Short and Simple English

I'm Jo Szoke, a practicing English teacher (holding a DELTA degree and an MA in English Theoretical Linguistics) and avid language learner (Rus, Bel, Kor) from Hungary. I've created this site for my personal use but also for everybody who's looking for teaching materials that can be used for online as well as for "live" teaching.

Contributing Authors
Recent Tweets @shortsimpleen
Posts tagged "english"
How the appearance of the computer changed the meaning of English words…

How the appearance of the computer changed the meaning of English words…

How I Met Your Mother - Subway Wars lesson

This lesson was created in order to provide an updated and modernized version for Unit 2C “Race to the Sun” in the Intermediate level of the New English File series. 


Level: B1-B2 (since it’s an authentic show, it’s more demanding)

Vocabulary: modes of transport and related verbs, informal phrases

Skills practiced: listening for detail, vocabulary, speaking

Length: show is 22 minutes (watching it twice is advised) plus discussion = overall at least 60 minutes

 Download the PDF

1. Look at the two pictures below (if you know the character, try to forget that thought for a couple of minutes). Would be these sentences nice to hear in real life? What kind of personality traits does this man have?

You can download this lesson in  PDF

Read More

When you have to study all night for an exam, or when you work all night to finish a task.

Oh my, I still haven’t finished this report for my boss and it’s due tomorrow!! I guess I’ll have to pull an all-nighter again…

Said when you don’t have control over a situation and when you don’t have the power or authority to influence the outcome of things.

I would really like to raise your salary but my hands are tied you know. I can’t do it without checking at first with the managers.

The Book of the Future

What an interesting idea! 

#1 How do you feel about ebooks and tablet PCs today? Do you use any of these devices?

  • [related adjectives]: essential, annoying, convenient, unsafe, fun, invasive

#2 Do you think they make our life easier or more complicated?

#3 Can you imagine that in 50 years, let’s say, people will celebrate the re-emergence of the traditional book?

  • [related grammar] Don’t forget to check the following tenses and their usages: 
                 *future simple (It will happen)
                 *going to future (People are going to get rid of their telephones)
                 *future perfect (By 2020 they will have invented MiniTerminators)
  •              *present continuous for future meaning (The train is leaving)
  • [related expressions] Since you are not sure about the future, you can use the following hedges:
                 *People may…
                 *I guess they will…
                 *I doubt that they will…
                 *I’m not sure whether or not they will… 

#4 Have you noticed a similar “yo-yo” or “pendulum” pattern throughout history? In what sense? Can you mention some examples?

  • [related to pendulum] swing - After several years of Republican government, the pendulum will undoubtedly swing back and voters will elect a Democrat.

#5 Look at the language of this ad! What kind of techniques are used here and used generally to make things look more appealing and to make people want to buy them. As an additional task, look for advertisements which make use of these marketing tricks!

  • [words to check] jingle, ploy, gimmick, logo, branding, slogan

(via fuckyeahbookarts)

Last week I spent my easter break in London and Manchester! Wheee. As you may have already guessed it was awesome. Some pictures from the trip can be seen below ^_^

Another thing that happened during my stay in England is that I bought a book called "It’s not rocket science and other irritating modern clichés." “Cliché” I think is not the best definition for these terms with respect to language learners. These are really widespread expressions, hence very useful for people who would like to speak or write English naturally. Maybe these phrases do sound commonplace to native speakers themselves but they will be perfect for spicing up your textbook vocabulary!

Let’s start with expression #1!


This word originally comes from the slang spoken by drug addicts but is now rarely used in that meaning. Today if you’re an adrenalin-junkie or a coffee-junkie it simply means that you go crazy for these things and you spend most of your free time with searching for adventures or coffee shops. 

Money and Loans worksheet

 Download the PDF from this link!

Gilmore Girls - Paris speed dating

(Attention! They speak at a very rapid pace - only for advanced students!)

Download the Worksheet and Transcript from these links:



Linking words exercise (from Macmillan ADVANCED Language Practice)

A collection of linking words and other set phrases for speaking and writing.

 Download the PDF

Ordering in a restaurant

picture source