The Subjunctive

The subjunctive is a sexy “tense” (if you can appreciate its nuances) in that it requires the speaker to have a certain level of linguistic sophistication for proper usage – which makes it intellectually stimulating, and thus sexy.  LOL. Most languages – certainly all the romantic languages and the germanic languages – have a subjunctive “tense.” I […]

How to choose the right verb tense in English

CHOOSING THE RIGHT VERB TENSE IN ENGLISH English verb tenses can present a sink hole of options for English learners and native speakers alike. The difference between native speakers and learners is that most native speakers hardly if ever think about these various options. They simply speak the language without thinking too analytically about the tense. You […]

That vs Which

That vs Which I cannot think of two more maddening words (or relative pronouns, if you will) in the English language than « that » or « which ».  I always fear being asked to explain their correct usage. The truth is, no matter how many times I memorize the rules for “that” and “which,” within six months I […]

The abstract noun: A few examples for the English learner

First, what is an abstract noun? We all know that a noun is a person, place or thing. But what about an “abstract noun”? Is it an “abstract” person, place or thing? Well, sort of. An abstract noun is a word that is “abstract” in the sense you cannot see it or feel it or touch it […]

Nevertheless vs nonetheless and other transitional words for the English language learner

Words such as nevertheless and nonetheless are transitional words which are essential to the art of writing in English. Transitional words are needed to clarify meaning, demonstrate a certain level of competence and sophistication with the language, and to guide the reader from one quadrant to the next. Two transitional words that often confuse English language […]

10 Modal Verbs to improve your English communication skills

  Modal verbs are basically helping verbs or auxiliary verbs. Modal verbs are needed not only in standard English but also in Legal English such as with Contracts, Negotiation, Mediation and Arbitration scenarios to express duties, obligations, expectations, ability, permission and intention. The importance of modal verbs in the English language cannot be over-stated. Below […]

The pesky phrasal verb and how to use it in Legal English or Business English or Standard English

So what the heck are phrasal verbs anyway and why do lawyers and business professionals need to know how to identify them? Good question. Phrasal verbs in the English language are these unique combinations of 2-3  verb/adverb combinations or it could be verb/preposition combinations or verb/particle that when taken together, mean something completely different from when the words are used […]

How is Legal English different from Standard English?

Legal English has become a “global phenomenon.” Legal English has traditionally been the preserve of lawyers from English-speaking countries such as U.S., the UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa) which have shared common law traditions. However, due to the spread of English as the predominant language of international business, as well as its role […]

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