The Passive Voice in English: When Should You Use It?

In English you use the passive voice when you want to be vague, noncommittal, inexact, deceptive, pretentious and wordy. That is why lawyers tend to love this tense. That is not to say that lawyers are vague, noncommittal, inexact, deceptive, pretentious or wordy. It would be a bit unfair to say it is only lawyers […]

Formal v. Informal Emails: Using the appropriate tone and language

  The art of letter-writing is an ancient one. Modernity has ushered in the advent of change in the form of emails. Emails are quick, immediate and less costly than “snail mail.” It is not unrealistic to posit that in a few short decades emails will completely replace snail mail. That means that except for […]

Common English idioms you should know

Whether you are taking Legal English or Business English courses, it is helpful to learn at least a few English idioms so that you can at least up your “cool index” when you speak with your American colleagues. These idioms are not legal idioms or business idioms. We will look at those in another post. These […]

Conditional Sentences in English Using “If” Clauses: First, Second, Third Conditionals Plus Examples

CONDITIONAL SENTENCES IN ENGLISH: First Conditional, Second Conditional, Third Conditional    FIRST CONDITIONAL First Conditional sentences have two (or more) clauses that are related to one another. It talks about something that is very likely to happen if another thing happens. One part of the sentence begins with “if”. The “if” clause is in the […]

For, During, While & Since: When to Use These Prepositions in English

Prepositions of Time such as FOR, DURING, WHILE, & SINCE can give English learners a very tough time. I have found that these prepositions are the most commonly misused by French people, for example. They get these prepositions mixed up and it probably has something to do with their own language POUR, PENDANT, DEPUIS, and […]

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