Thursday, January 5, 2012

Learn English through Songs

Vocabulary needs to be revised again and again. Well, what could be better than studying vocabulary by listening to your favourite songs?

Read the lyrics first and try to understand them. You don’t have to translate the lyrics word by word, just try to find out what the song is all about. (Note: ‘Rap’ might not be practical as those songs usually contain slang words that not even ‘ordinary’ English native speakers know.)

Pick some words or phrases from the song that you would like to learn. If necessary, look up their exact meaning in a dictionary. A dictionary might also be useful to find other interesting phrases with the word.

Now, to learn the vocabulary, all you have to do is listening to the song again and again (that shouldn’t be a problem if it’s one of your favourite songs).

Here are some of the radio that you can hear online ! :)

Or you can hear one of my favourite radio in this blog too! :)

Let the music turn you on.


Confusing Prefixes: anti -/ ante-

Prefixes tell us a lot about the meaning of a word but there are some pairs that sound the same or similar and look pretty similar too and so they are confusing. In the next few posts I'm going to look at some of these tricky pairs to help with spelling long words.


Anti- means against. So we have anticlockwise (butcounterclockwise in US English), antivirus, antiperspirant,antidepressant, antiseptic, antibiotic. And we can add can also addanti- to other words to create new words. You may hear people talk about someone being anti-technology or anti-Obama.

What interesting anti-s have you heard or used lately? Leave a comment to tell us.

Ante-, on the other hand, means before, in time or position. Soantepenultimate means the third from the end (before the penultimate); antenatal refers to something before a baby is born (when a woman is pregnant); an anteroom is a room where you may be asked to wait before going into another larger room leading off it.

Anti- is much more common that ante- and we don't usually make new words with ante-.

One last thing: when do we use a hyphen ( - ) between these prefixes and the base words? The rules of hyphenation are not very strict (different dictionaries give different answers). I haven't found any ante words with a hyphen. When adding anti, generally if the base word starts with a or i or a capital letter use a hyphen, otherwise don't. So an anti-ageing cream may contain antioxidants. And an antiracist would probably be anti-Nazi. New words that you make up or hear should probably be written with a hyphen if they haven't yet made it to a dictionary.


English Pronunciation. This is Confusing!!

Hi everyone! How are you guys doing?

Today, let's get some noise by trying to read this poem!

If you can pronounce correctly every word in this poem, you will be speaking English better than 90% of the native English speakers in the world. After trying the verses, a Frenchman said he’d prefer six months of hard labour to reading six lines aloud.

