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JUNE 2009

In this Issue

What's in a Quote?
Vocabulary Builder
Video English
Grammar Spot
Improved Writing
Readers' Questions


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Test Your English
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Word of the Day

Do you know the meaning of ...


Check out the English4Today Dictionary section

Quick Quote

Be happy. Be supportive. Be Naughty. Be just like the way you are. But don't get bored.


Confusing Words

plain | plane

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What's in a quote ?

"I love quotations because it is a joy to find thoughts one might have, beautifully expressed with much authority by someone recognized wiser than oneself."

Quote from Marlene Dietrich

A good quotation can help you focus your thoughts, illustrate a point in a business or academic presentation or paper, tell someone how you feel about them or just give you a good laugh. We've got one of the best quotation websites on the Internet at Quotes4Today. You can easily search a quote using a keyword, you can send a quote as an e-card, build your own list of quotes, get a Quote-a-Day email from us or just enjoy the more than 20,000 quotes on the website.

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Word of the Month: hedonism

This month's Featured Video


You may have heard someone you know described as being a 'hedonist'. Well, in the way it is commonly used, this simply means someone who spends most of their time enjoying themselves and who isn't interested in the more mundane aspects of life such as work!

But, in its purer sense, it refers to an ethical system:

1. [n] an ethical system that evaluates the pursuit of pleasure as the highest good

2. [n] the pursuit of pleasure as a matter of ethical principle

Look up words in the English4Today Online Dictionary and then add them to your personal dictionary (myVocab).

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March Video : Speaking in Public

This month's Featured Video

Every person has to, at some stage of their life, make a presentation or speech in public. If you follow some simple tips, presenting in English can be transformed from a nightmare into a creative and satisfying experience. This is one of many videos that give you some ideas on how to make your presentations better.

Watch the video now!

Grammar Spot : Should have

July Grammar Spot

The use of ’should have’ seems to cause a lot of problems for English language learners. After learning the Present Perfect and Conditional they look at this and wonder what sort of animal it is. Well, let’s take a look at it!

Basically, we use ’should have’ to talk about past events that did not happen but, if they had happened, would have improved the outcome of an actual event in the past. It is often used to give advice about a course of action in the past. For example, if I knew it was going to rain this morning but I went out without an umbrella and, as a result, got wet, you may say to me- “You should have taken your umbrella!”. OK, not very useful advice once the action is passed and I am standing there dripping wet but a very common way in English to give advice - useful perhaps for the next rainy day!


For the full explanation and more examples go to: English4Today Online Grammar.

Readers' Questions : Hear and Listen

Readers' QuestionsEvery month we publish one question from an English4Today member in the newsletter. However, we answer a lot more in the Online Grammar FAQ and a lot of them have podcast sound files with the answers.

This month's question was sent in by Khadija KILA, Morocco:

Q: Which is proper? Please help John and I or please help John and me?


Hi, Khadija. Thank's for your question, I'm sure that the difference between 'listen' and 'hear' is not clear for a lot of English language learners.

Let's have a look at them:

Listen is used to talk about or describe sounds that are being made around you and which you are making an active effort to focus on.

Note that 'listen' is nearly always followed by 'to' - you listen to some sound.

Just to repeat an important point; listening is active - that is you are making an active effort to listen to the sound.

Hear  is used  for sounds that come to our ears, but we do not, unlike listen, need to be actively engaged in trying to listen to the sound - it can just come to your ears!

Note that 'hear' is not followed by 'to'. But, to make it a little more complicated let's look at this conversation..

Now, that last sentence seems a little confused but also shows cleary how the two verbs are used - in this case, if John does not make an active effort to listen he will not hear his father's advice (even if he may have heard sounds his father was making!)

So, you can hear something without wanting to, but you can only listen to something intentionally.

Get the full answer now with examples and sound file podcast