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Monday, 25 August 2008

Finding Subjects and Verbs

NOTE: We will use the convention of a thin underline for subjects and a thick underline for verbs.

Being able to find the right subject and verb will help you correct errors of agreement.

The list of items is/are on the desk.

Being able to identify the subject and verb correctly will also help you with commas and semicolons as you will see later.

Definition. A Verb is a word that shows action (runs, hits, slides) or state of being (is, are, was, were, am, and so on).

He ran around the block.

You are my friend.

Rule 1.
If a verb follows to, it is called an infinitive phrase and is not the main verb. You will find the main verb either before or after the infinitive phrase.

I like to walk.
The efforts to get her elected succeeded.
Definition. A Subject is the noun or pronoun that performs the verb.
The woman hurried.
Woman is the subject.
Rule 2
A subject will come before a phrase beginning with of.

A bouquet of yellow roses will lend color and fragrance to the room.
Rule 3
To find the subject and verb, always find the verb first. Then ask who or what performed the verb.

The jet engine passed inspection. Passed is the verb. Who or what passed? The engine, so engine is the subject. If you included the word jet as the subject, lightning will not strike you. Technically, jet is an adjective here and is part of what is known as the complete subject.
From the ceiling hung the chandelier. The verb is hung. Now, if you think ceiling is the subject, slow down. Ask who or what hung. The answer is chandelier, not ceiling. Therefore, chandelier is the subject.
Rule 4
Any request or command such as "Stop!" or "Walk quickly." has the understood subject you because if we ask who is to stop or walk quickly, the answer must be you.

(You) Please bring me some coffee.
Bring is the verb. Who is to do the bringing? You understood.
Rule 5.
Sentences often have more than one subject, more than one verb, or pairs of subjects and verbs.

I like cake and he likes ice cream.
Two pairs of subjects and verbs
He and I like cake.
Two subjects and one verb
She lifts weights and jogs daily.
One subject and two verbs

Source :

Monday, 18 August 2008

Learning English In Another Country Is Possible

Learning English effectively when living in a foreign country is challenging. While English classes are probably available, native English speakers may not be. Also, students rarely get the chance to practice their skills, making it even more difficult to learn the language. If you are someone who wishes to learn English efficiently while living in a foreign country, keep these tips in mind.

Let Go of Your Fear

One of the problems that most people face when seeking to learn any foreign language, English included, is fear. When we are children and we learn our native language, we rarely fear saying something wrong. After all, everyone praises and rewards a child’s attempts to speak. As we age, however, we learn that mistakes in speech can be cause for ridicule. When we attempt to learn another language, we fear practicing our skills because of this natural fear of ridicule. However, practice is essential to learning English, so you must get over this fear and start practicing as much as you can.

Find a Native Speaker

Taking a class taught by someone who learned English as an adult is not going to cut it. You need to find a class taught by a native English speaker if at all possible. If not, take a class taught by someone who has lived in an English-speaking country for a while. This will help you to learn the correct pronunciations as you work to learn the language.

Listen Up!

One of the best ways to learn English is to hear it being spoken. Once you learn some basic vocabulary, surround yourself with people that speak English. Watch English television shows or movies, listen to English radio stations, or go to websites where you can hear English being spoken. Listening to people, especially native speakers, who are speaking in a non-classroom setting, will help you develop a sense of the ambiance of the language. You will be learning what non-standard words are used in every day conversation, how people interact with one another, and what type of sarcasm is used by those who speak English.

When watching English television programs or movies, see if you can set up your television to allow you to see the English subtitles. This will help you as you try to listen to the spoken word. You will also be able to see the written word, helping you to check your comprehension.

Find Someone to Practice With

As you develop comprehension, you need to practice. Find someone you can practice speaking English with, whether it is a native speaker or another person who is learning English as a second language. Have times when you go out to do something fun, but only English is spoken. Just like you had to do when you were a baby learning your native tongue, you must practice speaking English on a regular basis if you are going to learn the language efficiently.

