Posts

What does Grexit mean?

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Newly fashionable term used to describe the (impending? inevitable?) departure of Greece from the Eurozone.  Greece would then be forced to introduce a new national currency, most like some variant on the former drachma.   Theoretically this should not be a world-shaking event as Greece only represents around 2% of EU economic activity. International financial institutions  also have contingency plans to contain the fall-out from a Greek default.  Some even argue that Grexit would be good for the Greek economy in the long term. So what's the big deal?   The problem is that we can't predict with certainty the impact of Grexit on international financial stability. The danger is that it could lead to the kind of chaos that followed the collapse of Lehman Brothers in 2008 . On the other hand, writing off Greek debt might tempt much larger economies (Spain, for example) to ask for the same treatment.    This saga seems to have run forever but must have some sort of resolut

What is the subjunctive?

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Not a tense but a mood -  the subjunctive is one of the most complex grammatical forms. It is used to describe a wish or suggestion.   If I were a rich man (but I am not) I would .... The subjunctive is used with modal verbs (could, should etc). Some of the rules around it vary but the key one is that it takes the infinitive without 'to' in the present tense e.g  You should be okay. For a very detailed usage and exercises go  here :  English Language 100 FAQ   - only £1.99 Advanced Grammar in Use With CD ROM Common Errors in English Usage 2nd Edition English Grammar For Dummies

What is vlogging? And a haul?

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Vloggers (or YouTubers as they popularly known) broadcast regular short videos on YouTube channels .     Anyone can set up a free channel - the trick is then to attract subscribers who regularly watch your broadcasts. What is the appeal of vlogging? Fame and fortune without leaving your house for the most successful.  The most popular YouTubers have pop-star status amongst their fans. They are often known by their user names - PewDiePie, for example. These, of course, are the lottery winners of the vlogging world. For most the appeal can be described in two words: free fun.  What do YouTubers talk about? Themselves, mainly. The appeal of the most popular YouTubers is that of an intimate friend who shares your interests and concerns.  One popular topic is  hauls  (what I bought today) - here is an example.   Other staples include:  How-to-make/do tutorials Challenges  (often involving food tasting - see above) Pets Pranks  (elaborate practical jokes). The be

How many countries have English as their official language?

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58 countries have English as an official language - and they do not include either the UK or the USA.  A version of this post is included in the  English FAQ Teaching Pack   Download for only £1.99

Words most looked-up in dictionary? Holistic

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holistic həʊˈlɪstɪk,hɒ-/ adjective PHILOSOPHY characterized by the belief that the parts of something are intimately interconnected and explicable only by reference to the whole. MEDICINE characterized by the treatment of the whole person, taking into account mental and social factors, rather than just the symptoms of a disease. Etymology:  1939, from   holism   +   -istic .   Holistic medicine  first citation  1960. Related:   Holistically A classic example of a neologism that has crept from academic obscurity into the mainstream. Though proponents of holistic medicine claim the practice has roots in ancient Chinese philosophy, term first appeared in print during the year of President Kennedy's election. The flowering (!) of the New Age movement in late 1960s created increased an interest which has grown exponentially in recent years. Holistic  is often used to describe the aspiration to psychological well-being and is associated wi

What is a bailout? Where does the word come from?

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Bailout  has become closely associated with the idea of financial rescue -  to bail out the Greece etc.   But the word has many subtle usages - and two spellings! 1.  bail/bale  is to abandon abruptly as in making an emergency exit from an aeroplane in a parachute.  2.  to bail out  is to remove water from a leaky boat. 3. It is now more common to use  bail   in a figurative/metaphorical sense: The minister has bailed on the government's housing policy ( announced his opposition) . The pilot bailed out The actor bailed on the script  (stopped reading his lines with any show of conviction)  4. 'Bail out' is also used metaphorically but usually with a closer connection to the literal meaning:  The pilot bailed out of his plane. 5. The noun is sometimes spelled as one word:  bailout. 6.   Bail or   bale  - the spelling is disputed but  bail  is probably used more frequently. Both spellings are allowed by most dictionaries.  A version of this pos