How to Describe Photos Using the PALMS ✋Method

For beginners to advanced students

When learning a new language, it’s important to develop your descriptive skills so that you can express yourself clearly and effectively.

One fun and engaging way to do this is by describing photos using the PALMS method.

The PALMS method is an acronym that stands for:

👩 👨 People, 🎬Actions, 📍Location, 🤗 🤔Mood, and ☂️Season/ Weather

It’s a great way to structure your descriptions and ensure that you cover all the key elements of a photo.

In this blog post, we’ll take a closer look at how to use the ✋PALM method to describe photos 🖼️.

👩 👨 People

The first element of the PALMS method is people. When describing a photo, it’s important to identify who or what is in the photo. If there are people in the photo, describe their appearances, such as their age, gender, and clothing. You can also describe their facial expressions and body language to give more insight into what’s happening in the photo. If there are 🐕 animals or 🛋️ objects in the photo, describe them in a similar way.

🎬 Actions

The second element of the PALMS method is actions. Describe what’s happening in the photo and what the people or objects are doing. Use action verbs to help bring the scene to life and make it more engaging for the reader. For example, if the photo shows people playing sports, you might use verbs like “running,” “jumping,” or “throwing” to describe the actions.

📍 Location

The third element of the PALMS method is location. Describe where the photo was taken and what the setting is like. Is it indoors or outdoors? Is there anything in the background or foreground that’s noteworthy or interesting? Use spatial language to help the reader visualize the location and get a sense of the scene.

🤗 🤔Mood

The final element of the PALMS method is mood. Describe the overall mood or atmosphere of the photo. What emotions or feelings does it evoke? Is it happy, sad, or somewhere in between? Use descriptive adjectives to help convey the mood and create a more engaging and immersive experience for the reader.

☂️ Season/ Wheater

The fifth and final element of the PALMS method is season or weather. This involves describing the time of year or weather conditions in the photo. If the photo was taken during the winter, you can use adjectives like “cold,” “snowy,” or “festive” to describe the scene. If the photo was taken during the summer, you can use adjectives like “sunny,” “hot,” or “relaxing” to describe the scene.

💡Putting It All Together

Now that you understand the four elements of the PALMS method, it’s time to put it all together and describe a photo using this method. Here’s an example:

In this photo, there are two people sitting on a bench in a park. The woman is wearing a white T-shirt, blue jeans and a sunhat, while the man is wearing a blue shirt and jeans. They are both smiling and looking at each other. The man is playing the guitar and singing for the woman. In the background, there are trees. The mood of the photo is romantic and peaceful.

By using the PALMS method to describe photos, you can improve your vocabulary, grammar, and descriptive skills in a fun and engaging way.

This method can help you become a more effective communicator and express yourself more clearly and effectively. So why not give it a try and start describing photos using the PALMS method today?

 Speaking Practice

Level of difficulty: ⭐⭐

  1. Look at a picture and identify the five elements of the PALMS method: People, Actions, Location, Mood, and Season/Weather.
  2. Describe each element one by one. For example, describe the people in the picture, what they’re doing, where they are, the mood of the picture, and what season or weather it seems to be.
  3. Practice with a partner by taking turns describing pictures to each other and listening to their descriptions. Keep practicing with different pictures to improve your skills.
  4. Click on the arrows < > to see more pictures

Click on the arrows < > to see more pictures


Essential English Phrases for Phone Calls ☎️

Making phone calls in English can be intimidating. However, it is an essential skill to have, especially if you are living in an English-speaking country or working in an international setting.

In this article I will provide you with useful phrases for phone calls in English that will help you feel more confident and prepared.

Starting the Call

When starting a phone call, it is important to introduce yourself and ask to speak to the person you want to talk to. Here are some phrases you can use:

  • “Hello, my name is [your name]. Can I speak to [person’s name], please?”
  • “Hi, this is [your name]. May I please speak with [person’s name]?”
  • “Good morning/afternoon/evening, this is [your name] calling. Is [person’s name] available?”

