A Word About Words and the English Language
Written by Jacob C. Herman
The English language has long interested scholars and the common people. Its widespread use often leads to evolution of colloquialisms and regional influences on the language. However, proper English usage requires an understanding of grammar rules, phonics and being able to use English words, phrases and expressions properly. Here is a detailed look at the English language and its appropriate usage.
Using the English language means keeping all the grammar rules in mind while using the right words and phrases. While this may seem constricting and rigid to many, it does make sense to use the language appropriately.
- Common Errors: A description of the common errors observed in using the English language.
- English for Non-Native Speakers: A list of useful links for those learning English as a second language.
- Business Language Rules: A series of audio clips to learn business English for a host of business situations such as office socializing or dealing with difficult clients.
Grammar is the basis of any language and using correct grammar is vital to using the language properly. In English, grammar rules can often confuse new learners or non-native speakers.
- Grammar Guide: A comprehensive list of links explaining usage and rules for various grammatical terms.
- Correct Comma Usage: Complete description of using this common yet often confused punctuation mark.
- Active Voice vs. Passive Voice: Understand when to use the correct voice.
Phrases & Expressions
Phrases and expressions are an important part of language. Phrases are essentially groups of words that are joined together to create a meaningful expression. Over time, these become a part of the language and using them fluently in writing and speaking adds a certain elegance to language. On the other hand, using an inappropriate phrase can ruin an entire conversation.
- Origin and Meaning: A complete guide to the history and meaning of thousands of English phrases.
- Common Phrases and Expressions: A list and explanation of phrases used commonly by native English speakers.
- Idioms: Learn more about a phrase in which the meaning of the whole sentence differs from the meaning of all the parts.
Phonics is extremely important to learn to read well. Knowing the “sound” of a letter is useful in learning to speak it properly as well as read it easily. According to a report published by the New Horizons for Learning Organization, the main reason most children struggle with reading is due to lack of proper phonics instruction.
- Phonic Rules: Provides a complete list of phonics and syllable rules.
Having a good vocabulary is essential to be able to use the English language to its fullest. A limited repertoire of words will only restrict chances of being able to communicate fluently and expressively. There are many ways to increase and build vocabulary however; communicating and reading are two proven ways of learning and using new words with ease.
- Vocabulary Building: An interactive way to learn new words, their pronunciation and meaning.
- Vocabulary for the ESL student: Quizzes and activities for ESL students to increase vocabulary.
- Improve Vocabulary: Steps on how to increase and improve vocabulary effectively.
The right spelling is important when writing and an incorrect spelling can change the entire meaning of a sentence. For instance, using ‘advice’ instead of ‘advise’ can alter the meaning to reflect a noun instead of a verb. Therefore, it is important to consult a good dictionary when in doubt about the spelling or meaning of a word.
- Rules of Spelling: Basic rules to learn how to spell correctly.
- Spelling Guidelines and Practice: Useful information on how to learn spellings and ways to practice making it perfect.
The Internet has surely made it easy for students and non-native speakers to learn English easily and effectively. Learning to speak, read, or write English requires committed study and diligent practice. Here is a look at some of the resources to help learn English.
- Learn English with the British Council: Lots of useful resources for adult and child learners.
- Effective Ways to Learn English: Provides information for English teachers and learners with advice, instruction, and exercises.
Fun with Words
Once the English language rules and usage have been learned, it becomes easy to use words to make poems, write articles and just have fun with words and sentences
- Tongue Twisters: Practice saying tongue twisters to improve pronunciation.
- Anagrams: Anagrams are words or phrases formed by rearranging the letters of another word or phrase. Learn more about anagrams.
In English, there are many literary terms that are used to identify literary elements and techniques. According to the article on Literary Devices by Jay Braiman, literary devices, “are not found in literature and they are not “used” by authors.”
- Glossary of Literary Terms: An alphabetical glossary of literary terms and their meanings.
- More Literary Terms: A comprehensive guide to various literary terms along with examples.
Written by Jacob C. Herman