Talking About Work

I have written about phrasal verbs before and their importance in helping your English sound natural. Let's take a look at some that you can use for talking about work:

help out – to assist someone. Can someone help me out, please?

meet up – to come together, planned or unplanned. We always meet up at the coffee machine.
call back – to phone someone who called you earlier. I’ll call you back later, when I’ve heard something.

bring up - to start talking about something for the first time or again.    Anya said she will bring it up at the next meeting.

let down -  fail to support someone, disappoint. She didn’t finish any of the work, she really let me down.

get on with – to have a good relationship with someone. I get on with my colleagues.

find out - to discover information. I found out that they are our biggest customer.

sort out - to make arrangements or to solve a problem. I sorted out the meeting for next week. I’m going to have to sort out the website.

put in – give time and/ or effort to something. I always put in extra hours at work, even though I don’t get paid for it.

put off – to postpone /delay doing something, because you don’t want to do it. I have put off the meeting until next week.

keep up with – to be able to do something at the required speed. I can’t keep up with all this work.

Just learning a few of these phrasal verbs will help you sound more natural in conversation when you talk about your work. Any questions? Leave a comment below.




Applying For A Job : Cover Letters/Emails

A cover letter is sent with your CV and/or application form. It's your chance to make a positive first impression on an employer. Find out as much as you can about the job you are applying for and the person you should address your email or letter to. You should clearly state the position/job title that you are applying for.

If you know the person's name you should start with and end with:

Dear Ms Smith - Yours sincerely ...(your name)

If you don't know the person's name you should start and end with:

Dear Sir/Madam - Yours faithfully .... (your name)


Dear Sir/Madam, 

Please find enclosed/attached my CV for the position of.......currently being advertised on......

As you can see from my enclosed/attached CV  I have recently completed........( name of course/qualification./ I have over ....( number of years) experience in this industry/field/sector. I believe the skills and knowledge gained during this time make me the ideal candidate for this position.

This position interests me because of my passion for........During my course I ........which has given me an excellent foundation for building a career as a........

Thank you for your time and consideration. I look forward to an opportunity to discuss my application further with you.


Faithfully/ Sincerely



Any questions? Leave a comment or email me at - I'm happy to help!

Expressing Sympathy

When someone dies it can be difficult to know what to say in your first language. Therefore in your second language even more so. The main reason for expressing sympathy is to offer concern and compassion to the person who has had someone close to them die. 

What to say:

I'm so sorry for your loss.

How are you doing?

I'm here for you, if you want to talk.

This must be so hard for you.

Let me know if I can do anything for you.

What to write:

Thinking of you at the this most difficult time.

In deepest sympathy.

My/Our thoughts are with you and your family.

What not to say:

At least he/she had a long life.

Be strong.

I know how you feel.

There is a reason for everything.


Easy Conversation Topics: Hobbies

How do we speak about the things that we like to do in our spare time?

There are some topics that often come up in conversation. Hobbies and interests is one of them. This topic is also useful if you are taking the IELTS exam as it is a common subject in Part 1 of the speaking test.

  • When I have spare time I......

  • When I get time, I.....

  • At the weekends I.....

  • I like.....+ ing - used for talking in general Eg I like doing yoga.

  • I like to...+infinitive - used to talk about things in more detail Eg I like to do yoga in the mornings before work.

  • I'm ( really) into.....( noun/gerund)

  • I'm interested in...( noun/gerund)

  • I (absolutely) love.......( noun/gerund)

If you want to add some detail ( you should if you are answering questions for IELTS) you can say why you like/do this.

I really like doing yoga helps me to relax/ keeps me fit/ I have met lots of new people etc


How to ask someone about their hobbies/interests

  • What do you get up to in your spare time?

  • Do you have any hobbies?

  • What do you do to relax?

  • What do you like to do when you are not working?

  • What are you into?

So, I'm really into football and support a British team called West Ham. When I get time I like to go running. I love reading and watching films. How about you? What are you into? Any questions? Contact me here.




How To Write Emails In English

Writing emails in English can be a little tricky. 

You need to get the right level of formality. Are you writing to a friend, colleague or client?

Having read lots of emails from  my students over the years, here is some advice I think is very useful for people learning English:

  • Always write a clear and concise subject line ( not " Hello"). EG Re: Class On Monday

  • Use simple grammar, emails are less complex than formal writing. Try to think about what you want to say without translating word for word from your first language.

  • Use paragraphs, so that your emails are easy to follow.

  • Think about who is going to be reading the email. Emails to a friend can start with " Hey you", but not anyone else.

  • Don't use all capital letters. IT LOOKS LIKE YOU ARE SHOUTING!

  • Don't forget to mention any attachments you are including.

  • Don't rely on spell check! Of course, close colleagues probably won't mind a mostake (!) here and there, but in a professional email it might lead to a bad first impression.

Here are some phrases for work/professional emails. Choose the correct phrases, depending on how long you have known someone.


Dear Sir/Madam- formal address, used when you don't know the person.

Dear Marcus/ Claire - standard way to address, friends, colleagues and business clients when you know them

Hi Carly/Fraser - friendly and informal


Please find attached - formal


Thanks for your email. - standard way to start an email.

Hope you are well./ It was good to hear from you. - for when you haven't been in contact recently. neutral


I would be grateful if you could/ I was wondering if you could..?.- formal

Could you please..? - less formal

Agreeing to a request

I would be happy to...


I apologise for the delay in...../ I /We apologise for any inconvenience/ Please accept my apology.- formal

Sorry for the delay./Sorry for the inconvenience./ Sorry about that.-  less formal

Bad news

I regret that../ I regret to inform you./ I am afraid that- formal

Unfortunately,... / I'm sorry, but.....- less formal


I look forward to hearing from you./ Thanks for your help./ I hope to hear from you soon.- neutral

Kind regards/ Best regards - good for work emails

Any questions? Why don't you send me an email