Read in English

Once you have some basic vocabulary and grammar under your belt, start reading in English. Even if you need to start with simple illustrated books and magazines, reading in English will help you learn to comprehend the language better. Put English books in your home, and read them as frequently as you can. This will help you to start thinking in English, which shows that you are effectively learning the language.

Because you are living in a foreign country and are not surrounded by native speakers, learning English is going to be a little more challenging. Use the Internet to help you find courses and programs to learn the language. Practice as much as you can, and do not be afraid of failure. Soon you will be speaking as efficiently as a native speaker, and your grammar just might be a little better too!

Source :Amy Nutt /

Saturday, 16 August 2008

Free Ebook to Download : Easier English Basic Synonyms

When several words seem to have almost the same meaning, how do you choose the right word so that you express exactly what you want to? This book groups words with similar meanings (known as ‘synonyms’) together and gives each a definition and example so that the similarities and differences are made clear.

Anyone who wants to write clear and accurate English, using the correct word in a particular context, will find this book helpful, and a useful companion to the Easier English Basic Dictionary.

Groups of similar words are arranged alphabetically under the main word for the particular meaning being illustrated, so words meaning ‘big’ are given at big. The ways in which these similar words are used in different situations are compared.

Words with an opposite meaning to the main meaning being illustrated (known as ‘antonyms’) are also given. If you are not sure which group the word you are checking might appear in, you can find all the words in an alphabetical list at the end of the book with a reference to the place where they appear. By using this list you will be able to find possible alternative words to use for the basic word you already know.


The e-book can be downloaded here :


Source :

Friday, 15 August 2008

7 Ways to Improve YOUR English without even Trying!

(For people who speak English as a second language)

Learning a second language can be a very stressful and arduous task if you let it. Somehow, the words you learn in the books don't seem to apply very well to real life situations. Those small and seemingly un-important elements the show a person to be in command of not only the language, but the culture of the people who speak it cannot be adequately expressed by words on paper.

So, how do you learn these little secrets of mastering the ability to articulate yourself in another language? Here are 5 proven techniques that will help you improve your English without even trying, if you are learning to speak English as a second language. Do they really work? Yes. I've tried them myself as I've had opportunity to live somewhere where English wasn't the primary language. I found it to be a fun, exciting, and painless way to learn both the language and the culture. The culture is simply learning the way the natives express their own words. The genuine accent, facial expressions, hand gestures, sighs, moans, groans, laughter, smirks, and other things that go along with everyday conversation.

Regardless of how extensive or not your vocabulary is, if you master the ability to "sound" like you know the language and can speak it, people will be more than generous to assist you.

1. Watch Movies! Watching movies is always a fun thing to do. In order to get the most out of your movie watching experience, if your vocabulary is limited, watch a movie in English that you are very familiar with in your own language so you always know what's going on. Try not to translate as you go because you lose blocks of conversation this way. Instead, watch the picture and listen. Hear all the words, but determine what's going on by the pictures you see and the words you're hearing that you already know. Believe it or not, other words will sink in too, and so will the accent and everything else that went with what you saw and heard. As your vocabulary grows, expand your movie selections to other movies you'd like to see but are only available in English. Try to be able to see the film more than once if possible. According to the location and type of film you intend to view, you will be able to experience different accents, and other cultural expressions of the English language. Pick and choose the things that you think will suit you best. If it doesn't work out, pick and try something else! Have fun with yourself and your efforts.

2. Watch Soap Operas The place where extreme expression and limited vocabulary meet! This is such a fascinating way to learn a foreign language. Every accessory that goes with the expression of a word is demonstrated on a soap opera. "Outrage" expressed with a word, facial expression or two, and perhaps even a subsequent face slap, all of that being understandable in any language. "Love", another universal subject, or violence, good versus evil can all be discerned quickly and easily on a soap opera. Plus, soap operas are naturally designed to allow anyone just tuning in to pick up the story quickly. The characters are easily loveable and deliciously "hate-able" so you turn to it again and again to see what's going on, and not only improve your English each time, but reinforce what you've already learned.

