How to Use Assure, Ensure and Insure

/Learning the Definitions/

1.Use assure when someone is being convinced. Assure means “to tell someone with confidence, removing doubt.” If you are trying to convince or reassure someone, use assure. The object of the verb is usually a person. Here are a few examples:

  • “I assure you, I’m not dead.”
  • “Can you assure me that you will be here?”
  • Having never been on a plane before, Delilah was anxious. A more experienced traveler assured her that flying was safe.
  • “Stand firm in your refusal to remain conscious during algebra. In real life, I assureyou, there is no such thing as algebra.” –Frances A. Lebowitz

2.Use ensure when something is being guaranteed. Ensure means “to make certain that something will happen.” The object of the verb is always a thing, never a person. If you are taking action to guarantee the result you want, use “ensure.”

  • To ensure your cooperation, we have posted armed guards throughout the facility.
  • Ensure that it does not happen again.
  • I ensured our safety by locking the door.
  • Cooking meat to the proper temperature ensures that you don’t become ill.
  • “To win the War, to overcome the enemy upon the fields cannot alone ensure the Victory in Peace. The cause of War must be removed.” —Haile Selassie I

3.Use insure when dealing with financial insurance. Insure means “to arrange for compensation in case of damage or loss.” Although it sounds similar to the other words, it almost always refers to a financial agreement. There is no need to use it in any other context.

  • Tippecanoe Mutual will insure your vehicle for accidental damage or theft.
  • I make regular payments to a company so that my home is insured against damage. If lightning strikes my home, the company will pay me to compensate for the damage.

/Corner Cases/

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Learn the overlap between assure and ensure. Occasionally, assure can also mean “to make something certain to happen”. This is most common in the phrases “assure success” or “assure victory.” Since these definitions overlap, the author’s judgment or personal preference determines which word is best.

  • For example, “We have ensured victory” and “We have assured victory” are both correct. Ensure is the more common usage.

2.Understand assure used as insure. In British English, assure is sometimes used instead of insure. For example, an English bank might “assure” a sum of money in case of damage, or “assure” your life (grant you life insurance).

3.Accept insure used as ensure. In American English, insure is occasionally used instead of ensure.

  • For example, some people might say “We hired a caterer to insure an excellent meal,” but ensure is the more common usage. Some grammar guides considerensure the only correct usage here, but others disagree.

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TALK: We just cleaned last week.

微信截图_20170725105816.png

/If you don’t understand any word or sentence, you can copy to translate/

女底色.pngIt’s Sunday today.

男底色.pngYes, I know.

女底色.pngI think we should have a house cleaning today. What’s your opinion?

男底色.pngOh, no. We just did it last week.

女底色.pngCome on. What do you want to do? Washing clothes or cleaning the house?

男底色.pngI’d rather wash the clothes.

女底色.pngOkay. Here is the laundry.

男底色.pngOh, My God! So much!

女底色.pngDon’t worry. I’ll help you with it later.

 

How to Use Quite and Quiet

Quite and quiet are both real words, so spell check software might not catch the mistake either. These substitutions can lead to embarrassment for the writer and confusion for the reader. Knowing the difference between these words is, therefore, very important.

Read on to find out whether you should choose quite or quiet in your writing, as well as a helpful trick to remember which of these confusing words is which.

What is the Difference Between Quite and Quiet?

In this article, I will compare quite vs. quiet. I will use each word in example sentences to illustrates its proper context. Plus, I’ll reveal a helpful trick to use when deciding whether to use quite or quiet in your writing.

When to Use Quite

quite versus quietWhat does quite mean? Quite is an adverb and is defined as to the maximum extent.

Here are a few examples,

  • I have had quite enough of your games, Kris.
  • The turkey is not quite ready.
  • What delivers a thrill quite like the one that comes with a mystery gift in the mail?

Quite sometimes functions as an intensifier. It has a similar meaning to other intensifiers, like really orfairly. Here are two example sentences.

  • The band is quite loud.
  • “My instructions to you were quite clear,” Mariah said.

