No More Boring English Classes: 5 Ways to Make Studying Fun

Nov 15th 2018

Guest post written by Mary Ivanova.



Learning a foreign language can feel like a mountain that you have been climbing for far too long with far too little progress to show for all that effort. Yet most of us realize that mastering a foreign language isn’t (and shouldn’t be) a Sisyphean task. Let’s see how we can turn our sweaty climb into a leisurely hike with a few simple tips that will definitely make studying fun again!

Remember kindergarten and all the fun we had spilling paint all over the paper, creating elaborate sand castles on the playground sandbox or building a lego tower that we didn’t care being tipped all the time? The reason that was so much fun was because we felt no pressure to learn and were given the freedom to explore.

The same process happens when, as adults, we pick up a hobby. We sort of aimlessly browse through the riches of knowledge in these new fields and pick and choose where we want to go. Since we are exploring and learning at our own pace, we are focusing on solving problems at hand and that helps tie in the knowledge we obtain with the actual activity. Our brain, which takes note of how useful these actiosn turned out to be, records these lessons more thoroughly.

Edutainment is not a new weird thing only your hip college professor is trying to make happen anymore. The word is now a firmly established notion, backed up by a number of studies. Here are some of the tips I picked up along the way both when learning English myself and while getting my psychology degree at a pedagogy-minded college.

  1. Turn it into a game

Gamification is all the rage right now. With the wide success of reward-based social media (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Reddit, etc.) and companies implementing internal gamified reward systems, left and right, for their employees, it’s no surprise that my first suggestion to make learning a foreign language fun is to turn it into a game.

You don’t even have to make up your own games. Buy and download cool lesson plans from the edupreneur portal Teachers Pay Teachers or just google something. If you feel like creating your own materials, use visual templates from Crello to create colorful cards or posters.

Speaking of templates, use them to do some classroom blogging. Turns out that’s an actual thing. Students get to apply their writing skills, learn, and, with all the gamification tools, followers, and shares built right in, you don’t even have to break a sweat setting the whole thing up.If you have any doubts about how motivating blogging for a handful of readers can truly be, take it from someone who blogged her way out of a pixie cut and into an almost waist-long mane (which, alas, is no more, but that’s beside the point) – it IS.

  1. Choose relevant and/or exciting topics

Most of us aren’t the biggest fans of using public transportation during rush hours, but have you noticed that when you absolutely have to be somewhere you don’t really notice how crowded or uncomfortable (or, let’s be honest, unsanitary) your ride is. You are so consumed by the result you are working towards, that all the little hardships along the way begin to feel way smaller than normal.

This works for language learning (or any type of learning, for that matter) as well. It’s pretty boring to repeat the same thing over and over again, just for the sake of, hopefully and eventually, getting it ingrained somewhere in your mind. However, not only does repetition become exciting when you are doing it for an exciting or important for you purpose, your brain is fast to realize that it needs to store this information, as it has proven to be useful.

Into celeb news? Read a gossip blog in English! Subscribe to your favorite English-speaking singers, actors or creators on Instagram or other social media. Find professional publications that publish materials from English speakers and cover all of your favorite topics. Look for communities and media that excite you and you won’t even notice how fast you’ll feel that much more confident in using the vocabulary you have acquired so far.

  1. Talk to people online

This one is sort of similar to the previous point. When you need to talk to someone, you are forced to use the language the two of you have in common. Reddit is a great place to start since it has a subreddit for nearly any topic imaginable, and you’ll be able to find a community that shares common interests with you and is very active. In most large subreddits you’ll get a few meaningful responses to most posts and questions within an hour.

A lot of people have voiced their fear of picking up mistakes from such unedited interactions. Not everyone, using English online, is a native speaker and even when they are, such messages can still be riddled with mistakes, lack of punctuation and slang. My answer is, invariably, that these messages reflect real language in its natural habitat, and helps a student get a ‘feel’ of how communication happens using all sets of rules and assists in utilizing vocabulary.

Furthermore, such informal settings help you relax and pay less attention to the embarrassing mistakes you are making. As long as you are bringing your point across, the other party, in the conversation, is generally just happy to have someone nice and interesting to talk to.

  1. Watch something

All the games, relevant topics and online conversations will only get you so far. To really perfect your English, watch movies, TV shows and programs created by native speakers. I religiously watch YouTube snippets released by late night hosts Seth Meyers, Stephen Colbert, and Trevor Noah. Samantha Bee is another favorite.

Search YouTube for day time and late night shows that post videos online, subscribe to Netflix or Hulu, and definitely check out the free content Facebook Watch has been putting out lately. This year’s premiere Sorry for Your Loss is a very engaging half-hour drama starring Elizabeth Olsen, who is doing a great job with her role of a slowly unravelling grieving widow.

And don’t bother turning on the subtitles. Reading the text on the screen is not only extremely distracting, it just feels like work. Hit the play button, sit back and chill (only works if you are interested in the plot though, so don’t hope to just magically absorb the knowledge without even paying attention, if you know what I mean;)).

You can even host a movie night for your study group and make a cool poster for it.

  1. Read great English

This one is for all of you advanced students out there. Once you have a strong enough base to appreciate all the cool linguistic twists and turns masterfully written pieces have to offer, it’s time to start reading. I recommend The Guardian for news lovers, Celebitchy for gossip lovers, and The New Yorker for sharper think pieces.

Final thoughts

After you’ve considered and/or tried out all the learning solutions listed above, see which ones stick and, most importantly, don’t stop learning (and trying to make it fun) even if none of the tricks work for you.


About author: Mary Ivanova is a writer with degrees in psychology and political science. She writes copy for Crello.




5 Ways Freelance Writers Benefit from Journaling

Nov 1st 2018

Guest post written by Jennifer Lockman.


Journaling is for everyone. Some, use it is as a safe place to express themselves, while other, like writers ,keep journals to keep track of their projects. I keep it for a mixture of both. It’s nice to get off the computer and to physically write something. This alone brings me a lot of benefits.
Whether you’re just launching a freelance writing career or you have already been working for a few years, starting a journal is the right choice. If you use this powerful tool regularly, you will reap the following advantages.

