Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The Story of ‘-able’ and ‘ible’ ~

Some adjectives end in the letters ‘-able’ or ‘ible’. They mostly refer to the ability or necessity to do something e.g. ‘washable’ (you can wash it), ‘visible (you can see it), ‘emailable’ (you can email it), and the pronunciation is the same. So how on earth do you know which spelling to use?

There are several approaches we can take depending on the person who is trying to learn it. If I have a student who really struggles with spelling of even very common and simple words, then whether to use ‘-able’ or ‘-ible’ isn’t their greatest priority and I would use Hint 1:

Hint 1: It is much more common for words to end in ‘able’ than ‘ible’. So if you don’t know and there’s no dictionary around, use ‘able’ – you’ve got about a 5:1 chance of being right!

But obviously that’s not good enough for some people. If I was teaching someone who had a reasonable knowledge of the English language I’d get them to look at some ‘-able’ and ‘-ible’ words and notice the following:

Hint 2: Generally we use ‘-able’ when a complete word remains (or just without a final silent ‘e’, or a ‘y’ changed to ‘i’) when we take the suffix away. So for example, ‘fashionable’ – ‘fashion’ is a complete word, so add ‘-able’. But ‘edible’ – ‘ed’ is not a complete word meaning ‘eat’ so it’s ‘-ible’. Of course (being English!) this isn’t always true but it’s a good guide. If that doesn’t help, try this:

Hint 3: Play around with the root word and see if you can make any words with ‘-ation’ with it. So if you don’t know if it’s ‘applicable’ or ‘applicible’, think of ‘application’. If you can make an ‘-ation’ word then it’s probably ‘-able’. So here it’s ‘applicable’. But if you play around with it and can only make an ‘-ition’ ‘-tion’, ‘-sion’, ‘cian’ or ‘-ion’ word it’s much more likely to be ‘-ible’. For example, it’s ‘visible’ because of ‘vision’.

This should satisfy most learners but let’s say I am teaching someone who has studied Latin or is a bit of a linguist. They are not usually the ones who come to me with spelling problems but if they do:

Hint 4: If the root comes from a Latin verb ending in ‘are’, use ‘able’. If it comes from an ‘ire’ or ‘ere’ word use ‘ible’.

Hint 5 is for anyone:

Hint 5: New words are often made with ‘-able’, but not ‘-ible’: ‘emailable’, biodegradable’, ‘clickable’, ‘offsetable’, ‘recession-proofable’. (I may have made the last two up but they are allowable!)

Tuesday, December 27, 2011


A PHOBIA is an abnormal or irrational fear of something, as Meg screamed when the robin flew in the window, because she has a phobia about birds. Many words are formed with -phobia as a SUFFIX to refer to various specified fears. they are commonly used in psychiatry and related fields, and some are quite well known in the general language, as claustrophobia, fear of enclosed spaces, and hydrophobia, fear of water.

The following are examples of phobias:

AGORAPHOBIA, fear of open spaces or public spaces
NEOPHOBIA, fear of novelty or new things
XENOPHOBIA, fear of foreigners or strangers

The adjectival suffix -phobic is used to describe someone who is suffering from such a fear, while nouns ending in the suffix -phobic refer to someone affected by such a fear.

Now, let's have some exercise!! Click on the picture to view larger picture. Here it is:

I Am More Polite Than Me??

I? Me? Is it just the same??

I and ME are personal pronouns which are liable to be confused.

I should be used as the subject of a sentence,for example:

You and I have both been asked to play tennis.
May John and I play?

Me should be used as the object.

My brother and father played against my mother and me.
The project was presented by John and me.

People often assume, quite wrongly, that me is less polite than I. This is probably because they have been taught that, in answer to such questions as Who is there?, the grammatically correct reply is It is I.

However, except in very formal contexts, It is me is frequently found in modern usage, especially in spoken contexts.

Confusion often arises as to whether to use I or me after the word "between". Since "between" is followed by an object, me is the correct form. For example:

Just between you and me, I think he is dishonest.


Choose the correct pronoun to complete each sentence.

1. John and (I/me) both knew Jack at university.

2. Jane committed the crime and then tried to put the blame on Pat and (I/me)

3. Just between you and (I/me), I don’t really trust Bob.

4. Hi, Jenny. It’s (I/me)! I’m just phoning to say I’ll see you at the restaurant tonight.

5. It was (I/me) who found the body, but it was Frank who phoned the police.

6. Meg spoke to Peter and (I/me) before she left.

7. The prize money was divided among brothers and (I/me).

8. My father, mother and (I/me) are going to my brother's house for Christmas.

9. The teacher was angry with two of other students and (I/me).

10. A gulf developed between my brother and (I/me) over my father's wall.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Hohoho! Merry Christmas~

Christmas Shopping

Christmas is the busiest time of year for shops in the UK.

