Classified advertisements

Classified advertisements advertise jobs, accommodation, services, the sale of products etc. Depending on the city and type of media, short-hand terms are often used. This is due to the limited space available and helps reduce the cost of placing an advert.

Can you make out the short-hand terms in this ad for vacancies?

3 perm posns. avail in our mod. off. Exp. in office duties an adv. Poss. of trng for right applicants. Oppty. for advancement. Refs nec. Contact G. Peterson by ph.

Written in full this would be:

3 permanent positions available in our modern office. Experience in office duties will be an advantage. Possibility of training for the right applicants. Opportunity for advancement. References necessary. Contact G. Peterson by phone.

How about this one for a flat to let?

N.London, f/f for n/s, 2 bdrms, a/c, ch, wm, £900 p.m excl. bills

North London, fully furnished for non-smokers, 2 bedrooms, air condition, central heating, washing machine, £900 per month excluding bills
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How to Prepare for the TOEFL

Get ready for TOEFL

Colleges and universities around the world typically require foreign applicants to submit TOEFL test scores as part of the admissions process. Getting a good score on this test shows that you can understand and communicate in the English language. The following tips will help you prepare for the TOEFL properly and achieve the score you need to impress admissions committees.

Read about the Test

The first thing you should do is familiarize yourself with the TOEFL. This will make the test seem less daunting. It will also give you an understanding of what is expected of you as a test-taker. You can learn more about TOEFL test content by visiting the official TOEFL page on

Take a Practice Test

Taking a practice test will also help you become more familiar with the TOEFL. You can usually find practice tests in TOEFL test prep guides. You can also get two free practice tests, review materials, scoring information, and sample writing exercises direct from ETS if you register for the paper-based test. You shouldn't worry about doing well on the practice test. The goal of this exercise is to learn about the test so that you can find out where your strengths and weaknesses lie.

Get the Official Guide to the TOEFL Test

The Official Guide to the TOEFL Test is not the only TOEFL test prep guide on the market but it is the only TOEFL guide created by ETS, the people who actually make the test. The Official Guide to the TOEFL Test contains information on the test, practice exercises, skill-builders, test-taking tips, comments from actual test-takers, and two full-length practice tests. The guide can be purchased for approximately $20 USD from several retail outlets. It may also be available at local libraries for no charge.

Immerse Yourself in the Language

Immersing yourself in the English language is another excellent way to obtain the skills you need to score well on the TOEFL. To do this, you can enroll in an English program or join an English club that provides the practice you are looking for. You can also take part in one of the many no-cost social language learning communities that have popped up on the web (Livemocha, iTalki, LingQ, etc.) These communities are often flush with native speakers who can help you improve your ability to speak, write, and listen to the English language.

Practice Writing

To perform well on the TOEFL, you will need to learn the conventions of grammar, spelling, punctuation, structure, and paraphrasing. The best way to learn all of these things is through writing practice. You can begin your practice by making a list of familiar writing topics and writing about them. Choose an opinion or "side" for each topic and construct sentences to support your idea. You should continue this method of practice until you are able to plan, write, proofread, and revise a cohesive essay in 30 minutes or less.

Guest post from freelance writer Karen Schweitzer. Karen is the Guide to Business School. She also writes for, an online degree resource.
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Can you spot what’s not quite right with this story?

There was a paws as the cat jumped threw the window and court a mouse. Eye saw the hole thing and herd it two from the stares this mourning. Of coarse I don’t no wear the mouse is write now. I have too weight hear four the cat two leave so I can fined it!

It’s full of ‘homophones’ – words which sound the same as another word but the spelling and meaning are different. e.g. red (colour), read (a book - past tense)

So you would eat a sweet and stay in a hotel suite. You can sail on a boat and view the clothes on sale. You will check your mail (correspondence) on-line and not your male (human).
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Think in English, Change your Facebook Account to English

Another great way to improve your knowledge of English could be as simple as connecting to a social network like Facebook, but using it in English. For instance, you can change your default language from your mother tongue (in this post we’re using Spanish as an example) to English to learn new words and expressions that might come up from Facebook’s web application.

