Wednesday, 5 December 2018

Adjectives


  • Adjectives are words that describe nouns and pronouns.
  • Possessive adjectives don't need apostrophes.
  • Use the comparative form when comparing two things.
  • Use the superlative when comparing three or more things.
  • When numbers are used as adjectives write it as a word, not a numeral.
  • Never use a pronoun in place of an adjective:
    eg. Look at them flowers. 👎  "them" = pronoun
          Look at those flowers. 👍  "those"= adjective.

Wednesday, 28 November 2018

Me or I


How do you know whether to use 'me' or 'I'.
Consider this sentence:
My mother and I talked about my sister and me.
I'll tell you a trick about this 
Take the first part of the sentence - My Mother and I , drop the words 'My Mother' and then use it with the verb 'talked' 
Which sounds correct 'me talked' or 'I talked' ? Obviously 'I talked'  so you go for 'My Mother and I'. Then let's look at the second part of the sentence- 'about my sister and me' . Now drop the words 'my sister and' and look at the sentence
'My Mother and I talked about me',
now check it out with 'I'  
'My Mother and I talked about I'
'I' sounds distinctively out of place here.
That's how you can decide and you will never go wrong.

Wednesday, 21 November 2018

Accents

This word is defined as a distinctive way of pronouncing a language , especially one associated with a particular country , area or social class. When you learn a language , the muscles of your tongue learn to say the words of that particular language.
When they learn another language, the muscles of your tongue do not completely erase this 'muscle memory' and that is where an accent develops.

Generally, when one uses this new language often it also has an effect on the language that you learnt earlier, but that is to a lesser extent.

Accents have both positive and negative reactions; on the one hand they make it difficult for a listener to immediately understand what you are saying, but on the other hand it is useful for the listener to recognise the place from where you originated.

Usually, a listener can understand you when you speak repeatedly with them but till the time that they get used to your accent  you can achieve concept communication by speaking slowly and clearly as possible . 

Wednesday, 7 November 2018

Funny childhood thoughts

This is from an actual compilation:
" I was three when my mother taught me the song  'Silent Night', with the line 'Sleep in heavenly peace'. I thought that when you went to heaven, you slept on a bed of peas, and if you got hungry, you could eat them. Peas were my favourite vegetable, so heaven sounded really good - Gigi" 

Tuesday, 6 November 2018

Proper Adjectives

Okay, so what is this ? Does it mean that there are improper adjectives also? Of course, there are a multitude of them! Every abuse is one! In this case, we are referring to something quite different- we are referring to adjectives that refer to:-

  •  a person's name, 
  • a specific place or countries, 
  • company names, 
  • brands, 
  • titles of books , movies, songs or other creative works, 
  • names of religions,
  • nationalities,
  • months,
  • days of the week and holidays.
e.g. Their Malaysian neighbour owned an Alfa-Romeo Sports car .

Wednesday, 31 October 2018

Borborygmus

Relative of a Gorilla? No, it's the rumble in your abdomen. So when you hear your stomach grumble what you are hearing are boborygmi! ( The plural). Children love this word, when they are introduced to it, because of the onomatopoeic nature of this word!.

Tuesday, 30 October 2018

Mnemonics for 'h' , 'i' and 'j'.

Handkerchief: Hand the chief a handkerchief.
Hoarse: When you are hoarse, you feel as if you have oars in your throat.
Indispensable: That sable coat is indispensable.
Irate: I was rated so low that I was irate.
Jalopy: Lop off those bushes and load them in the jalop
Jesuit: Can you imagine Jesus in a suit? 

Monday, 29 October 2018

Aphilophrenia

WHAT'S THAT??? Aphilophrenia is a feeling of being unloved. It is usually a fleeting feeling that does not last, but that is the word that describes it. It has Greek origins, 'a-philo' meaning not loved, and 'phrenia' meaning mental disorder

Friday, 26 October 2018

Flizzen

This word describes a manner of laughter, where the person laughs using every facial muscle. Frankly, I can't say that I have seen this happening because I don't even know how many facial muscles are there to check and tick off the boxes about how many muscles are being used! I know that I have laughed heartily at many a joke and even at the movies, where a particular scene is hilarious - remembering Mr Bean (Mr Rowan Atkinson)!

