Posts Tagged ‘United States’

Adjectives Bulletin Board

Adjectives Bulletin Board (Photo credit: Evelyn Saenz)

Good Double Comparatives

Double comparatives are phrases commonly used in English to express increasing or decreasing returns.

Double comparatives are often employed to underline the importance of doing or not doing a certain activity.

Here are some examples:

The more you practice, the better your performance.
The more time you spend talking to an audience, the better you get at public speaking.
The less money I spend, the less I have to worry about debt.
The less you water the garden, the less chance the plants will grow.

As you can see from these examples, the format of double comparatives is as follows:

The (more / less) + (noun / noun phrase) subject + verb +, + the (more / less) + (noun) subject + verb

Notice that with ‘more’ and ‘less’ you are comparing actions.


You can compare adjectives in the same way:

The darker the berry is, the juiciest it is to eat.
The faster the trains are, the more dangerous they are to ride.
The funnier the comic is, the more fun he is to watch.

The + comparative adjective + to be, + the + comparative adjective + subject + verb + (infinitive of purpose)


These forms can be mixed up as well.

It is equally possible to reverse comparative adjectives and end with more / less plus a subject and verb or noun, subject and verb.

The prettier the girl is, the more attention she enjoys.
The happier the mom is, the more the dad can relax.
The more thrilling the new movie is, the less the director worries about making a box office hit.



In spoken English, we also use double comparatives called clichés.

The more the merrier
which means…
The more people there are, the merrier everyone will be.


We can turn the double comparatives into commands:


Study more, learn more.
Eat less, move more

Play less, study more.
Work more, earn more.
Think harder, get smarter.


Bad Double Comparatives

Here are some examples of the incorrect use of two comparative forms together.

This ice cream is more tastier than that sorbet.
He is more funnier than Jack is.
Susan is more taller than Jane.

In this case, ‘more’ is not required as the comparative adjective form. The sentence is modified by the addition of ‘-ier’.

Double Comparatives to Show Change

And finally, double comparatives are also used to show a continual increase or decrease.

There are more and more women attending college these days.
It seems like there are fewer and fewer items being made in America.
Ultimately, people will find more and more time to spend with their families.

I hope you have enjoyed learning about double comparatives. Let me know of any examples you can think of.

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free speech 2

free speech 2 (Photo credit: dogwelder)

Speak and talk, saying the same thing


Speak now or forever hold your tongue  (not literally) remain quiet.

On my journey I was approached by a woman who said, “You speak with nobody on the telephone.” She saw me using my mobile phone and wanted to tell me not to use it inside.  What she should have said was, “You can’t talk on the telephone in here.”

‘Speak’ and ‘Talk’ are often used interchangeably.

‘Speak’ is often used when someone is speaking to a group of people in general.

Examples of various ways to use ‘Speak’ include:

to talk or utter words – “ I was so shocked I could hardly speak.”;

to communicate thoughts or feelings – “I want to speak my mind while I still have the courage.”;

used with languages – “Max speaks both English and Swedish”;

to be on good terms with someone – “We used to speak on a daily basis, but not anymore”;

to make a speech – “My sister will now speak to the crowd to quiet them down.”;

to express something in writing – “His prose speaks of such joy and hope for his people.”;

nonverbal communication – “Their actions speak louder than words.”

to indicate a sign of something – “ Her posture spoke of self confidence and high character.”

Speak also tends to used in more formal situations.

“The President will now speak to the nation in his weekly State of the Union address


Verb Forms: Speak – Spoke – SpokenSpeaking


Do you tend to speak first and then get talked about later?

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I recently returned from a journey to Mecca KSA. It was, as always, a spiritual enlightening experience reminding me and other pilgrims of our limited knowledge and even more inconsequential existence.

Being in such a place surrounded by people from all walks of life; listening to them speaking many languages; watching exhibitions of unfamiliar cultures; and smelling a wide variety of aromas coming from foods and humans, I’m reminded of the Tower of Babel.

Babel, the biblical ancient city where its’ inhabitants, after the Great Flood, were one people speaking one language. Then God, in His almighty wisdom, decided to have them speak many different languages.

He created diversity of our tongues and colors as a sign for those of us who are endowed with knowledge to recognize the wonders of creation. Divided into linguistic groups and unable to understand each other, each group spread out in the lands to set up their own communities.

Today, we have thousands of spoken languages in the world and when these speakers converge in Mecca and are able to communicate with one another by simple gestures or a friendly smile, it is amazing.

