Really Learn English Blog

In this blog you can find the latest additions to the site: articles, explanations, illustrations, exercises, flashcards and stories - all about teaching and learning English.

Word Order in English

In this lesson, you will learn the correct word order in English. Word order in English is very strict. Native English speakers are used to hearing English parts of speech in a specific order. If these parts of speech are in a different order, it can be confusing. So in this lesson you can find rules and many examples on the following: basic word order in English, word order: adjectives, word order: adverbs, word order: indirect objects.

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Using Word Order for Emphasis

There are several ways to add emphasis (or focus) to certain parts of your sentences in English by changing the word order. When you have a good understanding of basic sentence structure in English, you can learn to move parts of a sentence to add emphasis. Some ways to add emphasis is by inversion, cleft sentences, moving adverbs, and using passive voice. Click the link to read more about adding emphasis with word order in English.

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Adverb Word Order

In English, we can use adverbs and adverb phrases to make sentences more descriptive. Most adverbs can be placed in different parts of a sentence without changing the meaning of the sentence. Sometimes, placing an adverb in a different part of the sentence adds emphasis to the meaning of the adverb. Adverbs can be placed in three main parts of the sentence. If you have more than one adverb modifying the same word, they should be placed in a specific order. Here are some rules on adverb word order that you should know.

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Crash vs. Crush - What Is the Difference? (with Illustrations and Examples)

This lesson explains the difference between CRASH and CRUSH: illustrations, definitions, examples, tips, practice story, final quiz, and answers. Crash and crush are two commonly confused words in the English language. How do you know when to use each one? The two words both sound and look very similar, and each word can be a noun, a verb, and also an adjective. Despite these similarities, the meanings of the two words are not the same. In fact, each word has multiple meanings. It is important to learn the difference between crash and crush because one is used to speak about accidents, and the other is used to talk about love. You definitely wouldn't want to mix them up! In order to understand the difference between crash and crush, let's look at some examples of each word.

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Bear vs. Bare - What Is the Difference? (with Illustrations and Examples)

This lesson explains the difference between BEAR and BARE: illustrations, definitions, examples, tips, practice story, final quiz, and answers. Bear and bare are two commonly confused words in the English language. How do you know when to use each one? Most people are familiar with the most common definition of bear, the brown furry animal that lives in the forest. However, bear can also be used as a verb. Both definitions are pronounced in the same way as bare, which also has multiple meanings. It is important to learn the difference between bear and bare, because the words are used in completely different contexts. Moreover, if you use the wrong one, you might accidentally suggest that someone remove his or her clothes! That would be very embarrassing! In order to understand the differences between bear and bare, let's look at some examples of each word.

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All Together vs. Altogether - What Is the Difference? (with Illustrations and Examples)

This lesson explains the difference between ALL TOGETHER and ALTOGETHER: illustrations, definitions, examples, tips, practice story, final quiz, and answers. "All together" and "altogether" are two very similar expressions in the English language. How do you know when to use each one? Although they are pronounced in the same way and there is only a small difference in their spellings, all together and altogether are not the same. The two expressions represent different parts of speech and are used in completely different ways! Knowing when to use each one is important and is a skill that will impress even native English speakers. Let’s look at some examples to help you learn the distinction.

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Amused vs. Bemused - What Is the Difference? (with Illustrations and Examples)

This lesson explains the difference between AMUSED and BEMUSED: illustrations, definitions, examples, tips, practice story, final quiz, and answers. Amused and bemused are two commonly confused words in the English language. Both words are adjectives and are used to describe feelings. Although their spellings are quite similar, their meanings are completely different. It’s important to learn the difference, because one word means that something is entertaining and the other means that something has confused you! Both words have verb and noun forms, so understanding the difference is also a great way to build your vocabulary. Let’s look at some examples to help you learn the distinction.

