What’s the origin of the word ‘blackleg’?

February 9, 2013

When trade unions call for strikes, they expect all of their members to refrain from work. That is the norm. However, sometimes some members of the trade union go against the wishes of their leaders and go to work. These people will go to offices and factories while they fellow workers protest in the streets. […]

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Practice, practise, advice, advise etc.

January 8, 2013

These words are often confused. Those forms that end in ce or cy are nouns. The other forms that end in se or sy are verbs. That means ‘advice’ is a noun, whereas ‘advise’ is a verb. In the same way, prophecy is a noun, whereas prophesy is a verb. Examples He gave me some […]

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Phrasal verbs with break

October 20, 2012

Break is used in a number of common phrasal verbs. Here is a list of them. Each phrasal verb is followed by its definition. Example sentences are also given. Break away – become separate; (of members of a group) escape; run away Break down – a) fail to work; prove to be useless; b) become […]

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Prepositions after particular words and expressions

October 15, 2012

Bad at He is not bad at badminton. Believe When believe means accept as true it is used without a preposition. I won’t believe a word you say. Believe in Do you believe in ghosts? Belong in / on (= have its place in / on) Those books belong on the top shelf. Belong to […]

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Rather as an adverb of degree

October 1, 2012

Rather can be used as an adverb of degree. This use of rather is common in British English. As an adverb of degree, rather has a similar meaning to ‘quite’ or ‘fairly’. However, it is more emphatic. In American English, rather is not normally used as an adverb of degree. With adjectives and adverbs When […]

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Words confused

April 30, 2012

Couple and pair Couple: a husband and wife or a boyfriend and girlfriend. Two couples remained on the dance floor. Pair: two things of the same kind which go together. Example: a pair of shoes, a pair of trousers Despise and detest Despise: have a very low opinion of someone or something; regard someone as […]

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Words commonly confused

April 28, 2012

Admit and confess To admit is to acknowledge truth. Admit can also mean ‘allow somebody to enter’. I must admit that it was a tempting offer. Confess To confess is to admit having done something wrong. She confessed having stolen the money. Amount and number Use amount before an uncountable noun. Use number with a […]

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Words confused

April 12, 2012

Rob and steal Rob: deprive somebody of his property; take (property) from a place unlawfully and often by force Armed men robbed the state bank yesterday. They robbed the traveler of his wallet. Steal: to take and keep something which belongs to somebody else. The master punished the boy for stealing the money. Stay and […]

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Confusing words exercise

April 10, 2012

Complete the following sentences. 1. Although they were an ……………………………. couple, they didn’t have an ………………………….. divorce. a) amiable; amicable       b) amicable; amiable 2. The …………………………. of money you earn in a month depends on the …………………………. of products you sell. a) amount; number        b) number; amount 3. I am worried that his illness seems […]

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Words ending in -man

April 6, 2012

Some words ending in –man do not have a common feminine equivalent. Examples are: chairman and fireman. But because most women object to being called ‘chairman’ or ‘spokesman’, these expressions are now being avoided in general references to people of either sex. In some cases, the word person is now used instead of man. And […]

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