english vocabulary

Lesson #197: Alice’s Adventures With Homographs and Homophones (Words That Are Spelled Or Sound The Same)

📗 “Take care of the sense, and the sounds will take care of themselves.” – Lewis Carroll, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (1865) One of the most famous children’s books in the word is certainly Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (1865), which has been translated into at least 174 since it was first published over …

Lesson #197: Alice’s Adventures With Homographs and Homophones (Words That Are Spelled Or Sound The Same) Read More »

Lesson #177: Appreciating a Medieval English Poem: William Langland’s ‘Piers Plowman’

Every single language that is spoken today has undergone (gone through) many changes over the years, over centuries. This is also true of English, which could be described as having several phases or historical stages of development: 🪔 c. 500-1150 AD: Old English  This is made of the dialects of Anglo-Saxon tribes, with a very few words …

Lesson #177: Appreciating a Medieval English Poem: William Langland’s ‘Piers Plowman’ Read More »

Lesson #137 (Part 2): Understanding The Differences Between ‘Borrow’ And ‘Lend’ (Through Thomas Hardy’s ‘The Woodlanders’)

Part 2 of our lesson looking at the differences between ‘to lend’ and ‘to borrow’. ✍️ ‘to borrow‘: This verb means to take something from another person with their permission and consent, usually for a short period only. For example, we borrow books from the library – we don’t own them, neither does the library …

Lesson #137 (Part 2): Understanding The Differences Between ‘Borrow’ And ‘Lend’ (Through Thomas Hardy’s ‘The Woodlanders’) Read More »

Lesson #137 (Part 1): Understanding The Differences Between ‘Borrow’ And ‘Lend’ (Through Thomas Hardy’s ‘The Woodlanders’)

As mentioned in our Mini-Lesson Monday this week, I would like to address some common mistakes that I sometimes see English language students making. One mistake I encountered in a few places was a tendency to mix up the verbs ‘lend’ and ‘borrow’. I met even advanced English speakers who tripped up on these two words.  There are …

Lesson #137 (Part 1): Understanding The Differences Between ‘Borrow’ And ‘Lend’ (Through Thomas Hardy’s ‘The Woodlanders’) Read More »

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 style here is more conversational than most classic novel’s styles are. This is because the story is narrated by one of the book’s characters.  🖋️ Gaskell uses the word ‘very’ several times in the …

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

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 …

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

Lesson #115: Some Tips for Memorising Even More Vocabulary

When we are learning a language, we often memorise new vocabulary by using flashcards or repeatedly writing out lists of words. Those methods can be helpful, but not everyone can recall afterwards what they have so laboriously studied! 🤔 A French teacher once shared a very helpful tip with me and I want to share …

Lesson #115: Some Tips for Memorising Even More Vocabulary Read More »

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 (see previous post) is to focus on the repetitive word ‘FOG’ and how Dickens wants you to FEEL about it. So …

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

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 …

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

Lesson #113: Searching for the Best Words to Describe the Small Things in Life

This morning we picked some flowers from our garden to brighten the kitchen. I think one of them is a carnation, the other a dianthus, but I am open to correction! It brought to mind a passage in one of my favourite books, Elizabeth Gaskell’s North and South (1854): ‘… the sun-flower, shining fair,    …

Lesson #113: Searching for the Best Words to Describe the Small Things in Life Read More »

Lesson #109: Steps for Enriching Your Writing with the Right Vocabulary

While looking at this rose in my garden, I am reminded of the process of learning and improving our competence in any language. We learn a language word by word, step-by-step, layer upon layer, just as this rose’s petals layer over each other. And another point of similarity: just as these petals are relatively small, …

Lesson #109: Steps for Enriching Your Writing with the Right Vocabulary Read More »

Lesson #102: Enjoying Autumn Fruits with George Eliot’s ‘Middlemarch’

More autumnal fruits from the garden! I hope to make applesauce by peeling these apples, chopping them into small chunks, then placing them in a saucepan with a little water and allowing them to simmer for about 10 minutes while stirring them gently. It reminds me of how the British novelist George Eliot described the …

Lesson #102: Enjoying Autumn Fruits with George Eliot’s ‘Middlemarch’ Read More »