Spelling & Vocabulary

Using the Dictionary

published on 11-Apr-10 10:49
The thing is, using the dictionary is such a long and tedious process. In order to get the right definition or translation of a word in your own language, you basically have to go through all of the following steps:
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Historical Background of English Spelling

published on 01-Sep-09 12:06
The way in which letters are arranged in sequence to produce the pronunciation of a word is referred to as spelling or orthography. In some languages, such as Spanish, the correspondence between the letter and the sound is fairly straightforward as each letter or letter combination almost always represents one certain sound. For example, compare the Spanish maleta with its English equivalent suitcase. The pronunciation of the vowels a and e in the former remains relatively constant across words, whereas that of u, i, a, and e in the latter is far from being stable across the English vocabulary, the largest and richest of all languages.
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The Evolution of English Vocabulary

published on 01-Sep-09 11:59
How is it that English has such a huge vocabulary, larger than any other language on earth? In addition to various word formation mechanisms existing in other languages, such as onomatopoeia, derivation, affixation, compounding and functional extension, the major source for the large variety of English words is its dramatic history. The 1,600 years of English existence have been witness to massive revolutionary changes in the language as it mixed with and continuously borrowed from other languages, with which it came into contact.
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7 Tips for Building Your English Vocabulary

published on 01-Sep-09 11:47
A key factor contributing to the success of language learners is creativity and imagination. In the following sections, you are welcome to start thinking a bit differently about how you remember the words you study in English. These strategies derive from different learning styles people use. Learning styles open new channels to learning, which not necessarily use verbal intelligence or purely academic procedures. Remember that mastering the grammar of the language is not enough to master the language. In the long run, it is your level of vocabulary and how you use it in your English writing, which determines how well you are at English. Whether you need English for personal, academic, or business purposes, always use any opportunity to acquire more and more words.
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How (con)texts Help Us Remember Words

published on 01-Sep-09 11:23
Review the following tips to aid you in building your English vocabulary. As you gain more experience with learning vocabulary, you will be able to figure out which strategies and tips best work for you.
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Learning Vocabulary Using a 2-Column-Table in The Notebook

published on 01-Sep-09 11:19
You will encounter new vocabulary in the texts you read, word lists your teacher gives you, foreign language phrasebooks, songs and movies in English, speaking with a native speaker, or even from the instructions for your textbook’s exercises or those in your new DVD manual. No matter the source, you should concentrate all new vocabulary items in one place. The best option is a notebook, small enough to carry around everywhere to review your vocabulary at all times and big enough to accommodate neatly organized vocabulary lists.
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Spelling Rules for Adding The Plural S to Singular Nouns

published on 30-Aug-09 11:43
The general plurals rule: Usually add the letter s to the end of a singular noun to make it plural. I’ll take this book; you can use those books over there. We have one bedroom on the first floor and three more bedrooms on the second.
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Rain, Rein, and Reign

published on 24-Aug-09 17:04
Rain, Rein, and Reign - what is the difference? Read on to find out.
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Climatic and Climactic

published on 24-Aug-09 17:04
What is the difference between a climatic and climactic? read this quick tip to find out.
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Loop and Loupe

published on 24-Aug-09 17:03
What is the difference between a loop and a loupe? read this quick tip to find out.
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Common Misspellings

published on 24-Aug-09 17:02
We all make spelling mistakes from time to time, but there are some really common mistakes that many people make regularly.
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Who's and Whose

published on 24-Aug-09 16:42
Who's who, and whose shoe is blue? Find out when you should use "who's" and when you should use "whose" in this quick tip.
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Then and Than

published on 24-Aug-09 16:42
One of the most common "contextual spelling" errors made in English is the misuse of "then" and "than".
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Lay and Lie

published on 24-Aug-09 16:41
Should I lay down or should I lie down? Improve your understanding of "lay" and "lie" with this quick tip.
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Forth and Fourth

published on 24-Aug-09 16:31
Go fourth or go forth? Read this tip to find out.
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Pair, Pear, and Pare

published on 24-Aug-09 16:30
The three pears... or.... pairs. Read on to find out more.
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New and Knew

published on 24-Aug-09 16:28
I am sure most of you knew when to use the word "knew". If not, read on to find out.
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Cereal and Serial

published on 24-Aug-09 16:26
Cereal or serial? Which one do you eat for breakfast? Read this quick tip to find out.
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Flair and Flare

published on 24-Aug-09 16:25
Flair or flare? Read here to find out.
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Amongst, Whilst, Betwixt

published on 24-Aug-09 16:21
Here are some tricky ones for many English speakers - amongst, whilst, and betwixt.
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Infer and Imply

published on 24-Aug-09 16:19
When do you infer something, and when do you imply something? Read this quick tip to find out.
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Bares and Bears, oh my

published on 24-Aug-09 16:18
Do you bear it all? Read this tip to find out.
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Alter and Altar

