Dec 11th 2018

Metaphors

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Definition of Metaphor

A metaphor is a word or phrase that describes something in a way that isn’t literally true yet works to help our understanding by way of providing comparison. A metaphor refers to someone or something to show that they are alike. Sometimes we refer to metaphors as figures of speech, meaning they should not be understood in a literal sense but are instead used to explain something in a more vivid way. In fact, at times a metaphor could be an object (in the non-linguistic sense) used as a symbol to explain something else. Metaphors are often used in poetry and literature, but they also play an important role in everyday language, adding both color and context to speech.

Of course, the best way to understand the metaphor definition is to see some examples:

  • This bedroom is a pigsty. The bedroom is not literally a pigsty (a pen or enclosure for pigs), but the metaphor is used to stress how untidy or dirty it is.
  • The wheels of justice turn slowly. They aren’t literal wheels, but the metaphor serves to illustrate that justice, normally in a legal sense, can take time.
  • Dad is my rock. Nobody is literally a rock, but the metaphor is used to convey that a person is solid, dependable.
  • Tim is an animal in the courtroom. Tim is not really an animal, but the metaphor is used to convey that he is wild and aggressive when he is in court.
  • Molly is up to her neck in paperwork. Molly isn’t really covered in papers, but the metaphor is showing that she has a lot of work to complete.
  • The movie Wall Street is a metaphor for the extreme greed of the 1980s. This sentence is not itself a metaphor, but serves to highlight that an object, like a film or painting, can be interpreted as one.

Types of Metaphors

Language experts will often argue as to how many different types of metaphors exist, with up to 15 sometimes cited. However, we can whittle it down to three main areas – direct metaphors, implied metaphors and sustained (extended) metaphors. The first two, direct and implied, are much more common in everyday language than sustained metaphors.

Direct Metaphors

Direct metaphors are used in comparisons, basically saying that one thing is another thing. They are perhaps the easiest to spot and understand in a sentence.

  • Those children are angels. The children are well-behaved.
  • Congress is a circus show. Congress is unruly, dramatic.
  • My mother is a lioness. My mother is strong and protective.

Implied Metaphors

Implied, or indirect, metaphors do not explicitly say that one thing is another, but they hint at a connection in a subtler way than direct metaphors.

  • The witness crumbled under the pressure of giving testimony. A person wouldn’t literally crumble, but the metaphor is used to create an image of falling apart – like a cookie, something brittle – to stress the difficulty of the situation and how the witness fell apart.
  • The sergeant barked orders at the troops. A person wouldn’t literally bark like a dog, but the metaphor indirectly compares the sergeant to a dog to create an image of sharp, abrupt commands.
  • Julie sailed confidently across the dancefloor. The implied metaphor uses the verb sail to give the subject smooth, boat-like qualities, hinting at grace, speed and poise.

Extended Metaphors

Extended metaphors are more common in poetry and literature than everyday speech. As you might expect, they are often comprised of more than one sentence, perhaps encompassing an entire paragraph or passage. One of the most famous extended metaphors is Shakespeare’s ‘world’s a stage’ metaphor at the end of The Tempest. In the metaphor, Shakespeare makes several metaphorical references to life being a play, and thus the passage itself becomes an extended or sustained metaphor.

All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances; And one man in his time plays many parts.”

Dead Metaphors

Dead metaphors are phrases that have become so commonplace that the imagery they used to create no longer has any impact. In fact, some academics claim dead metaphors are not metaphors at all, such is the loss of their imagery and visual impact.

  • It’s raining cats and dogs. A common phrase meaning it’s raining heavily. It’s been so frequently used that the imagery of falling animals is no longer important.
  • He has kicked the bucket. A once gruesome metaphor to convey that someone had died, with the bucket falling over referencing hanging. Now the phrase has become so commonplace, although it’s still a crude reference to death, that we no longer think of the imagery of its origins.

Mixed Metaphors

Special mention should be made of mixed metaphors, which aren’t really metaphors, but linguistic errors made by confusing and combining more than one metaphor. Mixed metaphors are often comprised of dead metaphors, and can be, somewhat ironically, celebrated in modern pop culture.

  • “Labour are fighting like rats in a barrel”. Spoken by a UK member of Parliment in 2014, it seems to confuse the metaphors of rats fleeing a sinking ship and shooting fish in a barrel and comes up with a sentence with an unclear meaning.

Simile vs. Metaphor

There is often some confusion over the difference between similes and metaphors. In short, a simile is a type of metaphor that uses the words like or as to compare things. Metaphors, as we have seen above, can directly state a comparison or imply a comparison, but similes use like or as to compare two or more things.

Examples of similes:

  • He is as strong as an ox.
  • Jamie ran, swift like the wind, across the field.
  • Your words cut like a knife.
  • The boys laughed like hyenas.

