A Must-Read Thriller for Advanced English Students

I have previously recommended the fascinating books written by author JC Ryan, not only for those studying English as a second language, but also native English speakers who enjoy a spellbinding mystery or thriller. Well, now there is a short video to whet your appetite!

Is there a better way to improve your knowledge and usage of English than reading fiction by a master storyteller? I don’t think so! Check out this short video promotion of JC Ryan’s thriller THE FULCRUM.

 

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Posted in Advanced (Level 6+), Reading | 1 Comment

English Words that are often Confused #2

First, read English Words that are often Confused #1

Today, I’m continuing with English Words that are often Confused: words starting with ‘C’. I couldn’t find any common confusing words starting with ‘B’, so let’s move on to ‘C’. Take note of prepositions (about, to, on, etc.) which often collate with the confusing words. Using the correct preposition is as important as using the correct word.

https://unsplash.com/photos/udj2tD3WKsY

This wine is a perfect complement to your fabulous lunch!

Let’s have a look at some confusing words:

a) complement, compliment

b) comprise, consist

c) confidant, confident

d) contemptible, contemptuous

e) continuous, continual

f) credible, creditable

 

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

 

a) complement, compliment

 complement   noun: something which completes 

This wine is a perfect complement  to the meal.

Your new blue bag is an ideal complement to your outfit.

 complement   verb: to complete

This wine complements the meal perfectly.

Your new blue bag complements your outfit beautifully. 

 

 compliment   noun: an expression of praise or admiration

Irina received a lot of compliments about her wonderful cooking.

 compliment verb: to pay a compliment

We also complimented her on her excellent choice of wine.

Note: To help you remember – the spelling of complement is closer to the spelling of complete.


♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

 

b) comprise, consist

 comprise & consist – verbs with the same meaning; however, you should not use ‘of’ after ‘comprise’ 

Grammar point

     Our aerobics class comprises nine talented, enthusiastic members.

        Our aerobics class consists of nine talented, enthusiastic members.

 

 comprised – adjective used with ‘of’

        Our aerobics class is comprised of nine talented, enthusiastic members. (verb: is)

 

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

 

c) confidant, confident

 confidant – noun: a person, often a close friend, family member or trusted colleague with whom private matters or problems are discussed

We all need a confidant; someone we can trust with our secrets.

“…. Children need guidance. 
They need a parent  to help and guide them. They
also need a friend. They need a confidant.”
‘Donny Osmond’

 

 confident – adjective 

I feel more confident about my abilities after doing the course.

 

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

 

d) contemptible, contemptuous

 contemptible – adjective: not deserving respect, worthy of contempt and strong dislike, usually describes actions

Stealing from a homeless person is a contemptible action.

 

 contemptuous – adjective: shows contempt, disapproval, lack of respect, usually describes people and their feelings or attitudes

People become contemptuous of politicians who are more interested in power than looking after their electorate.

Throughout the trial, it was obvious that the criminal was contemptuous of the police as well as his victims.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

 

e) continuous, continual

 continuous – adjective: non-stop, without interruption

When my mobile phone is fully charged, I have continuous charge for eight hours. 

 continuously – adverb

When Lucy phones me, she talks continuously; it’s impossible to get a word in! 

 

 continual – adjective: happening regularly, often repeated

         Last night, I was kept awake by the continual barking of my neighbour’s dog. Every time I thought that it had stopped, it started barking again.

 continually – adverb,

       I feel sorry for that dog. It is continually left at home alone.

 

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

 

f) credible, creditable

♦ credible – adjective: believable, trustworthy

The police decided that the witnesses’ statements were credible.

   We must have transparency in all our business dealings if we are to remain credible.

     A: That street performer does a credible job as the Mad Hatter. He looks just like Johnny Depp, doesn’t he?

      B: His appearance is credible, but can he act?

 

Ashleigh Barty wins The 2019 French Open Tennis Championship.

♦ creditable – adjective: bringing or deserving credit or praise.         

Winning The French Open is a highly creditable achievement.

The Independent Candidate won a creditable 20% of the vote.

