Commonly misunderstood words in English

Posted on 18. Dec, 2014 by in English Language, English Vocabulary

Infographic by Grammar.net.

Infographic by Grammar.net.

Take a look at this great infographic from Gammar.net. This is a wonderful list of 10 very commonly misunderstood words in English. To help you better understand these words I have used all the words from this infographic in sentences below, in order to put them in context.

1. The enormity of the villain in the story was extremely scary.
2. Jill looked nonplussed after talking to Abe about what went wrong in their failed experiment.
3. Because the museum was so big I walked around bemused in it for hours.
4. The teacher asked her students to reread their papers and make their writing less redundant.
5. When a plethora of freshman showed up at the concert, most of the older students decided to leave.
6. This picture is quite unique; it is the only one that exists of my two grandparents together.
7. Once she started to read fulsome comments about herself in the newspaper article she stopped reading it altogether.
8.Where is that noisome smell coming from?
9. Ironically Dale was not accepted to attend the school his father had worked at for 10 years.
10. Murray copied the text literally, without errors.

All of these words are advanced vocabulary words. If you are a beginning student, don’t worry if some of these words are too hard for you to comprehend and use right now. Here are a few more words (for all levels of ESL learners) that are commonly misunderstood and mistaken in English to help round out this discussion.

allot – This verb means ‘to distribute something’ or ‘give it out.’ It is often confused with the word a lot, which means ‘many.’

Example: The hospital allotted each nurse a new set of clothes.

complementary – This means ‘something, or some people, that go together well;’ they complete each other.  At times this word is confused with the word complimentary, which means that something was ‘given free of charge or as a gift.’

Example: Dinner and a movie are complementary for a nice night out on the town.

forego – This word means ‘to go before something else.’ It is often confused with the word forgo, which is a more common word in English, and means ‘to do without.’

Example: After reading the foregoing paragraph, she decided to skip the rest of the chapter.

regimen – This word refers to ‘a system of order’ or ‘a schedule for giving out medication.’ It can be confused with the word regiment, which is ‘a military unit or group of military personnel.’

Example: The sick woman was ordered to complete a regimen of antibiotics.

site – This word means ‘a place’ and is often confused or mistakenly interchanged with the word cite, which means ‘to quote words or sentences from a book or other literary source.’

Example: The site of the massacre is now a memorial.

It is easy to misunderstand words when learning a new language, especially when they look and sound like a word with another meaning. Hopefully this post has helped you straighten out any misunderstandings you have of all the words we covered here.

Yosemite National Park: The Granddaddy of all Parks

Posted on 16. Dec, 2014 by in Travel

Mountain peak in Yosemite.

One of many beautiful mountain peaks in Yosemite national Park.
Image by Gabriele.

I recently spent some time in Yosemite National Park and I want to share this beautiful place with you! Before I share more pictures with you, let me tell you more about this park.

Yosemite National Park is located in the state of California, in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Yosemite is 747,956 acres (3,026.87 km2) in size and more than 90% wilderness. Within national parks in the United States the term “wilderness” is used to talk about land that is not developed, manicured, or manipulated in any way. This means the area is left as it is naturally, with the exception of a few trails for hikers or people on horseback to travel on by foot. Although more than 3 million people visit Yosemite each year, few of them ever explore the “wilderness” areas of the park.  Most visitors spend their time in the famous Yosemite Valley, which is only 7 miles square (18 km2). Even in this small section of the park there is magnificent beauty!  There are also lodging (places to stay), restaurants (places to eat), and tour buses (was to get around) in Yosemite Valley.

In Yosemite Valley there are magnificent granite cliffs, such as the famous El Capitan and Half Dome (see a picture of Half Dome below).  There are also waterfalls, and wildlife, including deer and bears.  Outside of Yosemite Valley there are a few other very famous places in this park: Tuolumne Meadows, in the north, where there are beautiful lakes, and the Mariposa Grove, in the south, where there are Giant Sequoias! No matter where you go in this park you will be amazed. It is simply beautiful.  It is known around the world for its beauty, which is why so many people visit the park each year. It is also a World Heritage Site. It is protected and cared for by the US National Park Service.