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Phrasal Verbs with UP (with Illustrations and Examples)

This lesson explains the basic principles behind phrasal verbs with UP: illustrations, definitions, examples, tips, practice story, final quiz, and answers. For many students, one of the most difficult parts of learning English is studying phrasal verbs. A phrasal verb is a verb that is combined with an adverb or preposition. The combination creates a new meaning, often one that is not related to the definition of the base verb and is difficult to guess. The definitions of many phrasal verbs need to be memorized. There are hundreds of phrasal verbs in English, and this can be overwhelming for students. However, you will be pleased to know that there are often patterns in how phrasal verbs are formed. Here, we are going to look at phrasal verbs that include the preposition UP. UP often has one of the meanings described below. Not all phrasal verbs with UP fall into these categories, but there are many examples that do.

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Amount vs. Number - What Is the Difference? (with Illustrations and Examples)

This lesson explains the difference between AMOUNT and NUMBER: illustrations, definitions, examples, tips, practice story, final quiz, and answers. Students of English are often confused about the difference between the words amount and number. How do you know when to use each one? Both amount and number are nouns that refer to the quantity of something. Both words can also be used as verbs that mean "to be a certain quantity" or "to add up to. "Although they are similar, the two words are not interchangeable. They are used in completely different contexts and, for English speakers, the distinction is very clear. It is important to learn the difference between amount and number, both as nouns and as verbs, because if you mix them up it's considered quite a basic mistake.

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Between vs. Among - What Is the Difference? (with Illustrations and Examples)

This lesson explains the difference between BETWEEN and AMONG: illustrations, definitions, examples, tips, practice story, final quiz, and answers. Students of English often have difficulty understanding the difference between the words between and among. How do you know when to use each one? Both words are prepositions, and are used to talk about the relationship between people and objects, and the space or area around them. Although the two words are similar, they are not the same. It is important to learn the difference because native English speakers never confuse these two words. Understanding when to use each one is an important skill that will take your English to the next level.

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More Hands-on Activities and Games for Teaching English

Students learn in a variety of ways. Hands-on activities and games encourage creativity, collaboration, and communication. Teaching English with these activities can help language students learn and practice English vocabulary, grammar, concepts, and ideas. Here are seven hands-on activities and games for teaching English.

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It is… vs. There is… - What Is the Difference? (with Illustrations and Examples)

This lesson explains the difference between IT IS and THERE IS: illustrations, definitions, examples, tips, practice story, final quiz, and answers. Many students have doubts about the difference between it is and there is. In reality, the two structures are not similar at all! Understanding when to use each one is very important.

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Custom vs. Costume - What Is the Difference? (with Illustrations and Examples)

This lesson explains the difference between CUSTOM and COSTUME: illustrations, definitions, examples, tips, practice story, final quiz, and answers. Custom and costume are two commonly confused words, particularly for people studying English as a foreign language. How do you know when to use each one? The two words sound very similar, and there is only a small difference in their spellings. Despite this, their meanings are very different. It's important to learn the difference between custom and costume, because one word refers to a tradition and the other refers to a type of clothing.

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Compliment vs. Complement - What Is the Difference? (with Illustrations and Examples)

This lesson explains the difference between COMPLIMENT and COMPLEMENT: illustrations, definitions, examples, tips, practice story, final quiz, and answers. Compliment and complement are two very similar words in the English language. Sometimes even native speakers mix them up. How do you know when to use each one? The two words are pronounced in the exact same way, and there is only a small difference in their spellings. Despite these similarities, the meanings of the two words are not related! One is used to offer praise, and the other means that something goes well with something else. Understanding the difference between the two words is important, because if you confuse them it's considered quite a basic spelling mistake. Let's look at some examples to help you learn the distinction.

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English Vocabulary for Weddings (Illustrated)

In this lesson, you will learn all the vocabulary you need to be a guest at a wedding where English is spoken. After the lesson, you will also be able to tell your friends all about the experience.

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Beside vs. Besides - What Is the Difference? (with Illustrations and Examples)

This lesson explains the difference between BESIDE and BESIDES: illustrations, definitions, examples, tips, practice story, final quiz, and answers. Many students have difficulty understanding the difference between "beside" and "besides". In fact, sometimes even native speakers have doubts about the distinction between the two words. When should you use each one? It is important to learn the difference between beside and besides, because both words come up frequently in everyday speech and writing. In addition, if you use the two words properly you will be able to impress even native English speakers.

