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)

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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.


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 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


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.


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.


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.

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.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

How to Write a Sentence: #5 Adjectives & Adverbs; Nine Parts of Speech

There are nine parts of speech in English: nouns, pronouns, adjectives, articles, verbs, adverbs, conjunctions, prepositions, and interjections.

This means that every word in an English sentence belongs to one of the nine parts (or groups). Remember that words can often belong to more than one group; for example: verbto demand, to guide, to order;  noun – a demand,  a guide, an order. Click on the parts of speech headings for more information.

NOUNS students, difficulty, Indonesia, happiness, music, Pedro
PRONOUNS I, me, they, them, mine, hers, everybody, these, who
ADJECTIVES difficult, easy, Indonesian, careful, extreme, my, your 
ARTICLES the, a, an
VERBS runs, is, has, wanted, (modals: can, would, might etc.)
ADVERBS easily, quickly, soon, already
CONJUNCTIONS and, but, because, while, although, after
PREPOSITIONS for, in, at, with, beside, on, below, near

I have listed examples for the parts of speech above. However, what you cannot see is that adjectives, and adverbs can be more than one word. They can be clauses (a group of words with a subject – usually – and a finite verb). A clause gives important  or extra information. Have a look at this sentence:

1. The beautiful tree that was damaged in the storm is gradually recovering.

You know that beautiful is an adjective, but what about damaged? It is a damaged tree, isn’t it? What do you think of the following sentence?

2. The beautiful, damaged tree is gradually recovering.

Sentence #2  uses obvious adjectives: beautiful and damaged, but sentence #1 provides more information about the tree by using an adjective clause: that was damaged in the storm. Think of the adjective clause (also called a relative clause) as just a long adjective which has a subject (the pronoun that) and a verb (was). Adjectives usually go before the noun they are modifying (describing) while adjective clauses always go after the noun they are modifying. For more information on adjective/relative clauses, click here.

The poinciana tree was damaged in the storm.


The tree is gradually recovering. http://bdavidcathell.com

Adverb clauses are just long adverbs with a subject – usually – and a finite verb. Have a look at this sentence:

1. Our poinciana tree was badly damaged in 2015 when we had a fierce storm, but it’s gradually recovering.

Can you see the adverbs in the above sentence? Remember that adverbs give information about verbs (add + verb). They tell us how, why, where, and when.

Q. How was the tree damaged? A. Badly – adverb

Q. How is the tree recovering?  A. Gradually – adverb

Q. When was the tree damaged?  A. In 2010 – adverb
                                                              A. When we had a fierce storm – adverb clause

2. The tree was damaged because we were not prepared for the storm.

Q. Why was the tree damaged?  A. Because we were not prepared for the storm – adverb clause

Adjective clauses and adverb clauses are always dependent clauses and when you use them, you are using complex sentences. For more information on complex sentences, click here.




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

Train your brain to recognize opportunity

https://unsplash.com/photos/AndE50aaHn4There is so much information about how to be successful in life: self-help books, videos, the internet. It can be overwhelming. 

Would you like to know how your brain filters the information that it receives? How about using visualization to reprogram your brain to recognize opportunity? Wouldn’t it be wonderful if your brain could spot evidence that things are working out and make you feel more positive about the future?

Mel Robbins uses science to explain in simple language how our brains work and how we can use this information to improve our lives. It only takes ten minutes to watch, with subtitles, and then 30 seconds a day to practise.


Posted in Advanced (Level 6+), Upper Intermediate (Level 5) | Tagged , | 1 Comment

A Song containing Relative Clauses: #2

Shania Twain sings a song called “You’re Still The One” which has several Relative Clauses in the chorus. (See also Shakira, and One Republic.) Links below: one link is the official music video, and the other link has lyrics only, so that you can sing while you’re listening.

Because she sings the chorus three times, you hear the Relative Clauses a lot! If you enjoy listening to this song, you will find it very helpful. Remember the song and you remember the grammar! Sing the song while listening and your pronunciation will also improve. Too easy!

Here is the Chorus with the Relative Clauses in bold:


Shania Twain

(You’re still the one.)
You’re still the one I run to;
The one that I belong to.
You’re still the one I want for life.
(You’re still the one.)
You’re still the one that I love;
The only one I dream of.
You’re still the one I kiss good night.

Did you notice that in two lines of the Chorus, the Relative Clause Pronoun that is included and in four lines it has been omitted? That’s okay. A relative pronoun can be omitted [removed] when it is the object of the relative clause. It has been included in two lines to fit the rhythm of the song, but grammatically it is optional. Note also the Prepositions at the end of three sentences: … run to… belong to. …dream of. These cannot be omitted.



* You can also link to other posts about Songs with Relative Clauses by Shakira and One Republic and Adele.

