natural places of attraction in Malta and Gozo

9 Must-see Natural Attractions in Malta and Gozo

Are you a nature lover? Add these 10 nature places in Malta to your bucket list!

Discover nature in Malta and Gozo through these unique attractions.

If your idea of a holiday must include nature and you want to find a suitable place for learning English outside a city, the islands of Malta and Gozo may be what you are looking for.

Malta’s nature is nowhere as famous as the sparkling azure sea and the picturesque coast, however, it has a particular and unique charm. Though trees are not abundant, there is much to be enjoyed amidst the dramatic rocky landscape strewn with bushes and wildflowers. Students who want to take English courses while also spending time outdoors in nature are always happy with the combination Malta provides.

Scattered here and there you will find hunters’ lodges and stone igloos known by the name “ġirna” as well as prehistoric megaliths standing tall and mysterious parallel cart ruts cut deep into the rock. What’s most remarkable is the rock. Five layers of rock include varieties of white limestone, blue clay and greensand, which colour and texture define the landscape and the nature that prevails.

As you explore the caves, ridges and the valleys, you will stumble upon fossils, indigenous lizards, snakes, birds and wild rabbits. Your eyes will feast on curious and colourful varieties of cactii and wildflowers, you can taste wild spinach and wild asparagus, while the salty air smells of fennel and wild thyme, and sometimes of pine.

1. All of Gozo

If it is nature you love, you’ll probably prefer the island of Gozo. Gozo is largely unspoilt and still offers plenty of pristine nature to enjoy. Despite its smaller size, there is loads to explore in terms of the coast, cliffs, caves, valleys, and so on, and it is easier to get away from it all in Gozo than it is in Malta. Especially in the cooler months, Gozo’s hills are covered in a lush green carpet and lots of wildflowers.

2. Xemxija Heritage Trail

The Xemxija heritage trail takes you up a Roman Road to the rock-cut apiaries, past a 1000-year-old carob tree, along a path that has punic tombs on one side and temple remains on the other. Here you may venture west into Mizip Forest or continue north to a ridge, which is also the location of the Roman baths. Although located near a residential area, few walks in nature provide such a variety of curiosities.

3. Buskett Gardens

Buskett Gardens is one of the largest woodland areas of Malta. It was originally the gardens of Verdala Palace, which was built in 1586 by Grand Master de Verdalle and today serves as the summer residence of the President of Malta. Set around a valley with a stream flowing through it, the gardens include wild woodland as well as orchards, which originally served as a hunting reserve.

4. Ghar il-Kbir, Siggiewi

A short walk from Buskett, one can venture into private property to gain access to one of the most remarkable features on the island. Ghar il-Kbir translates as the great cave and consists of a complex of what were once underground caves inhabited by troglodytes. Nearby is a mysterious web of cart ruts known as Clapham Junction, due to their resemblance to the railway station’s crisscrossing lines.

5. Dingli Cliffs

Set 250 m above sea level, the village of Dingli is set on the edge of the highest cliffs of the island. In some areas, the awe-inspiring sheer drop gives way to land below, some wild and some cultivated. If you feel adventurous, find a way to wander down below. But watch your fall, it’s a long way down!

6. Fomm ir-Rih

On the outskirts of the rural village of Bahrija, along winding country roads across an apparent wilderness with stunning views, you will eventually come across one of the most remote and beautiful bays of Malta. Fomm ir-Riħ, the mouth of the wind, features a pebble beach, surrounded by grand cliffs, which can be accessed by a 15-minute trek down a steep path.

7. Majjistral Nature Park

The northwest of Malta, from Golden Bay to ix-Xagħra l-Ħamra, was declared a national park in 2007. Majjistral Nature and History Park includes natural habitats, agricultural activities, and historic and archeological sites. The park is freely accessible and several guided tours, activities and events are organised regularly.

8. L-Ahrax tal-Mellieha

Grab your camping gear, apply for a permit online, and head into the woods. Well, almost. Although the area of woodland is actually very small, l-Aħrax tal-Mellieħa is a favourite camping zone with the locals; this condensed area of Malta’s nature, complete with cliffs, rubble and hidden coves for swimming, has the added bonus of wonderful views of Mellieħa bay and the village, the Red Tower, and the sunset. It is also an ideal site for a picnic or a long walk through the woods and along the coast – try to locate the underground cave where the roof caved into the water! You can also access this magnificent location with a kayak which can be found in either Armier or Mellieħa Ghadira Bay beach.

9. Wied iz-Zurrieq to Ghar Lapsi

The entire area stretching from Wied Babu, just below the village of Żurrieq, to Għar Lapsi, is an absolute delight to explore. The first stop after Wied Babu, a lush valley with gorgeous sea views, is Wied iż-Żurrieq, a teeny bay where you can take a boat to see the Blue Grotto. Further along the coast (you need not take the road) you will eventually come to the area of the magnificent Mnajdra and Ħaġar Qim megalithic temples, which are complete with a museum and visitor center. Much further along, where the cliffs are ideal for rock climbing, is Għar Lapsi, an ideal place to finish the trek with a swim, some fantastic snorkeling, and simple good food, as children splash in the water while the adults play cards or gossip, with their tea in glasses, at tables outside the boathouses. It does not get more natural than this; this is a true taste of Malta.

