An A – Z of the English Language
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Not to be confused with The A-Z of English Language Teaching by Scott Thornbury, we thought we’d put together an A – Z of the English language. If you’ve done a TEFL course you probably know most of what you need to know about teaching English as a Foreign Language but there’s always room for a bit of improvement when it comes to grammar, isn’t there?
Check out our A – Z of the English language to see just how much you actually know about English.
A is for Agreement
Agreement refers to the correspondence between a verb and its subject in person in number. It is the difference between I are happy (X) and They was going to the shops (X), and I am happy (✓) and They were going to the shops (✓).
Read more: Effective Error Correction
B is for Binomial
Binomials are phrases which consist of pairs of words which are joined by and or or. The order of the words is usually fixed and knowledge of these binomial expressions will help learners sound more natural. Examples are by and large, sick and tired, and more or less.
Read more: What are Binomial Expressions and How Can I Teach Them?
C is for Collocation
Collocations are words which are commonly found together in English. There are various different collocations, such as adjective-noun, adverb-adjective, noun-noun, noun-verb, verb-noun, verb-prepositional phrase, and verb-adverb collocations. There are no rules governing collocations so students need to be exposed to them as much as possible in order to learn them. Examples of collocations are deep sleep, heavy snow, strong coffee.
Read more: How to Teach Collocations
D is for Determiner
Determiners are words that introduce nouns. In English they always come before the noun, and before any adjectives that come before the noun. The most common determiners in English are the definite article the and the indefinite articles a and an. Demonstrative pronouns, quantifiers and possessives are also determiners.
E is for Ellipsis
Ellipsis is when you leave out a word or words from a sentence because they would be repeated. For example: I’m studying English, [I’m] not [studying] French. Ellipsis also refers to the three little dots (…) used in writing to show that something has been left out or to designate a pause.
F is for False Friends
False friends are two words in different languages which look the same but have different meaning. Because they have similar spelling and/or pronunciation, language learners often mistakenly believe them to be related. For example, in Spanish, the word for pregnant is embarazada. This could lead a Spanish learner of English to claim they are embarrassed when they are, in fact, pregnant, or – perhaps more problematic – an English learner of Spanish to claim they are pregnant, when in fact they mean embarrassed.
G is for Gerund
A gerund is a verb form which functions as a noun. In English this verb form takes the –ing, such as in the sentence Smoking is prohibited.
H is for Homonym
There are two types of homonyms: homographs and homophones. Homophones are two words that have different spelling and meanings but the same pronunciation; for example, She read that book yesterday and The book is red. Homographs are two words which have the same spelling but different meanings and pronunciation; for example, Lead the way and The rod was made out of lead. Yes, it’s confusing, but it’s easier to get your head around it when you remember that phone means sound and graph means written.
I is for Inversion
Inversion is when we put the verb in front of the subject. This happens in questions. However, we can also use it with a negative adverb or adverb phrase as a literary device to add emphasis. For example, we can change the sentence I had never seen such a beautiful dress! to Never had I seen such a beautiful dress!. Common adverbs and adverb phrases we use inversion with are hardly, seldom, not only…but, no sooner, and only later.
J is for Jargon
Jargon is the term we use for words which are very specialized. When people in a certain profession use jargon it is difficult for people not familiar with the field to understand. You have probably come across legal jargon if you have read a contract, or medical jargon if you’re a fan of Grey’s Anatomy.
K is for Kollective Noun
Okay, so it’s actually collective noun but we struggled with k. Anyway, a collective noun is a noun which is used to describe a group of nouns – people, animals or things. Common collective nouns are a swarm of bees, a crowd of people and a choir of singers. More interesting collective nouns are a loveliness of ladybirds, an embarrassment of parents and a crash of rhinoceroses.
L is for Lexicon
A lexicon is all the vocabulary of a person or language. A dictionary, then, is a list of the lexicon of a language.
