Posted in Languages, Learning, Listening, Reading, Self improvement, Speaking, Vocabulary, Writing

TOEFL vs IELTS

What is the IELTS?

IELTS is an abbreviation for International English Language Testing System. The test is available in two formats: ‘IELTS Academic’, for those planning to study at a higher education level abroad; and ‘IELTS General Training’, which focuses on social skills and workplace contexts.

What is the TOEFL?

TOEFL is an acronym for Test of English as a Foreign Language. It is an English proficiency test, developed by an American company, ETS, to measure an individual’s reading, speaking, writing, and listening proficiency in American English. TOEFL scores are a requirement for over 900 universities and other institutions in more than 130 countries. There are two methods of taking this test; it can be taken as a Paper-Based Test (TOEFL PBT) or an Internet-Based Test (TOEFL IBT) which is more popular.

These tests are standardized and this simply means that the scores are consistent all over the world . Both of them will test you on four main language skills and that is listening, speaking, reading and writing .

What is the difference between Toefl and ielts?

The major difference between these two tests is in speaking. While in TOEFL you have to talk to a computer, the IELTS requires you to talk to a real person. Many people find talking to a computer very strange and that is why they prefer the IELTS test.

Which test requires more preparation?

While both IELTS and TOEFL require basic preparation at least , many takers felt that to prepare for TOEFL was harder. But that varies with each individual. The difference in the test patterns may give rise to tasks that need more preparation.

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Most common adjectives in English

  • What is an adjective?

It’s a word that modifying the meaning of a noun or the pronoun .

  • Types of adjectives :
  • Descriptive adjectives : New, old, big, little, fast, slow…

  • Possessive : my, his, our, your, their, her,his,hers, mine, its, theirs, ours…

  • Quantitative : first, second, third, few, all…

  • Interrogative: which, what, whose…

  • Demostrative : This, That, these, those…

  • Distributive : each, every, either, neither…

  • Some rules for the use of adjectives :
  • When adjectives appear after the noun or pronoun, they will be preceded by a verb, often (but not always) an auxiliary verb such as ‘are’ or ‘is’.

  • Adjectives can be used in multiple forms (The tough, long and ultimately boring paper was one I needed to pass), they can appear before or after the noun or pronoun they are describing.

  • Examples of adjectives :
  • Adjective Before the Noun :
  1. Old woman.
  2. Red coat.
  3. Cheerful man.
  • Adjective After the Noun :
  1. Sofei was old.
  2. It looks red.
  3. He seems cheerful.
  • Adjective Immediately After the Noun :
  1. someone interesting.
  2. those present.
  3. something evil.

  • Nouns Used as Adjectives

Many words that are usually nouns can function as adjectives.

  • For example:
  1. autumn colours
  2. boat race
  3. computer shop
  4. Devon cream

  • Participles Used as Adjectives : Formed from a verb , a participle is a word that can be used as an adjective.
  • For example :
  1. While the spoken word can travel faster, you can’t take it home in your hand.
  2. Always be wary of any helpful item that weighs less than its operating manual. 

  • Infinitives Used as Adjectives : An infinitive verb (e.g., “to run,” “to jump”) can also function as an adjective.
  • For example :
  1. Progress is man’s ability to complicate simplicity.
  2. No human creature can give orders to love.

  • The order of adjectives :
  1. Quantity or number
  2. Quality or opinion
  3. Size
  4. Age
  5. Shape
  6. Color
  7. Proper adjective (often nationality, other place of origin, or material)
  8. Purpose or qualifier
  • Examples :
  1. My sister adopted a beautiful big white dog.
  2. The house is green and red.
  3. An amazing new American movie. 

Posted in Languages, Learning, Reading, Self improvement, Speaking, Vocabulary, Writing

12 most misunderstood words

  • Historical

You think it means : historiac.

It means : pertaining to the past, but not necessarily important to it or a part of it.

  • Novel

You think it means : any book.

It means : a book that is a work of fiction.

  • Less

You think it means : fewer.

It means : a smaller amount of uncountable nouns.

  • Continual

You think it means : with no interruptions. But it means duration over a long period of time, not necessarily without interruptions.

  • Infamous

You think it means : famous

But it means : having extremely bad reputation ; never used in a positive manner.

  • Systematic

You think it means : systemic, pertaining to or affecting the body as a whole.

It means : involving a system, method or plan ; orderly.

  • Proscribe

You think it means : prescribe ; to order the use of something. Such as midication ; to direct or to dictate.

It means : to denounce, panish outlaw, or exile.

  • Penultimate

You think it means : above, beyond, or better than ultimate.

It means : next to last.

  • Precocious

You think it means : cautious or misbehaving .

