Language Articles

Have you ever heard a "Knock , knock. Who’s there?" joke?  What about something that “makes your hair stand on end”?

William Shakespeare not only wrote great plays, and wonderful, romantic poetry, but this balding, long-dead man from Stratford , so enhanced the English language , that we are still using his words and phrases today. You might have a friend whom you describe as having ‘a heart of gold’ or someone else to whom you say, “Good riddance!”. Maybe certain foods or sounds, “Set your teeth on edge”. Has someone ever made you jealous? Then you were suffering from, “The green eyed monster”.

Read more: Shakespeare's Legacy - Language Article


Proofreading your writing: When to call in the professionals

As an EFL learner it is normal to expect that you will make some grammar and punctuation mistakes in your writing. One of the most effective ways to reduce or eliminate these flaws is to have your writing proofread and edited either by yourself, a friend or a professional. Whilst using the services of a professional proofreader is usually the most effective option, in many cases it is not the most pragmatic or feasible one.

This article seeks to discuss when it is most appropriate to call in the professionals and what to look for in such services. It also provides guidance on cheaper (or free) alternatives when this is not an option for you.

Read more: Proofreading - Language Article


The other day my husband came in with the groceries.

‘I’ve bought plenty of pasta packets.’ he said.

To me this means little packs to serve one or two people, that contain both pasta and the ingredients for a sauce – a quick snack when in a hurry. You just add water or milk, perhaps some butter and heat up.  Today we’d been out for a walk and needed lunch quickly so that he could go on to an appointment. but I searched the shopping bag in vain.  Plenty of plain pasta in packets,  but no pasta packets.  We discussed the difference between a packet of pasta and a pasta packet over lunch – sardine sandwiches.

Read more: Context is King - Language Article

Language can be slow to catch up with changes in society, for example, we still talk about ringing someone up, even though phones no longer have a little bell attached as they did in the "good old" days, and we download "ring tones" for our mobile phones, even though half the time they are snippets of popular songs.  We also talk about dialling a number, although we no longer use phones where you have to put your finger into a dial with holes and move it round, but we don’t say we press or type a number, even though that is exactly what we do.

Read more: Ring Ring - Language Article