Identifying Yourself

Sometimes, the person you are calling may not know who you are. In this case, it is helpful to identify yourself and give some context for the call. Here are some phrases you can use:

  • “Hi [person’s name], it’s [your name] from [company/school/etc.].”
  • “Hello, my name is [your name]. I’m calling because [reason for the call].”
  • “Good morning/afternoon/evening, this is [your name]. I’m calling in regards to [reason for the call].”

Asking for the Person You Want to Speak To

If the person you want to speak to is not available, you can ask when they will be back or if there is a better time to call back. Here are some phrases you can use:

  • “Is [person’s name] available? If not, when will they be back?”
  • “I’m sorry to hear that [person’s name] is not available. Could you please tell me when they will be back?”
  • “If [person’s name] is not available, is there a better time for me to call back?”

Leaving a Message

If the person you want to speak to is not available, you can ask if you can leave a message for them. Here are some phrases you can use:

  • “Could you please let [person’s name] know that I called? My name is [your name] and my phone number is [your phone number].”
  • “May I leave a message for [person’s name]? My name is [your name] and I’m calling from [company/school/etc.].”
  • “If [person’s name] is not available, could you please ask them to call me back? My name is [your name] and my phone number is [your phone number].”

Making Small Talk

Small talk is an important part of many phone conversations, especially in business settings. Here are some phrases you can use to initiate small talk:

  • “How has your day been so far?”
  • “Have you had a chance to enjoy the nice weather today?”
  • “Did you have a good weekend?”

Asking for Clarification

If you don’t understand something that the other person has said, it’s important to ask for clarification. Here are some phrases you can use:

  • “I’m sorry, I didn’t catch that. Could you repeat it, please?”
  • “Could you please speak more slowly?”
  • “I’m not sure I understood what you meant. Could you explain it again, please?”

Dealing with Difficult Situations

Sometimes, phone conversations can be difficult, especially if there is a problem that needs to be resolved. Here are some phrases you can use to navigate these situations:

  • “I understand your frustration. Let’s see what we can do to fix this.”
  • “I apologize for any inconvenience this has caused. Let me see what I can do to make it right.”
  • “I appreciate your feedback. Let me investigate and get back to you with a solution.”

Making Arrangements

If you need to make arrangements with the person you are speaking with, such as setting up a meeting or scheduling a call, here are some phrases you can use:

  • “Would it be possible to schedule a meeting for next week?”
  • “Could we arrange a time for a follow-up call?”
  • “Let’s coordinate a time that works for both of us.”

Ending the Call

When ending a phone call, it is polite to thank the person for their time and to say goodbye. Here are some phrases you can use:

  • “Thank you for your time. Have a great day!”
  • “Thanks for your help. Goodbye!”
  • “It was nice talking to you. Take care!”
  • “Thank you for your time today. It was great speaking with you.”
  • “I appreciate your help. Have a good day.”
  • “Thanks again for your assistance. Talk to you soon.”

Making phone calls in English may seem intimidating at first, but with practice and these useful phrases, you will become more comfortable and confident.

Remember to speak slowly and clearly, and don’t be afraid to ask the person you are speaking with to repeat themselves or to speak more slowly if you are having trouble understanding.

Good luck!


Tips for Comparing Answers in Breakout Rooms

Do you want to improve your English conversation skills in breakout rooms?

Breakout rooms are a great opportunity to practice your speaking and listening skills with other students. However, it can sometimes be challenging to express your thoughts and ideas clearly in a group setting.

If you want to improve your English conversation skills, one of the best strategies is to practice comparing your answers with others. This not only helps you clarify your own ideas and opinions but also allows you to learn from your classmates and gain new perspectives on a variety of topics

You can ask your classmates for their answers directly by simply saying:

“What’s your answer to question/ exercise _______?”