3. Read the Comics/Funny Papers Very non-stressful! Pictures with words, or words with pictures, however you want to look at it, it's a great way to learn! For each thought presented there are words that match a picture, and vice versa. It doesn't matter if you read comic books, or the comics in the Sunday newspaper, read whatever will make you laugh and cause you to enjoy learning at the same time.

4. Read Children's books If you know any little kids between the ages of 5-8, try reading one of their books to them. Usually little kids know their favorite books by heart, so if you stumble a little, they'll be able to help you. If you enjoy this method of improving your English, and you find yourself to be pretty good at it, then try reading a few Dr. Seuss books. The rhyming will challenge you, but once you master it, your pronunciation of English, and your delivery will have been considerably refined and improved.

5. Take a service job like waiter or waitress; bartender, or sales person. This type of job can be done if you have a decent vocabulary of verbs, and know how to say "I, we, she, he, they", etc. The only other thing necessary is a working vocabulary of things relevant to your specific tasks and goals. For example, as a breakfast waitress, you want to be able to ask if they want their eggs, "scrambled or fried", if they want "more coffee", if everything is "alright", do they want "anything else", and the total of their bill in their own language! If you sell real estate, you'll want to incorporate words like "mortgage, loan, co-sign, 30 year fixed", etc. If you sell shoes, you need words like "how does that feel", are they "too tight, too loose, to short in the toe, to big", etc. The longer you work at your job, the more your working vocabulary will improve.

6. Learn these two sentences and you'll be set for life . . . seriously! "How do you say (blank)", in English (Spanish, French, etc.), and "What is that called?" (Point if you have to, and smile too). Smiling is a universal language. Once I learned how to ask these two questions, I was on my way to being conversant in the language of my choice! I could use my limited vocabulary to ask the question and then when I got my answer I would repeat it a few times to make sure I was saying it correctly, and "BAM" I had a new vocabulary word. And, because I asked my question to the best of my ability in the native tongue, the natives realized my sincere desire to learn, and helped me!

7. What happens if you make a mistake? Nothing. The world won't come to an end, and you haven't embarrassed yourself to the point where you can't show your face again. Just apologize if that's what's called for, or laugh at yourself, make the correction, and count it as a learning experience. Once I was in a restaurant and I wanted to ask the waiter for a "to go" box, however, I was speaking to my kids in English, and trying to think of what I wanted to ask for in Spanish, and I promptly and incorrectly asked him for a "house to go". He looked at me kind of funny, but he was very courteous, and didn't laugh until I laughed.

I've committed other language faux pas as well over the years, all of which have been a learning experience, and if given enough time, will become a humorous story as well.

Source : Kim Rogers/

Thursday, 14 August 2008

Free English Learning Should Be Enjoyable

Many people think that if they register for free English learning they won get the same level of education in how to speak, read and write the language as they would if they had to pay tuition for the course. Nothing could be further from the truth because you become part of an extensive network of English language learners from all over the world. The courses are comprehensive offering you everything you need to know about the structures of the English language grammar. There are various levels of courses you can take depending on your existing knowledge. If you can already speak and write some English, such a free course will give you the opportunity to take a refresher course without costing you any money.

Just take a quick look at what is involved in a free online English course. An audio course is very important because it lets you listen to practical conversations that teach you the proper verb usage. In the instructions, the starter course begins with the use of subject pronouns. The lessons are sequentially arranged to move from simple to more difficult subjects. After learning about pronouns, you move on to asking questions and the use of negatives. Other topics in the starter course include the question words, contractions, prepositions of place, singular and plural nouns and object pronouns.