Are you a nature lover? Learn English in the Countryside at BELS Gozo

Our BELS Gozo English school is housed in a traditional farmhouse that has been renovated into a modern educational establishment, with everything needed for a comfortable learning experience.  You can mingle with international students in our front garden, study in a silent environment, and enjoy the slower pace of life on the island of Gozo.

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Travel tips to learn English in Malta from my experience

Planning a trip learn English in Malta? Follow our guide!

How can I plan a trip to learn English in Malta?

In any search for locations to learn English, Malta is likely to come up on top.  The same can be said when looking for top island travel destinations. In recent years, the beauty of our islands has received worldwide appreciation, with visitors from all over the world coming here to experience the unique character, varied culture, rich history, and natural wonders. People love Malta because of how easily accessible it is due to its central location in the Mediterranean. Then there’s the sun, magnificent beaches, a slower pace of life, and an energetic cosmopolitan lifestyle. And of course, the fact that it’s an English-speaking country and former British country.

Being an English-speaking country has also placed Malta as the ultimate destination to learn English.  There are a variety of schools for all ages, which are open all year round. Over the years, English schools in Malta and Gozo have gained a reputation for the quality of education they provide. Also, when compared to other popular destinations, there’s the added benefit of the year-round warm climate and lower cost of living.  Here you can make steady progress and find quality English courses, while also learning in an immersive environment.

Here at BELS Language schools, we’ve compiled a guide to help you plan your trip to learn English in Malta. It’s based on our years of experience and common inquiries from our students.

Your English learning journey in Malta starts here. Follow these 9 steps!

1. Contact BELS

As a first step we always advise to speak with us directly, since we can guide you depending on your nationality and visa requirements, preferred travel dates and course duration. These factors are important to consider from the start.

2. Select your location

While everyone knows about Malta and the opportunities to learn English there, few are aware of the smaller island of Gozo, which forms a part of Malta. And no trip to Malta is complete without truly experiencing both islands. We recommend at least a full week to get to know Gozo and all its unique nooks and crannies. Yes, Gozo is tiny – but it’s full of charm and worth the extra mile. It’s also home to BELS English language schools, located in the middle of the countryside in the rustic village of Kercem.

Each island and school have their own character and are suitable for different kinds of travellers. When you speak to us, we’ll answer all your questions and suggest the ideal location for you. It’s also possible to split your study trip and learn English at both schools. It’s the best way to discover both islands during your stay.

3. Find a suitable course for your needs

Most students either need to learn general English for everyday use, business English to improve their career prospects, or academic skills to prepare for an upcoming exam. In some situations, students need a personalied approach to develop English for a specific purpose. It’s imperative to choose the right course for effective and lasting progress. So outline your needs and aims well, then speak to our school to guide you.

At BELS we have a variety of courses for all levels, ages, and learning interests. We’ve also got a team of experienced professionals who have the expertise and eagerness to help. We will guide you in determining your correct level of English from English courses for beginners, elementary, pre-intermediate, intermediate, upper-intermediate, and advanced courses in English, for business or leisure.

When speaking to us, we’ll help you choose the best course and map out a learning plan to get your English where it needs to be.

4.  Plan your living arrangements

Once your course is chosen we’ll move on to accommodation. The choice of accommodation throughout your trip has an impact on your overall experience. One of the most important aspects of learning English abroad is becoming a part of an international student community.

When learning English with us, the social aspect is present at school and even in our residences. There’s also the option to live with a local family and experience the culture first hand (as well as taste, with deliciously prepared homemade meals).

Depending on your personality we’ll also guide you through choosing the accommodation that would suit you most – whether you prefer to stay in host-family, student residence, hotel or private apartments.

5. Consider the course duration and travel period

The time of travel and duration of stay often influence the price. Firstly, there is the high season which is usually from the middle of June, until the end of September. If you study English in the winter period, you will have lower rates. And the best part is that the discounted rates are also available in the shoulder periods – September, October, May and June are all blessed with summer weather and low season prices.

If you study for a longer period, so anything between 8+ weeks, you will also benefit from cheaper weekly rates.

6. Obtain a complete quotation and register directly online

If you want to get an indication of prices, you can use our online pricing tool. To get an accurate quotation and ensure you are selecting the right course, it’s always best to speak with us directly. One of our team members will provide an accurate and complete quotation and the necessary steps to register for courses with us directly. Everything can be planned with us.

7.  Request your time off

Whether you want to learn English for business or leisure, whatever your age or skill level, the minimum course duration is one week. Long-term courses are also very popular, for those aiming to become fluent in English. Once you have selected your course dates, take the time off and book your course.

8. Book flights to Malta

You only need to book your flights. We assist you with organising everything else, including visa applications, taxi bookings and car rentals, accommodation, sightseeing and activities. As soon as you arrive at the airport, our driver will welcome you and take you directly to the accommodation, also providing a welcome pack and keys to the residence.

9. Discover the islands and have fun

Learn English in the mornings and enjoy our gorgeous islands after classes. We can help you have a good time! We advise you and help you organise your sightseeing, boat trips, adventure sports, walks, festivals, beach-going and anything you wish to do. Have a great time on holiday and go home with a new skill and a course certificate to demonstrate your success!