You can respond:

I agree” = same answer

I disagree” = different answer

However, there are more ways of communicating with your classmates during pair or small group activities in the classroom or in the breakout rooms.

Here I will share 10 phrases that can help you communicate effectively in breakout rooms, along with some tips on how to use them.

Let’s get started!

1. “Your answer is like mine.”

📢 /yor an suh riz layk mayn/

When you want to show that you have a similar answer to someone else, you can use this phrase. It helps you connect with them and continue talking together.

2. “Our answers are the same/different because…”

📢/awe ran suhr zar thuh seym bi koz/

📢/awe ran suhr zar di fuh ruhnt bi koz/

When you want to compare your answer with someone else’s, this phrase is useful. It allows you to express your agreement or disagreement while also giving a reason for your opinion.

3. “I think your answer is good because…”

📢 /ay thingk yor an suh riz gud bi coz/

This phrase is helpful when you want to say that you like someone’s idea. It can make them feel good and encourage them to share more. It also shows that you think everyone’s opinion is important and helps to create a friendly atmosphere where people can work together

4. “I have a different answer from you because…”

📢 /ay ha va di fuh ruhn tan suhr fram ju bi koz//

It’s okay if you think differently from others. You can use this sentence to explain your own ideas and why they are not the same as the other person’s.

5. “Your answer is interesting because…”

📢/yor an suh ri zin truhs ting bi coz/

When someone gives a good answer, it’s nice to let them know. You can use this sentence to say that you liked their idea and keep talking about the topic.

6. “We both agree that…”

📢/wee bow thuh gree that/

When you use this sentence, it’s a great way to find similarities with someone. It means you both think alike, and it can help you become friends and trust each other.

7. “I never thought about that before. Thank you for sharing.”

📢/ay ne ver tho ta baw that bi for. Thangk yu for she ring/

If someone tells you an answer that you didn’t think about before, it’s nice to say thank you to them. You can use this sentence to show them you appreciate their idea and that you want them to keep sharing their thoughts.

8. “I see what you mean. That’s a good point.”

📢/ay see wa juh meen. That suh gud poynt

If you think someone’s answer is good and you understand it, you can use this sentence. It will show them that you think their answer is important and that you want to keep talking about it.

9. “I don’t understand your answer. Can you explain it to me?”

📢 /ay dow nan duhr stand ju ran ser. kuhn ju iks pley ni tu mi/

It’s okay if you don’t understand what someone said or what they think. You can use this sentence to ask them to explain it to you. It will show them that you want to know more about their idea and that you care about their point of view.

10. “I like your answer because it makes sense to me.”

📢 /ay laik ju ran suhr bi koz it meik sens tu mi/

You can use this sentence to say thank you to someone for their answer and show them that you think it’s important. It can help you become friends and make it easier to keep talking about the topic.



What are collocations?

Collocations are combinations of words that commonly occur together in a language. These are more than just individual words or phrases, but rather they are a set of words that are used together in a specific way. Collocations are an essential aspect of language learning as they make your speech or writing sound more natural and authentic.

Why are collocations important?

Learning collocations is important for several reasons.

Reason 1:

They can help you to improve your overall fluency in the language, as using the correct collocation can make your speech or writing sound more natural and authentic.

Reason 2:

They can help you to express your ideas more clearly and effectively, as using the correct collocation can give your words a specific connotation or nuance.

Reason 3:

Collocations can help you to understand the language better, as they provide insights into how native speakers of the language use and think about words.

Here’s a table that summarizes the different types of collocations and provides examples for each:

Type of CollocationExamples
Adjective-nounheavy rain, bright future, hot coffee, bitter cold
Verb-nounmake a decision, take a break, have a shower, meet a deadline, do a double-take
Adverb-adjectivecompletely wrong, utterly ridiculous, totally absurd
Preposition-nounin the end, on the other hand, at the same time
Verb-adverbrun quickly, walk slowly, speak clearly
Noun-nounbusiness partner, traffic jam, coffee shop

Note that these are just a few examples of collocations for each type, and there are many more that exist in the English language.

There are many online resources available that can help you to learn and practice collocations, such as collocation dictionaries, quizzes, and exercises. These can be a useful supplement to your regular language learning activities.

Ozdic is a great collocation dictionary that you can use to learn and practice collocations

 Grammar Practice

Level of difficulty: ⭐

Drag and drop the correct word using your mouse or your finger

Level of difficulty: ⭐⭐

Level of difficulty: ⭐⭐⭐

Underline the collocations in the text below.

When I woke up this morning, it was raining heavily outside. I decided to take a break from my usual routine and make a cup of hot coffee. As I sat down to enjoy my coffee, I realized that I had a lot of work to do. I needed to make a decision about whether to accept a job offer that I had received yesterday. I knew that I had to do my best to make the right decision. I opened my laptop and started working on my tasks, making sure to complete everything on time. My colleague called me and we had a conversation about our project. We have been working together for over five years and we know each other very well. We always keep in touch and try to meet up whenever possible. I finished my work and decided to go for a run. However, I was running late for my meeting, so I had to hurry. I made a mental note to myself to plan my time better in the future.

Find the answers at the bottom of this page

 Speaking Practice

Level of difficulty: ⭐⭐⭐

Answers: raining heavily, take a break, cup of coffee, make a decision, do my best, complete everything on time, had a conversation, keep in touch, running late, mental note.


Useful Phrases for Presentations in English


Presentations are very common in academic and work settings, and they can be a bit challenging.

Here you can find some sentence starters that will help you organize your ideas to sound professional and fluent.

1 Greeting the Audience
  • Good morning/ good afternoon/ good evening everyone
  • Welcome to my presentation
  • If you don’t know me, my name is …
  • I work/ study in … department/ program/ lab
  • I’d like to thank you all for coming today
  • It’s a great pleasure to be here with you today
2 Introducing the topic
  • Today I’m going to talk about/ show you …
  • I’m here today to present…
  • What I want to talk about today is…
  • As you can see on the screen, our topic today is…
  • I’ve divided my presentation into three main parts
  • As you can see from the agenda/ outline I’ll be talking about…
  • Before we begin I want to point out that all the slides/ the proposal/ the final report will be sent to you by (day) at (time)
  • I’ll be handing out copies of the slides at the end of my presentation
  • I can email the PowerPoint presentation to anyone who would like it
  • I would like to start by (+ing verb) …
3 Connecting your ideas
  • First, I would like to talk about/ show you …
  • First, I’d like to give you an overview of….
  • Next, I’ll focus on… and then ….
  • What I am going to focus next is…
  • This leads directly to my next point
  • This brings us to the next point/question
  • Let’s now move on to/turn to…
  • Then I’ll go on to highlight what I see as the main points of….
  • Finally, I’d like to address the problem of…
4 Highlighting important information
  • One thing that I want to stress is…
  • I’d like to stress/highlight/emphasize the following points…
  • The interesting/significant/important thing about…. is….
5 Summarizing ideas
  • Before I move on, I’d like to recap the main points
  • Let me briefly summarize the main issues
  • I’d like to summarize what I’ve said so far…
6 Describing visuals
  • As you can see here, …
  • Now, let’s look at/let’s have a look at/take a look at/
  • As the graph/table shows/indicates…
  • From Table/ Figure … we can see/conclude/show/estimate/calculate/infer that…
  • The chart/ graph compares…
7 Closing
  • Well, this brings me to the end of my presentation/talk
  • That covers just about everything I wanted to say about…
  • Thank you for your attention
8 Questions and comments
  • If you have any questions, I am happy to answer them
  • Are there any questions?
  • If you have any questions, I’d be pleased to answer them.
  • And now I’ll be happy to answer any questions you may have
9 If there are some technical problems
  • I’m sorry about the (tech/sound) problem. Ex. I’m sorry about the slow connection
  • Thanks for bearing with me = Thanks for your patience
  • It will be just one moment
  • I apologize for not having enough time/ handouts/ chairs/ samples

Music to Practice your English


Check my YouTube playlist out. These are some of my favourite songs. If you sing them along you will practice your pronunciation, linking, and intonation.

If you have any recommendation, please add the link in the comments below.





Double comparatives


In English, we can use double comparatives to express cause and effect, or increasing or decreasing returns in parallel structures.

There are three basic patterns to use double comparatives with nouns, actions, and adjectives/adverbs.

Fun activities and playing games are great ways to improve your fluency.

Here you can find 3 different activities to review and practice double comparatives in English.

Grammar Practice

Level of difficulty: ⭐

Match the two parts of the sentences.

Level of difficulty: ⭐⭐

Change the sentence using a double comparative.


If I study a lot, I learn a lot. -> The more I study, the more I learn.

Click on FLIP to check your answer.

 Speaking Practice

Level of difficulty: ⭐⭐

Complete the sentences using a double comparative.

Level of difficulty: ⭐⭐⭐

Complete the sentences using a double comparative.

Did you enjoy playing these games? 😊
Which one was your favourite?


How to make a plan to improve your English


So your dream is to improve your English. But how many times have you failed?

You have spent a lot of time dreaming, thinking or talking about what you want. But you haven’t taken the necessary steps to achieve it.

It’s not because you are lazy or incapable. It’s because perhaps you are confused or you don’t know where to start. You don’t have a PLAN yet.

English learning plans, can serve as a roadmap or guide to making your dreams a reality.

An English learning plan can help you if:

  • You are confused
  • You feel that your learning progress is out of control
  • You feel your learning progress is stagnant
  • You struggle making the right decisions
  • You feel lost and lack direction
  • You have tried many things and nothing has helped
  • You are tired and want to give up

What is an English learning planing?

An English learning plan is both a roadmap and a reminder of your goals. It helps you realize your dreams and the things that you need to do to make them true.

An English learning plan can help you to become aware of your strengths and your weaknesses.

Your English learning plan doesn’t need to be super detailed. It should be flexible so you can adapt it according to the circumstances.

Don’t forget that LIFE IS UNPREDICTABLE. Things happen. Your plan needs to leave room for unexpected changes and crises.

Making English learning plans can help you achieve your goals easier than if you are confused and have no idea what to do.

5 benefits of having an English learning plan

1 An English learning plan helps you make your dreams a reality

An English learning plan gives you the confidence to take action and be proactive.

2 An English learning plan helps you prioritize

Making an English learning plan helps you identify what you want and focus on things that move you in the right direction

3 An English learning plan helps you make better decisions

When you know your goals it is easier to make the right decisions that help you accomplish your goals

4 An English learning plan keeps you motivated

When you write down your goals it’s easier to stay focused and motivated.

5 An English learning plan makes you recognize your strengths and weaknesses

An English learning plan is a tool that makes you think critically and reflect on your learning needs. It helps you identify the skills that you master and the skills you need to improve to achieve your goals.

How to make an English learning plan: step by step

1. The most important thing to making any plan is, to BE HONEST with yourself.

2. Take a moment to reflect on your habits, your learning story, your circumstances, your strengths, and your weaknesses.

3. No one but you can identify the things that are easy for you and the things that are challenging for you.

4. You are the only one that can identify the things/ habits/ beliefs that are preventing you from moving forward.

5. Finally, remember that becoming fluent in English is a goal that will require that you spend a lot of time and resources. If you are not willing to pay the price then it will always be a DREAM.

6. If you are not willing to organize your life, give up unhealthy habits or if you can’t change your lifestyle to accommodate time to practice, then it’s going to be very difficult to improve your English.

Now it’s time to make your own learning plan

Below you can see a template that will help you reflect and create your own English learning plan.