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Conform vs. Confirm - What Is the Difference? (with Illustrations and Examples)

This lesson explains the difference between CONFORM and CONFIRM: illustrations, definitions, examples, tips, practice story, final quiz, and answers. Many students confuse the words conform and confirm. How do you know when to use each one? Both words are verbs, and there are only small differences in their spellings and pronunciations. However, you need to be careful, because the meanings of the two words are very different. It is important to know when to use each one, because one is used to speak about rules and regulations, and the other is used to say that facts and opinions are true. Using the wrong word can lead to confusion!

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Stationary vs. Stationery - What Is the Difference? (with Illustrations and Examples)

This lesson explains the difference between STATIONARY and STATIONERY: illustrations, definitions, examples, tips, practice story, final quiz, and answers. Stationary and stationery are two words that are commonly confused in the English language. Some native speakers don't even realize that there are two different spellings! After this lesson, you will be able to remember the differences in spelling and meaning between the adjective stationary and the noun stationery.

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Adapt vs. Adopt - What Is the Difference? (with Illustrations and Examples)

This lesson explains the difference between ADAPT and ADOPT: illustrations, definitions, collocations, examples, tips, practice story, final quiz, and answers. Both words are verbs, and there are only small differences in their spellings and pronunciations. But be careful, because the meanings of the two words are very different. Knowing when to use each one is important, because otherwise you might suggest making a change when what you mean is that you want to accept something the way it already is!

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Story vs. Storey - What Is the Difference? (with Illustrations and Examples)

This lesson explains the difference between STORY and STOREY: illustrations, definitions, collocations, examples, tips, practice story, final quiz, and answers. The two words have almost identical spellings, and are pronounced in the same way. Both words are nouns, but the definitions are not related at all! One is used to talk about events, and the other is used to describe buildings. It is important to learn the difference, because if you mix them up you might not be understood. Let's look at some examples of each word.

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Compare and Contrast in English

Using the right words and phrases can help you express your ideas in English. To describe your thoughts and ideas, you can compare and contrast. In English, you can use certain words to compare people, things, or ideas to show how they are similar or the same. You can also use certain words to contrast, or tell how people, things, or ideas are different. Learn compare and contrast signal words in this illustrated lesson.

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Imply vs Infer - What Is the Difference? (with Illustrations and Examples)

This lesson explains the difference between IMPLY and INFER: definitions, illustrated examples, tips, practice story, final quiz, and answers. Though they are used in similar, and even sometimes the same, contexts, imply and infer mean very different things. It can be easy to mix them up. Saying you implied something when you really inferred it is a mistake even native English speakers make. However, with a little work, you will be sure to never mix them up again. Let's take a look at a few examples to help you understand the difference.

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Council vs. Counsel - What Is the Difference? (with Illustrations and Examples)

This lesson explains the difference between COUNCIL and COUNSEL: definitions, illustrated examples, tips, practice story, final quiz, and answers. These are two commonly confused words in the English language. Even though they sound the same and have similar spellings, they mean very different things. If you mix them up, you might end up with a large group of politicians gathered in your living room when you really just meant to ask for advice! Let's look at some examples to make sure a mix up like that never happens.

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Causes and Effects in English

When we talk about a situation that makes another situation happen, we talk about cause and effect. In English, we use certain expressions such as because, due to, since, and as to talk about causes and effects. Click the link to learn the meanings of cause, effect (noun), and affect (verb). There are many illustrated examples to help you study.

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Coarse vs. Course - What Is the Difference? (with Illustrations and Examples)

This lesson explains the difference between COARSE and COURSE: definitions, illustrated examples, tips, practice story, final quiz, and answers. They sound the same and are spelled almost the same, with only one letter that is different. However, that one letter makes a huge difference in their meanings. It's important to learn the difference between them so you don't accidentally accuse someone of being rude when you're actually talking about a race!

