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Macmillan Dictionary Real World English

Real World English

Many people use English in their working lives and generally choose Standard English to do so. But even Standard English varies a little from place to place. In Real World English, language teacher and author Ed Pegg examines these differences in the areas of vocabulary and pragmatics – in the context of the workplace.

The videos and blog posts that appear and will be appearing on this page over the coming months will cover topics such as greetings, politeness and directness. Watch the introduction video below to find out more!

Scroll down for our first Real Grammar and second Real Vocabulary video and blog series too!

NEW: Understatement and irony

In this latest episode of our video series, Ed Pegg talks about the differences in expressing understatement and irony in British and American English.

Macmillan Dictionary Blog

Understatement and irony

“…If someone tells you there's been 'a bit of a situation', how serious would you think the problem is? Well, to be honest, it would depend a lot on where the person comes from.”

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Politeness

In this episode of our video series, Ed Pegg discusses different types of politeness in communication.

Macmillan Dictionary Blog

Politeness

“…In the USA, it's common to give praise openly and honestly. Many British people find this 'too much' and it can make them feel embarrassed. In Britain, people tend to give praise less directly and it can be unclear whether they have actually praised you or not.”

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Agreement & disageement

In this episode of the series, Ed looks at appropriate ways of agreeing or disagreeing with people at work or in informal settings.

Macmillan Dictionary Blog

Agreement & disagreement

“… if someone says something that you don't agree with, how would you respond? … This depends on several factors, including how strongly you disagree, the relationship between you and the person you disagree with, and the culture of the person you disagree with and the other people in the meeting.”

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Greetings in English

In this episode of our video series, Ed discusses how people usually greet each other in English – in both formal and informal settings.

Macmillan Dictionary Blog

Greetings

“Which greeting you choose depends largely on the situation, how well you know the person you're meeting and your personal preference.”

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What does the word school mean?

In this fifth episode of the video series, Ed talks about the different ways in which schools are referred to in British and American English.

Macmillan Dictionary Blog

School

“You'll hear people talk about private schools in the UK too. Any school that you have to pay to attend is called a private school but, in the UK, the oldest, most expensive private schools are called 'public schools'. This very confusing title has historical reasons.”

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Date and time

In the fourth video of the series, Ed discusses different ways of talking about dates and time in English.

Macmillan Dictionary Blog

Date and time

“One of the best things about being an English teacher is meeting people from all over the world and making friends with so many different people. However, sometimes having friends from different places can be confusing, particularly when it comes to time.”

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Holiday and vacation

In the third video of the series, Ed explains the difference between holiday, holidays and vacation.

Macmillan Dictionary Blog

Holiday and vacation

“It can be confusing to know which word to say, but don't worry too much. Most people in either country will understand if you use 'holiday' or 'vacation' and, if you're not sure what to say to talk about a legal 'day off', you can always use 'public holiday' instead.”

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What does the word quite mean?

In the second video of the series, Ed discusses the tricky use of the word quite.

Macmillan Dictionary Blog

Real World English – "Quite"

“'Quite' is quite a frequent word in English and it's quite important to understand what it means. However, it can be quite difficult to understand the exact meaning as it can mean different things in different contexts and when it's used by different people.”

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An introduction to Real World English

In this video, Ed Pegg introduces the new series and explains what topics it will cover.

Macmillan Dictionary Blog

Welcome to Real World English

“When it comes to pragmatics, there's no right answer but there are many different ways to express things with very different meanings.”

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Other Real … series

If you've enjoyed Real World English, check out our grammar and vocabulary series with experts Michael Rundell and Scott Thornbury.

Macmillan Dictionary Real Grammar

In Real Grammar, Macmillan Dictionary Editor-in-Chief Michael Rundell discusses the validity of common grammar rules and asks questions such as these: Is it OK to change nouns into verbs and vice versa? Can you use the word like as a conjunction? And is it OK to split an infinitive?

Watch this series



Macmillan Dictionary Real Vocabulary

In Real Vocabulary, author, teacher and teacher trainer Scott Thornbury explores common misconceptions about vocabulary choices, such as using awesome to describe a movie, or deciding when to use less, and when to use fewer.

Watch this series



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