Knowing which words to capitalize can be a confusing concept for native and non-native English speakers alike. Many exceptions exist, and style guides for certain academic and professional organizations can have their own peculiar capitalization rules. Nevertheless, you should attempt to follow the generally accepted conventions of English capitalization outlined below. DO capitalize the first…

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In this English lesson, we’re going to offer three tips to help you increase your vocabulary. Building vocabulary can be a difficult experience for learners of any language, but English’s large number of irregular words and words borrowed from other languages can make the process particularly challenging. If you are struggling with vocabulary or any…

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Test your understanding of commonly-confused words that we have covered in previous lessons with this short quiz. Pick the choice in parentheses that best completes the sentence. Answers can be found at the end of the quiz. If you find yourself routinely confusing these kinds of tricky words, contact the English Island in Atlanta. Our…

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Comparatives and superlatives belong to a special class of adjective used to compare two or more nouns. Whether you need to use a comparative or a superlative depends on the number of nouns that you are comparing. Comparatives Comparatives are used to compare two nouns. They usually end in –er or –re. Common comparatives include…

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Than and then are two of the most commonly-confused words in the English language. These words are nearly identical in spelling and pronunciation. In casual speech, the difference in pronunciation by native English speakers can range from slight to nonexistent.  This can, in turn, bleed over into writing, with native speakers using than and then…

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This week, we’re going to discuss the correct usage of colons [:] and semi-colons [;]. Despite their similarity in name and appearance, these punctuation marks cannot be used interchangeably. Each has its own unique role in the English language. Semi-Colon Uses Semi-colons are primarily used to join two independent clauses. Using a semi-colon is an…

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In this English lesson, we’re going to discuss the difference between adjectives and adverbs. In English, adjectives and adverbs have distinct uses. You can’t use an adjective in an adverbial role or an adverb in an adjectival role. Nevertheless, native English speakers often confuse the two, especially in casual speech. What Adjectives Can Do Adjectives…

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Long, complex English sentences are difficult to read. Multiple such sentences can make a paragraph difficult to follow. Because English provides so many different structures for creating sentences, it can be easy for a sentence to “get away” from you. If you find yourself constructing very long sentences on a regular basis, you should look…

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For this commonly-confused words lesson, we’re going to look at yet another dozen pairs of words with similar spellings but different meanings. Just like in our previous English lesson on commonly confused words, we’ll be providing brief definitions for each set of words, as well as sentences designed to illustrate the differences in meaning. Keep in…

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In the previous English lesson on pronoun vagueness, we discussed how vague gendered and non-gendered pronouns can make it difficult or even impossible to understand who or what a writer is referring to. Another type of pronoun vagueness can occur with pronouns that refer back to concepts or ideas. Consider the following examples, which have…

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