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Different Methods of Teaching Grammar

Different Methods of Teaching Grammar

Different Methods of Teaching GrammarEnglish grammar is notoriously difficult to learn for both native and second-language speakers. There are so many intricacies, obscure rules, and exceptions that it comes as no surprise that different generations of teachers have used various approaches to teaching grammar to train literate English writers. In the past, memorization-based techniques that relied on repetition slowly gave way to more creative methods. Today, we live in a society that prizes literacy and is willing to adapt to more effective methods to achieve the best results in teaching grammar.

Inklyo has a Grammar Boot Camp you might want to check out. Below, you’ll learn some of the other methods for teaching grammar.

Diagramming Sentences

One of the older forms of teaching grammar, diagramming sentences, first appeared in the 19th century. This method involves visually mapping the structures of and relationships between different aspects of a sentence. Especially helpful for visual learners, this method disappeared from modern teaching at least 30 years ago. Different forms of diagramming are used to visualize sentences, from the Reed-Kellogg System to dependency grammar, but all organize the functions of a sentence in a way that illustrates the grammatical relationships between words. More recently, diagramming sentences has had a small pop-culture resurgence in prints of famous opening sentences and websites that allow you to diagram to your heart’s content.

Learning Through Writing

This method is often used in schools in the U.S. and Canada. Students are encouraged to explore language through creative writing and reading, picking up correct grammar usage along the way. If there are specific problems with certain grammatical rules, these are covered in a more structured lesson. An emphasis is now being placed upon language acquisition over language learning, as it has been observed that learning grammar by memorization does not work well and that students are better able to recognize and understand grammatical rules when lessons are more interactive (i.e., they have to apply these rules in their own writing). Repeated practice is also important and easily achieved through creative or personal writing exercises. This article, posted by The Atlantic, suggests that to better equip future adult writers, teachers in the 21st century should consider dropping outdated grammar teaching techniques in early education and opt for learning through writing techniques.

Inductive Teaching

The inductive method of teaching grammar involves presenting several examples that illustrate a specific concept and expecting students to notice how the concept works from these examples. No explanation of the concept is given beforehand, and the expectation is that students learn to recognize the rules of grammar in a more natural way during their own reading and writing. Discovering grammar and visualizing how these rules work in a sentence allow for easier retention of the concept than if the students were given an explanation that was disconnected from examples of the concept. The main goal of the inductive teaching method is the retention of grammar concepts, with teachers using techniques that are known to work cognitively and make an impression on students’ contextual memory.

Deductive Teaching

The deductive method of teaching grammar is an approach that focuses on instruction before practice. A teacher gives students an in-depth explanation of a grammatical concept before they encounter the same grammatical concept in their own writing. After the lesson, students are expected to practice what they have just been shown in a mechanical way, through worksheets and exercises. This type of teaching, though common, has many people—including teachers—rethinking such methods, as more post-secondary level students are revealing sub-par literacy skills in adulthood. As one former teacher states, deductive teaching methods drive many students away from writing because of the tediousness of rote learning and teacher-centered approaches.

Interactive Teaching

Another method of teaching grammar is to incorporate interactivity into lessons. Using games to teach grammar not only engages students but also helps them to remember what they’ve learned. This method allows teachers to tailor their lessons to the different learning styles of students. For instance, each student can be given a large flashcard with a word on it, and the students must physically arrange themselves into a proper sentence. Other games can include word puzzles or fun online quizzes.

Over the years, many methods have been developed for teaching grammar and have been built upon, abandoned, or combined, all with the same goal in mind—teaching students how to communicate effectively and understand how to use the English language. Because of the grammatical complexity of English, each method has its pros and cons. Some lessons are less likely to be remembered, while others may require more in-depth explanation and practice. Regardless of how grammar is taught, a well-rounded understanding of English grammar is the most important factor in improving the literacy of students.


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Top 10 Grammar Rules You Can’t Believe You Didn’t Learn

Top 10 Grammar Rules You Can't Believe You Didn't Learn Until University

Top 10 Grammar Rules You Can't Believe You Didn't Learn Until UniversityGrammar is an exhaustive subject, with layers of rules from the basic to the obscure. Teaching styles have changed over the past century, and common rules your grandmother learned through memorization and practice could be a mystery to younger generations encouraged to stray from those rules and let their creativity flow. Below are the top 10 grammar rules that you may not have learned until university.

1. A comma and a coordinating conjunction should be used to combine two independent clauses.

What do you call a series of ideas linked by only a comma? A run-on sentence (or comma splice)! This mistake runs rampant in academic writing, regardless of how well the writer thinks he or she knows English. Even worse is that a lot of people are not taught the difference between independent and dependent clauses before attending university, when writing—and writing well—becomes a fact of life.

How detrimental is the comma splice? Run-on sentences detract from the readability and flow of any writing. Arguments can quickly become convoluted and incomprehensible when too many ideas are introduced in one long sentence. When writing needs to be clear and concise, thoughts should be organized using punctuation in all the right places.

Do this:

Holiday shopping is stressful for a lot of people, but some families budget for it.

Not this:

A snowy, cold winter is common in Canada, people sometimes have a hard time keeping up with shoveling, there are storms when the snow gets so high that you cannot make it out of your driveway for days!

2. A semicolon is most often used to separate two independent, closely related clauses.

The rules for using a semicolon are clearly unknown to many people who reach the university level. Writers use this commonly misunderstood form of punctuation in haphazard, mysterious ways. A semicolon is often mistaken for a colon, is used in place of the comma, or even appears at the end of sentences in truly odd situations.

Do this:

Reality TV is a favorite pastime for many people; however, those who hate reality TV have a lot of complaints.

Not this:

Reality TV is a favorite pastime for many people. However; those who hate reality TV have a lot of complaints.