To see a woman from a remote village in Kazakhstan communicate with a woman from a big city in America reaffirms how small the world is in which we live. Not only did I know exactly what she wanted, but she understood my response and acknowledged her gratitude.

Verbal communication is important for business, government assistance, and for buying and selling.  It is one of the best ways to quickly get your point across, but non-verbal communication is also essential.

In America, we have ASL or American Sign Language for the deaf and hard of hearing. In the Arab world, there is Arabic Sign Language for the deaf. These two forms of sign language are similar, but there are also a lot of differences just as the spoken languages of these two peoples.

Languages are meant to bring cohesiveness to common groups and to communicate with outsiders. Human language is a learned symbolic communication system. Teaching the English language, I find that new words are invented daily and the meanings of old ones have changed.

New symbols are created just as quickly as its meaning. It’s important to keep up-to-date vocabulary in planning new lessons to keep them fresh, and students excited about learning.

Have you ever been at a loss for words and had to revert to some sort of non-verbal communication to get a point across?

Are you aware of the new additions to the English language, these new words which are really old words in different forms? Like taking yesterday’s leftovers and adding gravy to it to make it a new meal.

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Tax (Photo credit: 401K)

In the United States April 15 of every year is the day most dreaded by most people. It is tax day.

Many people put off filing their tax returns until the last minute, and/or file an extension, or some are totally against the government telling them that they should disclose how much money they made for the previous year and don’t file at all. This article is about the usage of words in the American English Tax Code.

Some of you reading this post have probably never heard of our illustrious tax code, or probably don’t care about it. I’m with the latter. However, because I write about all things English I felt the urge to share some of our quirky behaviors as Americans.

As  a former corporate accountant I know the tax code can be –  and who knows it may be purposely done, indecipherable. For the average American all they want is a tax refund, even if they have to pay an insane high fee to get it tomorrow instead of waiting a couple of weeks to get it at no cost to them.

This year tax day, April 15,  falls on a Sunday. Therefore taxpayers will have until Tuesday, April 17, to file their 2011 tax returns and pay any tax due. By law if April 15 falls on a Sunday or holiday then taxes are due the next business day.

But this year Emancipation Day (never heard of it), a holiday observed in the District of Columbia, falls on Monday, April 16. According to federal law, District of Columbia holidays impact tax deadlines in the same way that federal holidays do; therefore, all taxpayers will have two extra days to file this year.  YIPPEE!

Taxpayers requesting an extension will have until Oct. 15 to file their 2012 tax returns

What inspired me to write about the American Tax Day was a post I read about how the IRS (Internal Revenue Service for those not familiar with our taxman) outdoes Shakespeare. I love Shakespeare and he only had to use 900,000 words to say everything that he needed to say in all of his plays and poems. The IRS tax code uses a whopping 3.8 million words. No wonder people are confused.

Maybe the IRS never heard that “Brevity is the soul of wit” (Hamlet)

Check out this article by a British expat living in the United States filing his very first income tax return. How the IRS Outdoes Shakespeare?

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Countries, Nationalities and Languages in English

This chart shows the CountryLanguage and Nationality of some countries from around the world.

DID YOU KNOW? Demonym is another name for Nationality – demos (Greek for populace) and onym (suffix for ‘name’)

  • Language and nationality names are often, but not always similar. For example: French – the language, and French the nationality are the same in the case of France.. However, English – the language, and American – the nationality are not the same in the case of The United States.
  • All countries, languages and nationalities are always capitalized in English. This is because country, language and nationality names are proper names of countries, languages and nationalities.

        All country names are unique, otherwise there would be confusion about where you were.

 Nationality Pronunciation  Country  Language  Nationality
One syllable
France French French
Greece Greek Greek
ends in ‘-ish’
Britain English British
Denmark Danish Danish
Finland Finnish Finnish
Poland Polish Polish
Spain Spanish Spanish
Sweden Swedish Swedish
Turkey Turkish Turkish
ends in ‘-an’
Germany German German
Mexico Spanish Mexican
The United States English American
ends in ‘-ian’ or ‘-ean’
Australia English Australian
Brazil Portuguese Brazilian
Egypt Arabic Egyptian
Jordan Arabic Jordanian
Hungary Hungarian Hungarian
Korea Korean Korean
Russia Russian Russian
ends in ‘-ese’
China Chinese Chinese
Japan Japanese Japanese
Sudan Arabic Sudanese

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