In the audio course, the topics for the passages and the comprehension questions start off with conversation starters, such as introductions. The topics also include how to ask for and give directions, telephone conversations, passages dealing with life on campus, how to do assignments and how to interact with study partners and classmates. All of the dialogues are written in American English, but some of the voices may be those of international speakers, which allows you to hear people from several different native languages reading in English.

When you first start learning English through an online course, you may not understand all of the instructions. For this reason there is a dictionary included that will translate the English words into your own language to ensure that you are able to comprehend the instruction and get the most out of it. Such a course is also beneficial if you are attending classes and need some extra practice or want to look ahead so that you will have some idea of the next topic the instructor introduces.

Along with taking the courses online and availing of all the resources the site offers, you should also try to read English books. This does not mean picking up full length novels to read when you are a beginning English learner. Many of the children books are great to help you learn the language and some of these come with audio cassettes and CD so that you can listen to them being read. You should log on to an English news station at least once a day to read some of the headlines and through watching English television with subtitles in your language, you can increases your proficiency in the language.

Source : Tong Lin/

Tuesday, 12 August 2008

Studying English Literature

English Literature: Why should we study it?

When we dip into the rich variety of novels, poems, and plays which constitute English Literature we are reading works which have lasted for generations, or centuries, and they have lasted because they are good. These works say something worth saying, and say it with artistry strong enough to survive while lesser works drop into obscurity.

Literature is part of our cultural heritage which is freely available to everyone, and which can enrich our lives in all kinds of ways. Once we have broken the barriers that make studying literature seem daunting, we find that literary works can be entertaining, beautiful, funny, or tragic. They can convey profundity of thought, richness of emotion, and insight into character. They take us beyond our limited experience of life to show us the lives of other people at other times. They stir us intellectually and emotionally, and deepen our understanding of our history, our society, and our own individual lives.

In great writing from the past we find the England of our ancestors, and we not only see the country and the people as they were, but we also soak up the climate of the times through the language itself, its vocabulary, grammar, and tone. We would only have to consider the writing of Chaucer, Shakespeare, Boswell, Dickens, and Samuel Beckett side by side to see how the way writers use language embodies the cultural atmosphere of their time.

Literature can also give us glimpses of much earlier ages. Glimpses of Celtic Ireland in the poetry of W. B. Yeats, or of the Romans in Shakespeare's plays, for example, can take us in our imaginations back to the roots of our culture, and the sense of continuity and change we get from surveying our history enhances our understanding of our modern world.

Literature can enrich our experience in other ways too. London, for example, is all the more interesting a city when behind what we see today we see the London known to Dickens, Boswell and Johnson, or Shakespeare. And our feeling for nature can be deepened when a landscape calls to mind images from, say, Wordsworth, Thomas Hardy, or Ted Hughes.

The world of English literature consists, apart from anything else, of an astonishing array of characters, from the noble to the despicable - representations of people from all walks of life engaged in all kinds of activities. Through their characters great authors convey their insights into human nature, and we might find that we can better understand people we know if we recognise in them characteristics we have encountered in literature. Perhaps we see that a certain man's behaviour resembles that of Antony in Shakespeare's Antony and Cleopatra, or a certain woman is rather like The Wife of Bath in Chaucer's Canterbury Tales. Seeing such similarities can help us to understand and accept other people.

Good works of literature are not museum pieces, preserved and studied only for historical interest. They last because they remain fresh, transcending as well as embodying the era in which they were written. Each reader reading each work is a new and unique event and the works speak to us now, telling us truths about human life which are relevant to all times.

We don't have to read far before we find that a writer has portrayed a character who is in some way like us, confronting life-experiences in some way like our own and when we find ourselves caught up with the struggles of a character perhaps we are rehearsing the struggles to come in our own lives. And when we are moved by a poem it can enrich us by putting words to feelings which had lain dormant for lack of a way of expressing them, or been long-forgotten in the daily round of the workplace, the supermarket, the traffic jam, and the TV News.

