action in the past

“I was fixing something on the bot when you typed “pending” sorry ;)” – @anonymous

With finished time words*

“I saw the ocean for the first time last year” – @anonymous

When the time is defined

“Even more since you left to buy cigarettes ten years ago” – @ohboi

*Finished and Unfinished Time

Unfinished time is something that still continues in some way. It is linked to the present. Finished time is something that no longer continues. We use finished time words with the past simple and unfinished time words with the present perfect.

FinishedUnfinished
yesterdaytoday
last week/month/yearthis week/month/year
in 2006since 2006
3 days agofor 3 days
so far

**Other words used with the present perfect

There are more words that are commonly used with the present perfect. Some of these can be used with other tenses too.

alwaysneverever
yetalreadyrecently
latelymany times# times

I hope that helped!

This is the end of the post.If you have any questions or comments, please get in contact! I will be writing more posts about this in the future, so keep your eyes peeled!

If you found it useful, please consider donating 🙂

Further reading

Here are some of the sources that I used for this article.

Latin Perfect tense, WikiBooks
A Brief History of Tense, Random Idea English
Origins of Perfect Tense, Stack Exchange English
How to Form the Latin Perfect Tense

Directions Answers

If you haven’t read the post about taking directions yet, you can see the post here

So, you’ve followed the directions around Cape Town. Hopefully you got one or two right.

Below you can find a list of the answers and you can scroll down to see the maps with the correct directions drawn on them.

  • Bocca Restaurant on Wale Street (yellow)
  • Post Office Vlaeberg on Loop Street (green)
  • Earth Art Africa on Long Street (blue)
  • Greenmarket on Burg Street (purple)
  • Cape Bike Travel on Buitengracht Street (red)

Click the image to make it bigger.

Google Maps

How many did you get right? Let me know in the comments.

If you liked this lesson, please consider making a small donation.

Asking for Directions on Holiday

You’re in Cape Town and you need to find your way, you have no internet and you have too many cat photos on your phone to download the maps of the area.

This post will teach you how to ask for directions and will give some examples of possible replies. There is something for you to do later 😛

Get a map of the area

If you are visiting an English speaking country but you find it hard to understand natives, it is very important that you have a map. It will help a lot when asking for directions because the person can point to the place on the map.

Asking for directions

There are a few ways to ask for directions in English. Below are the easiest ways to ask for directions.

  • (Excuse me,) where is (the nearest)…?
  • How do I get to….(from here)?
  • Which way is it to…(from here)?
  • Is there a/an …. near here?

Where are you going?

Here is some vocabulary for common places in town that you might need when travelling. Use the search to hear pronunciation.

airportbank/cash machine
book shoptourist office
bus/train stationcafé/restaurant
hospitalshop/supermarket
post officepolice station
pharmacytaxi rank
hotelcar/bike rental office

Listening to the answer

When people give directions, they sometimes speak quickly. After you ask, you can say “Can you speak slowly please?” or “Please give one instruction at a time”. This can make the person conscious of how fast they talk and they will (hopefully) speak slower for you.

Don’t be scared to ask someone to repeat if you didn’t understand them.

If it’s difficult, concentrate on the first one or two instructions. You can ask someone else later on for the next instructions.

Example Responses

Here are some possible responses to questions. Read each of them and pay attention to the underlined words.

1) Turn right out of the building and at the end of the road turn right. It’s on the corner of the next junction.

2) Take a left out the front of the building and then take the second left. Go straight on at the junction and take the next right. It’s about half way up the road on your right.

3) Turn right out of the building and take a right at the main road. Keep going straight until you see the town hall. You’ll want to cross the road there. Take a left and it’s on the corner of that block on your left.

4) Go right out the front and turn right into Wale. Walk down the street, pass the town hall and then take a left at the Conference centre. Walk all the way down that road,past the museum and keep going straight. You’ll see it in front of you. You can’t miss it.

5) Go out of the building and turn left. It’s on the third block   on the left just before the next junction.

Verbs

turn, go, take, keep going, cross, walk

turn left/right
take a left/right – take the next/first/second left/right
go up/down the road – go straight on – go out of the building 
pass the town hall
walk down/up – walk all the way down/up
cross the road

Key Vocabulary

junction, traffic lights, (main) road, building, street, block

Use the search on the right for pronunciation, definitions and translations.

Prepositions of place

Look at the bold words in the Example Responses above. Notice which prepositions go with which words.

on
the left, right, corner, block
infront of
into(street name)
atthe end, the traffic lights, the Conference Center
outof the building
overthe bridge

Now it’s your turn! Look at the map below. You are in the Town Lodge Hotel. Click on the map to make it bigger.

Google Maps

Use the instructions we looked at earlier. Can you find the correct places? Remember you start inside the building!

  • Turn right out of the building and at the end of the road turn right. It’s on the corner of the next junction.
  • Take a left out the front of the building and then take the second leftGo straight on at the junction and take the next right. It’s about half way up the road on your right.
  • Turn right out of the building and take a right at the main road. Keep going straight until you see the town hall. You’ll want to cross the road there. Take a left and it’s on the corner of that block on your left.
  • Go right out the front and turn right into Wale. Walk down the streetpass the town hall and then take a left at the Conference centre. Walk all the way down that road, past the museum and keep going straight. You’ll see it in front of you. You can’t miss it.
  • Go out of the building and turn left. It’s on the third block on the left just before the next junction.

You can find the answers here

Was this lesson easy to understand or difficult? Get in contact either in the comments below or by sending a message on the contact page