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Ask Doctor English
Your ESL and English language learning specialist. Ask Dr. English whatever you like about the English language.

Friday, May 13, 2005


One of the challenges of learning English is that the language changes depending on the English-speaking country in which you are in. Whether you are in Canada, the United States, England, Australia, or any of the many other countries in which English is the primary language, you will find the language changes. Not only are there distinctions in vocabulary, grammar, and pronunciation, but there are also many cultural differences which affect how we use the language.

So, how do we recognize Canadian English? One of the ways to recognize a Canadian is by the use of the expression "Eh?" This expression is often used in a similar format to a tag question. For example, instead of saying, "It’s a beautiful day, isn’t it?", many Canadians say, "It’s a beautiful day, eh?". As well, it is sometimes used just to emphasize a word, as in, "Thanks, eh?" Listen to Canadians speaking and you will often hear this expression used. Keep in mind, however, that this is a slang expression, and therefore should not be used in a formal situation.

If you would like more information on CANADIAN, EH?, please email Doctor English with your questions at drenglish@vec.ca..

Thursday, May 12, 2005


Do you find English pronunciation confusing? Well, don’t worry - you are not alone. Even native speakers of English struggle with how to correctly pronounce some words.

As native speakers, we sometimes shorten the pronunciation of words to make it easier for us. These are words which students commonly mispronounce because they attempt to pronounce them as they are spelled. For example : the word VEGETABLE. According to the spelling, this should be pronounced with 4 syllables – VEG-E-TA-BLE. However, since this would make saying the word very long, we actually pronounce it with only 3 syllables and omit the "E" in the middle – VEG-TA-BLE. It is the same with the word COMFORTABLE. In this case, we omit the "OR" in the middle, so it sounds more like COMF-TA-BLE. Another one is CHOCOLATE, which is pronounced without the middle "O" and simply becomes CHOC-LATE.

Unfortunately, there are no rules to help you with pronunciation of these types of words, but using your listening skills can assist you to recognize which words native speakers typically shorten in conversation.

If you would like more information on WORDS, WORDS, WORDS, please email Doctor English with your questions at drenglish@vec.ca.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

T.I.P.S – To Improve, Practice Skills

Tired of studying English through basic grammar practice? There are many other creative ways to practice and improve your language skills than just by using a textbook.

Focusing on your listening skills can really help to improve not only your comprehension of English, but also your grammar and vocabulary. There are many programs available on the Internet or on CD to enhance your listening, however there are other resources that are readily available all around you while you are living in Canada.

Next time you have some free time, take a magazine or newspaper and go to a local coffee shop. Instead of reading the paper, use it as a disguise to hid behind and focus on listening to people’s conversations around you. See if you can understand the basic idea of their discussion. This is a great way to concentrate on your listening skills in a natural environment and you might even catch some really interesting gossip! Just don’t forget to turn the pages every once in a while so that it looks natural!

If you would like more information on T.I.P.S for English, please email Doctor English with your questions at drenglish@vec.ca.

Monday, May 09, 2005

Welcome to "Ask Doctor English"

Dr. English is your English language learning specialist.

Here, we'll work together to try and answer age-old questions like "What is an Idiom?", "How has the English language evolved?" or "Why is Canadian English different from other types of English?"

New posts will occur frequently, so visit often!