3. A colon is used after a complete sentence to introduce a word, phrase, clause, list, or quotation.

The colon, often mistaken for or incorrectly replaced with the semicolon, has several uses that remain elusive to many writers. The colon is all too often forgotten completely or found in the wrong places at the wrong times.

Do this:

We must remember to buy the following groceries: eggs, milk, flour, and apples.

Not this:

We must remember to buy the following groceries eggs, milk, flour, and apples.

4. A list or comparison of equally significant ideas should use the same grammatical pattern.

Items in a series need to have a parallel structure that uses equal grammatical units. This means that nouns should follow nouns, and subordinate clauses should follow subordinate clauses. If you use a certain form of a verb in each segment of the series, it should be the same in each segment.

Do this:

Her car needed its tires rotated, oil changed, and windshield wipers replaced.

Not this:

Her car needed its tires rotated, oil changing, and its windshield wipers to be replaced.

5. Do not split your infinitives in formal writing.

The infinitive split is a common grammatical mistake that many people don’t even realize they are making. An infinitive is the most basic form of a verb that is not bound by a particular subject or tense, as in “to type.” What writers often do is insert a modifier between the “to” and its accompanying verb—a definite grammar no-no in formal writing (although this rule is disputed in more casual writing). To keep sentences clear, never split your infinitives.

Do this:

I’ll need my best tennis shoes if I’m going to run quickly.

Not this:

I’ll need my best tennis shoes if I’m going to quickly run.

6. A hyphen connects, an en dash separates numbers in a sequence, and an em dash offsets nonessential information from the rest of a sentence.

Where were you when you discovered that a dash isn’t just a dash and that a hyphen belongs in a particular place and not in others? Really, there are three separate forms of punctuation that all look like a dash: the hyphen (-), the en dash (–), and the em dash (—). A hyphen is used to connect compound adjectives, such as blue-green, or compound verbs, such as freeze-dried. It is also used in modifying compounds when modifiers come before a noun, such as high-speed connection.

En dashes, however, are the proper punctuation to use when displaying a range of numbers, like so: 5–10. Em dashes can be used much like a comma to offset nonessential information—information that doesn’t change the meaning of the sentence but does add description.

7. Adjectives modify nouns; adverbs modify verbs, adjectives, and other adverbs.

The difference between an adjective and an adverb seems lost on many writers who never learned the grammatical difference. An adjective is a word that modifies only a noun, whereas an adverb is a word that usually ends in “ly” and modifies verbs, adjectives, and other adverbs. Knowing these differences is important when you need to keep your writing concise, as most adverbs can be removed from a sentence without changing the meaning.


The large, purple flowers on the orchid were wilting.


The large, purple flowers on the orchid were slowly wilting.

8. “I.e.” stands for “that is,” and “e.g.” stands for “for example.”

Many people believe that i.e. and e.g. can be used interchangeably. Both are abbreviations of Latin terms, but each is used in a specific situation. The first, i.e., stands for the Latin term id est, whereas e.g. stands for exempli gratia. I.e. should be used to offer more information or to restate an idea, and e.g. should be used to include an example.


“There are three main methods of motor transportation in the city (i.e., if you can’t afford taxis, try the subway or bus).”


The bake sale included a huge variety of treats (e.g., cookies, pies, cakes, and pastries).

9. Explain an acronym in full the first time it appears. Every usage afterward should be the acronym.

Acronyms can also be mysterious to a writer who doesn’t know the correct grammatical usage. Just remember, an acronym needs to be written out fully the first time it appears in a writing and then used consistently throughout the rest of the writing each time the term appears.

First use:

The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) was founded in England in 1824.

Second use:

The SPCA is dedicated to protecting animal welfare and finding homes for unwanted animals.

10. A modifier (a word, phrase, or clause that describes something else) goes next to the thing it modifies.

Misplacing your modifier can lead to some very confused readers. A sentence can sound awkward or the meaning can be changed completely if a word, phrase, or clause is separated from the word it describes.

Do this:

I picked up my new hamster, Bert, who was small and fluffy.

Not this:

Small and fluffy, I picked up my new hamster, Bert.

Even if you didn’t learn them until university, remembering these top 10 grammar rules is sure to strengthen your writing and help you earn better grades. To enhance your grammar skills even further, consider taking an online grammar training course, such as GrammarCamp.


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The Most Important Grammar Rules to Remember

The Most Important Grammar Rules to Remember When a Spell-checker Isn't an Option

The Most Important Grammar Rules to Remember When a Spell-checker Isn't an OptionEvery university student has at some point wished that the human brain came with a built-in spell-checker. Sleep deprivation, study fatigue, and anxiety can all take a toll during exam times, leading to rampant errors in handwritten essays or short-answer questions. Additionally, studies by Statistics Canada and the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario reveal a decline in literacy skill over the past decade, which means that current post-secondary graduates are less literate than those from older generations. In part, this is due to education systems and reduced literacy acquisition or use outside of an educational environment. So what can you do to avoid the most common grammar, punctuation, and spelling mistakes when you have to rely on your own skills?

Know the structure and purpose of paragraphs.

You cannot write a cohesive essay without understanding and utilizing the paragraph properly. Essentially, a paragraph is made up of two or more sentences focused on a single topic. Each paragraph should have an identifiable topic sentence followed by supporting sentences with clearly defined points. Academic writing, for the most part, requires an author’s argument to be made as clearly and concisely as possible. As long as you keep track of proper paragraph structure, this is easy to accomplish—just remember, one topic per paragraph. It’s often helpful to write a quick outline to keep track of your argument and supporting points, especially in time-sensitive situations like exams.

Know your homophones.

