Archives for September 2013

What’s an oxymoron?

  An oxymoron (noun) is a figure of speech combining two seemingly contradictory, incompatible or opposite words. The plural of oxymoron is oxymora. Oxymorons is also used. Oxymora are very common in everyday English.   Examples: ♦ an open secret ♦ a deafening silence ♦ act naturally ♦ old news ♦ a small crowd ♦ friendly […]

Improve your English: consonants

  consonant: /ˈkɒnsənənt/ (countable noun)    A consonant is: 1. a speech sound that is made by stopping the flow of air in the breath channel or mouth with the tongue, teeth, or lips. 2. a letter of the alphabet that represents any of these speech sounds   There are 24 consonant sounds in most […]

Business English: phrasal verbs frequently used in business contexts

Phrasal verbs occur frequently in English so it’s important that you can understand what they mean. And using them yourself makes your English more natural and more accomplished. There isn’t really a specific part of English that can be called ‘business phrasal verbs’, but there are many phrasal verbs that you’ll read and hear often […]

Improve your English: the question mark

question: /ˈkwestʃ(ə)n/ (noun) a sentence or phrase that asks for information   The question mark is a symbol (?) used at the end of a question. It’s also known as the interrogation mark or interrogation point.   Questions A question mark is placed at the end of a word, phrase or sentence to show that […]

Phrasal verb: put across

  To put across something (or put something across) is to explain or express something clearly and effectively so that people can understand it easily.   Examples of use: 1. I find it difficult to put across my ideas during meetings at work. 2. Our English teacher always puts things across well. 3. The politician […]

Phrasal verb: mull over

  To mull over something (or mull something over) is to think very carefully about something over a period of time – usually before making a decision.   British/UK English pronunciation: mull over /ˈmʌl ˈoʊ·vər/   Examples of use: 1. We need time to mull things over before we decide how to move forward with […]

Improve your English: the exclamation mark

exclamation: /ˌekskləˈmeɪʃ(ə)n/ (noun) something that you say loudly and suddenly because you are surprised, excited, angry, very happy etc.   The exclamation mark (!) is also known as the exclamation point in American English. An exclamation mark is a punctuation mark placed at the end of a word, phrase or sentence to show that something […]