Plan your trip to learn English in Malta with BELS – Why?

  • We’re known for our amazing reviews, quality courses, and boutique service.
  • We’re a medium-sized school, small enough to offer a personalised service, and large enough to have excellent facilities.
  • We know all our students by name and their individual learning needs – with us you’ll never be just a number on a list!
  • There’s a lovely student community at our schools and residences.
  • Our student residences are in modern apartments, with a maximum of 2 people per room and 6 people per residence.
  • We have two amazing locations; you can continue the same course and experience both islands.
  • Our doors (and ears) are always open – whatever you need help with, you will find it right away.

Browse through our student testimonials to see what you can expect when learning English with us in Malta or Gozo.

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learning how to use confusing english words

The 15 Most Easily Confused English Words Explained

How to use the Most Confusing English Words Properly

Come or go? Is it affect, or effect? We’ve simplified the most confusing English words for you!

By now you might have noticed that English is a complex language, and it’s not just the grammar. Vocabulary has its own complications with many easily confused English words due to their similarity. There are usually two main reasons for these cases. The first is the old-age battle between American and British English – which means it’s a matter of preference and influence. Another common reason is that the concept doesn’t translate in other languages, making it slightly more difficult to comprehend. to make matters worse, there is often no logical pattern to follow either.

To help make your English learning process simpler, we’ve consulted our in-house teachers and compiled a list of the most commonly confused words. Thanks to our tips, you will never confuse these words again.

1.Come/Go

Come’ and ‘go’ have the same basic meaning, which is why they’re first on the list of easily confused English words. ‘Come’ is used to show movement toward the speaker or the person being spoken to. ‘Go’ Is used to show movement away from the speaker or the person being spoken to. So if you’re in Malta at the moment, and returning home in a week, you will say ‘I’m going home in a week’, while your family will say ‘(name)’s coming home next week.’

2. Affect/Effect

Affect’ means to influence or create an impression on something. ‘Effect’ is the thing that is created. Sounds confusing right? A simple way to remember the difference between these English words is that ‘Affect’ is almost always a verb, whereas ‘effect’ is almost always a noun. For example, ‘The weather affects (verb) my mood’, while, ‘The weather has an effect (noun) on my mood’.

3. Advice/Advise

While these are two of the most mixed-up English words by students, they’re also the simplest to understand. ‘Advice’ is the noun (a thing), ‘advise’ is the verb (An action). As in, ‘When you need medical advice, I advise you to go to a doctor, and not use google!’

4. Practice/Practise

These English words follow the same rule as advice/advise. Practice is the noun (thing), while practise is the verb (action). For example: ‘I’m starting a course at BELS because I need more practice in English’, and ‘While studying in Malta, I practise English every day!’

5. Since and For

These two are another classic amongst easily-confused English words. ‘Since’ and ‘For’ are both used to talk about something that started in the past and continues into the present. ‘For’ is used to express the amount of time (how long). ‘Since’ is used when specifying the starting point of something. For example, ‘I’ve been a married since 2000’ or ‘I’ve been married for 17 years’.

Is the difference between these confusing words clearer? Try writing some sentences using these English words and give them to your teacher to correct! Come back for more tips!

6. Among/Amongst

The difference between ‘among’ and ‘amongst’ is probably one of the most googled confusing English words. Technically these two words are both acceptable and can be used interchangeably. The difference is that ‘amongst’ has British origins, while ‘among’ has American origins. Today, ‘among’ is widely used around the world, and ‘amongst’ is a bit antiquated. So when unsure, just use ‘among’ – if you would like to impress a British national, go for ‘amongst’.

7. Learned / Learnt

This is another case of American vs. British English. ‘Learned’ is used in American English, while ‘learnt’ is the British English version (and you’ll often find comments that it’s the only correct version).

8. Dreamed / Dreamt

These pair are often confused even by native speakers. It follows the exact same explanation as above- ‘dreamed’ is the American version, whereas ‘dreamt’ is the British version.

9. Breath / Breathe

In this case, the difference refers to different forms of the same word. ‘Breath’ is a noun and refers to the air that goes in and out of your lungs when you breathe. See what we did there? Yes, that’s correct, ‘breathe’ is the verb version of the same root word and refers to the process of inhaling and exhaling.

10. Complement / Compliment

The difference between these English words is one of the more nerve-wrecking ones! ‘Complement’ is used to show that something works well with second object. For example, ‘Those shoes complement the bag’. On the other hand, a ‘compliment’ is a nice thing to say to another person. For example, ‘Jack received many compliments at his art show’.

11. Disinterested / Uninterested

This pair is probably the most controversial amongst all the confusing English words. In everyday language they are sometimes used interchangeably, however, according to grammatical rules, this is incorrect. While they both imply a lack of interest, they are not synonyms. ‘Uninterested’ means ‘not interested’, and ‘disinterested’ means impartial. Therefore, the opposite of ‘interested’ is ‘uninterested’.

