Archive August 2013

phenomena vs. phenomenon

The plural of phenomenon is either phenomena or, especially in North America, phenomenons. However, I frequently see people incorrectly use phenomena as the singular form, for example in This phenomena is very general … The correct form is of course This phenomenon is very general …

How to pronounce w in wrong, write, wrestling, etc.

I have previously discussed the fact that the letter p is often silent in English, see here, and that this causes quite some problems with non-native speakers. Today, I want to discuss the letter w, which is also often silent. For example, the w is not pronounced in any of the following words (click to

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Thru or through

The word thru is an informal abbreviation for through, and hence not part of the standard English language. Therefore, it is not acceptable in formal writing. Interestingly though, thru has become so widely used that you can often see it used in internet communication and text messaging. And of course there is the drive thru,

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How to pronounce curry, courage, hurricane

Have you ever asked yourself why words such as curry, courage, and hurricane are pronounced differently by different people? Well, I did, and I recently learned that there is a very simple explanation for this phenomenon: the two different versions represent the British and American pronunciation. In my experience, even advanced non-native speakers have difficulties

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