 

 

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

** If you would like to receive all my future posts explaining confusing words, as well as other helpful English information, just click on ‘Follow’.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

 

Posted in IELTS, Intermediate (Level 4), Upper Intermediate (Level 5), Vocabulary | 1 Comment

Improve your English with a fun song: Old Town Road

Have you heard the song, Old Town Road, by Billy Ray Cyrus and Lil Nas X? It’s a mix of American Country and Hip Hop style.

While native English speakers are generally used to country-style lyrics, they can be quite confusing for English learners. I’ve noticed that my English students really enjoy this song so it would be helpful if they could understand the lyrics! Also, there are a lot of grammatical mistakes, which is not unusual in song lyrics, so I will correct them. After all, as an English learner, your English will improve even when you are listening to a song full of grammar mistakes and crazy lyrics!

Click here to see the official music video. Click here for the video with lyrics.

Billy Ray Cyrus and Lil Nas X
https://www.pressmask.com/2019/05/17/lil-nas-x-and-billy-ray-cyrus-old-town-road-video-filled-with-cameos/

I don’t know exactly what they are singing about but I can explain the words and phrases. However, I have no idea what ‘lean all in my bladder’ means! If you would like to read opinions on the song meaning, click here.

Original Lyrics

Song: OLD TOWN ROAD  

Yeah, I’m gonna take my horse
to the old town road
I’m gonna ride ’til I can’t no more

I’m gonna take my horse to the
old town road
I’m gonna ride ’til I can’t no more


I got the horses in the back
Horse tack is attached
Hat is matte black

Got the boots that’s black to
match
Ridin’ on a horse, ha
You can whip your Porsche

I been in the valley
You ain’t been up off that porch,
now

Can’t nobody tell me nothin’
You can’t tell me nothin’
Can’t nobody tell me nothin’
You can’t tell me nothin’

Ridin’ on a tractor
Lean all in my bladder
Cheated on my baby
You can go and ask her
My life is a movie
Bull ridin’ and boobies
Cowboy hat from Gucci
Wrangler on my booty

Can’t nobody tell me nothin’
You can’t tell me nothin’
Can’t nobody tell me nothin’
You can’t tell me nothin’

Yeah, I’m gonna take my horse to
the old town road
I’m gonna ride ’til I can’t no more

I’m gonna take my horse to the
old town road
I’m gonna ride ’til I can’t no more

I got the …

Lyrics licensed & provided by
LyricFind Lyrics © UniversalMusic
Publishing Group
Written by: Atticus Ross, Kiowa
Roukema, Montero Lamar Hill,Trent
Reznor    

   
Corrected Lyrics

Song: OLD TOWN ROAD  

Yeah, I’m going to take my
horse to the old town road.
I’m going to ride ’til I can’t ride any
more.
I’m going to take my horse to
the old town road.
I’m going to ride ’til I can’t ride any
more.

I’ve got the horses in the back.
The horse equipment is on the horses.
My hat is black.

I’ve got black boots to match my hat.

I’m ridin’ on a horse. Ha.
You can whip your Porsche.

I’ve been in the valley.
You haven’t been up off that
porch, now.

Nobody can tell me anything.
You can’t tell me anything.
Nobody can tell me anything.
You can’t tell me anything.

I’m riding on a tractor,
Lean all in my bladder,
I cheated on my girlfriend;
You can go and ask her.
My life is a movie:
Bull-riding and women,
Cowboy hat from Gucci,
Wrangler on my booty.

Nobody can tell me anything.
You can’t tell me anything.
Nobody can tell me anything.
You can’t tell me anything.

Yeah, I’m going to take my
horse to the old town road.
I’m going to ride ’til I can’t ride any
more.
I’m going to take my horse to
the old town road.
I’m going to ride ’til I can’t ride any
more.
I’ve got the …

 
   
Posted in Children, Elementary (Level 2), Grammar, Listening, Pre-Intermediate (Level 3), Songs | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

English Words that are often Confused #1

I have written two posts recently on Spelling Mistakes that Ruin your Writing. They are a small number of mistakes which are easily fixed as soon as you understand the grammar. Don’t worry! The grammar is basic and easily understood.