We can gain a lot from literature in many ways, but the most rewarding experiences can come in those moments when we feel the author has communicated something personally to us, one individual to another. Such moments can help validate our personal experience at a depth which is rarely reached by everyday life or the mass media.

So why do we need to study English Literature, instead of just reading it? Well, we don't need to, but when visiting a country for the first time it can help to have books by people who have been there before by our side.

When we start to read literature, particularly older works, we have to accept that we are not going to get the instant gratification that we have become used to from popular entertainment. We have to make an effort to accommodate to the writer's use of language, and to appreciate the ideas he is offering. Critics can help us make that transition, and can help fill out our understanding by telling us something about the social climate in which a work was written, or about the personal circumstances of the author while he was writing it.

We are not going to enjoy every literary work, and there may be times when we find reading a critic is more interesting than reading the actual work. Reading the work of a good critic can be edifying in itself. Making the effort to shape our own thoughts into an essay is also an edifying experience, and just as good literature lasts, so do the personal benefits that we gain from studying and writing about it.

Whether we choose to study it or read it for pleasure, when we look back over our literature we are looking back over incredible richness. Not just museum pieces, but living works which we can buy in bookshops, borrow from the library, or download from the internet and read today, right now

Source : Ian Mackean /

Tuesday, 5 August 2008

What is the Ideal Age to Learn English?

Learning English is something that you really have to do if you want to make it big in today’s world. Between the type of English common in the United States and the type of English common in the United Kingdom, most of the world’s population is represented in terms of people that know how to speak English. All of the major business is transacted in that language and everyone that happens to be rich, successful or otherwise powerful in the world today learned English at some point in their life.

Now that it has been established that learning English is essential, it is time to think about the different times in a person’s life that learning English can be ideal. While there is no one particular ideal age at which to learn English, there are times when it can be better to do so and those times are discussed at length below.

1. From Birth

The absolutely most ideal age at which learning English can happen is at birth. When a baby speaks their first words, if those words are in English, then English will be the first language that they learn. This also makes it the easiest language for them to learn as many babies never end up learning another language after they have learned their initial one. Some people just have a mental block when it comes to learning languages, which is why English as their first language is absolutely the best way to go.

2. During Primary Schooling

If a child has not learned English as their first language, then the next best time to get them to learn it would be during the time in their life when they are thinking about doing primary schooling. Primary schooling is extremely important and allows children to expand their knowledge and grow on multiple fronts during the second group of formative years in their life (the first being their pre-school years). Because of the rapid rate at which children tend to learn at this age, English language training is definitely a good idea.

3. During Secondary Schooling

If a child has gone through the initial and primary school years of their life without learning English, then you will want to make sure that you start them on an English language learning course right away. While secondary school students are still learning a lot, the information that high school gives them is largely specialized information. This is quite different from the formative study they undertake in primary school which in turn means that teaching them something as basic as a new way of speaking is a lot harder to do.

4. During Post-Secondary Schooling

While a large argument is currently raging across academic circles at which time is better to learn English between secondary and post-secondary schooling, most people tend to believe that post-secondary schooling provides an environment that makes learning a new language a lot easier to do. People are exposed to new ideas and concepts that might completely change the way they look at and think about life in post-secondary school and that makes taking on big new challenges like learning English easier to do than it would be in secondary school.

5. As an Adult

It is possible for an out of school adult to learn English, but it is at the same time a lot harder to do. The thing that makes it easier for adults to learn English sometimes is the fact that adults that are out of school tend to have a far more disciplined approach to things like this and for that reason have the ability to grasp information pertinent to their life at a relatively quick pace.

