Fascinating Facts About Every Letter in the English Alphabet

14 Things You Didn’t Know About Donald Trump

A is for… Fedor Selivanov/ShutterstockBelieve it or not, the capital A hasn’t always looked the way it does now. Ancient Egyptians wrote the letter upside down, creating a symbol that resembled a steer with horns. Learn the surprising history behind the order of the English alphabet. B is for… mongione/ShutterstockGrab a paper and pen, and […]

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Grammar Myths Your English Teacher Lied to You About

Myth #1:

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According to the grammar experts at the Chicago Manuel of Style, you don’t have to do mental gymnastics to avoid starting a sentence with a conjunction. “There is a widespread belief—one with no historical or grammatical foundation—that it is an error to begin a sentence with a conjunction such as and, but, or so,” they write. “In fact, a substantial percentage (often as many as 10 percent) of the sentences in first-rate writing begin with conjunctions. It has been so for centuries, and even the most conservative grammarians have followed this practice.” These are the 51 more facts you’ve always believed that are actually false.

Myth #2:

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When you’re just learning to write, starting a sentence with the word “because” can often lead to a sentence fragment. That’s why you probably learned to avoid doing so at all costs. As long as your sentence has at least one independent clause, you’re good to go.

Correct: Because I missed the bus, I couldn’t see my dad.

Correct: I couldn’t see my dad because I missed the bus.

Incorrect: I couldn’t see my dad. Because I missed the bus.

Myth #3:

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You’ll also want to use the word “an” before words that start with vowel sounds.

Correct: I’m thinking of starting an herb garden

Correct: The Knicks are an NBA team.

Myth #4:

Grammar-Myths-Your-English-Teacher-Lied-to-Your-About.Tatiana Ayazo/Rd.com

Many students are taught it’s unacceptable to end a sentence with a preposition—words like “on,” “from,” “for,” “by,” above,” “over”—but that rule is a myth. As Grammar Girl writes, there are some cases where ending a sentence with a preposition is necessary. For example: “I want to know where he came from” could be written, “I want to know from where he came”—but no one talks like that.  Here are 10 more grammar rules you can probably ignore.

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Myth #5:

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You might’ve been taught you shouldn’t refer to people with the word “that.” But this isn’t a strict grammar rule. According to Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary of English Usage, saying something like “kids that are late for school will miss math class,” is perfectly acceptable.

Myth #6:

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The authorities on proper grammar agree it can be weird to refer to a beloved pet as an “it.” According to the AP Stylebook, you can call an animal “him,” “her,” or “who,” as long as the animal has a name or you know its sex.

Myth #7:Grammar-Myths-Your-English-Teacher-Lied-to-Your-AboutTatiana Ayazo/Rd.com

You might’ve heard that “such as” is the only proper way to introduce a list of examples. But actually, it depends on what you’re trying to convey.

Correct: I love active dates like fishing, skydiving, and hiking.

Correct: I love active dates such as fishing, skydiving, and hiking.

Both are correct, but the first one implies a comparison. When you say you enjoy “dates like fishing,” you’re implying that you might also enjoy a date that someone might classify as being in a similar genre as fishing.

Myth #8:

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Oxford Dictionaries says this is another grammar myth you can safely ignore. They also note that in some cases, “trying to avoid a stranded preposition could lead you to get your linguistic knickers in a terrible twist.”

Correct: The baby has no one to play with.

Correct: The baby enjoys being fussed over.

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Myth #9:

Grammar-Myths-Your-English-Teacher-Lied-to-Your-AboutTatiana Ayazo/Rd.com

This “rule” states that you should never put an adverb in the middle of an infinitive. Think of the Star Trek quote, “to boldly go where no one has gone before.” “To go” is the infinitive, and “boldly” splits it. In fact, there’s no formal evidence that splitting infinitives is incorrect. “The only logical reason to avoid splitting infinitives is that there are still a lot of people who mistakenly think it is wrong,” writes Grammar Girl.