12. Lay / Lie

In the present tense, ‘lay’ is a verb that means ‘to put or set something down’ – it is the action when someone does this to another object/person. A familiar example can be seen in how we use ‘to lay the table’ to describe preparing the table for dinner. Another example is when you put a baby in a cot, you ‘lay the baby down’. On the other hand, ‘lie’ is the verb that means ‘to be in a horizontal position’. So it can be used to say ‘I’m tired, I need to lie down or even, ‘He went to lie down because he’s tired’. The difference here is that ‘lie’ is something the individual puts themselves in a horizonal position, while ‘lay’ is when someone puts something else in a horizonal position.

Simple, right? The situation becomes a bit more complicated when you look at the different verb formats. You can read more about that here.

13. Lead / Led

This one is a bit simpler! The verb ‘to lead’ comes from the noun ‘leader’ and has the same meaning. An example can be seen in the following sentence: ‘A leader’s (noun) job is to lead (verb) their team to success!’. And ‘led’ is the past tense version, therefore ‘The coach led the team to victory’.

14. Read / Read

‘Read’ can be used as an adjective, a pretense tense verb, and also a past tense verb – yes they are all written the same exact way! Let’s start with the adjective – it is used to say someone is knowledgeable around a certain topic, for example, ‘Ada is well-read in French literature’. The verb ‘to read’ in the present tense and in the past tense is written exactly the same, but it’s pronounced differently, which can cause some confusion for English students. ‘To read’ in the present tense is pronounced as ‘/riːd/’ – ‘I read at least an hour a day’. While ‘read’ in the past tense is pronounced as ‘/rɛd/’ – ‘He read the article this morning’.  

15. Loose / Lose

These two have completely different meanings. ‘Loose’ is an adjective that means the opposite of ‘tight’. Whereas ‘lose’ means to ‘fail to win, to misplace, or to free oneself from someone or something’. Look at the following examples:

  • When he lost (past tense verb of ‘lose’) 20 kilos, all his old clothes were loose (adjective)’.
  • ‘The team lost (verb the game in spite of all their training.’
  • ‘I always lose (verb) my sunglasses when on holiday’.

Struggling to understand these confusing English words? Learn with a BELS teacher.

Self-study is a great start; however, language is a living thing and cultural and sociolinguistic elements play a large part in mastering a language. Unfortunately, spell-checkers and language tools are not much help here either. This is why you need a real-life teacher who can explain the context, difference between textbook language and real-life usage, as well as the elements of formal or informal language which influence speech.

Contact us to learn more about study trips in our schools in Malta and Gozo, or online lessons from anywhere in the world.

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Our students exploring Citadella on the island of Gozo

The Ultimate Guide to the Island of Gozo

Are you planning to visit or relocate to the island of Gozo?

Read our guide written by a local to experience the best of Gozo.

Gozo is a unique island in the middle of the Mediterranean, which forms a part of the Maltese archipelago. It is often referred to as Malta’s sister island, and it’s always been a popular destination for visitors making day trips from Malta. In recent years Gozo has become a much sought-after destination for its unique balance of nature, simplicity, culture, and lively atmosphere. To experience the real Gozo and all it has to offer, we recommend spending at least a week or two there.

How do I get to Gozo?

The only way to get to the island of Gozo from Malta is by ferry, and there are two main points that do this.

Visitors can choose between two main ports:

  1. Cirkewwa, north of Malta – You can take the Gozo Channel ferry services from Cirkewwa in the north of Malta. The ferry ride takes around 25 minutes and takes you the Mgarr terminal in Gozo. This service is available for all types of vehicles and foot passengers. You can access the Gozo channel ferry schedule here.
  2. Valleta, Central Malta – From Valletta you can take a fast-ferry service to Gozo. The ferry ride is approximately 45 minutes long and is only available for foot passengers. There are two main operators, Gozo Fast and Virtu Ferries.

What is Gozo like?

Anyone who visits Gozo falls in love with the little island instantly When compared to Malta, the beautiful island of Gozo has quite a distinctive character and retains many unique cultural and social aspects of bygone times.

One of the best aspects of Gozo is its size – it is approximately 14.5km long and 7.5km wide, with a shoreline of just around 43km and a population of 28,000. And every inch of the island is full of character. Flat-topped hills and cultivated fields characterise the landscape, while the coast has rugged cliffs, steep valleys, and beautiful inlets. Baroque churches and old stone farmhouses dot the countryside. With sunny weather, expansive beaches, a thriving nightlife, and 7,000 years of history, there is a great deal to see and do – anything from historical sites, forts, and amazing panoramas, as well as one of the archipelago’s best-preserved prehistoric temples.

What is the island of Gozo famous for?

Gozo is famous for its unique blend of history and culture, with influences from the myriad of colonisers along the years. All of these influences created something truly unique which is known as the Gozitan way of life. You’ll find aspects of Mediterranean culture, Arabic influence and more recent influences thanks to the ex-pats from all over the world who have chosen Gozo as their new home.

