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In the news: Rio Olympics 2016

Michael Phelps has __1__ the most medals in the Olympics than anyone else in history, with a total of 28 medals, 23 of which are gold. He is planning to retire after Rio 2016, where he was beaten by Joseph Schooling from Singapore, who used to idolise Phelps as a child.

American swimmer Katie Ledecky set two new __2__ records during the games and won four gold medals overall.

How to Write a Formal Letter

Average: 5 (2 votes)

With the invention of email, letter writing is becoming less popular, but despite this it is an important skill. If you'd like to learn about email writing, check out our lesson about how to write a formal email. This guide is for a typed, formal letter, that you could send to a company about a job, or to your bank about your finances.

Begin your letter

No vs. Not

Average: 3.6 (26 votes)

While both of these words are used to show the negative, knowing how and when to use ‘no’ and ‘not’ is an important skill and can make a big difference in your English.

‘No’ is usually used to mean something like “not any” or “not a/an”, and usually refers to a noun. It is commonly used in the following situations:

Answering a yes or no question

E.g. Did you finish your homework? No, I didn’t finish my homework.

How to Use Apostrophes

Average: 3.2 (29 votes)

While they might not look very important, apostrophes ( ‘ ) can really change the meaning of a phrase. To make sure that you’re using apostrophes properly, check out our explanation of how to use these little symbols.

Using an apostrophe to show possession/ownership

To show that something belongs to something (or someone) else, use an apostrophe after the noun and add the letter s:

John’s book (the book belongs to John)

The school’s courses (the courses belong to the school)

Do or Make?

Average: 4.1 (14 votes)

When should you use ‘do’ and ‘make’? The two common words can be confusing to language learners, and that’s why today we’re going to look at the differences and practise using the words!

How to use do

How to Write a Formal Email

Average: 3.8 (16 votes)

Whether it is for business or for other purposes, knowing how to write a formal or professional email is an extremely valuable skill.

In the subject line of your email, be sure to use a short, clear description of your reason for emailing. Avoid things like 'Hello' or leaving the subject line blank.

Before you’ve even started to write your email, it’s important to know how to use titles when addressing someone.

- For men, using ‘Mr’ along with either their surname or first name is appropriate

4 Cool English Words to Expand Your Vocabulary

Average: 4 (11 votes)

If you catch yourself using the same words over and over again, use these adjectives to expand your vocabulary and impress your friends and teachers! Visit our blog post to see a visual portrayal of each words' definition, and test your knowledge here.

1. Enlightening - giving you more information and understanding of something; can be spiritual

What is the difference between e.g. and i.e.?

Average: 4.3 (20 votes)

These two abbreviations are commonly used incorrectly by native and non-native speakers alike. While they are similar and both come from Latin roots, these words should not be used interchangeably.

E.g. comes from the Latin exempli gratia, meaning ‘for example’. It is used to give an example of what was just stated.

The restaurant serves all kinds of Italian food, e.g. pizza, pasta, a variety of desserts.

Common Acronyms and Abbreviations

Average: 4.2 (13 votes)

What’s the difference between an ‘acronym’ and an ‘abbreviation’? Well, an acronym is a word made up of the first letters of a phrase; an abbreviation is a shortened version of a word.

Acronyms and abbreviations are commonly used are by native speakers, and can be quite confusing for anyone learning English for the first time. To help you understand some of these terms, let’s take a look at some of the most common acronyms and abbreviations in use.

1. 24/7

4 Ways to Use 'Though'

Average: 4.5 (22 votes)

Have you ever read or heard the word ‘though’? This rather informal word can be confusing for students and native speakers alike! In this lesson we discuss the different uses and meanings of the word ‘though’.

It is often used to describe a ‘contrasting’ situation, in which the speaker is aware that it is contradictory, however both parts remain true. Pronounced like “thow” (ðəʊ). There are 4 main uses of ‘though’: