Using a whiteboard to improve your English

I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times… Surround yourself with English!  How about on the walls of your home!?!

White board for English

Invest in a small whiteboard (or a big one!) and use it everyday to write down new vocabulary words to improve your English.  Everyone has a different style of learning and remembering new words, so do what is right for you.  Here are some suggestions:

  • The definition
    • If you are at a high enough level, write the definition in English.
    • If you still need the help, use your native language– but try to use that the least amount possible.
  • Sentences using the new words
    • Anyone can memorize a word, but to actually be able to use it correctly is another story.
    • Look it up and take note of the sentence structure used in example sentence and BAM! you get a grammar lesson as well.
  • Common phrases or idioms that involve the word
    • You want to speak as natural as possible, so do a bit of research and see how the word is used in “real-life”.
  • Pictures
    • Have fun and draw something to help you remember the word.
  • Questions you think of and want to ask your teacher later on

This method is a great way to bring that passive vocabulary to active.  The small amount of time you spend writing the word and the sentences… that alone is going to help you to remember it, not to mention all of the times you will see it in the day.  Subscribe to a word of the day service and constantly be on the lookout for words to add to your board.  (click below)

Merriam-Webster’s Learner’s Dictionary



When to double a consonant before adding -ed or -ing to a verb

When add -ing to a verb to form its present participle, and -ed to regular verbs to form the past simple. When doing this, we sometimes double the last letter of the verb, as in these examples:

  • stop ⇒ stopped, stopping
  • refer ⇒ referred, referring

Sometimes, however, we don’t double the last letter, as with the verb visit:

  • visit ⇒ visited, visiting

To understand this spelling rule, it’s first necessary to know the meaning of vowel andconsonant:

vowels = a  e  i  o  u
consonants are all other letters (b  c  d  f  g, etc).

Here’s the rule:

When to double a consonant before adding –ed and –ing to a verb
We double the final letter when a one-syllable verb ends in consonant + vowel + consonant.* stop, rob, sit stopping, stopped, robbing, robbed, sitting
We double the final letter when a word has more than one syllable, and when the final syllable is stressed in speech. beGIN, preFER beginning, preferring, preferred
If the final syllable is not stressed, we donot double the final letter. LISten, HAPpen listening, listened, happening, happened

In British English, travel and cancel are exceptions to this rule:

travel, travelling, travelled; cancel, cancelling, cancelled.

* We do not double the final letter when a word ends in two consonants (-rt, -rn, etc.):
start – starting, started; burn – burn, burned.

* We do not double the final letter when two vowels come directly before it:
remain – remaining, remained.

* We do not double w or y at the end of words:
play – playing, played; snow – snowing, snowed.


This and other helpful Spelling Tips can be found here >



Confusing Words in English and How to Use Them Correctly

Confusing words that sound the same? Do you keep using ‘through’ instead of ‘threw’, and mixing your ‘too’, ‘to’, and ‘two’? Have no fear – Ginger’s spelling book is here!
Ginger’s spelling book contains a broad collection of the most frequent word-pairs that people tend to confuse. Browse it by clicking on a specific letter to see how to remember which word is witch…or…which!
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Words ending in –ance and –ence

These two endings are both used to make nouns from verbs (e.g. performance from perform) or nouns from adjectives (e.g. intelligence from intelligent).

In general, you’ll need to remember how to spell these words (or else check their spelling in a dictionary). Here are some tips to help you remember:

Words ending in -ance

  • If the word is formed from a verb that ends in -y, -ure, or -ear, then the ending will be spelled -ance. For example: alliance (from ally), endurance (from endure), or appearance (from appear)
  • If the main part of the word (i.e. the bit before the ending) ends in a ‘hard’ c (pronounced like the c in cab) or a ‘hard’ g (pronounced like the g in game), then the ending will be spelled -ance. For example: elegance or significance.
  • If the noun is related to a verb ending in -ate, then the ending is likely to be -ance, e.g.tolerance (from tolerate)

Here are some common nouns ending in -ance:

clearance; guidance; acceptance; relevance; ignorance; importance; resemblance; instance; allowance; insurance; distance; substance; maintenance; appliance; disturbance; assistance; nuisance; balance; fragrance; circumstance; grievance; dominance; attendance.

Words ending in -ence

  • If the word is formed from a verb ending in -ere, then the ending will be spelled -ence. For example: reverence (from revere), adherence (from adhere), or coherence (from cohere).

Note that the word perseverance is an exception to this rule!

  • If the main part of the word ends in a soft c (pronounced like the c in cell) or a soft g(pronounced like the g in gin), then the ending will be -ence. For example: adolescence oremergence.

Note that the word vengeance is an exception to this rule!

Here are some common nouns ending in -ence:

consequence; absence; convenience; preference; influence; presence; innocence; difference; recurrence; audience; reference; essence; evidence; affluence; insistence;  sentence; coincidence; sequence; existence; silence; conference; experience; patience; confidence.

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