Monday, 28 September 2009

Confusing Words, Commonly Misused

Written by Patti Stafford from Patti Stafford


Today I want to cover words that we often get confused and use out of context. We will not be covering the proper use of words like, “their, they’re, there” or “two, too, to.”

We’re going to discuss words that are a bit more complicated. Many of us may not even think about these words and have no clue if they are used improperly or out of context, but for those who are familiar with these words, they know when they’ve been misused.

These words can be a bit obscure.

Implicit: Suggested or to be understood though not plainly expressed; implied.
Explicit: Clearly stated and leaving nothing implied.

-The explicit instructions from Bob gave Natalie enough clarity to resolve her confusion about the new software.

-Implicit in her first speech to her summer students was Ms. Whitmore’s Draconian attitude toward dallying and late assignments.

Illusion: A false idea or conception; belief or opinion not in accord with the facts.
Allusion: Playing with, indirect reference, to refer to in a casual or indirect way.
Elusion: Escape or avoidance by quickness or cunning.

Illusive: Unreal.
Allusive: Using allusion.
Elusive: Hard to grasp or retain mentally; baffling.

-The magician is very elusive with his allusions as he creates the illusion that something is real and not sleight of hand.

Aggravate: It means “to add to”, the trouble or condition must already exist before you can aggravate it.
Irritate: It means “to annoy”. You irritate someone and then you aggravate them.

-Dirt can aggravate an open wound.
-Janis is in a good mood, I think I will try to irritate her.

Farther: Use for reference to distance.
Further: Use for reference to time or quantity.

-Alex drove farther than anyone.
-You should enroll in classes to further your education.

Tortuous: Full of twists, turns; crooked, winding road.
Torturous: Inflicting mental of physical pain.

-Driving down the tortuous road was torturous.

Are there any words that you see commonly misused? Please share, we’d love to hear them.

Patti Stafford Written by Patti Stafford from Patti Stafford
Posted on September 21st, 2009

Friday, 25 September 2009

Teaching English as a Second Language in Asia

Recent reports show that taking English language lessons has increased dramatically across South East Asia over recent years. The regions businesses have developed internationally, through greater worldwide contact and globalisation, English is acknowledged as the international language of commerce. A recent survey in France; not renowned for its support of things English, concluded that 80% of the population agreed that outside of your mother tongue, English as a second language was the most useful.

In Singapore at a recent seminar the countries Minister for Education Dr Ng Eng Hen was proud to announce a new strategy to further promote English language learning within schools. Dr Hen said that it was to the countries credit that Singapore chose to adopt English as their common language as long ago as the1960’s which had led to the current situation where the country could compete globally because of its high levels of English literacy.

The minister praised schools like Bukit Panjang Government High School who held monthly public speaking competition. While CHIJ Kellock School, encouraged learning and use of the language with lesson posters in the corridors and a “speak good English” fortnight. This all helped to give students an improved understanding and usage of the language.

The Philippines is experiencing a massive influx of students from South Korea in recent times who want to sign up for ESL courses. The Philippine’s Foreign Office said there had been a 500% increase in Koreans applying for study visas between 2004 and 2008. Most of these were applying to study ESL courses.

The reason for the Philippines appeal being that it is one of the top 10 English speaking countries in the world. It is only two hours flight from the Korean capital Seoul, the cost of living in the Philippines is relatively low and there is always the allure of its tropical weather.

In Malaysia recently it has been reported that they plan to revert to teaching maths and science subjects in the native Bahasa tongue. The government however recognising the importance of English plans to increase its delivery to pupils by employing more teachers and allocating an increase in lesson time each week.

The conclusions you can draw from this is that countries at the highest level are acknowledging and implementing policy to ensure its population are well placed to compete for work internationally. It is a good time to be studying the language as there are an increasing number of ways this can be accomplished with the aid of educational technology on the internet. As there are more learners worldwide, practice becomes easier and with a single common language we all take a step closer to creating a truly global village.

Wednesday, 23 September 2009

Ten Tips for Practicing English Conversation

Once your ESL classes have finished what you can do to keep up the interest and motivation you have discovered during your English lessons. It becomes more difficult but is vitally important for you to progress in developing your language skills.

As you have spent valuable time and effort in starting to learning English it is a pity to then loose all you have learnt. The list below gives ten ideas that you can employ to keep studying and practicing English and most of all have fun.

Listen to English radio

Most radio stations these days have a “listen live” button on their websites and the best way to pick up speech patterns and phrases is to hear them spoken naturally. Ideally you should select a station with lots of conversation, discussion groups or commentary such as:-

BBC World Service – world events

Five Live – sports commentary & discussion

BBC 4 – plays and talk shows

Online Newspapers

Many National and local newspapers publish a free online version which you can read. This will enable you to follow known stories in English, keep up with current affairs and increase your vocabulary as you read. The list below are links to some of the more famous papers and periodicals around the globe.


