Posts Tagged ‘vocabulary’

Learn how to use Question Tags

question tagQues­tion tag is one sim­ple thing that trou­bles many non-native Eng­lish speak­ers in using them. They are very easy to under­stand but they are tough to use in reg­u­lar con­ver­sa­tions because, they are often mixed up with assertive sen­tences. As you all know, there are four kind of sen­tences in Eng­lish, viz., Assertive, Inter­rog­a­tive, Imper­a­tive and Exclam­a­tory. All the sen­tences that we speak fall into one of the above cat­e­gories. Assertive sen­tences are gen­eral state­ments or the state­ments that are made in casual talk or writ­ing. Inter­rog­a­tive sen­tences are used for ask­ing questions.

What is a ques­tion tag?

These are used you want to get answer as either ‘yes’ or ‘no’

Sim­ple Eng­lish sen­tences formed by club­bing assertive and inter­rog­a­tive sentence.

The verb and pro­noun used in the ques­tion tag should be in agreed form with the sub­ject and verb used in assertive sentence.

The struc­ture of ques­tion tag is aux­il­iary verb (do, have, are, can etc) + pro­noun (I, you, he etc) and ques­tion mark symbol.

E.g. Ravi is going to park today, isn’t he?

learn english - Question tags

Learn Eng­lish Lan­guage — Ques­tion Tags

The same sen­tence can also be framed as ‘Ravi is going to park today, isn’t he going to park?’

Only the last part ‘isn’t he?’ is known as ques­tion tag.

The ques­tion tag should be in neg­a­tive form of the sen­tence, if the sen­tence is in pos­i­tive form then ques­tion tag will be in neg­a­tive form and vice versa.

Some Exam­ples:

  1. It is rain­ing out­side, isn’t it? (Neg­a­tive ques­tion tag)
  2. You haven’t taken your break­fast, have you? (Pos­i­tive ques­tion tag)
  3. Joseph and Candy are get­ting mar­ried next Mon­day, are they ?

Note: I + am is a spe­cial case, its ques­tion tag is ‘are you’
E.g. I am watch­ing movie, aren’t you?

Confusing words part-2

Sup­port­ing the pre­vi­ous post i got sev­eral com­ments and i want to give more and more words which con­fuses us and makes much dif­fer­ence in usage. Here are some con­fus­ing words for fans of Eng­lish vocabulary.

businessman wearing  paper bag

  • Cre­dence and cred­i­bil­ity: Belief in or accep­tance of some­thing as true is known as cre­dence. Cred­i­bil­ity is the fea­tures that make some­thing believ­able give it credibility.
  • Cred­i­ble and cred­u­lous: Some­thing that is cred­i­ble is believ­able and not gullible. Cred­u­lous is gullible which is appar­ent to be believ­able but actu­ally not and makes eager to be believable.
  • Dep­re­cate and depre­ci­ate: if you dep­re­cate some­thing you show dis­ap­proval of it. If some­thing depre­ci­ates its value falls. If you dep­re­cate some­thing, you think lit­tle of it. Depre­ci­ate is close to that of dep­re­cate but dep­re­cate is stronger and more emo­tional involvement.
  • Exalt and exult: Exalt is to praise and rais­ing them up. To exult is to rejoice and tri­umphant elation.
  • Face­tious and fac­tious: Face­tious is using inap­pro­pri­ate humor and not silly and fac­tious is fool­ish, silly and idiotic.
  • Expe­di­ent and expe­di­tious: to expe­di­ent is to fas­ten the work and make it speedy. Expe­di­tious is quick and efficient.
  • Fac­ti­tious and fic­ti­tious: while “fac­ti­tious” means arti­fi­cially achieved, “fic­ti­tious” means invented. So a politi­cian might gen­er­ate a fac­ti­tious body of opin­ion in favor of some­thing by spread­ing rumors.
  • Equable and equi­table: An equi­table set­tle­ment is fair to both sides. Equi­table is also equal and impartial.
  • Ego­ist and ego­tist: Ego­ist is a per­son who always thinks that he should be first and only believes only in self advance­ments. Ego­tist is a per­son who always talks about his accomplishments.
  • Empa­thy and sym­pa­thy: if we have sym­pa­thy towards any­one then we will have fel­low feel­ing for them and empa­thy is the abil­ity to imag­ine our­selves in that position.

Confusing words part-1

There are so many words in Eng­lish which are very sim­i­lar and we often con­fuse and make some mis­takes which are some­times very seri­ous. So it is very impor­tant to know about the dif­fer­ence that these words and how they change the mean­ing by just chang­ing one or few let­ters of the word. It is very impor­tant to know these dif­fer­ences as there are so many words that are pro­nounced same but dif­fer in spelling.


