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Vocabulary

Vocabulary Lesson: imply v. infer

Even native-speaks get confused by this difference!

imply (that) = to suggest something is true without saying it

A: “You should get a new hairstyle.”
B: “Are you implying that I look messy?”

“Adam implied he would lend me the money, but when I needed it, he said no.”

“You did say you would help me move house on Sunday! I didn’t imply anything!”

Vocabulary Lesson = stale v. spoiled

Both of these adjectives describe a negative condition of food, but there is a big difference between them.

stale (adj) = food that has gone hard with time…like bread or cake.

“Can you buy some fresh bread for breakfast on the way home? The loaf we have is stale.”

spoiled (adj) = food is unfit to eat….like over ripe fruit or meat, or milk that has gone sour.

Engrish.com…fun!

Have you heard of the site www.engrish.com?

They show photos of the funny mistakes foreign advertisers make in English.

For more advanced English students, see if you can find the mistakes in the ads!

It is a good way to test your vocabulary.

Vocabulary Lesson: fake v. false

fake (adj) = a copy of something that appears to be like something else (usually something expensive)

“I don’t understand why people buy fake designer handbags.”

“We spray fake snow in the window for Christmas.”

false (adj) = artifical/not real

“My grandfather has false teeth.”

“This city is dangerous so you should not have a false sense of security.”

false (adj) = not true

Vocabulary Lesson – eldest v. oldest

Eldest and oldest both refer to ‘the greatest in age’.

However, eldest should only be used for people who are related (family), and is almost always refers to brothers and sisters.

In contrast,  oldest can be used for any person, place, or thing in a group.

Both words are almost always paired with the.

Examples:

  • I am the eldest of my brothers and sisters.

Vocabulary lesson – sensible versus sensitive

Sensible and sensitive are words that are often confused.

German speakers – pay attention to this because they mean the opposite in your language!

sensible (adj) = showing good judgement / making good decisions

“Emma is very sensible with money. She saves as much of her salary as she can.”

“Doing heavy exercise like running is not sensible when you are sick.”

Vocabulary lesson – regard / regardless / regards

Three similar words with very different meanings.

regard (v formal) = have an opinion about a person or thing

‘James regards ballet to be the most beautiful dance.’

‘Do you regard a university education to be valuable?’

regardless (adv) = not affected by something

‘I am going on holidays regardless of how much work I have at the office.’

Vocabulary lesson: (sic)

Have you ever seen (sic) or [sic] after a quotation in a news article, on Twitter, etc?

sic is the Latin word for thus/such.

It is used after a quotation to tell the reader that “this is really how it appears in the original quote/statement.”

It is generally used show a grammar mistake, misspelling, incorrect fact, or strange spelling of a name.

Vocabulary lesson: 20s, 50s, 90s…the decades

When we are talking about decades (10 years) and what happened in them (fashion, lifestyle, politics, etc) we refer to them as the 30s, 60s, 80s…

You will notice that we leave out the first part of the date – (19)20s, (19)70s.

“My parents grew up in the 50s when it was still safe for children to play in the street.”

“The music from the 80s is the best!”

Vocabulary lesson: compliment v. complement

These words sound the same and are spelled almost the same, but they have a very different meaning.

compliment (n) – nice things said about someone or something

A: “I really like your new haircut.”
B: “Thanks for the compliment.”

“You should compliment Tom on winning the award. He worked very hard.”

complement (n) – something or someone who combines well with another person or thing.