Real English Series: Witches in Scotland

450px witches well

This month’s Real English lesson is about witches in Edinburgh. Find out their story and learn some great phrasal verbs, expressions and pronunciation.

As the spooky season is with us again, we’ve chosen the topic of witches as our very first real English video. in this series we will be taking you around different parts of Edinburgh and having a look at the language and pronunciation which naturally occurs. This is a fantastic way to develop your English while having a virtual Edinburgh Experience! To make sure you don’t miss an episode, subscribe to our YouTube channel.

How many people were accused of witchcraft in Scotland?

The back of a woman walking through a wood wearing a black cloak and looks a bit like a witch.

Nearly 4000 people were accused of being witches in Scotland. It’s estimated around two thirds were executed, and the vast majority were women. To this day, they have not been pardoned. We 100% recommend following Witches of Scotland, a group which is campaigning to have this changed, and to erect a monument in their memory. 

The people accused of witchcraft were tortured into a confession, and would then name other “witches”. This cycle would continue. Scotland saw some of the worst witch hunts in Europe, and this was partly down to the fact that they were endorsed by the king, James I. To get an idea of the extent of the Scottish witch hunts, have a look at the interactive witches map of Scotland by the University of Edinburgh which shows people charged by area. 

We did a fantastic Scottish History class on the topic of witches which is available to all of our Online Unlimited students. You can join our Scottish History, Vocabulary Building, Lunchtime Lessons and Book Group classes as well as access to all of our self study and skills resources for only £50 a month!

Now have a look at the video

Let’s look at that language in more detail

How to learn phrasal verbs

Remember that multi-word verbs will change meaning depending on their context. That means you always need to seem them being used with an example sentence. It’s a good idea to learn synonyms, and if you can the opposite of the verb. It makes it easier to remember, and you double your vocabulary! Here are some more examples of the phrasal verbs I used in the video


 By learning chunks of language, you will be able to remember expressions better and also use English much more naturally. This is particularly useful if you are taking any B2+ level exams. 

These resources are available to download for our Online Unlimited and regular course students. If you would like to access these, as well as all of our other great study resources, get in touch!

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