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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, November 25, 2005


Here is a chance for you to have your questions answered by Doctor English. Today’s question is:

What is the difference between " I drove" and " I have driven?"

This is a very good question and one that MANY students have asked me to clarify. “I drove” is past tense and means that the action happened at a specific time in the past. For example, you might say, “I drove yesterday “ or “ I drove last week”.

On the other hand, “I have driven” is present perfect. Present perfect describes an unspecific time in the past. If you say “I have driven”, it means that you did the action sometime in your past, but we don’t know when you did it. It is a way of explaining that you have had an experience, but the time when it happened it not important. You couldn’t say, “I have driven yesterday” because yesterday is a specific time in the past.

Thank you for sending your questions. If you have any further queries, please email Doctor English at drenglish@vec.ca.

Thursday, November 24, 2005


Today, November 24th, 2005 is Thanksgiving Day in the United States of America. In Canada, we celebrate Thanksgiving on the second Monday in October. This year it was on October 10.

Thanksgiving is believed to have originated by European farmers as a way to give thanks for the harvest and the abundance of food. The farmers would hold celebrations and would fill a curved goat’s horn with grains and fruits. This was called a cornucopia, or horn of good plenty. It is thought that the European farmers brought this tradition to us when they came to Canada. Now we commonly celebrate Thanksgiving with a turkey dinner with family and friends.

The reason that Thanksgiving is celebrated earlier in Canada than in the United States is due to the harvest season. In Canada our harvest is sooner due to a shorter growing season, therefore we celebrate Thanksgiving in October rather than in November.

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

Wednesday, November 23, 2005


Do you find understanding jokes confusing? Well, don’t worry - you are not alone. Most students struggle with understanding humor. This is often because of the use of double meanings of words or phrases. See if you can figure out why this joke is supposed to be funny:)

Why couldn't Cinderella be a good soccer player?

She lost her shoe, she ran away from the ball, and her coach was a pumpkin.

In this joke, Ball and Pumpkin each have two meanings. In the story of Cinderella, the ball is a formal dance and the coach is the vehicle that she traveled in. In this joke the ball refers to the soccer ball and coach refers to the person who leads the soccer team.

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

Tuesday, November 22, 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.

As the days are getting shorter and the weather getting cooler, you may find that you are spending more time indoors. This is a perfect chance to find some creative ways to use your time and at the same time, practice your English skills.

A great way to spend a cold winter day is by watching a movie at home or in the theatre. If you watch a video at home you can try watching it with the captions off the first time and then with the captions on the second time. This will give you a chance to see how much you understood without the captions and also help you pick out words or phrases that you did not understand. If you go to the theatre, go with friends and after the movie discuss what you did or didn’t understand about the story. If you are still unsure, try to find a plot summary for the movie on the Internet or go and see the movie again.

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, November 21, 2005


Hi Everyone! Dr. English has just returned from a brief hiatus and is back to assist you with your English learning. Thanks to all of you who sent questions and comments over the last few months. Dr. English will answer all of your questions in the upcoming blogs, so watch for them and continue to send Dr. English your questions.

Currently, Dr. English is addressing your learning needs through the following categories :

T.I.P.S – To Improve, Practice Skills – These are general tips to help you improve your English without a textbook.

WORDS, WORDS, WORDS – Phrasal verbs, homophones, pronunciation tips and jokes can be found in this section.

CANADIAN, EH ? – Here Dr. English will address cultural issues particular to students living in Canada.

– This section addresses some important information for students using English for business purposes.

YOUR ???? QUESTIONS – A new section which will address the questions that you have sent to Dr. English.

Look for special topics in addition to these and HAVE FUN learning English !