Today, I’m starting a much longer list of common mistakes. These are words that native speakers use incorrectly. This is the first of several posts on English Words that are often Confused. I hope you find my explanations helpful.

I will list the confusing words in alphabetical order. Today, I’m dealing with ‘A’. If you would like to receive all my future posts explaining confusing words, just click on ‘Follow’.

https://unsplash.com/photos/-9JAqVxg3vs

Looking at baby animals, especially baby elephants, usually has a positive effect on people.

Let’s have a look at some confusing words:                  

a) advice, advise           
     b) affect, effect
c) agree with, agree to, agree on
     d) alternate, alternative           
e) among, between
     f) anticipate, expect           
g) approve, approve of

 

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

a) advice, advise

advice  –  noun

Do you think this is good advice?

My advice is to look at the spelling. The word ‘advice’ contains the word ‘ice’ which is also a noun.

We often need advice from an expert.

We sometimes receive the best advice when we least expect it.

     

         ♦ advise  –  verb

Did your parents advise you to save your money?

Who advises the football coach?

I advise you to keep reading.

 

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

 b) affect, effect


affect   verb (used with object: this means that the subject  affects something or someone)

In France, the extremely cold winter of 2018-2019 affected many vineyards
Do you believe that your thinking affects your actions?         樂 

 

effect   noun

Looking at baby animals, especially baby elephants, usually has a positive effect on people.

Were you impressed with the special effects used in the movie Avatar?

 

Note: ‘Effect’can also be used as a verb but take care. While ‘affect means ‘to change’, ‘effect’ means ‘to bring about/cause’ a change. It is usually used in formal speaking and writing. I advise consulting a dictionary if you wish to use ‘effect’ as a verb.

The President hopes to effect new laws to deal with drug trafficking.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

c) agree with, agree to, agree on

Do you agree with Satya Nani that a little progress each day adds up to big results?

agree with  someone

I agree withSatya Nani that “A little progress each day adds up to big results”.

agree to  something, usually a plan or scheme.

I should never have agreed to look after his stupid dog!

agree on a choice or result with other people

Sheldon and Amy agreed to get married but they couldn’t agree on when or where, nor could they agree on whom to invite to their wedding.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

d) alternate, alternative

alternate – verb meaning to change first one, then the other; repeatedly and regularly

https://unsplash.com/photos/3TRdlKU-3II

LETHARGY

Many of us alternate between motivation and lethargy.

alternate adjective

I do shopping and housework on alternate weekends.

 

alternative noun which indicates a choice

There are many alternatives for when we are overcome with lethargy. We could follow Satya Nani’s advice and try to make a little progress each day.

alternative adjective

There are several alternative courses of action for when we lack motivation.  There is no shortage of advice online. 

People who want to escape the demands of modern life are often attracted to alternative lifestyles.

 

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

e) among, between

among – preposition which links more than two 

https://unsplash.com/photos/3jRGSA2IH0c

Is your favourite book among these?

I love wandering among the bookshelves in libraries.

Reading takes me to another world where I’m always among friends.

♦between – preposition which links two only

Can you see Errol the Peril? It’s between two blue books.

Between you and me, I don’t think children read enough books nowadays.

Note: Among and between must be followed by a plural noun or singular nouns which can be replaced by a plural pronoun

Reading takes me to another world where I’m always among friends. (among them)

Can you see Errol the Peril? It’s between two blue books. (between them)

Between you and me, I don’t think children read enough books nowadays. (between us)

Incorrect: I love wandering among each bookshelf in libraries. ‘Each bookshelf’ is a single unit so I cannot wander among one thing.

Incorrect: There is a famous quote between each chapter. Again, ‘each chapter’ is a single unit, so a quote cannot be between one thing. 

Correct: There is a famous quote between the chapters. (between 1 & 2,  2 & 3,  3 & 4 etc.)

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

f) anticipate, expect 

anticipate – verb meaning ‘to be aware of something that has not yet happened, or believe will happen, and (perhaps) to take appropriate action’ 

I recently booked into a highly recommended health retreat. Happily, they anticipated my every need.

