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Monday, September 28, 2009

Help! I can’t find a word in the English dictionary!

Guide for an efficient search

There are occasions when we look for a word in the English dictionary and we don’t find it. There are several reasons for this: the dictionary hasn’t been updated, the dictionary is based on British English but the word belongs to American English (or vice versa), the word we’re looking for has been misspelt, the word doesn’t exist, etcetera.

Today we’re going to examine the process that we can follow when something like this happens. We’ll be using as an example the expression “Tinker’s cuss” (one of the Strange English Words mentioned in this post).

The steps to follow could be structured as:

1. Make sure that the word is spelt right (we’ve copied it properly from the original text where we saw it).

2. Start the search in some free online dictionary. Let’s kick off with WordReference.com (not that we want to say that it’s the best, but it’s among the best and its forum is really useful). After searching “Tinker’s cuss” in WordReference.com we get No translation found for 'Tinker’s cuss' but interestingly there is an entry for “give a tinker’s cuss” in the WordReference.com forum that give us a definition for this expression.

3. Problem solved. However, let’s imagine that there was no entry in the WordReference.com forum; we still wouldn’t know the meaning of the word. We can try with another good online dictionary; in this case we make use of TheFreeDictionary. The result that we get after searching is Phrase not found in the Dictionary and Encyclopedia. Please try the words separately. But if we look beneath, there are some articles related to our search; specifically the one related to “give a tinker’s cuss” is the one that give us the right definition.

4. Problem solved again; well done WordReference.com and TheFreeDictionary! However, let’s imagine again that we haven’t found the word nor something related to it in the two previous dictionaries. We could keep looking in other dictionaries individually or change the strategy and use the online translators (google translate, Yahoo! Babel fish …) If we don’t want to visit all of them individually, we can make use of an online resource that allows us to search in all of them at the same time: Jollo is the website that we need. After searching “Tinker’s cuss” in Jollo the truth is that the results are pretty bad and we don’t find a valid translation.

5. Don’t panic! We still have a very powerful resource remaining: google. We can look for “Tinker’s cuss” in google and immediately get a result. The way of looking for it is by including the double quotes at the beginning and the end of the term “Tinker’s cuss”, so we’re telling google that we’re looking for those words in that specific order. The results that we get are linked to online dictionaries (TheFreeDictionary, Wiktionary, Dictionary.com, Urbandictionary or WordReference.com) that’ll give us what we’re looking for.

6. If in step number 5 google tells you an answer like Did you mean...? then have a look at the options that google suggests and if any of them convinces you and you can’t find related entries for the word or sentence that you’re looking for then it could be that the word doesn’t really exist. Good luck anyway!
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Sunday, September 20, 2009

Kindersay - Free English Word Games For Kids

Kindersay

It’s usually said that the younger the student is, the easier to learn a new language. Certainly, the ability that the children have to acquire new vocabulary and expressions is astonishing.

However, sometimes it’s difficult find the necessary material or resources with the required quality to facilitate their learning.

So that we can help in this regard we present you today a webpage where you’ll find superb free videos in English, which the young learners will be able to watch, listen to and learn new words.

The name of this online resource is Kindersay. This website contains hundreds of free online videos (to learn new words) designed to help preschool kids (whose native language is English) and English as Second Language (ESL) children.

With more than 500 videos and online activities the kids can learn new elements as useful as: the English Alphabet, Animals, Food, Parts of the Body, Colours, Time, Shapes, Numbers, Tools, Transport and a large etcetera, Kindersay is without doubt a must-visit site.

If you’re not convinced yet, you should know that for every topic it’s possible to play an online presentation that shows every word in a module. Then for every word you can see its pronunciation, writing and a descriptive image:

Kindersay Presentation

There are some other surprises that you can discover by yourself! :)

Link | Kindersay.com
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Wednesday, September 16, 2009

5 Tests to Take Before Applying to a Master's Program

Tests to apply for a Master's Program

There are five basic tests that international students will need to research before applying to an American university or to schools in other English-speaking countries. Although it is not necessary to take all of these tests, most master's programs will want to see scores from at least one English proficiency test in addition to scores from a GRE or GMAT test. Here is a list of tests commonly accepted by educational institutions:

TOEFL - The TOEFL (Test of English as Foreign Language) is accepted by more institutions than any other English-language test. Nearly every university in the U.S., Canada, UK, Australia, and New Zealand uses scores from this test to determine whether or not foreign applicants are able to understand English in an academic setting. TOEFL scores are also used frequently by government organizations and scholarship programs. The TOEFL tests your ability to read, write, listen to, and speak English. Students are allowed to take this test online. Paper-based tests can also be taken at testing centers around the world. TOEFL scores are valid for two years.

