Cats and Dogs - a blog for English learners

Occasional tips and tricks to help you learn more than the useless phrase "it's raining cats and dogs", brought to you by Craig Meulen, an English teacher in Germany. (Blog discontinued.)

June 4, 2010

Send your kids to the jungle! To learn English?

Yes, that's the interesting idea behind this innovative approach to learning English - have fun while you learn and enjoy an adventure holiday in the "jungle".

Here's the information (in German):

English & Adventure - Englisch lernen im Dschungelcamp

In den Ferien Englisch pauken und seine Zeit beim Nachhilfeunterricht statt am Badesee verbringen? Nicht gerade die Traumvorstellung eines jeden Schülers. Deshalb bietet Dschungelcamp Neuhaus e.V. ( in Zusammenarbeit mit dem Sprachstudio jetzt Englischunterricht der etwas anderen Art.

"English & Adventure" nennt sich das Programm, bei dem Schüler von zehn bis 14 Jahren ihr Englisch verbessern können. Nach den Grundsätzen der Erlebnispädagogik lernen die Schüler bei aufregenden Outdoor-Aktionen die Sprache praktisch "nebenbei", spielerisch und mit viel Spaß. Los geht es mit einer Kanu- oder Schlauchbootfahrt auf der Rott, gefolgt von einer Stärkung bei einem American Barbecue und spannenden Spielen - auf Englisch versteht sich. Dabei wird stets das Hörverstehen und Sprechen trainiert und neues Vokabular erlernt.

Geleitet werden die English & Adventure Days von der pädagogisch ausgebildeten Englischtrainerin und Übersetzerin Stefanie Eder, Inhaberin der Fremdsprachenagentur Sprachstudio. Mitmachen können alle, die bereits ein Jahr Englisch gelernt haben. Um das Lernerlebnis besonders intensiv zu gestalten, ist die Teilnehmerzahl auf 12 Kinder beschränkt. Weitere Informationen erhalten Sie beim Sprachstudio Stefanie Eder unter bzw. oder unter 08503/924072 bzw. 08503/8010.

Labels: ,

June 1, 2010

How to use semi-colons

This must be one of the most interesting grammar texts I've read; it is funny and it contains very good advice how to use semi-colons.

April 30, 2010

Speak English? Eat English!

Do you want to speak English? Or do you want to eat English?!! Here's a tip so you can finally you can learn how to make the most typical English food, without having to go to England. You can still do that later, of course - there's nothing better than fish'n'chips from the chippy! (= from the fish and chips shop)

How To Make English Fish And Chips With Beer Batter

Labels: ,

April 11, 2010

A.A.A.D.D. [tenses and time]

Here is one of those e-mails that friends circulate around to each other. It's quite funny and as I get older I notice that I seem to be suffering from this, too!

But for learning English, once you stop laughing, here is your task. There are lots of actions and lots of verbs. The verbs are used in different tenses because some actions are done before others or after others. Find the special tenses (e.g. I will be looking) used to make the order clear. [I put some in red to start you off.]


Thank goodness there's a name for this disorder. Somehow I feel better, even though I have it!!

Recently, I was diagnosed with A.A.A.D.D. - Age Activated Attention Deficit Disorder.

This is how it manifests itself:

I decide to water my garden.

As I turn on the hose in the driveway, I look over at my car and decide it needs washing.

As I head towards the garage, I notice mail on the porch table that I picked up from the post man earlier.

I decide to go through the mail before I wash the car. [no future tense after conjunctions such as 'before']

I lay my car keys on the table, put the junk mail in the recycling box under the table, and notice that the recycling box is full.

So, I decide to put the bills back on the table and take out the recycling first.

But then I think, since I'm going to be near the postbox when I take out the recycling paper anyway, I may as well pay the bills first.

I take my cheque book off the table, And notice that there is only one cheque left.

My extra cheques are in my desk in the study, so I go inside the house to my desk where I find the cup of coffee I'd been drinking.

I'm going to look for my cheques, but first I need to push the coffee aside so that I don't accidentally knock it over.

The coffee is getting cold, and I decide to make another cup.

As I head toward the kitchen with the cold coffee, a vase of flowers on the worktop catches my eye - the flowers need water.

I put the coffee on the worktop and discover my reading glasses that I've been searching for all morning.

I decide I better put them back on my desk, but first I'm going to water the flowers.

I put the glasses back down on the worktop, fill a container with water and suddenly spot the TV remote control. Someone left it on the kitchen table.

I realise that tonight when we go to watch TV, I'll be looking for the remote, but I won't remember that it's on the kitchen table, so I decide to put it back where it belongs, but first I'll water the flowers.

I pour some water in the flowers, but quite a bit of it spills on the floor.

So, I put the remote back on the table, get some towels and wipe up the spill.

Then, I head down the hall trying to remember what I was planning to do.

At the end of the day:

The car isn't washed.

The bills aren't paid.

There is a cold cup of coffee sitting on the counter.

The flowers don't have enough water.

There is still only 1 cheque in my cheque book.

I can't find the remote.

I can't find my glasses.

And I don't remember what I did with the car keys.

Then, when I try to figure out why nothing got done today, I'm really baffled because I know I was busy all damn day, and I'm really tired.

I realise this is a serious problem, and I'll try to get some help for it, but first I'll check my e-mail....

Do me a favour. Forward this message to everyone you know, Because I don't remember who the hell I've sent it to.

Don't laugh - if this isn't you yet, your day is coming!!

Labels: ,

April 6, 2010

A variety of world maps

In the English teachers' office where I worked in India we had a world map on the wall, but it looked different. Why? Because India was in the centre of the map.

It's funny how just looking at a differently-drawn map can give you a different view of the world. My link for you to practice your English today is Worldmapper. There you can find a lot of maps which change the size and shape of the countries to show things like population, number of children, disease and hunger. Very interesting.

Worldmapper is a collection of world maps, where territories are re-sized on each map according to the subject of interest. There are now nearly 700 maps. Maps 1-366 are also available as PDF posters.


March 22, 2010

Multilingual Kindergartens

This opporunity is too late for readers of this blog (I assume there are no 3-year-olds reading?), but your children might benefit. There is a charity which helps any parents who want to send their children to schools where more than one language is spoken. They do this for different reasons. Sometimes the parents speak different languages. Or sometimes the parents are German speakers, but they want to give their children a 'headstart'.

March 2, 2010

Human Resources Lexicon

Here is a very useful dictionary for some of my Business English students. Seven languages, one topic: Human Resources.