So, let's see how to set up your account in English:

1. First of all go to and log in. Once there click on Cuenta:


2. Click on ConfiguraciĆ³n de la cuenta option:

account configuration

3. Go to the Idioma tab and choose English (US) or English (UK), whatever you prefer, from the combo box:

facebook language

4. After doing this all Facebook's options will be shown in English. Now go to Home to see the changes on your wall:

facebook in English

5. Happy practicing with your English :)

Guest post from Luis M. Gallardo, you can visit his blog about Linux, Programming, Videogames and many other topics. Luis also collaborates in the planeta consolas blog.
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American versus British English spelling and vocabulary

In terms of writing there are some words that are spelt differently in American English and British English. For those taking IELTS exams both types of spelling are acceptable. Here are a few examples.

American spelling: labor, color, favorite, neighbor, center, theater, gray, airplane
British spelling: labour, colour, favourite, neighbour, centre, theatre, grey, aeroplane

Similarly, there are some vocabulary differences in British English and American English. Here are a few examples.

British English: autumn, flat, lift, holiday, queue, rubbish, secondary school, shop, pavement
American English: fall, apartment, elevator, vacation, line, garbage, high school, store, sidewalk

An American peanut butter and jelly sandwich might sound a bit unusual but not if you recognize that the 'jelly' is 'jam'.
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Top Websites to Watch Online TV in English

Watch Online TV

One of the biggest difficulties that we find in the English language learning process is understanding when someone talks to us, also called listening. There are many different accents in English and if you live in a multicultural society you have to “train your ear” to every English accent that you can find and of which we can mention: British, American, Irish, New Zealander, Indian, French, Chinese, German, etc.

At the beginning it can be frustrating because you’re not able to understand the majority of what someone is saying to you, and because of not understanding several words you miss the whole meaning of the sentence. However, the more you listen to the accent and the way the person talks you’ll understand more.

And, why are we talking about this? Well, in this post we’re going to introduce a series of online resources that you can use to improve your understanding skills (listening) while you watch your favourite series, shows and films. How come? Watching them in English!

Joost Joost content is organized into three main categories: show, music and film. Under shows there are different categories like Sports, Animation, Comedy, Culture, and etcetera. You’ll be able to find series as charismatic as He-man.

In the music category there are video clips and also reports about your favourite artists. Last, there are several sections under films but it has to be noted that the films are usually old, a luxury for lovers of the classics.

Link | Joost

Hulu In Hulu content could be divided between series and movies. There is a huge quantity of offered series, including: Human Target, House, Ugly Betty, Lost, Family Guy, White Collar, The Office, Naruto, Chuck, Heroes or 24. Talking about the movies, there is also a big variety of old and new films.

Hulu also offers a classification (depending on the channels): family, sports, music, comedy, drama, videogames, etc.

A very interesting Web page but with just one big disadvantage: its content can only be seen in the US. Therefore users from other countries will have to wait for the time being.

Link | Hulu

CastTV Another great website to watch online TV is CastTV; the content is clearly organized in TV/movies, Music Videos, Top Videos and there’s even a section with the commercials from the 2010 Superbowl.

An interesting feature from CastTV is the section about Top Viral Videos or videos that have become famous on the Internet. It’ll allow you to keep up to date about what is being watched on the Internet.

Link | CastTV

tvgorge In this amazing website you’ll find every series you’re dreamed about; practically every known and not so well known series are here and surely you’ll like some.

You’ll be able to find television series such as: 24, 90210, American Idol, The Big Bang Theory, Bones, Californication, Chuck, The Closer, Cold Case, CSI, Desperate Housewives, Dexter, Family Guy, FlashForward, Friends, Ghost Whisperer, Heroes, The Hills, House, Lost, Medium, Naruto, NCIS, Numb3rs, Oz, Prison Break, Rome, The Simpsons, Smallville, Supernatural and a very large etcetera. There are in total more than 100 series so you won’t get bored with watching TV in English and improving your listening! :)

Link | TVgorge
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Welcome to's blog

Welcome to's blog. I'm the Creative Director of this learning site so I have designed the courses with the help of other experienced and qualified teachers, having you, my students in mind. Hundreds of you already know me and my teaching style with a board and marker and I'm delighted to have taught so many of you coming from remote areas in the Asian and African continent and guided you through difficult language exams towards your dream of studying in an English speaking country. Now, with the aid of technology, you'll be able to enjoy my on-line classes from anywhere in the world and I'll be able to provide you with instant feedback.

