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Category Archives: Vocabulary

How do you pronounce this word?

You see the word “content” in a piece of writing. But how do you pronounce it?

There are two ways. It very much depends on the meaning. The stress is either on the first syllable – CONtent (in German: ‘Inhalt’). Or on the second syllable – conTENT (in German: ‘zufrieden’).

The Queen’s English versus Estuary English

Accents and dialects vary widely across The United Kingdom. You might be surprised to learn that there isn’t one single British accent. If you’d like to listen to the difference between the Queen’s English (also known as Received Pronunciation) and Estuary English (associated with South-East England), you might like to watch this YouTube video clip.

Something I’m sure you don’t know

You’d never guess that the most complicated word in English is a three-letter word. It’s ‘run’! According to this article in Reader’s Digest, Oxford English Dictionary editors discovered that the verb form alone has 645 different meanings. Here are some examples of ‘run’ (as a verb): We run a fever. We run a bath. Our nosesContinue Reading

The fun fact of the day

You’d never guess that the most complicated word in English is a three-letter word. According to this article in Reader’s Digest, Oxford English Dictionary editors discovered that the verb form alone has 645 different meanings. Here are some examples of run (as a verb): We run a fever. We run a bath. We run our fingersContinue Reading

Would you like to spend a penny?

We’ve talked about euphemisms before. Do you remember? We use them when dealing with taboo or sensitive subjects. According to Merriam-Webster, a euphemism is “a mild or pleasant word or phrase that is used instead of one that is unpleasant or offensive”. So when someone comes to visit you after a long journey, instead ofContinue Reading

English words of Indian origin

I’ve just learned in this telegraph.co.uk article that a lot of Hindi, Urdu and Persian words have made their way into the English language. Some of these words are quite common, like pyjamas, shampoo, avatar, bungalow, juggernaut, jungle, punch, yoga, curry, guru, chutney and veranda. These words “feel as British as fish and chips but have EasternContinue Reading

Are you using pseudo-anglicisms?

Pseudo-anglicisms are words that you think are English, but they aren’t. According to this BBC article, foreign languages are full of them. Germans call a very old car an Oldtimer. It sounds very English, doesn’t it? But it’s not. At least it’s not the word we use for an old car. We call them vintageContinue Reading

Do you love English?

According to this article on the grammarly.com website, entitled “7 Reasons to Love the English Language”, there are now 1.5 billion active speakers of English. And you’re probably one of them! Take a look at the article to learn some surprising facts about the language. For example, did you know that a new word isContinue Reading

Are you a back-seat driver – and more idioms

One of my favourite idioms is “Action speaks louder than words”. But, I find teaching idioms can be tricky business. A lot of people struggle to use them correctly. That’s why I prefer using plain English – an English that everyone understands. However, if you’re interested in learning some American English idioms, you might likeContinue Reading

Let’s use more respectful language

Instead of saying someone has had a “sex change”, grammarly.com recommends using the more respectful term “(gender) transition” (for example, from man to woman or from female to male).