Questions that are useful for people learning English as a second language.

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18
votes
7answers
2k views

Is there software that can determine whether I speak with a neutral accent?

I have a query regarding enhancing my accent. I am searching for software in which I speak a paragraph and it compares my speech to find out whether it is accent-free or not.
15
votes
3answers
48k views

What is meant by “steep learning curve”?

What should I understand from "steep learning curve"? When a computer program (for example a translation program) has a steep learning curve, does it mean that it is not good at learning or it's hard ...
11
votes
3answers
11k views

“Bless you” & sneezing

Why do you say Bless you when people sneeze? Is there good reason or history? When someone sneeze, if I don't say Bless you, am I rude?
10
votes
1answer
116k views

When is it necessary to use “have had”?

I have read few sentences which has "have had". I would like to know in what kind of situations we will have to use this?
9
votes
4answers
21k views

How would you define “Fluent” level in English?

Most of us heard about such levels as Beginner, Intermediate, Upper Intermediate, Advanced. As I understand "Fluent" is the highest level when describing someone's English. But how would you ...
9
votes
7answers
6k views

“Without reason” or “Without reasons”?

Do we say "Without reason" or "Without reasons"? (e.g. She started laughing without (apparent) reason(s).). Is "reason" countable or not? Can we ever use a plural noun after "without"?
9
votes
5answers
5k views

When do I have to use 'will' instead of 'going to'?

Does going to only express an intention and will some kind of prediction that doesn't necessarily happen? EDIT: Thanks for all your answers. I asked this question because I always fail to complete ...
9
votes
4answers
2k views

A dictionary based on word occurrence frequencies

Since there are so many language resources on the internet nowadays, I was wondering if there is an online dictionary(or any other language tool) that would list the words not only in the alphabetical ...
8
votes
3answers
2k views

What is the difference between “onerous” and “arduous”?

Is there any difference in the meaning of these words? Which one of them is used the most in everyday conversation? In my vocabulary for both words I've found essentially the same meaning: "difficult ...
6
votes
11answers
89k views

Good movies for learning English [closed]

Sometimes, I find it easier to learn so many English vocabulary and expressions and usage by watching movies. If you're a non-native English speaker, you probably noticed some of them that help you ...
6
votes
3answers
5k views

Correct usage of ‘on’, ‘at’ and ‘in’ from a foreigner’s point of view

As a foreign English speaker who never really studied too much English grammar other than the basics at high school, I am often struggling to use the correct form in certain phrases. At being ...
6
votes
1answer
14k views

Rule on absence of the article “the” with plural nouns [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Definite article with plural nouns I recently reviewed (as I believe, rather thoroughly) the rules of using articles in English and I do not recall any rule on absence ...
5
votes
3answers
2k views

What does the word “respectively” mean in software development?

C# Textreader and TextWriter are the another way to read and write file respectively... I added a text box and button I called tbUpdate and btUpdate respectively... In the right hand ...
5
votes
7answers
774 views

Stingy, miserly and frugal: what is the difference in usage?

Could you please provide an example sentence for each adjective so that to show a situation when only one of the adjectives may be used while the others may not? The thing that confuses me most is ...
5
votes
11answers
2k views

Fun and enjoyable ways to practice pronunciation?

English is not my native language and I'm really proud of being able to write it quite well. I have lots of problems with pronunciation though. In Finnish most words are pronounced the same as they ...
5
votes
4answers
2k views

In the format of A.B. Name, which is the given name and which is the family name?

For example, Bill Henry Gates, which of following is right? Bill H.Gates B.H. Gates H.G. Bill Gates Bill B. Gates H. Gates BHG HGB GHB
5
votes
3answers
18k views

“Emigrant” vs. “immigrant”

While studying one word substitution I came across these two words, what I understood till now is like this: Emigrant: One who leaves his own country to reside to another. Immigrant: A person who ...
4
votes
3answers
1k views

Pinpointing British accents

After having watched British TV and movies for a while, I came across several accents I liked. But I'm not completely sure what they are, so I need your help :) David Tennant as The 10th Doctor ...
4
votes
2answers
8k views

What is the difference between “I forgot” and “I had forgot”?

I forgot versus I had forgot. What is the difference between the two phrases?
4
votes
4answers
683 views

Is English becoming easier or harder to learn? [closed]

As we all know, English is evolving. Constructs considered repugnant 100 years ago are widely-accepted today. Thousands of words in our vocabulary have fallen into disuse while thousands more have ...
4
votes
5answers
4k views

Pronunciation of “r”

How would you describe the pronunciation of r to somebody who speaks English as second language?
4
votes
3answers
73 views

Grammar: What does it really take to be “very good” at it? [closed]

I will try to formulate this question so that it makes sense for a wider audience and suits the style of the QA here. Feel free to suggest changes. I am a non-native English speaker, I have been ...
3
votes
3answers
5k views

“a” or “an” for words that don't start with vowels but sound like they're starting with a vowel

Is it correct to say or write an student or an store?
3
votes
5answers
1k views
3
votes
3answers
315 views

Is it possible to learn English by just listening and speaking (without knowing formal grammar rules) [closed]

My native language is Chinese. Most people in my country grow up without having been taught formal grammar. I am surprised to find foreigners being taught Chinese and learning grammar rules that even ...
3
votes
2answers
376 views

Is there a general thesaurus for conceptual fields?

