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“A synonym is what you use when you can’t spell the other one.”

– Baltasar Gracian

 

Synonyms are different words which have a similar meaning.

Think of rich and wealthy, lucky and fortunate, true and correct.  But what about saying miserable when you have second doubts about spelling melancholy, or false when duplicitous seems a stretch too far?  I’ve certainly done this in exams before!

Learning synonyms is a great way to improve your vocabulary, but it’s not just the spelling which can cause a problem.  Subtle differences in meaning or collocations can sometimes trip students up.

Does anyone have a story about synonyms in language learning?  More to the point, does anyone have a good tip for remembering how to spell synonym?  Let me know in the comments below.

Writing Emails

Recently, I wrote about the correct way to structure a formal letter in English. This is a really important skill to have when looking for a job or working in a company. However in 2015,  you are much more likely to write an email.

When I worked as a hotel receptionist, I would send dozens of emails every day. Even today it’s one of the main ways I communicate with my colleagues, friends and family.

Unfortunately, writing an email can be a challenge. The tone and etiquette are a minefield even for native English speakers. Fortunately, I’m here to help. I have some advice about each part of the email, and have included sample formal and informal emails at the end of the post.

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