One of the four core skills of language is writing. The other three are reading, listening, and speaking. Because, like speaking, writing is a productive skill, it is not quite so easy to teach remotely as it is to teach in one-to-one classes online. Nevertheless, I have attempted in these lessons to provide you with a means to practice some writing, and provide some feedback through the interactive component.
The colon is the two dots, one above the other: few people seem to know how to use it, and most, consequently, don’t. Many writers believe that the colon has only one purpose: to introduce a list. This lesson aims to put your right as to the use of the colon.
The full stop or period is the most commonly used punctuation mark in English. The most common use of the full stop is to mark the end of declaratory sentences. It can also be placed after initial letters used to stand for a name, as in R.I. Chalmers, and also to mark the individual letters of some acronyms and abbreviations. While first introduced by Aristophanes of Byzantium in the third century, the full stop in its current position became popular from the ninth century onwards, and once movable type printing had become established, the full stop as we know it became the norm. It is not a difficult piece of punctuation to use, and is far easier to use than the comma. This lesson has a video that will tell you all about the full stop and how to use it, and a quiz to check your understanding of some of the vocabulary in the video.
Oscar Wilde, a great British writer, once admitted to spending an entire morning removing a comma from a poem. Asked if that was all he had done, Wilde replied, By no means: on mature reflection, I put back the comma. If a great writer like Oscar Wilde had difficulty in deciding where and when to use a comma, what chance have the rest of us got? In this lesson I will teach you about the history of the comma and about how to use it. You will learn about clauses, ambiguity, the Oxford comma, question tags, coordinating conjunctions, coordinate adjectives, dates, and more. Do this lesson and you will be more confident in your ability to use the comma in your written English.
Rocío from Spain asked about a lesson on how to write dates. We are spoilt for choice when writing dates, but this choice makes it seem complicated. The general rule to follow is that you are consistent in your choice of style and that you choose a style appropriate to your audience. The more complicated the style, the more formal the audience. This lesson will show you all the ways to write dates in British English and will give you some listening and writing practice with dates, too.
Numbers can be difficult for students, particularly big numbers and dates. I have designed this English lesson at the request of Nataliya in Moscow who said that she was having difficulty listening to and transcribing dates and numbers. There are many audio files in this lesson. You can choose to test yourself on British English dates, small numbers, big numbers, and decimal numbers.
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English spelling is notoriously difficult, even for native English speakers. Very often, the letters used to spell the word and the pronunciation of the word differ greatly. It can be embarrassing to make spelling errors in emails or other correspondence. Such spelling mistakes can damage your career prospects. I designed this English Activation Pack to activate your English spelling skills. For students who are taking English exams, a lot of spelling mistakes can have a detrimental effect on your overall score. In the writing part of the exam, you will lose valuable marks for spelling mistakes. In the listening part of the exam, you will lose valuable marks if you can’t understand how words are spelt. I have created this English Activation Pack to help you avoid spelling mistakes for over 180 words in English and in your exams.
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