My question is about ways to find out about, or remind oneself of, related concepts. Say I'm writing an article and I'm stuck finding the right expression. I want to say that the author is confused ...
3
votes
0answers
523 views

What's the best resource for improving everyday speaking? [closed]

I'm having a job interview in a month. My writing, reading and listening are good. However, I have weak conversation skills. I need an efficient resource to improve my speaking. Any resource is ...
3
votes
0answers
783 views

The best book/books for self-education [closed]

My level is intermediate or upper-intermediate. I have speaking practice several times per week with native speaker(she is not teacher). I write short essays and my friends help me to check it. I read ...
2
votes
1answer
465 views

Why European, South Asian, Arabian learn English much faster than East Asian (Chinese, Korean, Japanese)? [closed]

I am Thai and I noticed that many friends of mine who are European (German, French, Russian,...), South Asian (Indian, Nepalese, Bangladesh,...), Arabian (Iran, Lebanese,..) learn English much faster ...
2
votes
1answer
578 views

Learn correct English pronunciation by non-verbal facial expressions [closed]

I met a guy who was born deaf and learned to pronounce and speak English by watching peoples muscle structure change in their face (i.e., their cheeks moving and lips being manipulated) Is there a way ...
2
votes
0answers
48 views

Which word can honestly portray a non-native's language abilities [closed]

I have often been intrigued by the following questions in various documents across the Indian sub-continent: Ability to read, speak, and write - Yes. Fluency level- Beginner, Intermediate, ...
1
vote
3answers
759 views

What do the parts of malevolent and malicious mean?

I understand what the different parts of maladjusted, maligned, and malcontent mean. But what about malevolent and malicious? Could someone break these into parts e.g. mal - adjust - ed and explain ...
1
vote
2answers
188 views

words for numbers

Since words are easier to remember than numbers, you construct a word from each group of numbers and then memorize the word(s) I would like to learn numbers by words, for example: 1=apple 2=red ...
1
vote
1answer
104 views

Why and when to use “end-of-period”? [closed]

I came across some manuals that refer to end-of-period. I wonder as to when and why they would use this style? Please support your answers with examples.
1
vote
1answer
643 views

What are the pros and cons of learning English from movies and radio? [closed]

I dedicate one to two hours each day to learning English. I'm focusing on listening and speaking (and improving my accent, of course). I want to know what the pros and cons are of learning English ...
1
vote
1answer
523 views

Learning Phrasal verbs and idioms

I would like to learn about phrasal verbs and idioms in English.Which book(s) would you recommend for them?
1
vote
0answers
168 views

Is there a study guide for determining missing topics in English for foreign learners? [closed]

I'm not sure if this place is the right place for asking this question. (Forgive me if I'm doing something wrong at the moment.) I would like to know if Is there a study guide for determining missing ...
1
vote
5answers
513 views

Should simple present “get” be used here, and why?

Here is the sentence: You're looking for Bob. Nobody is sure where he is but you get some suggestions. Why is get used? I think it should be got or are getting. Please explain if that's right. ...
1
vote
0answers
1k views

“Yor first bookshelf” for a non-native speaker [closed]

I have a question of somewhat different kind, not grammar related but rather about learning English in general. I am learning English mostly from reading books. But my choice of books is quite ...
0
votes
1answer
84 views

How to guess/divine definitions from etymology?

I've been using the word 'intuition' to characterise such questions, of which I've asked many, so I'd like to learn or be enlightened about the general methodology. Is there a formal term? ...
0
votes
3answers
170 views

Advanced English Pronunciation [closed]

first thing first I hope this is not off-topic. So here's my problem: my spoken English is quite good, to the point that I'm sometimes mistaken for a native (American) speaker. However, there are ...
0
votes
1answer
345 views

Word to describe a native English speaker who mixes up words and miscommunicates [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Is there a word to describe someone who often inaccurately uses words? Sometimes when I speak from the gut I mix up words and convey the wrong message. Often times the ...
0
votes
1answer
44 views

in the early January or in early January

I am confused with the use of "early" and "late" with date. For example, I heard people say that I will be back early January. But on the internet, I saw people use it with proposition "in" and some ...
0
votes
1answer
497 views

English spelling and grammar exercise database [closed]

I have a little odd question, probably borderline applicable to stackoverflow... What I am looking to do is to write a Windows program, which I will give my kids to exercise in English spelling as ...
0
votes
1answer
88 views

Where to learn about commas (academic/mathematical writing in particular)

I have recently tried to learn how to place commas properly when writing in English, but I experienced a great difficulty in finding some good material on the subject. My goal is to be good (or at ...
0
votes
1answer
129 views

Is Eckersley's *Essential English* still in use? [closed]

When I taught myself English a long time ago I used (alongside Assimil's L'anglais sans peine and the BBC's Calling all beginners) a series of four books, Essential English authored by C.E. Eckersley ...
0
votes
1answer
203 views

Reading zero as O (fifteenth letter in English) [duplicate]

I am new in English and confused for the below. Somewhere I observed that the people are reading zero (0) as Oh (O). Like Tel number E.g:. 0800 (Oh eight hundred). Why? From where it is decided or ...
0
votes
0answers
18 views

site with word used in sentences and expressions [duplicate]

I am looking for a site or tool which would show a word used in actual sentences and expressions, in everyday life, business, scientific books, spiritual books and any other contexts. Looking a word ...
-1
votes
2answers
81 views

What is the word pronounced at 0:48 in this video? [closed]

In this video, there is a word that I try manage to guess (I'm french), but in vain. At 0:47, he says: "there is this X that all software developers are the same." What is X? I understand that the ...
-1
votes
0answers
23 views

practical english Book [closed]

Can you get a good base with this book? Basis for Reading and writing? Practical English Usage - Michael Swan