The grammar rules regarding homophones cause problems for both native and non-native English speakers. Mixing up words that sound the same but have different meanings is the most common spelling mistake authors make. The list of homophones in the English language is surprisingly extensive, but the following words cause the most confusion:

Affect and Effect

Affect is a verb, as in “The music affected her emotionally.”

Effect is a noun, as in “The most common effect of sleep deprivation is the constant urge to nap.”

Than and Then

Than is used when comparing two things, as in “He was faster than his coworkers at completing projects.”

Then denotes a subsequent action or time, as in “Then, she put on her coat and went home.”

There, Their, and They’re

There indicates a position or location, as in “She would rather sit over there.”

Their is a possessive pronoun, as in “They loved their dog, even when he ate their shoes.”

They’re is a contraction of the verbal phrase “they are,” as in “They’re all going to the concert later.”

Your and You’re

Your is a possessive pronoun, as in “I can’t stand your taste in movies.”

You’re is a contraction of the verbal phrase “you are,” as in “You’re going to regret eating all those chocolates.”

Whose and Who’s

Whose is a possessive pronoun, as in “Whose car is blocking my driveway?”

Who’s is a contraction of the verbal phrase “who is,” as in “Who’s going to the restaurant later?”

To, Too, and Two

To is a preposition, or part of the infinitive expression of a verb, as in “She was heading to the gym after work” (preposition) or “She wanted to go home” (verb).

Too is an adverb, as in “There was too much junk food at the Christmas party” or “Although he’d already had a brownie, he decided to eat a gingerbread cookie, too.”

Two is a number, as in “She couldn’t image having two babies at the same time.”

Accept and Except

Accept is a verb, as in “Please accept my apologies.”

Except is most often used as a preposition, as in “I love all kinds of fruit except bananas.” It can also be used as a conjunction, as in “She would have purchased the fruit, except that she left her purse at home.”

Unfortunately, the easiest way to keep these types of words straight when a spell-checker isn’t available is memorization. Consider reading over this list of most commonly misused homophones before your next exam!

Know how to use the comma properly.

The most common grammar mistakes relate to one simple form of punctuation—the comma. Commas are overused, underused, forgotten altogether, or generally misunderstood. Below are the most common comma mistakes:

Comma Splices

The comma splice, or run-on sentence, is all too frequent in exam essays or long answers because it’s easy for time-constrained students to connect floods of ideas with commas until they have sentences half a page long and one frustrated professor. The rule here is that two independent clauses—full sentences able to stand on their own—should never be separated by a comma. Instead, use a semicolon, use a comma with a conjunction (such as “and,” “but,” or “so”), or simply end each clause with a period.

Do this:

It was a gloomy day, so she bundled up in her hat and scarf.

It was a gloomy day; she bundled up in her hat and scarf.

It was a gloomy day. She bundled up in her hat and scarf.

Not this:

It was a gloomy day, she bundled up in her hat and scarf.

Nonrestrictive Phrases and Introductory Clauses, Phrases, and Words

Nonrestrictive phrases provide additional information that isn’t necessary for the sentence to make sense. These phrases are often used to add description to some element in the sentence and should be set off by commas.

Introductory clauses, phrases, and words that are not separated by a comma can cause confusion and detract from the readability of your writing. These introductory elements usually set the stage for the rest of the sentence and are dependent because they can’t stand on their own and make sense. They will often start with an adverbial clause; a prepositional, participial, or infinitive phrase; or a transition word like “still,” “however,” or “furthermore.”

Do this:

Because he kept Tylenol in his work desk, he was always ready for a headache.

To get to her friend’s new house, she had to take the train and walk three blocks.

Still, his text message wasn’t clear and made her anxious.

Nonrestrictive Relative Clauses

Nonrestrictive relative clauses are a type of dependent clause introduced by a relative pronoun, most commonly “which.” These clauses contain information that is not essential to the understanding of the sentence and should be set off by a comma. A good rule to remember is to always use a comma before the word “which.”

Do this:

He finally changed his number, which he had been meaning to do since he moved, to avoid all those long-distance charges.

Even the most grammatically gifted students and writers may have difficulty with these grammar rules when a spell-checker isn’t available. Preparing for such a situation does require some effort, but learning these grammar rules—whether on your own or with the help of a grammar course—will be sure to help you write well.


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8 Comics to Help You Avoid Unfortunate Punctuation Errors

Ah, punctuation errors. Once a missed keystroke on a typewriter, now the fodder of Internet memes, viral screenshots, and endless Tumblr posts. We’ve all seen the public restrooms reserved for elderly pregnant disabled children, the unsettling connotations of a restaurant that serves “fresh” sushi, the PR disasters that could have been averted with critical commas. In an online world where every little mistake is photographed and shared, understanding punctuation is more important than ever to maintain a credible reputation.

1. Obey the Terminator

The importance of periods.

Terminal punctuation can seem like a no-brainer, and it’s for this very reason that many mistakes occur. Sometimes we overlook glaring errors simply because they’re so obvious. We assume we haven’t made them and don’t think to check. There are, of course, guidelines to keep in mind: Exclamation points in sequence are the written equivalent of shouting (right up there with all caps); some indirect questions actually end in periods, not question marks; and different styles of writing use different rules for terminal punctuation in quotes, parentheses, or abbreviations. The bottom line? Proofread!

2. A comma, a comma. My kingdom for a comma!

The importance of commas.

This little devil is the culprit in the most infamous punctuation blunders. Commas can be tricky things, what with the many, many rules that apply to their usage. Some of the more common gaffes are forgetting to include a comma between items in a list, after introductory phrases, or between independent clauses joined by a coordinating conjunction. If you’re thinking those mistakes sound innocent enough, take a look at the magazine cover that declares that Rachael Ray finds happiness in cooking her family and her dog. Although the cover was found to have been Photoshopped, this punctuation error is easy to make, so be vigilant!

3. Say “no” to sketchy quotation marks

The importance of quotation marks.

