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.

Cereal vs. Serial - What Is the Difference? (with Illustrations and Examples)

This lesson explains the difference between CEREAL and SERIAL: illustrations, definitions, examples, tips, practice story, final quiz, and answers. The words cereal and serial are two words in English that can often be difficult to know when to use. The words sound the same, and are spelled similarly, so it can be tricky to know when to use each one. So how do you know? Although they seem so alike, cereal and serial have completely different meanings. Cereal is a noun and always refers to a kind of food. Serial, while it can be a noun, is most often an adjective, and means that things are in a certain order, like in a list, or that something repeats, and usually at specific times. To help you understand each word better, let’s take a look at some definitions and examples!

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English Vocabulary for the Workplace: Automotive Work

Automotive means relating to cars and other vehicles. In many places, it is very difficult to get from one place to another without a car. In these places, almost everyone owns a car. Cars are a great convenience for travel, and larger vehicles make it possible for stores to move a large amount of goods from place to place. But cars are also complicated – they require a lot of care. So there are many jobs related to cars. Some people make them, some people sell them, some people clean them, and some people fix them. To do any of these jobs, there are a lot of words related to cars that are important to know. This lesson is part of the English Vocabulary Illustrated Word Lists section. Let's get started!

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Comprehension Text and Exercises: Shanghai, Gateway to the West

English Reading Comprehension Text and Exercises for English Learners and School Students. This reading text is about: Shanghai, Gateway to the West. In this city there is a river walk lined with buildings in the French, Russian, and English styles of architecture. There are banks and financial offices from all over the world. There is a world famous garden and futuristic skyscrapers. The name of this city may surprise you. All these features are in Shanghai, the largest and most international city in China.

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Lay vs. Lie - What Is the Difference? (with Illustrations and Examples)

This lesson explains the difference between LAY and LIE: illustrations, definitions, examples, tips, practice story, final quiz, and answers. The words lay and lie are commonly very problematic for both non-native and native English speakers. The problem is in both their definitions and their use in the past tense. These two words can be very confusing, so don't worry if you find yourself having problems with them. You aren't alone! We will go through a very thorough explanation of the two words to help you understand the difference and the correct use of each. Lots of practice will be needed to master these two words, so let's get started!

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Comprehension Text and Exercises: Canada, Fun & Interesting facts about the Great White North!

English Reading Comprehension Text and Exercises for English Learners and School Students. This reading text is about: Canada, Fun & Interesting facts about the Great White North! Did you know Canada is the second biggest country in the world, second only to Russia? In fact, Canada is bigger than the entire European Union put together! There are many interesting facts about Canada, some that may surprise you! Maybe you'd like to visit Canada some day, or maybe you already have and some of these facts will be familiar to you. Today we're going to learn some fun and interesting facts about the country commonly called The Great White North!

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Comprehension Text and Exercises: Phnom Penh, Capital of Cambodia

English Reading Comprehension Text and Exercises for English Learners and School Students. This reading text is about: Phnom Penh, Capital of Cambodia. Big cities show the heart of a country. When people think of France, they often see Paris in their minds. Paris is a symbol of the delicious food and high fashion that is the heart of France. In the same way, Phnom Penh is the heart of Cambodia. Phnom Penh is a symbol of the triumphs and the tragedy of Cambodian history. This important city also shows the growing self-confidence of the Cambodian people as they showcase their culture, historical monuments, and Buddhist heritage for world visitors.

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English Vocabulary: Parts of the Body in English

There are many, many different words used to describe the parts of the human body. Some of these parts are visible, so you can see them easily. Other parts are inside of your body and cannot easily be seen. Some of the words used to describe the body are common words that little children learn. Others are unusual words that are not known by everyone, but are known by people who work in medical jobs. This lesson includes the most common parts of the body that you will need to know. This lesson is part of the English Vocabulary Illustrated Word Lists section. Let's get started!

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Comprehension Text and Exercises: Flamenco Dresses

English Reading Comprehension Text and Exercises for English Learners and School Students. This reading text is about: Flamenco Dresses. What do you know about Spanish culture? Maybe when you think about Spain, one picture comes to mind. It is probably a Flamenco Dress! Flamenco dresses are outfits worn by women at festivals throughout the country.

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Comprehension Text and Exercises: South Korea Travel Advice

English Reading Comprehension Text and Exercises for English Learners and School Students. This reading text is about: South Korea travel advice. South Korea is a small country but it is heavily populated. It has a population of over 50 million people. Lots of people visit South Korea for many reasons, including its delicious food, rich culture and beautiful scenery. If you travel to South Korea, there are some fun and important things you should know!

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Aid vs. Aide - What Is the Difference? (with Illustrations and Examples)

This lesson explains the difference between AID and AIDE: illustrations, definitions, examples, tips, practice story, final quiz, and answers. Aid and Aide are two words in English that sound the same and have very similar meanings, making it hard to figure out when to use one or the other. The difference is important though, because one is a verb (an action) that means to help while the other is always a person who works as an assistant. It might not seem like a huge difference, but it’s the kind of subtle distinction that sets apart beginners from more advanced English speakers. Once we go over each word and check out some examples, you should have no problem remembering the difference!

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Pour vs. Pore - What Is the Difference? (with Illustrations and Examples)

This lesson explains the difference between POUR and PORE: illustrations, definitions, examples, tips, practice story, final quiz, and answers. Pour and pore are two words that cause English learners and native speakers confusion. They are an example of homophones. Homophones are words that sound alike but have different meanings, or spelling or both. It is important to learn the correct meanings and uses of homophones. It will allow you to use the words correctly in conversation and writing. With practice, you will be able to master both of these words. Pour is an adjective.

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Then vs. Than - What Is the Difference? (with Illustrations and Examples)

This lesson explains the difference between THEN and THAN: illustrations, definitions, examples, tips, practice story, final quiz, and answers. In this lesson, we will be going over a pair of words that even native English speakers often have trouble using correctly. The two words are then and than. They both look and sound very much alike, so it can be hard to know when to use one vs. the other, but it is very important that you do know the difference, because they have different meanings. One means at that time, or at a specific time that you are already talking about, and the other is used in sentences comparing two things.Both words are used very often in English, so let's go over each one and all of the definitions so that you can be sure to use them correctly!

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Reading Comprehension Text and Exercises, the Japanese Kimono, History & Facts

English Reading Comprehension Text and Exercises for English Learners and School Students. Many nations have traditional styles of dress. These are the country's traditional fashions. When you think of Japan, one or two images may come to mind. Maybe you think of delicious sushi? Or mountains and temples? Or maybe you think about the traditional Japanese dress (kimono)? Today, we are going to learn about the Japanese kimono.

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Which vs. Witch - What Is the Difference? (with Illustrations and Examples)

This lesson explains the difference between WHICH and WITCH: illustrations, definitions, examples, tips, practice story, final quiz, and answers. Learning English is not always such an easy task with so many words that look and sound like others. These words when used incorrectly can sometimes change the whole meaning of a sentence. One pair of words that are very easy to get mixed up are WHICH and WITCH. These words are said exactly the same way, but they mean totally different things. One is a word used to tell two things apart and the other is a woman with magical powers. Those are definitely not two words that you want to get wrong when trying to speak with someone. Let's take a look at each word with its definitions and some examples to help you know when to use WHICH and when to use WITCH!

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Rain vs. Rein vs. Reign - What Is the Difference? (with Illustrations and Examples)

RAIN, REIN, and REIGN are homophones. They are three words that sound the same but are spelled differently. Homophones can be challenging for many people because they sound the same. But if you learn their correct definitions and practice each one, you will have no problem in mastering these three words. Let's look at some examples to help you learn the distinction.

