Top Tips for Spelling with The English Language Room

Learn English: Top Ten Tips for Spelling

Learn English: Let’s look at the top ten spelling rules when learning English.

  1. the “i before e except after c” rule
    believe – receive
    As a basic rule this is great
    but what about ancient, leisure, neighbour

We have a longer version of the rule:
” i before e except after a long c but not when c is a “sh” sound and not when sounded like ‘a’ as in neighbour/ weigh / eight /beige

  1. Changing “y” to “ies”

When the word ends in a vowel + y just add ‘s’
key → keys
delay → delays
(because we can’t have three vowels in a row delaies x )

If the word has a consonant before the ‘y’:
take off the ‘y’ and add ‘ies’
baby → babies
company → companies

  1. Adding -es to words ending in -s, -ss, -z -ch -sh -x
    It softens the ‘s’ sound to a ‘z’ sound
    bus→ buses
    business → businesses
    watch → watches
  2. 1:1:1 doubling up rule
    put – putting, big-bigger, quiz – quizzes, swim – swimming…

When a word has one syllable + 1 vowel next to 1 consonant we double up the final consonant with a vowel suffix:
sit – sitter, big – biggest, tap – tapping, shop – shopper/shopping, fat – fatten, fattening, fatter, fattest…

This happens in longer words when the stress is on the final syllable:
begin (beGIN) – beginner, beginning
refer (reFER) – referring, referred

  1. Drop the ‘e’ rule
    We usually drop the final silent “e” when we add vowel suffix endings, for example:

write + ing → writing
hope + ed = hoped
We keep the ‘e’ if the word ends in –CE or –GE to keep a soft sound, with able/ous
courage + ous = courageous
outrage + ous = outrageous

  1. Changing the “y” to “i” when adding suffix endings.

beauty+ful > beauti+ful =beautiful, beautify, beautician
happy + ness = – happiness, happily, happier, happiest
angry + er = angrier, angriest, angrily,

  1. “-f” to “-ves” or “-s”

Most words ending in “-f” or “-fe” change their plurals to “-ves”
calf – calves
half – halves

  1. Words ending in -ful
    The suffix –FUL is always spelt with one L, for example:

grate + ful = grateful
faith + ful = faithful

  1. Adding -ly

When we add -ly to words ending in -ful then we have double letters

We also add -ly to words ending in ‘e’
love + ly = lovely
complete + ly = completely
definite + ly = definitely

BUT not truly (true + ly) This is a common misspelled word.

We change the end ‘e’ to ‘y’ in these -le words
gentle > gently
idle > idly

  1. When we add “all” to the beginning of words we drop the l
    all + so = also
    all + most = almost

That’s it for my top ten rules! I hope it has been a useful English class!

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Learn English By And Until

Learn English: Common Mistakes and Confusing Words in English  – BY and Until

Lots of you have those dreaded deadlines to meet….You have been working until midnight and your boss needs the document by tomorrow or else! You have been asking about the difference between BY and UNTIL. Not easy! Your English tutor will attempt to explain!

Simple tips for using ‘by’ and ‘until’      

Both until and by indicate “any time before, but not later than.”

  1. Until tells us how long a situation continues. If something happens until a particular time, you stop doing it at that time.

For example:

  1. They lived in a small house until September 2003.

(They stopped living there in September.)

  1. I will be away until Wednesday.

(I will be back on Wednesday.)

We also use until in negative sentences.

For example: Details will not be available until January.

(January is the earliest you can expect to receive the details.)

  1. If something happens by a particular time, it happens at or before that time. It is often used to indicate a deadline.

For example:

  1. You have to finish by August 31.

(August 31 is the last day you can finish; you may finish before this date.)

  1. We also use by when asking questions.

Will the details be available by December?

(This asks if they will be ready no later than December.)

We all know that English is a complex and fluid language. There are lots of little words with subtle differences. I hope these blogs help you with your English lessons and understanding. Your English tutor is here is help!