How Quite is Used

In his book Modern English Usage, Bryan Garner points out an interesting difference between quite when used as an intensifier in American and British English.

In American English, quite is generally used as a compliment.

  • This pizza is quite good.

This would be taken as a compliment, similar to saying the pizza is really good or very good.

In British English, however, quite has almost the opposite connotation.

  • This pizza is quite good.

This would be taken as a pejorative, similar to saying the pizza is fairly good. If I were to use fairly, as in “that place makes a fairly good pizza,” it would be more an admission of adequacy than a compliment, like I were about to add “but nothing special.”

When to Use Quiet


What does quiet mean?
Quiet is sometimes an adjective, sometimes a noun, and sometimes a verb.

As an adjective, quiet means making little or no noise.

For example,

  • Electric cars have very quiet engines.
  • Officials have been quiet since then, and Herbert said Wednesday that “the issue seems to be dormant at best and maybe lost. We’ll have to see what happens.”

As a noun, quiet means the absence of loud noise.

For example,

  • All mom wanted was some peace and quiet.

As a verb, quiet means to stop something from making loud noise.

For example,

  • Quiet down in there, we are trying to watch a movie.

Trick to Remember the Difference

Here is an easy, helpful mnemonic for remember quite vs.quiet.

You can remember that quiet refers to an absence of loud noise since it ends with a T, like the word silent. Silent also refers to an absence of loud noise, or more accurately, any noise at all.

Summary

Is it quite or quiet? Quite and quiet are two English words that are very easy to confuse, but they are actually different parts of speech.

  • Quite is an adverb that means to the maximum extent.
  • Quiet can be an adjective, noun, or a verb. In all cases it refers to an absence of loud noise.

There are no contexts in which quiet and quite are interchangeable. If you remember that quiet and silentboth end with the letter T, and both deal with the lack of loud noises, you can make remember the difference between quite and quiet easier on yourself.

If you still need help remembering the difference between these two confusing words, you can always refer back to this article for a quick refresher.

 

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Quite vs. Quiet: What’s the Difference?

 

How to Use Affect and Effect

Do you have trouble deciding when to use affect and when to use effect? This is a common and understandable problem in English because the two words sound remarkably similar (if not identical) and have related – though distinct – meanings.

/Using “Affect” Properly/

1.Use “affect” as a verb meaning “to influence” or “to cause a change.” Though “affect” has multiple meanings, its most common use is as a verb with a meaning similar to “produce.” Typically, when people want to say that one thing has had an impact on another, they will use the verb “affect.” To distinguish this meaning of the word “affect” from “effect”, use the following mnemonic: “When I affect something, I produce an effect’.’

  • Below are a few examples of the word “affect” being used in this way:
    • It’s hard to say how the price of gasoline will affect the economy in the long run.
    • Growing up with three older sisters affected me greatly as a person.
    • When someone affects you strongly, you may develop affection for them. (Notice in this example that the root of affection is affect.)

2.Use “affect” as a verb meaning “to pretend” or “to put on airs.” People also use the word “affect” when someone acts in a way that’s different from how s/he normally acts. If someone assumes a new personality or look, s/he is “affecting” his or her new traits.

  • Below are a few examples of the word “affect” being used in this way:
    • Richard affected an attitude of indifference, though he was deeply hurt by the comments.
    • In her role as lady Macbeth, Sally, normally jovial, was able to affect a cold sneer of cruelty.

3.Use “affect” as a noun meaning “mood” or “mental state.” Finally, the word “affect” is sometimes used to describe the way someone seems or acts – often in a psychological sense. Someone’s “affect” can be thought of roughly as the way s/he externally “seems.”

  • Below are a few examples of the word “affect” being used in this way:
    • The gambler’s flat, emotionless affect served him well at the poker table.
    • Dr. Robertson noted that the patient’s affect had responded well to the regimen of anti-psychotics.

/Using “Effect” Properly/

1.Use “effect” as a noun meaning “the result of a cause.” When people misuse “affect” with an “A”, they often intended this meaning of “effect” with an “E.” An “effect” in this sense is the opposite of a cause – an event that happens because of some other precipitating event happening.