I’ll say this once: Never use quotation marks for emphasis. Inappropriate use of these teeny little marks creates a written implication that something is, well, questionable. If the text at hand isn’t actually a quotation or the title of a work, using quotation marks brings to mind the image of someone saying the word or phrase while employing air quotes and waggling their eyebrows. Would you eat at a grill serving “beef” steaks?

4. Hyphens and en dashes and em dashes—oh my!

The importance of hyphenation.

Finding error in the length of horizontal lines may seem like nitpicking. Many won’t even realize these little dashes are different! However, ignoring the circumstances that call for hyphens, en dashes, or em dashes can lead to embarrassing changes in the meaning of a written phrase. As a cheat sheet: Em dashes (the longest of the three, equal in length to the typed letter m) are used in place of commas or parentheses to create emphasis. En dashes (equal in length to the letter n) connect values or ranges (e.g., 2002–2008), and hyphens join words that are logically connected (e.g., state-of-the-art, anti-war, long-term relationship).

5. Don’t eclipse the ellipsis

The importance of ellipses.

(For those of you who don’t get the reference, check out this YouTube clip, and go watch The Rocky Horror Picture Show as soon as you finish this article!)

Ellipses, consisting of three periods in succession, are useful tools that allow writers to indicate an omission (usually in quoted text), the trailing-off of a thought, or a hesitation. As with exclamation points, the rule of less is more applies. A page overzealously spotted and dotted with ellipses will only look messy.

6. Apostrophe catastrophe

The importance of apostrophes.

Pet peeve of editors, proofreaders, and grammar gurus worldwide is the misguided use of apostrophes to form plural nouns. Let’s take a moment to be absolutely clear: Apostrophes denote ownership or conjoined words; never should an -s at the end of a plural noun be preceded by an apostrophe. So please, noble writer, apostrophize the teacher’s office, the dog’s bowl, and let’s get out of here, but stay your hand when telling us about the 1980s or dinner with the Andersons.

7. Serious about semicolons

The importance of semicolons.

(This is another reference for film buffs; if you don’t get the above reference, you’ll enjoy it more after checking out this YouTube clip from the 1976 movie Network.)

Semicolons represent a pause longer than that of a comma but shorter than the full stop of a period. Before you start applying semicolons willy-nilly, however, remember some simple rules: Use a semicolon to join two sentences without a conjunction; before transitional phrases, such as meanwhile, however, and for example, when they connect independent clauses into a single sentence; and in lists of this sort that include commas within list elements.

8. The dreaded grammatical colonoscopy

The importance of colons.

The colon means serious business. Mild toilet humor aside, the use of a colon in writing is a signal that something important is about to follow. Use a colon to introduce a list, to lead into a second sentence that explains or adds to the first without using a conjunction, or simply to add emphasis to whatever follows. To make sure your colon is clean (ew), you may wish to consult your style guide about whether the sentence following the colon requires capitalization.

Still worried about succumbing to punctuation errors? Here’s a cheat sheet from’s GrammarCamp course to make things easy.

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So, You’re New to Canada, Eh?

So, You're New to Canada, Eh?I hear you’ve just moved to Canada. I bet you’re wondering just how to fit into Canadian culture. If you’ve done any research online, you’ve surely found that to act like a Canadian, you’ll need to say “eh” a lot, eat maple syrup-covered bacon, play hockey, be super nice to everyone, and pronounce it “a-boot” instead of “about.” Well, I hate to break it to you, but most of that stereotypically “Canadian” stuff is a bunch of over-exaggerated bologna. Sure, these things make for great punchlines in jokes about Canada, but they aren’t going to be much help if you actually find yourself in the land of the maple leaf. So, for you who are new to Canada, here are some dos and don’ts that will actually help you navigate the True North Strong and Free.

Do be nice

Canada has a reputation for being one of the nicest countries in the world. And while you shouldn’t expect every Canadian you encounter to shower you with love and affection, you definitely can expect us, as a group, to be very nice to you. For example, in Canada, it is generally considered pretty rude not to hold the door open for someone—even a stranger—who is entering a room or building behind you.

So, what can you, as a recent immigrant to Canada, do to fit in when out and about? The easiest thing you can do to be accepted by Canadians is just to be excessively polite. When you’re buying something at a store, being served at a restaurant, or receiving any other type of service, say “thank you.” And when somebody else thanks you, be sure to accept that thanks with a “you’re welcome.” Here is an example of a typical conversation between a cashier at a store and a customer in Canada:

Cashier: Hi, how are you today?

Customer: I’m great, thanks. How are you?

Cashier: I’m good, thank you. Did you find everything you were looking for today?

Customer: Oh yes, thank you.

Cashier: Good. Okay, your total comes to $15.00, please.

Customer: That will be on my Visa, please.

Cashier: Okay, you’re all set (sets up the Visa machine).

Customer: Thank you (completes the Visa transaction).

Cashier: Thank you. Here’s your receipt.

Customer: Great, thanks.

Cashier: No problem. You have a great day.

Customer: Thanks, you too.

Cashier: Thank you.

You may think that conversation is an exaggeration, but as someone who worked in retail for a long time, I can assure you that it isn’t. Most courteous Canadians treat service workers as if they are friends doing us extremely generous favors rather than as employees who are simply doing their jobs. The service workers, in turn, act as if the customers are their grandmothers, teachers, or other people who are generally treated with a high degree of respect. Of course, there are some rotten people who don’t treat service workers very well at all, but we prefer to believe that the mean people are actually all secretly American.