Stress relief and improved health
Writers have long known about the therapeutic benefits of writing. Now, this issue is a focus of research for scientists. Several studies have shown that patients who engaged in expressive writing felt appreciably better, both mentally and physically, as compared with patients who didn’t. I’m not a medical expert. But from personal experience, journal keeping reduced my stress level by half. While the effects may differ, the positive impact of writing on overall health is beyond doubt.

Your own Idea Bank
Pitching ideas to editors of print and online media is part of a freelance writing career. A journal is a starting point. It’s the soil where you plant those seeds. An idea that you dropped a few months ago, because you weren’t ready to develop it then, maybe perfect for you to work on tomorrow. You’ll never suffer from writer’s block. I often use my journal for an article or academic paper. If your creativity is temporarily gone, you can look through the entries and discover an idea you’d love to employ.

Extra motivation
A freelance career requires hard work and patience. Journaling gives you an opportunity to keep track of your progress. That will push you to keep going. My journal keeps me motivated. I write down things that inspire me. I also maintain records of the happy moments in life. Create a log of inspirational sources tailored to you. The more motivation you get, the more you grow personally, mentally and professionally.

Organizing your work schedule (especially if you are working on multiple orders at once) is a challenging task. A journal helps to prioritize time more efficiently. You can see patterns and notice things that keep popping up and need your attention. Journaling helps me to plan what I’m actually going to write. This way, I complete the non-writing activity sooner and carve out more time for my actual writing. Every time I take a writing course, submit a magazine article or work on a long-term project, I jot everything down in my journal. The act of recording these things makes me feel great. I know that I can manage my workload.

Higher qualification
The freelance job involves more than one may think. What can be more appealing than working in the comfort of your home? Qualification matters when it comes to success in freelance writing. However, it doesn’t mean that this job is only for someone with a degree in a related field. As a freelancer, I must take into consideration the expectations and satisfaction of my clients. This forms the driving force to produce the best quality of work possible. And meeting the deadlines is always an achievement. If you’re not qualified, but you have the necessary knowledge, training can be enough to get you going. A journal is a place for exercising your writing skills, developing your own approach to work, and defining your career goals. You already know what journaling can do for you and why you might need to take it up. The question that remains unanswered is how to start practicing it on a regular basis.

Choose a journal that feels right for you
While it’s tempting to opt for the journal with the cutest cover or the fanciest embossing on it, select the one that will be easy to use in different settings. Will you always have a surface to put your notebook on while you write? Will you be able to document your observations while standing in line and your creative juices are flowing uncontrollably? Some writers jot their ideas down on index cards and keep them in a file box. Others have a large notebook stashed in handy locations at home and take a small spiral notebook when they go out. The latter can be tucked inside a purse or in the pocket. While a pen and paper give your brain a break from computer screens, why not use an app that you can open when you have a few spare minutes during the day? Various software packages designed for journal keeping are readily available. Their advantage is that you can tag entries, and then quickly find the necessary abstract. And if you want to include some sentences in your article, it is a matter of a few clicks.


How to make journaling a habit
Want to write in your journal every day? Connect it to something you already perform daily. If you take medication, supplement, or vitamin tie your writing practice to when you do it. This is why many daily journal-keepers write in the morning while having a cup of coffee or right before bedtime to declutter the brain and avoid insomnia.
Want to write in your journal once a week? Choose a day, book that chunk of time (I suggest from ten minutes to an hour) in your calendar as a recurring event and set a reminder.

Good luck becoming a journal keeper!

About author: Jennifer Lockman, I am graduated from UCLA majoring in Journalism and blogger. My expertise includes general education, e-learning, business, writing and lifestyle.



Computer Languages: A Guide For Students to Choose

Oct 25th 2018

Guest post written by Jennifer Sanders.



We all know that in-demand talents in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics fields, collectively known as STEM, are becoming more and more popular over time. Listings online, of vacant positions in software, have been growing almost exponentially.

With that information, it is understandable that anyone would like to learn to code in order to take advantage of this wonderful opportunity. The problem is that there are so many languages available out there, that the sheer number can be overwhelming. Like so many others you’ve probably faced the dilemma of where to start, and are wondering how to go about it. Hopefully, you’ll get some important pointers in this article to help you on your journey.

Programming Languages

To be sure, there are hundreds of programming languages out there. However, they mainly fall into two categories. Once you understand these categories, it will be much easier to pick what works for you.

Dynamic Programming Languages

These are the easiest languages to learn for beginners as they’re highly flexible and the learning process is lots of fun. You can build with less code and you can build things from scratch without having to go through too much hustle. There also aren’t too many rules about how to write this code. You have the flexibility to put it all together however you want as long as the end result works. Dynamic languages are typically higher level languages where more of your time is spent mastering basic programming concepts than focusing on the little details. Below are some examples of dynamic programming languages:

  • JavaScript – It’s fairly common for beginners to confuse JavaScript with Java. However, the two aren’t related. JavaScript is a scripting language used to build the front end of websites. It works with all browsers and, through libraries like jQuery and frameworks like React.js and Angular.js, is used to build interactive web apps. With recent developments, it has also become possible to use JavaScript to build things on the server-side through Node.js, a special runtime environment. While the Node.js community is still young, it is growing rapidly and is full of resources. New developments like Facebook’s React Native also allow you to build native apps for smartphones using JavaScript. The greatest disadvantage with JavaScript is the difficulty in debugging it due to its untyped nature. Due to this, typed versions of JavaScript have been developed, such as TypeScript and JSX.
  • Python – This is a very popular language and is highly recommended for beginners. In fact, it is the most popular introductory programming language that is learned at universities in the US. It has a wide variety of applications, including web apps, desktop apps, cryptocurrency mining, data analysis, bioinformatics, ethical hacking, and scientific computing, among others. Some popular apps and services have been built using python, including Google, Dropbox, Pinterest, Reddit, Instagram, Civilization IV, and YouTube, among others.
  • Ruby – The main aim of Ruby is for developers to be productive and have fun at the same time. The Ruby on Rails framework is by far the most popular implementation of the Ruby language. The language reads just like English and is highly recommended as a first programming language. It’s a popular language for backend development and has been used to build some popular sites like Slideshare, Hulu, Bloomberg, Shopify, and Airbnb.
  • PHP – PHP is a scripting language commonly used on the server-side. It is commonly considered friendly for beginners because it is so easy to conceptualize how the code gets executed and so it’s easy to build stuff with it. This language is heavily specialized for building websites and so a lot of popular websites have been built using PHP, including Facebook, WordPress, Yahoo!, Wikipedia and Tumblr.