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Censor vs. Censure - What Is the Difference? (with Illustrations and Examples)

This lesson explains the difference between CENSOR and CENSURE: definitions, illustrated examples, tips, practice story, final quiz, and answers. Though these two words look similar, they sound slightly different and have very different meanings. It's important to learn the difference between the two, otherwise you might end up harshly criticizing someone when you just meant to make sure that a movie was appropriate!

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Farther vs. Further - What Is the Difference? (with Illustrations and Examples)

This lesson explains the difference between FARTHER and FURTHER: definitions, illustrated examples, tips, practice story, final quiz, and answers.

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Hands-on Activities for Teaching English

Students learn in a variety of ways. Teaching English with hands-on activities can help language students learn and practice English vocabulary, grammar, concepts, and ideas. Here are six hands-on activities and games for teaching English + illustrations

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Pole vs. Poll - What Is the Difference? (with Illustrations and Examples)

This lesson explains the difference between POLE and POLL: definitions, illustrated examples, tips, practice story, final quiz, and answers.

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Aisle vs. Isle - What Is the Difference? (with Illustrations and Examples)

This lesson explains the difference between AISLE vs. ISLE: definitions, illustrated examples, practice story and final quiz.

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Indirect Questions Worksheet

Indirect Questions Worksheet

Indirect questions are used to try to get information. We can use indirect questions if we want to ask a more personal or formal question.

Indirect questions are more polite than direct questions.

Practice indirect questions in English using this fully illustrated worksheet.

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Principle vs. Principal - What Is the Difference? (with Illustrations and Examples)

This lesson explains the difference between PRINCIPLE and PRINCIPAL: definitions, illustrated examples, practice story and a final quiz.

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Pronouns Worksheet

Pronouns Worksheet

Practice English pronouns with this fully illustrated worksheet:

  • Exercise A: Personal Pronouns
  • Exercise B: Indefinite Pronouns
  • Exercise C: Subjective Pronouns, Objective Pronouns, and Possessive Pronouns

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The Mystery of the Shattered Ice: Story, Glossary, Exercises, Answers

Capitalization Rules Worksheet

A lesson to practice winter vocabulary. This lesson is for intermediate students. It practices reading, writing, vocabulary, grammar, comprehension, essay writing, sentence structure, and role play. The story is about Roger, and a surprising crime in a small town. You can read the story and the exercises online, or download the full booklet (36 pages). It's free to download if you share the page.

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Love Stories for English Learners – To Catch a Thief, Part 2

A short story in intermediate English – To Catch a Thief, Part 2: The conductor listens to their story, but Michael knows he's already made up his mind. –"That's certainly a creative story," the conductor says. "But I can't let you ride without a ticket." –"But we have tickets," Ellen says, holding hers up. "They're just for a different train. The train we were supposed to take." The brakes hiss as the train pulls into the next station. –"I can't let you ride without a ticket," the conductor repeats. "You two need to get off the train."

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Love Stories for English Learners – To Catch a Thief, Part 1

A short story in intermediate English – To Catch a Thief, Part 1: Michael looks around the platform while he waits for his train. He always likes watching people at train stations and airports. He loves wondering what kind of journey they are on. He notices a woman standing a few feet away, her back turned toward him as she checks the train schedule on the board hanging above her. He moves to the side a few feet to try to get a better look at her without being too obvious and creepy. "She's cute," he thinks. He can't see her very well, but he can tell she has shoulder-length brown hair and freckles…

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T and TT Sounds

Most letters in English do not have just one sound. T and Double T (TT) are pronounced in three different ways, or the T can be silent. How do you pronounce these? In this lesson, you will learn how to pronounce the T and TT sounds in English.

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English Reading Practice, Drug Education Story Number 3: LSD – Answer Key

Drug education resource: a story, exercises, and an answer key. Teach English and prepare students for life. This time it is about – LSD. After reading all three parts of the story, watching the video, and doing the exercises, check your answers using this answer key.