It means: unusually advanced in development, especially mentally.

  • Alternate

You think it means : alternative.

It means : to interchange regularly.

  • Moot

You think it means : no longer open for debate; factually wrong.

It means : open for debate, an argument or discussion.

  • Nauseous

You think it means : nauseated.

But it means : to induce nausea.

Posted in Languages, Learning, Reading, Self improvement, Speaking, Vocabulary

Colour idioms

  • A white lie : A ‘little’ or ‘harmless’ lie told in order to be polite and avoid hurting someone’s feelings.

For example : I just wanted to get out of work so I told my boss a little white lie.

  • White elephant : something that is of no use.

For example : My dad bought a new CD player for me, but it’s a white elephant

  • White as a ghost : someone who is very pale because of pain, fear, shock or illness.

For example : I didn’t think the movie was that scary, but my friend was as white as a ghost!

  • In the black : Meaning successful or profitable.

For example : Their company has been in the black ever since the new CEO took over.

  • Blackball someone : to reject someone socially.

For example : Their hospital has been blackballed ever since that scandal was all over the newspapers.

  • Black sheep : to describe a person who is the ‘odd one out’ of a group.

For example : she has always been the black sheep in her family, she has a completely different personality to all of them.

  • Blue blood : Used to describe someone from a noble, aristocratic or wealthy family.

For example : Many of the blue bloods in our town were invited to the royal wedding.

  • Feel blue : When someone looks or feels depressed or discontented.

For example : You seem really blue. Is there something you’d like to talk about?

  • Once in a blue moon : To occur extremely rarely, or only once in a lifetime.

For example : My brother is working in Africa, he hardly ever has the time to call us. My parents only hear from him once in a blue moon.

  • Blood red : Used to describe the deep red colour of something.

For example : She was wearing a beautiful dress with blood red lipstick to match.

  • To see red : To react with uncontrollable rage against someone or something.

For example : Adam saw red when he heard someone shouting at his mother.

  • Get the green light : When someone receives, or is given, permission to go ahead with something.

For example : We have been given the green light by the Marketing Executive to go ahead with the new advertising campaign.

  • Green belt : An area of fields and trees around a town.

For example : Our city has a policy of increasing the green belt around it.

  • Pink Slip : A termination notice received from a job.

For example : They gave me my pink slip last week, so I’ve got to find a new job now.

  • In the pink of something : Meaning in very good health.

For example : My grandmother looked ever so well when I saw her, she was in the pink of condition.

  • A golden opportunity : An opportunity that may never present itself again.

For example : Think carefully about what you’re going to do, this is a golden opportunity, and you don’t want to mess it up!

  • Golden boy : a young man idolised for a great skill, usually in sport.

For example : By many of his fans, Wayne Rooney is seen as the golden boy of his football team.

Posted in Grammar, Languages, Learning, Reading, Self improvement, Speaking, Vocabulary, Writing

English Idioms you need to know in 2021

It’s very important to be updated with the trends that are going on, and to understand the daily life communicative words as well, so here are a list of idioms and salngs you need to add to your dictionary this year :

1) CEO of

something that you’re very good at, hence making you the CEO of it. This is a big one on Tiktok and is commonly a comment on what someone did in the video.

2) HANGRY

This new English word was first used by the millennial generation, and means becoming angry because you are feeling hungry.

3) To CHILLAX

This new English word is a mix of the terms “chill out” and “relax”. If you put them together we get “chillax”.

4) NO BIGGIE

This phrase is used to say that something is not a serious problem.

5) BINGE WATCHING

This is when you watch several episodes of a series in quick succession over an extended period of time.

6) Cringe

To feel embarrassed or ashamed about what someone is doing or saying.

7) Froyo

A frozen dessert made with yogurt.

8) Glamping

This idiom comes from two words which are camping and glamorous, that means camping which comes with all the modern facilities.

9) Staycation

A holiday spent involving day trips to local attractions, which basically means going out of your city just nearby to like.

10) Stan

To idealize, love obsessively, or to be a big fan of something

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How to start think in English

Speaking English in your head is a great way to practice English. You don’t have to worry about saying things right or being understood by others. You can make mistakes and still understand. Also thinking in English is an excellent way to build your vocabulary with words you actually use. Here are some steps to avoid translating in your head and to start think in English.

1- Thinking in individual words

You have to think of individual words that you use daily. For instance, if you are at home you can think of these words : Door, table, chair, window, kitchen. You can practice English language by using words for everything you see, you hear or you do.

2- Thinking in complete sentence

When you used to think in English words, then you have to go to step 2 by making simple sentences. For example, when you are listening to music you can say I like this song or I am listening to classical music, or if you watch a football match you can say The score is 2-1 or this match is amazing.