  • Below are a few examples of the word “effect” being used in this way:
    • It’s hard to say what effect the rising price of gasoline will have on the world economy.
    • One undesirable effect of not wearing shoes is getting really dirty feet.
    • The hurricane caused countless tragedies and many victims are still feeling its depressing effects.

2.Use “effect” as a noun with a meaning similar to “impression.” Another meaning of the word “effect” is related to the impression or sensation that a person, thing, or event produces. These “effects” can be psychological, physical, or emotional.

  • Below are a few examples of the word “effect” being used in this way:
    • Dvorak’s New World Symphony produced a moving effect on the listeners in the auditorium.
    • The experimental drug is known to have a calming effect on rats, though it is not yet ready for human trials.

3.Use “effect” as a verb meaning “to bring about.” This meaning of “effect” is tricky because it can be used similarly to the word “affect” with the meaning “to cause or influence.” The two words are nearly interchangeable, though maintain slightly different meanings – “effect” implies a cause bringing about or accomplishing a change, whereas “affect” implies a cause or force altering something.

  • Below are a few examples of the word “effect” being used in this way:
    • The CEO demanded that the employees work overtime to effect a complete overhaul of the company’s product line.
    • Her actions in the War Room effected a change in the situation on the battlefield.

4.Use “effect” as a noun meaning “personal possession.” Finally, one somewhat out-of-style use of the word “effect” is to convey the idea of someone’s private possessions – his or her wallet, phone, keys, mementos, jewelry, diary, and so on. In this case, “effect” as almost always used in its plural form, as in “personal effects.”

  • Below are a few examples of the word “effect” being used in this way:
    • His personal effects were scattered across the kitchen but the man himself was nowhere to be found.
    • The little girl skipped through the forest, choosing rocks and flowers as her personal effects as she went.

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How to Develop English Listening Skills

Communication isn’t just about talking with others and sharing stories, ideas, goals, and desires. Effective communication often involves listening skills that develop your ability to really absorb what others say, and listen with an open mind.

1.Have inviting body language. Inviting body language means positioning yourself in a way that makes it inviting and easier for people to come talk to you. This means facing the person who is speaking to you and standing with an open posture with your arms at your side for example, rather than crossing your arms in front of your chest. Crossing your arms in from of your chest might imply that you don’t want to have a conversation. Or, if you are in the middle of a conversation and you keep yawning and looking around as someone is talking to you, they might assume that you aren’t listening and don’t care what they have to say.

  • Raising your eyebrows every once in while.
  • Moving slightly closer toward the person speaking to you.
  • Smiling and laughing when it is appropriate.
  • Tilting your head when hearing new or interesting information.
  • Nodding your head if you agree or understand what someone is saying.

2.Keep eye contact. In Western culture, making eye contact is a non-verbal way of letting someone know that they have your attention and respect — two important factors involved in having a productive conversation. Making and keeping eye contact lets the other person know that they can proceed with what they want to say, knowing that you are ready to listen.

3.Listen without distraction. An important part of listening is being able to zone out background noise, thoughts, and conversations so you focus on the conversation in front of you. Being distracted by other things takes your attention away from the speaker and lessen your ability to fully listen.

  • Turning off communication devices like cell phones is a polite and easy way to get rid of further distractions.

4.Take note of the speaker’s body language. Someone’s body language can communicate a lot more than the actual words they are saying. For example, if your partner keeps looking down at the floor, that might be an indication that they are shy, embarrassed, or sad.

Since words only convey a fraction of the message, “listening” to body language cues can help you further understand what the speaker is trying to communicate besides what their words convey.

5.Listen with the intent to learn. Some people focus on how they are going to reply when someone is talking to them, rather than absorbing and understanding what their partner is trying to communicate. That isn’t a habit of someone who is a good listener. Instead of thinking of your response, try to fully absorb what your partner is trying to say to you, and view every conversation you have as a learning opportunity.

