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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 27, 2006


This year, 2006, Chinese New Year falls on Sunday, January 29th. This is the Year of the Dog. There are twelve animal names in the Chinese calendar, so the names are rotated every twelve years. Chinese New Year is determined by the second new moon after the winter solstice.

New Years Eve and New Years Day are typically celebrated with family. The holiday includes traditional foods such as jai (a special vegetarian dish), whole fish for togetherness, chicken for prosperity, and noodles for a long life. There are many New Years rituals and traditions, including a sacrifice to the ancestors to symbolize family unity.

In many cities, including Vancouver and Toronto, there are Chinese New Year celebrations. Usually these include a parade or other events in the city’s Chinatown. Check with your local Tourist office for Chinese New Year events in your city.

Gung Hay Fat Choy!

Thursday, January 26, 2006


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.

A common business tradition in North America is to send a potential employer a “Thank You” card after an interview. This is normally done one or two days following the actual interview.

The purpose of the “Thank You” card is to show your appreciation for the interviewer’s time, and also to serve as a reminder of you. This is considered to be a polite way to indicate your interest in the job and the company that you have applied to.

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

Wednesday, January 25, 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.

The importance of reading to help improve your English skills cannot be emphasized enough. What you read is not as important as reading itself. The best practice is to read some everyday. Try a variety of sources for reading – books, magazines, newspapers – the key is to find something that interests you.

Reading will not only improve your vocabulary and grammar, but your overall English skills. Try reading out loud as well as to yourself. Read in the morning, before you go to bed, or on the Skytrain or bus. The key thing is to read whenever and wherever you can.

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

Tuesday, January 24, 2006


Canada elected a new government and new Prime Minister yesterday after almost 13 years of the Liberal Party being in power. Stephen Harper and the Conservative Party are now the leaders of Canada with a minority government. This means that they got less than the 155 seats necessary to form a majority government.

The seats in the House of Commons are as follows:
The Conservative Party – 124 seats
The Liberal Party of Canada – 103 seats
The Bloc Quebecois – 51 seats
The NDP – 29 seats
Independent – 1 seat

Some of Harper’s promises include reducing the GST from 7% to 6%, increased focus on crime and justice, and providing families who need daycare with over $1000 for each child.

If you have any further queries, please email Doctor English at drenglish@vec.ca.

Monday, January 23, 2006


Today, Monday, January 23, 2006 is Election Day in Canada. This is Canada’s 39th Federal Election. Any Canadian citizen who is 18 years or older is eligible to vote.

There are four main parties on the voter’s list:

The Liberal Party of Canada (current party in power)
The Conservative Party (the official opposition party)
The NDP (New Democratic Party)
The Bloc Quebecois (key party in Quebec)

Other parties include the Green party, the Marijuana party, and the First People’s National Party of Canada. The following link gives detailed information on the parties and their platforms, as well as general information about the current election - http://www.canadiansocialresearch.net/politics.htm

Tomorrow, Dr. English will give you the results of the election. Please remember that if you are eligible, go out and vote today. If you have any further queries, please email Doctor English at drenglish@vec.ca.