Examples of Metaphors

The beauty of metaphors is that they are limitless in number. Indeed, it’s important to understand that metaphors are not just established sayings or idioms. New metaphors are created all the time and those created by you or I are just as valid as those created in established literature and linguistics, and maybe even Shakespeare! However, here are some more examples of metaphors:

Direct metaphors

  • Those boys are little imps.
  • My brain is a computer.
  • She is a delicate flower.
  • This job is a prison.
  • He is a monster.

Implied metaphors

  • The cogs whirred in her mind until she found the answer.
  • The defense crouched behind the quarterback, snarling and bearing their fangs.
  • Mom buzzed around the kitchen getting things ready for the party.
  • The kids chirped in delight.
  • The flowers danced in the wind.
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Dec 10th 2018

7 Proven Ways to Learn More English Words in a Week

Guest post written by Samantha R. Gilbert.

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Learning English is highly essential nowadays. According to studies conducted by Worldmeters, 1.5 out of 7.5 billion inhabitants the Earth speak English. English is one of the most prominant international, worldwide spoken languages, and the means of grasping new information. To immerse in today’s globalized world, you should develop an extensive knowledge of the English vocabulary.

Don’t worry! English is simple, fun, and easy to comprehend! If you want to enhance your English vocabulary, you should try using these seven methods we’ve provided for you.

  1. Keep a Vocabulary Journal

Studies at Science Direct have shown that keeping a vocabulary notebook to track your vocab acquisition is a highly useful tool to develop and helps to enhance the English learning process. Here are some quick tips on how to get started –

  • Buy a small notebook or journal.
  • Divide the newly acquired vocabulary into different groups – for instance, make clothing types one group, food another group, and English greetings your third group. Keep adding words to each group as soon as you encounter them.
  • Write down the meaning of each word. Then come up with a sentence that includes the newly acquired word.
  • Add as many words as you can to your list! Keep the notebook with you all the time and review the new terms.

Tip – leave enough space between words to have a clearer visual image and be able to add synonyms and antonyms later.

  1. Use the New Words Constantly

If you do not gradually integrate the new words into your vocabulary, chances are you’ll forget them. So, make sure to –

  • Conversate as much as possible, whenever possible, and with whomever possible
  • Reread your wordlist at least two or three times per week
  • Create a new list of the words that you have difficulties remembering and review it constantly

Tip – getting real-world exposure is one of the most efficient and fastest methods to acquire further English skills. Attend Meetups hosted by English-speaking individuals, search for conversation buddies online, or travel to an English-speaking country! Remember, practice makes perfect.

  1. Learn while Having Fun!

Another method to expand your vocabulary skills is to play online games in English. Here are the best ones that will serve you well –

  • Wordshake
  • FluentU
  • ESL Crossword Puzzles
  • Online Scrabble
  • League of Legends
  • VRChat
  • The Grammar of Doom

No matter what your interests are, you can always find an exciting online game for every one of your hobbies. Next time you feel like relaxing or taking a quick break from your studies, have some fun while playing English games.

  1. Use These Apps

You can find numerous educational apps that will help you develop your skills quickly. For instance, Duolingo is “an excellent English learning app that helps cover a lot of material for English learners of all levels and learn new words fast.” But there are others as well –

  • Memrise
  • Busuu
  • Qlango
  • Babbel
  • Rosetta Stone
  • LearnEnglish Grammar

Find the app that suits your interests best and try it out. You might be surprised by how quickly you’re going to master the English language.

  1. Use Dictionaries

Dictionaries are vital tools for any foreign-language student. They can help you find the adequate translation of a word or sentence you did not understand, check the spelling of different terms, check their plural or singular forms, find grammatical mistakes, look up collocations, or improve your pronunciation.

Know when to use the dictionary! Looking up every single new word you hear will be a waste of time, and you’ll end up exhausted and burnt out. Before searching for a term, make sure you have made the effort of initially guessing its meaning first. Then try using it in the context to see if it makes sense. If you figured out the pattern, there is no need to look it up in the dictionary. This practice will save you precious time.

  1. Start Writing

Write, write, write! Write as much as you can. Allow a considerable amount of time daily to practice this important skill. When we write things down, things start getting more explicit. We spell the words that we’ve learned, understand their roots and possible conjugations, and gain substantial knowledge – all at the same time. Besides that, we correct our grammar mistakes and fix our punctuation errors.

If you are uncertain on your writing abilities, you should have your work checked by a cheap essay service professional. Getting feedback is extremely valuable when working on your vocabulary enhancement.

  1. Read as Much as Possible

The more you read, the more material you discover. The more material you discover, the more words you can encounter. It’s as simple as that. Read as much as you can, whenever you can. However, be sure you –

  • Choose the right books for your level
  • Pick the authors that you are actually interested in
  • Use context to understand basic words and fragments before using the dictionary
  • Start with short stories or novels

Wrapping Up

Learning a new language can be difficult, but with the right resources and a proper mindset, nothing is impossible. To learn English vocabulary faster, remember to keep a vocab journal, use the new words regularly, play fun games online, try out educational apps, use dictionaries when it is the case, write and read as much as possible! Keep your head up and your motivation intact. You can do it! Good luck.

