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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, January 20, 2006


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

What do you call stories with morals at the end?

Firstly, let’s define a moral. A moral is a sentence at the end of a story which gives a message to the reader. Often this message is related to ethics or to what is considered to be right or wrong behavior.

Generally speaking, a story with a moral at the end is called a fable, the most famous being Aesop’s fables. The most well-known stories of Aesop include The Tortoise and the Hare and The Boy Who Cried Wolf. At the end of each of these fables, there is a message that teaches children something about life. There are other stories which include morals at the end, however fables are the most commonly known to end with these messages.

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

Thursday, January 19, 2006


In our last edition of WORDS, WORDS, WORDS, Dr. English asked you to find the meanings of some common slang expressions related to colors. Here are the answers:

The grass is always greener… - Another situation always looks better (but may not be in reality).
Ex: I would love to have your job, but I know that the grass is always greener (on the other side).

Out of the blue - Unexpectedly
Ex: The rain just started out of the blue.

Caught red-handed – Caught in the act of doing something wrong
Ex: Sam was caught red-handed trying to take some money from my wallet.

Once in a blue moon – Very rarely, almost never
Ex: My boyfriend only buys me flowers once in a blue moon.

Seeing red – Very angry
Ex: Beth was seeing red when she heard the rumors that had been said about her.

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

Wednesday, January 18, 2006


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.

Canada is a bilingual country. What that means is that there are two official languages in Canada – English and French. In most parts of Canada, both English and French are taught in school and are mandatory to take in order to enter university.

Also, in most of Canada, you will find all products and signage is written in both languages – English and French. The exception is in Quebec, where French is the official language and English is not always found.

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

Tuesday, January 17, 2006


Yesterday, January 16th, 2006, was Martin Luther King Day in the United States of America. This holiday is to remember and recognize the achievements of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Dr. King spent most of his life fighting for equality between all races and particularly for the rights of Black Americans. As well as being a Doctor of Philosophy, Martin Luther King was also a Reverend and won the 1964 Nobel Peace Prize. There are many famous quotes and speeches from Dr. King, the most famous one entitled, “I have a Dream”. You can find this speech and more information about Dr. Martin Luther King on the following website : http://www.infoplease.com/spot/mlkjrday1.html

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

Monday, January 16, 2006

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.

Do you have some free time after school, on evenings or on weekends? A great way to spend your time and to get in some English practice is to become a volunteer. As a volunteer, you can work with local people, get great experience and practice your English skills.

In Vancouver, you can check out the Go Volunteer website - http://www.govolunteer.ca/search/ . Click on “Browse by Activity” and you will find listed below all of the activities that you can volunteer for. Choose the one that best suites your experience and interest.

Volunteering is not only a good way to gain experience and practice your English, but it also looks very good to potential employers on your resume.

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