Hello. Thanks for joining us.  In today’s English News blog post, you can listen to Keiko and Nicholas have a conversation about an article published in The Guardian.  The article is about a “strict school.”  We hope this lesson will be good practice for our intermediate and advanced students.  Before listening to our conversation, it’s a good idea to read the article below so you can get some background information and new vocabulary about the topic.  We’d be happy to hear your opinion about this “strict school” as well so feel free to leave your comments below!  Enjoy! 

Nicholas is a teacher at Gengo Lingo and Keiko is a friend, an English teacher, and coordinator of a language program. 

For the article that we will be discussing, click here.




  1. Can you summarize the article?  
  2. Was there anything in this article that surprised you?  
  3. When you heard the words “strict school,” what came to mind?   
  4. Do you have any experience with strict schooling?
  5. What are the positive and negative aspects of attending a strict school?
  6. Would you send your children to a school like this?  
  7. Would you want to attend a school like this?   
  8. Can a school promote discipline AND creativity? How? What is the balance?



The Guardian – Why It’s Right for a Head to Demand Lunch Money – and High Standards

The Guardian – Headteacher Defends Policy of Putting Pupils in ‘Lunch Isolation’



YouTube – Paul Atherton – What is a Free School?

YouTube – Michaela Community School – A New Education


“Turn to right after finished paper”
“Lever not turn when paper remains”
↑ この英語をどのように修正しますか?

Turn (the dial) to the right if the toilet paper roll is empty
The dial will not turn if there is toilet paper remaining

Turn right if empty
Dial won’t turn if toilet paper remaining

ここで、喉や鼻が痛いまで行かないけど、「なんか変な感じがする・ムズムズする・イライラする」と言いたい時には “feels funny” を使ってみましょう。

– My throat feels funny.
– My ears feel funny.
– My stomach feels funny.

こういう相手には “Take care!・お大事に!”と言ってあげてください。


Allergy, Cold, Disease, Flu, Girl

Often I hear students say these phrases:

I am too hungry.

The concert was too good.

The movie was too bad.

Tokyo has too many trains. 


What do you think?  Do you say these phrases?  

These phrases are actually incorrect.


Here are some phrases that you can use instead:

I am very hungry.    /    I am so hungry.

The concert was very good.    /    The concert was so good. 

The movie was very bad.    /   The movie was so bad.

Tokyo has a lot of trains.    /    Tokyo has so many trains.


So, often students will use TOO, but they should use VERY or SO.

It was too hot today.  → It was very hot today.   /   It was so hot today.

This food is too delicious. → This food is very delicious.   /  This food is so delicious.

Tip: Try this correction in your next lesson.  When you instructor asks:  How are you?  Say: “I am very good.” 


Also, students will use TOO MANY, but they should use A LOT OF or SO MANY.

I have too many friends.  → I have a lot of friends.

There are too many flowers in my garden.  → There are so many flowers in my garden.


So, when should we use TOO?  

Use TOO when you want to show that something is impossible.

Oh no, the store is closed.  We are too late.  =  Going into the store is impossible because it is closed.

The beach is too far.  =  Going to the beach is impossible because we can’t get there.

This necklace is too expensive =  Buying this necklace is impossible because I don’t have enough money.


Use TOO when you want to show there is a problem.  

The shoe is too small.  =  I can’t wear the shoe.

There is too much wasabi on my sushi.  =  I can’t eat the sushi.

These pants are too tight.  =  I can’t wear the pants.

There are too many candles on my birthday cake.  = I’m 24, but there are 25 candles on the cake.


What about? → Too bad.

This is a special phrase that we use to show sympathy or regret.  Similar to “I’m sorry.” or “I wish it did / didn’t happen.”

A: I lost my wallet.   B: That is too bad.

It is too bad that you failed your test.

Too bad we can’t go to the concert.  


What about? → Too Good.

Nothing is too good 🙂   Change it to:  Very good.

This pizza is too good!  →  This pizza is very good!

However, we do have an idiom in English:  too good to be true

This idiom is used to express doubt about something.   Some Examples:

A free trip to Hawaii!  That is too good to be true.

1975 yen for a Gengo Lingo on-line lesson!  That is too good to be true.   

Actually, the second one IS true!  With our current campaign, you can take lessons for just 1975 yen. 

Come join us for a lesson!