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Posted in Grammar, Intermediate (Level 4), Listening, Relative Clauses, Songs | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Divulging and disclosing (The language of giving information)

For English learners who would like to vary their spoken and written language, have a look at this wonderful post from the online Cambridge Dictionary. Why use ‘said’ and ‘told’ all the time when you can be so much more creative!

About Words - Cambridge Dictionaries Online blog


by Kate Woodford

We tell each other things all the time, whether it’s our news, some important information or just interesting facts. This week we’re focusing on the language that we use to describe giving information.

Starting with a really useful phrasal verb, if you pass on a message or a piece of news that someone has told you, you tell it to someone else:

Remember to pass on my message to Ted.

No one passed the news on to me.

The verb relay means the same: He heard the announcement and immediately relayed the news to his colleagues.

Sometimes we pass on information to lots of people. The verb spread is often used for this. It frequently comes before the nouns gossip andrumour:

I hope you’re not spreading gossip, Alice!

He’d apparently been spreading rumours about her around the school.

Spread’ is also used…

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

Easy Listening – Practical and Social English #8

If you would like to improve your English speaking and listening, watch this video from New English File Elementary.  It features speakers from England and The United States. The conversations are written under the video. Listen carefully and repeat what you hear:

Conversation 1: Checking out

Receptionist: Good morning, sir.
Mark: Good morning. Can I have my bill, please? I’m checking out.
R: Which room is it?
M: Room 425.
R: Did you have anything from the minibar last night?
M: Yes, a mineral water.
R: Here you are. How would you like to pay?
M: American Express.
R: Thank you. OK. Can you sign here, please? Thank you. Would you like me to call a taxi for you?
M: No, thanks.
R: Do you need any help with your luggage?
M: No, I’m fine, thanks.
R: Have a good trip, Mr Ryder.
M: Thank you.
R: Goodbye.
M: Goodbye.


Conversation 2: Social English

M: Hello?
A: Hi Mark, it’s Allie. I’m really sorry but the traffic this morning is terrible. I’m going to be very late.
M: OK.
A: I think the best thing is for you to take a taxi to the station and then get the train to the airport.
M: No problem. I’ll call a taxi. Well, thanks for everything …
A: No listen. I’ll meet you at the airport. We can say goodbye there.
M: All right. Where can we meet?
A: At the information desk.
M: OK. See you there.
A: Bye.
M: Excuse me, change of plan. Could you call me a taxi, please? To the station. 

Hello. Sorry, I can’t take your call. Please leave a message after the tone.

M: Hi Allie, this is Mark. Where are you? I’m at the information desk. My flight leaves in forty minutes.
A: Mark! Mark! Sorry, I’m late!
M: Don’t worry. I’m just happy you got here.
A: Come on. You’re going to miss your flight.
M: Wait a minute. Are you going to come to the conference in California? Am I going to see you again?
A: The plane’s going to leave without you.
M: Allie?
A: I asked my boss this morning and he said yes. I can go!
M: Great! Oh! I don’t have your phone number.
A: Don’t worry. I’ll e-mail it to you tomorrow.

This is the final call for all passengers on flight BA 287 to San Francisco. Please proceed immediately to Gate 12.

M: Goodbye Allie and thanks for everything.
A: Goodbye Mark. Have a safe trip!
M: See you in California. Bye.


This is the last in the series of Easy Listening – Practical and Social English by New English File Elementary.

Click here for Easy Listening – Practical and Social English #1


Posted in Beginner (Level 1), Elementary (Level 2), Listening, Speaking & Pronunciation, Videos | Leave a comment

A Song with Present Simple Tense

Present Simple Tense is often used for describing habits, repeated actions, routines, opinions & feelings, and facts. Have you heard the song Creep by the band Radiohead? Most of the lyrics are in Present Simple Tense. 


Thom Yorke, Radiohead

Click on the picture above for the video. 

You can read the lyrics below. The tenses are colour-coded: 

Present Simple – pink      Present Continuous – blue      Past Simple – green

Song – CREEP by Radiohead

When you were here before,                      
Couldn’t look you in the eye.
You’re just like an angel.
Your skin makes me cry.
You float like a feather
In a beautiful world.
I wish I was special.
You’re so very special,

But I’m a creep; I’m a weirdo.
What the hell am I doing here?
I don’t belong here.

I don’t care if it hurts.
I want to have control.
I want a perfect body.
I want a perfect soul.
I want you to notice                  When I’m not around                                 
You’re so very special.              I wish I was special,

But I’m a creep; I’mweirdo.
What the hell am I doing here?
I don’t belong here.

Posted in Intermediate (Level 4), Listening, Pre-Intermediate (Level 3), Songs | Tagged | Leave a comment