Tag Archives: Vocabulary

Politics and Global Relations Week 2: Election

Noun. The time when citizens select a new government representative or leader.
“The election is next week. I can’t wait to choose a new Prime Minister!”

Politics and Global Relations Week 3: Diplomacy
Noun. The skill of persuasion and negotiation without being obvious.
“We will need diplomacy when we tell the teacher that they are bad at teaching. We don’t want to make them mad, but we want them to change their lessons!”


Politics and Global Relations Week 1: Globalization

In recent weeks, students have been increasingly interested in news stories that discuss local, national, or global politics. I’ve created this series of useful words to help you understand what’s going on. These could be helpful in writing a business report, taking a test, or in a university class. Every week, I’ll bring you a new word with its part of speech, quick definition, and a short example of it in use. Welcome!

Noun. The process where countries become less different through increased communication or trade.
“Globalization has helped many countries to profit, but it has also kept wages very low in some poor countries.”
“Globalization means it is easy for me to move my factory from one country to another.”

The Vocabulary of Customer Service

Serve is not the same as service, though they are both regular verbs (serve/served/served, service/serviced/serviced).

Serve is the verb of waiters, clerks, and attendants, and it means “to help a customer.”

  • The attendant served his customers quickly and efficiently.

Service is the verb of technicians, and it means “to repair or maintain a machine.”

  • The mechanic serviced the car before the trip.

If you use the verb “service” in place of “serve,” it is incorrect.

  • The waiter serviced his guests <- never, unless the guests are robots.

Service is a noun relating to the ability of waiters, clerks, and attendants to do their jobs.

  • The service is great here. I never have to ask them to pour more coffee!

Projections and Predictions

Both of these words are used when we discuss guesses about the future, but they are slightly different. Here’s how to make sense of them.

Projections look at the past and use that information to talk about the future. If you have a coffee every morning, you will probably have one tomorrow too. I know that having a morning coffee is one of your habits.

Predictions look at the present and use that information to talk about the future. If you are angry right now, you will probably be angry tomorrow too. I don’t know if being angry is your habit or not!

Projections sound more believable than predictions. Projections sound scientific, analytical, and data-driven, while predictions sound like magic, smart guesses, or uncertainty.

I predict that your English will be 10% better after reading this post.

Confusing Words: Late and Lately

“Late” is not the same as “lately.”

Late is the opposite of early. They are both adjectives, and must modify nouns.

  • “James will be late today. He will arrive after the meeting begins.”

Lately means recently, or close to now. Lately is an adverb.

  • “I’ve taken a lot of classes in English lately.”

Lately can also move around in the sentence, like other adverbs:

  • “Lately, I’ve taken a lot of English classes.”

How to Pay and Save

Just a few notes about money today.

The verb is pay. It is regular, so the past is paid and the past participle is also paid. Spelling the past form “payed” is always wrong.

“Deposit” is the verb you use when you put money into your back account. To take the money out, say “withdraw.”

Deposit is regular: deposit/deposited/deposited, but “withdraw” is irregular: withdraw/withdrew/withdra

Collection of Common Errors

Hi everyone,

Here are a few mistakes I heard in class this week.

“I have a doubt” is incorrect. Say “I have a question” instead.

every day – quantifier and noun (repeated action or situation)

  • I go to work every day.

everyday – adjective – “normal, regular, common.”

  • My everyday clothes are quite casual, but I wear formal clothes occasionally.

I got a Bachelor’s degree IN history FROM the University of Victoria WITH honours. I graduated IN 2009.

Names in English

I had an interesting discussion with a student the other day about short names in English. To summarize, she wasn’t aware that “Dave” is short for “David,” for example. I thought I’d make a little list of some common short names that you might hear in Vancouver.

Male names:

  • Dave – David
  • Bill, Will, Willy – William
  • Charlie, Chuck – Charles
  • Ed, Eddie – Edward
  • Tom, Tommy – Thomas
  • Rob, Bob, Bobby – Robert
  • Rob – Robin
  • Sam – Samuel
  • Russ – Russell
  • Chris – Christopher, Christian
  • Larry – Lawrence
  • Pat – Patrick
  • Art – Arthur
  • Matt – Matthew
  • Al – Albert, Alphonse, Alan
  • Zach, Zack – Zachary, Zachariah
  • Alex – Alexander
  • Luke – Lucas
  • Jon, John – Jonathan
  • Mike – Michael
  • Nick, Nicky – Nicholas (note: “Nicky/Nicki” is also a female name)
  • Gabe – Gabriel
  • Rick, Ricky, Rich – Richard
  • Josh – Joshua
  • Benji, Ben – Benjamin
  • Jay – Jason
  • Ray – Raymond
  • Ron – Ronald
  • Jim, Jimmy – James
  • Henry – Hank
  • Jeff/Geoff – Jeffrey/Geoffrey
  • Tim, Timmy – Timothy
  • Brad – Bradley
  • Frank – Francis
  • Max – Maxwell, Maximilian
  • Vince, Vinnie – Vincent

Generally, male short names that end in “y” or “ie” are associated with children. For example, James and Robert might be called Jimmy and Bobby when they are young, but they might want to be called Jim and Rob when they become teenagers or young adults. This isn’t a rule, though, so it’s always best to ask what someone’s preferred name is!

Female names:

  • Steph -Stephanie
  • Em – Emily
  • Cath, Kate, Kat, Katy, Cathy – Catherine or Kathleen
  • Jen, Jenny – Jennifer
  • Pat, Patty – Patricia
  • Marge, Maggie – Margaret
  • Meg – Megan
  • Jill, Gill – Jillian, Gillian
  • Chris, Christy, Tina – Christine, Christina
  • Laurie – Lauren
  • Joy – Joyce
  • Lori – Lorraine
  • Rosie, Rose – Roseanne
  • Liz, Lizzie, Beth, Eliza – Elizabeth
  • Fran – Frances
  • Max, Maxie – Maxine
  • Sherry – Sharon
  • Jules – Julie, Julia
  • Becca – Rebecca
  • Jess – Jessica
  • Mel, Melly – Melissa, Melanie
  • Alex – Alexandra, Alexis
  • Kim – Kimberley
  • Nat – Natalie, Natalia
  • Mandy – Amanda
  • Sue, Suzy – Susan, Suzanne

Female short names that end in “y” or “ie” do not usually have the same connotations about age as male short names do.

Of course, some people may have a short name as their legal name. If you’re not sure, you can ask the person once you get to know them. “Hey Patty, is that short for Patricia?”

English Gaming

Playing games in English can be not just fun. Often you’ll use your language skills too! Learning vocabulary related to the story of the game, negotiating with partners or opponents, or discussing how to play can really focus your skills. Some of my favourite games include Scrabble, Pictionary, Monopoly, Settlers of Catan, 10 Days in Asia, and Taboo. Some pubs or restaurants have games you can play while you eat: Guilt & Co. in Gastown, Stormcrow on Commercial Drive, or Steel & Oak in New Westminster all have games to play. Do you know of more pubs with games? Tell me below!