A good public speaker anticipates the mood and bias of the audience.

https://unsplash.com/photos/7ixEp6004ts

Guess what? We’re expecting twins!


expect – verb, to think or assume or predict
that something might or should happen

We expect everyone to arrive before the soccer match starts.

Your employer naturally expects you to start work on time.

“We should not expect something for nothingbut we all do and call it Hope” (Edgar W. Howe).

 


♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

g) approve, approve of

approve to give permission for, accept

At last, after six months, the council approved our plans to renovate our house.

Your application for a Blue Card has been approved.

 

♦ approve of – to view positively

Juliet knew that her family would never approve of Romeo.

It was much more difficult in Shakespeare’s time for people to get married without the approval of their parents. 

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0063518/videoplayer/vi2776891673?ref_=tt_ov_vi

Juliet knew that her family would never approve of Romeo.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

Posted in Advanced (Level 6+), Cambridge, IELTS, Intermediate (Level 4), Upper Intermediate (Level 5), Vocabulary | Leave a comment

The Visual Guide to English Prepositions Part 1/2 (Infographic)

Here is another excellent Infographic from Jenn at   https://www.grammarcheck.net/prepositions-place-direction/

Continue reading

Posted in Beginner (Level 1), Elementary (Level 2), Pre-Intermediate (Level 3) | 1 Comment

Spelling Mistakes that Ruin your Writing #2

Today, I’m going to highlight more mistakes that ruin your writing.

First, check out  Spelling Mistakes that Ruin your Writing #1

https://unsplash.com/photos/kkmRtRQMIDk

These spelling mistakes are also serious because they indicate grammar issues.  Let’s have a look at the problem words:                  

a) to,  too,  two                                 

b) who,  whom,  whose,  who’s

c) threw,  through

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ 

a) to, too, two

All have the same pronunciation: /ˈtuː/  

♦ to  preposition (followed by a noun

I’m going to India next year.              https://unsplash.com/photos/11eY-tkB9VU
I went to that country four years ago and I’m looking forward to returning.
I’m travelling to India by myself.
I’m looking forward to my holiday to India.

♦ to – first word of infinitive (followed by base infinitive)

I’m hoping to see the incredible Indian stepwells.
I also want to visit Mahatma Gandhi’s home.
I’d like to try the Indian curries in Rajasthan.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ 

♦ tooadverb 

We can use too to add emphasis to an adjective, usually negative:

It is too hot in Delhi in summer for many tourists. = It is very hot, (in a negative sense).

We also use too to mean also:


I want to see as many cities in India as I can during my holiday. However, I’m really interested in meeting the local people
too.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ 

♦ twoadjective

The two men in the photo are playing chess.

♦ two noun

In card games, like 500, the two of spades is usually the lowest card in the pack.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ 

b) who,  whom,  whose,  who’s

♦ whoquestion word

Who are those men playing chess?
Who is that gorgeous Indian girl? 

♦ whoquestion word & subject (at the same time) 

Who is winning the chess game?

You know that ‘Who’ is the subject in the sentence above because you can replace it with a noun/subject:

Who is winning the chess game?   The old man is winning the chess game.
.
Who knows? He knows.                     

♦ whonoun clause marker

Do you know who won the chess game?                                 


♦ who
relative clause marker                        

           The old man won the chess game. He’s the guy who has beaten everyone in                           the city.  

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ 

♦ whom – relative clause marker, object pronoun

Don’t worry too much about ‘whom’. Most native speakers use ‘who’ when speaking:

That’s the guy whom the old man beat at chess.
The old guy beat him‘Whom replaces ‘him’.

This may seem a little too formal. When speaking, most people would say:

That’s the guy who the old man beat at chess.

However, if you are writing for a publication or doing an exam, it is preferable to use ‘whom’. Sometimes it is unavoidable, especially after a preposition or when it is a relative clause marker, or both:

I have two sisters. Both of them live in Melbourne.
I have two sisters, both of whom live in Melbourne. 

