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Issue 16: February 2012

As a learner of English, you encounter many new English words every day. How do you learn their meanings and pronunciation, and how can you remember them?
ClarityLifeSkills' General English package offers several programs that will help you to do this effectively. They will expand your vocabulary through real-life texts. You will learn words in context, and you can listen to native speakers reading the texts – we've found these to be very good ways to remember how to say the words.
Click here to find out more about the General English package.

Study Skills Success V9

Authentic articles, timed essays, lectures, a dialogue on finding a flat, Web-based research - very thorough course in academic English and study skills.

Active Reading

Improve your reading by working on the whole range of reading skills: skimming, scanning, vocab strategies, signpost words, topic sentences and more!

Clear Pronunciation

Learn to speak clearly! The English language is made up of 43 different sounds. Master them through videos, audio clips and 250 activities.

Tense Buster

This best-selling program covers 33 key areas of grammar, and will help you eliminate mistakes. Adopted worldwide by the British Council.
Enjoy high-quality English learning programs now at
We have seen words with an –ish suffix like 'foolish' and 'English'. Sometimes native speakers add this suffix to other words. When they do this, they are changing the meaning of the words to mean 'kind of' or 'around'. You are most likely to find this in conversation. Below are two examples.
Example 1
Sam:
When will we meet for coffee tomorrow?
Tim:
Is two-ish OK?
Sam:
I've got to see the dentist at two. Let's meet at three.
Explanation
'Two-ish' here means 'around two o'clock'.
Example 2
Paula:
Jack, I heard you bought a second-hand car.
Jack:
Yes. It is a 2008 model. It's new-ish but isn't as expensive as a brand-new car.
Explanation
'New-ish' means 'kind of new'. The car is about four years-old. It is not a new car but it is not old either.
Note
This usage of the –ish suffix is usually only found in conversation and is not acceptable in formal written English.
When we write in English we try not to use the same words again and again. We use different words with the same meaning to make our writing more interesting. These are called synonyms. There are two columns of words below. One word from column A has a similar meaning as one word from column B. Match the words.
  1. Column A
  2. clever
  3. thin
  4. big
  5. bad
  6. strong
  1. Column B
  2. awful
  3. slim
  4. robust
  5. intelligent
  6. enormous

Learners of English often cannot remember how to say words they have just learned. You can use technology to help you. When you have just learned how to say a word, record it on your mobile phone. You can also ask your teacher or your native-speaker friend to record it for you. Then you can listen to the word and practise repeating it. Most importantly, you will not forget how to say it.

If you can, upload the recordings to your computer. This way you can build an audio library of words.

Note:
All ClarityLifeSkills programs feature an audio recorder – the Clarity Recorder. This lets you to record and save directly onto your computer. You can also compare your recording with a native-speaker model.

Choose the correct word to use from below.
I had a _______________ headache last night.
terrific
terrible
terribly

We can learn from other people's mistakes when learning English. Click on the link below. It is a website where people have taken photographs of English mistakes and have posted them online. Look at a few photographs. Can you work out the meanings? If you are interested, you can look at older posts, which are placed under different categories.

Answers

You can learn synonyms by reading novels, news and magazine articles in English. When you learn a new synonym, write it down in your notebook. Write the word, the sentence you see it in and then write your own sentence using the word. Review the new words often and try to use it in your daily life. This will make it easier for you to remember them.
I had a terrible headache last night.
terrible
Correct answer: B. 'Terrific' is often used to say that things are good, such as 'a terrific idea'. We cannot use 'terribly' because it is an adverb. Only adjectives, such as 'terrible', can be used to describe nouns like 'headache'.
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