  • You might not be knowledgeable or fascinated with every topic of discussion, but listening with the intent to learn offers other points of view different from your own, and a chance for you to grow as a listener.

6.Avoid trying to offer an immediate solution. Sometimes, when people explain a problem they are experiencing, it might feel instinctual to offer a solution to their problem. Instead, just listen what they have to say. Most people ask for advice when they want it. Also, someone might simply be trying to talk through a problem to figure out how to solve it themselves, rather than asking you to figure out the answer for them.

  • If someone seems to be really struggling to figure out what to do, and you have a suggestion that you think might genuinely help them, you should at least get the speaker’s permission and ask something like, “I might have an idea about how you can handle that. Do you want to hear it?”

7.Remember to use an active-listening attitude. Using an active-listening attitude can help reinforce positive listening practices and encourage respectful listening tendencies. Exercising an active-listening attitude means:

  • Acknowledging that listening is just as important speaking in a conversation. Hearing what somebody has to say to is is equally important as voicing your opinion to them.
  • Being aware that listening is necessary for productive exchanges of information. Those who remember to prioritize listening create less confusion in a conversation, cause fewer misunderstandings, and misspeak less frequently.
  • Understanding that listening to others is not only necessary, but all around beneficial for the betterment of the conversation. Always try to absorb some piece of new information when you encounter and interact with new people.

 

 

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How to Learn English Faster

 

1.Do work with small sets of words. When you are trying to learn new words, don’t work from a giant list of vocabulary. Learn only a few words at a time and do not move on until you really know those words.

2.Do label everything in your home. Put a label on everything in your home to help you learn those words. This will teach you to think of the image when you see the word, instead of translating everything in your head.

3.Do make use of Google Images. Google image search is a great way to learn nouns (and some other types of words) in a language. Search new words in the image search tool and the pictures that show up will help you learn!

4.Don’t try to learn with flashcards. Generally, you should not use flashcards with only words (with the English word on one side and your word on the other). This teaches you to translate everything inside your head, making you slow to understand the English you hear. Instead, try to learn the English word with a sound or picture.

5.Don’t focus too much on grammar. The thing about English is that most people don’t speak with perfect grammar and few people even speak with good grammar. If you spend all of your time trying to learn the grammar, you’ll waste a bunch of time. Speak incorrectly: it’s ok! Someone will correct you and you’ll learn over time. Eventually it will sound right and you won’t even have to think about it.

6.Don’t be afraid to try! The most important part of learning a language quickly is to just speak it. Just use your language skills as much as you can. Don’t worry about being wrong or not saying something correctly. Not using your skills makes you learn so much slower. Just speak! You can do it!

7.Play MMO games. MMOs are video games that you play online with other people. You can choose to play with people in English-speaking countries, which will give you the chance to talk with them and learn from them. Try playing Guild Wars, World of Warcraft, or The Elder Scrolls Online.

8.Find an online pen-pal. Pen-pals are people trying to learn your language that you write letters (or emails) to and they write back. You write half of your letter in your native language so that they can practice and half in English so that you can practice. You can talk about whatever you want! There are many websites that can help you find an online pen-pal.

9.Sing songs. Learning and singing songs is another good way to make your English better. This will help you learn the sounds of English (rhymes will help your pronunciation). It will also help improve your vocabulary. Find a song you like, learn it, and learn what the lyrics mean.

10.Write in a journal. This will force you to practice your writing and vocabulary. It will also force you to practice making new sentences, instead of just repeating sentences you already know. You can keep a diary of your day. You should also keep a small journal where you write down new words when you hear or see them.

