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November 2009

In this Issue

Listening Section
More Resources
Vocabulary Builder
Video English
Grammar Spot
Improved Writing
Readers' Questions

English Phrasal Verbs

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Word of the Day

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Quick Quote

Age is not a particularly interesting subject. Anyone can get old. All you have to do is live long enough.
Groucho Marx

Confusing Words

ambiguous and ambivalent

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One of the hardest areas for English language learners to improve in is with their listening and pronunciation. It's very difficult if you are, like many of our readers, living in a country where English is not the first language and where you don't get many opportunities to speak and listen to English. That's why we're continuing to develop our listening and pronunciation section and will soon be providing it for mobile platforms as well.

Getting your accent and pronunciation right is a really important part of learning English and one that isn't often treated on the Internet. And if you are a member of English4Today you can access examples and plenty of exercises with your free membership. If you are a Premium subscriber you can even download the sound files for use on your MP3 player or iPod.

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Word of the Month

This month's Featured Video


1. [n] a musical composition or passage performed quickly in a brisk lively manner

2. [n] a brisk and lively tempo

3. [s] (of tempo) fast

4. [r] in a quick and lively tempo; "play this section allegro"

'Allegro' is one of those words that have been imported into English from another language (Italian) and that is used in a very specific vocabulary context - that of music and especially classical music.

Remember, you can look up words in the English4Today Online Dictionary and then add them to your personal dictionary (myVocab) if you have a free membership.

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This month's Featured Video

English4Today has partnered with CAELT, the developers of Computer Assisted English Language Tests, to make a full CAELT practice test available to our readers.

The test covers grammar, vocabulary, listening, and reading and takes between 30 and 45 minutes to complete. You are provided with a full report of your English language level with recommendations and a guide to ways to improve your English.

Find our your level now!

Grammar Spot : The Gerund and the Present Participle

July Grammar Spot

The '-ing' form of the verb may be a present participle or a gerund.

The form is identical, the difference is in the function, or the job the word does in the sentence.

The present participle:

This is most commonly used:

  • as part of the continuous form of a verb,
    he is painting; she has been waiting
  • after verbs of movement/position in the pattern:
    verb + present participle,
    She sat looking at the sea
  • after verbs of perception in the pattern:
    verb + object + present participle,
    We saw him swimming
  • as an adjective, e.g. amazing, worrying, exciting, boring

The gerund:

This always has the same function as a noun (although it looks like a verb), so it can be used:

  • as the subject of the sentence:
    Eating people is wrong.
  • after prepositions:
    Can you sneeze without opening your mouth?
    She is good at painting
  • after certain verbs,
    e.g. like, hate, admit, imagine
  • in compound nouns,
    e.g. a driving lesson, a swimming pool, bird-watching, train-spotting

For the full explanation go to: English4Today Online Grammar.


Readers' Questions : what part of speech are... 'who what when where why and how'?

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 Emily from the USA:

These are sometimes referred to a interrogative words.
More accurately, when 'who, what, when, where, or why' start a question sentence they are interrogative pronouns and are taking the place of unknown subjects or objects in the sentence.

Get the full answer now


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