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Concise explanations for writing and communicating in the English language. No advertising. Mobile-friendly. Feedback welcome! Enjoy!

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Know You Audience

Know your audience – presentation skills

Presentation skills culture varies widely from industry to industry, organization to organization. In the absence of specific guidelines or expectations use our concrete guidelines to design and give great presentations. If possible, review examples of previous presentations given at your organization and adjust accordingly.

100 Irregular Verbs in English

English has lots of different verbs that don't follow the same rules as other verbs. This is because English has changed a lot over time, and has mixed with other languages.  English used to have two ways of making past verbs. One (that we still have today) is by...

Modal Verbs – An Overview for ESL Learners

Modal verbs are special verbs that are used to express various meanings like possibility, ability, permission, obligation, and necessity. They are different from other verbs because they do not have a past tense form and they do not take "-s" in the third person...

Forming Questions in English – A Guide for ESL Learners

Knowing how to form questions in English is a crucial aspect of communicating effectively in the language. In this article, we will explore the different ways of forming questions in English and how to use the different types of question words. How to Make Questions...

Prepositions of Place – A Guide for ESL Learners

Prepositions are words that show the relationship between two things in a sentence. In English, prepositions of place show the location of something. The five most common prepositions of place in English are: "in," "on," "at," "by," and "near." In this article we will...

“To Be” – An Overview for ESL Learners

The verb "to be" is one of the most versatile and important verbs in the English language. It is used as a main verb to describe the existence or presence of something or someone, and it can also function as an auxiliary verb to form various tenses, passive voice, and...

Singular Gender Neutral Pronoun

English speakers are left with a conundrum when it comes to talking about a third person in a way that does not specify their gender. As English lacks a gender-neutral, third-person singular pronoun, is it better to use "he" (the masculine singular) or "they" (the...

Pronouns – An Overview for ESL Learners

Pronouns are words that are used in place of a noun. They often are used to take the place of a person or object as the subject or object of a sentence. They also can be used to indicate possession or reflexively (towards oneself).  First, Second, And Third...

Adverbs of Degree

Adverbs of degree are words that modify adjectives, verbs, and other adverbs. Adverbs of degree can be used to show the degree of intensity of something, such as how much, how little, how well, or how badly something is done. There are several different types of...

Adverbs of Place

Adverbs of place describe where something happens or is located. They can be used to answer the question "Where?" in a sentence. Here are some common adverbs of place: Here: in or at this place Example: I left my keys here on the table. (Here describes the location of...

Adverbs of Time

Adverbs of time are words that describe when an action occurs. They can be placed in different positions in a sentence, depending on the language and the emphasis you want to give. Some common adverbs of time include: Now: used to indicate the present moment. Example:...

Adverbs of Manner

Adverbs of manner are words that describe how something is done or how something happens. They can be placed before or after the verb in a sentence. Some common adverbs of manner include: Slowly: She walked slowly down the street. Quickly: He ran quickly to catch the...

Adverbs – Overview for ESL Learners

Adverbs are words that modify verbs, adjectives, or other adverbs. They tell us how, when, where, or to what extent something is done. Adverbs can be single words or phrases, and they usually appear before or after the word they modify. Here are some common adverbs...

Negation for English Verbs

English relies on the auxiliary verbs "to do" and "to be" to express negation. Which verb to use will often depend on if the action is past, present, or future.  Present Tense With "Do"  The auxiliary verb "do" plus the word not is used to form negative...

The Three Ways to Pronounce the Letter H

The letter h in English can be pronounced in different ways. These don't follow a standard rule, so you will have to learn how to pronounce each h- word. The following guide covers pronunciation in North American English, but some accents follow different...

The Difference Between /b/ and /v/ Pronunciation – Guide for ESL Learners

The b and v sounds in English are often confused by English language learners because they are produced in a similar way. Both sounds are made with the lips coming together, but there is a subtle difference in the way they are pronounced. To produce the b sound, the...

Guide to Pronouncing the /ch/ Sound for ESL Learners

The /ch/ sound is pronounced by placing the tip of your tongue behind your top front teeth and blowing air out. To practice pronouncing the /ch/ sound, try saying the word "chip." The /ch/ sound is made by making the /t/ sound and adding a slight puff of air. You...

Guide to Pronouncing the /th/ Sound for ESL Learners

The /th/ sound is one of the most difficult sounds to master for English language learners. Even many native speakers struggle to learn to pronounce it correctly. The /th/ sound is made by placing the tip of your tongue between your teeth and blowing out a small...

Pronunciation Differences Between the Letters S and Z

One of the main differences between the pronunciation of 'z' and 's' is that 'z' is pronounced as a voiced consonant, while 's' is pronounced as a voiceless consonant. This means that when you pronounce 'z', you use your vocal cords to produce the sound, while when...

Pronunciation Rules for Words Ending in -ed

The -ed ending is added to regular verbs in the past tense. There are three ways to pronounce this ending: /t/ - This is the most common pronunciation and is used when the verb ends in a voiceless consonant (e.g. stopped, passed, dressed). /d/ - This pronunciation is...

Collective Nouns

Collective nouns are words that describe groups of people, animals, or things. They are used to refer to a group as a single entity, rather than as individual members. For example: Team: This is a group of people working together towards a common goal. A team can be...

ARGUMENT

ARGUMENT AND RHETORIC - THE KEY TO MOST ACADEMIC WRITING!

One of the largest challenges to moving from high school writing to more advanced work is the challenge to write something original. This doesn’t mean you have to invent some whole new theory of life, the universe, and everything. Rather, it means you have to make your reader think.

You can’t just regurgitate a bunch of facts from the internet or your class notes. So how do you turn the general idea of “Holden Caulfield is alienated from his community” into something original? Something that hasn’t been written about hundreds of times already?

Read on Macduff…

USING EVIDENCE

Using Evidence to Win the Day

After developing an original, argumentative thesis, using evidence well is the key to academic writing. Dirty secret: many readers (yes, including teachers) will forgive grammatical errors if you’ve got a compelling argument, have thought deeply about the right evidence to use, and analyze that evidence.

The two are inseparable, really. If you think deeply about evidence – whether key quotes from the novel you are reading or statistics on the subject of your research paper – chances are an interesting, original angle will dawn on you…

style

Write with Style

What does it mean to write with style? Particularly in an academic environment?

It doesn’t mean:

  • Using big words
  • Padding your writing to reach word/page minimums
  • Picking the right font

Writing teachers joke that “flow” is the “other four-letter ‘F’ word” because students use it as such a grab bag catch-all…

Writing style is difficult to articulate. If you’ve ever listened to a master comedian parse what makes something funny you’re in the right ball park.

The good news? Style in academic writing has some pretty concrete and, honestly, low barriers to entry.

Research & documentation

MLA, APA, Rules Rules Rules...

Research is crucial for writers trying to argue a point and be judged as credible. Including quality research, in the age of Google and Wikipedia, is often one of the most challenging aspects to writers moving into advanced high school and college work. Crucial concepts include:

  • Developing quality sources
  • Citing information properly
  • Creating accurate Works Cited pages

Presentation Skills

Presentation Skills

Presentation skills are crucial to success in today’s business world. While details change a lot from company to company and culture to culture, many skills are consistent: eye contact, slide design, handling questions.

Resumes & Cover Letters

Get a great gig with a differentiated resume

Fantastic tips and insights on writing modern, relevant resumes from 11trees’ partner Let’s Eat, Grandma – a resume writing and career coaching startup based in Austin, TX.