In addition to thanking people excessively, we Canadians tend to apologize profusely, usually when we have done nothing even remotely wrong. Some studies have shown that about 70 percent of Canadians will apologize when someone else bumps into them. That’s right––we say “sorry” for being in the way of people who aren’t paying attention to us. We also apologize when we don’t know what to order at a restaurant, when we can’t get our credit cards out of our wallets fast enough when there is a line behind us, when our small children cry in public, and so on. Even though it’s ridiculous, not apologizing for such things just seems rude.

Don’t say “eh”

The art of naturally integrating the word “eh” into a sentence is one that takes years of practice to master. Just like you can’t walk into a synagogue and toss around the few slang Hebrew words you know, you can’t just come into Canada and start saying “eh.” Most people who aren’t Canadian seem to think that we say “eh” in every other sentence. It takes a certain level of finesse to integrate it into your speech, and while some Canadians might be liberal with their “ehs,” most of us tack it onto sentences without even knowing it. Here are some proper and improper uses of the Canadian catchphrase that are good to know for those new to Canada:

Correct: “I know, eh?”

Translation: “I agree completely with what you’ve already said.”

Incorrect: “So, eh, I hear you’re an, eh, Canadian!”

Translation: “I’m doing a very poor imitation of a Canadian based on what I’ve seen on television.”

Correct: “It’s beautiful outside, eh?”

Translation: “Don’t you agree that the weather today is very pleasant?”

Incorrect: “Eh, don’t look at me like that.”

Translation: “What I really wanted to say was ‘hey,’ but I was trying to be clever.”

Unless you start saying “eh” without thinking about it, you would probably be better off avoiding its usage altogether. While we’ll probably just think it’s cute that you’re trying to be like us, we may be slightly annoyed if we think you’re mocking us (though it’s not likely that we’ll express that annoyance; instead, we’ll probably just offer you a beer).

Do accept hockey as a regular part of your life

You know that joke about all Canadians loving hockey? Well, it’s kind of true. I mean, no, we don’t all play, and I dare say, we don’t all even like hockey. But even those of us who don’t give a hoot about the sport itself do tend to take a certain amount of pride in our nation’s ability to dominate on the ice. Canada is a very large country, and hockey is one of the only universally Canadian things out there. From British Columbia all the way to Newfoundland, you’ll find small towns whose members regularly congregate at the local arena for hockey games. Many young girls and boys across the country grow up playing, and the amount of time, energy, and passion put into our hockey leagues can’t be ignored. We raise good hockey players, then proudly send them out into the world to represent us on our Olympic team and in the National Hockey League.

You don’t have to play hockey to live in Canada, but learning a thing or two about the game certainly won’t hamper your efforts to integrate into Canadian society. Tune in to Hockey Night in Canada on Saturday evenings once in a while to get an idea of what this hockey thing is all about.

Don’t think that all Canadians are the same

This may be an ironic bit of advice in an article on how to fit into Canadian society, but trust me, it’s still very valid advice for those new to Canada. Ever looked at a map of Canada before? If not, take a gander. If you haven’t noticed, Canada is huge. In terms of land area (no water), Canada is the fourth-largest country in the world. (If you count the water, we’re second only to Russia.)

This huge geographic span means that Canada has some pretty intensely different climates and intensely different people. For example, someone who grew up in Ontario would have a much easier time relating to a person from Michigan, USA than with a person from Newfoundland, Canada.

So, no, it isn’t always cold everywhere in Canada—in fact, not many people live in the places where it is always cold. And no, Canadians don’t all have the same “Canadian” accent. And no, we didn’t all share the same culture growing up. Saying so would be like saying that someone who grew up in Hollywood had the same upbringing as someone who grew up in Jackson, Mississippi. While stereotypical Canadian jokes are fine, people need to realize that they are just that—jokes. In reality, Canada is a uniquely diverse country.

Do ask questions, make friends, and feel welcome

I hope you’ve read the above points and thought to yourself, “Gee, I’m glad I moved to Canada.” If you are, I can’t blame you. It is a great place to be. We Canadians are fun people to get to know. We’re pretty accepting of others, too––if you respect us, we’ll respect you. So, come on in. Take off your shoes, get comfy on the couch (never the “sofa”), crack a pop (never a “soda”), and get to know us a bit better. I promise, you won’t regret it.


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The Most Common Grammar Gaffes That Sneak into Resumes

A crumpled resume.

A crumpled resume.Resumes can be tricky. They must be detailed, but concise; assertive, but not presumptuous. Not only must the facts be there (and be correct), but your lists and sentences must also be error-free. In fact, proper spelling and grammar are almost as important—if not more so—than the information presented in the resume itself. This is because although you may have the education and qualifications for a certain position, inconsistency, a lack of attention to detail, and an inability to handle such an important document with care could speak volumes about your potential as an employee. Proper spelling and grammar may seem insignificant, but they are the most important aspects of any resume.

Here are ten of the most common spelling and grammar gaffes that sneak into resumes:

1. Inconsistencies

Many elements of a resume can be inconsistent, including anything from lists to tenses, spellings, font sizes, and styles. As with every piece of writing, consistency throughout is crucial. Inconsistencies in your resume make you look sloppy and can confuse your potential employer. To avoid this problem, take a few extra minutes to make sure that your resume is clear and consistent.

2. Incorrect hyphenation

This can mean a few things: words are supposed to be hyphenated but aren’t; words aren’t supposed to be hyphenated but are; compound adjectives are incorrectly hyphenated; or the wrong form of punctuation (an en dash or an em dash) is used instead of a hyphen. If you’re unsure about whether a word is hyphenated or if you need to use an en dash or an em dash, try doing a quick Google search for the information. Better yet, you could sign up for GrammarCamp, an innovative online grammar training course, to help you along the way.

3. Forgetting to include important information

This one seems pretty basic, but you’d be surprised by how many people actually forget to include important information or details in their resume. Whether it’s the title of a position, the name of a degree, or a graduation date, the details must be there. If they’re not, your potential employer will be left hanging and confused and will not hesitate to discard your resume.