Statically Typed Programming Languages

Statically typed programming languages are known for having the capability to build the most scalable applications. They also tend to be very robust and make the applications easy to maintain. These languages have very strict rules about the writing and are strict with errors, thus making it easier to catch them quickly and early on in the process. One of the downsides of statically typed programming languages is that, because of all their rules, it typically takes a lot more lines of code to build something. Consequently, they are not the best languages for prototyping. They are commonly used to build enterprise back-ends, robust mobile applications, and game engines. Below are some examples of these languages:

  • Java – Java is one of the most ubiquitous statically typed languages and is used as a general purpose language. It works with the Java Virtual Machine and is used to build just about anything, from games to desktop apps, to embedded apps for devices. Billions of devices around the world actually run on Java and 90% of Fortune 500 companies use Java for their enterprise level back-end development. It’s also used for big data storage and processing through the framework Hadoop, which is implemented by companies like Amazon, Facebook, and Yahoo!.
  • C – This programming language is one of the older ones and is primarily used today to develop operating systems and program system software. It has influenced the development of just about every modern programming language, especially C++ and Objective-C. If you master C and its principles, it will be much easier for you to learn any other programming language. It takes a lot of lines of code to do anything in C, and the code is typically more complex, even for the simplest of tasks. As a result, beginners may find it difficult to learn. However, learning it and mastering it will undoubtedly make you a first-rate programmer.
  • C++ – C++ is based on C and is a very powerful language. It was originally designed to add higher level programming capabilities to C while maintaining its lower level capabilities. It can be used for just about anything, including web apps, mobile apps, desktop apps, games and game engines, and also general programming system software. It is very powerful and very fast, and has been used to build many softwares, including Amazon, Chrome, PayPal, and a lot more.
  • C# – This language was developed for use with Microsoft’s .NET framework and mainly runs on the Windows operating system. It is used to develop websites, games, and applications in the Microsoft ecosystem.


SQL stands for Structured Query Language and is colloquially referred to as “Sequel”. This isn’t a traditional programming language but is instead used for communicating with databases. You can’t use it to build applications but you can use it to manage app data for apps that use relational database management systems.

HTML stands for Hypertext Markup Language. This isn’t a programming language but is instead a markup language used to build webpages. It basically helps you tell the browser where to place website elements like headers, paragraphs, and so on.

Cascading Style Sheets, or CSS, is the language used to change and enhance the appearance of a webpage. It is very powerful and can be used to do a lot of things, ranging from changing the colors in a website to creating animations.

Where to begin
There are plenty of resources online where you can begin to learn programming. Programming languages themselves are free and can be downloaded from the respective websites. As for online courses, they are a mix of free courses on sites like, and paid courses elsewhere. The best way to start is with a Google search of “programming beginner courses”. You will be overwhelmed by the number of resources available. Before you get there, however, make sure you have a genuine interest in learning programming, research the languages that you like and find out if they are good for what you want to do, and then look for online courses where you can learn them. Keep your head down, trust the learning process, and you’ll get out the other side a fully-fledged programmer.

About author: Jennifer Sanders is a writer and an editor from London. She loves sport,  listening to music, and to communicate with different people.
Find Jennifer on Twitter.

How to Learn a Foreign Language to Fluency

Oct 18th 2018


Guest post written by Juan Koss.

If you’re anything like me, you have a fierce, constantly expanding desire to learn multiple languages, yet consistently fail to deliver on the promise you’ve made yourself. Perhaps this is due to lack of motivation, or simply because each time you undertake the task you’re reminded why you gave it up in the first place: It’s extremely difficult. However, I wholeheartedly believe that the average person can commit themselves to learning a language to fluency and deliver on this commitment, so here are my tips for completing a challenging task of which you can not only remain proud, but hopefully reap the employment and travel benefits from also.

  • Practise consistently: This seems outrageously obvious and I’m a little ashamed for reiterating it so blatantly, but anyone who has struggled to learn a language before knows how easy it is to forget this fundamental step. For those of us who can write my essay or learn a language in our spare time, guided only by books, the Internet, and occasional classes, consistent revision needs to be slotted in between work and other studies, and often seems unnecessary and burdensome. Anyone who has fallen prey to this idea, however, knows how quickly language skills are lost, and how much effort and revision is required in order to solidify them. If you want to learn a language to fluency, you have to accept that you’re in for an uphill battle, and put in the hours. Even watching a film or reading a short book or magazine in your chosen language, or revising over grammar notes once a week, will be immensely useful in your quest towards fluency.
  • Take classes: Whether you want to learn quickly and seriously via school or university, or opt for the more relaxed environment of a language school, community house, or private tutor, classes are, in my mind, a necessity. There is only so much that books and the Internet can teach you, and enrolling in a class forces you to practice and revise, whilst also allowing you to engage with others who are struggling to find the motivation and time to study. If possible, find a tutor who is a native speaker and immerse yourself in their classes and conversation. The more you surround yourself by the foreign language you’re attempting to learn, the quicker you will learn it.
  • Avoid word lists: This is a point that, in my mission to learn French, I still struggle with. Word lists continue to feel like a good idea. You learn a new word, you write it down, you memorize its spelling and meaning … it’s what I’d do if I came across an unfamiliar word in English, so what could possibly go wrong? The answer to this is simply that, in an unfamiliar language, there are too many words to learn by this process. Whilst I recognize the differences, I must use English as an example. Growing up, you didn’t learn English by making word lists, you learned it through immersion and constant exposure. This is the same way in which a foreign language, difficult though it is, ought to be learned. Whilst word lists can be helpful before tests, in familiarization with verbs, or in order to learn a certain category of words, such as those pertaining to body parts or colors, ultimately it’s going to confuse you more, as you spend your time memorizing the wrong things. The semantics and mechanics of a language must be learned before it can be understood. After this, the meaning of individual words will begin to come easily. This leads me to another key idea: Don’t directly translate between languages, as each language is unique and must be treated as such.
  • Read as much as possible: Again, this seems obvious, but due to the challenge it poses, I feel that many who are endeavoring to learn a language often overlook it. When I reflect on how I learned English (an almost impossible task given that I am a native speaker of the language) I realize that the process of learning it was greatly simplified by my constant exposure to it in both written and spoken form. Children learn words by reading and then asking for the meaning or by contextualizing. When we read books or magazines in another language, we build up these same skills, contextualizing words, learning how they’re used, and familiarizing ourselves with foreign grammar and sentence structure. An extremely arduous task at first, the more we read in the language of our choice, the sooner we will become familiar with the meaning, spelling, and grammar rules of individual words and sentences.
  • Visit the place(s) where your language is spoken: Immersion is the best, and really the only way, to learn a language to fluency, as, whilst the classroom is essential for written skills, the nuances of the spoken word and the pace in which it is colloquially spoken and amalgamated with street slang and innumerable dialects, can only truly be learned through conversation with native speakers. Don’t be afraid to engage in conversation with native speakers, who, contrary to judging you, will likely be only too happy to correct your pronunciation and to help you out. You’ll make a good impression by trying to speak their language, and likely have fun whilst doing so. If possible, travel extensively or take a job and work for a year or so in an area where your language is spoken as, though perhaps daunting at first, you’ll be amazed how quickly you pick up the language when you’re surrounded by it everyday.