Here’s a list of things the island of Gozo is well-known for:

  • Natural wonders – Endless gorgeous beaches, unique caves and rock formations picturesque hiking trails, and rustic countryside roads.
  • Historical sites – Gozo is home to the Ggantija world heritage site, a megalith temple dating back to between 3600 and 3200 BC. There’s also a variety of museums found in the old fortification of Citadella, underground caves, and catacombs scattered around the island (check out the ones in Nadur square).
  • Cuisine and delicacies – For a tiny island, there’s a huge amount of local food and delicacies to try. Our main suggestions are Gozitan Ftira, gbejna, local honey, and wine. Check out Ta’ Mena Estates and Tal-Massar Winery.
  • Movies filmed in Gozo – Lately, Gozo has become an established filming destination. Most notably, it was selected for major titles like Troy, Game of Thrones, By the Sea, The Count of Monte Cristo, and Clash of the Titans. Many small indie movies and series are also filmed here.
  • Arts and Culture – Apart from the historical sites and museums, there’s always something buzzing. Have a look at the Gozo events calendar for updates around your time.
  • English Schools – You can join our boutique English school for adults in Kercem, Gozo. Our center is a highly certified academic institution with over 20 years of experience. We offer courses for all levels, including a variety of general English, business English, and exam preparation courses. Individual courses for children are also possible.
  • Diving sites – Rated as one of the top scuba diving locations in the Mediterranean. On Gozo, you can dive all year round, with an underwater world full of reefs, caverns, walls, and wrecks to explore.
  • Water and Adventure Sports – The best way to explore the natural sites! Read our full article about watersports and adventure sports in Malta and Gozo.

Why should people visit Gozo?

The island has a slower pace of life with little to no traffic and everything is nearby, making it a lot easier to relax. Whether you’re on holiday or living and working there, the simplicity and tranquillity around you make it impossible to get stressed. On Gozo, having a balanced life that values well-being comes naturally.

Gozitans are renowned for their splendid sense of hospitality and a laid-back attitude to life that appeals to most visitors. In the past, the Gozitan way of life was mainly based on agriculture and fishing. These aspects are still highly visible on the island which gives it a certain charm.

Nowadays, the island has also adopted a more cosmopolitan lifestyle. In part, this is due to the large and ever-increasing ex-pat community on the island. Many people from all over the world are choosing Gozo as their home – from young people looking for a new life, people visiting to learn English or enjoy the culture sector, to individuals working remotely and older people choosing to retire on Gozo. The island has plenty to offer for everyone.

What are the best things to do and see in Gozo?

Visitors here are those who enjoy the simpler things in life, such as picturesque countryside, wholesome food and wine, quaint villages, and integrating into the local way of life where traditions are still very much alive.

The best things to do in Gozo include anything from natural wonders, marvellous beaches, rich history and amazing cuisine. Read our ultimate list of things to do in Gozo.

Which are the best beaches in Gozo?

Being an island stretching 14KM means you’re never too far from the beach. The coast of Gozo is dotted with little coves and marvellous rocky beaches. Apart from that there’s several sandy beaches as well.

Have a look at the full guide to the best beaches in Gozo.

What are the best accommodation options in Gozo?

The variety of accommodation options in Gozo cater to any kind of traveller, both in relation to budget and preference. There’s a beautiful selection of traditional farmhouses which have been renovated to meet modern needs, guesthouses, bed and breakfasts, boutique hotels and hotels. If you prefer to have your own private apartment, have a look at the selection on Airbnb.

If you’re visiting Gozo to learn English with us at BELS, we can provide accommodation in our superior student residence or local host families. Private self-catering apartments are also available for groups or families.

What are the best restaurants and cafés in Gozo?

Food lovers take note! Gozo is blessed with authentic fooderies all over – be it restaurants, cafes, bistros, street food vendors or local farm-to-fork style eateries. Plan your foodie bucket list with our ultimate Gozo food guide.

How can I get around Gozo?

Another benefit of the small island life on Gozo – it’s easy to get around with short distances and minimal traffic. The public bus system is extremely effective. It’s also easy to cycle from one place to another if you’re n good shape (just keep in mind the heat and hills!). You can rent a car, motorcycle, or electric scooter. You just need a valid EU license.

Make the most of your holiday on the island of Gozo and Join BELS English Schools.

Gain new language skills, meet like-minded people and explore the island with new friends. We have a lovely community made up of international students and staff, eager to welcome you. We can provide complete packages including courses, accommodation, airport transfers, and leisure activities. Contact us to map our learning plan, organise your trip and learn how to experience the best of Gozo.

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Apprenez des expressions anglaises grâce à des citations d'Alice au Pays des Merveilles

10 English Expressions originating from Alice in Wonderland

Common Expressions from Alice in Wonderland Quotes

Many common English expressions were created by authors of classical literature. Here’s a list of the most popular expressions created by Lewis Caroll as found in Alice in Wonderland quotes.

Many common English expressions come from literary geniuses like Lewis Carrol, Shakespeare, and Roald Dahl amongst others. Sometimes authors play with language and create their own imaginative phrases. After using them in their stories, they’re picked up by readers and become common English expressions.

In celebration of Lewis Carrol’s birthday, let’s have a look at some common English expressions in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. After learning these common English expressions, download the movie or read the book to see them in context. Do any of these common English expressions sound familiar to you?

1. Mad as a Hatter

If you’re mad as a hatter you’re completely and utterly deranged. That is to say, — really crazy. While this phrase had been used since 1835 to describe an unusual medical condition affecting hat manufacturers, it became popular because of Lewis Carrol.

