Schlagwort-Archive: language learning

Misused English Words and Expressions in EU Publications – Entry #1 – „actual“

I might be preaching to the choir (offene Türen einrennen) here, but have any of you ever read EU publications and been totally baffled by what you read?

Here’s an example of what I mean: „Evaluating such a unique scheme is a particular challenge for all actors involved. Evaluation modalities have gone through significant changes over recent years“

An easier way to say this could be: „Evaluating this unique scheme is challenging to all involved parties, especially as the evaluation procedure has changed significantly in recent years.“ Does it make more sense now?

Fortunately, there’s an invaluable resource out there, for free, in digital format. It’s (quite descriptively) called Misused English Words & Expressions in EU Publications  and is authored by Jeremy Gardner, who works for the EU Court of Auditors. His website and the 59-page-long .pdf glossary of the misused words and expressions are available at:

I’ll be sharing some of the most useful (for non-EU-employed German speakers) entries from Mr. Gardner’s document, as well as adding a few exercises to each entry for you to try out. Leave your completed exercises, as well as any other thoughts about the Misused Words list in the comments! I’ll get back to you ASAP!



Here we go with:

1) Actual


“Actual” is sometimes used to refer to something that is happening now. However, in English it means “real” or “existing”. Sometimes, native speakers use the word informally to express surprise or give new (or more truthful) information, much like German speakers would use tatsächlich or eigentlich.

Authentic Example:

„This appropriation is intended to cover basic salaries of the staff, as listed in the attached table, based on the actual regulations and on the probable adjustments“. =aktuell

Alternatives: Current, present.

Further Examples of Correct Usage:  

„Dr. Herrmann isn’t in the office today. She’s actually in Cottbus, meeting with some project leaders.“ = tatsächlich

„Could you stop doing that and focus on your actual work instead?“ =eigentlich


Exercises: fill in the blank with the correct word – actual(ly), current(ly), present(ly)

  1. a) We’re all ___________ in the office. Nobody is on vacation.
  2. b) I don’t think that’s the ___________ problem. Henry just didn’t want to go into it.
  3. c) I don’t need to see the figures from the first quarter; I need the ___________ quarterly figures!
  4. d) Are you ___________ going to go to the Halloween party dressed as Donald Trump? You’re absolutely crazy!


How English Spelling Keeps Kids From Learning

You might think that children who grow up with English have a big advantage. But it’s not all so easy. The irregular spelling system of the English language causes considerable problems for young minds, requiring abilities that most children don’t develop until they are pre-teens. In fact, English-speaking children typically need about three years to learn the basics of reading and writing, while children in most European countries needed a year or less.


Steven Pinker on what our language habits reveal

Today the LINGUA FRANCA Sprachschule blog is bringing you another video from the TED series. TED (Technology, Education, Design) is an international and interdisciplinary conference series based around the concept “ideas worth spreading”.

In this talk, world-famous linguist Steven Pinker looks at language and how it expresses what goes on in our minds — and how the words we choose communicate much more than we realize.

This video is suitable for a variety of levels. Higher-level English learners (B2+ and up) should just watch it as it is below. Intermediate students (B1+ – B2) – you can go to the video on the TED website and turn on the English subtitles. Lower-level learners (up to B1+) can turn on the German (or the language of your choice) subtitles, as well as look at a full transcript of the talk. Enjoy!

Podcast Recommendation 11 – The School with 42 languages

At LINGUA FRANCA Sprachschule here in Berlin we deal with a number of different languages everyday, but it’s nothing compared to this London school which has 600 pupils who speak a total of 42 different languages. To find out about life at this school, listen to this episode of the BBC’s 6 Minute English podcast.

BBC – 6 Minute English
42 Lanuages – (link for audio, vocabulary help and a transcript) Rob and Finn talk about a school in London which has 600 children who speak a total of 42 different languages. Is it difficult for them to learn English? And how does this affect their educational performance? Are they good at other subjects like maths? Best suited to B1 and higher students – lower levels can follow the audio using the transcript found at the link above.