As difficult as learning a language is, the employment and travel benefits – not to mention one’s own sense of personal pride – that are received by doing so, are unparalleled. Learning foreign languages enables us to familiarize ourselves with similarities and differences across dialects, revealing the depth of our own mother tongue through loanwords, and broadening our overall sense of culture and the infinite evolution of linguistics. Although I remain a speaker only of English, still battling with the threads of incomprehension currently restraining me from the world of French fluency, I am yet to lose the motivation and focus required for completing the challenge. A difficult task and one that must be crammed into an exceptionally busy schedule, I shall continue to learn French, and would encourage all those out there currently learning or considering learning a language to take the necessary steps towards fluency.

About author: Juan Koss – I am a school teacher with 23 years’ experience, PhD writer at and writing articles has become my hobby.  Most of my articles are related to education and parenting ideas.

The fuzzy line between professional and amateur writers

Sep 27th 2018

Guest post written by Warren Fowler.

You always dreamed of becoming a writer?
But what was your dream, exactly?
Did you intend to become a professional in another niche and write in the meantime? That would make you an amateur writer. If you commit your entire time to writing and you turn it into a profession, only then would you be a professional writer.
But, is commitment the only difference between being a professional and an amateur writer?

Tim Urban, the author behind “Wait But Why”, used to publish posts every Tuesday… or Wednesday. Now, we rarely see a post from him, but his followers are still excited with each new piece of content that comes their way. Is Tim Urban still a professional blogger, even though he is not as engaged as he used to be? While, he might not consider blogging to be his profession, he is still considered one of the best bloggers out there.

So it’s mostly about commitment. However, it’s also about having that particular factor that makes you a pro. It’s about the thing that makes you cross the line between being an amateur and becoming a professional.
You may think you’re a professional writer if you commit your entire time to your projects, but you still might be making the mistakes of an amateur.

There’s a fuzzy line between professional and amateur writers. It’s time to learn how to cross it.

  1. Amateurs Will Wait for Inspiration. Pros Will Just Write!

Did you hit writer’s block?
That’s an opportunity to find out if you’re really professional about writing.
If you get frustrated and start blaming everyone and everything for your inability to write, you’re acting like an amateur. If you just relax, and wait for inspiration to hit you because you know the moment of enlightenment will come sooner or later, you’re still acting like an amateur.

What would a professional writer do in this situation?
I reached out to Matthew Cesen, a writer at BestEssays. “A professional writer doesn’t have the luxury of waiting for clarification. I get tasks to cover on a daily basis. When I’m not writing academic papers, I’m working on my first novel, and I still have deadlines. So waiting for the bad moment to pass is not an option. I just sit and write,” – he says. “I have several methods to find inspiration. I’ll do more research. I’ll brainstorm. I’ll take a piece of paper, and I’ll write without interruptions for at least half an hour. When you try hard enough, you’ll dig down to the ideas in the hidden layers of your subconsciousness.”

  1. The Amateur Will Only Do the Fun Parts. The Professional Takes Full Responsibility.

An amateur writer loves to write. This is the kind of person who can wake up inspired and spend the entire day writing without interruption. Is that enough to make them a professional writer? Not if they don’t maintain that energy throughout all stages of the process.
You’ll quickly see an amateur leaving the piece in the drawer for days, weeks, months, or even years. They might revisit it, but they might as well leave it there when it stops being fun for them.
The professional will also go through that stage of an inspirational high. However, they will also conduct diligent research. They will think about the formatting of their content, and they will also edit their writing as close to perfection as it could possibly get.

  1. An Amateur Won’t Take Writing Seriously; A Professional Writer Will Have Daily Rituals!

Did you know that Maya Angelou woke up every single day around 5:30 AM? She had her coffee and started her writing routine by 7:00. She kept a tiny, simple hotel room where she did her writing. She worked there until 2 in the afternoon.
It didn’t matter whether she felt like writing or not. It didn’t matter what day it was. It didn’t matter whether her work for the day was brilliant or not that good. She had her routine and she stuck to it.
Anyone who doesn’t have a specific routine and doesn’t show up to their writing for most days of the week is not a true professional.