4. Not spelling out acronyms upon their first use

As a general rule, in any type of writing, all acronyms should be spelled out upon their first use, followed by the acronym in parentheses. This way, the person reading your resume will know exactly what you’re talking about when you use a particular acronym.

5. Writing too much—or not enough

This one goes both ways. Some people write too much, failing to be concise, while others barely write enough for the reader to know what they’re talking about. A fine balance must be struck between being concise and including enough information. Write as if the person reading your resume knows nothing about your background (because they likely don’t). Pay attention to detail, and make sure to include information that is most relevant to your desired position. Another tip is to keep your resume to one or two pages. If it’s longer than that, your potential employer could lose interest.

6. Using sentence fragments without having a complete thought

A sentence fragment isn’t really a sentence at all—it’s a group of words that look like a sentence but can’t stand on their own because there is no independent clause. To be a real sentence, there must be both a subject and a verb. If either of these are lacking, you have a sentence fragment.

7. Lack of parallel structure

This one is quite common. Parallel structure means using the same pattern of words to show that two or more words or ideas are of equal importance. Doing so in your resume will help the employer understand what you are saying.

8. Improper capitalization

This one’s a no-brainer. Make sure that names, places, schools, scholarships, certifications, and other proper nouns are all spelled and capitalized correctly. This is probably one of the easiest mistake

s for a potential employer to spot, but it is also the easiest to get right the first time.

9. Contextual spelling errors

A contextual spelling error is an error in which the wrong word is used but is spelled correctly. Your spell-checker often misses this as an error, so be extra careful in your word choice.

10. Failing to write entries in reverse chronological order

This one is usually an easy fix: just make sure that your most recent education and experience is listed first. Your earliest education or experience will be last. This makes it easier for potential employers to glance at your resume and quickly see what degree you just earned, or where you’re currently working. The most recent information is typically the most relevant, so it should be listed first.

How to Write a Resume

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18 Ways to Say “Hello” in English

18 Ways to Say Hello in English

What is a greeting?

Hola! Shalom! Czesc! Marhaba! Salut! Hallo! 18 Ways to Say Hello in English

Well, hi there! Now that you’ve been thoroughly greeted, let’s get down to business and talk about using different greetings in English. According to Merriam-Webster, a greeting is a salutation upon meeting someone, or an expression of good wishes. More simply, to greet someone is to say “hello” or to extend a polite word of welcome.

Each country or culture has its own way of greeting others, and these greetings are a part of every conversation. Think about how you greet new people in your native country. Do you have different ways to say “hello” when you meet someone in a store, at a job interview, at school, or at your own house? Just as there are different ways to say “hello” in your native language, there are different conventions to follow in English. It is important to know the common greetings and how to use them properly and confidently. They say that first impressions are everything, but I say that a first impression is nothing without the proper greeting.

Why are proper greetings important?

You may be wondering why you need to learn about greetings. Maybe you’re more comfortable using your native greeting, whether that be Hola, Kon’nichiwa, Ciao, or something else entirely. After all, you may think everyone will know what you mean. And you may be right. In a world that is quickly becoming one gigantic global village, the most common ways to say “hello” in different countries are becoming increasingly commonplace all across the world. No matter which English-speaking country you find yourself in, you’ll probably be able to get away with using non-English greetings. But, you know . . . when in Rome (or Toronto, Canada; or maybe London, England; or, heck, maybe even Sydney, Australia) . . .

You’re probably already aware of a few ways to say “hello” to someone in English, but there are actually dozens of greetings to use—in fact, too many to list here. Why does one silly language need so many different greetings, anyway? For one thing, English speakers like to avoid repetition. We would much rather create countless ways to convey one single message than face the possibility of having to repeat something someone else has already said. If one person says “Hello,” the other person will likely want to respond with another phrase. More important than this dread of redundancy, however, is that different circumstances call for different levels of formality. You would not greet a prospective employer in the same manner or tone that you would use for a classmate or friend (that is, not if you really want the job that employer has to offer.)

It may seem overwhelming at first, but over time you’ll learn which greetings to use in which situations. To help you get started, here are a few common English greetings (and examples of exchanges) that you can use in formal, informal, or casual situations.

Formal greetings: “How do you do?”

The phrase featured in the heading above is formal, a bit outdated, and not often used today. However, certain greetings are appropriate for use in more formal situations or when respect and courtesy are called for. These instances include business meetings, formal classroom or workplace presentations, or meeting a friend’s parents. You may encounter such greetings when doing business in restaurants and shops. There are many other options, but here are six of the most common formal ways to say “hello”:

1. “Hello!”

2. “Good morning.”

3. “Good afternoon.”

4. “Good evening.”

5. “It’s nice to meet you.”

6. “It’s a pleasure to meet you.” (These last two only work when you are meeting someone for the first time.)

Let’s take a look at how these phrases might be used:

Mr. Piper (arriving at his client’s office): “Good morning, Mr. Drummer. How are you today?”

Mr. Drummer: “Hello, Mr. Piper. I’m very well, thank you! Please come in and we can review that contract.”


Dr. Feelwell (addressing a group of colleagues at a seminar): “Good evening, ladies and gentlemen. Tonight I would like to present the results of my study on ‘Healthy Fast Food Options.'”


Mary: “John, I’d like you to meet my father.”

John (shifting from one foot to the other): “Er . . . ah . . . It’s nice to meet you, Mr. Wolverine, sir.” (This exchange is sometimes accompanied by a polite handshake. However, if—like poor John here—you are indeed meeting Mr. Wolverine, you should be sure that the claws have not already appeared. If they have, it is perfectly acceptable to skip the handshake . . . perhaps you should just run!)

Informal general greetings

Informal general greetingsThese greetings can be used in most informal situations when you are saying hello to a colleague or to someone you meet on the street.