Friday, 12 October 2018

Shoeflower

Have you ever wondered why a Shoeflower is called so? It does not look like a shoe, nor does it have the colour of a shoe. I did and so researched this, and this is what I found: The shoe flower was used to polish shoes at one time. That is why it is called a Shoeflower.

Tuesday, 2 October 2018

Funnies

When I was young I believed that windmills in farmers' fields were used to keep the cows cool.
-Linda  

Monday, 10 September 2018

Mnemonics for words beginning with 'e', 'f' and 'g'

environment: "Lots of iron is in the environment."
escape: "It's essential to escape."
especially: "I especially enjoy ESP."
exceed: "Don't exceed the speed limit."
expensive: "Those pens were expensive."
familiar: "That liar looks familiar."
February: "Brr, it's cold in February."
generally: "The general is your ally."
grammar: "Bad grammar will mar your chances for a good job."

Saturday, 25 August 2018

SImilé

No, that is not French for 'smile' - it is a Figure of Speech! Often when we make comparisons between two things of a different nature, to describe something, perhaps a person, a situation or an object. 
For example, we could say, while describing a fight, " Henry fought like a tiger". 
Another  example would be  "P.T. Usha ran like a gazelle" 
These figures of speech are introduced in a sentence by the adverbs: like, so, as, as...as. These similĂ©s, aid the readers' imagination and every author of repute has used them at some time or the other. 

Friday, 17 August 2018

Spindles

Today, I came across a new meaning for the word 'spindle', in the latest National Geographic August 2018 edition. There was this article on 'Sleep- Inside the new Science of Slumber' and it described an activity of our brains, which takes place in the cerebral cortex. This is the part of the brain that we use for thinking, language and generally of consciousness. These are half-second bursts of electrical activity that signify that we have entered the second phase of sleep.
Traditionally, spindles are "a straight spike usually made from wood in order to spin textile fibre into thread. There are parts of machines also called spindles.

Friday, 27 July 2018

Quotation marks

Quotation marks were invented by a librarian in the great library of Alexandria, called Aristarchus of Samothrace (born 217 BB - died 145 BC), the sixth Librarian of that wonderful institution, when editing some of its works, placing the "diples" to indicate that he thought the work was extraordinary 

Wednesday, 25 July 2018

Subordinating conjunctions

These are conjunctions that introduce subordinate clauses into a complex sentence: Some examples are:-

  • After      
  • although     
  • as
  • as if
  • as though
  • because
  • before
  • for
  • if 
  • in order that
  • since
  • so... that
  • that 
  • though
  • unless
  • until
  • when
  • whenever
  • where
  • wherever
  • while
  • whilst

Tuesday, 24 July 2018

Strange words

Clinomania: Excessive desire to stay in bed.
Euneirophrenia: The peace of mind that comes from having pleasant dreams.
Basorexia: The overwhelming desire to kiss.
Querencia: A place from which one's strength is drawn, where one feels at home; the place where one can be oneself
Tsundoku: buying books and not reading them

Monday, 23 July 2018

The endings -ion, sion and -tion

These suffixes mean 'a state of', 'act of' and 'result of':-

  1. celebration: The act of honouring a particular event
  2. incarceration: The state of being imprisoned.
  3. infection: the result of exposure to germs.

Sunday, 22 July 2018

Humour

I cannot watch TV and write a blog at the same time, multi-tasking is not my strength! Anyway, I am reading a book by Tim Allen, titled " I'm not really here". It is hilarious, and it makes me wonder how people can be so funny! 
It starts, I suppose,  by seeing the world is a different way that most of us see it.  I am amazed at how Mr Allen sees the world in such a humourous way.  I almost considered spelling 'humourous' in the American way, as Grammarly is trying to get me to do, but just because I'm writing about an American does not mean I should use their spellings too, does it?
Funny stuff is the same in any language, and everybody enjoys humour, but not everyone has that funny bone tickling all the time. I think of George Mikes, to whom I was first exposed to when got a book written by him as a prize from the South Indian Education Society College of Arts and Science. I had read other funny books, but this book gave me a fuller appreciation of Humour as Literature.