  1. Amateurs Are Focused on the Goal. Pros Work Towards Progress

Every single writer wants to be recognized for their talent. They want to achieve brilliance with every essay, novel, short story, blog post, or whatever another piece of content they publish.
But there’s a difference.
The amateur will strive to get recognized for their genius. This is the kind of person who’s after praise. All writers go through such a stage. The professional, however, will realize that it’s better to tame their ego at one point or another. Everyone gets criticism. The professional writer will consider it and grow from it. The amateur will just assume that people don’t understand him and that they are not worthy of the brilliance in front of them.

  1. The Pro Aims for Long-Term Success; The Amateur Is after a Moment of Glory

A professional writer will not aim to make their book a bestseller. They don’t aim to write a viral blog post. They will just write the best they can. Of course, they want to achieve success with the piece they are currently working on. However, their focus is on being remembered instead of being noticed. That’s why they write evergreen content instead of something that could get popular at the moment.

If you recognized some of the symptoms of being an amateur, don’t despair! Every writer is an amateur before becoming professional. Noticing your flaws is a good thing! Now you know what to work on!

About author: Warren’s lifestyle is full of hiking adventures. When he’s not busy with his guitar or enjoying the sunny day outside, he excels at blogging skills and scrolls through social media. You can meet him on Twitter and Facebook.

8 biggest misconceptions about the English language

Sep 13th 2018

Guest post written by Audrey Lamp.


Despite the fact that this is the world’s most studied language, there are plenty of misconceptions and myths surrounding English. Even if you’re a native speaker, you’re not immune to these misconceptions. So let’s list the biggest ones, shall we?

  1. If English Is Your Native Language, Then You’re Proficient in It

When English or any other language is your native tongue, you assume that you use it pretty well. People can understand when you speak and you understand everything on TV and in newspapers pretty easily.
But what if you tried writing a research paper? When facing such a challenge, most students decide to hire professional writers to write an essay for them. Some would argue that graduates can’t write advanced prose because the educational system fails to train them properly. The fact is, no matter how hard you try to master the English language, there are always new layers to discover.

  1. British English Is the “Real” English

Most people, including Brits themselves, consider British English to be the purest form of English. The truth is, , that American English preserved a lot of the characteristics to the language that the British migration brought to the New World. Over the years, the British lost some of these nuances to the languages including non-rhotic speech , which became popular after the Industrial Revolution.
Believe it or not, the Americans never had a British accent that they lost.

  1. You Shouldn’t Start a Sentence with a Conjunction

“Don’t start a sentence with but!”
“Don’t start a sentence with and!”

How many times have you received such remarks on your essay assignments? Elementary and high-school teachers were usually pretty harsh with this “rule.” Still, there is no grammatical rule that says you mustn’t use a conjunction in the beginning of a sentence. This is a stylistic preference. No one can explicitly tell you what your style is. So if you feel like starting a sentence with so, you might as well just do that. But maybe you’d like to avoid it when writing academic papers. Teachers are still pretty strict with their stylistic expectations.

  1. You Can’t End a Sentence with a Preposition

This is another rule that teachers used to enforce: “Don’t end a sentence with by, on, with, about, or any other preposition.”
This “rule” has its roots in the 17th century, when Latin-obsessed writers wanted to impose their influence on the English language.

Compare these two sentences:
-You have much to dream about!
-You have much about which to dream.

The first one seems much more natural, doesn’t it? And it ends with a preposition.  

  1. Passive Voice Is Not Good

You’ll see this recommendation in many online writing guides: avoid passive as much as possible!
Surprise, surprise: passive is still an integral part of the English language. Nevertheless, you shouldn’t use it excessively unless it’s necessary.

  1. You Can Only Use Whose When Referring to People

If you check the Oxford Dictionaries, you’ll find an explanation that “whose is a possessive determiner and pronoun which means belonging to whom.” This brings us to the misconception that whose is intended to be used solely when talking about people.
The fact is; whose is a possessive form of both who and what. So you don’t have to feel unconfident when writing or saying “Apple is a company whose products changed the world.”

  1. You Can’t Use an Extra S after an Apostrophe in a Possessive Singular Noun Ending in S

Whoa, that was a mouthful. If that “rule” confused you, allow us to explain: do you like Jules’ sister or Jules’s sister?
Some people will be definite about it: the extra s is a mistake. The truth is: this is a pretty complex issue in English grammar. In some cases, you’ll go with the apostrophe. In others, you’ll use an apostrophe-s even when the word’s singular form ends with an s. Such is the case with duchess’s. But if the next word starts with an s, then you’ll use duchess’. It’s complicated, so you better investigate the rule before you claim something you’re not sure of.

  1. There Should Be a Specific Number of Sentences in a Paragraph

Some teachers will tell you to maintain a fixed number of sentences, such as three or five, in a paragraph. They are delusional!
The paragraph serves as a section that covers one main idea. You may use as many or as few sentences as you need to expose that idea.

So did I manage to bust some myths today? If you were aware of all these misconceptions, congratulations! Maybe you can add a few others to our list? I’d love to see some comments!

About author: Audrey Lamp is a proactive journalist who likes to get knowledge, analyze and present fresh ideas. Her background and various interests determine her genuine passion for writing. Find her on Facebook and Twitter.


How to use social media in schools

Sep 6th 2018

Guest post written by Harsha Goel.

59% of schools say their students use social media to solve their educational problems.
No doubt, the advancement of social media has helped every sector put their best foot forward in the market. Marketers highly acknowledge the growing importance of social media, but now, the education sector, and especially schools, have  also turned to social media platforms to share their special events, award functions, and the hard work of brilliant students with parents.

Your social media presence decides the number of conversions your website will have. We live in the era of digitalization, and social media is a useful tool for schools to stay ahead by acknowledging to parents the quality of education you provide.

No matter how many activities, parties, and gifts you distribute to students in the school, if your audience does not know about it, you are probably losing opportunities.
If you want to harness the full potential of social media but are looking for the subtle ways to understand its usage, then this post is for you. Go through each point carefully, and learn how to use social media to redefine the education system.

Stay updated:

Facebook can significantly improve the number of conversions. You can use it to establish your online presence. The number of Facebook subscribers is on the rise, and therefore, it becomes a good platform to let people know how you  differentiate from others.
Moreover, you can check out Facebook profiles of your prospects and pitch them at the right time.
Writing a post every day on Facebook keeps parents updated on the progress of students and how school is planning to make learning easier and faster.

