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English Language (also there is British and American system in the measurements)

British & American Spelling

Here are the principal differences in spelling between British and American English.

  British American

Final -l is always doubled after one vowel in stressed and unstressed syllables in British English but usually only in stressed syllables in American English, for example:

rebel > rebelled
travel > travelled

rebel > rebelled
travel > traveled

Some words end in -tre in British English and -ter in American English, for example:

centre
theatre

center
theater

Some words end in -ogue in British English and -og in American English, for example:

analogue
catalogue

analog
catalog

Some words end in -our in British English and -or in American English, for example:

colour
labour

color
labor

Some verbs end in -ize or -ise in British English but only in -ize in American English, for example:

realise, realize
harmonise, harmonize

realize
harmonize

English Spelling Rules

Writing (and therefore spelling) is a representation of the spoken word. The spoken word is not a representation of writing. Because accents and pronunciation can change easily and quite quickly, whereas what is written in books and dictionaries remains "fixed" for years, as well as for various historical reasons, there is often little correspondence between spoken English (pronunciation) and written English (spelling). English spelling therefore often appears to be totally illogical. The following rules can help you to decode the mysteries of English spelling. But remember, even the best rules have their exceptions.

Adding -er/-est
quick, quicker, quickest, happy, happier, happiest, hot, hotter, hottest...

Adding -ing/-ed
work, working, worked, stop, stopping, stopped...

Adding -ly
loud, loudly, happy, happily, terrible, terribly...

Adding -s
dog, dogs, church, churches, wife, wives...

-ible or -able
accessible, visible, dependable, networkable...

-ie- or -ei-
friend, fiend, feint, freight...

British and American English Spelling Differences
colour, color, practise, practice, tyre, tire...

 

Summary of Punctuation Marks

Mark Name Example
. full stop / period I like English.
, comma I speak English, French and Thai.
; semi-colon I don't often go swimming; I prefer to play tennis.
: colon You have two choices: finish the work today or lose the contract.
- hyphen This is a rather out-of-date book.
ó dash In each townóLondon, Paris and Romeówe stayed in youth hostels.
? question mark Where is Shangri-La?
! exclamation mark "Help!" she cried. "I'm drowning!"
/ oblique / slash Please press your browser's Refresh/Reload button.
" quotation marks "I love you," she said.
' apostrophe This is John's car.
( ) (round) brackets I went to Bagkok (my favourite city) and stayed there for two weeks.
[ ] (square) brackets The newspaper reported that the hostages [most of them French] had been released.
... ellipsis One happy customer wrote: "This is the best program ... that I have ever seen."
 

Informal Contractions

Informal contractions are short forms of other words that people use when speaking casually. They are not exactly slang, but they are a little like slang.

These informal contractions are not "correct" English. Do not use them in a written exam, for example, except in appropriate situations.

For example, GONNA is a short form of "going to". If you say "going to" very fast, without carefully pronouncing each word, it can sound like "gonna".

Please remember that these are informal contractions. That means that we do not use them in "correct" speech, and we almost never use them in writing. (If you see them in writing, for example in a comic strip, that is because the written words represent the spoken words or dialogue.) We normally use them only when speaking fast and casually, for example with friends. Many people never use them, even in informal speech.

Here are some of the most common informal contractions, with example sentences:

It is probably true to say that these informal contractions are more common in American English than in British English. Also note that the sentences above may be a little artificial because when we use a contraction we may also use other contractions in the same sentence, or even drop some words completely. For example:

or

 

Also there is Hinglish, which is the way of Indians speaking English.

A prefix goes at the beginning of a word  and  suffix goes at the end of a word.


Prefixes

A prefix is placed at the beginning of a word to modify or change its meaning. This is a list of the most common prefixes in English, together with their basic meaning and some examples. You can find more detail or precision for each prefix in any good dictionary. The origins of words are extremely complicated. You should use this list as a guide only, to help you understand possible meanings. But be very careful, because often what appears to be a prefix is not a prefix at all. Note also that this list does not include elements like "auto-" or " bio-", because these are "combining forms", not prefixes.