2. Chasing a White Rabbit

Chasing a white rabbit means to chase the impossible – a fantasy, a dream. It’s one of the best common English expressions to use with dreamers and escapists.

3. To fall down the rabbit hole

To fall down the rabbit hole can mean to enter a confusing situation. We also use this expression to mean we got interested in something to the point of distraction. We lose all track of time.

4. Cheshire Cat Grin

To have a Cheshire cat grin, or to grin like a Cheshire cat means that one is grinning broadly, and cleverly, perhaps after finding out some exciting information.

5. Curiouser and Curiouser

The most interesting of Carrol’s common English expressions! Although the word curiouser is grammatically incorrect, (the OED acknowledges curiouser and curiouser as a phrase that means “increasingly strange”.

Use these common English expressions in the following sentences:

  1. With the new evidence, the investigation took a new twist. “___________!” said the detective, as he tried to put the puzzle together!
  2. I think their date went well because he walked in here with a _________________.
  3. My teacher keeps on talking to herself and asking us the same question over and over. She’s ________________.
  4. “Sorry I’m late! I was looking up ideas for my next trip and I ___________ of travel blogs!”
  5. At the age of 40, Robert still thinks he has a chance of becoming a famous actor – personally I think he’s __________________.

Answer key:

  1. Curiouser and curiouser
  2. Cheshire cat grin
  3. Mad as a hatter
  4. fell down the rabbit hole
  5. Chasing a white rabbit

Want to learn more English expressions? Read through our list of Happiness Expressions, Spring idioms and Winter Idioms.

Expand your Vocabulary with Online English Lessons

Practice everything you have learned through self-study with an experienced teacher through live online lessons.  Lessons are available at flexible times and will be personalised based on your needs, interests, and goals. Contact us to book a free needs analysis session with our director of studies.

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Discussing the life benefits of learning English

10 Life Opportunities when Learning English

What are the benefits of learning English?

Here are 10 ways you can benefit in life with learning English, and how BELS Malta can help you start your English-learning journey.

Richer travels, endless career opportunities and feeling at home with anyone, anywhere in the world. Read out the 10 new life opportunities you open yourself up to when you learn English.

1. It’s one of the most widely spoken languages

English is the official language of 53 countries and is spoken as a first language by around 400 million people spread across the world. Then there’s the ex-British colonies, most of which still recognise English as an official language. It adds up to approximately 400 million people who speak English as a first language, and 1,500 million who speak English. That’s a lot of countries to visit, and people to speak to.

2. You get more from travelling

When you need to communicate with someone abroad, the first thing you ask is usually “Do you speak English?”

Travelling in a country where you don’t speak the main language can be limiting. Whether you’re lost and need to be pointed in the right direction, or even if you’d like to have a chat with someone on the train. Apart from that most countries have signages and schedules in English in addition to their main language.

If you learn English, your communication won’t be limited; you could meet new people and learn about new cultures. Most importantly, you’re less likely to get lost or confused.

3. You can connect with more people

There are times when connections are instant – you share a look or a moment with someone and you become quick friends. But without speaking the same language, it’s difficult to have a deep and lasting connection. It’s not easy to share thoughts about intense topics and express yourself freely. At these times, language really does become a barrier between a light friendship and a genuine bond. If you learn English, you’re opening yourself up to millions of people and connections – a long-life friend, or even a soulmate.

4. Opens up a new world of literature, pop culture

Every language has beautiful literature – why limit yourself to one? Translations are never the same. The meaning, and sorry might be retained, but the way authors beautifully craft the language cannot be replicated. It’s also the language of the internet, memes, most commercial songs and Hollywood movies (and Netflix series!).

5. You can feel at home anywhere in the world

Relocating to a country when you’re able to speak English also makes things easier. While you might be able to get around a foreign land without speaking its language, longer stays can get tiresome and tedious if you have no idea what’s going on around you. When you learn English, you can settle down, work or retire anywhere in the world.

6. A new language leads to a new mindset

There’s a Czech idiom that says something along the lines of ‘you have as many personalities as the number of languages you speak’. Languages aren’t just words and grammar – they’re a living representation of the culture and the people. Different languages express the same concept in different ways. New idioms, new metaphors and new associations are all a part of learning a new language. So, when you learn English, you’re absorbing a new way of thinking and communicating. A new layer is added to your personality.

7. It’s the language of business

In today’s global world, any business needs English to survive. Anyone with excellent English skills will have the upper hand in the business environment. Learning English will boost your employment potential or help you get that promotion you’ve been dreaming of. Apart from that, if you learn English, you can apply for jobs internationally. You don’t have to worry about not finding a job related to your studies in your country.

8. And knowledge

Essentially, English is the language of the internet. It gives you access to major news portals, academic journals and publications, and personal blogs on an array of topics. Whether for personal use, studies or work, you’ll have access to more data if you learn English.

9. You can study at any university in the world

Since English is spoken in so many different countries, there are thousands of universities and colleges around the world that offer English study programmes. In addition, most of the world’s renowned universities are in English speaking countries. To join these universities, you usually need an IELTS score of 6 or 7 (which is equivalent to intermediate – upper intermediate level of English). Knowing English increases your chances of finding an appropriate school and course to follow your passion and reach your goals.