Myth #10:

Grammar-Myths-Your-English-Teacher-Lied-to-Your-AboutTatiana Ayazo/Rd.com

While active voice is generally preferred, passive voice is almost never incorrect. In some cases, it even comes in handy. As writeathome.com points out, if you’re trying to encourage sympathy for your subject, you might prefer to use passive voice. It’s the difference between “Grandma got run over by a reindeer,” and “A reindeer ran over Grandma.”

Myth #11:

Grammar-Myths-Your-English-Teacher-Lied-to-Your-AboutTatiana Ayazo/Rd.com

I.e. and e.g. are both Latin abbreviations, but they don’t mean the same thing. E.g. stands for exempli gratia and means “for example.” I.e. stands for id est and means “in other words.” Here are a few more examples of when to use i.e. and when to use e.g.

Myth #12:

Grammar-Myths-Your-English-Teacher-Lied-to-Your-AboutTatiana Ayazo/Rd.com

In most cases, using a double negative can make your sentence clunky and confusing. But according to Oxford Dictionaries, there’s one case where they’re acceptable: when they’re used to make a statement subtler. The example Oxford uses is the sentence “I am not unconvinced.” “The use of not together with unconvinced suggests that the speaker has a few mental reservations about the argument,” they write. “The double negative creates a nuance of meaning that would not be present had the speaker just said: I am convinced by his argument.” Only word nerds will understand these 20 grammar jokes.

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Myth #13:

Grammar-Myths-Your-English-Teacher-Lied-to-Your-AboutTatiana Ayazo/Rd.com

In grade school, you might’ve learned that any long sentence is a run-on sentence. But that’s not always true, and in reality, it’s possible for a sentence to be both long and structurally sound. A true run-on is when you put two complete sentences together in one sentence without separating them properly.

Myth #14:

Grammar-Myths-Your-English-Teacher-Lied-to-Your-AboutTatiana Ayazo/Rd.com

Everyone knows at least one so-called grammar expert who claims there’s only one way to add an apostrophe to a word that ends in “s.” But according to the experts, it’s merely a matter of style.

Correct: The Harris’s cat is in their yard.

Correct: The Harris’ cat is in their yard.

These are the 41 little grammar rules that make you sound smarter.

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10 English Words You Won’t Find in Any Other Language

The 14 Most Insightful Things We’ve Read About Donald Trump in 2016

Cheesy Tatiana Ayazo /Rd.com,Shutterstock Other languages have words that mean false, tacky, or trying too hard, but only the English slang term “cheesy” can fully express something so fake that it stinks like Camembert: “He came up to me at the bar with this big cheesy grin on his face and said, ‘Did it hurt […]

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Hard Words to Pronounce in the English Language

The 14 Most Insightful Things We’ve Read About Donald Trump in 2016

Colonel Emma Kapotes/Rd.com, iStock Native English speakers know that this 16th-century word, which is derived from Middle French, is pronounced “ker-nul.” However, those learning English as a second language get confused by the first “o” sounding like an “e,” the “l” that sounds like an “r,” and the second “o,” which is completely silent. Here […]

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The Toughest Tongue Twisters in the English Language

Pulled cod

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“Pad kid poured curd pulled cod.”

A team of researchers from Massachusetts Institute of Technology say that this is the most difficult tongue twister in the world. Can you say it ten times fast? The psychologists who created this tongue twister said that people who attempted to say it either stopped right in the middle of saying it because it was too difficult or could only get through it once and weren’t able to repeat it. If you couldn’t get this one, give the others a try. (If you want another challenge, try to spell the most misspelled words in America.)

Brave brigadiers

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“Brisk brave brigadiers brandished broad bright blades, blunderbusses, and bludgeons—balancing them badly.”

This tongue twister is a lot longer, so it’s not much easier. You’ll really have to learn to balance your tongue on your teeth correctly to get this one.

