Language Articles

The English language.

Double click on any word to listen to the pronunciation.


If you are reading this with any degree of understanding then you must have a good standard of English already.  What?  You don't believe me?  Then perhaps what you need is a little more confidence  - yes  you will make mistakes, but don’t we all?  I have a friend who met her husband to be when he visited her home in Peru. He speaks Spanish only in its most elementary form (the kind that requires you have a guidebook in one hand), and at that time she spoke not one word of English. Nevertheless they fell in love. Once his time was up and he had to return to England, she followed him two weeks later and today, perhaps three months later, we received the invitation to their wedding.

Along with millions of others who never pick up a racket from one year to the next  I watch Wimbledon. Last night it was young Andrew Murray who finally won though to the next round after a rather patchy match.

At the moment we have the builders in – when they finally arrive for the day. This can mean any time between 8.30 and 11 30 am – more often the latter. We thought it was a small job – just a roof repair on an out building  - but they’ve managed to extend it to 10 days so far. Fortunately we are paying by the job rather than the hour. One of them will go off for a spade, a special one he can’t work without,  or to the post office ( 5 doors way) and then doesn’t reappear for 4 hours..

Most people would agree that spring is for lovers, so is any other time for that matter, because people can fall in love any time, any place and anywhere (to quote the famous Martini advert), and it can happen under the most peculiar of circumstances. I first spoke to my husband when I was waiting for him to finish with the ironing board. My daughter met her future husband in a shared college kitchen where she was astonished to see him defrosting frozen mashed potato. She even wrote home about it.  It took three years before they got together. My in-laws met on top of a bus, so must have made arrangements to meet again very quickly,  and my parents met in the pouring rain outside a cinema. My father proposed half an hour later and mom only took a few weeks to say 'yes'.

Linguists are full of theories about how people learn – the use of short term and long term memory, how the brain encodes ideas, the use of menomics and lots more complicated gumph. You don’t need to know all that to learn a language. What you do need is to hear it and to try it out, and this isn’t too hard – ask any two year old.

An index, while never the glamorous part of any writing project, is essential to the readability and usability of longer non-fiction and technical works. Building one need not be a chore, but it should not be an afterthought either. Here's how to make an index useful to readers without it becoming an unduly large project:-

1. Understand the purpose of an index. An index is an alphabetical listing of key words and concepts in the text. It contains "pointers" to those words and concepts, which are usually page, section, or paragraph numbers. An index generally appears at the end of a document or book. This is distinct from a table of contents, a bibliography, or other supporting materials.

2. Begin with a completed text. If the text is not yet complete, you can still begin the process of building an index as long as the text has most of its final structure.


There are lots of different words to describe emptiness or fullness, try to spot them in this article:-
I did that necessary, but not very interesting, job this week, of clearing out my freezer. It was quite iced up and every little bit of ice had to be removed, otherwise it would become the focus of a new build up. I’ve got three freezers – one more of less dedicated to vegetarian food for one member of the family, another that was here when we arrived with rather silly drawers that jam if you put in more than the minimum, and the big one – a huge chest freezer, it could even be described as copious,  to take all  the garden produce to last us until the next harvest. The problem is that we are surrounded with shops offering special offers and so my husband (and I, it must be admitted) keeps coming home with ‘bargains’ and ‘special offers’. We will eat them, but what do we do in the meantime with huge joints of beef and pounds of parsnips, packs of apricots and tubs fit to burst with goodies of all kinds?

What Would We Do Without Grammar

No one is crazy about grammar, except me. It's a good thing because I teach grammar. It is the basis for all good writing. So between writing and teaching, I've learned to love those pesky words called hyperboles, similes, metaphors, and personification. Oh no, not those things again! Yes, those things again. They are the work horses of figurative speech.

Running a club? You may want to consider starting a club newsletter, as it’s a great way to keep members up-to-date on news and upcoming events. Many members tend to grow apart with their clubs primarily due to a lack of staying in touch. Having a newsletter ensures everyone keeps abreast.

I had a dream about dangling participles last night; probably because I had a bowl of chocolate-chip, fudge brownie, chocolate ice cream followed by a second bowl of hand picked sweet cherries, before I went to bed. Instead of sugarplums dancing in my head, there were dangling participles hovering over the bedpost. It sounds kind of kinky doesn't it?

What is a participle? It is a word ending in "ing" and sometimes "ed". It looks like a verb but acts as an adjective. A participle is used to describe other words in a sentence.

The language we use programs our brains. Mastering our language gives us a great degree of mastery over our lives and our destinies. It is important to use language in the best way possible in order to dramatically improve your quality of life.