Facilitate communication via social media platforms:

If your school never leaves a chance of guiding students on the latest topics, social media networks such as Facebook, Google Plus groups, and YouTube can help you spread the word in no time.
Moreover, you can communicate any decision, announcement, and provide useful information for teachers and students that have to be implemented quickly.
This will allow you to kill two birds with one stone. A high number of students will start paying attention to your policies, and parents will start acknowledging the efforts you put in to provide students with all the facilities they ask for.
It will even foster cross classes interactions regarding school’s function, trips, and other activities, which will further help establish unity and integrity amongst students.
Schools can use social media to reach students with important alerts through the pages they are connected to.
Engaging students will become easier for you if you will introduce hashtags into your post or any video you upload to your school’s social media profile.
From uploading datasheets to the school’s website to  guiding students on exams’ preparation, you can upload videos that can help students understand and learn faster without wasting time.
Before planning for your social media content management, I advise you to go through the functionalities of various platforms so that you can select the right platform geared to  your requirements.

Advanced learning management systems:

If comprehensive learning is your goal, you can take advantage of Learning management systems that are networking software capable of delivering educational programs to institutions.
By integrating your social media into an LMS,  you will allow students to use instant chat functions, and video calling while providing a platform where they find the latest information about their projects, tasks, tuition assignments, etc.
Having an advanced LMS with integrated social media will enable you to drive faster interactions among students. Not only will it increase the participation of students in online contests but students will also be able to easily collaborate on projects which would otherwise have taken a lot of time to complete manually.
An LMS works great at solving student and learning-related issues.  Using popular Learning management systems is important to generate a positive impact on students and staff through the system. From a career point of view,  an LMS will help children learn about the growth of the digital industry by using live conferencing systems, webinars, blogs and much more.

It helps in the research process:

The use of social media in schools will enable students to use subject monitoring tools that can help them find the latest data regarding their subjects. This will fasten the learning process, and moreover, students will stay updated on the latest technologies.
Having their profiles on learning platforms like Quora, stack exchange, etc., students can enjoy their interactions with experts worldwide while getting answers to their questions.
They can make their project reports more compelling by taking ideas from their seniors through connections on Facebook. Moreover, they can display their work on social media platforms so that other parents can know how your staff teaches students and works on their overall development.

Social media helps students in building their portfolios for their careers by enabling students to upload their completed projects to their social media profiles. This will portray the school’s standards in a better way and to a wider audience.

Caution: Though the wrong use of social media by students can upset the learning ecosystem of schools, keeping a check by using software that filters the data can prevent this to a great extent.

About author:
Harsha Goel is a writer who currently writes about technology and makes people aware of the current industry standards.

Children’s books that everyone should read

Aug 30th 2018

Guest post written by Anthony Anson.

Do you ever feel addicted to those childrens’ books residing in that old cabinet? These books helped you in learning a variety of lessons. Just because you’ve set out for your higher education or professional life doesn’t mean that you can neglect those lessons. These children books are the predominant reason for what we are today. They have shaped our imaginative powers, improved our concentration and developed an ability for empathy in a lot of us. Are you feeling motivated towards reading those books again? Just forget about your worries for the time being and take a glimpse at some of these best children books that you show read now:

  1. Matilda by Roald Dahl

Do you remember that exquisite, magical, and intelligent girl named Matilda? (Of course her grouchy parents and yes, how can we forget Ms. Trunchbull?). The story of this sweet girl revolves around the constant cruelty that she experienced at home and even at school. Getting misunderstood by her parents because of being different from others, isn’t it the cruelest thing one could suffer from? Matilda did! Through realizing the telekinetic powers and using them to turn the tables teaches the lesson that it’s good to be different!

  1. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L’Engle

Young sister and brother set out on a journey to find their long-lost father and go through struggles and challenges. The major lesson learned is that even if your life is filled with darkness, there still exists a bit of light and happiness. Moreover, being kind towards others in order to remove the hatred and facing the fears are some of the other notable lessons learned from the book.

  1. Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery

It is the life story of a little talkative and happy girl who lived an impoverished life despite the fact that she was an orphan. The major lesson learned from her story is that take the opportunity to bloom wherever you are. It doesn’t matter what phase of life you’re in or what condition you’re going through, just forget about your frets for the time being, and convince yourself to live a wonderful, and happy life.

  1. Black Beauty by Anna Swell

Despite the range of steps taken to eradicate cruelty to animals, animal abuse is still prevalent in the world. If you’ve read black beauty, you must have recalled the moments where the horse succinctly describes his feelings and the sufferings he went through. It gives the evident lesson that a person should exhibit a great deal of understanding and compassion towards animals because mistreatment could add to their sufferings. Another major respectable moral through Beauty’s life is that how far you can take yourself when you have a good character. Despite the different impediments in the way, an individual should strive 100% to achieve their goals in life.

  1. Diary of a wimpy kid by Jeff Kiney

It is a light-hearted story of a child going through the struggles of fitting into middle school. One of the lessons is to dream big. Despite the fact that Greg Heffley was a lazy and blissfully unconcerned child, he never stopped dreaming big dreams. Moreover, taking the path of least resistance (which was in fact due to laziness or for conserving “his energy”) teaches the people that they should opt for the easiest way out instead of being buried under the heap of tensions.

  1. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl

You must have read this book as a child? Didn’t you? This fantastic tale gives a glimpse of the life lessons through the protagonist named Charlie. Charlie faces a variety of challenges in life – no food and inadequate clothing. Yet he never lost the sense of hope. Moreover, in the extremely busy developing world, people tend to forget about their loved ones who deserve to get attention i.e. Families. Charlie teaches that you should spend quality time with family and spread love. Being grateful, shunning greed, and following directions are other prominent life lessons.

  1. The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster

Have you ever faced a lot of dissatisfaction in your life? Everyone does! Whenever you’re going through a bad time and things aren’t going your way, you inevitably suffer through discontent. However, if you’ve read the phantom tollbooth, you should remember that despite being curious about what you don’t have, you should be happy with what you do have. When time runs out, you can never bring it back; thus, pay attention to this most precious thing (more than diamonds even!). Moreover, you should be cautious of your words as they hold the potential to hurt someone. Simultaneously, pay attention to even the tiniest things.

