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Archive for the ‘LEARNING STRATEGIES & TOOLS’ Category

Real Grammar, by the Macmillan Dictionary

In LEARNING STRATEGIES & TOOLS, VIDEO on March 27, 2015 at 8:58 am

Everyone has an opinion about grammar. Some people get upset about what they regard as bad grammar, and believe we must all ‘follow the rules’. But where do these rules come from? And are they all valid?

In this new feature, Real Grammar, Macmillan Dictionary offers a series of videos and blog posts about grammar questions, such as split infinitives, who vs. whom, dependent prepositions, etc. There are 8 videos so far, with the Dictionary’s Editor-in-Chief, Michael Rundell, each accompanied by a blog post. There’s also a quiz you can do to check your ‘real grammar’ knowledge.

The introductory video (above) discusses the two approaches to grammar – prescriptivism and descriptivism, and explains how analysing corpora is a more reliable way of finding out how the language is really used.

Keep an eye on Macmillan Dictionary’s YouTube page for new videos coming soon!

If you’re interested in ‘real grammar’, follow the hashtag #realgrammar for more information.

For more information about ‘real grammar’, follow the prescriptivism and real grammar series on the Macmillan Dictionary Blog.


Grammar, usage and style: learn from the best (and their mistakes).

In LEARNING STRATEGIES & TOOLS on February 4, 2014 at 6:00 pm

The New York Times’s associate managing editor for standards on questions of grammar, usage and style.

Even the best language users can sometimes be uncertain about usage and even make mistakes. Now, you can learn from the questions and lapses of The New York Times’ writers by following After Deadline, an online column which “examines questions of grammar, usage and style encountered by writers and editors of The Times. It is adapted from a weekly newsroom critique overseen by Philip B. Corbett, the associate managing editor for standards, who is also in charge of The Times’s style manual.”

Start with FAQs on some of the most common issues and then follow the weekly column.

You can also subscribe to an email alert that sends you a link whenever there is a new post: Register with the site and then go to the bottom of the Home page, click on Alerts, then +Create New Alert > Keyword Alerts and type “after deadline” in the keyword field.

Harvard Business Review: Email Newsletters

In LEARNING STRATEGIES & TOOLS on January 26, 2014 at 4:45 pm

An excellent way to stay up-to-date with the newest developments, practices, ideas in business management and practice English, from one of the most authoritative sources on the web. There’s a choice of daily, weekly and monthly newsletters, as well as topics of interest to select from.

Some recommendations:

The Daily Idea (daily)

Summaries of the best big ideas on

Management Tip of the Day (daily)

Quick, practical management advice from Harvard Business Review.

The Shortlist (weekly)

HBR editors scan the web for the stories most worth your time.

Weekly Hotlist (weekly)

Weekly update featuring the best blog posts, videos, and podcasts from

HBR Monthly Update & Best of the Magazine (monthly)

The best research, ideas, and insights in each new issue of Harvard Business Review.

Counting the Uncountables: bunches, pairs and containers.

In LEARNING STRATEGIES & TOOLS on January 24, 2014 at 3:54 pm


From engames, a website with loads of interactive activities and visual aids to practice English.

How to talk about uncountable nouns in a countable way. Also, things that come in pairs, bunches, etc., and other containers. With a video, a mind map (picture above) and three interactive games.

Click here.

Business Writing

In LEARNING STRATEGIES & TOOLS on January 20, 2014 at 4:51 pm

Two resources to help professionals with their business writing in English:

Lynn Gaertner-Johnston is a trainer specialising in business writing. On her site you can find free tips and articles, as well as publications you can buy. Sign up for the free monthly newsletter with practical advice on grammar, syntax and etiquette (you get a complementary copy of Email Etiquette: 25 Quick Rules). Lynn also maintains a blog about Business Writing.

Pro Writing Aid offers a free online editing tool. Just paste your text into the editing box and the site generates a detailed analysis and tips on how to improve it. There’s a premium version and an add-on for Word (which I have not tried, though).

Practice vocabulary and pronunciation with new App by Oxford University Press

In LEARNING STRATEGIES & TOOLS on October 17, 2013 at 2:40 pm



  • 365 illustrated phrases with example sentences and a ‘click and listen’ feature.
  • An alternative phrase for each main entry for wider exposure to everyday English phrases.
  • ‘Favourites’ section for a personalised learning experience.
  • A practice game in 3 different modes and challenges to unlock as you progress.
  • Share game scores with friends and challenge them on Facebook and Twitter.

Available for Apple and Android devices.
App Store (Full version – $0.99):…
App Store (Lite version – free):…
Google Play (Full version – 0,82):…
Google Play (Lite version – free):…

Promotional video:

The Lite version:

  • 15 illustrated phrases with example sentences and a ‘click and listen’ feature
  • An alternative phrase for each main entry for wider exposure to everyday English phrases.
  • ‘Favourites’ section for a personalised learning experience.
  • A practice game in 3 different modes.
  • Share game scores with friends and challenge them on Facebook and Twitter.

Cambridge Dictionaries Online

In LEARNING STRATEGIES & TOOLS on November 22, 2012 at 8:58 pm

One of the most useful tools for language learners is a good dictionary. There are a lot of excellent free online dictionaries nowadays and they can greatly support your study if you get acquainted with them and learn how to use their features. Here is one of the finest (click the link below to open in a new window/tab):

Cambridge Dictionaries Online

Six dictionaries on the same page! You can choose from the drop-down menu on the top left-hand corner the one that best suits your needs:

  • British English, American English, Business English  (for advanced learners)
  • Learner’s (intermediate)
  • Essential British English, Essential American English (elementary)

Type the word you want to look up in the field right next to the menu and press enter. You can hear the word pronounced with a British (UK) or an American (US) accent (click on the appropriate “loudspeaker” icon).

In the column on the right, you will often see a section titled More results for (the word you looked up). In the tabs below, you can find phrasal verbs and idioms that contain the word. Further down, there may be a SMART Thesaurus box with synonyms and related words. If you click on any of the words in that box, you’ll go to its own dictionary page. You can also click on the topic heading below the box to go to the thesaurus page with all the related results. This is very useful when you’re looking for words with similar meanings or words related to a particular topic (for example, when you have to write an essay about education).

At the bottom of the page, usually, there’s a section titled Browse the Thesaurus. You’ll see a list of topics: Business, Clothes, Education, Finance, Light and colour, Personal care. By clicking on any of them, you’ll be taken to the relevant thesaurus page with the familiar word box and a list of related topics on the right.

Finally, check out the menu below the search field, near the top of the page. Hover your mouse over the headings (Tools, Resources, Topic Areas, etc.) to see a menu. You can find practice activities, a blog “about words”, widgets for your browser and all sorts of other cool stuff.