10. Learning a language is mentally stimulating

Learning a language is one of the best and practical ways to increase intelligence and keep your mind sharp. You’ll become a better decision-maker, multi-tasker, and generally more focused person. It also keeps your brain from ageing. It’s like a gym membership for your mind.

Start your English learning Journey with BELS Language Schools.

Take your English to the next level and join one of our boutique English schools on the Mediterranean islands of Malta and Gozo. You can learn in an immersive way, on an English speaking island with a rich history and beautiful natural surroundings. As a student in our schools, you will be part of a welcoming student community, allowing you to make international friends and enrich your learning experience. Take our English placement test and we’ll get in touch to learn more about your goals and help map out a persoanlised learning plan just for you.

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Colourful floats during carnival time in Malta and Gozo

Experiencing the Real Carnival in Malta and Gozo

A Complete Guide to Carnival Celebrations in Malta and Gozo.

From bright illuminated floats to dress-up costumes, here’s a full breakdown of what goes on in Malta and Gozo’s Carnival.

Carnival is celebrated in the winter, with a 7-day program full of illuminated floats, bright costumes, traditional rituals, and grotesque masks. In the weeks leading up to carnival, you can feel the excitement in the air, and the frivolous attitude is contagious.

A Brief History and Guide to Modern Day Carnival in Malta

When Carnival is mentioned loads of bright images of costumed revellers, parades, and hedonistic rituals come to mind. Yet no matter where you go, there’s always something unique about the way carnival is celebrated. That’s definitely the case when it comes to carnival in Malta.

Carnival in Malta and Gozo goes back to the arrival of the Knights of St John in 1535. To this day, the carnival in Malta has kept its traditional roots; a daytime parade of elaborately designed colourful floats, dance competitions in fancy get-ups, and children running around in all sorts of costumes.

The heart of the action for younger revelers and families takes place in Valletta in Malta, or Victoria in Gozo. Every village organises a daytime carnival with dancing competitions and float competitions which local groups of enthusiasts spend months preparing for. Folklore rituals are practiced on both islands, with some variations across different villages. You could also taste carnival in Malta; Prinjolata is a colourful, traditional carnival treat that can be found in all the local supermarkets and cafes.

If you’re in the mood for a more adult atmosphere there’s the Nadur grotesque carnival in Gozo, which is known for its outrageous and spontaneous nature. It’s the only carnival in Malta (and the whole world) that is celebrated in such a way. Throughout carnival week, the streets of Nadur invite a multitude of masked and hooded creatures to roam and rave. It’s rather unique to Nadur so the best way to understand it, is to experience it yourself. Visitors usually describe it as a mash-up of Halloween and Carnival, but we’ll let you get your own impression of it.

Here are 4 Carnival activities to look out for:

1. Colours, Floats, and Dancing

Daytime carnival activities include a parade of vibrant floats and dance competitions in extravagant getups. Dance festivities start out with a Maltese folklore dance called ‘il-Maltija’, where a number of locals dress up in traditional clothing and dance about to folklore music.

2. Traditional Events

Carnival is also an opportunity to experience tradition when studying English in Malta. Two uniquely Maltese carnival activities are called ‘ġostra’ and ’kukkanja’. The ‘kukkanja’ involves hanging a selection of hams, sausages, and meats on a greasy pole in the middle of a square. Participants have to climb up to earn their prize. The ’ġostra’ is similar, only this time participants have to run up a greasy 30-foot pole over the sea.

3. Nadur Spontaneous Carnival

Nadur Carnival is known for its outrageous costumes that are mash-up of the grotesque and macabre, cross-dressing, and alternative. Locals disguise themselves in anything from bedsheets to sackcloths, often with a satirical tone. It’s a spontaneous carnival, so ditch the eBay costumes and get creative to fit into the grotesque, fervent atmosphere. If you’re studying English in Malta or Gozo during carnival, go to Nadur on Friday or Saturday evening, which is when the madness’s at its peak.

4. Taste of Carnival

It’s not exactly an activity, but a must nonetheless- you can’t find it anywhere else in the world. If you’re studying English in Malta around carnival time keep an eye out for Prinjolata in all the cafes, pastry shops and supermarkets. The delicious colourful treat is prepared especially for carnival in Malta.

Add more activities to your trip – combine your holiday with English courses.

All English courses at BELS are delivered in a communicative approach, with a friendly and sociable atmosphere within the classrooms. It’s a great opportunity to boost your English skills, meet like-minded people and make friends to explore the islands together.  Read about our adult English courses available in the winter season. 

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Astuces pour savoir comment exprimer la joie en anglais

How to Express Happiness in English

An Online Lesson about Common Happiness Expressions in English

There are many ways to express happiness in English, with a variety of synonyms showing different degrees or categories of happiness. Once you’ve perfected the basics of English, it’s time to move on to the more intricate parts of the language and the way it is used by natives in everyday life. That leads to symbolism, idioms, expressions, and metaphors which can be somewhat confusing for a second language speaker.

Being able to share your feelings is a necessary skill in any language. Sometimes, it’s a difficult thing to do even in your first language. So, when it comes to a second language, it’s an area that deserves a lot of attention. In this online lessons, we’ll focus on happiness expressions in English.