This blog will be used to provide students with informal English language information (such as grammar and vocabulary tips), advice and ideas whether you're a beginner or an IELTS candidate. We'll also be reporting any new developments on the site as it evolves to meet your learning needs and our teaching experiences with our international students.

All the best,
Miranda Hoplaros
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Want to learn english but don't have time to attend classes

ExpressTeach offers online courses on learning to speak, listen read and write in English. Courses are offered according to your current level of ability in speaking and writing in English, from:

To find out more about learning English online, please visit the ExpressTeach website.
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How to Use Prepositions in English


Prepositions cause a lot of problems for students of English. I think it’s because the use of prepositions varies a lot from language to language and it’s very natural to want to use the same preposition in English as in your language – but this doesn’t always work! One thing about prepositions which is actually quite easy once you learn it is how to use prepositions of time. We use ‘in’ ‘on’ ‘at’ and ‘no preposition’ to talk about time.

When to use ‘at’:

In general, if the time is a fixed point, we use ‘at’. So we use it with times like ‘6 o’clock’ or ‘midnight’:
  • I went to bed at eleven last night
  • We arranged to meet at half past three
  • The train leaves at 7:28
We also use ‘at night’:
  • I don’t like walking alone at night
Another expression with ‘at’ is ‘at the weekend’ (you can also say ‘on the weekend’):
  • What are you doing at the weekend?
Finally, we use ‘at’ + holiday period (for example, 'Christmas', 'Thanksgiving' or 'New Year') Remember, ‘at Christmas’ means the whole holiday (usually a few days), not only Christmas day:
  • I love spending time with my family at Christmas
  • She went on holiday to Spain at Easter
  • They stayed at home at New Year

When to use ‘on’:

We use ‘on’ with any day, including dates. For example, we can say ‘on Tuesday’ or ‘on my birthday’ or ‘on the 2nd of July’ or ‘on Christmas Day’:
  • I met him on Wednesday
  • She called us on New Year’s Day
  • The party is on the 13th of February
We also use ‘on’ if we are talking about part of a day, like the morning or afternoon. For example, we say ‘on Saturday morning’ or ‘on Thursday night’:
  • We met on Friday night
  • The meeting is at eight o’clock on Monday morning
  • Are you busy on Thursday afternoon?
Finally, we can also say ‘on the weekend’. This is just the same as ‘at the weekend’:
  • We went to a really good party on the weekend

When to use ‘in’:

We usually use ‘in’ for longer periods of time. First, we use ‘in’ with years (in 2006, in 1979):
  • I first came to London in 2004
  • She was born in 1982
  • Shakespeare was born in 1564
Second, we use ‘in’ with decades (in the 1960s, in the seventies):
  • My grandparents met in the 1930s
  • The Beatles were popular in the sixties
  • She was born in the 90s
Third, we use ‘in’ with centuries and millennia:
  • In the 19th century, women couldn’t vote
  • The Roman Empire conquered Britain in the first century
  • Leonardo da Vinci was born in the 1400s
Fourth, we use ‘in’ with seasons:
  • I love eating outside in the summer
  • We visited Venice in the winter
  • She came to London in the autumn (or ‘fall’)
  • You should visit Kyoto in the spring
Finally, although it’s not a long period of time, we also use 'in' with most parts of day when they’re alone (in the morning, in the afternoon, in the evening). ‘Night’ is an exception, we say ‘at night’:
  • I always drink coffee in the morning
  • We met in the afternoon and had a cup of coffee together
  • She gets home late in the evening

When to use no preposition:

When we use ‘last’ ‘next’, ‘every’, ‘this’ ‘all’ with an expression of time, we don’t need a preposition (we don’t need ‘the’ either):
  • I saw John last week
  • I go swimming every Tuesday
  • Let’s meet next month
  • I’ve seen her this morning
  • We danced all night
We don't need to use a preposition when we use 'today', 'yesterday' or 'tomorrow':
  • I'll see you tomorrow
  • He called me yesterday
  • Have you seen Lucy today?
We often don’t use ‘at’ when we are talking about times using ‘about’:
  • I’ll see you at about five o’clock
  • I’ll see you about five o’clock

Guest post by Seonaid, an English teacher with over eight years' experience and a Master's degree in English and Linguistics from Cambridge University. She's taught in Japan, Korea and New Zealand, and now works in London. Check out her website at Perfect English Grammar, or try some exercises about prepositions here.
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