  1. The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein

Does it reflect the story of Mother love and society, or God’s love and mankind? Well, it might be the perceptions of different groups of people. However, the lessons about life taught by this enlightened piece cannot be neglected. In the competitive world where the people tend to ensure equality and justice, it is almost impossible to give up tallying things. However, the giving tree teaches people that they should enable the unrequited love factor through giving but not expecting anything in return. Moreover, how can we comfort a beloved one when he/she is feeling down? It isn’t important that there’s a need of buying things, ordering food; sometimes, your simple silent presence could make them feel at home. Thus, always be there for rendering an immense love and support to others.

You must be feeling nostalgic through exploring these books. Are you ready to grab them out of those dusty old brown cabinets? Wait! Did you forget about those assignments which were given to you? Don’t feel overwhelmed! You can easily hire the reliable, cheap, and best online assignment help and get over it. Order them to sit back and relax. Then, drag those books out, remove the dust, and revive your childhood! You’ll surely feel the sense of pleasure and happiness.

About the author:
Anthony Anson has always strived to pursue his career in the realm of writing. Thus, he has been providing his enthralling and quality services as a writer and working with the writing challenged customers for more than 4 years. He loves to read books, write blogs, and most of all work hard towards attaining goals.

How to write when you don’t feel like writing

Aug 23rd 2018

Guest post written by Linda Cartwright.

If you google this phrase, you will find a plethora of “inspiration” articles that look more like lists of procrastination destinations: watch these themed films, go lurking on these gorgeous image boards, go listening to these productivity playlists. Supposedly, it will get your creative juices flowing. Unfortunately, it does not work for most of us. The only thing such advice is good for is to form some ideas when you are ready to start writing but have not yet decided on a topic.

What do you do when you have to write (and probably know what about) but cannot get yourself to start? First, here is a quick checklist.

  • Have you slept well? If you haven’t, your brain is not fit for any work, let alone ready to be creative. You can soldier on but the result will be less than impressive. Having a quick nap and resuming your work refreshed will allow you to be more productive and to lose less time.
  • Are you hungry? You brain needs food. It is the most energy-consuming organ in our body. If you don’t have time for a hearty meal, a snack on quick-digesting carbs will do the job.
  • Do you feel well? It is an obvious, yet often overlooked condition for being productive. If you feel a bit under the weather, you cannot concentrate on the task at hand.

Now, let’s assume that all of the above points are settled. Now what? Well, sometimes you are just not in the mood to write, even if it is your passion. The good news is that you can still write. Try one of the following techniques.

Brief outline

As a famous quote from Chuck Close goes: “Inspiration is for amateurs – the rest of us just show up and get to work.” If you feel somewhat blocked, you can start by quickly outlining the things that you are going to write about. All you have to do is start working; things will grow from the activity itself. No author has a premonition of the entire script. You may not have the full story but you must have some ideas.

The importance of pre-planning and outlining can best be illustrated by Joan Rowling’s technique. A glimpse of it, can be seen in the one-page plot outline for Harry Potter & the Order of the Phoenix that was released to the public some years ago. It showed the entire book as a grid with rows representing chapters and columns representing main plot lines and themes present in the book. This way, Rowling was able to see the entire structure before her as the cutout work and at the same time could make the book balanced and addictive for the readers.

On a larger scale, she knew, from the very beginning, that she would have a series of seven books for children where characters would grow up with the readers, she already had the ending in mind and some very specific details decided beforehand. This also allowed her to pepper details throughout the series, which, at first, seemed of no importance, but later gave the readers plenty of thrilling “aha!” moments.

Of course, some characters and plot lines changed along the way, yet she managed to shoehorn them into the original ending anyway.

Planning and outlining works for everything: from epic book series to 5-page essays to 500 words blog posts. If you do not feel like writing, at least you can come up with a plan that will facilitate your work enormously.


Creativity is all about finding unexpected connections and seeing the world anew. This happens in a state of mind when we do not think we are working. One of the ways to get into this state is freewriting.

In the ninetieth century, mediums claimed that freewriting is their way to get in contact with unseen entities, ghosts, and otherworldly beings. In the twentieth century, writers and poets (William Butler Yeats, Jack Kerouac, Dorothea Brande, and Peter Elbow to name a few) used this technique as a way of connecting to the unconscious.

The practice was brought to the mainstream by the Natalie Goldberg, in her Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within. Her first rule was to keep the hand always moving and to allow oneself to lose control. Julia Cameron, in her book The Artist’s Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity called this practice “the morning pages” and advised writers to start your writing with three pages of pure stream-of-consciousness writing.

This practice is beneficial not only for professional writers but for anyone who experiences writer’s block. Even students who struggle to write an essay or a research paper can try it instead of employing a paper writing service to do the work, losing peace of mind, enthusiasm for the project, and sleep.

To start freewriting you just have to put pen to paper (or your hands on a keyboard). Write whatever comes to your head. Even if there is nothing, write “I have nothing on my mind. I have nothing on my mind…” You can keep writing it, that’s okay. Alternatively, use an object you see in front of you as a prompt, or a word you pick at random from a book. Do not rush but do not stop either. Do not  cross anything out, and don’t pay particular attention to punctuation or grammar at this point.

This should put you in a flowing state of mind and allow you to unblock your creative ability, even if you think that you are not in the mood for writing today. As Pablo Picasso said: “Inspiration exists, but it has to find you working.”

Mind mapping

A mind map is a diagram used to organize information visually. It shows relationships between the parts to the whole. Mind mapping is used as a mnemonic technique, an educational aid for brainstorming, note taking, problem-solving, and decision making. It has a centuries-long history but was popularized by the British popular psychology author and television personality Tony Buzan in the 1960s.

Apart from that, mind mapping is a very effective tool to get the information from your head onto paper. This way, you can organize your thoughts and ideas in proper order if your writer’s block stems from being overwhelmed rather than from a lack of ideas.

