Category Archives: English as a Second Language (ESL)

Gossip – Rumour

Dear All, If you are learning or teaching English, it may be interesting to compare the following two words: “gossip” and “rumour”. According the Oxford Dictionary, gossip (Ukr. “плітки“) is 1. “Casual or unconstrained conversation or reports about other people, typically involving details which are not confirmed as true” (OD, 2016):  He is a nice …

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Mother tongue

Dear All, If you write a paper on teaching/learning foreign languages, sometimes it is desirable to find an appropriate synonym that fits the context best and corresponds well to the given context. Below are the forms which are synonymous to “mother tongue”: native language native tongue first language father tongue arterial language L1 (the use …

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Letter “E”

  Did you know that the letter “e” is the most frequently used letter in English?   Dear All, One of the interesting facts about English is that the most frequently used letter in this language is “e”. How does it help to know this? Well, first of all it is interesting not only to …

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Economic – economical

Dear All, When we learn a foreign language, sometimes it is a small difference that can confuse us. This post discusses the differences in meaning between the words “economic” and “economical” to help learners of English to differentiate easily between these words and to use them correctly. Economic means related to the financial industry or …

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Historic – historical

All, Learners of English sometimes find it difficult to differentiate between the words “historic” and “historical”. This post briefly discusses the semantic differences between them. Historic means “important, outstanding, famous in history”. Historical means “related to history, concerning the past”. Therefore, if we want to say that a scholar has just made an important discovery, …

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Google Translate

Dear All, Have you ever thought that it would nice to speak X language? Indeed, it would be. All it takes is to start and little by little to pursue the goal. While you are doing this, there is a tool that can help you to communicate in a different language in the meanwhile. The …

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Little – Small

Dear All, What is the difference between “little” and “small”? This post compares these two words and points at some of the differences in use. Before we start the discussion about the differences, let’s look at what is in common. Both words are semantically close, they both mean “tiny, not big”. In this sense, it …

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Affect – Effect

Dear All, Two words which may be easily confused by English learners and even by the speakers for whom English is their native language are “affect” and “effect”. This blogs compares these two words to help use them correctly. First of all, let us define each of these words to make the differences more obvious: …

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Oh, but how about “ough”?​

Did you know that in English “ough” can be read in 9 ways? Dear All, The English is a language which requires solid reading skills reading correctly. For instance, the “ough” can be read in at least nine different ways. Here is a sentence which contains all the instances: A rough-coated, dough-faced, thoughtful ploughman strode …

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Hyphen – dash

Dear All, Sometimes it is possible to hear people using “hyphen” and “dash” interchangeably, however, there exist differences. This post addresses these differences. First of all, it is worth mentioning that a hyphen (-) is twice shorter than a dash (–-). This is something that can be easily noticed, but to better understand what sets …

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You who has – you who have

Dear All, Today I would like to speak about an interesting syntactic construction consisting of the following elements: pronoun + who + verb The reason why this construction is indeed interesting is because it raises the question, what form of the verb should we use after “who”: with -s (3rd pers. sing.) or without -s? …

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Setup – set-up – set up

Dear All, How do you spell the word “setup”? The answer is: it depends: if “setup” is a noun or used in the attributive function, as an adjective (before another noun), then it is spelled as one word with or without a hyphen: The setup (or set-up) of my phone is easy to use. I …

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Opposite – opposite from – accross from

Dear All, The use of the word “opposite” can be quite confusing particularly for learners of English; therefore, in order to help out those who may questions concerning its use, this post discusses how this word can be used in standard English. To begin with, it is worth mentioning that the word “opposite” can be …

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CELPIP: Canadian English Language Test

Dear All, Besides TOEFL and IELTS, learners of English can take CELPIP test to prove their language proficiency. Today I would like to discuss some of the characteristic features of CELPIP and how it compares to TOEFL and IELTS. Definition. To begin with, what is CELPIP? CELPIP or Canadian English Language Test is a type …

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IELTS: Fingerprints

Dear All, IELTS (International English Language Testing System)is English language. It is taken by students who go to a country where they main language of instruction is English, by workers going to work abroad (even if their mother tongue is English), and immigrants. Today IELTS requires test takers to submit their fingerprints (in addition to …

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Improve/ maintain your French

Hi All, Today I would like draw your attention to an excellent resource for the people who are learning French or who want to maintain it. If you are learning French as your additional language (second language, etc.), then you need to use it as much as possible. It goes without saying that it is …

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Linguistic Web tool

Hello Everyone! Today I would like to share with you quite an interesting linguistic tool. It is called Reverso. Reverso can be useful to people who are interested in linguistic matters such as: translation, conjugation, spelling, dictionary forms, and usage examples. This tool can be of use to learners of foreign languages who want to …

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Interjections in English

Dear All, This post discusses interjections in English. It defines an interjection and provides a resource to look up various interjections in English, their variants, and examples. What is an interjection? The word ‘interjection‘ comes from Lat. ‘intericere’ meaning “to throw between”. According to the Cambridge Dictionary online, interjection is “a word or phrase that …

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History of English

Video credit: The Virtual Linguistics Campus, “The History of English (An Overview)” December 17, 2014, via YouTube. Dear All, This post discusses briefly the history of the English language. Five major periods of the language development can be outlined: 1) England before the English (55 BC – 600 AD): – the Celts; – Julius Caesar’s …

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Some features of vernacular English

Dear All, One of the things that I have been recently noticing in modern English is the vernacular usage of certain forms. This post briefly discusses some of these forms. I would like to focus on seven vernacular forms which seem to be used often: 1) she don’t; 2) he ain’t; 3) I just said …

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Rhyming dictionary, multilingual

Dear All, In “Rhyming dictionary” post, an online rhyming dictionary has already been discussed. That rhyming dictionary is for English. However, I have recently come across a multilingual rhyming dictionary. Why do we need a multilingual dictionary? The answer is simple: a multilingual rhyming dictionary allows finding rhymes in several languages and if you speak …

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VOA (Voice of America): Wordmaster

Dear All, If you are looking for a way to improve your English, these VOA podcasts may be of help: Wordmaster (http://learningenglish.voanews.com/archive/learningenglish-home-wordmaster/3/970/970.html) These short audio recordings last for only a few minutes, but the are posted along with transcripts which makes it easier for ESL students (or instructors) to check their listening comprehension of the …

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IELTS books

The IELTS [ˈaɪ.ɛlts] (International English Language Testing System) is another internationally acknowledged test available in multiple countries which helps to determine people’s level of proficiency in English. Unlike the TOEFL, the IELTS has two versions: 1) Academic and 2) General. The students who are applying to an English-speaking university are required to take the Academic …

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TOEFL books

The TOEFL [ˈtoʊfəl] (Test Of English as a Foreign Language) is one of the internationally acknowledged and well-reputed systems for checking people’s proficiency in English. The TOEFL can be taken for various reasons, for example, if a person lives in a country where education is not provided in English and wants to enter a university …

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BBC podcasts

Dear All, Did you know that BBC has different podcasts that can be used by instructors for providing students with authentic input? Below are three programs which I personally like and which may interest young learners: 1) Science in Action; 2) Click; and 3) Discovery. The advantage of these programs is that learners are likely to work …

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