“What was she thinking?” “I wonder what she was thinking.” “How could he do this?” “I wonder how he could do this.” Did you notice anything different about the structure in each pair? The first sentence is a question that is asked directly. The second sentence transforms...

Meet my best buddy, Mr. Mouth.  Creepy? Yes. Useful? Couldn’t possibly live without him. You can probably tell that this mouth is well loved. I didn’t quite realize how ragged he looked until I took a picture of him to send to a friend. What makes...

Ah, the bane of every non-native speaker’s existence!  The dreaded “can” and “can’t.” In American English, you need to use contractions in order to sound natural.  Unless you are trying to emphasize your point (along the lines of “I can NOT believe she just did...

Many of you may be inadvertently leaving out an essential component (or two) in the word “January.”  One thing that’s interesting about this word is that almost every one of my students has difficulty with it, no matter where the student is from. Approximately 99% of...

Here is another American English thematic blog post for you centered around Christmas vocabulary. These words may not seem to be extremely specific to Christmas-time, but that is the beauty of the list… These words come up over and over again in regular conversation, but even...

October begins the parade of heavily “themed” holidays in the United States.  First we celebrate Halloween, then Thanksgiving, and finally Christmas.  I am dedicating this post to 10 of the highest frequency Halloween-themed words that you are likely to use this month, especially if you...

“Of” and “off.” Similar spellings, different pronunciations.  Did you know that the words “of” and “off” have different vowels? Also, though both are spelled with an “f,” only word contains a /f/ sound. Two things make these “of” and “off” different. Vowel sound Do you remember the difference...