B.E.L.L. Tips – Wild Horses

B.E.L.L. Tips – Wild Horses

Issue #74

English Tips for:

Business English Language Learners (B.E.L.L.)

Wild Horses

Each week, I will send out some handy tips and useful exercises for adults learning to navigate and use the English language. Please feel free to share this newsletter with friends and colleagues.

Wild horses are a symbol of the old American West. They still roam freely in the Southwest region and are protected by law under the federal government. They are considered an integral part of the natural system of the public lands.

Listening Tip

Language Level – A2

Watch this video below to learn about Picasso, a social media darling and wild horse in Colorado. Listen and turn on the cc to read along while you watch.

video preview

Vocabulary Tip

Language Level – B1

Here are some fun idioms about horses:

  1. Wild horses couldn’t drag me away.
  2. Stop horsing around!
  3. Get off your high horse!
  4. You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink.
  5. Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth.
  6. Straight from the horse’s mouth.
  7. I’m so hungry I could eat a horse.
  8. Don’t beat a dead horse.

Want to know what these idioms mean? Find the answers in this quizlet.

Grammar Tip

Language Level C1

Subjunctives continued

Last week, we looked at verb moods and how the subjunctive mood is used in two ways:

  1. A hypothetical situation
  2. A demand or suggestion

Now, let’s look at ways we can be “alerted” to a subjunctive mood.

When you see these verbs in a sentence, it is likely (but not a rule) that the subjunctive will follow:

When you see these adjectives (followed by “that”), it is likely that a subjunctive verb will follow:

Why is the subjunctive verb important?

It’s not, and it is not used very often. However, it is good to know if you are studying for a CEFR test.

We most often see it in idioms or well-known phrases like:

  • May the force be with you.
  • God save the Queen!
  • Heaven help us!

It does sound natural to a native speaker, even if it sounds a bit off to you. Also, using it is an opportunity to show off to your colleagues and smugly say, “It’s in the subjunctive mood,” if questioned on it.

Let’s Practice!

Rewrite each of the sentences below, to put it in the subjunctive. Use the verbs and adjectives (from above) that attract the subjunctive.

Example: I told the students to quiet down.

Subjunctive: I demand that they be quiet.

  1. She asked him to fix the computer.
  2. He wanted the post office to hold his mail.
  3. My manager said it would be a good idea to finish the presentation this week.
  4. My family wants to go to Disneyland this summer.
  5. The judge told the defendant to stop talking.
  6. I would like a refund for this broken product.
  7. I have always wanted to go to the dance.
  8. She needs a raise to afford the new car she wants.

Weekly Challenge

Language Level – All levels

Watch the video below and practice speaking while pronouncing common words in American English.

video preview


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