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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New Years Vocabulary

As we begin 2017, we’re going to cover some English words and phrases commonly-associated with the arrival of a new year.   If you need more help with vocabulary for celebrating the New Year, or any other aspect of the English language, contact the English Island in Atlanta. Our caring, passionate ESL teachers can create…

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Even More Commonly Confused Words

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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Avoiding Redundancy

A redundant word or phrase repeats an idea expressed elsewhere in a sentence. In some types of writing, redundancy is recommended or even required. For example, legal documents may include multiple words with similar meanings when there is even the slightest possibility that the words in questions might be interpreted differently. In most types of…

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More Commonly Confused Words

In this English lesson, we’re going to clarify the meanings of another dozen pairs of such commonly-confused words. Just like in our last blog post on common English malaproprisms, we’ve included brief definitions for each set of words, as well as sentences designed to illustrate the differences in meaning. Also like in our last blog…

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Common English Malapropisms

As we’ve talked about before, native speakers are frequently poor custodians of their own languages. Native English speakers routinely commit a wide variety of grammar and usage errors in everyday speaking and writing. Today, we’re going to look at another type of native English speaker mistake: malapropisms. A malapropism is a misuse of a word…

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