3- Talking to yourself in English

you will imagine having a conversation with someone in the real life.

For example, when you go to book store. You ask the seller for a book about title, price , pay and you leave. After you leave, try to think of how you would say it if you were speaking English with the book seller. For example, How much is this book? or can I pay by credit card? . So if you do this always you will develop your ability to speak English anytime you need.

4- using the vocabulary as soon as possible

Never stop learning new words or phrases , and keep use them in your daily life and keep practice speaking by using them , or use new words in writing, because practice makes perfect, even if you make mistakes at first you will be finally think in English.

5- Using an English to English dictionary

The less you translate, the easier it will become to just think and speak in English. Every time you search for a word you will feel more comfortable thinking in English, make sure to do this in your daily life whenever possible. This includes looking up words in an English to English dictionary.

Posted in Grammar, Languages, Learning, Reading, Self improvement, Speaking, Vocabulary

English vowels and consonants.

Sounds in English consist of two types : vowels and consonant.

What is the vowel ???

It is sound that comes out of the mouth without being stopped.

How do we pronounce the vowels???

 the tongue, the lips and the teeth do not get in the way of the mouth making a flowing sound.

The vowels letters are : (E, A, I, Y, O, U)

Examples:

Cat, bike, home, cute.

What is the consonant???

It is a sound that cut off by the mouth in some way.

How do we pronounce the consonants???

the lips, the tongue, the teeth or the back of the mouth bend and twist the air to make a specific sound.

Here are some consonants with examples:

/s/

The /s/ sound is made by putting the tip of the tongue close to the front top of the mouth (not touching it) and blowing air out.

Examples : start, sad, pass.

/z/

Like /s/, the /z/ sound is made by putting the tip of the tongue close to the front top of the mouth.

Examples : zoom, zap, buzz, zoo.

/n/

/n/ is pronounced by putting the tongue slightly above the teeth, opening your lips a bit, vibrating the vocal cords and making the air come out of the nose.

Examples : sun, nock, nun.

/ŋ/

It’s a nasal sound too like /n/, so you have to place the back of the tongue to the back of the mouth with your lips parted, force the air out of your nose and vibrate your vocal cords. It’s a difficult sound to make on its own, so try pronouncing this one as part of a word, This sound is written as the “ng”.

Examples : spring, wing, king.

/θ/

The /θ/ sound is called “theta” in English. It is created by putting the tongue between the teeth, just behind them, and blowing air out.This sound is always written as a “th”.

Examples : thin, third.

/ð/

The /ð/ sound is very similar to the /θ/ sound. It is called “eth” in English, and you can make it by putting the tongue between the teeth, blowing air out and vibrating the vocal cords.

Examples : weather, there.

/ʃ/

The /ʃ/ sound in English is made by putting the tip of your tongue close to the top of the mouth, and then blowing out. This sound is written as a “sh” or a “ss”.

Examples : shape, passion, bush.

/zh/

/zh/ is pronounced like /ʃ/, but with the vocal cords vibrating. Put the tip of your tongue close to the top of your mouth a little bit further back than the /s/ position, and then blow out with the vocal cords vibrating. This sound is always written as an “s” or a “g”.

Examples : regime, leisure.

/tʃ/

/tʃ/ is a combination of the /t/ sound and the /ʃ/ sound. Start with a /t/ sound, tapping the tip of the tongue to right above the teeth, and then do an /ʃ/ sound, placing the tongue close to the roof of the mouth slightly further back than /s/. Pronounce it quickly, and then you have /tʃ/.This sound is written as “ch” or in “tch”.

Examples : chat, check.

/dzh/

/dzh/ looks tricky, but it is actually easy, Once you can make the /tʃ/ sound, simply add in the vocal cords and you got /dzh/.This sound is written as “j” or in “dg”.

Examples : June, Judge.

Note : The best way to study English consonant sounds is to hear them clearly and then practice them a lot.

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General rules for active and passive voice

  • Active : what subject does.
  • Passive : The focus is on the action.
  • Examples:
  • Active : Tony killed Ravan .
  • Passive : Ravan was killed by Tony.
  • Conclusion:
  • Active = subject + object
  • Passive = object+be+v3+by subject

  • Examples :
  • Active: he is following us.
  • Passive: we are being followed by him
  • Active : I am buying a pen .
  • Passive : A pen is being bought by me.

  • The common rule :
  • Bring the object first.
  • choose correct ‘be’ verb.
  • change the verb into participle.
  • add by + subject .
  • How the subjct and the verb change :
    Subject : I , we , you , they, He , She .
    Object : Me , Us , You , Them , Him ,Her .