Washington PostUSA

The AustralianAustralia - Canada

Enrol in Conversational ESL courses online

Learning English Online (LEO) is becoming an ever popular way to practice your English lessons. Teachers with the aid of computer generated “white boards”, conference calling like Skype, a microphone and webcam are delivering presentations and seminars daily to people across the world. Many offer introductory free trials to give you a chance to see if you like their content. All this can be done in the comfort of your own home.

Online Games

Second Life or Travian gives you an excellent opportunity to meet up with people, practice shopping, exchanging views and interacting with individuals. The majority of them are free to register and gives you a chance to learn while you play.

Write Articles

Internet sites like Hubpages, Blogger, Squidoo and eHow give you a chance to practice writing and creating stories. If you do not feel confident enough to write articles you could just post short comments peoples work that you enjoy. They are a good place to build up your written skills.


Who doesn’t like a good old sing-a-long. What could be more fun than performing your favourite songs and tunes and practicing at the same time. Karaoke programmes often have a subtitle feature on the monitor which helps you with the words. Don't worry a lot of the time native speakers do not know the lyrics to some songs either.

Social Networking

Everyone is now familiar with Facebook, Bebo and MySpace, places where you leave messages, post photos and meet up with old friends. You can however also make new friends who speak English, just register and search in the countries where you are likely to find people. There are also a number of ESL Forums online like English Club, LiveMocha and ESL United who welcome teachers and learners alike.

Watch a film

Sit down in the living room, cup of tea and some biscuits and put on a DVD, keep the settings in English and try to follow the dialogue, the best way to enjoy any film is in its native language. If you find it a little difficult just switch on the subtitles, this is very useful if the conversations are fast or a lot of colloquialisms or strong accents.

Cook a Meal

Look online for a recipe from an English speaking country’s favourite dish and try it out for yourself. It will give you valuable practice in following instructions and vocabulary and once you have finished you will have a lovely meal to eat as well.

Join a Chat Room

There are many chatrooms online, from different countries, various age class and with people who have a wide variety of interests. Plenty are free to register on Yahoo Messenger and allow you to meet new friends and practice talking and writing English.

A word of warning though, be careful when talking online and don’t give out any personal information, contact details or addresses. Have lots of fun and keep on using your new found skills.

Sunday, 20 September 2009

English Lessons Online - The New Revolution

The technology of today means that it is possible to learning anything from English to psychology on the internet. Technology has made education simple; there are more people now than at any other time in history being taught at home.

Thirty years ago there would regularly be features about children all over the world who were being taught remotely, by radio in the Australian outback or in the African bush. The first revolution came with the advent of video cameras, these bulky set ups on tripods with overly large televisions turned peoples houses upside down. You needed to create a TV studio in your living room just to get started studying.

However over recent years there has been a quiet revolution going on, it is now easier than ever to bring internet lessons into the heart of your home. Today much of the planet is linked together as part of the world wide web, with the release of VIOP - “voice over internet protocol” systems such as Skype keeping up with friends and relations across the globe has never been more simple by just talking on your home computer.

It seems like a distant memory when you had to wait hours for the telephone operators to literally, physically connect the lines to make a call between Paris and New York. Today you are instantly connected and at a price that must surely upset the main telephone companies. Reports out of Russia said recently that they were planning on banning access to VOIP systems as they considered them a threat to the countries national security. You can’t help but wonder whether it’s the vast sums of money generated from telephone services they are loosing out on that concerns them more.

As micro technology increased and the size of decreased it became much easier to hold video conferencing, something that a few years before was seen as fanciful daydreams, from the realms of Sci fi scripts. It was said that telephone lines were too small for the job and it was impractical to rewire the whole country but everyday now people are talking and watching each other courtesy of the net.

Probably the greatest classroom revolution came with the introduction of “white boards”, although still not prevalent within the schooling systems they have liberated the teaching environment. Teachers these days are able to include PowerPoint presentations, illustrate their lessons with DVD clips and use music files to enhance the pupils learning experience. From the electronic blackboards it wasn’t long before developers were producing systems compatible with computers and laptops, making it possible to recreate the teaching environment in the comfort of your own home.

Delivering webcam conferences is commonplace and with the addition of “white boards” home schools and virtual classrooms have been appearing at an alarming rate. It is now possible for stay at home teachers and fire side students to enjoy learning anything from Art to Chemistry without leaving the house. Foreign languages are regularly taught by natives of that country online and hotly debated topics are talked over by a truly international classroom from all corners of the globe.

While I am sure everyone will miss the slide projector jamming or the end of lesson bell, you can’t help but feel that we are entering and exciting time in education.

Saturday, 19 September 2009



20 minute introduction lesson.

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The free lesson gives the teacher the chance to assess your level of understanding and you the opportunity to see whether you enjoy their style of teaching.

Using on-line linked white board teaching aid, video cam and SKYPE link you are able to talk to and have lessons with native English speakers from the comfort of your own home. Run at a time to suit you.


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