The president gave the award to whom?

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ 

♦ whosequestion word showing possession 

   Whose idea was it to take that photo? My idea!

   Whose hand is holding the ice cream? Her hand

♦ whose relative clause marker showing possession

    She’s the girl whose photos are all over the internet.

    The Leaning Tower of Pisa, whose history is  ….               f fascinating, receives over one million visitors a year.


♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ 

♦ who’s – contraction of ‘who is’ or ‘who has’https://unsplash.com/photos/8AsKha7aIvk

  Who’s that brave girl on the swing? 

  Who is that brave girl on the swing?

  That’s Jenny who’s always doing crazy.things.

..That’s Jenny who is always doing     crazy.things.things.
 

  Who’s encouraged her to do such a dangerous           thing?

  Who has encouraged her to do such a dangerous thing?

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦   

c) threw, through

Both have the same pronunciation: /ˈθruː/ 

♦ threw – past tense of verb ‘to throw’

    The basketballer threw the ball through the hoop.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦   


♦ through
– adverb, preposition, adjective

    He opened the door and went through.

    The basketballer threw the ball through the hoop.

The old stadium was in a no-through street, but the new stadium is in a  through one.       

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦   

Posted in Advanced (Level 6+), Grammar, Intermediate (Level 4), Pre-Intermediate (Level 3), Upper Intermediate (Level 5), Writing | 1 Comment

222 Words to Use instead of “Said”.

https://unsplash.com/photos/zimQNLdnKp0Jenn from www.grammarcheck.net regularly sends me Infographics. Infographics are easy-to-read graphics which contain information that improves your English. Perhaps you saw the last Infographic I re-posted on November 24, 2018, 147 Words to Use instead of “Very”?

Many English students, as well as native English speakers, have found that particular  Infographic very helpful and their English vocabulary and expression have improved as a result, especially their written English. 

Today, I’m re-posting Jenn’s Infographic,  222 Words to Use instead of “Said”.

It’s hard to believe that English really has so many words to use instead of “said”, isn’t it? Well, why don’t you have a look? You’ll realise that the words listed provide more, or even a lot of, information about the speaker and also about the situation being discussed. You can keep on using “said” if you like. However, English is an extremely rich language. We can express exactly how we feel and think with just a few well-chosen words. 

You cannot just substitute the verb “said” for the verbs in the Infographic. Check how each word is used in a sentence. I suggest using www.learnersdictionary.com or  google.com.au to make sure you are using the word correctly. After all, they all have a different meaning.

222 Words to Use Instead of “Said” (Infographic)

222 Words to Use Instead of 'Said' (Infographic)

∗ ∗ ∗ ∗ ∗ ∗ ∗ ∗ ∗ ∗ ∗ ∗ ∗ ∗ ∗ ∗ ∗ ∗ ∗ ∗ ∗ ∗ ∗ ∗ ∗ ∗ ∗ ∗ ∗ ∗ ∗ ∗ ∗ ∗ ∗

Posted in Advanced (Level 6+), Cambridge, IELTS, Intermediate (Level 4), Upper Intermediate (Level 5), Vocabulary, Writing | 1 Comment

Noun Clauses #1

      The English language is full of Noun ClausesA Noun Clause is made up of a group of words with a Noun and a Verb.

  • A Noun is the name of a person, animal, place, thing, (or state;  for example: happiness, excitement).
  • In other words, a Noun is the name of someone or something.
  • ‘Noun’ means ‘name’.
  • A Pronoun (it, she, you, him, this, etc.) replaces a noun. If you can replace a group of words with a pronoun, then that group of words is a type of Noun. In the following examples, the group of words is a Noun Clause.

A Noun Clause can be the subject, the object, or the complement in a sentence.

* Subject: Whatever Taylor Swift sings becomes a hit.                                      jk                                   It                              becomes a hit.            

* Object: Did you know that Taylor Swift is only twenty-five?                            jk              Did you know                          this?                 

* Subject Complement: Taylor Swift’s beauty and talent are what many girls dream of. m                                        Taylor Swift’s beauty and talent are                    this.

