February 2, 2013

Weekly Finds: February 2, 2013

A Man With Magnifying Glass by digitalart
Image courtesy of digitalart / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Every week, we’ll be sharing a list of posts, stories, news, or opinions that we've run across the Internet during the past week or two. We won't be discussing them in detail here, but we do encourage you to check them out as they could contain valuable ideas and insights for your IELTS exam.

If you're ready, here we go...


Active or Passive Voice? Take a Side.

Unless you have a good reason for doing otherwise, express verbs in the active rather than the passive voice. Don't know the difference? Read this post.

Ingenious Ideas For The English Language Arts Classroom

This week's Ingenious Ideas feature National Book Month and Grammar Ninja.


Learn more about prefixes and suffixes.

Present perfect tense

The present perfect tense is used to talk about actions or situations that started in the past and has continued up to the present. It can also be used to talk about finished actions or events that are connected with the present in some way. The present perfect tense is made by putting the past participle form of the verb after has/have.

How Long Should a Paragraph Be?

A paragraph should consist of six to seven sentences. No, it should be no longer than three sentences long. Actually, it should include a topic sentence, several supporting sentences, and possibly a concluding sentence. Sigh. Can I end this paragraph yet?


The author shares a list of English language mistakes.

Interview with a semicolon

Gather insights on how to properly use a semicolon.


Language structure arises from balance of clear and effective communication

When learning a new language, we automatically organize words into sentences that will be both clearly understood and efficient (quick) to communicate. That’s the finding of a new study reported today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) which challenges opposing theories on why and how languages come to be organized the way they are.

Scott Kim’s symmetrical alphabet

The author shares a perfectly symmetrical mirror alphabet from puzzle-designing wizard Scott Kim.

Breakthrough in world's oldest undeciphered writing

The world's oldest undeciphered writing system, which has so far defied attempts to uncover its 5,000-year-old secrets, could be about to be decoded by Oxford University academics.


How to Teach Yourself to Trust Yourself

There is a simple remedy to the insecurity of being ourselves: stop asking. Instead, take the time, and the quiet, to decide what you think. That is how we find the part of ourselves we gave up. That is how we become powerful, clever, creative, and insightful. That is how we gain our sight.

How to get more from last-minute studying

The author shares some tips for studying.


Tips for improving your public speaking

It's amazing how many higher-level people have the attitude that they don't need to improve. But self-perceptions don't always reflect reality. Executives are often not nearly as good as they think.

Speech Anxiety: Use "Grounding" to Look and Feel More Confident

Suffer from speech anxiety? Your ability to feel confident and project power depends upon your being "grounded." Discover how in this article.


How it works: The technology of touch screens

This is a good resource for your Reading and Academic Writing Exam. Take a look at the technology of mobile touch screen displays -- resistive vs. capacitive, single-touch vs. multitouch and how companies are working to reduce weight while improving quality.

Collection of Useful Phrases

Discover some phrases that you could use when you want to write a letter of recommendation.


Follow These Twitter Dictionaries To Be A Logophile

You might think that 140 characters just doesn’t cut it when you have to pick a word apart, and get to its meaning and usage. But let’s leave some room for surprises because Twitter and the Twitter dictionaries bring real-timeliness into learning new words. Here are a few usual and a few unusual dictionaries on Twitter. Follow them and wax lexical.

The 9 Weirdest, Most Controversial Words Added To The Dictionary

No single dictionary ever saw a controversy like the nationwide freakout that greeted Webster's Third, which achieved its status as the most controversial dictionary ever by appearing to endorse vulgar English as good English.

20 Animal Idioms in English

Add these expressions to your vocabulary.

5 Everyday Things You Won't Believe Are Copyrighted

Since all of human history consists of people thinking of ways to take good ideas and make them terrible, these days copyright laws have been taken to absurd extremes.

"Ironic" Versus "Ironical"

Grammar Girl defines the difference between "ironic" and "ironical."

Google’s Updates Ngram Viewer, Showing How Words Have Evolved Over time

In a nutshell, Ngram Viewer lets you find and visualize how words and phrases have developed and been used over time using the 30 million print books Google has scanned working with libraries located around the world as its dataset.

Watch Your Language! (Usage)

Test yourself on 10 stick English usage questions to help boost your written communication skills.

Barbaric vs. Barbarous

What’s the difference between barbaric and barbarous? The terms are nearly interchangeable, though for two connotations, one term is preferred over the other.

100 Culinary Terms To Help You Talk, And Cook, A Lot Smarter

So you think you know the true meaning of “spa” and “mother”? Think again. Food Republic is here to help brush up your kitchen vocabulary with a composite of 100 of our best Words of the Day.