Reporting Verbs


Reporting verbs are verbs which are used to tell someone what another person said. They are used in reported speech.

Say and tell are the most common reporting verbs. However, there are other reporting verbs that we can use instead of say and tell to communicate our ideas more clearly.


He said that he would drive me to the airport (this sentence is correct but long)

We can say instead:

He offered to drive me to the airport (this sentence is shorter and absolutely clear)

Common reporting verbs patterns


recommend and suggest are special verbs that can be followed by a “that clause” when we want or need to mention who is the recommendation/ suggestion for.

recommend/ suggest + that + someone + base form


I suggested watching a horror movie. (suggest + gerund)

If you want to be more specific and want to add information about who is the recommendation for, you can use a “that clause” (noun clause)

I suggested that my friends watch a horror movie.

My friends suggested that I study for the English test tonight.

My teacher recommended that Maria practice speaking with me.

Practice time

Level of difficulty: ⭐

 Speaking Practice

Level of difficulty: ⭐⭐

Student A:

  1. Choose one box
  2. Read the sentence out loud.
  3. Tell your partner the hint.

Student B:

  1. Close your eyes
  2. Listen to your partner
  3. Complete the following sentence: My friend __________________


Student A: If you stay in a hostel it will be cheaper (Hint: explain)

Student B: My friend explained to me that staying in a hostel would be cheaper.


How to describe photos and pictures

for the B1 Cambridge test (PET)


In some English exams you have to speak or write about photos or pictures.

Here is a list of useful vocabulary and expressions for describing pictures or photos for oral/written exams.

What is there in the picture?
(people, things, animals, places, etc)
In the picture I can see
There is a/ an +(adjective)+ singular noun
There are (a couple/some/ a lot of) + (adjective) + plural noun
There isn’t a + (adjective) + singular noun
There aren’t any + (adjective) + plural noun
What is happening?
(actions & weather)
For actions use present continuous
The person/ animal is +verb-ing
The people are + verb-ing
It’s raining/ snowing, etc.
It’s bright/ dark/ sunny/ cold/ hot, etc.
What might be happening?
(If something in the picture is not clear you can make a guess)

It looks like a + noun
It looks as if + person/animal + verb …
It looks as though + persona/animal + verb …
It seems that person/animal is …
Maybe the person/animal is + verb-ing
The person/animal might be +verb-ing
What could have happened before?
(You can use your imagination and make a guess about the actions that happened before the picture was taken)
The person/animal might have + past participle
The person/animal may have + past participle
The person/animal could have + past participle
The person/animal couldn’t have + past participle
Where in the picture?
(location/ position)
At the top/bottom of the picture …
In the foreground …
In the background ….
In the middle/ center of the picture …
On the left/right of the picture …
next to
in front of
across from
on top of

Now that you know the vocabulary and phrases that should be included in picture description, let’s see an example:

I think this is a family photo. There are five people, and all of them are smiling. They are having lunch in the dining room. The dining room is so bright and modern. In the background, we see the kitchen and some appliances. For example, a microwave and a coffee maker.

In the foreground
we see the mother sitting at the head of the table. It seems that she is taking a selfie. Her children are sitting around the table. On the left side of the photo, there is a boy and a girl. The girl is smiling. The boy has his mouth open, and he looks as if he is going to eat the whole spaghetti.

There are two teenagers sitting across from the children. The young man is smiling, and the young woman is posing for the photo. The young man has his arm around the young woman.

There are five plates with spaghetti, three glasses of orange juice, and two glasses of red wine on the table. There might be some bread in the middle of the table. The food looks very delicious.

They might be having a video call with the father. The father could have travelled for work to a different city. It looks as though they are having a good time. This photo reminds me of when I was younger, and I used to have lunch with my family every Sunday.

Writing practice

The best way to improve your writing and speaking is to practice. Don’t be afraid of making mistakes. Remember that practice makes progress.

Choose ONE picture and describe it.

What can you see in the picture? Write your answer in the comments below