This technique is also useful if you have to summarize large volumes of information from many sources and don’t know where to start. This happens quite often when you have to write an essay or do class reports.

Start by placing the key idea at the center of the diagram, either as a word or as a picture. Add sub-themes and connect them to the main idea with  “branches” of different colors. The use of multiple colors will provide visual stimulation and allow encoding and grouping. Then, add topics of lesser importance by adding “twigs” to the relevant branch. You do not have to write yet – use symbols, pictograms, emoticons, codes, dimensions. If necessary, add keywords (one per twig).

There are websites and apps that allow you to create mind maps, however using paper is the best option. Why? Because on paper you can combine mind mapping and freewriting to plan and outline your work, thus uniting all three techniques!

If you still do not feel inspired, try to remember why you are writing. There is a special power in “why”. It can help you reignite the initial excitement you felt when you started your project. The last, but not the least – do not feel bad about yourself if you still do not feel like writing. Bad days happen, it is only human to experience ups and downs.

About author:
Linda Cartwright is an educator and Seattle-based freelance writer, passionate about technology and life-long learning.

Know the Difference: Revision, Editing, & Proofreading

Aug 16th 2018

Guest post written by Carla D. Bass.Independent thinker and individual leadership concept. Group of pigeon birds on a wire with one at the other side. Flat style vector illustration isolated on white background.

Pfshew! After considerable effort, you’ve finally completed that draft document. A cursory proofreading and you’re done, right? Absolutely not … Three critical steps stand between you and success … revision, editing, and proofreading. That application for a grant, submission to a request for proposal, response to a congressional inquiry, essay for the college application, or other product by which you hope to influence the audience … all depend on how effectively you complete these steps.

In completing the initial draft, you’ve presented yourself with a lump of damp clay … congratulations. I state that with utmost sincerity, because you succeeded in creating something – a place to start. You must now painstakingly mold that clay … your draft … into the final art form ready for display … or the written product to present to your audience.

Step 1 — Revision:

 Take a breather, step away from the draft, then return later for a fresh review. Examine it objectively using criteria such as those listed below delineated in a three-step, sequential process: revision, editing, and proofreading. These are neither synonymous nor simultaneous. Each serves a different purpose.

Continuing the sculpting analogy, the artist first molds the clay into the general form desired – little push here, little pull there, add or remove clay, shaping as needed, and continuing until the image emerges. The artist then steps away and allows the clay to dry bit.

This equates to your revision, the overall, substantive review of product. Begin by outlining the draft; some call this technique, “the reverse outline.” Identify the skeletal structure: the title, thesis, main points, topic sentences, supporting data, and conclusion. Consider the following:

  • Does your draft match your original outline?
  • If not, why not? Is your revision to the original outline warranted?
  • Did you find information gaps in your draft; where should you add more? Did you include any unnecessary tangents?

Read your draft slowly and from the audience’s perspective. If you received this information, how would you respond? Other points to consider are listed below. Several revisions might be necessary – and that’s OK, even advisable.

  • Know your audience; tailor your product accordingly
  • Address issue(s)/question(s)/concerns of the audience
  • Use form and style appropriate to the product/audience
  • State goal/purpose clearly
  • Define terms
  • Sequence information logically; rearrange or delete, as necessary
  • Provide supporting evidence for all positions addressed
  • Anticipate/respond to questions not posed
  • Organize and connect sections
  • Identify/respond to counter arguments objectively and factually
  • Present balanced, logical arguments
  • Eliminate tangential information
  • Extend or limit concepts
  • Eliminate bureaucratic blather (imprecise, convoluted, run-on sentences)
  • Complete the circle: harmonize the opening and conclusion

Step 2 — Editing:

The artist resumes his work, applying different, more precise tools to his now dried artifact of clay. Bit by bit, the final art form emerges in glorious detail from what began as that damp lump of clay.

You do similarly in the editing process, examining your final, revised draft sentence by sentence to identify errors in spelling, grammar, punctuation, and typing, and other items listed below:

  • Application of Word Sculpting tools (from “Write to Influence!”)
  • Clarity of title
  • Overly repeated, mis-used, or overly used words
  • Sentence structure and syntax
  • Rhythm and flow (sentence to sentence and paragraph to paragraph)
  • Accuracy of cited references
  • Length of document (i.e., number of pages or words)

Be careful with automated tools to check grammar and spelling. Why? From “Write to Influence!” … “Automated systems may recognize valid words but will not correct spelling relative to the context. The following sentence is exaggerated for effect but reinforces this point. Automated systems will revue you’re hole product but will knot be two effective and they’re observations will often lead ewe a rye.”

Here are some editing tips I teach my students:

  • Read your draft slowly and aloud. This is an important and different dimension to editing. Listen … You will hear how words flow … or don’t, identify thoughts that simply don’t connect, and catch words that are excessively repeated.
  • Read the paper backwards. This will help preclude substantive distraction.

Here are some others from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill:

  • Look for errors – one variety at a time. You risk losing focus when trying to identify too many kinds of errors simultaneously.
  • Circle and validate every punctuation mark. As you circle, verify that the punctuation is correct. [My note: This solves only half of the problem. Why? It doesn’t highlight punctuation you neglected to include.]

Step 3 — Proofreading

The artist puts finishing touches on the sculpture; you apply the final polish to your product. This is the last step before formally submitting your document. The story line is now tight, arguments well organized and logically substantiated, conclusion is synchronized with the opening, etc. Your last step is purging the document of mistakes. Look carefully for:

  • Sentence structure
  • Grammar (e.g., verb tense and punctuation)
  • Spelling, typos, use of quotations
  • Accuracy of citations

Pfshew! After considerable effort, you’ve finally completed that draft document. Are you done? If you’ve revised, edited, and proofread … YES and congratulations! You, too, have created a masterpiece.

About the Author:

Carla D Bass, Colonel, USAF (Retired), authored the award-winning book … “Write to Influence!” … and now gives engaging, interactive workshops tailored for professionals in the workforce to students from high school through graduate school. During her 30-year career, she taught professional writing to thousands of people – to rave reviews.