Tag Archives: ESL

Headlines – Trade talks fall flat

La lecture des grands titres de l’actualité (qu’on lit à la une des journaux, sur les manchettes, dans les revues de presse ou en vedette sur la page d’accueil) est passionnante. Une apprenante cependant fut mystifiée par le titre suivant, Trade talks fall flat. Elle avait bien compris que trade est nom (The ivory trade has been banned) ou un verbe (Let’s trade baseball cards). Il est de même pour talk : We … Continue reading Headlines – Trade talks fall flat »

Are cognates useful? For example attention vs attention vs atención

Sharing the same origin or etymology, cognates are words that are easily recognized across languages with common roots. Studying cognates is a great way to improve vocabulary and fluency. It’s a lot of fun too, albeit with pitfalls and advantages: some sound the same but have different meanings (those famous false friends or faux amis such as library and librairie); some sound completely foreign until you see the written … Continue reading Are cognates useful? For example attention vs attention vs atención »

on time – in time – in due time/course

On time refers to an event taking place at the exact time it was supposed to take place: the meeting started on time. Expect Swiss trains to run more or less on time.  In time refers to something happening before a crucial deadline/event: We finished the proposal in time for the meeting. (Nous avons terminé à temps…) The police arrived just in time to see the … Continue reading on time – in time – in due time/course »

close vs. close (pronunciation)

Say it with a /zzzzz/ /kləʊz/ When “close” means the opposite of “open”, as to open and close something, please pronounce the “s” as a “z”. For example, a closed [z] door. Say it with an /ssssss/ /kləʊs/ When “close” refers to a distance, either in the concrete sense (as meters, kilometers…) or in a less easily defined notions of space and time (relationships, position), pronounce … Continue reading close vs. close (pronunciation) »

proposer vs. to propose

The academic meanings of the French and English words “proposer” and “to propose” are quite similar. For example: To put forward a plan or proposal: The committee proposed a new agreement. → Le comité a proposé un nouvel accord.  We proposed Ms Smith as Chair / Chairperson / Chairwoman. → Nous avons proposé Mme Smith en tant que Présidente. However, note the difference in non-academic … Continue reading proposer vs. to propose »

the past simple and tense markers

I like to think of the past tense as a flag in the middle of a sentence to call out and mark tense. Training your ear to notice these “flags” or markers will help you better capture meaning. The English language aims for simplicity and uses markers only as needed. Have a look at the past simple marked by -ed, did or irregular verb, past … Continue reading the past simple and tense markers »