日本語の「〜が苦手」は便利な言葉で 上手くない 好きじゃない、どっちの意味を表現したい時に使えますよね。英語ではそれぞれ違うフレーズがありますので、気をつけましょう。 “not good at” は上手じゃないという意味を持つので、好きじゃないと表現したい時に使うと変な文章になってしまいます。例えば “I’m not good at celery.” = 私はセロリが上手じゃない。相手がなぜ困った顔するのかわかりますよね!

(X) I’m not good at coriander. / I’m bad at coriander.I don’t like coriander. = 私はパクチーが苦手です。

(X) He is not good at heights. / He is bad at heights.He doesn’t like heights. / He doesn’t do well with heights. = 彼は高所恐怖症です。


(O) I’m not good at singing. = 私は歌が苦手・下手です。

(O) She is bad / terrible at cooking. = 彼女は料理が苦手・下手です。

(O) He doesn’t like snakes. = 彼は蛇が苦手・嫌いです。

(O) My friends from Hawaii don’t do well with cold weather. = 私のハワイ出身の友だちは寒いのが苦手・好きじゃないです。


(O) I suck at bowling. = 私はボーリングが苦手・下手です。

(O) My uncle is the worst at driving.  = 私のおじさんは運転が苦手・下手です。

(O) She’s not a fan of bananas. = 彼女はバナナが苦手・好きじゃない。

(O) Natto is not my thing.  = 私は納豆が苦手・好きじゃないです。

My student told me a story about a minor accident she had.  She was running in the park and twisted her ankle.  She wanted to tell me how it felt, but she couldn’t find the right words.

Describing pain in Japanese can be very simple.  One word – 痛い (itai) – can go really far.  However, in English we have a variety of ways to express pain.  To sound natural, we should use the best word for each situation.

As a bonus, using these words is a good way to practice basic English grammar.

Here are the most common words  for talking about pain:

  • Pain
  • Sore
  • Hurt
  • Ache


“Pain” is a noun (名詞 – meishi).  So we can make phrases using this structure:

I have pain in my ____.

Some common phrases using “pain”:

I have pain in my back.

I have pain in my knee.


“Sore” is an adjective (形容詞 – keiyoushi).  So, we can make phrases like this:

My _____ is sore.

I have a sore ______.

Some common phrases using “sore”:

My back is sore.

I have a sore throat.

My ankle is sore.

I have a sore finger.


“Hurt” is a verb (動詞 – doushi).  So, we can make phrases like this:

I hurt my ___.

My ___ hurts.

Some common phrases using “hurt”:

I hurt my back.

My arm hurts.


“Ache / Aches” is a noun and a verb.  As a noun, we make phrases like this:

I have a headache.

As a verb, we make phrases like this:

My ___ aches.

Here are more nouns using “ache”:

  • Stomachache
  • Toothache   *Not teethache
  • Backache
  • Earache


Natural English for talking about pain:

There are some phrases used to express pain in a more natural way.  Here are some examples:

Ouch! – We can use this word when we feel the pain.  If you hit your knee on your desk, you say: “Ouch!”

Ow! – We can use this in the same way as “Ouch!”

Kill(s) – We can use this word to talked about extreme pain in casual situations.  “Kill” is a verb.  We can use it the same way as “ache”.  But, we can’t use it with combinations: headkill, stomachkill, etc. 

My neck kills.

We can also say this:

My ankle is killing me.


Other verbs to express pain:

Sting(s) – feels similar to lemon juice on a cut.

→ I got shampoo in my eyes – it stings!

Burn(s) – it is the feeling of fire on your skin.

→ I put tiger balm on my neck – it burns!

Throb(s) – it is pain that increases and decreases when your heart beats. 

→ My tooth is throbbing.  I should go to the dentist soon.


So, how are you feeling today?  I hope you don’t have to talk about pain often.  But, if you do, now you know how.

Everybody be careful out there!


As an English teacher, I correct this mistake EVERY SINGLE DAY. I’m not joking. It is one of, if not the most, common mistake made by students in Japan.

Almost is used when talking about approximation, while Most references majority.