The Noun Clause can usually be identified by asking a question about the remainder of the sentence: (The answer to ‘What …?’ is usually a noun.)

Question:What becomes a hit?    Answer: whatever Taylor Swift sings         Question:What did I know?                  Answer: that Taylor Swift is only twenty-five?Question: What are Taylor Swift’s beauty and talent? A: what many girls dream of.

      There are many Noun Clause Markers. (Markers ‘introduce’ or ‘signal’ various grammar points.) Noun Clause Markers introduce Noun Clauses. ‘That’ is the only Noun Clause Marker that is optional.

Noun Clause Markers can be summarised as:

that, if, whether,

what, when, how, where,  and other wh… question words . Also:

whatever, whenever, however, and other wh … ever words.

The Noun Clause Markers used in the above sentences are: whatever, that, and what.

There are various ways of learning about Noun Clauses, but for this post I’m just going to focus on a few in Taylor Swift’s song Blank Space. Have a look at the chorus; the Noun Clauses are in pink. Try replacing the Noun Clauses with a pronoun.

                       Chorus

So it’s *gonna be forever or it’s *gonna go down in flames.                            You can tell me  when it’s over  if the high was worth the pain.
(I’ve) Got a long list of ex-lovers.         
They’ll tell you I’m insane,
‘Cause you know I love the players, and    
you love the game.

* gonna = going to

You can tell me when it’s over if the high was worth the pain.     Did you replace the Noun Clause with ‘this‘ or ‘it’? → You can tell me ‘this’.

They’ll tell you (that) I’m insane,      Did you replace the Noun Clause with ‘this’ or ‘it’? → They’ll tell you ‘this’. (This line is an example of reported speech, which uses Noun Clauses.)

‘Cause you know (that) I love the players,      Did you replace the Noun Clause with this’ or ‘it’? → ‘Cause you know ‘it’,

‘Cause you know (that) you love the game.    Did you replace the Noun Clause with ‘this’ or ‘it’? → ‘Cause you know ‘it’. ** There are two Noun Clauses in this part of the sentence:

1. ‘Cause you know (that) I love the players, 2. ‘Cause you know) (that) you love the game.  

 This is an easy chorus to sing and remember. Sing along a few times while watching the video, and you will soon be able to recall these examples of Noun Clauses. For a further explanation of Noun Clauses, click here for the Eslgold website. Click here and here for practice exercises. If you would like to practise forming Noun Clauses in indirect (embedded) questions, click here.

Click here for Noun Clauses #2

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Posted in Advanced (Level 6+), Cambridge, Grammar, IELTS, Intermediate (Level 4), Listening, Songs, TOEFL, TOEIC, Upper Intermediate (Level 5) | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Spelling Mistakes that Ruin your Writing

English spelling is not easy for anyone learning English as a second language. It may surprise you to learn that many native English speakers are not good at spelling in their native language. They know that spelling is very important for writing a job application or an essay for university exams and bad spelling can make them seem to be uneducated or lacking basic English skills.

The following spelling mistakes are more serious because they also reveal poor grammar. However, don’t worry! The grammar is basic and easily learnt. Let’s have a look at the problem words:   

a) they’re,  there,  their

b) we’re,   where,

c) you’re,   your

d) it’s,   its

δδδδδδδδδδδδδδδδδδδδδδδδδδδδδδδδδδδδδδδδδδδδδδδδ

a) they’re, there, their

All have the same pronunciation: UK  /ðeər/ US  /ðer/

 

they’re contraction of they are: they (pronoun)are (verb) 

They’re friends.                                          
They’re very happy.
They’re smiling.

there adverb of place      

There are two women in the picture on the right.
There is no sign of rain.
They left their swimsuits over there.

♦ their – possessive adjective, always followed by a noun

What are their names?
What are their children’s names?
Their hair is dark and curly.

wwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww

b) we’re,   where

There are two correct pronunciations of we’re (1): UK  /wɪər/ US  /wɪr/

The same pronunciation of where and we’re (2): UK  /weər/ US  /wer/

 

♦ we’re contraction of we are: we (pronoun)are (verb) 

We’re from Knoxville, USA.           
We’re having a laugh.
We’re friends.

where adverb, conjunction, question word

The two men in the photo met recently but I don’t know where.
Could you tell me where they  are from?
Where are they from? They’re from Knoxville, USA.

