British vs American English: vocabulary, tense and preference

Have you ever heard this old saying that Britain and America are ‘two nations divided by a common language’? They are, really. The main challenge for non-native speakers is the struggle to ‘balance’ both, while examiners advise students to stick to either in exams. Quite complicated you’d say. Let’s look at the basic differences in British and American English and decide if they are so different. The differences in vocabulary of British and American English are apparently the most noticeable. Both have a lot of words that are different in…

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Why ‘a hospital’ but ‘an hour’

My primary school teachers told me when a word starts with a vowel (a, e, i, o, u), I should use an, and use a with other letters (consonants). It sank in but I got confused when I saw a university and an hour. Through the years, I searched for clues until I found the most accurate— a simple one at that. If you are still confused like I used to be, relax and let’s get it right together once and for all. Articles a and an are indefinite articles, it…

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You need to know

The English language follows the pattern of Latin Script, a writing system based on letters of Classical Latin Alphabets. It has majuscule(capital letters) and minuscule forms (small letters). Pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis is considered the longest word in an English dictionary. It is a medical word for a lung disease. Antidisestablishmentarianism is considered the longest non-coined word, while Floccinaucinihilipilification is said to be the longest non-technical word. Aegilops is the longest word in alphabetical order, being two letters longer than ‘almost’, biopsy’ and ‘chintz’. 6. Twyndyllyngs (twins) is considered the longest word without…

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Can non-native speakers influence English?

As at 2006, English was the first language of more than 300 million people and second language of more— guess you know what that means at present. On English language, Professor Barbara Seidlhofer of the University of Vienna asserts: “…roughly only one out of every four users of the language in the world is a native speaker. This means that most interactions in English take place among ‘non-native’ speakers…” Consequently, non-native speakers will continue to influence the language, and their versions will eventually find their way into future English dictionaries.

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Tips you can’t miss

*English language has only one alphabet with 26 letters, contrary to ‘ 26 alphabets’ which is widely talked about. An alphabet is a set of letters arranged in a particular order. *’Widow’ is the only female form in English that is shorter than its corresponding male form ‘widower’. *’He is a talkative’ is a common error among non-native speakers of English. It is incorrect because ‘talkative’ is not a noun. *’Use to’ is not the present tense form of ‘used to’. Use ‘usually’ or ‘always’ to indicate what you do…

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