TOEIC - The TOEIC (Test of English for International Communication) is an English proficiency test which is considered to be the global standard for measuring business English skills. Scores are used by corporations, educational institutions, and governments in more than 90 countries. The TOEIC tests your ability to listen to, speak, read, and write English. Listening and Reading tests are multiple choice and must be taken with paper-and-pencil at certified testing centers. Speaking and writing tests are delivered over the Internet. TOEIC scores are valid for two years.

IELTS - The IELTS (International English Language Testing System) is an English proficiency test recognized by universities, multinational companies, and government agencies in more than 120 countries. There are two versions of the test that can be taken: Academic or General Training. The Academic test is designed for students who want to study or train at an English-speaking university. The General Training test is for individuals who will be completing secondary education, work experience, or training programs in English-speaking countries. Both tests measure reading, writing, speaking, and listening skills. IELTS scores are valid for two years.

GRE - The GRE (Graduate Record Examinations) is administered to prospective graduate students. Most schools within the U.S. and several schools outside the U.S. require master program applicants to submit GRE scores. There are two versions of the test that can be taken: the General test and the Subject test. The General test measures verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, critical thinking, and analytical writing skills. Subject tests measure undergraduate achievement in one of eight disciplines: biochemistry, cell, and molecular biology; biology; chemistry; computer science; literature in English; mathematics; physics; or psychology. The General test is administered at computer-based test centers and paper-based test centers around the world. The Subject tests are administered three times per year (October, November, and April) at paper-based test centers worldwide. GRE scores are valid for five years.

GMAT - The GMAT (Graduate Management Admission Test) is used by MBA programs and other graduate management programs to assess the qualifications of business applicants. Although some business schools have begun to accept GRE scores, many schools require or prefer GMAT scores. The GMAT includes an Analytical Writing Assessment, a Quantitative section, and a Verbal section. The Quantitative and Verbal sections are multiple choice; the Analytical Writing portion is not. The GMAT can be taken at computer-based testing centers around the world. A Mobile Test Center has also been established so that students can take the test at universities that are not near a testing center. GMAT scores are valid for five years.

Guest post from education writer Karen Schweitzer. Karen is the About.com Guide to Business School. She also writes about top online colleges for OnlineColleges.net.
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Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Free Reports

Free Reports

In this page we’ll compile different documents and guides that we’ve been creating for the blog and that we believe will be really useful for you.

Tips to Make a Job Interview More Successful:

Positivity is the answer (English): link1, link2
Positivity is the answer – Ser positivo es la respuesta (Spanish): link1, link2

About Job Interview (English): link2, link2

Types Of Interviews (English): link1, link2

Job Interview, Questions and Answers (English): link1, link2

Job Interview - Finding the right answer (English): link1, link2
Job Interview - Finding the right answer, Encontrando la respuesta correcta (Spanish): link1, link2

Job Interview - A Professional Diagnosis (English): link1, link2
Entrevista de trabajo - Un diagnóstico profesional (Spanish): link1, link2

Grammar:

Nouns in Groups (English): link1, link2

Free e-books:

Power of English Phrasal Verbs (English): link1, link2
El poder de los verbos compuestos en inglés (Spanish): link1, link2

How To Stop Struggling With English Writing (English): link1, link2
Cómo superar tus problemas cuando escribes en inglés (Spanish): link1, link2

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Babbel - Excellent Travel Vocabulary

You know Babbel, don’t you? Shame on you if you don’t! :) In the blog to Learn English Online we have talked about Babbel a couple of times already, the first one as a formal introduction and the second one to mention that Babbel is not only good to improve your vocabulary but it also allows you to chat, do exercises or different tutorials with grammar content.

We want to present you today another novelty that Babbel has recently incorporated and that’ll be very useful for any trip that you make.

It’s a set of 21 new vocabulary modules related to travelling and holidays.

travel vocabulary

This vocabulary includes words and sentences commonly used when travelling by train or airplane, hiring a car, at the airport, at the hotel, at the doctor, going on a beach holiday, looking for accommodation, camping, at the youth hostel, asking for directions or shopping.

In one word, extremely useful vocabulary for everyone wishing to travel and wanting to do a quick review of their vocabulary. If you are travelling either for pleasure or business reasons, this complete pack of vocabulary comes in very handy.

Link | Babbel.com
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