English classics

Lesson #201: Reading to Improve English Language Skills? 3 Recommended Children’s Classics

📚 One question I am often asked is: ‘which classics are good for English language learners?’ It is one of my favourite questions, because it allows me to recommend great books that can be useful and enjoyable for you. 😊 As you can tell from this Lesson’s title, I recommend getting started on children’s classics […]

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Lesson #122: Different Usages of the Subjunctive in George Eliot’s ‘Middlemarch’

Perhaps the English grammar tense that learners (and even native speakers) struggle most with is the SUBJUNCTIVE. ✍️ It has various forms that can be used in different situations, as long as those expressions refer to either a demand, a wish, a suggestion or a hypothetical situation (a situation that could happen but hasn’t yet happened). ✍️

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Lesson #121: The Smallest Element in Writing That is Often Overlooked

There are numerous factors that must be considered when writing well. Grammar. Vocabulary. Clear thoughts. But one of the most overlooked of all is PUNCTUATION. The right commas, semicolons and periods (along with the appropriate use of brackets, dashes, and hyphens) can ‘make or break’ a sentence.  In many ways, I believe that if you

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Lesson #119: Teatime Literary Reflections (and the Power of Good Storytelling) (Part 2)

As promised, here are some observations on the passage from Elizabeth Gaskell’s Cranford, as referenced in the previous post: 🖋️ Gaskell’s approach here is more conversational than the style of other classic novels. This is because the story is told by one of the characters in the book.  🖋️ Gaskell uses the word ‘very’ several times

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Lesson #119: Teatime Literary Reflections (and the Power of Good Storytelling) (Part 1)

Teatime! A light dinner eaten in the late afternoon or evening that is still popular in Britain and Ireland.  I’m at home alone this evening, so I decided to serve my tea and scone on my Grandmother’s china, an heirloom passed down through the years. However, teatime is traditionally a time for the family (and

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Lesson #117: More Vocabulary to Help with Reading Hardy’s ‘Under the Greenwood Tree’ (and Other Books!) (Part 2)

As mentioned in the previous post, where I quoted from Thomas Hardy’s Under the Greenwood Tree (1872), here is a short list of vocabulary to help with understanding the same passage. 🍃A quick question: how did you find the text? Was it challenging in terms of vocabulary? Did you understand most of it? ✨Did you enjoy his

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Lesson #117: Starting to Read English Classics? (Part 1)

In my previous post, I offered a few pointers to help English students get started with classic literature. Can I recommend some good classics to start with? Of course! When I conducted a bookshelf search, I immediately came across Under the Greenwood Tree (1872), one of Thomas Hardy’s early works and a good choice for most

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Lesson #116: ‘Passion for Dead Leaves’: Tips on How to Read (and Enjoy) Old Classics as an English Language Student

After admiring these acer tree leaves today, I was reminded of a memorable conversation among the Dashwood sisters in Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility (1811): “Dear, dear Norland,” said Elinor, “probably looks much as it always does at this time of the year. The woods and walks [are] thickly covered with dead leaves.” “Oh,” cried Marianne, “with

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Lesson #114: Mini-lesson Monday (Part 2): Charles Dickens and How Vocabulary ‘Groups’ Create a Strong Atmosphere in Your Writing

Mini-lesson Monday, Part 2: 2) While having the definitions of difficult vocabulary does help us to understand the passage, the most important thing when reading this paragraph from the opening pages of Bleak House ( as seen in the previous post) is to focus on the repetitive word ‘FOG’ particularly in the context of London’s setting, establishes

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Lesson #114: Mini-lesson Monday (Part 1): Charles Dickens and How Vocabulary ‘Groups’ Create a Strong Atmosphere in Your Writing

Another Monday, another mini-lesson (in 2 posts; this is part 1): My inspiration today comes from Charles Dickens, one of the most popular authors in the English language. Bleak House (1853) is a favourite of mine, a long, two-volume novel that interweaves two narrative voices in an intriguing story. I will quote from its opening pages:

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Lesson #111: Finding a Reading Partner (or Buddy) can Improve Your English

Have you ever heard the advice: ‘You should READ MORE to improve your English’? When I try to get better at something, like French, I always hear the same thing. Additionally, I agree with the advice that reading increases your vocabulary and helps you become aware of the language’s natural turn of phrase. I’ll be

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Lesson #105: Reflections on nature (and literature) in Jane Austen’s ‘Persuasion’

ADVANCED LEVEL While walking in our garden this morning, these russet leaves reminded me of another Jane Austen classic, Persuasion (1818). Have you read it or seen a movie version of it? Anne Elliot, the main character, is both attentive to others and sensitive to the beauty of nature. In this symbolic passage, she walks

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