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Learn British English American English

Learn British English? Let’s look at American and British English!

“England and America are two countries divided by a common language.”

–George Bernard Shaw

Many of the lexical differences between the two dialects are a result of the rapid technological development that occurred in the 19th and 20th centuries.

As new machines were invented, new words were created to describe the machines.

Because of the distance between Great Britain and the United States, there was little or no attempt to standardize the vocabulary.

That’s why British and American words for automobiles, airplanes, and railroads are different. A few examples for automobiles and driving are below. The British word is given first, followed by the American.

bonnet – hood

boot – trunk

car park – parking lot

flyover – overpass

lorry – truck

12 Essential  Differences You Should Know
British English

At the weekend

Have got (preferred)

She wrote to him

Got (past of get)

Learnt, burnt, earnt (preferred/common)

From (date) to (date)

Mr, Mrs, Dr etc.


   American English

On the weekend

Have (preferred)

She wrote him

Gotten (past of get)

Learned, burned, earned

(Date) through (date)

Mr., Mrs., Dr., etc.




Bank holiday



Bathroom, washroom, restroom


Public holiday

Sales tax


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Learn English Lots Of You Have Been Asking About Prepositions

If you want to learn English you will come across the sticky problem of prepostions. Here is a great infographic which highlights the main mistakes


<div style=’padding-bottom: 2px; line-height: 0px’><a href=’’ target=’_blank’><img src=’’ border=’0′ width=’600′ height =’986’/></a></div><div style=’float: left; padding-top: 0px; padding-bottom: 0px;’><p style=’font-size: 10px; color: #76838b;’>Source: <a style=’text-decoration: underline; font-size: 10px; color: #76838b;’ href=’’></a> via <a style=’text-decoration: underline; font-size: 10px; color: #76838b;’ href=’’ target=’_blank’>Miguel</a> on <a style=’text-decoration: underline; color: #76838b;’ href=’’ target=’_blank’>Pinterest</a></p></div>



Learn English Online Blog

In the Learn English Online Blog  you will find loads of help in your journey to becoming a proficient and competent English speaker.

We know how difficult it is to learn a language or even to brush up on those forgotten skills and we are here to help. The blog gives you regular updates on the latest in learning techniques, friendly advice on setting a learning schedule, tips for improving skills and plenty of reasons to keep going.

It is all worthwhile in the end.

Our students go on the pass their preferred English Language test, get through their interviews  and gain the job they have been longing for. Some students join us just for fun, to practice and keep their interest in the language fresh. Whatever your reason, check up on the Learn English Online Blog now and again for that vital help!

Our articles include lists of useful phrases for use in the world of work, business idioms, top phrases to use at meetings and plenty of help with templates for writing emails in English.

Previous blogs have been on interview techniques and interview questions with helpful tip on answers. If you can’t find what you need in the blog, just contact us via email and we will answer all queries. We offer a personal service to our students and our aim is to help you and support you. We are happy to take advice and suggestions on what to include in our blogs in the future. If there is something you need, just let us know. It is our customers who really understand the problems involved in learning and it is often up to you to take ownership of that learning.

Afterall everyone is different and unique and each person has their own style of learning. That is our belief! Keep in touch with your learning and keep in touch with us!

English Lesson Verbs: 9 Essential Phrasal Verbs With Get

9 Essential Phrasal Verbs with GET

Love them or hate them, English is full of those lovely phrasal verbs. Learning some of the more common ones should help you understand more clearly what people are talking about!

  1. To get across

I find it difficult to communicate my ideas in English.

Say: “I find it difficult to get my ideas across in English”.

  1. To get on

Immigrants to the USA did everything they could to succeed.

Say: “Immigrants to the USA did everything they could to get on”.

  1. To get away

I’m hoping to go on holiday for a week when this project is over.

Say: “I’m hoping to get away for a week when this project is over.

