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Spelling Trouble

How do you write the word “trouble”?
I asked this question to three students and here is what I got as the reply:

Do you instinctively cringe at reading this? Then here is my tip on jumping over this language hurdle. It is known as mnemonics. Now, I know it is a silly thing to say. But like many other shortcuts, the most commonplace trick also happens to be the best one also. Therefore, I have given a list of my best mnemonic phrases; most of which are invented by me:

To write ‘freight’ say ‘e’ I am afraid of   fright
The desert with a single snake
Complement is never complete without e.
‘O’ is loose in loose but lost in lose
We shall see a dance after the attendance.
Let us take our course

My personal favourite is the ‘weather’ ‘whether’ confusion removal phrase:
We are at her house since it is raining outside.

This one is a great one for students and teachers (if they want to stay out of trouble):
My pal is the principal.

Here are two great phrases suitable for priest, pastors, and the like:
If only eve had believed   
Repentance is a nice stance

These phrases are the easiest to remember. They are taken from wikiquote:
This is a gem of an arrangement
Rhythm Has Your Two Hips Moving
It is NECESSARY for a shirt to have one Collar, and two Sleeves (i.e. one C and two S's)
to write ‘together’ say, “to get her”

But what about my original trouble? Here is one phrase to spell trouble:
the troupe babbled.


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Learning to speak English by watching movies: does it really work?

I’ve heard many English gurus give this insane piece of advice: watch some Hollywood flick to learn how to speak in English. But is that so simple. I don’t think so.

 Here is what you can and cannot achieve by watching movies:


1) If you already have some idea about English, your KNOWLEDGE or UNDERSTANDING of the English language can improve by watching movies. You can get a general idea of phrases, pronunciation of individual words and most importantly, intonation.

 2) Your vocabulary might improve a bit- say 10 words per movie. But even an average English class can fetch you those many words. Reading simple articles can give you a much better result.

 3) Common phrases and usages are easy to acquire by watching a movie. Learning that otherwise would require much more time.

 4) You can also understand how the natives use the language and how it is different from the English that we have learnt from schools.


1) Fluency. It will NOT improve beyond a point. Fluency is a …

English Pronunciation Quote

Author: Jims Varkey

Software for online teaching/learning

It is been a while since I took up teaching English online, and often people ask me about the software that I use for communication. While they think of some exotic software, my answer is quite a dull one: Google Drive and Skype.

Why Skype? Why I can't I use any other collaboration/online education software.

Why I give a thumbs up to Skype:
Its popularity: Everyone knows something about it. Skype is installed in many systems to get in touch with their relatives. So, it is not huge technical leap for them.

Skype is intuitive. My borther's 5 year old son uses it to call me. Nothing more to be said on that. It stores chat text, so it is always easier to go back to what you have taught.It automatically reconnects after a break in the net connection.And the biggest advantage: Crystal clear voice. It is very important for teaching pronunciation and intonation.

Now the thumbs down:

It gobbles up bandwidth. Even if you cut the video, which I use only for rare occasions, call dropping …