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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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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Autumn (Fall) Vocabulary

Autumn (or fall) is the season after summer but before winter during which temperatures begin to drop and some leaves begin to change from green in color to red, orange, and yellow colors. Other plants may begin to die out. In the northern hemisphere, where the English Island is located, autumn officially runs from late…

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Colon Usage

This week, we’re going to discuss how the colon (:) is used in the English language. While the colon appears in several common sentence structures and handful of other situations, its correct use is not always fully understood by native speakers. Therefore, we are going to present a series of clear, concise rules for colon…

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A Reference for Connecting Words Part 2

In this lesson, we’re going to continue our series of charts for connecting words that you can print out for easy reference. Connecting words join ideas and express the relationship between those ideas. English connecting words are divided into two broad categories based on the type of relation they express. Coordinating words express equal relationships.…

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