Friday, 20 July 2018

Crutch words

I never knew what term to use for words used ad nauseum by teenagers and some post-teenagers these days. Yes, I am referring to the word 'like'. Listen to any teenage conversation and it goes "I'm like, I don't want to go for this movie", "I'm like, noooo, please don't call me for this".
Now, I've finally found out what such words are called; they are Crutch words!! Not Crotch words, Crutch words.     
Spoken by those with a reported speech deficiency, these words are used like a filler ad and are equally annoying!

Thursday, 19 July 2018

Writing and penmanship

The former deals with the skill of written communication while the latter is about scripting manually in a certain manner, better or worse. Today the latter does not give me much heartache, but once my penmanship was akin to the marks made by a spider that accidentally jumped into a bottle of ink and ran across a page.
The computer has almost killed penmanship but has given a great fillip to writing! You can correct spelling errors, rearrange trains of thought, check grammar and even check for plagiarism.
Alas, you have to learn to type and He of the Fat Fingers, struggles... 

Wednesday, 18 July 2018

'Much'

This is an interesting quantifier in that it is largely used with uncountable nouns.
eg.

  • I didn't use much dye.
  • I used much of the memory.
  • I didn't take much of it.
  • I didn't eat much.
It tends to be used more in general statements like:
Much nonsense has been propagated through superstition.
We have much to be annoyed about.

it is often used  with negative word or question
Peter never had much success in his medical practice.
Do you do much directing these days?

Tuesday, 17 July 2018

KINDS OF ADJECTIVES

Adjectives can broadly be classified as gradable or non-gradable. What does this mean?
1) Gradable adjectives can form comparatives and superlatives. They can be used with words that intensify their meaning like 'very' or moderate their meaning like 'fairly'.
2) Non-gradable adjectives don't for comparative and superlatives. They can be used with words that emphasize the nature like 'fairly'. 

Sunday, 15 July 2018

Take in

This phrase means several things:
1) to include: The German Chancellor took in several Islamic migrants.
2) to deceive: Religious radicals don't take rational people in.
3) to make smaller: When my weight dropped, I had to take in my dresses.

Saturday, 14 July 2018

English words of Russian origin

Agitprop: This word means the use of political propaganda in literature, art, music, drama etc and is derived partly from the Russian word 'agitatsiya', as per the Merriam Webster Dictionary.
Disinformation: Derived from the Russian word 'dezinformatsiya', used in Russian since the 1930's, meaning what we call 'fake news' today.
Czar: Meaning King/Emperor.
Intelligentsia: referring to the class of  intelligent people of a population.

Friday, 13 July 2018

Words of Hebrew Origin

Ruthless: Okay this word is based on a Moabite Princess, Ruth, whose life was all about kindness and giving, lavishing care on her mother-in-law and everyone else. So one who is ruthless is the opposite of this. 
Leviathan: This comes from the Hebrew word for whale, leviaton.
Abracadabra: Derived from the Hebrew words a'bra and k'dabra which means I will create as I speak! 
Camel: This is derived from the 3rd letter Hebrew alphabet, called gimmel, which looks like a camel. This got corrupted to Gamal and then to 'camel'.
Sapphire: This is derived from the Hebrew word, sappir which means as blue as the skies. 

Thursday, 12 July 2018

The origin of the word Admiral

This word is derived from the Arabic word 'Amir'- in 1072 the Romans defeated Arabs on the island of Sicily, where the Arab nobles were called amirs, (emirs in current Arabic). Arabs had been ruling Sicily for about 300 years, so they gave their new governor the name 'Amir ' with the Latin grammar suffix -atus, to for the word 'Amiratus' and he was in charge of the navy of the island. This was the start of the title representing 'commander of the seas'. The insertion of the 'd' came later as a variation of the verb 'admire' and the title admiral was created 

Wednesday, 11 July 2018

English words from the Caribbean


  1. Barbecue: Originally Barbacoa, this got altered to barbecue
  2. Canoe: Originally canoa, in Spanish this got modified to canoe.
  3.  Guava: Originally Guyaba a Spanish corruption of the Arawak name wayaba.
  4. Hammocks: Originally hamaka in Taino, a Caribbean language.
  5. Maize: Originally Mahios in Taino.
  6. Tobacco: Originally tabaco a Taino word for a pipe.
  7. Okay, half a dozen is enough for now!

