EMIGRANT vs IMMIGRANT

EMIGRANT vs IMMIGRANT We hear a lot about “immigrants” but not that much about “emigrants.”  That’s because the difference is so subtle, we mostly only use “immigrants” these days.  But if you’re curious about the difference, read on: When people flee their native...

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Compliment vs Complement

Compliment vs Complement “Wow, you ran a great meeting today!”   Was that a Compliment or a Complement? (It was a compliment.) Spoken, both words sound the same: “KAHM-pluh-munt”  In writing, however, “compliment” has an “i” in the middle, and complement has an “e.”...

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Are vs Our

Are vs Our Have you ever wondered why native English speakers say the word “our” as if it were “are”?  Many non-native English speakers are taught to pronounce the word OUR as a 2-syllable word, pronounced like “OW-er” (or “hour”).  Native speakers know that saying...

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Top 4 Mispronounced Words

It’s a new year and time to review the four everyday English words that are most often mispronounced. In 15 years of teaching, no matter where a student is from or what level they are, these words are always the ones most mispronounced. ASKED The past tense of “ask”...

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People Are Plural 

Many non-native English speakers wonder, is it “people is” or “people are”? The Answer: It’s “people ARE.” Part of the confusion might be because the pronouns “everybody” and “everyone” take “is”.  So, since “everybody” is considered singular, you would think “people”...

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How to Pronounce Live vs Leave

Why do the sounds in these words cause so much confusion – and embarrassment?! The difference between Live vs Leave is usually clear.  Live = inhabit. Leave = depart.  The hard part is in pronouncing these words correctly: Leave = leev Live = lihv or l’v  Most...

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“THINK” or “SINK”

As a foreign speaker of English, do you say, "I sink" instead of "I think?" This consonantal switch is common among non-native English speakers.  Many English learners know that “I sink” literally means, “I am going under water”(like the Titanic); but that is not...

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THAT vs THIS?

“Is THIS your book?” OR  “Is THAT your book? What is the difference?  Both “that” and “this” refer to singular objects or people.  The difference is in how close or far away you are: When you say, “This is my book,” you are touching your book or holding it in your...

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Whose vs Who’s

Whose vs Who’s These two words are pronounced exactly the same, but they are used in different ways.  WHOSE “Whose” is a pronoun often used as an adjective to show possession, or what belongs to someone.  In the question, “Whose book is this?” “whose” asks “to whom”...

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