Mad cowTatiana Ayazo / Rd.com

“If you must cross a course cross cow across a crowded cow crossing, cross the cross coarse cow across the crowded cow crossing carefully.”

You probably don’t want to stand in the way of a course cross cow. But, if you try to teach him this tongue twister, he may get distracted from his anger and not hurt you. (If a word is on the tip of your tongue, this is exactly what you need to do to figure out what it is.)

Clam in a can

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“How can a clam cram in a clean cream can?”

Trying to get a clam into a can may be easier than saying this tongue twister ten times fast.

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Imaginary menagerie

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“Imagine an imaginary menagerie manager managing an imaginary menagerie.”

We’d be happy to imagine an imaginary menagerie because keeping animals in captivity isn’t very nice.

Warriors at the brewery

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“Rory the warrior and Roger the worrier were reared wrongly in a rural brewery.”

After being at the brewery, Rory and Roger probably wouldn’t be able to say this tongue twister.

Sick hicks

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“Six sick hicks nick six slick bricks with picks and sticks.”

Get your “s” and “k” sounds ready, this one is really tricky.

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Wish of wishes

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“I wish to wish the wish you wish to wish, but if you wish the wish the witch wishes, I won’t wish the wish you wish to wish.”

There are a lot of wishes going on here, which makes this tongue twister tough to tackle!

Throne thieves

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“The thirty-three thieves thought that they thrilled the throne throughout Thursday.”

This sentence makes a little more sense than the last one. But can you say it really fast?

Sick sheep

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“The sixth sick sheik’s sixth sheep’s sick.”

Is your tongue tired yet? If you want to give your mouth a rest, try exercising your eyes to find the differences in these ten pictures.

Canned can

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“Can you can a canned can into an un-canned can like a canner can can a canned can into an un-canned can?”

Wasn’t cramming a clam into a can hard enough?

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Thundering horses

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“Thirty-three thirsty, thundering thoroughbreds thumped Mr. Thurber on Thursday.”

Just be glad that you only have to say this tongue twister ten times fast and you’re not Mr. Thurber.

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Fulbright teachers help improve students’ command of English


MO,12/2/2018, KUANTAN: The Fulbright English Teaching Assistant (ETA) programme is a game changer which has not only improved the command of English among students in Pahang but built their confidence. State Education Department acting director, Dr Tajuddin Mohd Yunus described the young American graduates from universities in the United States involved in the ETA programme as dedicated educators.

He said since the Fulbright ETAs began arriving in Pahang in 2012, they have had a positive impact on students as the ETAs. They help make the language more interesting by organising outdoor camps, visiting Orang Asli settlements and allocating extra time for students after school. “Although the ETAs are stationed at selected schools, the district education department is taking the opportunity to utilise their knowledge and skills in the language.

For example, the district education department organises workshops for primary school teachers and English camps during weekends which will be attended by students from various schools. “The ETAs have helped to build the students confidence as more students including those from rural schools are coming forward to take part in debates, and choral and public speaking. In the past, students were shy to participate in activities, including discussions and quizzes,” he said when contacted today.

Tajuddin said some of the ETAs are seen as an inspiration for students from rural areas. They spend long hours to guide students to be confident to speak in English. He said despite being posted in areas far from town, it has never dampened the spirit of the ETAs, as they often make the best out of of what they have.

“The ETAs are innovative and they make the subject interesting through games, stage performance and songs. They certainly know how to capture the students’ attention and help them improve their English proficiency,” he said, adding the ETAs have mentors, most of whom were teachers from the same school who will help them adapt to the local culture and make their stay here more comfortable.

Currently, there are 14 ETAs teaching at 14 schools in seven districts – Pekan, Raub, Maran, Temerloh, Jerantut, Lipis and Bera – who have been stationed in Pahang since Jan 28. The Fulbright ETAs began arriving in Malaysia in 2012 for their 10-month stints at schools in selected states including Kedah, Kelantan, Terengganu, Perlis, Pahang, Sabah and Sarawak.