  • Affect and effect: these two words are often con­fus­ing so many don’t know that dif­fer­ence between these two words. The word “Affect” is some­thing that occurs before and the result of that is “effect”. If some­thing affects us, it had an effect on us.
  • Amoral and immoral: Amoral means with­out morals and immoral is break­ing the moral code. For a baby, the wrong things they do are amoral but if a crim­i­nal does a wrong thing then he is immoral.
  • Adher­ence and adhe­sion: Adher­ence is giv­ing sup­port regard­ing a belief or opin­ion. Adhe­sion is phys­i­cal stick­ing of one thing to another. Gum has the prop­erty of adhesion.
  • Child­ish and child­like: “child­like” is an emo­tional neu­tral term which is praise. Child­ish on the other hand implies that the per­son is con­cerned about the knowl­edge of the per­son which has a pejo­ra­tive meaning.
  • Com­pli­ment and com­ple­ment: There is a small dif­fer­ence between these two words. “i” is replaced with “e” but this makes a large dif­fer­ence. Com­pli­ment is sim­i­lar to a com­mend or praise offi­cially. Com­ple­ment is to com­plete or fill. Adding a leader com­ple­ments the team.
  • Con­tin­u­ous, con­tigu­ous and con­ta­gious: Con­tin­u­ous is noth­ing but per­sist­ing in work or activ­ity. Con­tigu­ous is next or together in sequence. Con­ta­gious is spread­ing directly or indi­rectly. Exam­ple of con­tigu­ous is “Himalayas are con­tigu­ous moun­tains”. Exam­ple of con­ta­gious is “cholera is a con­ta­gious disease”.
  • Dis­creet and dis­crete: This is an impor­tant dif­fer­ence to iden­tify as they are pro­nounced sim­i­larly. Dis­crete is noth­ing but not con­tin­u­ous and occurs in cer­tain inter­vals. Dis­creet is used to refer to a per­son who keeps his work secret and doesn’t want to show or dis­play to the world and make every­one to know about what he is doing.

Learn Vocabulary — How to get a grip on English words

To get a good grip on vocab­u­lary we need to stock of the words that we have read and develop an action plan in order to retain those words in our minds. There are some tips through which we can retain the words better:


mas­ter the vocabulary

  • Take a pos­i­tive atti­tude in build­ing your vocab­u­lary: Remem­ber that most of the words that we learned are not used in gen­eral usage and there are a lot of words that we have seen only once and we feel some­what con­fused when we try to recall them. We have to make a bold effort to feel our­selves con­fi­dent and com­fort to the level of using them in gen­eral usage.
  • Use a good guide: Using a good guide like a good dic­tio­nary or good the­saurus or a good word list with more infor­ma­tion will make sure that we will not for­get them eas­ily as we form some rela­tion with the topic.
  • Remem­ber that we are hav­ing so much choice: when we are writ­ing we can replace most of the words with that of the vocab­u­lary words that we have learnt. Try to think of the words that are sim­ple to make them more accu­rate and more suit­able to the situation.
  • Think about the audi­ence skills and knowl­edge: As I men­tioned in the pre­vi­ous posts it is very impor­tant to com­mu­ni­cate on the basis of knowl­edge of the audi­ence. If we want the audi­ence to under­stand what we are try­ing to say they must have some knowl­edge about the sub­ject that we are speak­ing about. So try to use the words that are more under­stand­able to the audi­ence accord­ing to their level.
  • Infor­mal and for­mal: Try to use the words that are suit­able to the sit­u­a­tion. We have to use the words that are used for infor­mal com­mu­ni­ca­tion when we are tak­ing or com­mu­ni­cat­ing with the peo­ple we already know and use for­mal words or using euphemism or reduce taboo with the peo­ple who are new to us.
  • Avoid jar­gon: if we try to say about vir­tual mem­ory of deep com­puter tech­no­log­i­cal ideas to a per­son who works in a fac­tory, it is of no use and he can’t under­stand any­thing. So try to reduce the usage of the words related to jar­gon when we are com­mu­ni­cat­ing with nor­mal people.
  • Learn how to use the words in the sen­tences as much as pos­si­ble so that we can know when to use a par­tic­u­lar word exactly.
  • Play word games: play­ing word games will improve our vocab­u­lary very much and will be a very good enter­tain­ment ses­sion. These games bring a good grip of the words.
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