About author: Samantha R. Gilbert has been working as a journalist at an online-publishing agency in New York, USA for 2 years. She is also professional writing expert in such topics as blogging, modern art and education. Meet Samantha on Twitter.

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Nov 23rd 2018

Know Your Course: How English and Creative Writing Differ

Guest post written by Ammie Jackson.

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For those of you who loved to play around with words as a child, picking a favorite class in high school was a cakewalk, right? While all of you may have picked English as your favorite subject in high school, things shake up a bit when it is time for college. Sure, you may have enjoyed those literary appreciation classes in school. But would you take it up as a full-time course in college? Or would a course that focused more on enhancing your writing skills be more of your cup of tea?

That’s where creative writing courses figure in. While plenty of writing courses have a bit of English literature in their course modules, they mainly focus on the writing aspects and usage of the language in their curriculum. If you are puzzled about which course to pick for college, then read this post to gain a bit of insight into the primary differences between English and creative writing.

Creative writing courses sometimes include literature to encourage students to write better. Similarly, English majors also have courses on creative writing that unravels the practical aspects of the language for them. The following are the most significant aspects of English and creative writing courses. This post thus endeavors to shed light on the differences between the two.

 Structure of the courses

If you study English in college, you are more likely to have a semester style class with lessons taking place in large classrooms. The professors usually adopt a seminar teaching style and lectures are an integral part of your study routine. In the case of creative writing, however, classes focus more on two-way interaction between the students and the teacher. They centre around developing writing skills and fluency in the language, and encourage students’ to participate in group writing projects. Usually, they have shorter course durations than the ones taking up English. Creative writing courses also put emphasis on peer editing whereas English courses have fewer of those types of assignments.

Reading Lists

Naturally, reading lists also differs in these two disciplines. While English deals purely with the literary works of renowned writers and a compelling narrative of each, creative writing courses are a bit different. It is thus no wonder that both courses have students seeking assignment help from time to time simply because of the immense pressure of studies.

While students of English have high piles of readings that they need to finish by the end of the term, creative writing students have mounds of odd writing assignments they need to turn in by submission deadlines. English reading lists may consist of a few works of fiction, plays and prose pieces whereas creative writing consists of reading about proofreading practices and using the narrative development in a story.

 Research areas and focus

Those with a penchant for academics often venture into research after college. For the ones looking for such opportunities, here’s a heads up on both subjects so you can make a wise decision. You will find that most traditional English courses are rigid when it comes to research areas and presentation of your research paper. When delving deep into the academic nuances in English, you will be required to follow specific guidelines and use your intuitions to unearth novel aspects about the subject. In case of creative writing, you can venture a bit into the unconventional area and choose from a broader range of topics such as the use of rhetoric or the journey of a screenwriter for your research.

 Related disciplines

English, of course, has plenty of related disciplines such as linguistics and cultural studies. One can always take up any one of the aspects within the broad spectrum of literature and specialize on the same. It is more of an academia-driven course and has been a separate area of study from the 19th century itself. Creative writing is a more modern course, and offers plenty of options if you want to move to related disciplines later on. From journalism, editing and proofreading to fun courses like screenwriting, creative writing opens up a whole world to explore in terms of closely related subjects.

 Jobs and careers

The popular adage “the fruit did not fall too far from the tree” is what comes to mind the moment we talk about jobs and prospects in English and creative writing. Students of English who have a flair for writing can switch to lucrative and fun careers related to creative writing after graduation. Apart from that, in the future, they can pursue higher academics and take up the role of an educator or researcher.

Students of creative writing, on the other hand, have a slew of jobs to pick from after graduation in almost every industry. Starting from marketing and sales to creative industries, writers, having deft skills, are one of the most in-demand professions globally. From freelance writing jobs to lyricists for renowned music labels, creative writing students have more options to explore when it comes to the job market after graduating from college.

 Summing up

Pick carefully now that you know the main differences between English and creative writing. The pointers above will help you make an informed choice on what to study in the future. Choose the course that speaks to the inner language lover in you, and work towards achieving all your dreams and aspirations every day. While there are no shortcuts to success, having a roadmap to guide you along the way comes with immense help at times. Good luck with college!

About author:  Ammie Jackson, a senior web developer at a Melbourne-based software firm, offers customized assignment assistance through MyAssignmenthelp for students struggling with their academic tasks. She provides swift technical solutions for web designing and enjoys developing technical requirements for his international clients.

 

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Nov 15th 2018

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

Guest post written by Mary Ivanova.

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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.

 

 

 

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Nov 1st 2018

5 Ways Freelance Writers Benefit from Journaling

Guest post written by Jennifer Lockman.

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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.

Organization
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.

 

 

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