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How to Spell Commonly Misspelled Words

 

1.Remember a few spelling rules. Though English isn’t known for its consistency, learning a few spelling rules can go a long way. For example:

  • “I” before “e” except after “c” or when sounded like “a” as in “neighbor” and “weigh.”
    • Some exceptions to this rule are “weird” (which is kind of weird, right?), “their,” and “protein.”
    • Words containing “cien,” like “ancient” and “science,” don’t follow the “except after ‘c’ ” part of the rule.
    • There are also a bunch of “eigh” words that don’t follow this rule like “eighty,” “height,” and “foreign.”
  • They’re with their things over there. To understand the differences, remember that:
    • They’re = they + are; the apostrophe marks where the “a” and the space used to be.
    • Their is possessive; after all, you can’t write it “their” without “heir.”
    • There denotes a location; you can’t write “there” without writing “here” any more than you can with the word “where!”
  • When two vowels go walking, the first one does the talking. In words like “foe,” “toast,” “scream,” and “bait,” the vowel sound is determined by the first vowel, not the second. This is quite often the case, though many “ie” words (“chief,” “grief”) don’t follow this rule (not to mention the word “you”).

2.Look at the list of commonly misspelled words below. Note the bolded differences between them; many of these should look familiar to you now that you have learned the rules above.

MISSPELLING CORRECT SPELLING
acheive achieve
accomodate accommodate
accidently accidentally
adrenalin adrenaline
adress address
alot a lot
athiest atheist
beggining beginning
bereu bureau
beleive believe
beleif belief
bisness business
breath breathe (verb)
catagory category
committment commitment
concieve conceive
copywrite copyright (intellectual property)
decaffinated decaffeinated
decathalon decathlon
definately definitely
desireable desirable
diarrea diarrhoea (British English)
diarrea diarrhea (American English)
diety deity
dissppoint disappoint
dispell dispel
ecstacy ecstasy
embarass embarrass
enviroment environment
expresso espresso
extremly extremely
facist fascist
Febuary February
flourescent fluorescent
fourty forty
freind friend
guage gauge
goverment government
grammer grammar
grievious grievous
harrass harass
hemorage hemorrhage
heros heroes
hieght, heigth height
hygeine hygiene
hym hymn
independance independence
inate innate
innoculate inoculate
it’s its (possessive)
knowlege knowledge
lazer laser
leprecan leprechaun
libary library
lightening lightning
maintainance maintenance
managable manageable
millenium millennium
mischievious mischievous
mispell misspell
mit mitt
monestary monastery
monkies monkeys
morgage mortgage
mountian mountain
neccessary necessary
neice niece
nickle nickel
nineth ninth
ninty ninety
noone no one or no-one
noticable noticeable
nuptuals nuptials
occured occurred
occurence occurrence
occurrance occurrence
oppurtunity opportunity
paralell parallel
pasttime pastime
pavillion pavilion
peice piece
percieve perceive
perserverance perseverance
persue pursue
pinocio pinocchio
posession possession
pertend pretend
potatoe potato
preceeding preceding
pronounciation pronunciation
priviledge privilege
recieve receive
reccomend recommend
rediculous ridiculous (as in ridicule)
reguardless regardless
remeber remember
restrant restaurant
roomate roommate or room-mate
rythm rhythm
sacreligious sacrilegious
seige siege
sentance sentence
seperate separate
sieze seize
similiar similar
sincerly sincerely
sooveneer souvenir
speach speech
stationary stationery (as in office supplies)
stragedy strategy
suggestable suggestible
supercede supersede
supposively supposedly
suprise surprise
thier their
throughly thoroughly
tommorrow tomorrow
tounge tongue
triathalon triathlon
ukelele ukulele
vaccuum vacuum
vegeterian vegetarian
villian villain
Wendesday Wednesday
wierd weird
writting writing

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How to Improve Your Handwriting-Part 2

 

Key Points

  • Move your entire arm rather than just your hand when writing.
  • Hold your pen or pencil comfortably, not too tight or too loose.
  • Practice drawing basic shapes like lines and circles.
  • Try using different pencils and pens.
  • Practice the alphabet until you perfect each letter.
  • Write sets of words once you feel confident in how your letters look.

/Changing Your Handwriting/

1.Write in the air. Most of the time, people with poor or illegible handwriting simply haven’t properly trained the correct muscle groups in their hands, arms, and shoulders. Avoid “drawing” letters with your hand, and instead write by moving your entire arm up to the shoulder. To practice doing this, the easiest thing is to write sentences in the air using your finger. This forces you to use the muscle groups in your arm and shoulder that help to improve handwriting and keep it from looking messy or cramped.

