Addition

There are a number of ways of adding one idea to another in English. You probably already know words like and, also and too. Words for linking sentences/clauses Adding words at the end of clauses/sentences They sell chairs, tables, beds, and so on / etc. /et’setra/ It’ll go to the committee, then to the board,…

Concession and contrast

Concession means accepting one part of a state of affairs but putting another argument or fact against it. Although they were poor, they were independent. He is a bit stupid. He’s very kind, nevertheless. Verbs of concession example paraphrase and comments I acknowledge/accept that he has -> I agree but… worked hard but it isn’t…

Cause, reason, purpose and result

Cause and reason You probably know how to use words like because, since and as to refer to the cause of or reason for something. Here are some other ways of connecting clauses to express causes and reasons. Note how verbs and nouns can do the same job as conjunctions. Look at the picture of…

Condition

As well as if, there are a number of other words and phrases for expressing condition. 1. You can’t come in unless you have a ticket. 2. You can borrow the bike on condition that you return it by five o’clock. 3. In case of fire, dial 333. [usually seen on notices ; it means…

Time

One thing before another : – Before I went to work I fed the cat. [or, more commonly in written English: Before going to work…] – I had written to her prior to meeting the committee, [formal/written style] – It was nice to be in Venice. Previously I’d only been to Rome, [fairly formal, more…

Homonyms

Homonyms can be subdivided into homographs and homophones. Homographs are words which are written in the same way but have different meanings. Compare bow in ‘He took a bow /bau/ at the end of the concert’ and ‘He was wearing a bow /bau/ tie’. Homophones are words which are pronounced in the same way but…

Words commonly mispronounced

English spelling is notoriously unphonetic. This page looks at some of the words which cause most pronunciation difficulties for learners of English. The phonetic transcription is provided for some of the words below. If you are not sure of the pronunciation of any of the other words, check in the index at the back of…

Words with interesting origins – from other languages

English has taken over words from most of the other languages with which it has had contact. It has taken many expressions from the ancient languages, Latin and Greek, and these borrowings usually have academic or literary associations. From French, English has taken lots of words to do with cooking, the arts, and a more…

Words with interesting origins – people and places

A number of words in English have originated from the names of people, biro: [ball-point pen] named after Laszlo Biro, its Hungarian inventor boycott: [refuse to deal with or a refusal to deal with] after a landlord in Ireland who made himself unpopular by his treatment of his tenants and was socially isolated braille: [name…

Compound Nouns – verb + preposition

A large number of compound nouns (see Unit 13) are based on phrasal verbs. In Sections B to E you will see a number of examples of such nouns in context. The meaning of the compound noun is indicated in brackets at the end of the sentence. To form the plural, ‘s’ is added to…

Compound Nouns – Combinations of two nouns

A compound noun is a fixed expression which is made up of more than one word and functions as a noun. Such expressions are frequently combinations of two nouns, e.g. address book, human being, science fiction. A number of compound nouns are related to phrasal verbs and these are dealt with in Unit 14. Compound…

Compound adjectives

A compound adjective is an adjective which is made up of two parts and is usually written with a hyphen, e.g. well-dressed, never-ending and shocking-pink. Its meaning is usually clear from the words it combines. The second part of the compound adjective is frequently a present or past participle. A large number of compound adjectives…

Abstract Nouns

An abstract noun is one which is used to mean an idea, experience or quality rather than an object. Thus happiness, intention and shock are abstract nouns whereas, for example, pen, bed and trousers are not. There are a number of suffixes which are used particularly frequently in the formation of abstract nouns. Some of…

Roots

Many words in English are formed from a set of Latin roots with different prefixes and suffixes. Knowing the roots of such words may help you to remember or guess their meaning when you see them in context. These words are usually fairly formal. In their formation, they can perhaps be seen as the Latinate,…

Suffixes

Suffixes can change the word-class and the meaning of the word. Common noun suffixes -er is used for the person who does an activity, e.g. writer, worker, shopper, teacher. You can use -er with a wide range of verbs to make them into nouns. Sometimes, the -er suffix is written as -or instead of -er….