Monthly Archives: July 2014

Exemplary Examples

Just a couple of common mistakes from my writing course today:


Example is not spelled exemple

Exemplary is not spelled examplary


Research is non-count. If you want a count noun with a similar meaning, try using “studies” or “tests” instead. “I completed research for the scientist.” OR “I completed three studies for the scientist.”


Have something with – I’ll have a burger with fries, please. Not have something to.


A student told me of a quote in Russian that shows a good attitude to failure: “He who doesn’t take risks doesn’t drink champagne.” I know of a quote from sports that means the same thing: “You miss all of the shots you don’t take.”


These and those: “These” talks about things we have already discussed, or the first of two groups. “Those” talks about the second of two groups.¬† “These are good, but those are bad.”


Success Stories

Today was a very good day. Two of my students told me about some exciting changes in their lives, both of which came about partly because of my class.

Congratulations to Henrique, who was just offered a new job with a prestigious organization!

Congratulations to Tereza, who received a promotion to management at her job here in Vancouver!

I’m really proud of both of you. Your hard work has led to some great new opportunities. Keep it up!

In Your Mind

These nouns all relate to different kinds of thoughts. They are similar, but each one can be used in slightly different situations.

Knowledge – noncount – This is what you learn. Grammar, for example, or how to cook, or who is the most popular singer. “My friend has a lot of knowledge of soccer. She can tell you every championship winner since 1893!”

Memory – noncount – This is the biological ability to store or recall information. “I have a good memory. I know what shirt I was wearing on May 23rd, 1999.”

Memory/memories – count – these are countable thoughts about events you took part in. “I have many memories of playing with my grandparents when I was a child.” They are usually positive, but are not always positive. “My memory of school is unpleasant. I hated class!” They sound quite specific or detailed.

Experience/experiences – count – These are countable thoughts, like memories, but they could be longer in duration, or perhaps more difficult. “I had good experiences on my trip to Canada.” They can also be negative. “My trip to the South Pole was a bad experience. Too cold!” These tend to describe longer events in less detail than memories does.

Experience – noncount – The memory or knowledge of doing work at a job. “I have a lot of experience with Photoshop. I have used it for years.”

Wish/wishes – count – Something you hope can come true in the future, but you don’t expect it to come true. “I wish I could win the lottery.”

Dream/dreams – count – the pictures while you sleep OR something you hope can come true in the future. “My dream last night was crazy. I was a horse inside a train!” With the second definition: “My dream is to learn English, so I came to Canada and started studying.”


Who needs references?

References Available Upon Request

The new trend is to eliminate this sentence. Hiring managers nowadays assume that everyone has references, so you don’t need to include a sentence saying that you have them available on your resum√©. If you are applying at a very traditional company, though, you might want to use it. If so, put it at the bottom of the last page, center-justified.

Another, the other, others, other

Another is an adjective and a singular pronoun. It means “one more.”

I have already finished one ice cream, but I want to keep eating. I would like another ice cream, please.

I don’t have enough cars. I need to buy another.


Other is an adjective. It means “something different.”

I don’t like these songs. I want to sing some other songs.


Others is a plural pronoun. It means “more things.”

I don’t like these songs. I want to sing some others.


The other is a singular pronoun. It means “one out of two things.”

I have two shoes. One is for my left foot. The other is for my right foot.


The Introduction

The introduction of a written piece is where the writer needs to make the reader curious. I received this from a student the other day, and though it is a bit casual, it really made me want to read more. (I had asked the student to debate pet ownership.)

“Should people have a pet in their houses? No, they shouldn’t. If you need to be caring, you should teach it. You should think about gardening. It is cheaper, nicer, and could produce tomatoes.”