2.Adjust the shape of your hand. Your pen or pencil should be held between your thumb and index and (optional) middle fingers. The end of the writing utensil should rest against either the web of your hand or against the knuckle of your index finger. Holding your pencil too tightly or loosely (in this position or others) will result in poor handwriting. Hold the pencil in the bottom ⅓ for the best results.

3.Practice the basic shapes. A consistent flaw in poor handwriting is irregularity and inconsistency between letters and shapes. All the letters are made up out of straight lines and circles or semi-circles, so put in some time drawing these. Fill an entire sheet of paper with parallel vertical lines, and parallel diagonal lines. Do the same with a sheet of ‘o’ shapes as well. When you can consistently make the same line over and over, you are ready to move onto complete letters.

4.Study a directional chart. Although everyone seems to do it a bit differently, there is a certain way to write each letter of the alphabet. Following the correct direction of the line that forms each letter can greatly improve your handwriting. For example, rather than starting a lowercase ‘a’ with the tail, begin at the top of the loop. Practice writing every letter in the correct direction, just like how you were taught in kindergarten.

5.Try a variety of writing utensils. Although it may seem nit-picky, different people are able to write better (or worse!) using different writing utensils. Try a variety of tools including a ballpoint, roll-on, and felt pen in addition to traditional and mechanical pencils. Finding one that you enjoy writing with may be enough to improve your handwriting on its own.

6.Try a variety of writing utensils. Although it may seem nit-picky, different people are able to write better (or worse!) using different writing utensils. Try a variety of tools including a ballpoint, roll-on, and felt pen in addition to traditional and mechanical pencils. Finding one that you enjoy writing with may be enough to improve your handwriting on its own.

7.Get it down pat. When you’re certain of your every letter’s perfection, practice writing them in full words and sentences. Write the phrase “the quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog” over and over again—this particular sentence contains every letter of the alphabet, giving you ample practice time. Although it may seem monotonous, the adage ‘practice makes perfect’ certainly applies here.

8.Always handwrite things. Pass up the option to type that essay outline or to pop off an email catching up with a friend, and instead make the effort to handwrite your work. Taking the opportunity to write things by hand whenever possible will be the most beneficial practice in improving your handwriting. It may take a bit longer, but you’ll be building up the muscles that are necessary for easy and smooth writing.

 

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How to Improve Your Handwriting-Part 1

 

Key Points

  • Move your entire arm rather than just your hand when writing.
  • Hold your pen or pencil comfortably, not too tight or too loose.
  • Practice drawing basic shapes like lines and circles.
  • Try using different pencils and pens.
  • Practice the alphabet until you perfect each letter.
  • Write sets of words once you feel confident in how your letters look.

/Analyzing Your Handwriting/

1.Write a paragraph. Choose a topic—anything really—and write at least five sentences about it. If you’re not feeling too creative, simply copy a passage out of a book or newspaper. The goal is to get an idea of what your handwriting looks like on average. The more you write, the more accurate your analysis will be.

2.Identify the primary shapes. Is your handwriting full of loops and curves? Is it primarily straight lines and stiff in appearance? Do you have hard corners, or do your letters blend together?

3.Look for a slant. The angle at which you write your letters can make or break your handwriting. Is your handwriting perpendicular to the lines under it? Does it fall to the left or to the right significantly? A slight slant is typically not a problem, but too much of one can make reading difficult.

4.Check the alignment. Do your words tend to be written on an upwards or downwards angle? Do they overlap with the lines on the page? Is every word individually angled, or do your entire lines of text head in a similar direction away from the line?

5.Look at the spacing. The distance between your words and letters helps determine the quality of your handwriting. There should be enough space between each word to fit the letter “O.” Using more or less space than this can be an indicator of poor handwriting. Pay attention also to the closeness of each individual letter. Cramped writing or letters that are spaced far apart are also difficult to read.

