Language Articles

The English language.

Double click on any word to listen to the pronunciation.


In Glasgow one of the recent best selling books over the last few years was William Laughton Lorimer’s ‘The New Testament in Scots’. Here is his description of John the Baptist from Mark’s Gospel:-

  • "John wis cleadit in a raploch coat o caumel's hair an hed a lethern girth about his weyst, an locusts an foggie-bees' hinnie wis aa his fairin."

The Long and the Short of It

Really clever linguists can draw maps. They join points on a map which separate the way language is used.

One such line runs through Warwickshire not far from Stratford upon Avon. Below the line most people will use a long ‘a’ sound and above it most will prefer a shorter vowel sound.

Build Your English Vocabulary in a Flash with Flash Fiction

Do you relish intriguing stories that stir your imagination? Do you find you don’t have time for that long novel because days or weeks go by before you return to its pages again.

If the answer to either of those questions is "yes", then you’re the perfect candidate for flash fiction, an even shorter version of short stories. We dealt earlier with building your English language skills with short stories. Now, we’re going a step further and discussing this even shorter form, which means you will always have time to read a story.

Slang is it good or bad?

to have to have not

Is slang a good thing? Language guru David Crystal in his huge work on the English language , ‘The Cambridge Encyclopaedia of the English Language’ gives a whole list of reasons why it is used – to which the person I’ve just asked about it says ‘It extends the language.’

To have or have not


The English verb ‘to have’ has a few peculiarities. It doesn’t always mean what it seems to say. If you say ‘I had an ice-cream’ you don’t mean you still have it – it has either long melted or been eaten. If you say ‘I have had a mango ice-cream’ you perhaps mean I tried one once, but never again. However, if you say ‘She had a baby last year’, in by far the majority of cases the baby still exists, she still has it. The ‘had ‘refers in this case to the actual birth. If you say on the other hand ‘She had a boyfriend last year,’ this probably means either she had one and she hasn’t got one now, or at least that she hasn’t got that particular one any longer. 

We also talk about the "haves and the have nots", which describes the relationship between the rich (the haves) and the poor (the have nots).  [editor] Which one are you?  I'm not rich, but I consider myself a "have".  



My daughter got engaged this week. It was all very romantic on the shores of the Grand Canal in Venice. Now they have returned from their holiday and are getting done to ordinary life again, a life that promises new relationships. Once they get married they will both acquire, as we will, lots of in-laws, people who are family without being blood relations. There will be new people to meet and new names to be learnt. I will become a mother-in -law. For many, many years English comedians have been making jokes about their awful mother-in-laws and now I’m going to be one!

The Evaluation Essay

The Essentials of an Evaluation Essay

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You write an evaluation essay when you want to present your take on a topic with the hope of possibly getting others to accept your point of view. It is similar to an argumentative essay; however it should be impartial, balanced writing- you're not out to win an argument. With this type of essay you state your thesis and the subsequent paragraphs are to support this thesis.

How to Write a How-To Essay That Inspires Your Readers to Action

Do you know how to do something that you find others asking about frequently? Alternatively, are you a quick learner, with a knack for picking up systems, processes, or just general ways of "doing things"?  Do you find you can easily explain ways of doing things in a lay-person's terms to others to help them accomplish tasks? If so, you're the perfect candidate for writing a How-To Essay. If not, you can certainly learn how to write a How-To Essay, so that you can pass your knowledge on to others and inspire them to "get at it."

Seasonal Talk


Here in the United Kingdom we are supposed to have four seasons, each of about three months long; winter, spring, summer and autumn (fall in America) - though sometimes we seem to get them all in one day:  There's an English saying, "If you don't like the weather, wait a few minutes and it will change".


American Flag

Someone, probably Bernard Shaw, once said that the British and the Americans are two people separated by a common language and it is certainly true that when Daniel Webster wrote his famous dictionary he set out to make the two languages distinctive – hence us Brits have humour and the Americans humor and so on.

The Information Interview Essay

The Art of the Informational Interview Essay

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Sometimes, we just want to learn more about other people; we want to find out what makes them tick so-to-speak. We yearn to understand how they navigate this adventure we call life.  About the only way we can actually learn about others is through asking them questions. That's what an Informational Interview does; you ask relevant questions and compile the answers into a form suitable for reading at one's leisure in an Informational Interview Essay.

You need to consider two aspects of the Informational Interview Essay. Aside from the typical considerations that come with any form of essay writing, such as proper research, clarity of writing, revision, and such. One aspect to consider is your approach to "Conducting the Interview." The second aspect for consideration is the actual "Questioning." Let's look at five vital points of each aspect: