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

Thursday, February 02, 2006


In Canada and in the United States of America, February 2 is Groundhog day. The history of Groundhog Day came from a German tradition called Candlemas Day. On this day, midway between winter and spring, the weather would determine how the rest of the winter would be.

If the sun were shining, it meant that you could see your shadow. In Germany, if a badger or hedgehog had a shadow, it meant 6 more weeks of winter. If he didn’t see his shadow, it would mean an early spring. In North America, a groundhog was used in a similar way to predict the weather.

The most famous groundhog is Punxsutawney Phil. Every year, thousands of people go to Pennsylvania, the home of Punxsutawney Phil on Groundhog day, to watch whether or not he sees his shadow. In Canada, the most famous groundhog is Wiarton Willie. Willie did not see his shadow this morning, therefore predicting an early spring :)

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

Wednesday, February 01, 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.

It is common practice these days to send your resume electronically to a potential employer. In some cases your resume is then scanned by a computer program for key words and phrases. This means it is important to consider what words are included in your resume.

One thing to be careful of is to not use abbreviated forms of words in your resume. Abbreviations such as MBA should read Masters of Business Administration so that they do not get missed by the computer when looking for applicants with a Masters degree. Also make sure that keywords, such as ones in the job advertisement, are included in your resume.

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

Tuesday, January 31, 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.

Many students find that they have challenges when it comes to listening to English. Listening skills require practice, just as skills such as speaking or writing do. In order to practice your listening skills, you need to focus on just listening.

One way to do this is to close your eyes when practicing your listening. Try this at home when you are listening to the T.V., or try it when listening to a CD or even when people are speaking. This will help you to concentrate and focus on only your listening skills.

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, January 30, 2006


**Please note this important correction to the ELECTION CANADA information**

The Federal Party of Canada was meant to read The Liberal Party of Canada. Apologizes to our readers for this typing error. It has been corrected in the blog.

Thank you to one of our blog readers for noticing this and sending a query to Doctor English. If you have any further queries, please email Doctor English at drenglish@vec.ca.