殆どの〜」と言いたい時に “almost” を使うのは間違いです。 “Almost people” = もう少しで人、と言うことは猿?! 違いますよね。こういう時は “most” を使いましょう。

ほぼ」と言いたい時に “almost” を使うのも間違いです。 “I almost eat soba for lunch.” = 昼食はもう少しでお蕎麦を食べています。意味が不明ですよね。こういう時は  “mostly” を使いましょう。


(X) Almost Japanese food is healthy.Most Japanese food is healthy. = 殆どの和食はヘルシーです。

(X) She finished almost her homework.She finished most of her homework. = 彼女は宿題を殆ど終わらせました。


(X) I almost stayed at home this past weekend.I mostly stayed at home this past weekend. = 先週末はほぼ家にいました。

(X) He almost eats pistachio ice cream for dessert.He mostly eats pistachio ice cream for dessert. = 彼はデザートの時には大体ピスタチオアイスクリームを食べます。


(O) He’s almost done with work for today. = 彼は今日の仕事はもう少しで終わります。

(O) I almost missed my train this morning. = 私は今朝もう少しで電車に乗り遅れるところでした。

(O) It’s almost midnight. = あともう少しで夜中の12時です。

(O) She is almost 30 years old. = 彼女はもう少しで30歳になります。


(O) Most people from the Netherlands are very tall. = 殆どのオランダ人は背が高いです。

(O) I was able to see most of Malaysia during my trip. = 旅行でマレーシアの殆どを見れました。

(O) He spent most of his childhood in Zimbabwe. = 彼は幼年時代の大半はジンバブエに住んでいました。

(O) It was the most beautiful flower I’ve ever seen. = 今まで見てきた花の中で一番素敵でした。


※ “Almost all” を “most” の代わりに使うこともできます。

(O) Almost all Japanese food is healthy. = 殆どの和食はヘルシーです。

(O) She finished almost all of her homework. = 彼女は宿題を殆ど終わらせました。

辞書で調べてみるとわかりますが “miss” にはとってもたくさんな使い方があります。上記の表には一番よく使われている意味をまとめました。

Miss” を動詞として使う時には一般的な「失敗をした」と言う意味では使えません。

(X) I missed at work today.I made a mistake at work today. = 今日仕事で失敗をしてしまった。

(X) I missed on the exam.I made a mistake on the exam. = 試験で間違いをしてしまった。

(O) I missed a great opportunity. = 最高な機会を逃した。

(O) I missed my train. = 電車を乗り遅れた。

(O) I missed a spot when washing my car. = 車を洗った時に一箇所見落としてしまった。

(O) I miss my dog. = 犬が恋しい。

Mistake” は過去形の動詞として使うときはそのままでは使えません。

(X) I mistaked the time of my appointment.I mistook the time of my appointment. = 予約の時間を間違えました。

(O) I’m sorry Ron, I thought your name was Bob. I was mistaken. = Ronさんごめんなさい。あなたの名前はBobだと思っていました。私の間違いです。

(O) There is no mistaking the smell of blue cheese. = ブルーチーズの匂いを間違えることはありません。

¡Hola Gengo Lingo world! Welcome to the [Miss Mistakes] blog series. Can you guess where the name comes from? Students often confuse the word “miss” with “make a mistake.” Teachers often hear things like, “I missed at work today.” The correct sentence should be, “I made a mistake at work today.” In this series, we will cover commonly made mistakes and explain the correction. Languages can be confusing because sometimes the same word has different meanings and usages. The word “miss” is a good example. For the name of this series, we are using “miss” as a courtesy title (i.e. Ms.) – a play on words. Please share any common English mistakes that you know of in the comments! Enjoy!!!

Gengo Lingoの皆さま、元気ですか?新ブログシリーズ「ミス・ミステークス」を紹介したいと思います。このタイトルの意味はわかりますか?生徒さんはよく「ミス」と「間違い」を勘違いします。「今日仕事でミスをしてしまった。」と言いたい時に “mistake” ではなく “miss” を使ってしまう。このシリーズではよく間違えられるミスを紹介し、正しい単語や表現を説明します。言語は難しいけど面白いですね。日本語もそうですけど、同じ言葉でも意味がいっぱいあって使う場も違う。英語の「ミス」はこの一つです。タイトルはワードプレイで “miss” を敬称として使っています。皆さんのよくある英語の「ミス」をシェアしてください!一緒に「ミス」して、一緒に勉強しましょう。お待ちしています!

