Confusing Word Pairs

In English, there are a number of words that share similar spelling or meanings that can make them hard to differentiate from each other. Here we will be looking at some commonly confused word pairs that can be tricky to master, even for those who speak English as a native language.   Confusing Lose and…

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Abbreviations

As a general rule, you should avoid abbreviations in formal writing unless you are sure that the abbreviations you are using will be familiar to your audience. The situation is somewhat different in scientific and technical writing. Depending on your specific field, it may be acceptable or even preferable to use agreed upon abbreviations for…

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Common American English Slang

Below are several slang words and phrases often used by American English speakers. We’ve provided a definition for each word and an example of how that word is used in a sentence. Some of these words have multiple definitions, but here we’re focusing on the common and informal meanings native speakers convey when speaking casually. …

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Writing Out Numbers

In the English language, there are rules to when you should write out numbers as words (twenty) and when you should write numbers as numerals (20). How do you know the difference? We’re going to look at some general guidelines now, but keep in mind that these rules might differ from the rules used in…

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Using Apostrophes

How do you use apostrophes? While a common form of punctuation, apostrophes have multiple uses, which makes them hard for even native English speakers to always use correctly. Learn to identify these errors, and make an effort to avoid making them in your own speech and writing. Using Apostrophes to Form Contractions and Show Possession…

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Politeness in American English

Modern American English has few official rules for how politely you should address a given individual in a given situation. In French, Portuguese, and Spanish, for example, a second person singular pronoun takes different forms depending on who you are addressing. This formal/informal pronoun distinction is entirely absent in English, though there are some basic…

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December Quiz

Test your knowledge of some of the tricky pairs and groups of words that are common in the English language. For each sentence, choose the correct word or words from those in brackets. Answers and explanations can be found at the end of the quiz. If you have trouble with any of these words, feel…

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Holiday Vocabulary: Thanksgiving

November is an important time of the year for American holidays. If you need more help with holiday vocabulary or any other aspect of the English language, contact the English Island in Atlanta. Our caring, passionate ESL teachers can create a lesson plan that is tailored to your individual needs. Holiday A holiday is a…

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Negative Questions

A negative question is worded in a way that requires a “no” response for an affirmative answer whereas a “yes” response would give a negative answer. In short, negative questions switch the “yes/no” response order of regular, or positive, questions. Here is an example of a negative question: Would you mind driving me to my…

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Holiday Vocabulary: Halloween

With the holiday season once again upon us, we’re going to revisit the meanings of some important end-of-year cultural and religious holidays observed in the United States. If you need more help with vocabulary or any other aspect of the English language, contact the English Island in Atlanta. Our passionate ESL teachers offer a variety…

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