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Peek vs. Pique vs. Peak - What Is the Difference? (with Illustrations and Examples)

PEEK, PIQUE and PEAK are a set of three homophones. They are pronounced the same, but are all spelled differently and have different meanings. The similarity in sound produces lots of problems for people. But these three words have different meanings and uses. If we learn and practice these meanings and uses, we should be able to know how to use PEEK, PIQUE and PEAK correctly. Let's look at some examples to help you learn the distinction.

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English Vocabulary for the Workplace: Working in a Store

A store is a place that sells things. There are all kinds of stores. Most of the names of stores are easy to learn because their names follow the same pattern: a "pet store" is a store that sells pets. A "book store" is a store that sells books. And so on. (There are a few stores with unusual names, but don't worry: all of those are explained on this page.) Because there are so many stores, there are also many people who work in stores. These are the English words that you need to know if you are going to work in a store. This lesson is part of the English Vocabulary Illustrated Word Lists section. Let's get started!

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English Vocabulary for Dating and Relationships

Dating and relationships are two topics that people want to talk about all the time. There are few things more interesting than your best friend's new boyfriend or girlfriend! In this lesson, you will learn all of the words you need to speak about dating, relationships and love in English. Whether you want to talk about these topics with friends, family or coworkers, these words will be useful for you. Even better, after this lesson you will feel confident the next time you want to go on a date in English. This lesson is part of the English Vocabulary Illustrated Word Lists section. Let's get started!

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Weather vs. Whether - What Is the Difference? (with Illustrations and Examples)

WEATHER and WHETHER are another example of homophones. They sound the same but are spelled differently and mean different things. Knowing when to use each of these words can be difficult at times. But if you learn each word's meaning and can remember their spelling, you should not have any problems! Click here to see our illustrated lesson on this topic.

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10 Fun Facts about English

The English language is fascinating. It borrows words from many different languages including Italian, Spanish, Greek, Dutch, and Russian. Many spellings do not seem logical, and words are not always pronounced how they are spelled. It is full of crazy inventions, needless and strange words, and strange meanings. If you are learning English, it may sometimes seem difficult and even annoying, but English can also be interesting! Here are 10 fun facts that you should know about the English language!

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Later vs. Latter - What Is the Difference? (with Illustrations and Examples)

This lesson explains the difference between LATER and LATTER: illustrations, definitions, examples, tips, practice story, final quiz, and answers. Learning English is not always easy. One thing that often makes it hard is all of the pairs of words that look and sound so much alike, and sometimes have very similar meanings. One such pair of words that we will be looking at in this lesson is later and latter. It is important to make sure you know which is which when trying to communicate in English. One word means the second of two things, while the other can be a way to say goodbye to someone. You wouldn’t want to say goodbye and end a conversation without meaning to! Let's look at some examples to help you learn the distinction.

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Weak vs. Week - What Is the Difference? (with Illustrations and Examples)

There are many words in English that can be confusing because they sound very similar but they mean very different things. One example is the two words, WEAK and WEEK. They sound the same and are almost spelled the same but they mean two different things. WEAK means that something is not strong, or it can break easily. But WEEK is a measurement of time, meaning seven days. Let's practice and learn how to tell the difference between these two words.

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Nowhere, Somewhere, Everywhere, and Anywhere - What Is the Difference? (with Illustrations and Examples)

This lesson explains the difference between NOWHERE, SOMEWHERE, EVERYWHERE and ANYWHERE: illustrations, definitions, examples, tips, practice story, final quiz, and answers. Learning English can be very hard sometimes because there are so many pairs of words that sound so much alike, but have totally different meanings. Well, sometimes there are sets of three or even four words that look and sound like each other. This lesson is about a set of four words: nowhere, somewhere, everywhere and anywhere. It's very important to know what all of these words mean and when to use each one. They are all used very often by English speakers, and getting them mixed up can cause some serious confusion since each of the four words has its own separate meaning. They are all used to talk about places, but in different ways. Let's go through the definitions and some helpful examples for each of these four words so that you can see when to use each one!

