Health Problems

The most common ways to ask about someone’s health are:

  • How do you feel (today)?
  • How are you feeling?
  • Is everything okay?

Some typical responses are:

  • I’m fine.
  • I feel sick.
  • Not so good.
  • Not very well.
  • I don’t feel well.
  • I’m sick.

When you see (or hear) that they are not well, then you can ask:

  • What’s the matter?
  • What’s wrong?

If the person wants to say what is wrong, they may give the reason they feel that way:

  • I have … (+ health condition)
  • I’ve got … (+ health condition)
  • I have a headache
  • I’ve got a sore throat.

The difference between sick and ill

To most people, both sick and ill more or less mean the same thing, that you are not in a healthy condition.

Sick is less formal than ill and usually describes short-term ailments or diseases (like a cold or cough). Sick can also refer to feeling nauseous. In British English, to be sick can mean to vomit.

Ill is often for more serious health problems (like cancer or pneumonia) but can also be used for short-term ones.

Illness (noun) refers to a medical condition. Sickness (noun) refers to how you feel.

The difference between ache and pain

Ache is a continuous or prolonged dull pain in a part of the body. It can often be a throbbing sensation that covers more than one point. You can sometimes try and ignore an ache.

Pain is physical suffering or discomfort caused by illness or injury. It is usually a sharp sensation in a specific part of the body and hurts more than an ache.

Comparatives and superlatives

We use comparatives to compare two things, places or people.

She is taller than her husband.

Superlatives are used, however, to show the difference between more than two things, places or people.

Paris is the biggest city in France.

Now watch the following video and make/take notes.

So, to form comparatives and superlatives, you need to know the number of syllables in the adjective. Syllables are like “sound beats.”

For instance:

  • “find” contains one syllable,
  • but “finding” contains two — find and ing.

Rules to form comparatives and superlatives

1. One syllable adjective ending in a silent ‘e’ — nice

  • Comparative — add ‘r’ — nicer
  • Superlative — add ‘st’ — nicest

2. One syllable adjective ending in a consonant, a vowel and another consonant — big

  • Comparative — the consonant is doubled and ‘er’ is added —bigger
  • Superlative — the consonant is doubled and ‘est’ is added—biggest

3. One syllable adjective ending in more than one consonant or more than a vowel (or long vowels) — highcheap, soft.

  • Comparative — ‘er’ is added — highercheaper, softer.
  • Superlative — ‘est is added — highestcheapest , softest.

4. A two syllable adjective ending in ‘y’ — happy

  • Comparative — ‘y’ becomes ‘i’ and ‘er’ is added — happier
  • Superlative — ‘y’ becomes ‘i’ and ‘est’ is added — happiest

5. Two syllable or more adjectives without ‘y’ at the end  exciting

  • Comparative  more + the adjective + than  more exciting than
  • Superlative  more + the adjective + than  the most exciting


  • The Nile River is longer and more famous than the Thames.
  • Egypt is hotter than Sweden.
  • Everest is the highest mountain in the world.
  • This is one of the most exciting films I have ever seen.

Irregular comparatives and superlatives

little  lessleast


To express similarities use the following structure:

… as + adjective + as …


  • Mike is as intelligent as Nancy.
  • Larry is as popular as Oprah.

Comparative and superlative exercises

Complete the sentences with the most appropriate comparative or superlative phrase of the adjective given.

1. Mary is  ____________________ (lazy) student in the class.

2. Rob’s apartment is  _________________ (nice) mine.

3. Elephants are  ____________________ (fat) camels.

4. Kim is   _______________________ (small) of all my friends.

5. I think tornadoes are _______________________ (bad) hurricanes because they occur more often and are much more unpredictable.

6. Laura speaks English  ______________________ (good) Susan.

More exercises on comparatives and superlatives.

And now the funniest practice ever! With songs! Listen and complete. 😉

9/11 and heroes

We have recently learned how to use the words birthday and anniversary. This lesson shows the noun anniversary used to talk about the 20th anniversary of the September 11 tragedy. Note that the ordinal number indicating the number of years precedes the word anniversary.

The attack remains one of the most traumatic events of the century, not only for Americans but also for the world.

Around the US, every year, people pause to remember those who lost their lives on the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, vowing to “never forget.”

“9/11” is shorthand for the date, September 11, 2001. On that date, four airplanes were hijacked or taken over by 19 terrorists, part of the terrorist group called “al-Qaeda,” and used as giant, guided missiles to crash into landmark buildings in New York and Washington. Two planes struck the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in New York. As people rushed out of the towers, many rushed in to help, including firefighters and police officers, who saved thousands of lives.

Almost 3,000 people died, and thousands were injured or later developed illnesses connected to the attacks, including firefighters who had worked in toxic debris. Citizens of 77 different countries were among the casualties.

The third plane destroyed the western face of the Pentagon – the giant headquarters of the US military just outside the nation’s capital, Washington DC.

And the fourth plane crashed in a field in Pennsylvania after passengers fought back. There is speculation that the hijackers had meant to attack the Capitol Building in Washington DC.