M is for Modal Verbs
Modal verbs are types of verbs that are used to show modality – likelihood, possibility, ability, permission, obligation and advice. Examples of modal verbs are can, should, must, have to and might.
N is for Nouns
Nouns are possibly the most known word category. Nouns are words used to denote objects or things. There are many different types of nouns, such as common nouns, proper nouns, abstract nouns, concrete nouns and countable and uncountable nouns.
O is for Onomatopoeia
Onomatopoeia are words which are the sound they make – for example splash, cuckoo, gurgle and bang.
P is for Phrasal verb
Phrasal verbs are verbs which are made up of a verb and one or two particles. Sometimes the parts of the phrasal verb can be separated but other times they can’t. Phrasal verbs are usually figurative in meaning ie I look up to my father means I respect my father rather than I am literally looking up at my father who is standing on the roof. Phrasal verbs can be quite problematic for English language learners to grasp.
Read more: How to Teach Phrasal Verbs
Q is for Quantifier
Quantifiers are words which express the size of a noun, for example, many, much, a few.
R is for Reported speech
Reported speech is also known as indirect speech. We use reported speech when we want to tell someone what someone else said. In other words, we want to report the words of someone else. In reported speech we often need to change the tense of the direct speech, but if the words are still true the same tense can be used. We can use the usual said or told me to introduce reported speech but for more advanced levels we can teach our students to use reporting verbs such as argue, complain, deny, admit and promise.
S is for Superlative
We all know adjectives are words which describe nouns. When we need to compare two or more nouns we use comparative and superlative adjectives. Comparative adjectives end in –er or use more – for example, cheaper or more beautiful – and are used to compare two nouns. Superlative adjectives end in –est or use the most – for example cheapest, the most beautiful – and are used to compare three or more adjectives.
T is for Transitive verb
Transitive verbs are verbs which need an object. This is in contrast to intransitive verbs which do not need an object. For example, the verb bring cannot be used in a correct sentence without an object. The sentence Please bring to me does not make sense, while the sentence Please bring it to me does.
U is for Uncountable nouns
Nouns can be countable and uncountable. Countable nouns are nouns which can literally be counted, such as people or pens. Uncountable nouns, on the other hand, cannot be counted easily, such as water and sand. Uncountable nouns are often abstract nouns or substances. With uncountable nouns we use the quantifiers much, a little, little, a lot of and lots of.
V is for Vowel sounds
The English language has 44 sounds. Of those, in British English, 19 are vowel sounds. These are not to be confused with the vowels a, e, i, o and u. Vowel sounds can be long or short or dipthongs, which are two short vowels combined. To find out more about vowel sounds (and consonant sounds) have a look at the International Phonetic Alphabet.
W is for Word stress
Stress in English can refer to sentence stress and word stress. In English word stress can be used to denote different word categories. For example, the word import can be either a verb or a noun, depending on where the word stress is – IMport is a noun, while imPORT is a verb.
X is for auXiliary verb
Auxiliary verbs are helping words. In English, do, be and have are auxiliary verbs. Auxiliary verbs are used to show tense.
Y is for whY
…as in, why aren’t there any grammatical terms that start with Y?
Z is for Zero conditional
Conditional sentences are very common in English. Conditional sentences are sentences which express a condition and a result; they often make use of the word if. There are, in fact, five types of conditionals in English – the zero, first, second, third and mixed conditionals. Zero conditionals are used to express facts and statements which are always true. Zero conditionals utilize the present simple tense in both the conditional and the result clause; for example, If you boil water to 100 degrees, it boils.
And there you have it – an A – Z of the English language. Did you know all of them? Which of them do you still need to brush up on? Let us know!
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LAST UPDATED: 19th July 2022
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- Personalise our services
- Process payments
- Carry out fraud and other legal investigations
Where we use another organisation, we make sure that your personal information is protected and remains in our control.
- We also, in certain situations, share personal information with government bodies and law enforcement bodies. Where we do share personal information with these types of organisations we’ll make sure it’s protected, as far as it is reasonably possible.