7. “Hi!” (Probably the most commonly used greeting in English)

8. “Morning!” (A more casual way of saying “Good morning”)

9. “How are things (with you)?”

10. “What’s new?”

11. “It’s good to see you.” (Used when you haven’t seen someone in a while)

12. “G’day!” (Short for “Good day”)

13. “Howdy!” (Often used in the southern regions of the United States)

Even though some of these expressions look like questions, the “greetee” is not always meant to answer them. In fact, confusing as it may seem, sometimes a question is answered with a question. And sometimes these greetings can be used in combination:

Jane: “Hi, Jake. What’s new?”

Jake: “G’day, Jane. How are things?” or “Morning, Jane. It’s good to see you!”

Casual informal greetings

These ways to say “hello” are used in very casual, friendly, and familiar contexts. They can be used in spoken English, text messages, voicemail messages, or emails with people that you know well. While they’re not exactly rude to use with strangers, they aren’t exactly polite, either. Using these greetings with people you don’t know well might cause confusion, and these greetings are not considered appropriate in certain contexts. You shouldn’t use these casual greetings in formal situations, as doing so might make the person you’re talking to think you aren’t taking that formal situation as seriously as you should be. For example, it would be wildly inappropriate to say “What’s happening?” to someone you were greeting at a funeral, and I would strongly advise against using “Yo!” when meeting a prospective employer at a job interview.

14. “Hey” or “Hey there.”

15. “What’s up?” (Sometimes expressed as “‘Sup?”)

16. “How’s it going?”

17. “What’s happening” or “What’s happenin’?”

18. “Yo!”

These words and phrases are mostly used by young people to greet their friends when they arrive somewhere like a party, an exam, or a class. Again, although some of these greetings look like questions, no answers are expected.

Biff (as he approaches his classmates): “Yo! What’s happenin’?”

The Gang: “Hey. ‘Sup?” (Then they all mumble to each other for a bit, agree to skip English class, and head to the Sugar Shack for maple-bacon poutine. Welcome to my idealized version of 1950s Canada.)

This collection of ways to say “hello” is just the tip of the iceberg. The expressions are easy enough to learn; the tricky part is learning to use them appropriately. Try to use a different greeting every time you meet someone new, get together with your friends, or purchase something at the mall. You’ll be a master of English greetings in no time flat!


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Fake It Till You Make It: 7 Ways to Improve Your English When You’re a Non-native Speaker

Fake It Till You Make It

Fake It Till You Make ItWhen you’re a non-native English speaker looking to improve your English, there are many different things you can do and resources you can use to strengthen your reading, writing, and speaking skills. Yes, you might have to “fake it” a little till you can make it, but with practice comes progress! Here are seven tips from the grammar experts on how to improve your English when you’re a non-native speaker.

1. Swim in a sea of speech (i.e., immerse yourself in English).

Read books (aloud), and watch TV shows and movies in English. Anything you would do or watch in your native language, do it in English. Being exposed to English, especially colloquial English, and seeing and hearing it used in conversation will help you improve your English. Try to immerse yourself in the language daily, as the more you see and hear it, the more ingrained it will become.

2. Take notes.

While reading books and watching shows in English, take notes! For even more active learning, write down every idiomatic word and phrase—be it slang, jargon, or dialect—you come across. This will make it easier to remember such expressions and help you learn how the language is used day to day. In addition to referring to your do-it-yourself dictionary, use an actual dictionary (such as a Merriam-Webster pocket dictionary) to learn the meanings of words you don’t know.

3. Practice makes perfect.

While you’re becoming comfortable with reading and writing in English, it’s also important to practice speaking. Whether with a friend, tutor, or teacher, it’s imperative that you practice speaking the language and become comfortable with having conversations in English.

4. Be a grammar geek.

Grammar CampUse’s GrammarCamp to improve your English grammar. This comprehensive online course allows you to learn at your own pace in your own space. It will teach you the rules and nuances of English grammar, which—combined with reading, writing, and speaking in English—will greatly improve your knowledge of the English language and your ability to understand and use it.

5. Write it out.

Practice writing as much as you can. Writing goes hand in hand with reading and speaking in every language, and you must practice all three to really improve your English and learn to communicate like a native English speaker on all levels. You can write anything you want: a note, a letter, a book review . . . anything that piques your interest and helps expand your vocabulary!

6. Go pro.

Use a service like to have native English speakers review your work. Not only will they make corrections to your documents, but they will also make comments and suggestions to explain why certain changes were made.

7. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes.

Improving your English should be fun, so don’t worry if you make mistakes. After all, as the English expression goes, “You can’t make an omelette without cracking a few eggs.” So take it in stride, use your resources, and embrace the challenge.

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Where Can I Learn English Grammar?

Where Can I Learn English GrammarNouns, adjectives, verbs, and prepositions—grammar is all around us!

Many people believe that learning English grammar is a difficult task. It’s something they tend to avoid at all costs, like doing chores or booking a long overdue appointment at the dentist. Even the term “English grammar” conjures up images of dusty books and boring classrooms.

But learning the basics of English grammar can be fun and easy, especially if you ask for help from a qualified teacher. You’ll soon discover that grammar isn’t limited to textbooks, but that it’s actually all around us—at least if you know where to look. All you need is a little curiosity and the will to learn.

Besides a classroom at school, there are plenty of places where you can brush up on your English grammar without spending too much time or money. Some of these places may even surprise you! Take a look at this list and consider whether you can incorporate a few minutes of easy grammar training into your regular routine.

1) Learn English grammar from a book

Reading is one of the most popular hobbies in the world, and for good reason. Reading not only transports you to far-away places but also exposes you to new ideas and opinions. Believe it or not, reading can also drastically improve your spelling and grammar. Studies show that reading on a regular basis can expand your vocabulary and make your writing and speaking flow more naturally. So the next time you’re looking to brush up on your English grammar skills, grab one of your favorite books and dive in!