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c) you’re,   your

Both have the same pronunciation: UK  strong /jɔːr/ weak /r/ US  /jʊr/ //

 

♦ you’re contraction of you are: you (pronoun)are (verb) 

You’re an English student, aren’t you? Perhaps, you’re a writer?
If you’re studying English, you’re sure to find some helpful tips on this website.

♦ your possessive adjective, always followed by a noun

Your time is valuable. I’m interested in your English progress, so you’re very welcome to write to me with any questions. Just click on Contact Me at the top of this page.

LA PEDRERA, Barcelona, Spain

 

You’re crazy!

 

Lily: You’re so lucky to live in Barcelona. Your city is magnificent!

Isabela: You’re still going to visit during the term break, aren’t you?

Lily: I’d love to but your apartment is tiny. I should book a hotel nearby. 

Isabela: You’re doing no such thing! You can sleep on the couch if that’s okay. There’s so much to do in Barcelona! We can rent red vespas and do cooking courses for starters. Then we can go skydiving.

Lily: Skydiving! You’re joking! I can’t ride a vespa and you know I can’t cook! You’re crazy Isabela but thanks for the couch though. 

Isabela: You’re welcome! 

””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””

d) it’s,   its

Pronunciation: UK  /ɪts/ US  /ɪts/

 

♦ it’s contraction of it is OR it has: it (pronoun) + is (verb) OR has (verb)

It’s is a contraction just like you’re and we’re and they’re (he’s, she’s, etc). Like them, it must have an apostrophe () to replace the missing letter/s.

The little monkey thinks it’s going to fall.
The little monkey thinks it is going to fall.

It’s been holding on for a long time.
It has been holding on for a long time.

  ♦ its – possessive adjective, always followed by a noun, never has an apostrophe 

Its is a possessive adjective just like your and their (her, his, etc). Like them, it does not have an apostrophe. There are no missing letters.

The monkey is riding on its mother’s back. The monkey is riding on her back.
Look at its funny ears!

It’s riding on its mother’s back.   It’s waiting for its dinner.

Click here for Spelling Mistakes that Ruin your Writing #2

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Posted in Advanced (Level 6+), IELTS, Intermediate (Level 4), Pre-Intermediate (Level 3), Upper Intermediate (Level 5), Writing | Tagged | 1 Comment

Zero waste – Be Inspired while improving your English!

Here is another excellent lesson from Vocabulary in Chunks. As the name suggests, the aim is to improve your English by learning the language in groups of words, chunks, as listed below the video. If you don’t understand some of the vocabulary, don’t translate single words. I recommend typing the whole chunk into google translate (https://translate.google.com) for an explanation, especially of idioms. Now, watch and listen and learn something about recycling while improving your English.

Vocabulary in Chunks

great big story

The village of Kamikatsu in Japan has taken their commitment to sustainability to a new level. While the rest of the country has a recycling rate of around 20 percent, Kamikatsu surpasses its neighbors with a staggering 80 percent. After becoming aware of the dangers of carbon monoxide associated with burning garbage, the town instated the Zero Waste Declaration with the goal of being completely waste-free by 2020.

Vocabulary chunks to learn from video :

  • Tea fields
  • Idyllic mountains
  • Produces no trash
  • Created carbon dioxide emissions
  • Zero waste
  • A new way of living
  • No such thing as throwing something in the trash
  • Everything has to get recycled
  • In the beginning it was difficult
  • She’s a housewife
  • The classification system
  • Is the key to Kamikatsu’s success
  • A huge burden
  • A way of life
  • Looking at trash differently

Map of Kamikatsu – Japan

Αποτέλεσμα εικόνας για kamikatsu japan map

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Posted in Intermediate (Level 4), Listening, Upper Intermediate (Level 5) | Tagged , , | 1 Comment