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English Reading Practice, Drug Education Story Number 3: LSD – Exercises

Drug education resource: a story, exercises, and an answer key. Teach English and prepare students for life. This time it is about – LSD. After reading all three parts of the story and watching the video, do these exercises. The exercises practice: vocabulary, expressions, grammar, comprehension, and essay writing. Don't forget to check your answers!

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English Reading Practice, Drug Education Story Number 3: LSD, Part 3

Drug education resource: a story, exercises, and an answer key. Teach English and prepare students for life. This time it is about – LSD (Part 3 of the Story): Over the next few days, Max and I get closer and closer. We go to a movie together, Max takes me to dinner, and we even go salsa dancing. It is so much fun! I have no clue how to dance, but Max shows me the steps. I didn't even know he could dance. The more time I spend with him, the more he seems like the Max I met online, the Max I can trust. So I agree when he suggests I try LSD again...

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English Reading Practice, Drug Education Story Number 3: LSD, Part 2

Drug education resource: a story, exercises, and an answer key. Teach English and prepare students for life. This time it is about – LSD (Part 2 of the Story): As the sky grows darker, I see things move in the shadows. Thousands of snakes and spiders suddenly pour out of them. They're coming for me. I look over at Max for help, but he's smiling happily. He looks as happy as a dead puppet, under the drug's control...

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English Reading Practice, Drug Education Story Number 3: LSD

Drug education resource: a story, exercises, and an answer key. Teach English and prepare students for life. This time it is about – LSD: I hope my second year of college will be easier than the first. Last year, I had to adjust to the wild parties of college after growing up with very strict parents. I struggled through it, making good grades, but not a lot of friends and definitely no boyfriends. I thought in college it would be easy to finally find a boyfriend, but last year I was too shy to talk to anyone I thought was remotely attractive...

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Winter Story for Beginners in Easy English

Practice winter vocabulary and basic grammar (sentence structure, positive sentences, negative sentences and yes/no questions) with a fun, illustrated story + graphic.

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Love Stories for English Learners – Ghost Poems, Part 2

A short story in intermediate English – Ghost Poems, Part 2: Summer smiles. She has a nice smile, Julian thinks. Julian hasn't really seen anyone smile much these past few days. Everyone just gives him sympathetic looks. Her smile is so comforting and fresh after all the frowns...

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Love Stories for English Learners – Ghost Poems, Part 1

A short story in intermediate English – Ghost Poems, Part 1: Julian sits at his desk, typing endless lines of code. He's working on a program that is supposed to model fluctuations in global stock markets. He knows it sounds like boring work, but he loves it. He just puts on his headphones and starts typing and it takes him to a different place. Julian is in one of these zoned out moods when his phone rings, which is why he doesn't answer it. But then it rings and rings and rings and finally gets his attention. He checks it and sees it's his Uncle Jeff calling. This strikes Julian as odd. He and his uncle have never been particularly close and never talk on the phone…

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English Reading Practice: What Happens to Your Body When You Eat Fruit and Vegetables

An English reading practice lesson on the importance of eating fruit and vegetables. Practice reading and learn the different fruit and vegetables names in English (illustrated).

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Love Stories for Learners in Simple English – Snowy Day (Story, Illustrated Glossary, Exercises, Answer Key)

Even as Kate is driving to the cabin, she isn't sure why she's doing it. Her friends told her about the party a few days ago and begged her to come. She tried to get out of it by telling them that she had to work on her applications for graduate school, but they insisted she needed a break so she finally agreed...

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Reported Speech Exercises

This lesson contains interactive exercises to help you practice direct speech and reported speech (indirect speech). Reported speech means to say what someone else said, without actually quoting them. Meaning, you don't necessarily use their own words. Do these exercises and check your answers automatically! A free worksheet is available too, if you share the page.

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Tag Questions Exercises

Practice different kinds of tag questions: adding tag questions to sentences with the verb BE, sentences in the simple present tense, and sentences with modal verbs (positive and negative sentences). Check your answers automatically!

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