Blog Category: Vocabulary & Spelling

Twenty Questions – speaking & listening activity

Twenty Questions is a simple game which can be played in class with minimal preparation. It is ideal for practicing both vocabulary (notably semantic fields) as well as making questions. Preparation Collect a group of pictures or photographs with different objects on...

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Using Realia in TEFL Teaching

The word real on which this word is built gives a big clue to what realia is. In foreign language instruction realia are real-life objects used in the classroom to illustrate and teach vocabulary‏‎ or to help students learn and produce. Realia can consist of almost...

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Antonyms or Opposites in English

An Antonym or Opposite is a word which - generally speaking - has the opposite meaning to another word. For example, the following are antonyms: big ↔ small fat ↔ thin tall ↔ short old ↔ young male ↔ female Some words will have more than one antonym depending on...

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Slang in TEFL

Slang is the use of informal words‏‎ and expressions to describe something or someone. Slang is vocabulary‏‎ that is meant to be interpreted quickly but not necessarily literally. Slang changes fast; here are examples of current 2015 slang which, could well be out of...

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Capital Letters in English

In English‏‎ every sentence starts with a Capital Letter (or Uppercase) and usually ends with a period or full stop. For example these are all wrong: * the film has finished. * where is she? * in 1492 Columbus sailed off into the sunset. * an asterisk at the beginning...

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Semicolons in English Punctuation

A semicolon sits half way between a period/full stop and a comma. It has little or nothing to do with a colon, however. It is used instead of a period/full stop when we want to avoid too strong a break between phrases and instead of a comma when we need a stronger...

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Minimal Pairs and TEFL

Minimal Pairs are pairs of words‏‎ (and sometimes phrases‏‎) which differ in their sound by just one element. They are an incredibly useful tool in the TEFL teachers' bag and if you haven't started yet, you should learn about them and use them! Mostly minimal pairs...

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Spelling Rules for Adding -ly

To form a regular adverb we simply add -ly to the corresponding adjective‏‎. slow > slowly woman > womanly autonomous > autonomously However in some cases adding -ly is not a straightforward matter and a few changes are required. Spelling Rules -ic With...

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Words in English

A word is a unit of language that has a phonetic value‏‎ (i.e. a sound) and has a meaning. It can also be written down in which case it will have a certain spelling. They are - as you might well imagine - the building blocks in English language learning and teaching...

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I before E except after C

Does the rule, I before E except after C actually work? Here we are using a concordancer to check whether it's true or not. The results may surprise you. This example demonstrates an approach to using a concordancer in investigating a particular aspect of language. NB...

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Jargon in TEFL

Jargon is a specialized language used by people in a certain profession, job or activity. To an outsider it may seem unintelligible, but to a member of that group it is obvious and useful to explain sometimes esoteric points. Like many other groups, English teachers...

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The English Alphabet‏‎

The English Alphabet contains 26 letters. These can be divided into vowels and consonants‏‎. The vowels are: a,e,i,o,u The consonants are: b,c,d,f,g,h,j,k,l,m,n,p,q,r,s,t,v,w,x,y,z Every word has at least one vowel sound. When we write them, however, some words do not...

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Teaching English Vocabulary

When Teaching Vocabulary, many teachers still resort to long word lists which the students are expected to translate into their mother tongue, learn and remember. This approach to teaching vocabulary‏‎ is rather dull and mechanical. It has limited impact and there is...

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Vocabulary‏‎ and TEFL

The Vocabulary is the collection of words‏‎ in a language. In English there are estimated to be roughly 1,000,000 words in the language; this is a huge increase on the 50,000 words available in Old English. These words are generally derived from one of several main...

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Taboo Words and TEFL

Taboo Words (sometimes known as swearwords, curse words, or profanity) are those words and phrases which some people find shocking or offensive. They can often cause problems for TEFL‏‎ teachers and learners of English‏‎. In general, the best advice is to avoid both...

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Irregular Adverbs in English Grammar

An adverb modifies a word, phrase, or sentence. It tells us more about them and changes the meaning slightly. Often we say it tells us how something happens: He paints. He paints wildly. In this example wildly is an adverb which tells us how he paints. Regular Adverbs...

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False Friends in TEFL

False Friends are pairs of words‏‎ or phrases‏‎ in two different languages which look and/or sound similar but which have very different meanings. False Friends are sometimes known as False Cognates. Learners will often assume the corresponding word or phrase in the...

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