  • All 246 passengers and crew aboard the four planes were killed
  • At the Twin Towers, 2,606 people died – then or later of injuries
  • At the Pentagon, 125 people were killed

Around 17,000 people were in the buildings when they were hit by the planes. Most of them left safely. As they rushed out, firemen, police officers, and other volunteers rushed in to help those still trapped. We call these heroes “first responders”. The buildings were very damaged, though, and before the first responders could help everyone, they collapsed.

On the one hand, the world witnessed the searing destructiveness of naked hate that day; on the other hand saw many performing incredible acts of heroism, sympathy, and gratitude.

People came from all over the world to help. Some came to help the injured. Some came to help clean up the site. Others brought food and support messages for the workers. Many people worked around the clock (all day and all night without stopping) to clear the rubble and the debris, and eight months later, the last of the steel was removed.

To help us remember, a permanent 9/11 Memorial and a Museum were opened at the site of the original World Trade Center on the 10th anniversary of the attacks. Together, they remind us what happened that day and help us remember all the people who lost their lives. They also let us remember the importance of helping each other and making our community and world a better place.


  • What does the word “hero” mean to you? Do you think of someone with superhuman strength or someone you know?

  • What makes a hero?

  • How can we show support and gratitude to those who act heroically or are absolutely and genuinely committed to the well-being of our community, country, or the world? 

Blumenau’s birthday or anniversary?

September 2 was Blumenau’s 171 anniversary. But, birthday or anniversary?

Na língua inglesa, há duas palavras a serem usadas quando queremos nos referir à aniversário.

A maioria dos professore de inglês brasileiros, dizem: “Se for o aniversário de uma pessoa, use o substantivo birthday pois, como o próprio nome já diz, refere-se ao dia do nascimento (birth significa “nascimento” e day significa “dia”). Então birthday refere-se ao aniversário de vida de alguém, ou ao dia em que essa pessoa nasceu. Use anniversary para referir-se à data em que um evento importante aconteceu, como aniversário de casamento, aniversário da cidade, ou a data da fundação de alguma empresa ou instituição.


But it’s not that simple, and it can cause some confusion.

I’ve already tried to make a couple of different classes, adopting different approaches to make it easier to understand how to use these words. Now instead of giving rules and exceptions, I’ve decided to show you the result of my search.


The anniversary of the birth of a person.

He was in New York to celebrate his 74th birthday.

The date on which someone is born or something is created, more commonly called birthdate or date of birth.


(especially) The date on which a couple married or the date on which a romance began. It also means the celebration which takes place on an anniversary day.

We are celebrating our tenth anniversary today.


A day that is an exact number of years (to the day) since a given significant event occurred. Often preceded by an ordinal number indicating the number of years.

Today is the fiftieth anniversary of the end of the war.

Speech on the 150th Anniversary of the Declaration of Independence.

WVU vigil, other remembrance events planned to mark 20th anniversary of 9/11 terrorist attacks.

Birthday and anniversary

The anniversary of the day on which something is created.

Birthday and anniversary

The anniversary of something’s origin or foundation.

The holiday is to celebrate the city anniversary.

The City of Cleveland Orchestra is celebrating its 200th birthday.

Happy 10th birthday: UNU-CRIS – United Nations University

Hats off to Academia Sinica’s Institute of Law on its tenth birthday!

Interestingly, even though we don’t usually refer to birth dates as “anniversaries,” we use the death anniversary when referring to death dates.

Remembering dad on his death anniversary is a great agony.

The 100th anniversary of the birth of composer Benjamin Britten.

However, unless you qualify the noun anniversary, it is generally taken to mean a wedding anniversary. If you say, Today is my anniversary, unless the context indicates otherwise, you would be speaking of your wedding anniversary.

For other anniversaries, use a qualifier as well. For your employment, you can say work anniversary.

For anniversaries, such as a nation’s birthday, we use a recognized proper name. For the United States, July 4 refers to as “Independence Day.”

These national anniversaries, celebrated in most countries, are typically called national days. These are the dates of independence or adoption of a new constitution or form of government. 

Well, I hope this information was of some help to you. At least I’m sure you have no doubts at all about how to greet someone on their birthday, right? 😉

I got a haircut

Start watching the video to listen to the introductory explanation, pause it, finish reading the post, and then go back to the exercises in the video.

Have/get + object + past participle

We use this structure, the Passive Causative form, to talk about services that we receive, to talk about things which we don’t do by ourselves but someone else does for us.

  • I had/got my hair cut.
  • I got/had my car repaired.
  • I am going to have/get my house painted.

If you’re doing the action, you can just simply use “cut”: cut my own hair.

When you have/get a haircut, someone cuts your hair for you.

Here are a few more examples:

  • He got a haircut and did/ran other errands during the lunch hours.
  • I was planning to finish work early today, get a haircut and maybe do some shopping.

Now it’s your turn

Do you cut your hair? If not, who cuts your hair?

How often do you get a haircut?