Tuesday, 10 July 2018

Acronyms

Acronyms are pronounceable words that are made from the initial letters or parts of words.
Some words that you may not recognise as acronyms are given below:

  • Nazi = actually an acronym for Nationalsozialist Party
  • Nato = an acronym for the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation
  • Aids = an acronym for Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome
  • Care = it is also an acronym for Cooperative for American Remittances to Europe
  • Swat = Special Weapons And Tactics

Monday, 9 July 2018

Dollars

Who wouldn't like to have lots of them?  Did you know that the word Dollar came from the German word 'Thaler', which is an abbreviation of the word 'Joachimsthaler', which is because the metal for the coin came from a town called Jachymov, currently in the Czech Republic!
called The study of the history or the origin of words is called Etymology.

Sunday, 8 July 2018

Let's get this show on the road!

This is about some idioms:

  • let's get this show on the road = let's get this project started.
  • Don't be a wet blanket = Don't be someone who kills enthusiasm with pessimism.
  • Show ...... the ropes = teach someone how to do something.
  • Talking through your hat = Talking about a subject that you are not thorough with.
  • Show one's true colours = Letting someone know who you really are. 

Saturday, 7 July 2018

The prefix In-

Consider the words below:
credible
famous
sane
divisible
determinate

You can change the entire meaning of the word to its antonym by  using this prefix
incredible
infamous
insane
indivisible
indeterminate



Friday, 6 July 2018

The _ ic suffix

Consider the following words
cosmos
Karma
german
mania
idiot

These nouns can be converted to adjectives using the suffix -ic
cosmos becomes cosmic
karma becomes karmic
german becomes germanic
mania becomes manic
idiot becomes idiotic 

Thursday, 5 July 2018

Words that English has borrowed from Afrikaans

Just in case you don't know Afrikaans is the language the people of European Origin spoke in South Africa. It sort of sounds like Dutch, because most of these people were Dutch, to begin with!😀

  • Apartheid - which is the most common one, and literally means 'being apart'
  • bergwind - a warm wind blowing from the plateau to the coast
  • biltong -  a dried strip of beef, just like jerky
  • Boer - which literally means farmer
  • highveld - a plateau
  • kraal - a village within a stockade
  • rooibos - a tea made from a plant, literally this word means red bush
  • trek - which originally meant 'to haul'

Wednesday, 4 July 2018

Metaphors

A metaphor is an implied simile.
Hugh was a tiger in the fight for the castle.
She was fishing for compliments.
The curtain of night falls upon us.
Success has a thousand fathers, but Failure is an orphan.

Tuesday, 3 July 2018

Euphemisms


  • What is a Dutch clock? a bedpan
  • What does being in Carey street mean? bankrupt
  • What is meant by 'a medal showing?' a button of the fly of your trousers being undone.

Monday, 2 July 2018

Articles

Why are articles necessary?
Articles are necessary to let the person reading or listening to us know which things or p[eople we are referring to. The article, definite or indefinite as the case may be, lets the reader/listener know which particular or general class of things or people we are discussing. Therefore articles fall into the calss of words called determiners.
As a general rule countable nouns need articles for this purpose.
Consider this sentence:
A person lives in a house, a rabbit lives in a burrow.
Consider the sentence without the articles 
Person lives in house, rabbit lives in burrow.
See the effect?

Sunday, 1 July 2018

Prepositions that go with 'Favour'

The proposition sets that go with 'Favour' are:
1) in .... of -We are in favour of greater investment
2) with - The president looked upon our proposal with favour. 

Saturday, 30 June 2018

Ellipsis

Ellipsis is when there is an omission of some words that are superfluous or that can be understood from the context.
e.g.
Where’s my pen? On the table!
How did you do in your test today? Passed.
Alice wasn't there for ballet class today and nor was Sally.
Jenny promised to bring the food for the picnic and I the drinks.