2) Learn English grammar from an online course

Over the last decade, online courses have experienced a surge in popularity. Students from all over the world appreciate the convenience and flexibility online courses offer. That’s why a growing number of universities and colleges are offering online courses on core subjects such as English and creative writing. Even if you’re already a literature buff, taking an online course can be a great way to improve your grammar and spelling. Many online grammar courses are taught by professors who have expert knowledge of the English language and would be happy to answer your questions about good communication.

3) Learn English grammar in university or college

Post-secondary education is an excellent opportunity to improve your communication skills. Even students who study math or science are able to learn the rules of grammar by listening to their instructors speak. If you’re an English major, you’ll most likely be required to take a course or two on grammar basics. You’ll also get plenty of practice with grammar by writing essays, stories, and presentations. In university, your professors will always grade your work and give you essential feedback on just how far your communication skills have come.

4) Learn English grammar from television and movies

Watching English television and movies is another effective way to improve your grammar. You may not realize it, but as you listen to actors speak English, you’re actually picking up on their sentence construction. The more you watch television and movies, the more comfortable you’ll become with identifying verbs, pronouns, adjectives, and adverbs in the English language. You can also try listening to podcasts, which have become increasingly popular in recent years and are easily accessible from many online news outlets. Watching and listening to various English media will help improve your overall confidence with grammar, making it easier to converse with other English speakers.

5) Learn English grammar from GrammarCamp

If you’re looking to learn English grammar in a way that’s fun and flexible, then GrammarCamp may be for you. GrammarCamp is an online course that offers a full package of learning materials, including lessons, quizzes, and multimedia content. It’s also an excellent fit for anyone with a busy schedule. You can complete the online modules at your own pace, allowing you the time and space to really understand the fundamentals of English grammar. You’ll even receive a certificate of completion—a recognition of all your hard work and progress—once you’ve finished the GrammarCamp course. And, you can try out a section of it for free!

Grammar, grammar everywhere

Whether you’re new to the English language or simply looking for a way to brush up on your skills, these five grammar resources are sure to help improve your command of the English language. Besides dedication, having the right resources for grammar education is the key to becoming a better communicator. Good luck with your studies and remember to always have fun!

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The Benefits of Learning English Grammar Online

The Benefits of Learning English Grammar Online

Online courses are affordable, accessible, and engaging

The Benefits of Learning English Grammar OnlineWith so much technology built into our daily lives, it’s no wonder that more people are turning to online learning. Thanks to computers, smartphones, and Wi-Fi hotspots all over the world, it’s never been easier to learn something new using the Internet. These days, brushing up on your English communication skills is as easy as turning on your home computer.

Learning English grammar online is a great way to tackle the challenge of boosting your language skills. Online courses have many benefits that classroom courses just don’t have. Unlike other methods of improving your grammar, online courses are designed to be affordable and flexible.

Here are four reasons why learning English grammar online can be a great experience for any student.

1) You can learn at home

Improving your English grammar with online modules allows you learn from your own home. When you’re enrolled in a traditional classroom course, it’s hard to justify spending the time and money commuting to campus, especially if you’ve just finished a long day at work. Learning from home means you can take a quick break or grab a snack whenever you need it. Online modules are always there when you’re ready to learn—anytime, day or night.

Studying at home also means you’re immersed in a more comfortable environment. Since you can choose where you work, you can avoid uncomfortable lecture hall chairs and tiny desk spaces. Without other students to distract you, you’ll be able to focus more easily on learning English grammar.

2) You can learn at your own pace

Online courses give you full control over your learning experience. Studies have shown that students retain more information when they’re allowed to study at their own pace. In a traditional classroom, teaching only happens how and when the teacher decides. This means there’s no guarantee you’ll receive the support you need to master the course material.

Many people find the classroom environment too stressful because they feel as though they are being constantly evaluated. Group work and oral presentations can also put pressure on students, making it harder for them to succeed in the course. Traditional tests and exams often have very high stakes, especially if the course you’re taking is compulsory for a degree. Learning at your own pace means you can move ahead or backtrack to review the course material whenever you need to. You’ll always have resources within reach to do your best and to customize the learning experience to meet your own needs.

3) You’ll be more engaged with the material

Online courses take advantage of the latest computer software. This means that modules will often contain games and other interactive components designed to fully engage each student. Many people find it easier to learn when they are actively participating in a lesson rather than passively receiving information in a lecture hall.

Thanks to their reliance on technology, online English grammar courses provide a more immersive experience than a classroom environment. Online courses frequently offer ways to gauge your learning. Playing interactive games and completing quizzes can boost your confidence, making it easier to tackle more advanced material.

4) You’ll spend less money

Another great benefit of online learning is that it won’t put a huge strain on your budget. Traditional courses offered by colleges and universities can be surprisingly expensive, and there are often hidden costs for registration. Learning English grammar online is a much more cost-effective way to improve your language skills since the price is all-inclusive. With many online grammar courses, you’ll only pay once to unlock your modules. This means you’ll have unlimited access to effective, comprehensive lessons that let you get the most for your money, with no strings attached.

Classroom courses often have other additional costs for supplies. When you take an online English grammar course, all you’ll need is a computer and the Internet, and you don’t have to lug around any heavy textbooks. All your resources are stored online, meaning there’s no risk of misplacing notebooks or leaving your pen behind.

Grammar Camp offers all these benefits and more

With so many great reasons to learn English grammar online, it’s obvious why students are turning to the Internet. Whether you’re new to English or simply brushing up on your skills, online courses will help you take your learning experience into your own hands. Get started with our English grammar course today.

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