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Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Euphemisms: What are they and why you should use them

There are some words that some people might find outright offensive or impolite or upsetting.

So how do you convey your message without offending someone?

The answer is just one word: Euphemisms. These are terms used in place of those ‘offensive’ words to make it sound tolerable, acceptable or polite. It’s like sugar-coating the message to make it seem less harsh than it actually is.

Here’s an example: Instead of saying “John was sent to a jail after that incident”, you could say “John was sent to a correctional facility after that incident”. In this case, “jail” and “correctional facility” both mean the same thing but the second sentence makes the situation more palatable.

In this article, we’ll explore euphemisms for some common topics.

+ Physical/ mental disability: Instead of saying “handicapped” or “disabled”, you could say “physical challenged” or “differently abled”. Instead of saying “retarded”, you could say “mentally challenged”. “Special needs” could be used for people that are physically and/or mentally challenged.

+ Death: Instead of saying “died”, you could say “passed away”, “deceased”, or “taken to Jesus”.

+ Euthanasia: “Put one to sleep” or “put one out of misery” could be used instead of “euthanasia” or “euthanized”. (You’ll mostly find it used in vet clinics)

+ Overweight: “Ample proportions”, “plus-sized”, or “stocky” could be used in place of “fat” or “obese”.

+ Lavatory: You might find it hard to believe but the words “bathroom”, “washroom”, and “restroom” all are euphemisms for “toilet”.

+ Flatulence: “Break wind”, “pass gas”, “cut the wind” could be used instead of the word “fart”.

+ Lying: Instead of saying “lying” or “lied”, you could say “color the truth”, “bending the truth”, or “misstatement”.

And there are euphemisms for almost all of the ‘taboo’ topics in English. It is understandable when some of you say English is a difficult language but using euphemisms in everyday conversation not only makes you appear sophisticated but also makes your message much more acceptable.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Discover Some Free Mobile Apps to Learn and Improve your Level of English

The recent developments in computer and information technology have eased human life to a great extent. All our activities take less time and energy these days because of the pervasive influence of technology. If internet is one major thing which brought in a sea of changes in our lives, mobile phones and the accompanying applications is another welcoming change. Mobile applications are of great help for people of all ages. They assist us in education, business and other deals. Let us have a look at some free mobile apps to learn and improve your level of English.



Instead of the usual boring lectures and instructions, this application has lessons structured as a skill tree with “skill points” being awarded for the completing lessons. The progress of the takers of these lessons can be tracked. The users can use their knowledge to translate the real-world content which may then be rated by other users.

Download from Google Play
Download from iTunes



This app offers a large variety of courses in different languages which are all free. This is a good learning platform which also provides an offline mode by which people can continue learning even when they are not connected to the internet. The gamified learning of this app includes a point system which makes the learning process jovial.

Download from Google Play
Download from iTunes

This app facilitates language learning and vocabulary building. It also uses a language-processing method by which texts will be recommended to users. Vocabulary tests which are designed as per their interests will be selected. Users can read real texts in whichever language they are learning. Such texts will enable them to improve their command in a language.

Download from Google Play
Download from iTunes

Learn English Grammar

Learn English Grammar

This app was developed by the British Council. It is an interactive app which is designed to improve the grammar accuracy of the takers. There is the US and UK English versions of this app which offer questions in four levels in the increasing order of complexity. Both the editions offer easy-to-access in-app helps which make it sure that the users do not get stuck in any of the interactive tasks.

Download from Google Play
Download from iTunes

Johnny Grammar’s Word Challenge

Johnny Grammar’s Word Challenge

This app is a little quiz application that test spelling, grammar and vocabulary. It requires the users to take as many questions as possible in a matter of 60 seconds. Three different levels of tasks namely easy, medium and hard are offered by this app. Users can begin with the basic levels and go on winning round after round till they reach a stage where they compete with users on a global leader board.

Download from Google Play
Download from iTunes

Speaking Pal English Tutor

Speaking Pal

This app is interactive in nature which uses voice-recognition technology to simulate a voice call with a native English speaker. Spoken English and pronunciation of the users will improve very much by the help of this app. This app provides more than 100 levels of tasks, dialogues, sentences and vocabulary items. The first 16 levels come for free and the subsequent levels need to be bought by the users.

Download from Google Play
Download from iTunes

Author Bio: I'm Julie Vickey, a freelance writer and academic enthusiast. I'm currently working for law essay writing service, an online source for getting assistance on popular topics. I write about almost all topics and always aim to give something helpful for my readers.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

5 Ways to Boost Your Grammar Skills

Learning English relies on mastering a complex series of definitions, principles, and rules about how everything fits together. As is the case in other languages; grammar represents the rules used to craft meaningful passages. Teachers use a variety of approaches to drive home grammatical rules, including repetitious exercises designed to cement students' understanding of English grammar. Some English language educators, on the other hand, maintain a more passive position regarding grammar, believing that other principles are more important to learning the language.

Whether you are a stickler for grammatical details, or an English language student committed to mastering words and phrases ahead of the grammar that guides them, it is important to recognize the importance of syntax, semantics and other grammatical features of the language. Use these proven approaches to guide your grammar skills to the next level:

Read English Language Books

Depending on your current level of understanding, reading books written in English may furnish your most comprehensive exposure to grammar. Even when you're not focused specifically on grammar, reading brings proper structure and other grammatical rules to the surface, as you read. And when language lessons relate to certain aspects of grammar, written material provides references, where you can see how authors applied grammar correctly.

Practice Creating Sentences and Paragraphs using Grammar Rules

While grammar plays a role in conveying your intended meaning, it is not the only force at play getting your message across. Early-on learning the language, English language students struggle to use the right words and phrases, rather than striving to join their ideas in grammatically correct ways. To boost grammar skills, successful English language students flip their approaches, at times, in order to consciously think about grammar as they express themselves.

To better understand relationships between words, phrases and grammar, think of learning language as learning to type, for example. In most cases, without any keyboarding skills, you'll still be able to get your message across. But with a concerted effort, you'll eventually learn to use the keyboard as intended, without looking at the keys. In much the same way, vocabulary and a cursory understanding of how words and phrases work within a language provide enough tools for you to communicate. However, when you consciously apply grammar to your approach, it refines your expression, allowing you to share ideas more effectively.

Study Punctuation

Grammar is a general term, encompassing several aspects of how various nuances operate within the language. Punctuation yields clues for those learning English, adding formal reinforcement to principles at play in spoken and written language.

Exceptions to Grammar Rules

While some grammatical concepts remain consistent throughout the English language, others are subject to exceptions, which can be daunting for those learning grammar. The best approach is to apply rules you learn along the way, without holding yourself accountable for all of the grammatical exceptions within the language. Mastering English is an ongoing pursuit of perfection - even for native speakers, so exceptions need not be committed to memory in the early stages of learning the language.

Set Realistic Goals

In some cases, learning English is tied to specific needs and responsibilities requiring you to use the language. Setting realistic goals helps you learn the language efficiently, in order to accommodate the ways you'll frequently use it. Specialized jargon and technical terms, for example, would not generally be included in your language lessons. If special vocabulary is required in your employment setting or in other parts of your life, account for them as you learn the language, setting realistic benchmarks for mastering the grammatical rules your situation requires.

Learning grammar is only one aspect of mastering English, so it shouldn't consume your effort to become proficient using the language. Setting goals and exposing yourself to diverse examples are sure-fire ways to boost your understanding of English Grammar.

This is a guest post by Sarah Brooks from She is a Houston based freelance writer and blogger. Questions and comments can be sent to brooks.sarah23 @

Thursday, March 13, 2014

How to prepare for College English Essay Writing?

Preparing to write an English essay does not have to be a maddening process. You have to know what exactly you should do and then essay writing can be a cake walk for you. Do make an elaborate preparation before setting out to write an essay. Thorough research on the topic is the first thing to do before beginning to write an essay. You should become an expert in the topic you are writing an essay on. Make optimum use of the internet, the academic databases, and the library. Take notes and ponder over the words of great thinkers.

