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What to Say In English to Someone Who Is Going Through a Difficult Time

It’s very difficult to find the words to show that you support and feel sympathy for someone when sad things happen to them. Many people have no idea what to say in any language, and to make it even harder, phrases that would be appropriate in your native language don’t always have exactly the same …

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3 Other Ways to Say Good Luck in English

Most languages have a way to wish someone good luck – or, in other words, so say you hope that whatever they are about to do is successful. From the French bonne chance!, to the Icelandic it’s gangi þér vel!, to the Khmer samlang laor!, it’s nice to know that wherever you go in the …

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Weird Pronunciation Secrets: Why O and U Sometimes Sound the Same in English

One thing that drives many English language learners crazy is the fact that, sometimes, the same letter in English can be pronounced several different ways, while at other times, two different letters can sound the same! Just look at this famous poem, called The Chaos, which points out some annoying examples like new and sew …

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The Very Silly Reason That Many English Words are Hard to Spell

You may have noticed that a lot of words in English don’t look like they sound. For example, take the word “debt”. You don’t pronounce the b, so why is it there? You might be thinking that there’s a logical reason for this that you’ve never been told. After all, pronunciation changes over time, which …

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7 Signs with English Grammar Problems That Will Make You Laugh

Last week we talked about the fact that English grammar can be ambiguous – that it can cause one sentence can have more than one meaning. Sometimes, adding in punctuation like commas and full stops can prevent this from happening. If you don’t, the ambiguity can be very, very funny. Here are seven examples of …

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What On Earth Is a Paraprosdokian?

The English language is full of strange features that make it more and more interesting, the more you learn. For example, one thing that makes English a great language for comedy is its flexible grammar. This allows you to change the order of words in a sentence more than in many other languages, and it …

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6 Ways To Stay Motivated When Learning a Language

Getting started on a new language is so exciting. You imagine travelling to a country where it’s spoken, chatting fluently with people you meet along the way, ordering meals in restaurants with no trouble, joking with strangers, reading local newspapers, watching films in the cinema without subtitles, maybe even studying or working in that country. …

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4 Truly TERRIBLE Tips for Language Learners

Image representing students learning what Thanksgiving is all about

When you are starting a new project or setting a new goal, getting advice from other people who have succeeded in the same area is really useful. Unfortunately, plenty of people with no idea what they are talking about will also try to tell you what you should and shouldn’t do! Here are seven things …

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Struggling to Be Understood? Don’t Take It Personally

A long time ago, I arrived at a tiny guesthouse in a village in the countryside in Peru. The next afternoon, I asked, in Spanish, if the couple who owned the guesthouse knew where I could rent a horse to take on a trek nearby. I had only been learning Spanish for a few months, …

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The One Big Secret to Getting Your Pronunciation Right in a New Language

What’s the most difficult challenge when you’re figuring out how to pronounce words in a new language? I would say: false friends. These are words, letters or syllables that, written down, look the same or very similar to those in your own language. You see them and think: great! This one’s easy! I know how …

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