Should you say “on foot” or “by foot”?

walking on foot or by footWhen we talk about walking, we can say you go on foot or by foot, as a mode of transport. Which preposition is correct? Technically, on is more accurate, and common, and in exams you may be marked incorrect for using by foot. But why is by foot a mistake? Or is it a mistake at all? This is a perfect example of English grammar as a matter of style, not accuracy – and as you’ll see here, both are actually possible. Continue reading

Writing email subject lines – exercise

email subject exerciseThis exercise will test your use of the tips offered in the previous lesson, . Below, I have given you 9 possible email summaries, explaining the contents of a complete email. These become increasingly complicated. For each email summary, write an email subject line that presents only the important information, in a clear and concise way. Remember to cut out unimportant words and lead with the most important information. Continue reading

How to write informative email subject lines

writing email subject linesInformative email subject lines must be short and descriptive. It is a challenge to be noticed in someone’s inbox, so make sure your business and information emails get straight to the point and highlight important information, without being dramatic or appearing like adverts. People are familiar with (and tired of) marketing emails, and “showy” language is often associated with advertising. Your subjects should therefore be frank, lead with important details and be free of unnecessary words or ideas. Continue reading

How to write dates in British and American English

writing dates in EnglishCalendar dates can be written in a wide variety of ways in English, and often depend on formal or informal writing, personal style and whether you are writing British or American English. Whatever the format, in British English, dates are usually written in the order day – month – year , while in American English they are written month – day – year. Here are some common ways to write dates for each: Continue reading

Embedded Questions explained, with exercises

embedded question explainedEmbedded or included questions are used in two main situations: when we ask for information indirectly or when we report questions. This is common in more passive, or softer English (“Do you know…”), for reported speech (“She told me where…”) or to discuss a question without directly asking it (“I don’t know why…”). Embedded questions are noun phrases, so they use regular word order. The following article will explain when and how to use them, and is followed by some exercises.  Continue reading

Using ‘this’ or ‘next’ to describe a coming day of the week

this next friday time

There is sometimes disagreement among English speakers when labelling days in a sequence with this and next, and you may hear people say either this or next to refer to the coming day. If you study sequences of time more carefully, it can help you to understand why this is, and how you can clarify what an English speaker means by, for example “This Friday” or “Next Friday.” Continue reading

Teach English at a football academy in Sierra Leone

teach sierra leone

The Craig Bellamy Foundation is looking for volunteer English teachers to take part in its professional development program for a minimum of three months from either May or September 2014. The Foundation is a sports’ charity which trains and educates young footballers from Sierra Leone before sending them overseas to either continue their education or play football professionally. It is a great opportunity for teachers who are hoping to do a PGCE in the near future, as the boys study the international equivalent of GCSEs. The average class size is between 8 and 10 students, they have good facilities and teachers can also be mentored by fully qualified and highly experienced members of staff at the academy. Teachers should hold a CELTA certificate and have at least 1 years’ teaching experience. Contact Kian or Stephen.

Recognising Contractions in Spoken English – ‘s and ‘d

recognising contractions in spoken englishUnderstanding and using contractions in spoken English may seem simple in theory, but when listening to native English speakers you can encounter contractions unexpectedly. It can be difficult to understand what contractions mean when there is more than one possibility. For instance it’s could mean either it is or it has. You must use context to understand the meaning. The following tips and exercises will help you with the most common contractions, ‘s and ‘d. Continue reading

Past tenses exercise: choose from past simple and perfect tenses

mixed past tenses exercise

Complete the following sentences choosing between the past simple and past perfect tenses, using the verb that is given. Explained in my previous article, you should use past simple for an action or event that was complete before another event in the past, and past perfect for an action or event that happened before another event, or to show that an action was actively done.
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Writing an article: a step-by-step guide

writing an articleArticles can vary in length, and topic, but all should follow a logical structure. Though they may take many forms, the purpose is usually to inform or to entertain (often both), and this means following a similar pattern. Whether you’re writing an essay arguing two sides of a debate, narrating the history of a topic or reporting an event, the following tips can help students of English plan and write an effective article: Continue reading