The ETA programme is the result of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak and former US President Barack Obama’s shared commitment to expand people-to-people exchange programmes between the two countries.


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The Only Letter in the English Language That Is Never Silent

The 14 Most Insightful Things We’ve Read About Donald Trump in 2016

camilla$$/Shutterstock Consider these five words: island, grudge, pneumonia, wrestle, beyond. At first glance, you probably don’t think they have anything in common. (Besides the fact that some of them contain the most common letter in the English language.) But you might need to harken back to your grade-school grammar lessons to see the connection. If […]

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Iran bans English in primary schools after leaders warning

DUBAI: Iran has banned the teaching of English in primary schools, a senior education official said, after Islamic leaders warned that early learning of the language opened the way to a Western “cultural invasion”.

“Teaching English in government and non-government primary schools in the official curriculum is against laws and regulations,” Mehdi Navid-Adham, head of the state-run High Education Council, told state television late on Saturday.

“This is because the assumption is that, in primary education, the groundwork for the Iranian culture of the students is laid,” Navid-Adham said, adding that non-curriculum English classes may also be blocked.

The teaching of English usually starts in middle school in Iran, around the ages of 12 to 14, but some primary schools, below that age, also have English classes.

Some children also attend private language institutes after their school day. And many children from more privileged families attending non-government schools receive English tuition from daycare through high school.

Iran’s Islamic leaders have often warned about the dangers of a “cultural invasion”, and Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei voiced outrage in 2016 over the “teaching of the English language spreading to nursery schools”.

Khamenei, who has the final say in all state matters, said in that speech to teachers: “That does not mean opposition to learning a foreign language, but (this is the) promotion of a foreign culture in the country and among children, young adults and youths.”

“Western thinkers have time and again said that instead of colonialist expansionism … the best and the least costly way would have been inculcation of thought and culture to the younger generation of countries,” Khamenei said, according to the text of the speech posted on a website run by his office (Leader.ir).

While there was no mention of the announcement being linked to more than a week of protests against the clerical establishment and government, Iran’s Revolutionary Guards have said that that unrest was also fomented by foreign enemies.

Iranian officials said 22 people were killed and more than 1,000 arrested during the protests that spread to more than 80 cities and rural towns, as thousands of young and working-class Iranians expressed their anger at graft, unemployment and a deepening gap between rich and poor.

A video of the announcement of the ban was widely circulated on social media on Sunday, with Iranians calling it “The filtering of English”, jokingly likening to the blocking of the popular app Telegram by the government during the unrest.

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Fun With English bantu pelajar kuasai bahasa Inggeris

KANGAR: Kerajaan Perlis akan menganjurkan program “Fun With English” (FWI) bagi membantu pelajar meningkatkan penguasaan dalam bahasa Inggeris bermula tahun depan.

Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Azlan Man berkata, tahap penguasaan subjek berkenaan dalam kalangan pelajar sekolah di negeri ini agak lemah dan ia perlu ditambah baik.

“Ini adalah inisiatif kerajaan negeri dalam membantu pelajar menguasi bahasa yang sangat penting,” katanya kepada pemberita selepas menyampaikan kelengkapan sekolah sumbangan Cement Industry of Malaysia Berhad (CIMA) dan UEM Group Berhad di sini, pada Ahad.

Seramai 400 pelajar terpilih di negeri ini menerima sumbangan berbentuk, pakaian, kasut, alatulis dan beg sekolah.

Beliau berkata untuk melaksanakan program FWI, kerajaan negeri akan bekerjasama dengan beberapa badan bukan kerajaan (NGO) termasuk Gabungan Pelajar Melayu Semenanjung (GPMS) Perlis.

Katanya, selain FWI, kerajaan negeri turut merancang pelbagai program lain ke arah menambahbaik mutu pendidikan negeri ke arah melahirkan modal insan cemerlang.


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