  • Note: If there are two objects use any one.
  • For example :
  • She told us a story.
  • 1- we were told a story by her
  • 2- a story was told to us by her .



  • Active rule : have/has/had/is/am/are/was/were +to +v1
  • Passive rule: have/has/had/is/am/are/was/were +to be+ v3

  • For example:
    We have to learn English .
    English has to be learnt.

  • Modal auxilliary verbs: can , could , shall, should , may ,might ,will , would ,must .
    Active rule :Modals + v1
    passive rule : Modals + be + v3
    Examples :
    She can speak French.
    French can be spoken by her .

  • Modals : must have , should have , could have , might have would have .
    Active : Modals + v3
    Passive : Modals + been + v3

  • Example :
    They should have stolen my bag.
    my bag should have been stolen by them.

  • Passive voice for tenses
  • Simple present : obj + is/am/are +v3
  • Example : The poem is written by her.
  • Continuous present : obj + is/am/are+ being + v3
  • Example : Rice is being cooked by her.
  • Perfect present : Obi + have / has + been + v3
  • Example : Homework has been done by him.
  • Simple future : obj + will/shall + be+ v3
  • Example : beautiful poem will be written by her.
  • Perfect future : obj + will/shall + have been + v3
  • Example : Homework will have been done by him.

  • Note : negative sentences remain negative.
  • Example :
  • active : they have not stolen my pen.
  • Passive : My pen has not been stolen.

  • Passive voice of “yes/no” questions :
  • Active rule : did or does + subj + v1 + obj
  • Passive rule : (was/were) or (is/am /are) + obj + v3
  • Examples :
  • Can you speak English?
  • Can English be spoken by you?
  • Did you help him?
  • Was he helped by you?

Posted in Languages, Learning, Reading, Self improvement, Speaking

How to improve your English by reading.

There are many ways to improve your language skills, and reading one of these important ways, but reading must be interesting and funny. So you should choose novels and books suit your interests and your level in English language . Below some tips to make sure that you will gain use of reading.

1-Learn new vocabulary

Original English books will contain words you do not know. Before you look them up in a dictionary, try to know what they mean based on the context of the story.

2- be sure the level of the book suits you 

If you can understand the general meaning and just look up a few new words per page, then the book is probably a good choice for you. You need to find a book that is not too difficult, but not too easy. First, try reading 2 or 3 pages. If there are more than 10 new words per page, then it may be best to choose a simpler book. Reading should not become a boring exercise.

3-Find a book that interests you 

There are many books out there, and when you start reading English literature it is important to choose one that you will really love. You can use Bookbrowse.com to read extracts (or samples) from current books and then choose which you like best.

4-Analyse the language in the book

pay attention to how the writer uses words and constructions in English. Novels use both formal and informal language and are often filled with everyday English expressions. As you read, use a pencil to highlight any unfamiliar words and write them in a notebook. When you are speaking English, try to use the words and phrases that you have read in recent books.

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Reported speech

We use the reported statements when we want to tell someone what the other person said or asked.

For example :

  • Direct speech: I like coffee .
  • Reported speech: She says (that) she likes coffee .

We don’t need to change the tense, but we do need to change the ‘person’ from ‘I’ to ‘she’, for example. We also may need to change pronouns like ‘my’ and ‘your’.

But, if the reporting verb is in the past tense, then usually we change the tenses in the reported speech:

  • Direct speech: I like coffe.
  • Reported speech: She said (that) she liked coffee .

Tense :present simple

Direct : I like ice cream

Reported : She said (that) she liked ice cream.

Tense :present continuous

Direct : I am living in London

Reported : She said (that) she was living in London.

Tense : past simple

Direct : I bought a car

Reported : She said (that) she had bought a car OR She said (that) she bought a car.

Tense : past continuous

Direct :I was walking along the street

Reported :She said (that) she had been walking along the street.

Tense : present perfect

Direct : I haven’t seen Julie

Reported : She said (that) she hadn’t seen Julie.

Tense : past perfect

Direct : I had taken English lessons before

Reported : She said (that) she had taken English lessons before.

Reported questions :

The tense changes are the same, and we keep the question word. The very important thing is that, once we tell the question to someone else, it isn’t a question any more.

For example :

  • Direct question : Where do you live?
  • Reported question : She asked me where I lived.

  • Direct question : what are you doing?
  • Reported question : She asked me what I was doing.

But, what if you need to report a ‘yes / no’ question? We don’t have any question words to help us. Instead, we use ‘if’.

For example :

  • Direct question : are you living here.?
  • Reported question : She asked me if I was living here.
  • Direct question : have you ever been to Spain?
  • Reported question : She asked me if I had ever been to Spain.