6.Pay attention to the size. Turns out size does matter, at least with handwriting. Does your writing fill up the entire space between two lines? Can you write all your words in less than half the space between two lines? Taking up a large amount of space or using too little are both things to avoid.

7.Analyze your line quality. Look at the actual lines that comprise your writing. Are they drawn with heavy pressure, or are they faint and hard to read? Are your lines straight, or are they kind of squiggly and uneven?

8.Determine your flaws. Considering all of the aforementioned, what is it that your handwriting needs in order to improve? Possible changes can be made to the shape of letters, your spacing, alignment, writing size, line quality, and the slant of words. Changing one or more of these will improve your overall handwriting legibility.

9.Look to other handwriting styles for inspiration. So now you know your letters are too large and your shapes too round, now what? Go onto font websites and look for handwriting samples that you like. Make a copy of each style of handwriting that is feasible for you to mimic. Don’t be afraid to look for samples that might vary significantly from your own handwriting, as you can pick and choose certain aspects of different handwritings rather than adopting an entirely new one.

 

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How to Use Than and Then

Many times people misuse the words “than” and “then.” Whether this confusion happens because the words are pronounced similarly or because people simply don’t know the difference between the words, it is important to know in which situations to choose each word. As a general rule, use “than” to indicate comparison and “then” to indicate time. Practice both usage and pronunciation, and then you’ll be using these words better than anyone you know!

1.Use than as a word indicating comparison. When you are talking about a noun (thing, person, place or concept) being more, less, better, cooler, dumber, etc. in relation to another noun, the word than is necessary. There are more onions than scallions in your fridge. Scott was sicker than a dog last week.

2. Use then as a word indicating time. When you want to tell about a sequence of events or are giving instructions in a step-by-step order, the word then is necessary.First there were four, and then there were two. Wash the clothes, then put them in the dryer.

3. Pronounce the words differently. Both words contain one gliding vowel, and they are similar. Phonetically speaking, native speakers of English use the schwa (ǝ, kind of like a soft “eh” sound) because it’s more efficient and allows words to be slurred together quickly in daily conversations. Consequently, lots of “a”s and “e”s are not pronounced distinctly.

  • Than is said with the mouth opened widely and the tongue pressed down toward the teeth. The vowel sounds from the back of the mouth and the throat is somewhat constricted.
  • Then is more said with the mouth partially opened. The vowel rises from a relaxed throat and the tongue rests.

4.Test your usage. Ask yourself these questions when you’re writing a sentence:

  • If I write the word “next” instead of “then,” will the sentence still make sense?
    • “I will go to the store next” makes sense, so here we would say “I will go to the store then.”
    • “I like apples better next papayas” makes no sense. So we must be looking for “I like apples better than papayas.”
  • If I write the phrase “in comparison to” instead of the word “than,” will the sentence still make sense?
    • “It costs more in comparison to a new car” makes sense, so you’d want to say “It costs more than a new car.”
    • “You’ll never guess what happened to me in comparison to” does not make sense at all. Therefore, you will want to say “You’ll never guess what happened to me then!”

5.Recognize incorrect examples and learn from the mistakes.

  • Wrong: I’m a better speller then you! (comparison: than)
  • Wrong: I feel that astrophysics is less interesting then horticulture. (comparison: than)
  • Wrong: She is going to stop to get snacks, than we’ll go to the library together. (sequence: then)
  • Wrong: Our parentsused to go out to eat every now and than. (time: then)
  • Right: Learn grammar rules. Then you will be smarter than your average bear.

6.Pay attention to grammar check. Word processing software (such as Microsoft Word) often has a built-in grammar check that will highlight incorrect usage. If your word processor underlines or highlights the word “then” or “than,” you may have chosen the wrong word. Re-read your sentence and make sure that you’ve chosen the correct spelling.

7. Practice frequently. Pay attention when you write essays or letters. Use instant messages, e-mails and text messages to practice your good spelling skills (rather than as an opportunity to neglect them). You never know when you’ll have to use one of those communication methods for something important!

 

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Note: This article has been adapted from the following source.

http://www.wikihow.com/Use-Than-and-Then