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A preposition is a very common little word like at, for, in, on, and to, which the dictionary defines as a word governing, and usually preceding, a noun or pronoun and expressing a relation to another word or element in the clause. For example: preposition: Thida works at the market. This coffee’s for Luca! Alejandro […]more
Do learners of English make particular mistakes in grammar, pronunciation, and vocabulary depending on their mother tongue? (While linguists distinguish between an error, made by a student who doesn’t yet know the correct rule, and a mistake, made by a student who knows the rule but momentarily forgets it, I’ll use mistake to cover both […]more
A horse walks into a bar. The barman comes up and says ‘Why the long face?’ I’m rather fond of all those ‘A man/horse/alien etc. walks into a bar’ jokes, aren’t you? Some are particularly amusing, such as the following one, which fellow language-lovers should appreciate: Past, present, and future walked into a bar – […]more
Bill and Mark swam among the sunken ships. Bill and Mark swam between the sunken ships. What’s the difference between soup, consommé, and broth? What’s the difference among soup, consommé, and broth? Two questions about the sentences above (you’ll find the answers at the end of this article): Do they have exactly the same meaning? […]more
This post is available in English and Portuguese. Jump to Portuguese translation I never thought I’d stand on the top floor of a building in São Paulo to see buildings extending out in all directions. View of São Paulo from Edifício Copán In fact, I never thought I’d go to São Paulo! But a trip […]more
Grammar can be tough. There are a lot of rules to follow, and a lot to wrap your head around. Some of the rules we learn in school, though, aren’t exactly accurate. While some function as helpful guidelines for style and form, other so-called ‘rules’ are inventions, or ‘superstitions,’ as the lexicographer Henry W. Fowler […]more
There are numerous myths relating to grammatical dos and don’ts, many of which were drummed into us at school. The one that stubbornly refuses to budge from my mind is the diktat ‘never start a sentence with a conjunction such as and or but’. Another one is that one cannot end a sentence with a preposition. […]more