Let’s talk about eloquence on a rainy Tuesday afternoon in October. Sentence structure and sharing our ideas clearly is so important in any language, but we know how tricky it can be to get those words into the right order when studying a new language. There really is no exception to the rule when speaking about word order in English, so the good news is that once you learn the rule, you will not make mistakes!

In Jason Kottke’s article, inspired by Mark Forsyth’s book The Elements of Eloquence Jason states,…adjectives in English absolutely have to be in this order: opinion-size-age-shape-colour-origin-material-purpose Noun. So you can have a lovely little old rectangular green French silver whittling knife. But if you mess with that word order in the slightest you’ll sound like a maniac. It’s an odd thing that every English speaker uses that list, but almost none of us could write it out.”

While the Cambridge dictionary gives us a slightly different order: Opinion, Size, Quality, Shape, Age, Colour, Origin, Material, Type and Purpose, Noun. 

In other words, for a native speaker, this order is intuitive and learned. We know exactly how to construct the sentence, but we wouldn’t know how to tell you what order those words should be in. It’s the typical comment, “that’s just the way it is…” but in all truth, there is an actual order to it.

So, why don’t we try? Put the following words into the correct order:

1. table, a, square, wooden, big:

2. the,cup, tiny, plastic, blue, expensive

3. black, small, box, Turkish, old, a

Want more practice? Check out these links: 




And an exercise on word order in general: https://www.ego4u.com/en/cram-up/grammar/word-order/exercises?02

Finally, a lovely poem on word order by Alexandra Teague:

That summer, she had a student who was obsessed 
with the order of adjectives. A soldier in the South 
Vietnamese army, he had been taken prisoner when 

Saigon fell. He wanted to know why the order 
could not be altered. The sweltering city streets shook
with rockets and helicopters. The city sweltering 

streets. On the dusty brown field of the chalkboard, 
she wrote: The mother took warm homemade bread 
from the oven. City is essential to streets as homemade 

is essential to bread . He copied this down, but 
he wanted to know if his brothers were lost  before 
older, if he worked security at a twenty-story modern

downtown bank or downtown twenty-story modern.
When he first arrived, he did not know enough English 
to order a sandwich. He asked her to explain each part 

of Lovely big rectangular old red English Catholic
leather Bible. Evaluation before size. Age before color. 
Nationality before religion. Time before length. Adding 

and, one could determine if two adjectives were equal. 
After Saigon fell, he had survived nine long years 
of torture. Nine and long. He knew no other way to say this.

From Mortal Geography by Alexandra Teague. Copyright © 2010 by Alexandra Teague. Used by permission of Persea Books.

Photo Source

Post Insipired by: http://cupofjo.com/2016/09/grammar-rule/


We are honored to have our next round table session lead by Marina from Intermanagement next Thursday, October 27th from 19.00h-20.30h

She will be leading a fascinating discussion on motivation:

“We will see different theories on motivation, we will find out what motivates each of us attending the round table, we will play with our motivators and finally we will talk about how understanding these motivators can help us to set up our own goals and our team’s goals.”  Marina

If you or anyone you know is interested in this subject or you think this would be helpful in your own professional or personal life, contact us and reserve your space! All of us can always use a little motivating and positive coaching!

Brought to you by: 
Where: Espai 290 | Aragó 290 Principal, Barcelona 08009
When: Thursday, October 27 from 19.00-20.30h
How Much: 10€ per session (includes material, Gin & Tonics! and great company)
**Please RSVP at hello@heidi-schmidt.com

We hope to see you there!


Happy Monday and October to all of you…Today’s post comes from Los Angeles, California! Michelle Goodrich shares some very interesting perspectives on the importance of body language. How aware are you of your body language? Have you ever given it any thoughts?

image1-3Greetings from Los Angeles! I’m Michelle, a friend of Heidi’s and your guest blog writer. I’d like to introduce myself a little and then share an article about communication and our crazy presidential race here in the U.S. 

As a world traveler with a degree in Communications and 12 years as a professional English teacher, my life’s work has been to guide English learners through their own personal explorations of cross-cultural expression. There are, of course, the essential language skills: receptive skills (reading and listening) and productive skills (writing and speaking). If you’ve been studying for awhile, I’m sure you have thought about which are hardest and easiest for you. But what about your other communication skills?
At university, I learned that a large percentage of your message doesn’t actually involve the essential skills! Does this surprise you? Well, there is no doubt that without words, most of us would have a difficult time understanding or being understood. What I would like you to think about is non-verbal communication. What does your body “say” in a conversation or a presentation? To explore this question, I invite you to check out a New York Times article about this week’s debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. I hope it inspires you to focus a bit more attention on your own body language. I hope it does not inspire you to lose faith in politics!