Many shops stay open till late in the run up to Christmas, so that people who work in the daytime can have extra time to shop for Christmas decorations and gifts.

Most department stores decorate their windows with elaborate displays and lights. Some of the bigger stores even have a Grotto where kids can visit Santa to make last minute requests for toys and have their photo taken with him!

Not everybody enjoys the Christmas season, however. In a survey conducted by a mail order catalogue a few years back, 20% of women polled claimed to hate the festive season. On average, the women surveyed spent almost 300 hours preparing for Christmas, so maybe that had something to do with it. They also spent, on average, 11 hours clearing up after Christmas Day; perhaps that had something to do with it as well! Despite this, 70 per cent of women polled in the survey felt that the time they spent preparing for Christmas was worthwhile.

Many shops these days begin promoting Christmas months before the holiday - sometimes as early as September! Because of this, some people feel that Christmas has become too commercial and that people have forgotten its true meaning.

Question 1:
True or false? Some people believe that Christmas has become too commercialised.

Question 2:
Which of these words has a similar meaning to the word 'promoting'?
1. buying 2. advertising 3. preparing

Question 3:
Which of these words has a similar meaning to the verb 'poll'?
1. analyse 2. survey 3. compare

Question 4:
hich of these phrases has a similar meaning to the word 'preparing'?
1. getting ready 2. making good 3. going forward

Question 5:
True or false? Everybody enjoys the Christmas season.

Question 6:
True or false? The average woman polled in the survey spends 11 hours preparing for Christmas.

Question 7:
True or false? Some shops in the UK begin promoting Christmas months before the holiday.

Question 8:
Which of these words has a similar meaning to the word 'elaborate'?
1. interesting 2. pretty 3. ornate

Question 9:
Which of these expressions has a similar meaning to 'the busiest'?
1. most hectic 2. the franticest

Question 10:
How do you feel about Christmas? What is your preparation? Have you started getting ready for Christmas yet, or do you think it's still way too early?

Simply write your answers and opinions and you have to submit it before New Year! :)

Saturday, December 24, 2011

A Lucky Coin

Read the article first without stopping to find the missing words. Then read it again and choose the correct missing word from the numbered choices below the article.

When does one penny equal 170 million pennies? In Time for Kids, Suzanne Zimbler __1__ that a 1943 U.S. penny that was made at the Denver Mint has sold for $ 1.7 million. That single coin is thought to be the __2__ copper coin made in Denver that year. Only a handful of copper pennies were made at the other mints that same year.

Pennies were made of steel in 1943 because copper was in short supply for use in equipment to help wage World War ii. That was the only year that Lincoln pennies were not made of __3__.

A wealthy coin collector was eager to pay the huge sum for the coin because it was one of a kind and that collector already had a 1943 copper penny from each of the other two U.S. Mints in Philadelphia and San Francisco.

You might be surprised to learn what some of your own coins are worth. The more scarce any collectible item is, the higher the __4__ tends to be. It's not likely, but it is possible that you might have a small __5__ sitting in your pocket right now!

You can read the article from Time for Kids online at,28277,2021923,00.html.

a. pleads
b. asks
c. allows
d. reports

a. biggest
b. only
c. cheapest
d. chubby

a. copper
b. gold
c. plastic
d. silver

a. building
b. stack
c. ladder
d. price

a. spider
b. fortune
c. tooth
d. dollar

You may submit your answers to me and the LUCKY ONE with all correct answers will get a surprise reward!

Saturday, December 17, 2011




Why SHOULD YOU learn English?

Good question. Learning English is not the matter of attending classes and passing exams. I believe everyone should learn the English language for the following reasons:

1. English is the main language of news and information in the world.
2. English is the most widely spoken language in the world.
3. In general, the universal language on the Internet is the English.
4. Now online communities like My Space, YouTube, etc., offer people a way to make friends around the world and practice speaking English.
5. It is necessary to learn English if you are planning to study at a foreign university or school.
6. Nowadays in the competitive job market it is necessary to speak English. So if you learn English you will have a better chance of getting a job that pays more.

If you are not motivated to learn English you will become frustrated and give up. Ask yourself the following questions, and be honest:-

1. Why do you need to learn/improve English?
2. Where will you need to use English?
3. What skills do you need to learn/improve? (Reading/Writing/Listening/Speaking)
4. How soon do you need to see results?
5. How much time can you afford to devote to learning English.
6. How much money can you afford to devote to learning English.
7. Do you have a plan or learning strategy?

There are MANY reasons why you NEED to learn English. Here are some links where you can have more reading about why you need to learn English:
Omniglot - Why Learn English
Antimoon - Why Should I Learn A Language?
ESLPartyLand - Why Learn English

Remember, where there's a will there's a way!!