“thunder” (名) = 雷(音)
“lightning” (名) = 稲光・雷(光)
“lightning bolt” (名) = 稲妻
“astraphobia” (名) ・”astraphobic” (形) = 雷恐怖症

I love thunderstorms, especially if there are lightning bolts… but only if I’m in a safe place. I think they are beautiful and almost magical.

Did you know that you can calculate how far you are from a storm by watching lightning and listening for thunder? After you see a flash of lightning, count the number of seconds until you hear thunder. Every three seconds means the storm is roughly one kilometer away. Divide the number of seconds by three to get the number of kilometers.
(For example: 30 seconds / 3 = 10 kilometers)

Just a few moments ago I saw lightning and heard thunder immediately. The thunder was so incredibly loud that it made me jump! The storm was right over me! Good thing I’m not astraphobic!

このお話わかりましたか? よかったら上記の計算式を使って自分と嵐の距離を計算してみてください。安全第一なので、皆さんも気をつけてくださいね!

This video is all about clothes!  Did you know that “ワンピイス” (wanpiisu) and “ワイシャツ” (waishatsu) will not be understood by English speakers?  In this video, we will learn which words to use to talk about our favorite clothes.  What are you wearing today?


Please feel free to comment and add your own examples. 皆さまも伝わらなかった和製英語の経験がありましたら、コメントでシェアしてください。

Click on the picture to start the video!  画像をクリックしてビデオを見よう!

“Catch the all” – What do you think this means? What are they trying to say?


ここに使われている英語を修正するとしたら、“CATCH IT ALL” か “CATCH THEM ALL” が一番良さそうですね。

選手向けでしたら: ボールをキャッチするように、全て「一球、勝利、栄光、その瞬間」をキャッチしろ!逃すな!的な感じで使えます。

もしファン向けでしたら: “Don’t miss it / out”「逃してはいけない」でも大丈夫ですが、ワードプレイで何かをキャッチすると言う意味は「見る」とも使えますので、”Catch it all” は活用できます。例えば、“I caught the game on TV.”「テレビで試合を見ました。」


では、なぜ “Catch the all” が間違えで、“Catch it / them all” が正しいというと。。。

“All”「全て」の前には “the” をつけることはできません。

※“All” がタイトルに含まれていれば使える場合もあります(例:The All-star baseball players)。

I learned a new word from my student today.  一幕見席 [hitomakumiseki].  My student was having difficulty explaining this word, so we checked the dictionary.  I quickly found out why she was having difficulty.  一幕見席 roughly translates to: “Special seats and standing-only space in the galley for people who only intend to see one act of a kabuki play” according to www.jisho.com.  Wow.  That is a very specific word!

Sorry, there is no English word for 一幕見席.

Some Japanese words just can’t be translated into English smoothly.  We need a sentence or more to get the point across.  So, what should we do?  Well, it’s time to practice your describing skills.

My student is quite good at describing.  For 一幕見席, she said:  There is an area at the back of the theater.  We can stand there.  The seats are cheaper than usual.  We can only watch one part of the play.

Great!  It was enough information for me to understand and she could continue telling her story.  So, when you want to use a Japanese word, but you don’t know how to say it in English – describe it.  You can use size, shape, color, texture, when you do it, where you use it, how it works, etc.  And don’t forget to use body language.  Use your hands to help paint the picture.

Can you describe these Japanese words?: 

[hakama], お花見 [ohanami], お摘み [otsumami], お盆 [O-bon], 忘年会 [bonenkai], 初詣で [hatsumode]

Try it out and write your descriptions in the comments.

Natural English used in this entry:

  • find out (found out) = understand (understood)
  • get the point across = explain
  • paint a picture = describe
  • try it out = try to do something

“bloom” / “blossom” (名詞・動詞) = 花・咲く、開花する

“fall” (動詞) = 散る

  • The cherry blossoms will bloom / blossom over the next few days.
  • The cherry blossoms are in full bloom / blossom now.
  • The cherry blossoms have started to fall.
  • Some of the cherry blossoms have fallen due to the wind and rain.

“allergies” / “hay fever” (名詞) = 花粉症
*”pollen” (名詞) = 花粉

A: Are you okay? You’re sneezing a lot.
B: Yah, sorry. I have terrible allergies every spring.

A: Are you okay? Your eyes are red.
B: Yah I know. I have hay fever.

「花粉症」は正しく言うと “allergies to pollen”ですが、”pollen”と言う必要はないです。