We’ll use your personal information to send you direct marketing and to better identify products and services that interest you. We do that if you’re one of our customers or if you’ve been in touch with us another way (such as registering to attend an ELEARNING FUTURES LTD event).
This means we’ll:
- create a profile about you to better understand you as a customer and tailor the communications we send you (including our marketing messages);
- tell you about other products and services you might be interested in;
- try to identify products and services you’re interested in; and
We use the following for marketing and to identify the products and services you’re interested in.
- Your contact details. This includes your name, gender, address, phone number, date of birth and email address.
- Information from cookies and tags placed on your connected devices.
- Information from other organisations such as aggregated demographic data and publicly available sources like the electoral roll and business directories.
- Details of the products and services you’ve bought and how you use them.
We’ll send you information (about the products and services we provide) by phone, post, email, text message, online banner advertising. We also use the information we have about you to personalise these messages wherever we can as we believe it is important to make them relevant to you. We do this because we have a legitimate business interest in keeping you up to date with our products and services. We also check that you are happy for us to send you marketing messages before we do so. In each message we send, you also have the option to opt-out.
We’ll only market other organisations’ products and services if you have said it is OK for us to do so.
You can ask us to stop sending you marketing information or withdraw your permission at any time.
ELEARNING FUTURES LTD retains personal information in line with our corporate retention requirements. Your data will be stored within the European Economic Area (“the EEA”) (The EEA consists of all EU member states, plus Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein). However, in some circumstances, part or all of your data may be stored or transferred outside of the European Economic Area (“the EEA”). You are deemed to accept and agree to this by using our site and submitting information to us. If we do store or transfer data outside the EEA, we will take all reasonable steps to ensure that your data is treated as safely and securely as it would be within the EEA and under the GDPR. Such steps may include, but not be limited to, the use of legally binding contractual terms between us and any third parties we engage with, and the use of the EU-approved Model Contractual Arrangements. If we intend at any time to transfer any of your data outside the EEA, we will always obtain your consent beforehand.
Right to access personal information
- Under the law, any individual has a right to ask for a copy of the personal information held about them. This means that you can ask for the information that ELEARNING FUTURES LTD holds about you. This is known as the right of ‘subject access’.
- When making a request you will need to give us:
- a request in writing (by post or by email)
- We may need to ask you to provide:
- proof of your identity
- proof of your home address
- any information that we reasonably need to locate the information you have requested (for example details of the ELEARNING FUTURES LTD offices or staff that you have had contact with and when)
We will not start looking for your information until we receive all of the above. In order to submit your request, or for help making a request, please contact us.
Rights concerning the processing of your personal information
- Right to restrict processing of personal information
- In some situations, you have the right to require us to restrict the processing of your personal information. We may restrict your personal information by temporarily moving the information to another processing system, making the information unavailable to users, or temporarily removing published information from a website. We may also use technical methods to ensure the personal information is not subject to further processing and cannot be changed. When we have restricted processing of personal information, this will be clearly indicated on our systems.
- You can require us to restrict processing in the following circumstances:
- You are concerned that the information we hold about you is inaccurate. You can ask us to restrict the information until we can determine whether the information is accurate or inaccurate.
- We are processing your personal data unlawfully and you do not want us to delete the information but restrict it instead.
- We no longer need the information for the purposes for which we collected it, but they are needed by you for the establishment, exercise or defence of legal claims.
- You have objected to the processing (see below), and we need to decide whether the legitimate grounds we have to process the information override your legitimate interests.
Processing you think is unlawful
- If you tell us that you think we are processing your personal information unlawfully, but you do not want the information to be erased, you have the right to require us to restrict the processing of that information.
- We will ask you for an explanation about why you think the processing is unlawful, and may also ask that you provide evidence to support this view.