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Contronyms (also Called Contranyms or Auto-antonyms)

There are many interesting words in English. A contronym (also contranym and auto-antonym) is any word with multiple meanings in which one meaning is the reverse of another meaning. For example, BOLT (verb) can mean to secure or to flee. Basically, a contronym is its own antonym. That sounds confusing! In this lesson, we will first review some interesting words in English (synonyms, antonyms, homographs, homophones); then we will learn some common contronyms in English.

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Adverse vs. Averse - What Is the Difference? (with Illustrations and Examples)

Two words in English that are often confused by learners are ADVERSE and AVERSE. They are easy to mix up since there is only a one letter difference between the two words, and they also sound almost the same. It is very important that you know which is which though, because their meanings are not the same. One means to really dislike something, while the other means that something is difficult or challenging. The definitions are even a little similar, but the difference is very important! Let's go over each word and take a look at some examples to help you get a better idea of when to use adverse or averse.

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Meat vs. Meet - What Is the Difference? (with Illustrations and Examples)

Learn all about the difference between MEAT and MEET. There are so many pairs of words in English that sound the same but have very different meanings. It is important to be able to tell the difference between these tricky word pairs so that you don't confuse people that you are trying to talk with. One example of words that can sometimes get mixed up are MEAT and MEET. These two words are homophones, meaning that they sound exactly the same, but are spelled differently and have very different meanings. One means to be acquainted with someone for the first time and the other is the flesh of an animal! You definitely do not want to mix those up.

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Fare vs. Fair (with Illustrations and Examples)

English is full of words that sound the same, but have different meanings. The words FARE and FAIR are one example of two words that are said in exactly the same way, but mean totally different things, so it's important to know the difference. How can you know when to use each one? FARE most commonly refers to the cost of a ticket for public transportation or another form of transportation. FAIR, on the other hand, means that something is right or according to the rules. It can also mean a light color, usually when talking about a person's hair or skin. But both words have several more meanings a well. Let's go over some of them.

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Dual vs. Duel? (with Illustrations and Examples)

This lesson explains the difference between DUAL and DUEL: illustrations, definitions, examples, tips, practice story, final quiz, and answers. Dual and duel are examples of homophones, meaning that they are said the same way, but have different definitions. There are lots of homophones in English and it can be hard to keep them all in order when you are learning, but it is very important that you don't mix these two up. One of them means that there are two of something, while the other means a fight! So you definitely wouldn't want to use one when you mean to use the other. Once you learn the definitions, you should have no problem getting it right. Let's take a look at some examples in order to help you understand each word better.

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Alter vs. Altar - What Is the Difference? (with Illustrations and Examples)

This lesson explains the difference between ALTER and ALTAR: illustrations, definitions, examples, tips, practice story, final quiz, and answers. Alter and altar are two commonly confused words in the English language. How do you know when to use each one? The two words are pronounced in the exact same way, and their spellings are almost identical too. Despite these similarities, their definitions are not related at all. It is important to learn the difference between alter and altar, because one word is used to talk about change and the other is used to talk about religion. You wouldn’t want to mix them up! Let’s look at some examples to help you learn the distinction

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Assent vs. Ascent - What Is the Difference? (with Illustrations and Examples)

It can be hard to remember when to use ASSENT and when to use ASCENT. Both words sound the same. They are not spelled the same, but the spelling is very similar. There is only one letter that is different. The rest of the letters are the same. How can you tell the difference between ASSENT and ASCENT? You do not want to confuse them because they mean different things. Keep reading to learn the difference between assent and ascent.Let’s look at some examples to help you understand the difference.