When talking about Yosemite National Park, it is important to mention a man who is famously connected to this park.  That man is John Muir.  John Muir is a famous American naturalist (although he was born in Scotland) who led the movement to make Yosemite the park it is today.  He also helped start the entire national park system in the United States!  John Muir spent many summers of his life walking through Yosemite, living in the woods, and exploring new places. His writings about Yosemite inspired others to visit this beautiful park and to preserve it (preserve = maintain in its original state).  Here is a small piece of his writing about Yosemite.

John Muir

Image of John Muir portrait by Cliff on Flickr.com.

“When I reached the Yosemite valley, all the rocks seemed talkative, and more lovable than ever. They are dear friends, and have warm blood gushing through their granite flesh; and I love them with a love intensified by long and close companionship. I bathed in the bright river, sauntered over the meadows, conversed with the domes, and played with the pines.”
From: A Geologist’s Winter Walk printed in Overland Monthly in April 1873.

Now, here are some pictures from my recent visit to this beautiful piece of nature.

A Yosemite waterfall.

One of many Yosemite National Park waterfalls.
Image by Gabriele.

Yosemite lake.

A pristine lake in northern Yosemite National Park.
Image by Gabriele.

Yosemite Valley.

A view or the Yosemite Valley from the top of Half Dome mountain. This valley was created by glaciers.
Image by Gabriele.

Half Dome in Yosemite

The famous Half Dome mountain. If you look closely you can see the ladder people climb up to get to the top.
Image by Gabriele.

The Oregon Trail how American’s moved west

Posted on 11. Dec, 2014 by in Culture

Covered wagon from the Oregon Trail.

Image of a covered wagon, like those used in a wagon train, by Baker County Tourism on Flickr.com

Ever since the Europeans landed on the shores of North America they have wanted to go to the west to see what was there. People have traveled west by foot, boat, horse, and wagon – all in search of new adventure and a better life. Today people still do this, but now they have cars, which makes traveling west much easier.  One of the most famous routes that Americans took to get “out west” in the 1800’s is called the Oregon Trail. Somewhere around 400,000 people traveled on this trail over about 40 years, which is one reason the Oregon Trail is so well known and worth knowing a little about.

The Oregon Trail was a 2,200 mile (3,500 km) route that started near the state of Missouri and ended in the current state of Oregon, which is where this trail gets its name; the Oregon Trail. This route west passed through the current states of Kansas, Nebraska, Wyoming, and Idaho. None of these states were states at the time of the Oregon Trail, then they were just territories. They later became states when enough people moved out to them to start a state government. Many people who hoped to make the trip all the way to the west coast of the United States on the Oregon Trail didn’t make it all the way. A lot of these people ended up living in one or another of the territories (and later states) that the Oregon Trail passed through.

The Oregon Trail was not the first route from the middle of the United States to the west, but it was one of the most traveled. The first land route across the United States (not completed by Native Americans) was completed by the explorers Lewis and Clark between the years 1804 and 1806. These men helped map a way for others to follow so that more European Americans could move west.

In the beginning, in the early 1800s, the Oregon Trail was only traveled by foot and horseback. Soon, “wagon trains,” or groups of wagons traveling together, began to leave from Missouri and head west to settle new towns. People often traveled together for safety and to help one another out on the difficult parts of the route. Early wagon trains had especially hard work, creating the “roads” that other wagons would follow. Even after the Oregon Trail was well established, through repeated use, it was not an easy journey. There were many mountains to climb over (including the very tall Rocky Mountains), rivers to cross, and rough weather. There were also, of course, Native Americans, who had lived in the western United States for many thousands of years and they were not always happy to see all the new pioneers (pioneer = a person who is among the first to explore or settle an area) moving west.

Although modern Americans can’t really imagine what it was like to travel from Missouri to Oregon by covered wagon, many have gotten an idea of what it was like from a famous computer game called “The Oregon Trail.” This is a very old, but well-known computer game in the United States. It was created in the early 1970s and used in schools through the early 1990s. (I remember playing the game when I was in school!) The purpose of the game was to teach American school children about history and the life of pioneers on the Oregon Trail. In this game, the player is the wagon train leader in charge of guiding his or her group of pioneers from Independence, Missouri to Oregon. One of the reasons so many Americans know so much about the Oregon Trail today is because they loved to paly this game in school – I know I did. Of course it was just a game, and the reality of life on the Oregon Trail was very different I am sure.

What do you think, would you have liked to adventure west in a wagon train on the Oregon Trail?