Source : Amy Nutt /

Saturday, 2 August 2008

Learning Basic English Is Easy

English has become the international language of business and will remain so for the foreseeable future. Whether it’s a German project manager dealing with a French auto parts manufacturer or a Chinese software developer advising a Mexican medical center the intermediary language is English. So why exactly has English taken front stage when there are so many other languages spoken by a much greater number of people over much vaster regions? The answer lies in the in the simplicity of the grammatical structure of the English language at its most basic level. Unlike most other languages English doesn’t use the genitive case for definitive articles. This means that every "thing" in English uses the pronoun "it" and the definite article "the". In many other languages an object can be masculine, feminine or neutral and the gender of the object can affect the whole sentence. It can also change the endings of pronouns which can make learning the basics a little confusing. The same problems apply to adjectives, adverbs and then add pronunciation to the equation to top it off. And this is only dealing with European languages which stem from Latin, Greek and near eastern roots. When one looks Chinese, Japanese, Arabic etc. then one can appreciate the difficulty of learning even the most basic structures of these languages.

Of course, there are also political, historical and economical reasons for English being the most used language when it comes to modern business but the fact that it is easy to get a grasp of Basic English has to be the most appealing advantage for non native speakers of English. Ironically, it is communication between the native English speaker and the non-native English speaker that tends to create the most problems. The reason for this is the tendency of the native English speaker to slip into colloquial speech, slang, idiomatic language, speak too quickly or a simple matter of harsh regional accents. But when two or more non-native English speakers communicate in Basic English it usually works out fine because nobody is out to impress and the ultimate goal is to simply understand and respond at a simple level. This is not to say that English doesn’t have complexities, in fact at higher levels it can be just as difficult as any other language but as long as a learner uses the famous K.I.S.S. technique (Keep It Short And Simple) it is definitely the easiest language for global communication.

Source : Nigel Nix /

Strengthen Your Vocabulary With A Simple Click

With the introduction and advancement in Internet, dictionary online is gaining huge popularity as it is quick and easy to use as compared to print dictionary. Whether you are looking for Spanish translation or seeking an exact definition for a cockney word or trying to crack the meaning of a Chinese symbol, you can find answers to all such queries from the dictionary online.

You may be wondering what exactly a dictionary online is? A dictionary online is essentially an electronic and uncomplicated version of the traditional printed dictionary, which is accessible on Internet. Along with an access to meanings of thousands of words, the online dictionary offers the service of lingo translation of minute and composite words, sentences and paragraphs.

The dictionary online can also be accessed for various subjects, such as medical, business, mathematical, legal, science, technical and sports among the major ones. The search option of a dictionary online allows a quick search. Just type in the word and the online dictionary will come up with the fastest results as compared to printed dictionary in which we have to turn pages while looking our for meanings. The dictionary online are fast searching, can be downloaded easily on your personal computers and even mobile phones also. A dictionary online comprises of minimum of 6,000,000 words and you can start your online word search from any alphabet.

The greatest feature of the dictionary online is that it gets updated frequently so new words keep on adding thus making convenient for you to find the meaning of any word that you are looking for. This is one of the biggest advantages of online dictionary as compared to printed dictionary. So, in place of purchasing a novel printed dictionary each year in order to keep up with the latest words and language, you can access dictionary online easily and make the most latest and up to date information accessible.

Another benefit of dictionary online is that it incorporates both the dictionary online and online thesaurus. The thesaurus function is of great use for the people who are in the field of writing and need to update thei vocabulary on a constant note so as to make use of the same in their write up. Also, the option of audio button helps you to hear the pronunciation of the words that you are looking out for. Another great feature of the dictionary online is that if you are searching for a word, type in the word and the entire database will return with a listing of words fitting your explanation. Besides, the visual feature of the dictionary online is a fun filled way to learn new word meanings with visuals, images and pictures which provide an innovative approach to learn new words. The feature of visual dictionary online is ideal for small children, students and even the translators. The handiness of the dictionary online is incontestable. You can access the most current and recent words as well as the updated definitions to the established words thus amplificating your vocabulary.

Source : Naisarasri Sri /