.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, March 03, 2006


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

What is the difference between using "though" and "although" in a sentence?

Good question. Typically speaking, “though” and “although” are both used as conjunctions and therefore can be interchanged. However, “although” is more commonly used at the beginning of a sentence, whereas “though” is used in other places in the sentence. Some people use “although” in more formal speech or writing, while “though” is a more common term and often used to link words or phrases.

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

Thursday, March 02, 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.

Although “Canadian” English and “American” English are often considered to be the same, there are some differences in vocabulary between the two countries. These words, or “Canadian-isms” are one way to distinguish American and Canadian language. Here are some more “Canadian-isms”.

In Canada, we say “pop”, not “soda”. We also use the term “highway”, not “freeway”. In addition, we eat “chocolate bars”, instead of “candy bars”. Finally, in Canada, the last letter of the alphabet is pronounced “zed”, not “zee”.

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

Wednesday, March 01, 2006


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 :)

A man inserted an adveristement in the classifieds: "Wife wanted".

The next day he received a hundred letters. They all said the same thing: "You can have mine."

This joke has a double meaning because of the expression “Wife wanted “. The man who put in the advertisement meant that he wanted to find a woman to be his wife. However, the letters he received came from married men who wanted to give him THEIR wives !

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

Tuesday, February 28, 2006


Today, February 28, 2006 is Mardi Gras day, otherwise known as Shrove Tuesday, or Fat Tuesday. This marks the end of a week (or more) long celebration in many cities, including New Orleans. It is also the day before Ash Wednesday and the first day of the Roman Catholic season of Lent.

Celebrations for Mardi Gras often include a parade, or Carnival. Costumes are popular, especially for those taking part in the parade. Common colors include purple, green and gold. Its not clear how the custom of Mardi Gras began, however the French in New Orleans were known for having costume balls and parties as far back as the 1700’s. Most importantly it is a time to celebrate and have fun !

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

Monday, February 27, 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.

Listening to people speaking English can sometimes be a challenge for English learners. There are so many things which affect our ability to understand someone, some which are in our control and some which are not.

Some people are simply difficult for us to understand. This could have to do with their accent, choice of words or how they speak. These are things that we can not control.

Other things which affect our listening are within our control. Listening is skill which can be developed and requires concentration and practice. Try to listen to many different people – men, women, older, younger and in different situations. Listen to the T.V., radio or conversations around you. If you focus on listening as a skill, you will improve your ability and feel more confident.

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