Friday, 29 June 2018

Correlative Conjunctions

These are conjunctions that are commonly used together:

  • Not only ...  but also, e.g. Not only was he stupid but also arrogant.
  • Neither ... nor, e.g. That is neither here nor there.
  • Either ... or, e.g. They are either very gifted or very well trained.
  • Both ... and, e.g. Peter was both excited and delighted.

Thursday, 28 June 2018

Did you know ?


  • That the word Nicotine is derived from the name of the French diplomat, Mr Jean Nicot, who introduced tobacco to France?
  • That the concept of the Teddy bear came about after President Theodore Roosevelt spared the life of a young bear while hunting?
  • That the guillotine was invented by Joseph Guillotin?
  • The snack Sandwich was created by the Earl Of Sandwich?
The common thread in these tidbits is that they are EPONYMOUS- they are named after a person connected with them.

Wednesday, 27 June 2018

Egyptian words used in English

There are several words from Ancient Egyptian that are used in English:
1) Egypt: A corruption of Hikuptah, which itself is a corruption of Hwt-ka-Ptah. Now Ptah happens to be one of their gods.
2) Pharaoh: comes from a modification of the Hebrew word, paroh which is derived from the Egyptian Pra-a, meaning palace.
3) Gum: came from the Egyptian word qym.t.
4) Desert: comes from the word deshret,  which means barren.
5) Sphinx: derived from the word Sheshpankh. which means living image

Tuesday, 26 June 2018

Avoiding Chinglish


Wrong
Right
Henry has started the School yesterday.
Henry started school yesterday.
Edison discovered many machines
Edison invented many machines
Susan, can you borrow me your book?
Susan, can you lend me your book?
Karl never listens his parents.
Karl never listens to his parents.
My legs are painful.
My legs are paining.

Monday, 25 June 2018

Euphemisms 2

Phrase                 Meaning
catch a cold -      with a zip undone
campaign wife -  a mistress
Derbyshire neck - a goitre
fraternal assistance - an invasion

Saturday, 23 June 2018

The difference between forego and forgo

Forego is something that happens before, e.g. It is a foregone conclusion that a patriarch will clash with a rebel.
Forgo is to sacrifice, e.g. I must forgo dessert to lose weight.

Friday, 22 June 2018

Awhile , A while

The two words do not mean the same thing: 
awhile means for a short time, 
e.g. Let's wait awhile
a while means for some time
e.g. She's been gone a while.

Thursday, 21 June 2018

Did you know?


  1. What is a busman's holiday? It is to spend a holiday doing what you usually do at work
  2. What are Rag-tag and Bobtail? Everyday commonplace things
  3. To keep one's breath to cool ones porridge? To not argue when it useless to do so.

Wednesday, 20 June 2018

The prefix cata


Word
Meaning
catabasis
worsening of something , e.g. health
catachresis
mixed metaphor
cataclysm
a flood
catacomb
underground graveyard
catafalque
a platform for a coffin
catagenesis
reverse evolution
catalyst
the most familiar word here; chemical that starts a reaction
cataract
waterfall or clouded lens of the eye
catakinesis
state of low energy
catalepsy
state of nervous rigidity
catalogue
list of products
catapult
a device for propelling stones
catastasis
climax
catastrophic
disastrous
catatonia
a kind of mental illness
catarrh
runny nose

The prefix 'Cata' means a lowered state.

Tuesday, 19 June 2018

The importance of Proofreading

In 1631, a Bible was published that listed the Seventh Commandment in Exodus 20:14  as "Thou shalt commit adultery", mistakenly having omitted the word 'not' in the commandment. Naturally, the Church was not amused and fined the publishers severely!
Proofread at least twice, especially if it is a legal document or a document that will be read by the public to avoid extreme embarrassment, if not a lot of money too.