Processing of personal information you think is inaccurate
- You can tell us if you think the personal information we are processing about you is factually inaccurate. You can require us to restrict how we use your personal information until we can verify the accuracy of the information. We will ask you for an explanation about why you think the information is inaccurate, and may also ask that you provide some supporting evidence of the alleged inaccuracy.
- If we find that the personal information we are processing about you is inaccurate, we will take appropriate steps to correct the information.
Personal information is no longer needed by ELEARNING FUTURES LTD but needed by you in connection with a legal claim
- In most circumstances, we will securely delete or dispose of personal information when we no longer need it for our legitimate business purposes. Our approach to retention is outlined in our corporate retention schedules.
- However, if the personal information we no longer need would assist you in establishing, exercising or defending a legal claim, you can require us to keep the information for as long as necessary. We may ask you to provide an explanation and any available supporting evidence that a legal claim is ongoing or contemplated.
Right to erasure of personal data (“the right to be forgotten”)
In the following circumstances, you have the right to require that ELEARNING FUTURES LTD securely deletes or destroys your personal information:
- If the personal information we hold about you is no longer necessary for the purposes for which we originally collected it.
- The processing is based on consent – if you have previously given your consent to ELEARNING FUTURES LTD collecting and processing your personal information, and you notify us that you withdraw your consent. Please note: withdrawing your consent does not mean the processing of your personal data which occurred before the withdrawal was unlawful.
- We are processing your personal information for direct marketing purposes, and you want us to stop.
- If you think ELEARNING FUTURES LTD has processed your personal information unlawfully.
If you think any of the above situations apply, we may ask you for an explanation and further information to verify this.
Right to object to processing
You have the right to object to the ELEARNING FUTURES LTD processing your personal data in the following circumstances:
Personal information used for direct marketing
If we are using your personal information to send you direct marketing, you have the right to object at any time. If you exercise this right, we will stop processing your personal information for direct marketing purposes. However, we may keep your information on a “suppression list” to ensure your information is not added to any marketing lists at some point in the future.
Automated decision making and profiling
- ‘Profiling’ is the automated use of personal data held on a computer to analyse or predict things that have a legal effect, or other similarly significant effects, on the individual. Examples would include economic situation, health, personal preferences or interests and location. You have the right not to be subject to a solely automated decision (that is, a decision made electronically, with no human intervention), and this may include profiling (although there is no general right to object to profiling). If you are concerned the ELEARNING FUTURES LTD has made a solely automated decision about you, you can object.
- Please note, ELEARNING FUTURES LTD is allowed to carry out automated decisions with no human intervention where you have given your explicit consent to this processing (although you have the right to withdraw your consent).
- We are also permitted to make automated decisions with no human intervention in the following circumstances:
- The automated decision is necessary to enter into, or perform a contract, or complete a contract involving you and the ELEARNING FUTURES LTD.
- The automated decision is allowed under a law passed at the European Union level, or at the level of the European Union or EEA member state level (i.e., is allowed under national law). The law will provide safeguards to protect your rights and freedoms.
However, you still have a general right to object in both of the above circumstances, providing reasons why you think the processing is having a negative effect on you. If you do object, we will carefully consider your reasons, and decide whether to review the decision-making process in your specific case.
Right to data portability
- If you have provided your information to ELEARNING FUTURES LTD, you have the right to request and receive a copy of that information in a structured, commonly used and machine-readable format.
- You also have the right to ask us to send the information we hold about you to another organisation.
- There are some situations in which the right to data portability does not apply. For further information, please contact us.
Exercising your rights concerning the processing of your personal information
If you wish to exercise any of the above rights concerning the way in which we process your personal information, please contact:
Risk Management Team
ELEARNING FUTURES LTD,
21-22 Old Steine,
Email: [email protected]
Your right to complain to a national data protection regulator (data protection supervisory authority)
- If you think we have processed your personal information unfairly or unlawfully, or we have not complied with your rights under GDPR, you have the right to complain to a national data protection regulator.
- Complaints about how we process your personal information can be considered by the data protection regulator.