Category Archives: The English language

The Spelling Challenge: are you up to it?

Is it definetely or definitely? Which is correct, possession or possesion?

Most students struggle with English spelling and no wonder, English spelling is difficult. Plain and simple. The best advice I can probably give you to improve your spelling is to read a lot and then if you keep misspelling a word, you might want to write it down  several times ( I’m sorry! I know it sounds like a very traditional thing to do, but it works and this is what is really important, isn’t it?). Doing spelling quizzes can also help, and it’s certainly more fun than writing the tricky word several times.

So, are you up to a little challenge? Then, try these three quizzes based on students’ common spelling mistakes found in Intermediate, Advanced and Proficiency exams. I have created them with the aim of helping my students get rid of these common spelling mistakes and I hope they are helpful to anybody visiting the blog!

 

This is how I suggest you work with the quizzes:

  • Start with the intermediate quiz even though you are an advanced or proficiency student. Life is full of surprises and it doesn’t hurt to double-check tricky words.
  • Once you have finished the quiz, try to remember which words were tested and write them down on a piece of paper. You don’t only need to be able to recognize them but to remember its correct spelling.
  • Do the quiz once again and compare your written answers with the ones given in the quiz.

Good luck!


Easy? Good! Let’s take a more difficult quiz now!

Piece of cake? Well done! Let’s try now the most difficult one!

I’d like to finish this post with an excellent piece of advice from Thomas Jefferson.

“Take care that you never spell a word wrong. Always before you write a word, consider how it is spelled, and, if you do not remember, turn to a dictionary. It produces great praise to a lady to spell well.”

(Thomas Jefferson, American president  1800-1809, in a letter to his daughter Martha)

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The quiz: 13 Modern Words Recently Added to the Dictionary in 2015

Three years ago, a colleague of mine wrote the word “selfie” on the board. She says none of her students knew what the word meant. Nowadays, even my great grandmother, should I have one, would most definitely know what a “selfie” is, and would probably have taken one or two to send her peers.

It is said that the English language has more words than any other language in the world and it seems it might be true. The Oxford Dictionary Online stores over 600,000 words. Despite this number, new words are coined, clipped and blended all the time and although some of them are very soon forgotten, others make their way into the dictionary.
But how do they choose the words they include in a dictionary? The answer is simple: people need to use them. Basically editors watch the word for several years to see how it is used in both spoken and written English. They check to see that the word is used to express an idea clearly, and that the idea is understood. Then, when the word is seen in writing and speech regularly, it can go in the dictionary.

New words are added every year, but also words that are no longer used are eliminated.

Every year, the Oxford Dictionary selects a Word of the Year. “Selfie” was chosen Word of the Year three years ago. This year, the award has been given to the emoji (plural emoji or emojis) Face with Tears of Joy. The decision to choose a pictogram as word of the year, when it is clearly not a word, has been publicly criticized by many. But despite the selection of this word being frowned upon in many circles, the question to consider is: if words are used to communicate, aren’t emojis also used to communicate feelings and emotions in this new digital era?

So, as stated above, lots of new words enter the dictionaries every year. In this little quiz below you will find some of the most recent additions to the dictionaries

Are you up to the challenge?

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Confusing Words: Finally,In the End, Eventually, Lastly and At Last

Yes, I know, these connectors can be quite confusing; that’s why I have created this beautiful presentation to help you clarify them . I just hope the explanation doesn’t mix you up more. And it’s also, with this mind, the reason why a quiz follows the explanation. Beautifully presented as well. 🙂

To create these two interactive activities I have used Riddle.com, which helps you create interactive content in a few minutes.

Steps to create a Riddle
• Click on the Create Button
• Choose the type of Riddle you want to make. For this post , I have created a List and a Pop Quiz, but you can also create opinion polls and surveys.
• In a Riddle you can use images, animated gifts, articles, youtube videos…etc
• You can share on facebook and twitter or get an embed code for your blog
• The best feauture? It’s free!
I highly recommend Riddle to create beautiful interactive content for your classes.

CONFUSING WORDS: LASTLY, FINALLY, EVENTUALLY, IN THE END, AT LAST

Lastly and Finally

Use LASTLY or FINALLY to introduce the last point you want to make, the last action in a series of actions, or the last item in a list
  • Lastly, I would like to remind you that speaking Spanish is not allowed in this class.
  •  Load the paper, select the number of copies, and lastly press ‘Print’
  • You add flour, salt, and finally milk.

FINALLY and EVENTUALLY

 Use FINALLY  or EVENTUALLY to say that something happens after a long time
  • Finally we managed to get the car to start.
  • When she eventually turned up, the food was cold.