Sunday, 17 June 2018

Euphemisms

A Euphemism is a figure of speech which describes an unpalatable situation in a palatable way. Some of them are given below in no particular order:
Above your ceiling - Promoted to a level beyond your abilities
Brick short of a load - Of below average intelligence
Costume wedding - Mariage of a pregnant bride
Dark moon - A wife's secret savings
Hang in the bell-ropes - To be dumped 

Saturday, 16 June 2018

Redundant Phrases 2

Continuing with more redundancies:

  • Cash money - Cash is always money, delete any one of the words.
  • close proximity - Ever heard of far proximity? Drop close.
  • closed fist - A fist is always closed, if not it is a palm. Drop closed
  • combined together - What's combined must be together. Get rid of together.
  • completely unanimous - Wonder what partly unanimous would be?  Drop completely.
  • Cooperate together - Can you cooperate separately? Drop together.

Friday, 15 June 2018

Sic

What does this mean exactly? You see this word often in Newspapers and magazines these days reporting some celebrities words, usually when there is some error in the speech/quote.
What does this mean?
It means 'in these exact words' and by putting this word in the journalist absolves him/herself from the atrocity committed on the English language, transferring the blame to the celebrity.

Thursday, 14 June 2018

Did you know?

That 'vermicelli' is Italian for 'little worms'?
That 'spaghetti' is Italian for 'little strings"?

Wednesday, 13 June 2018

Crossing of the Bar

Sunset and evening star,
      And one clear call for me!
And may there be no moaning of the bar,
      When I put out to sea,

   But such a tide as moving seems asleep,
      Too full for sound and foam,
When that which drew from out the boundless deep
      Turns again home.

   Twilight and evening bell,
      And after that the dark!
And may there be no sadness of farewell,
      When I embark;

   For tho' from out our bourne of Time and Place
      The flood may bear me far,
I hope to see my Pilot face to face
      When I have crost the bar.

Alfred Lord Tennyson

Tennyson has been a favourite of mine, and the Poem above beautifully captures the practicality of the English culture of that age, a stoic and fearless acceptance of Death.

Tuesday, 12 June 2018

Redundant Phrases 1

Sometimes, we use phrases that are redundant without realising it.
Some examples are  :

  • advance planning - Planning is always in advance, drop the 'advance'.
  • and also - only one word is necessary, not both.
  • as an added bonus- if something is a bonus, it must be added; delete 'added'.
  • ask the question - You can't ask anything other than a question; drop 'question'.
  • ATM machine - The M in ATM is fo machine, drop 'machine'.
  • basic essentials - If they are essentials, they have to be basic. Drop 'basic".

Monday, 11 June 2018

Scaramouche

This is a word for a comic icon, an unscrupulous and unreliable valet to a clown, popularised in English in Punch and Judy shows, where Scaramouche is the valet of Punch.
It originated from an Italian performer, Tiberio Fiorillo, who played Scaramouche in another Italian theatre comedy, who had a long moustache and a goatee beard.
The word has become so much of a tradition that it has become an icon, just like Houdini, Casanova, etc. Do you know any scaramouches?

Sunday, 10 June 2018

Strange words

What is a Knob Kerrie?
  1. Is it a town in Ireland?
  2. a term used by builders?
  3. a round-headed stick used as a club and a missile?
Send us your answers to info@theenglishlearningchannel for a prize!

Saturday, 9 June 2018

I keep six honest serving men

I keep six honest serving men
    (They taught me all I knew);
Their names are What and Why and When
     And How and Where and Who.
I send them over land and sea,
     I send them east and west:
But after they have worked for me,
    I give them all a rest.

I let them rest from nine till five,
   For I am busy then,
As well as breakfast, lunch and tea,
   For they are hungry men.
But different folk have different views;
   I know a person small-
She keeps ten million serving men,
  Who get no rest at all!

She sends'em abroad on her own affairs,
  From the second she opens her eyes-
One million Hows, two million Wheres,
   And seven million Whys!

From the "The Elephant's Child" by Rudyard Kipling

My note: These men are of the Grammatical species 'Adverbs'

Friday, 8 June 2018

Grammar

Grammar is a word of Greek origins and is the set of structural rules that govern the composition of clauses. phrases and words in any given natural language. Why Grammar? It is necessary to have these rules to understand the meaning of what is being communicated. Take for example the sentences below:
Boy the green shirt wearing is a.
The boy is wearing a green shirt.
Both sentences have the same words. The second sentence makes it clear that the boy is the one wearing the green shirt, while the first seems to indicate that the green shirt is male if anything at all. 
Very different meanings!