Dearest creature in creation,
Study English pronunciation.
I will teach you in my verse
Sounds like corpse, corps, horse, and worse.
I will keep you, Suzy, busy,
Make your head with heat grow dizzy.
Tear in eye, your dress will tear.
So shall I! Oh hear my prayer.
Just compare heart, beard, and heard,
Dies and diet, lord and word,
Sword and sward, retain and Britain.
(Mind the latter, how it’s written.)
Now I surely will not plague you
With such words as plaque and ague.
But be careful how you speak:
Say break and steak, but bleak and streak;
Cloven, oven, how and low,
Script, receipt, show, poem, and toe.
Hear me say, devoid of trickery,
Daughter, laughter, and Terpsichore,
Typhoid, measles, topsails, aisles,
Exiles, similes, and reviles;
Scholar, vicar, and cigar,
Solar, mica, war and far;
One, anemone, Balmoral,
Kitchen, lichen, laundry, laurel;
Gertrude, German, wind and mind,
Scene, Melpomene, mankind.
Billet does not rhyme with ballet,
Bouquet, wallet, mallet, chalet.
Blood and flood are not like food,
Nor is mould like should and would.
Viscous, viscount, load and broad,
Toward, to forward, to reward.
And your pronunciation’s OK
When you correctly say croquet,
Rounded, wounded, grieve and sieve,
Friend and fiend, alive and live.
Ivy, privy, famous; clamour
And enamour rhyme with hammer.
River, rival, tomb, bomb, comb,
Doll and roll and some and home.
Stranger does not rhyme with anger,
Neither does devour with clangour.
Souls but foul, haunt but aunt,
Font, front, wont, want, grand, and grant,
Shoes, goes, does. Now first say finger,
And then singer, ginger, linger,
Real, zeal, mauve, gauze, gouge and gauge,
Marriage, foliage, mirage, and age.
Query does not rhyme with very,
Nor does fury sound like bury.
Dost, lost, post and doth, cloth, loth.
Job, nob, bosom, transom, oath.
Though the differences seem little,
We say actual but victual.
Refer does not rhyme with deafer.
Foeffer does, and zephyr, heifer.
Mint, pint, senate and sedate;
Dull, bull, and George ate late.
Scenic, Arabic, Pacific,
Science, conscience, scientific.
Liberty, library, heave and heaven,
Rachel, ache, moustache, eleven.
We say hallowed, but allowed,
People, leopard, towed, but vowed.
Mark the differences, moreover,
Between mover, cover, clover;
Leeches, breeches, wise, precise,
Chalice, but police and lice;
Camel, constable, unstable,
Principle, disciple, label.
Petal, panel, and canal,
Wait, surprise, plait, promise, pal.
Worm and storm, chaise, chaos, chair,
Senator, spectator, mayor.
Tour, but our and succour, four.
Gas, alas, and Arkansas.
Sea, idea, Korea, area,
Psalm, Maria, but malaria.
Youth, south, southern, cleanse and clean.
Doctrine, turpentine, marine.
Compare alien with Italian,
Dandelion and battalion.
Sally with ally, yea, ye,
Eye, I, ay, aye, whey, and key.
Say aver, but ever, fever,
Neither, leisure, skein, deceiver.
Heron, granary, canary.
Crevice and device and aerie.
Face, but preface, not efface.
Phlegm, phlegmatic, ass, glass, bass.
Large, but target, gin, give, verging,
Ought, out, joust and scour, scourging.
Ear, but earn and wear and tear
Do not rhyme with here but ere.
Seven is right, but so is even,
Hyphen, roughen, nephew Stephen,
Monkey, donkey, Turk and jerk,
Ask, grasp, wasp, and cork and work.
Pronunciation (think of Psyche!)
Is a paling stout and spikey?
Won’t it make you lose your wits,
Writing groats and saying grits?
It’s a dark abyss or tunnel:
Strewn with stones, stowed, solace, gunwale,
Islington and Isle of Wight,
Housewife, verdict and indict.
Finally, which rhymes with enough,
Though, through, plough, or dough, or cough?
Hiccough has the sound of cup.
My advice is to give up!!!

Can you pronounce them all correctly?? Let me know by dropping your comments here!

Active and Passive Voice

The active voice is one of the two voices that verbs are divided into.
The other is the passive voice. With verbs in the active voice, commonly called active verbs, the subject of the verb is the performer of the action described by the verb.
For example:

The boy threw the ball.
We saw the man on the roof.

In the first sentence the verb throw is in the active voice, since the subject of the verb (the boy) is doing the throwing. In the second sentence, the verb see is in the active voice since the subject of the sentence (we) is doing the seeing.
These two sentences can be put into the passive voice as:

The ball was thrown by the boy.
The man on the roof was seen by us.

In the passive voice, the subject of the verb is the recipient of the action of the verb:

The footballer was kicked by one of the opposing team.

The verb kick is in the passive voice, since the subject of the sentence, the footballer, is the recipient of the action of the verb kick. this sentence can be put into the active voice as:

One of the opposing team kicked the footballer.

Now, can you find the FORMULA for passive voice in the video??

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Classic English Reading

These are short, famous texts in English from classic sources like Shakespeare. Some texts have word definitions and explanations to help you. Some of these texts are written in an old style of English. Try to understand them, because the English that we speak today is based on what our great, great, great, great grandparents spoke before! Of course, not all these texts were originally written in English. The Bible, for example, is a translation. But they are all well known in English today, and many of them express beautiful thoughts.