  1. To get away with something

My brother is always late for work, but somehow he is never punished.

Say: “My brother is always late for work, but somehow he gets away with it”.

  1. To get back (1)

They returned from Thailand last night.

Say: “They got back from Thailand last night.

  1. To get back (2)

I’ve finally had my money returned for that cancelled trip to Las Vegas

Say: “I’ve finally got my money back for that cancelled trip to Las Vegas”

  1. To get the ball rolling

We are all here so let’s start the meeting. 

Say: “We are all here so let’s get the ball rolling”.

  1. To get by

When we were students we found it difficult to manage on our student loans

Say: “When we were students we found it difficult to get by on our students loans”.

  1. To get over

We have just recovered from the last crisis and now….

We have just got over the last crisis and now…

Be brave ….give them a go and ‘get ahead’…Oops there is another one!

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  1. If you want to learn English it is worth knowing that there are actually 2 billion people worldwide who use English on a regular basis either for work or in their social life. Join the crowd!
  2. In the last 20 years English has become the dominant business language. If you don’t need it now, you may in the future!
  3. 50% of content on the internet is in English. Keep yourself informed!
  4. The English language is the commonly adopted second language in Germany, The Netherlands, Denmark, Norway, Sweden Latvia, Estonia, and most other European countries. If you want to work anywhere in Europe, you will need it!
  5. A very high percentage of the working population in European countries speaks fluent English – in the Netherlands, for example, this is 80%. Don’t be left behind!
  6. If you learn English it will open up new opportunities for you in travel and work. Create those opportunities!
  7. New technologies and globalisation has opened up cross-border trade and communication. Look to the future!
  8. Many people have English language skills from school lying dormant. Use that vital skill!
  9. You can feel confident in speaking in only a few lessons with a skilled personal tutor.
  10. Learning a language is rewarding and fun!



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Learning English is great fun especially when you are learning with us over Skype but have you got to grips with English idioms yet? Be careful with idioms because the problem is they go out of date quickly …ones that were used 5 or 10 years ago can sound old-fashioned or silly now.

If you’re in the process of learning the English language, you may come across some of these and not be entirely sure what they mean. Here’s a list of 20 that you’re likely to come across fairly often:

1. A Chip on Your Shoulder

No, this doesn’t mean that you’ve dropped part of your snack. To have a chip on one’s shoulder implies that the person is carrying around some grudge or bad feelings about something that happened in the past… like having walked through the wreckage of a building, and ended up with a chip of that building stuck to them for years afterward.

2. Bite off More Than You Can Chew

Like taking a HUGE bite of a sandwich that will fill your mouth up so much that you can’t move your jaw, this idiom implies that you’ve taken on more than you can handle successfully. An example would be agreeing to build ten websites in a week when normally you can only handle five.

3. You Can’t Take It with You

You can’t take anything with you when you die, so don’t bother hoarding your stuff or not using it except for “special occasions”. Live now, because all your stuff is going to be around long after you’re gone.

4. Everything but the Kitchen Sink

This implies that nearly everything has been packed/taken/removed. For instance, if someone said: “The thieves stole everything but the kitchen sink!” it meant that they took everything they could carry; it’s damned hard to remove a sink and carry it around.

5. “Over My Dead Body”

When the only way you’ll allow something to happen is if you’re no longer alive to stop it.

6. Tie the Knot

To get married. This is left over from the old tradition of hand fasting, wherein the hands of the bride and groom would be tied together with a length of ribbon to symbolize that their lives were fastened together permanently.

7. Don’t Judge a Book by Its Cover

Things aren’t always what they appear to be at first glance, so it’s a good idea to give something a chance, even if its outward appearance isn’t immediately attractive.

*The exception to this might be actual books that have hideous covers: those tend to be terrible all around, and in cases such as these, it’s best to contact the author or publisher and recommend a good graphic designer.