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English Vocabulary for Computers

Computers are an essential part of everyone's day-to-day lives and are becoming more important all the time. Can you imagine living without a computer, the Internet or your smart phone for even just one day? It would be almost impossible! We've put together this list of computer vocabulary because these days, English language learners have to know how to talk about computers for both their personal and professional lives. People use computers constantly and even more so than for other fields, English is the dominant language for subjects such as computer science, programming and web design. In this lesson, you will learn all of the vocabulary you need to speak about computers, technology, and the Internet in English.

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English Vocabulary for the Bank

A trip to the bank requires specialized vocabulary no matter what language you speak.Managing your money in another language can be even more complicated! That’s why we put together this list of English banking words.There are a lot of different types of accounts and transactions. You want to be sure that you are explaining yourself properly, because making a mistake could cost you a lot of money! In this lesson, you will learn all of the vocabulary you need to open a bank account and manage your personal finances in English.

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Cleft Sentences

There are several ways to add emphasis (focus) to parts of your sentences in English. Cleft sentences are one way to add emphasis to what we want to say. The word

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Phrasal Verbs with "Back"

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’re going to look at phrasal verbs that include the preposition "back." "Back" often corresponds to one of the fourmeanings described below. Not all phrasal verbs with "back" fall into these categories, but there are many verbs that do.

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Allowed vs Aloud - What Is the Difference? (with Illustrations and Examples)

English has a lot of words which students find confusing. The words allowed and aloud are commonly confused words because they are homophones. Homophones are words which sound the same, but they have different meanings. That means that words allowed and aloud have the same pronunciation, but they mean different things, and furthermore they are different parts of speech. Here are some explanations which will help you understand the difference between these two commonly confused words.

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Paradoxes, Oxymorons, and Contradictory Statements

In English, a contradictory statement is one that says two things that cannot both be true. Contradictory statements are used for emphasis and humor. Pardoxes and Oxymorons are two types of contradictory statements. Click here to learn about contradictory statements and read many examples.

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Waist vs. Waste - What Is the Difference? (with Illustrations and Examples)

This lesson explains the difference between WAIST and WASTE: illustrations, definitions, examples, tips, practice story, final quiz, and answers. It is easy to confuse “waist” and “waste” in English. Both of them sound the same, but they mean different things. They are also spelled differently. It is important that you do not confuse them because their meanings are not the same. How do you know when to use “waste” and when to use “waist”? The examples below will show you when to use each word. Let’s look at some examples to help you understand the difference.

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English Vocabulary for Food and Cooking (Illustrated)

In this lesson, you will learn all of the vocabulary you need to prepare and speak about food in English. Let’s get started!

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Like vs. As - What Is the Difference? (with Illustrations and Examples)

This lesson explains the difference between LIKE and AS: illustrations, definitions, examples, tips, practice story, final quiz, and answers. Many students of English have trouble knowing when to use like and when to use as. What is the difference between these two words? The rule about like and as has several different parts. That’s why like and as can be difficult for students to use properly. Understanding the rule is absolutely essential, because if you mix up the words it’s considered quite a big mistake. Most of the time, anyway. Technically, like and as are not interchangeable. This means that in some situations you have to use one, and in some situations you need to use the other. However, there is one part of the rule that is often broken by native English speakers when they talk. How confusing!

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Precede vs. Proceed - What Is the Difference? (with Illustrations and Examples)

This lesson explains the difference between PRECEDE and PROCEED: illustrations, definitions, examples, tips, practice story, final quiz, and answers. Precede and proceed are two commonly confused words in the English language. How do you know when to use each one? Both words are verbs, and their spellings are very similar. Their pronunciations are similar too! However, the definitions of the two words are not related. It is important to learn the difference between precede and proceed because one word is used to talk about the past, and the other is used to talk about the future. You wouldn’t want to mix them up!

Let’s look at some examples to help you understand the difference.

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English Vocabulary for Sports (Illustrated)

In this lesson, you will learn all the vocabulary you need to play sports, watch sports and talk about sports. Let’s get started!

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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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