Prefix Meaning Examples
a- also an- not, without atheist, anaemic
a- to, towards aside, aback
in the process of, in a particular state a-hunting, aglow
a- of anew
completely abashed
ab- also abs- away, from abdicate, abstract
ad- also a-, ac-, af-, ag- al-, an-, ap-, at- as-, at- movement to, change into, addition or increase advance, adulterate, adjunct, ascend, affiliate, affirm, aggravate, alleviate, annotate, apprehend, arrive, assemble, attend
ante- before, preceding antecedent, ante-room
anti- also ant- opposing, against, the opposite anti-aircraft, antibiotic, anticlimax, Antarctic
be- all over, all around bespatter, beset
completely bewitch, bemuse
having, covered with bejewelled
affect with (added to nouns) befog
cause to be (added to adjectives) becalm
com- also co-, col-, con-, cor- with, jointly, completely combat, codriver, collude, confide, corrode
contra- against, opposite contraceptive
counter- opposition, opposite direction counter-attack, counteract
de- down, away descend, despair, depend, deduct
completely denude, denigrate
removal, reversal de-ice, decamp
dia- also di- through, across diagonal
dis- also di- negation, removal, expulsion disadvantage, dismount, disbud, disbar
en- also em- put into or on engulf, enmesh
bring into the condition of enlighten, embitter
intensification entangle, enrage
ex- also e-, ef- out exit, exclude, expand
upward exalt, extol
completely excruciate, exasperate
previous ex-wife
extra- outside, beyond extracurricular
hemi- half hemisphere
hyper- beyond, more than, more than normal hypersonic, hyperactive
hypo- under hypodermic, hypothermia
in- also il-, im- not, without infertile, inappropriate, impossible
also il-, im-, ir- in, into, towards, inside influence, influx, imbibe
infra- below infrared, infrastructure
inter- between, among interact, interchange
intra- inside, within intramural, intravenous
non- absence, negation non-smoker, non-alcoholic
ob- also oc-, of-, op- blocking, against, concealing obstruct, occult, offend, oppose
out- surpassing, exceeding outperform
external, away from outbuilding, outboard
over- excessively, completely overconfident, overburdened, overjoyed
upper, outer, over, above overcoat, overcast
peri- round, about perimeter
post- after in time or order postpone
pre- before in time, place, order or importance pre-adolescent, prelude, precondition
pro- favouring, in support of pro-African
acting for proconsul
motion forwards or away propulsion
before in time, place or order prologue
re- again repaint, reappraise, reawake
semi- half, partly semicircle, semi-conscious
sub- also suc-, suf-, sug-, sup-, sur-, sus- at a lower position submarine, subsoil
lower in rank sub-lieutenant
nearly, approximately sub-tropical
syn- also sym- in union, acting together synchronize, symmetry
trans- across, beyond transnational, transatlantic
into a different state translate
ultra- beyond ultraviolet, ultrasonic
extreme ultramicroscopic
un- not unacceptable, unreal, unhappy, unmanned
reversal or cancellation of action or state unplug, unmask
under- beneath, below underarm, undercarriage
lower in rank undersecretary
not enough underdeveloped
 
 
English Prepositions

There are more than 100 prepositions in English. Yet this is a very small number when you think of the thousands of other words (nouns, verbs etc). Prepositions are important words. We use individual prepositions more frequently than other individual words. In fact, the prepositions of, to and in are among the ten most frequent words in English. Here is a short list of 70 of the more common one-word prepositions. Many of these prepositions have more than one meaning. Please refer to a dictionary for precise meaning and usage. For a full list of 150 prepositions (including one-word and complex prepositions with 370 example sentences), try the e-book English Prepositions Listed.