8. When Pigs Fly

This means “never”. Pigs aren’t about to sprout wings and take flight anytime soon, so if someone says to their kid that they can get a forehead tattoo when pigs fly, it’s not going to happen.

9. A Leopard Can’t Change His Spots

Basically: you are who you are. Just like a leopard can’t concentrate really hard and change the pattern on its skin, people can’t change who they really are at heart.

10. Wear Your Heart on Your Sleeve

To freely show and express all of your emotions, as though your heart were on the outside of your body.

11. Bite Your Tongue!

Stick your tongue between your teeth (gently), and then try to speak. You can’t say a word, can you? To bite one’s tongue means to stay quiet: literally to hold the tongue still so it can’t make a sound. This goes along with:

12. Put a Sock in It

The idea behind this is that if you stuffed a sock in your mouth, you’d be quiet… so if you tell someone to “put a sock in it”, you’re telling them to shut up.

13. Let Sleeping Dogs Lie

If a couple of dogs had been fighting and are now sleeping peacefully, it’s best to just leave them alone. The idea behind this one is to avoid bringing up old arguments so they’ll just be argued about again.

14. Foam at the Mouth

To hiss and snarl in anger like a rabid dog (whose mouth would be foamy as he jumps around like crazy and tries to bite people).

15. A Slap on the Wrist

A very, very mild punishment. To be slapped on the wrist doesn’t hurt much, and isn’t a deterrent from misbehaving again.

16. You Are What You Eat

This is the idea that everything you eat influences your health and well-being. If you eat nothing but junk food, you’ll end up unhealthy and malnourished, so be sure to eat a well-balanced diet.

17. “It’s a Piece of Cake!”

…meaning that it’s incredibly easy. No-one has a difficult time eating a piece of cake, do they?

18. It Takes Two to Tango

A person can’t dance the tango alone, nor can they fight by themselves either. If an argument has occurred, there were two people involved, so two were responsible.

19. Head Over Heels

To be incredibly excited and joyful, particularly with regard to being in love. Imagine someone so happy that they do cartwheels down the street: like that.

20. An Arm and a Leg

When something is so ridiculously expensive that you might have to sell your own body parts in order to afford it, it’s said to cost “an arm and a leg”.


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Learn English: 20 Business Idioms You Should Know

Are you thinking outside the box or having an ideas shower? Whether you are learning English for business or work or just for fun you will come across some curious phrases that cannot be translated word for word and, if you do, the meaning is ‘lost in translation’. Phrases like this are called idioms and English is rife with them and nowhere more so than in the world of business. If a project is ‘oven-ready’ it certainly doesn’t mean that you are going to cook it!

Idioms can be confusing but they are also fun to work out and even more fun to use, if you can use them in the right context. In business English these are also known as buzzwords. Some people find these phrases clichéd or overused but, love them or loathe them, it’s important to know them.

Here are 20 key business idioms to help you with your learning of English

Idiom Meaning
To think outside the box To think creatively and without restrictions
Let’s have an ideas shower! Let’s brainstorm our ideas!
To touch base To contact for a short time
To fast track To do something in as little time as possible
A ball-park figure An approximate number or value
A win-win situation A good situation for all
Look at the big picture To see the overall effect or plan
A game plan An overall strategy
Delayering Downsizing (and making redundancies)
To have your ducks in a row To be organised
To cascade information To pass information on down through the ranks
Empowering Encouraging staff to learn    many skills
Going forward Moving on (…..from now on )
To sing from the same hymn sheet All feel and do the same
Low hanging fruit Projects yielding the greatest reward for the least effort or cost
To move the goal posts To change the objectives
A slippery slope The start of a decline
To absorb lessons learnt To learn from the past /mistakes
benchmarking Evaluate by comparison to a standard
A back-up plan or Plan B A second plan if the first does not work

Hopefully this has been useful for you in your efforts to use and understand English for business.

Good luck and watch out for more blogs with phrases and expressions to help you out!

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