Thursday, 7 June 2018

Appositive phrase

An appositive phrase is one that is used just for description and is usually set off by commas.

Example: "The Dead Sea Scrolls, written by an ancient people called the Essenes, shed an interesting light on early Christianity."

Wednesday, 6 June 2018

Mnemonics for spelling words that begin with 'b', 'c' and 'd'

These are some mnemonics for words that begin with the alphabets beginning with - 'b', 'c' and 'd'.

  • believe: "Don't believe a lie."
  • business: "I often take the bus in my business."
  • calendar: "January is the first month of the calendar." 
  • cemetery: "Epitaphs are found in a cemetery."
  • defendant: "At a picnic, it would be hard to defend an ant."
  • dilemma: "Emma faced a dilemma."
  • doctor: "Get me to a Doctor or else!"
I know this is particularly difficult in English as many words are derived from the languages of the various conquerors of the British Isles, the Saxons, the Vikings, the Angles (yes, there were a people called that and I'm not sure if they were very geometric!😀), the Normans, the Romans and that is why you will often find several words that mean the same thing. 

Monday, 4 June 2018

Cliché

What is a cliché?

A cliche is a clever turn of phrase that has become so familiar that it does not seem so clever any more.
Examples of clichés are :

  • Slippery as an eel 
  • Pretty as a picture
  • Happy as a lark
  • Sharp as a tack
  • Blind as a bat
Most grammar authors advise you to avoid them, especially in academic writing;  but in business writing, they do not seem to mind as long as the meaning conveyed is clear.

Tuesday, 29 May 2018

A common fault: using adjectives instead of adverbs.

Do not use adjectives where adverbs are needed.

These sentences are wrong:
The contractor worked real quick.
She painted good.
The clock struck loud.

They should be:
The contractor worked really quickly.
She painted well.
The clock struck loudly.

Friday, 25 May 2018

Spelling Mnemonics for words beginning with 'a'


  • abundance: Is it -ance or -ence? Remember "An abundance of people can dance."
  • ache: Remember the first letter of each word of this sentence,"Aches Can Hurt Everywhere".
  • acquire: Most misspellings miss the c. Remember: " I want to ACquire AirConditioning".
  • across: One c or two? Remember: "Walk across a cross walk"
  • address: One d or two? Remember: "I'll add you to my address book"
  • aisle: Remember the first letter of each word of this sentence: "Athletics In Stadiums Looks Easy"

Thursday, 3 May 2018

The prefix 'AMBI'

The prefix AMB or AMBI means 'around', 'about', 'both'.It comes from the Latin ambo, ambioambitio.  This last is the basis for the words ambition and ambitious, especially for candidates seeking election.

Word
part of speech
Meaning
amble
AMB le v.
Walk leisurely about
ambidexter
AMBI dexter n.
One who uses both hands adeptly
ambidextrous
AMBI dextrous adj.
Using both hands adeptly or skillfully
ambition
AMBI tion n.
Desire to achieve
ambitious
AMBI tious adj.
Desirous to achieve
ambiguity
AMBI guity n.
Uncertainty of meaning, position
ambiguous
AMBI guous adj.
Where the meaning is uncertain
ambiparous
AMBI parous adj.
that has both leaves and flowers
ambit
AMBI t n.
Boundaries of a place or subject
ambient
AMBI ent adj.
Surroundings, moving around
ambilateral
AMBI lateral adj.
Relating to both sides
ambivalence
AMBI valence n.
Simultaneous attraction & repulsion
ambivalent
AMBI valent adj.
Being simultaneously attracted & repelled
ambivert
AMBI vert adj.
One who is both an introvert & extrovert
ambisinister
AMBI sinister adj.
Clumsy with both hands
ambitendency
AMBI tendency n.
Having both tendency and counter-tendency
amburbia
AMBI urbial adj.
Related to circuit of a city
perambulator
per AMB ulator n.
Wanderer, baby carriage
ambulance
AMB ulance n.
Vehicle to transport the sick and injured