Once you have a good knowledge base, try to make an analysis of the various essays you have just read. Do make a logical connection between the sections of each of those essays; find the arguments, the reasons and the evidences. Before learning to write essays by oneself, one has to know how to analyze essays written by others. You should have your own creative insights to write an essay. Think about the topic until you come up with some original idea.

One should have a thesis to write an essay. It is the main point around which the whole essay has to revolve. The thesis needs to be expressed in a concise sentence with a clear assertion. The readers have to know where the essay is heading towards by seeing the thesis of the essay. In essence, it is impossible to write an essay without a clear thesis. Make a sketch of the essay before starting to write it straightaway. Have sentences with bullet points at least to denote what each paragraph should contain. Plan the argument properly and present it quite intelligibly. The outline of the essay should help you to write the whole long essay with a perfect logical connection between paragraphs and sections.

In an essay the introduction should be so well written that it should grab the attention of the readers. Introduction should be building up the issue you are going to talk about in the essay sometime later. Each paragraph should contain one single idea which has to be elaborated in that same paragraph. Paragraphs should begin with the topic sentences followed by substantial evidences and supplementary information. An essay should not just read like a piece of write-up, instead it should talk things out focusing on a particular argument. The conclusion should be a grand statement ending with a logical twist or something memorable which the readers would delightfully take home.

With a diligent, focused preparation and more fine-tuned arrangement of the argument, supporting evidences, instances and anecdotes; writing an essay at college should be fun. Students should master the skill of writing essays since they are required to write a big number of essays during their college education.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Tool up to improve your writing!

In my work at Grammarly, I keep an eye on writers and analyze the tools they use to enhance their English and improve their work. I use this collected information to inform the product strategy team, so that they can stay on top of current trends and provide intuitive solutions for our end-users.

These days, everyone’s a writer, so it’s important to set your writing apart from everyone else's by making it as polished as you can. Luckily, there are several tools online that can help you clean things up and put your best work forward. Here are some of my tried and true solutions for editing that novel, document, or report.

Read up! A writer is a reader, first.

First, and most importantly, writers must read—think of it as subliminal research. You pick up on important things that will help improve your craft every time you read, so you should consider putting some time into reading about writing and grammar. This way you’re bound to improve by default. If you’re not a fan of reference books, there’s plenty of information on the web that’s incredibly easy to read. Blogs like the New York Times After Deadline are a great way to sneak in these bite-sized elements of style.

Write-up! Pick your writing tools and get to writing.

A good word processing program is key for any writer. Whether you’re using Word, Scrivener, or Google Docs, these programs can point out misspelled words and sentence fragments that you might otherwise overlook. Each offers their share of pros and cons, so find something you like and stick with it—or keep looking until you find what works best for you.

While I’m not as impressed with Internet Explorer, you can find a wide variety of apps and browser extensions for Firefox and Chrome. Most of these are free and can give you that editing edge:

- Grammar Apps and Extensions for Chrome
- Firefox Add-ons

Buddy-Up! Another set of eyes will do you good.

The internet is open 24/7, so finding someone to look over your work at any hour is very likely—well, if you’re connected to the right people. Join a few writers’ groups, critique groups, or editing groups on your favorite social network—Facebook, Goodreads, and LinkedIn—all have plenty of writers eager to connect with you. By actively participating in these groups, you can almost guarantee an extra pair of eyes when you need it most. Be prepared to return the favor, though, especially when the help is given freely.

Sometimes, all you need is an hour or two away from your project, to give it those last editing touches. You can come back to it fresh and ready to look at it objectively—you’d be surprised at the number of mistakes that will jump out at you after you’ve had a break and time to clear your head.

Wrap it up! Cover your assets.

Before you press publish, consider using a plagiarism checker like the one at Grammarly—not because I think you’re intentionally trying to take credit for someone else’s work, but because if you’re reading (like you should be), you may have been subconsciously influenced by another writer’s words. You might have accidentally quoted something you read earlier. This last check will give you the opportunity to further edit your work or consider properly quoting the source, adding credibility to what you’ve written.

Like everything, practice makes perfect, so the more you write and use these or any other editing tools, the easier it will get. Don’t give up, there are lots of people rooting for you, and technology will always be there to ensure your success.

This is a guest post written by Nikolas Baron


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