Category Archives: Word Use & Etymology

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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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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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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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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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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