Synonyms of Happy (Adjective) and Happiness (Noun)

While happiness expresses the general state, there is a selection of words that describe the conditions, origins or degree of happiness. Here’s a list of adjectives and nouns associated with happiness.

  • Satisfied / Satisfaction – Happy and satisfied with the results of something, feeling accomplished.
  • Pleased / Pleasant – Happy and satisfied with the outcome of something. An atmosphere that gives a sense of happiness and enjoyment.
  • Glad / Gladness – Happy and pleased about something.
  • Content / Contentment – Happy and satisfied with your life.
  • Cheerful / Cheer – Behaving in a happy and friendly way, or a happy and friendly environment.
  • Delighted / Delight – feeling or showing great pleasure and enjoyment.
  • Joyful / Joy – To be beaming with happiness. A person who is continuously laughing and energetic, always in light and good mood. A situation that has a burst of happiness, laughter, and celebration.
  • Blissful / Bliss – extremely happy, full of joy, and feeling at peace.
  • Optimistic / Optimism – Hopeful and positive person.
  • Euphoric / Euphoria – feeling intense excitement and happiness.
  • Carefree / Carefreeness – Content, free from anxiety or responsibility.
  • Exuberant / Exuberance– happy, excited, and full of energy

Here are 8 Common English Expressions about Happiness

1. On Top of the World

The height of happiness. When you’re on top of the world you feel wonderful, ecstatic, and elated. There’s no way you can feel happier.

Example: She’s passed her Cambridge English exam. She’s on top of the world!

2. On Cloud Nine

To be extremely happy or elated, it is often used when the feeling lasts long past the event that caused it.

Example: I’ve been on cloud nine ever since I landed my dream job.

3.  Happy go lucky

Somebody with a happy-go-lucky attitude is a generally cheerful person with little concern about the future. They lead a stress-free life and have a calm, laidback attitude. Example: They’re easy-going and live in the moment.

Example: He’s got a very happy-go-lucky approach to life and takes everything day by day. 

4. Over the moon

Excited and delighted – in a state of great happiness.

Example: He’s over the moon about being accepted to the university.

5. Cheer up

When you’re feeling down in the dumps, you need some cheering up! When you start to feel happy again, then you’re starting to cheer up. This phrasal verb is used to encourage people to be positive when they’re upset about something.

Example: Cheer up—things will get better!

6. Buzzed/ Hyped

To be full of excitement or activity, to be euphoric or very stimulated.

Example: He was buzzing with anticipation for the big game!

7. Grin from ear to ear

When somebody’s grinning from ear to ear, they’ve probably just received some really good news or experienced an important life event. It describes a very wide smile and an eagerness and excitement.

Example: He was grinning from ear to ear so we knew he had good news to tell us.

8. Full of the joys of Spring

Spring idioms and expressions are often used to show happiness. The association with Spring reflects energy, happiness, and feeling alive. This idiom is used to show that someone is walking around with a bounce in their step.

Example: How are you so full of the joys of spring at 6 am on a Monday morning!

9. A Happy Camper

A happy camper is someone who is happy in a situation, feeling content and satisfied. This English expression is often used to show unhappiness with a situation, in the negative form.

Example: All I need is good food, good company, and nature and I’m a happy camper.

Example: My favorite Indian restaurant in the neighbourhood just shut down, I’m not a happy camper.

10. In Good Spirits / In High Spirits

Used to show that someone is in a particularly energetic and lively mood.

Example: All the children were in high spirits on the last day of school.

Are you looking for more online lessons related to English expressions and idioms? Learn about idioms related to spring, winter idioms, and others that originated from Alice in Wonderland quotes.

Time to Practice! Use the 10 happiness expressions in English in the sentences below.

Tip: Apart from selecting the correct happiness expression, ensure the correct verb tense is selected.

  1. After everyone left the party, both Alex and Carmen were ______________.
  2. Everyone was _________ up about the Olympics, there were crowds for miles.
  3. He bounced into the office, full of ___________
  4. When I admitted I was wrong my mother just _________________
  5. Most people see him as a _____________ guy without a care in the world.
  6. He was over ___________ about the ratings.
  7. He’s been on __________ ever since she agreed to marry him.
  8. She’s just found out about the pay cut and she’s not a ________________.
  9. My husband has been in a bad mood recently, but today he has ______________.
  10. Two months before she gave birth to Jason, she left work feeling on _______________.

Answer key:

  1. In good spirts / In high spirits.
  2. Hyped up / Buzzed.
  3. The joys of spring.
  4. Grinned from ear to ear.
  5. Happy-go-lucky.
  6. the moon.
  7. Cloud nine / Top of the world.
  8. Happy camper.
  9. Cheered up.
  10. Top of the world / Cloud nine.

Master English Expressions (about happiness and much more) with Individual Lessons at BELS

Learning English on your own is a good start to perfect the basics. But you can’t stop there – to really master higher-level language, real-life interaction and use of the language is vital. This can be achieved through group or individual courses, as well as immersing yourself in an English-speaking environment.  BELS has the experience and tools needed to help you learn online, or provide an immersive learning experience at one of our schools in Malta and Gozo. Contact us to start your English learning journey.

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