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Category: English


What is business English and what makes it different than general English?

21 March 2017 by Alma Bonger
“Learning another language is not only learning different words for the same things, but learning another way to think about things.” ‒ Flora Lewis (1922-2002), American journalist In most cases, learning a second language results from a strong ambition to understand and be understood in another cultural context. When considering...

Why do the English insist on being polite?

22 February 2017 by Alma Bonger
Politeness is better than logic. You can often persuade when you cannot convince. – Joss Billings, 19th century American writer If you’ve had the privilege of growing up in the Netherlands, or perhaps the pleasure of spending some time in this country, you will probably agree that the Dutch certainly...

The English legal system: Out-of-date or just holding on to traditions?

18 February 2016 by Liz van der L.
During training sessions legal English with lawyers, the conversation often turns to the differences between the English legal system and the Dutch system. Dutch lawyers often find my answers frustrating when I simply have to answer that English law is that way ‘just because it is’. They are often surprised...

Sweet Christmas dreams are made of this

10 December 2015 by Language Partners
The holiday season is supposed to be a joyous time, spent with friends and family, but expats often wonder how they will celebrate the festive season in their new country. The good news is that people everywhere love to celebrate. You may not be celebrating the same holidays, in the...

False friends in the legal language world

30 October 2015 by Liz van der L.
I have been teaching legal English in the Netherlands for more than 10 years now, and I have taught all sorts of people: legal secretaries, support staff, commercial lawyers, lawyers from boutique firms, and lawyers from the public prosecutions office. And of course, they all want (and need) something different…...

Attached hereto is a monkey selfie

11 November 2014 by Vanessa Allen
This week a group of my students thought I may have gone slightly mad when I showed them a mug shot of a monkey who appeared to be grinning at the camera. I could sense their confusion – what has this got to do with Legal English? Their reaction was...

How to keep the conversation going – learning small talk in English

10 November 2014 by Dara Colwell
Not everyone likes making small talk, especially in a foreign language. Yet small talk is important for getting conversations started, which is crucial in doing business, winning a job interview, networking or making new friends. By its very nature, small talk—those casual, spontaneous conversations that take place, often to fill...

Common mistakes in the use with adverbs

28 August 2014 by Dara Colwell
How to add flavour to your sentences Winston Churchill (who was half American) once said that America and Britain were two nations divided by a common language—this is definitely the case with adverbs. Americans tend to drop them with verbs, interchange them with adjectives and considering Hollywood’s global influence, it’s...

Mutton dressed as lamb: when it comes to idioms, what you see isn’t what you get.

5 June 2014 by Dara Colwell
Let’s face it, idioms are confusing. While a language learner might understand every single word of an expression taken together, the sentence makes no sense. Like the idiom, “get my goat.” What first comes to mind—snatching a neighbor’s goat or feeling irritated? It’s the latter and clearly, goats have got...

Does language shape the way we think or is it the other way around?

22 April 2014 by Dara Colwell
This question goes back centuries. Charlemagne once said, “to have a second language is to have a second soul,” and many people have tried to find proof since. In the 1930s, linguist Benjamin Lee Whorf popularized the idea that each language contains a worldview that significantly influences its speakers. Several...

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