To be, or not to be
William Shakespeare

To be, or not to be, that is the question:
Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles
And by opposing end them?
To die: to sleep;
No more; and, by a sleep to say we end
The heart-ache and the thousand natural shocks
That flesh is heir to, 'tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wish'd. To die, to sleep;
To sleep: perchance to dream: ay, there's the rub;
For in that sleep of death what dreams may come
When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,
Must give us pause.

Spoken by Hamlet in the play Hamlet

You may read about Shakespeare here:
Biography of Shakespeare

Exercise: Discuss what the poem is all about.
Submission: 9 Jan 2011

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Improving Spelling - Never Too Late!

Dearest teachers and students, today I found a good site that giving the tips for improving spelling. Take a look what the author said!

The Jim Henry Story
Jim Henry's family didn't know he was illiterate and in his early 90's (yes, nineties!) He decided he wanted to learn to read and write. He not only achieved this dream but at 98 the lobster fisherman from Connecticut,USA has just written a book about his life.
Read more here:

Wow! Pretty inspiring. And a story worth remembering when you think you're getting too old to sort something out.

Have you always felt that your spelling was not good enough? Is it time to do something about it? Try these tips:

1) Read what you enjoy and are comfortable with.

2) Write just a little bit each day. It doesn't have to be long but try to get it right by using a dictionary. Use a pen, but as you come across any words you're not 100% sure about, write these in pencil. Then check them. Or if you prefer to type, turn the Autocorrect off and type the words you're not sure about in a different colour.

3) Keep a notebook (paper or digital) of words you've looked up. Look through your notebooks sometimes and try to see patterns in spelling.

4) Try to learn why words are spelled as they are. Can you relate them to another word with similar meaning?

5) Try to learn the spelling of words you need a lot or have big problems with.
Use my Look Say Cover Write and Check chart:

6) Explore and follow this blog.

7) Get help from a friend, family member or teacher. But make sure it's not someone who makes you feel bad about your spelling. Perhaps you can help them with something that they're not very good at in return - it makes for a more balanced relationship.

8) Remember if a man in his 90's can learn to read and write from scratch, there's no reason why you can't work on improving your spelling.

The tips above are very general. Much more throughout the blog.

Go for it!


Monday, January 2, 2012

An Idiom A Day Keeps B Grade Away

A few words can make your language seem enhanced and convey exactly what you have to. Well, idioms, express more than words. So, use these expressions to communicate more effectively.

Blessing in disguise
Meaning: Something good which isn't recognized in the first instant.
Example: Getting out of the place was a blessing in disguise for me.

A doubting Thomas
Meaning: A skeptic person who needs a tangible evidence to believe.
Example: My boss is a doubting Thomas, there is no point trying to convince him.

A dime a dozen
Meaning: Something that is available in plenty and commonly.
Example: Such bags are available dime a dozen on Fashion Street.

A leopard can't change his spots
Meaning: You can't change who you are.
Example: It's true a leopard can't change his spots, but he sure can change his strategy.

A piece of cake
Meaning: An easy thing to do.
Example: Getting a scholarship was a piece of cake for Frieda.

Against the clock
Meaning: A hectic dash or running against time.
Example: Finishing the paper was a race against the clock.

Cry wolf
Meaning: To intentionally give a false alarm.
Example: "Stop crying wolf, or else no one will come to your help in case of need."

Devil's advocate
Meaning: Someone who takes a position in an argument without knowing the truth. Or someone who counters the argument without believing in it.
Example: He is just playing devil's advocate. Don't fall for the trap.

These were some idioms and their meanings which are frequently used by us.

Dearest Darlings, I would like to assign you with such a fun activity!

1. Find an idiom.
2. Construct a sentence using the idiom.
3. Do it on daily basis starting from 3rd Jan 2012 until 3rd Feb 2012.
4. Compile everything in the most creative way.
5. You may have drawings, pictures etc to add more flavors to your work.
6. Submit your work on time!
7. 20 Best Masterpiece will be rewarded with mystery box! Yeay!