EVENTUALLY and IN THE END

Use EVENTUALLY or IN THE END  to say what the result or outcome of something was
  • They eventually got bored and went home.
  •  In the end we decided to cancel the trip.

AT LAST

Use AT LAST to say that something happens after a long period of waiting or trying, when you are glad about this
  •  It’s good to be home at last.
  •  At last, the pizza’s here!

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Ready for a small quiz?

Confusing Words: Finally,In the End, Eventually, Lastly and At Last

Read the sentences and decide which of the options best fits the gap.
Source: Longman Dictionary of Common Errors

Although she had been ​ill for a ​long ​time, it still came as a ​shock when she ___ ​died

Eventually

At last

__, I’d like to ​thank everyone for coming this ​evening

Eventually

Finally

Thank goodness! I’ve ​finished my ​essay ____!

at last

in the end

___ the baby stopped crying and we managed to get some sleep

Finally/eventually

lastly

Do you really mean that you’ve stopped smoking ___?

at last

finally

___ Spain won by two goals to one.

in the end

at last

___, as soon as you hear a beep, press the start button

Finally

eventually

It seems more and more likely that the human race will ___ destroy itself

eventually

lastly

She showed us the new dress, then the blouse and ___ the shoes

lastly

in the end

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You didn’t score as well as the experts but this means you can only get better! Practise makes perfect so just get stuck in and give it a go. You’ve got to be in it to win it!
[You can use this space to write some funny content to encourage people to share their result. You can also add in links like the one below or choose (in the Customise menu) to show a form that collects user information so you can build an email list etc.]

Viral content expert!

You know everything there is know about creating viral content! Well, almost. Great start – now it’s time to get creating fun viral content. Then you can sit back and watch people share it around the world.
[You can use this space to write some funny content to encourage people to share their result. You can also add in links like the one below or choose (in the Customise menu) to show a form that collects user information so you can build an email list etc.]

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Did you Know…. hung or hanged?

I can almost see my students smiling with a hint of irony painted on their faces when they hear me saying the words” English is very easy”. And yes, you  might disagree with me here but  it all depends on what language you compare it with and, in their case, Spanish grammar is a far cry from English grammar, being the first much more complicated to understand. I am also well aware of the difficulties they have when learning English but we need to focus on the positive things. I wouldn’t be doing a good job if I don’t motivate my students!

But… sometimes… only sometimes, English could be a bit confusing, and the use of  hung and hanged is a little quirk of the English language.

This is what one of my students wrote . “He said that  nobody  lived in that house  because the man who lived there had killed all his family and then he hung himself.”

I crossed it off and wrote “hanged” instead. The verb “hang” can be regular or irregular. You study:

                 hang- hung/hanged-hung/hanged

So far, easy.But when do you use “hung” and when “hanged”? The explanation can be either short or long. I think I’ll go for the short one as you can always check meanings and use in a good dictionary.

  • Hanged is used  when the meaning is
  1. to kill somebody  by tying a rope attached from  above around their neck and removing the support from beneath them .

                              The prisoner  was ​found guilty of the crime  and hanged ​.

       2.  (slang) to damn or be damned: used in mild curses or interjections. 

                               I’ll be hanged before I ask her out again

  • Hung is preferred in all other senses of the word.

Once clarified, it isn’t that difficult, is it?

Do you have time for a little test?

[spoiler title=’Some pictures ___ on the walls of his house’ style=’default’ collapse_link=’true’]hung[/spoiler]

[spoiler title=’His arms __ down limply,  over the edge of the couch.’ style=’default’ collapse_link=’true’]hung[/spoiler]

[spoiler title=’Red meat is __ for at least 28 days, making for a memorable steak’ style=’default’ collapse_link=’true’]hung[/spoiler]

[spoiler title=’He was __ for murder’ style=’default’ collapse_link=’true’]hanged[/spoiler]

[spoiler title=’I am __if I know’ style=’default’ collapse_link=’true’]hanged[/spoiler]

[spoiler title=’A ​heavy ​gold ​necklace __ around her ​neck.’ style=’default’ collapse_link=’true’]hung[/spoiler]

[spoiler title=’He _____ himself from a beam in the attic’ style=’default’ collapse_link=’true’]hanged[/spoiler]

Did you Know….Aged?

Did you know that the word “aged” has two different pronunciations?

 

1.It’s pronounced /eidʒd/ when it means “years old” or when it is the verb in its past or past participle form

♥a woman aged 40

♥she has a son aged eleven

2. It’s pronounced /ˈeɪdʒɪd/ when it is the adjective (formal)

♥an aged professor

♥ my aged computer is very slow

Also : The aged in this country need more services. /ˈeɪdʒɪd/ = very old people

Hope it helps! Keep posted!