.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

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

Friday, July 08, 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.

In Canada, when someone finishes a conversation, they often say "I’ll call you" to the person they were speaking with. This phrase is commonly used to end a conversation and does not necessarily mean that someone will actually call you.

Therefore, if a Canadian says, "I’ll call you", try not to take this statement literally. They may call you or they may not and whether or not they call, may not have any connection to their relationship with you. Try not to take offense if the person does not call you and remember that this phrase may just be a polite way to end a conversation.

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

Thursday, July 07, 2005


Using English for business purposes can be challenging. Typically speaking business English is more formal than the language used in everyday situations. However you need to consider not only the use of the language, but also the culture when using English in a business environment.

Interviewing can be a stressful situation in your own language, let alone in a second language. The most important things to help you when interviewing in English are preparation and practice.

It is important to know how you will respond to typical interview questions such as "What is your greatest strength/weakness?" and to practice your responses, but NOT memorize them. Whenever possible use examples to support to your answer. Try to use positive expressions and tone and demonstration your confidence in your answers. Finally, don’t forget to smile! Smiling will also help you to stay relaxed and natural in your interview.

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

Wednesday, July 06, 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.

One of the reasons why English pronunciation is difficult is because there are many words which are spelled differently, have different meanings, but are pronounced EXACTLY the same. These are called homophones. Here are some examples of commonly mispronounced homophones :

Air (what you breathe) = Heir (the person who will inherit money or property when someone dies)

Mayor (the head of the town) = Mare (an adult female horse)

Sew (using a needle and thread)= So (many meanings!)

One (the number) = Won (the past form of "win")

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

Tuesday, July 05, 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.

Many students have difficulty with listening skills and there are a vast number of resources available to help you improve you listening. Often a good way to practice listening is through the use of stories recorded on cassette tapes or CD’s. That way, you can listen to the story more than once, before checking a transcript to see if you understood the speaker correctly. Try going to your local library to find these resources to practice your listening skills.

There are also many web sites with listening activities on the Internet that you can access. Try searching “ESL listening practice” and you will find many resources that you can try.

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, July 04, 2005

Independance Day

Monday, July 4th, 2005

Today is a special edition of Ask Doctor English, as our neighbors to the south in the United States of America celebrate the Fourth of July. This is a statutory holiday through the United States and a holiday for some Canadians as well.

America celebrates July 4 as Independence Day because it was on July 4, 1776, that members of the Second Continental Congress, meeting in Philadelphia, adopted the final draft of the Declaration of Independence. July 4th is celebrated as America's official split from Britain's rule and the beginning of the American Revolution.

The fourth of July is referred to as July 4th, Independence Day, or America’s birthday. On this day is it common for Americans to celebrate with a BBQ or picnic with family and friends. As well, parades, fireworks and other special events are also a common part of the celebration.

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