Lisa's week

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Lisa's week: Quick Tip of the Week – live, life, live

Every now and again, I’m going to give you a quick tip about a wrongly used word, a false friend or a typical mistake. These are the common errors I hear many times a week and which land on my mistake bingo card!

Live, life, live – it sounds like a book about finding yourself in the calm of the Himalayas, doesn’t it? In fact, these are three words that often get confused by Germans and are examples of the lack of logic in the English language that can give foreigners so many problems.

Let’s take these one at a time.


This is the verb form – to live (leben/wohnen). It is pronounced with a short “i” sound and a hard “v” (/liv/). The short sound is the same in all forms of the verb.

“I live in Essen. Where do you live?”
“He still lives with his parents. He can’t afford to live in his own flat yet.”
“We lived for a long time in the UK.”
“They had been living in the city for a long time when they decided to move to the country.”


This is the noun – a life (das Leben). It is pronounced with a longer “i” sound and a softer “f” (/laif/) and the plural form changes to “lives” which still has the longer vowel sound and a harder “v” (/laivz/).

“He has a good life. He has a good job and a loving family.”
“Thousands of lives have been lost in the Mediterranean Sea over the last few months.”
“She has wanted to be a doctor all her life.”
“They dedicated their lives to caring for the homeless.”
“Work-life balance is an important factor for many in the modern business world.”


This is the adjective form – something is live (live/in Person). It is pronounced with a longer “i” sound and a harder “V” (/laɪv/).

“I went to see Robbie Williams live last week. He was amazing.”
“The reporter sneezed live on TV and couldn’t stop laughing.”
“The singer was really bad. I could tell he wasn’t singing live because he was miming so badly.”
“The live transportation of animals has been heavily regulated in recent years.”
“The live broadcast of the election debate will start at 7pm.”

So this week, live life to the fullest and make sure you have some great live experiences!


What is Lisa's week?

"We’ve (hopefully) been entertaining you so far with the meaning and background of a weekly English idiom and now we’ve decided to expand that a little to give me the chance to share some details that come my way in my daily life as a Business English teacher. I hope to find weekly tidbits of information and experience to tell you about such as British traditions that I (or we) celebrate, or typical mistakes made when speaking English, or even some of the funny things I come across in my daily life. We hope that you’ll enjoy the insight into the life of a Brit in Germany!"


Episode 1: The Queen's 90th birthday

Episode 2: What did you do last Sunday?

Episode 3: What's the best way to answer?

Episode 4: The sound of London

Episode 5: Not just a last resort

Episode 6: Quick tip of the week: advice vs. advise

Episode 7: Title talk

Episode 8: The Union Jack

Episode 9: Why Thursday?

Episode 10: Quick tip of the week - Are you watching or just looking?

Episode 11: Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness

Episode 12: Don't forget to take you handy to the public viewing!

Episode 13: Up in the Highlands

Episode 14: Quick tip of the week - "Popular" false friends

Episode 15: Pie in the sky 

Episode 16: Through the tunnel

Episode 17: Keep left!

Episode 18: Quick tip of the week - Rise vs. raise vs. arise

Episode 19: How do you say that?

Episode 20: Back to School!

Episode 21: Sweet cravings

Episode 22: Can you change a fiver?

Episode 23: Grabbing some "me time"

Episode 24: Typical Mistakes (part 1)

Episode 25: Fancy a cuppa?

Episode 26: Quip tip of the week - Fell vs. fall etc.

Episode 27: Things that go bump in the night!

Episode 28: Remember, remember the fifth of November, gunpower, treason and plot

Episode 29: What's that badge you're wearing?

Episode 30: Bless you!

Episode 31: What are you thankful for?

Episode 32: Where's the larget Christmas Market outside Germany or Austria?

Episode 33: What's behind the door?

Episode 34: The joy of a Christmas cracker!

Episode 35: Does it all fit on the table?

Episode 36: Seeing in the New Year

Episode 37: How are your resolutions going?

Episode 38: Quick tip of the week - "Popular" false friends - part 2

Episode 39: What will the Year of the Rooster mean for you?

Episode 40: Sweet Valentine

Episode 41: A Reminder

Episode 42: I'll have mine with sugar and lemon juice, please!

Episode 43: The joy of golden daffodils

Episode 44: To correct or not to correct, that is the question

Episode 45: The whole world's going green!

Episode 46: Idiom of the week - Raining cats and dogs

Episode 47: The joke's on you!

Episode 48: Left over from the Middle Ages!

Episode 49: More calendar food-based ponderings

Episode 50: We use German words too

Episode 51: Celebrating St George

Episode 52: The perfect start to the day

Episode 53: The tiny apostrophe is actually something big (part 1)

Episode 54: The tiny apostrophe is actually something big (part 2)

Episode 55: The tiny apostrophe is actually something big (part 3)

Episode 56: Holiday season is coming!

Episode 57; ‘Tis the season (of Bank Holidays) – part 1

Episode 58; ‘Tis the season (of Bank Holidays) – part 2

Episode 59: Summer Solstice

Episode 60: Harry Potter turns 20