Should I get my IELTS test remarked?

A couple of months ago, I had a student who regularly scored around Band 6 in our mock speaking tests. He took the IELTS exam here in Seoul and two weeks later received his results. They’d given him 5.0 in speaking, meaning he couldn’t go to the university he wanted to. Naturally, he was distraught and asked me whether he should get a remark.

계속 읽기 “Should I get my IELTS test remarked?”

The difference between Compared to, Compared with, and Than

Like most of my blog posts, this one was inspired by a common error I hear from Knox English students: “The population of China is higher compared to the population of Korea.” This sentence has one grammatical error and one aspect that sounds unnatural. Let’s start with the error.

계속 읽기 “The difference between Compared to, Compared with, and Than”

The Difference between Poison, Venom, and Toxin

There are some errors in word choice that even native speakers make, and one of the most common ones that I encounter from English speakers is confusing the words poison and venom. This mistake is so common that I’ve even seen science books getting it wrong. Fortunately, the difference is easy to understand, and by the end of this article, you’ll hopefully never make this mistake again.

계속 읽기 “The Difference between Poison, Venom, and Toxin”

IELTS Writing – 10 Common Mistakes

I’ve been marking IELTS essays for many years now, and there are some mistakes that commonly appear. Some of them are related to word choice, some are due to content, while some are errors of punctuation. Improving your accuracy could move you up half a band, so if you’re looking for a quick way to boost your writing performance, make sure you avoid the following ten mistakes.

계속 읽기 “IELTS Writing – 10 Common Mistakes”

IELTS Speaking – Introductory Questions

There are four questions you’re guaranteed to hear at the beginning of the IELTS Speaking section, yet despite their predictability, students frequently make a complete mess of them. This shouldn’t happen, and I strongly recommend taking a few minutes to prepare some simple, standard answers to ensure you give the examiner the best possible first impression.

계속 읽기 “IELTS Speaking – Introductory Questions”

Menu or Dish?

One mistake I encounter time and time again is when students mix up the words menu and dish. A common sentence that students produce is “This restaurant has many menus,” but in most situations, this is not what they’re intending to say. Let’s have a look why.

계속 읽기 “Menu or Dish?”

Unwelcome Additions to the English Language? What are Alternative Facts and Post-Truth?

Brexit and the election of Donald Trump signified huge changes in the West’s political climate, and one thing that’s guaranteed from large-scale societal shifts is new language. In recent months, two new phrases have entered the English language, but these are phrases that not everyone is happy with. If you’ve watched the BBC or CNN recently, you can’t have failed to hear the terms alternative facts and post-truth politics.

계속 읽기 “Unwelcome Additions to the English Language? What are Alternative Facts and Post-Truth?”

The Meaning of Adverse Selection and Moral Hazard

If you work in insurance, you’re certain to come across the terms adverse selection and moral hazard. These concepts describe key problems within the industry, and although they have complicated-sounding names that many native speakers don’t know the meaning of, they’re actually pretty easy to understand.

계속 읽기 “The Meaning of Adverse Selection and Moral Hazard”

The Difference between the UK and Great Britain

England, Great Britain, the United Kingdom, the British Isles … these are terms that cause confusion even among British people, so don’t feel too bad if you don’t know the difference. To give you a better understanding of when to use each word or phrase, it’s easiest if we look at the situation from two different angles: geographical and political.

계속 읽기 “The Difference between the UK and Great Britain”

15 Russian Words Used in English

Words that transfer directly from one language to another with the exact same meaning are called loan words. Whenever a language takes a word, we refer to it as borrowing, which is a bit of a misnomer because the words are obviously never returned. English borrows loan words from many different sources, and given Russia’s size and cultural impact over the last couple of centuries, it should be no surprise that a few words have come directly from Russian. Political words are among the most commonly used, but Mother Russia – as Russians sometimes refer to their country – has loaned us words from all walks of life. Here are 15 of the most common.

계속 읽기 “15 Russian Words Used in English”

On the Weekend or At the Weekend?

Time-based prepositions can often cause problems, and the question in the title is one I often get asked. The answer is simple: on the weekend is from American English, whereas at the weekend is British English. Whatever you do, though, don’t say in the weekend. That’s wrong on either side of the Atlantic!

계속 읽기 “On the Weekend or At the Weekend?”

How to Resign in English

For many people, leaving your job can be a stressful time. Some find it difficult to say “I quit” in their mother tongue, and it becomes even harder when you need to do it in a second language. There are numerous factors to consider when choosing the way you tell your boss. Are you trying to express anger at her/him, or do you want to show that you feel guilty for leaving? For those of you struggling to find the right words to say in English, this guide will help you leave on your own terms.

계속 읽기 “How to Resign in English”

Difference Between i.e. and e.g.

Learning Latin is not as common in British schools as it used to be, but knowing some of the ancient language is essential for a lot of degrees taught in English, especially law. As an EFL student, you probably won’t encounter too much Latin, but two oft-mistaken terms you will definitely come across are i.e. and e.g.

계속 읽기 “Difference Between i.e. and e.g.”

Meaning of Cookie Cutter

If you’ve watched American television, you may have heard them use the phrase cookie cutter. A literal cookie cutter is – as the name suggests – a machine that cuts cookies, but this phrase is more commonly used to mean something that’s mass produced. It’s generally used in a derogatory sense, to imply that something has no distinguishing features, or no originality.

계속 읽기 “Meaning of Cookie Cutter”

Etymology of Mortgage

There are a lot of interesting, quirky etymologies in English, but one of my favourites is the word mortgage. It comes from old French and literally means ‘death promise,’ but why in modern English do we use it to describe the loan people get to purchase a house? Let’s first look at its two parts: mort and gage.

계속 읽기 “Etymology of Mortgage”

The 6 Most Beautiful British Universities

When you think of educational institutions in the UK, your mind probably conjures up images of Hogwarts. Although the Harry Potter movies were actually filmed at Alnwick Castle in Northumberland, there are in fact a lot of universities around the country with historic architecture that’s every bit as stunning. If you’ve ever dreamed of studying in medieval libraries, surrounded by antique leather-bound books, take a look at our guide to the six most beautiful universities in Britain.

계속 읽기 “The 6 Most Beautiful British Universities”

What is Jet Lag?

You may have heard people complaining about jet lag in the past. The way English speakers talk about it, it sounds like an illness: I have jet lag or I’m suffering from jet lag,” are the same sentence structures we use when talking about the flu or cancer. But what exactly is jet lag?

계속 읽기 “What is Jet Lag?”

Too, Too Many, Too Much

Before discussing when to use tootoo many, and too much, I first need to clear up a common mistake. Too means an excessive amount, and is therefore negative. Sometimes non-native English speakers say things like, “I had a great time yesterday. I was too happy.” This sounds strange, because happy is a positive adjective, and in most circumstances, you can’t have too much happiness. In this case, “I was very happy” sounds more natural. We only use too when suggesting there is an excessively high amount of something, e.g. “My stomach hurts. I ate too much.”

계속 읽기 “Too, Too Many, Too Much”