Broadway Musicals and Pronunciation

Do you know any songs from American musicals?  Musicals are a big part of American culture. Singing these songs is also a lot of fun – on top of being great for vocabulary and pronunciation.  As an English teacher in New York, I’ve often helped interested students...

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LIE vs LAY

The First Thing to know is: there is no longer a difference between LAY and LIE. “Lie”(or “lie down”) has traditionally been the word to describe putting yourself in a horizontal position either in bed, on the ground, or some other flat surface.  “Lay” has always been...

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LOOSE vs LOSE vs LOSS

Loose ... Young children get what we call a “loose tooth.” That is, an adult tooth starts pushing on a baby tooth. This makes the baby tooth wiggle back and forth when gently touched with a finger.  It is a “loose” tooth because the tooth is not tightly held in by the...

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Felt or Fell?

“Felt” and “fell,” two past tense verbs, are often confused by nonnative speakers. The words look and sound similar, so the confusion is understandable. Still, the words mean two very different things. FALL (fall-fell-fallen).  “Fall” means to drop or come down...

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Then vs Than 

“Then” and “than” look and sound similar but they mean very different things. THEN is an adverb, referring to a certain time, or “when” something happened or will happen. For example: “Let’s meet at 3 pm.”  “Sounds good! I’ll see you then.” (“then” = 3 pm) “I had...

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When to Use IN, AT, and ON

The words IN, AT, and ON are a part of speech called prepositions. Prepositions express TIME or LOCATION for people, places, and things. The front page photo to this article shows a variety of uses of IN, AT, and ON. After reading this, you should be able to identify...

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How To Use “Recommend” Part 2

Yesterday, her boss recommended (that) she read the document carefully. This sentence is correct and shows another way to use “recommend.” In that sentence, there are two verbs: recommend and read. The person recommending wants someone else to read something. The word...

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How To Use “Recommend” Part 1

“Recommend” means to present someone as worthy of confidence or as something you might like. You might recommend a book, restaurant, company, employee, or friend to someone else. We often use “recommend” in business because the word carries an official-sounding weight...

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When to Use “Had Had”

When French comedian Gad Elmaleh started learning English in 2016 to perform his standup act in New York, he found a lot to laugh about in the peculiarities of his new language – and using the verb “had had” was among them. In his live performance show, “American...

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