Spoken English

Lesson #275: ‘I Will Honour Christmas In My Heart’: Past, Present, and Future Tenses in ‘A Christmas Carol’ (Dickens)

📗 “I will honour Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year. I will live in the Past, the Present, and the Future. The Spirits of all Three shall strive within me. I will not shut out the lessons that they teach.” – Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol (1843) What better …

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Lesson #274: Easy Antonyms in ‘Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland’ You Already Know

📗 ‘So she was considering in her own mind (as well as she could, for the hot day made her feel very sleepy and stupid), whether the pleasure of making a daisy-chain would be worth the trouble of getting up and picking the daisies, when suddenly a White Rabbit with pink eyes ran close by …

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Lesson #273: Mistakes Spanish Speakers tend to make in English (Part 2)

Welcome to the last section of our Lessons on common mistakes learners of English make (and Part 2 of Lesson #273). With the help of Virginia Woolf’s first novel, The Voyage Out (1915), we are analysing the main mistakes that Spanish students make when learning English. … 21 COMMON MISTAKES (CONTINUED) 📝 #11 ‘TH’ SOUND …

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Lesson #273: Mistakes Spanish Speakers tend to make in English (Part 1)

This is our last Lesson in our 5-part series looking at common mistakes English language students tend to make. If you have been following these since the start of November, you will have noticed that there are always some points that challenge more than one group of students (for example, affecting Russian as well as …

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Lesson #272: Common Issues for Hebrew Speakers studying English (Part 1)

If you have been following our Lessons since the start of November, you will have noticed that we are taking a look at some common mistakes made by students from different language backgrounds. I always mention that these Lessons are not a criticism of your mistakes! I hope instead to offer some helpful points on …

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Lesson #271: Understanding ‘While’ vs ‘When’ through Anne Bronte’s ‘Agnes Grey’

Last Friday we looked at Anne Bronte’s first novel, Agnes Grey (1847), as a story on morality and education, women’s careers in the Victorian age, and personal character development. (Please read 👉 that Lesson first to get a good picture of what the novel is really about – you wouldn’t like to miss it!) Today …

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Lesson #270 (Part 2): Some Mistakes that Italians make in English

Here we will continue our Lesson by looking at common issues that Italian students of English often make. (If you missed Part 1 of our Lesson, have a look at it first 👈 – I shared in it more about the novel by Charles Dickens, Dombey and Son, on which we are basing our Lesson). …

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Lesson #270 (Part 1): Some Mistakes that Italians make in English

If you have been following my Lessons over the past couple of weeks, you will have seen that we are looking at the most common or typical mistakes that students make when learning English, with a special focus on how different mother tongues influence your English studies. In Lesson #267 we looked at the common …

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Lesson #269: Anne Bronte’s ‘Agnes Grey’: A short retelling of the novel (including 10 keywords you should know)

📙 ‘All true histories contain instruction; though, in some, the treasure may be hard to find, and when found, so trivial in quantity, that the dry, shriveled kernel scarcely compensates for the trouble of cracking the nut.’ ― Anne Brontë, Agnes Grey (1847) One of the books I turn to whenever I want a short, light, and …

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Lesson #268 (Part 2): Mistakes Russian students tend to make in English

📗 Welcome to Part 2 of our Lesson in which we look at difficult areas for many Russian students of English in particular. You may find it helpful to check 👉 Part 1 first to understand why we chose Henry James’ excellent novel, The Portrait of a Lady (1881), for this Lesson, as well as …

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Lesson #268 (Part 1): Mistakes Russian students tend to make in English

This month I am writing a series of Lesson posts covering the most common mistakes that students make. Today I am focusing on confusing English issues for native Russian speakers and hope very much it will help anyone who struggles with these areas. As I mentioned in my previous Lesson, there is no need to …

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Lesson #267 (Part 2): Common Issues French Speakers Struggle With In English

This is the second part of our Lesson, in which we look at some challenging points for French students studying English with the help of British author Frances Burney’s writings. 👉 If you haven’t read Part 1, please do read it first – everything will make more sense once you do! … 📝 #12 THE …

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Lesson #267 (Part 1): Common Issues French Speakers Struggle With In English

As someone who has been studying French for years and still make mistakes, I have become more aware of the kinds of pitfalls that native French speakers often experience while studying English. You might say I have a kind of ‘sympathy’ for their mistakes since those are often areas that native English speakers like me …

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Lesson #266: Some English Words That Are Difficult To Translate In Other Languages

Whenever you learn a new language, there are always words that you find challenging in themselves but also difficult to translate into your own language (or vice versa). I searched recently for some such words in English, and then realised that one of the very first works of English literature that I ever read as …

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Lesson #265: ‘from Eton pears to Parliamentary pairs’: 10 English Homophones

It has been a while since we turned to Charles Dickens for educational inspiration! On the other hand, I have just finished reading the last chapters of my favourite Dickens’ book, Little Dorrit (1857), and am paying tribute to it (acknowledging it respectfully) in today’s Lesson on homophones. You might be asking: what are homophones? …

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