published on 24-Aug-09 16:17
These two words sound the same but have completely unrelated meanings. Read to find out the difference.
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published on 24-Aug-09 16:17
Don't use the word "irregardless." Like the word "ain't," it has become so commonly used that it appears in dictionaries, but it is very poor English.
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Role and Roll

published on 24-Aug-09 16:14
Do you role the carpet or roll the carpet? Read this quick tip to find out more.
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Advice and Advise

published on 24-Aug-09 16:11
Do you give advice or advise? Read this quick tip to find out.
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Site or Sight

published on 24-Aug-09 16:09
Site or sight? Read here to find out.
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Accept and Except

published on 24-Aug-09 16:09
Accept or except? Do I accept the prize or except the prize? Read this quick tip to find out.
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Commonly Confused Words: Lay v. Lie

published on 24-Aug-09 13:41
The choice is tricky. Native English speakers are often not sure about which is correct, and lay ends up overused when in fact lie is the correct choice.
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Contextual Spelling - Common Errors

published on 24-Aug-09 11:26
In English, as in several other languages, there are words that sound the same but mean different things. These similar-sounding but different-meaning words are homonyms. The word “homonym” comes from the Greek for “same name”. Some homonyms are especially confusing and hard to tell apart - in other words, which spelling corresponds with which meaning.
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Stationary v. Stationery

published on 04-Aug-09 10:01
These two words are homonyms, that is, they sound almost identical, but mean two different things.
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English Word Series: Passion

published on 04-Aug-09 09:53
The word ‘passion’ can be traced back to its 5000 year old Proto-Indo-European base ‘*pei’, which meant ‘to hurt’. In approximately 1175 this word was adopted from Old French to Old English to mean the, ‘sufferings of Christ on the Cross’.
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English Word Series: Friend

published on 04-Aug-09 09:52
What does it mean to be a ‘friend’? The word ‘friend’ is one of the rare cases in the English language whose meaning has remained consistent throughout hundreds of years of usage. The word of Germanic origin has existed in the English language since its founding in Old English.
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English Word Series: Work

published on 04-Aug-09 09:50
The English verb ‘work’ was once known as ‘wircan’ 1500 years ago meaning, ‘to operate and to function’. The noun ‘work’ was once ‘worc’ which meant, ‘something done: deed, action, proceeding, business, or military fortification’.
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English Word Series: Justice

published on 04-Aug-09 09:49
The word ‘justice’, meaning ‘the exercise of authority in vindication of right by assigning reward or punishment’ is over 860 years old (c. 1140 AD). ‘Justice’ was once ‘justitia’ an Old French word that descended from Latin to mean ‘righteousness and equity’.
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English Word Series: Nature

published on 04-Aug-09 09:48
The word ‘nature’ is over 5000 years old but it has only been used in the English language for 700 years. The word was adopted from Old French which meant, ‘course of things, character, the universe, and birth’. This word originally came from the Proto-Indo-European word ‘*gene’, ‘to give birth, or beget’.
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English Word Series: Play

published on 04-Aug-09 09:22
The origin of the word ‘play’ is unknown- all we do know is that English adopted the word ‘pleien’ meaning to ‘dance, leap for joy, and rejoice’ from Dutch in the later Middle Ages (c. 14th century). This was adopted into English as ‘pleg(i)an’, ‘to exercise, or frolic’.
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English Word Series: Love

published on 04-Aug-09 09:21
‘Love’ is a word used to describe one of the most, if not the most, potent experiences available to humans. But what ‘love’ means from person to person, let alone from century to century, is one of the most varied in the English language. The word ‘love’ was once ‘*leubh’, a word used by the Proto-Indo-Europeans approximately five thousand years ago to describe care and desire.
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English Word Series: Life

published on 04-Aug-09 09:19
What is the meaning of ‘life’? The answer to this question is almost five thousand years old and leads us to the Proto-Indo-European word ‘*lip’ meaning, ‘to remain, persevere, and continue’. When this word was adopted into the English language as ‘l?f’ about 1500 years ago, it stayed true to its original meaning but closely resembled its Germanic predecessors meaning of ‘body’.
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English Word Series: Sweet

published on 04-Aug-09 09:07
The word ‘sweet’ can be traced back to the Old English ‘swete’, an adjective that meant, ‘pleasing to the senses, mind or feelings’. The word can be traced back to its Proto Indo European origins by ‘*swad’ (Sanskrit sv?du) which makes the word over five thousand years old.
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English Word Series: Black

published on 04-Aug-09 09:00
All of the words humans use have a mysterious past- just like any living entity, words change their function and meaning over time. This is true in the case of the word ‘black’ which can be traced back five thousand years to the Proto-Indo-European word ‘bhleg’ meaning ‘to burn with black smoke’ or ‘to burn black with smoke’.
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