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Silent G Words

Silent G Words in English. Feel free to share the graphic and link back to Ginseng!

Silent G Words in English. Feel free to share the graphic and link back to Ginseng!

Everyone seems to love to learn about words with silent letters, so here's another! G is often silent as well. Notice the pattern here: it almost always comes before an N. Just ignore the G and pronounce the N sound. Notice that the G does not really affect the vowel sound if it comes after a vowel. 

Silent G Words
Word IPA PoS Definition
gnat /næt/ n. a very small flying insect
gnome /noʊm/ n. a fictional being like a dwarf
gnash /næʃ/ v. to grind the teeth togther
sign /saɪn/ n. a symbol
foreign /ˈfɑrən/ adj. from a different place
campaign /kæmˈpeɪn/ n. a series of actions for one goal
align /əˈlaɪn / v. to put in a line

If you like this, check out these free resources on silent letters:

You might also find our other blogs about English pronunciation such as Silent K, Silent B, Silent N and Silent L, and Deleted Syllables to be helpful too!

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No Pain, No Gain

English Idiom - No Pain, No Gain

no pain no gain

Today's Ginseng English idiom is no pain, no gain.  This idiom comes from some people's belief that you must suffer to succeed, that nothing good comes without hard work.

Check out the examples below!

Examples

Training for a marathon was the hardest thing I ever did, but as they say, no pain, no gain! Crossing the finish line made all the pain and suffering worth it!

Max's parents told him, no pain, no gain, and made him study English every day. It was hard but when he realized he could speak English with his American friends, he was very happy!

Julie's goal was to be able to do 50 push-ups, Every day her arms hurt so much, but she knew that this was the only way to achieve her goal and she told herself, no pain, no gain!



Other free English resources:

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Make Up Your Mind

English Idiom - Make Up Your Mind 

make up your mind

Today's Ginseng English idiom is make up your mind.  This phrase means make a choice or decision. Sometimes when making a big decision, people spend a lot of time trying to decide which is best, but when we finally decide, we call this "making up your mind.

Check out the examples below!

Examples

Maddie was on the fence about what college to go to, but, after visiting both campuses, it was easy for her to make up her mind because the food was much better at one.

My mind is made up, I'm going to learn English, and nothing can stop me!

When the waitress asked me if I wanted french toast or pancakes, I couldn't decide but when I noticed how good the pancakces smelled, it was easy for me to make up my mind!



Other free English resources:

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Homesick

English Vocabulary - Homesick

homesick

Today's Ginseng English vocabulary word is homesick. Homesick is the emotional feeling you might get when you're far away from your home, friends and family and you miss them very much.  Homesickness can make you feel very sad and depressed, but will usually go away after you make more friends and become more adjusted and comfortable in a new place.

 

Check out the examples below!

Examples

I was really excited when I first got to Spain, but after a week the homesickness really kicked in and I had to call my Mom.

It's funny, even after living in a new city for 2 years, sometimes I feel homesick for my childhood town. Eating my favorite food from home helps!

Alex thought he would feel homesick while traveling in Asia, but he was so busy having fun that he didn't even think about home! 

 



Other free English resources:

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One Step at a Time

English Idiom - One Step at a Time

one step at a time

Today's Ginseng English idiom is one step at a time.  To go one step at a time means to think carefully, and go slowly without being careless or rushed. 

Check out the examples below!

Examples

The hike was very difficult and slippery so we had to go one step at a time to avoid falling.

I loved the first house I saw, but buying a house is such a huge decision that I decided to take it one step at a time and look at other houses too.

Jody really likes her boyfriend, but they are going to take their relationship slowly and go one step at a time so that they can get to know each other better before getting married.



Other free English resources:

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Sink or Swim

English Idiom - Sink or Swim

English Idiom - Sink or Swim

Today's Ginseng English idiom is sink or swim.  If you dive into the water, there are literally only two choices: to sink or swim.  This idiom means that if you are put in a difficult position and given no help, so it's completely up to you if you fail (sink) or succeed (swim).  

Check out the examples below!

Examples

I started a new job but my boss was out sick, so I was left to sink or swim!

I didn't speak English when I went to the US, but I always wanted to see New York City, so I decided it was sink or swim!

After 4 years of college, students graduate and must find a job in the real world on their own.  They must sink or swim!


Other free English resources:

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On the Fence

English Idiom - On the Fence

English Idiom - On the Fence

Today's English idiom is to on the fence. If you are on the fence, it means that you are undecided between two options and can't make up your mind to decide which way to go. We use the prepositions about or between after this phrase. See the examples below!

Examples

I want to get a new phone but I'm on the fence about changing from an iPhone to an Android.

Julia wanted to go to the beach but also wanted to ski on her vacation, so she was on the fence between a trip to Mexico or Switzerland.

Andrew found things that he liked about both presidential candidates, so he was on the fence about who he wanted to vote for.


Other free English resources:

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Rest Assured

English Idiom - Rest Assured

English Idiom -  Rest Assured

Today's Ginseng English idiom is rest assured.  We use rest assured when we are confident that you don't need to lose sleep over something because it will work out and be ok. It's another way of saying, "You don't have to worry."

Check out the examples below!

Examples

Rest assured, I finally see the bus coming up the street now! 

You can rest assured, the airlines will refund you for the flight that they cancelled. 

I could rest assured when I was finally home in my own bed and didn't have to worry about bed bugs anymore! 


Check out these other free English resources:

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In the Same Boat

English Idiom - In the Same Boat

English Idiom - In the Same Boat

Today's Ginseng English idiom is in the same boat.  We use this idiom to mean that we are all in the same situation, or sharing the same problem together. In this situation, working together and teamwork is the best option because if the boat sinks, you're all going down together! 

 

Check out the examples below!

Examples

Our boss asked us to work on an extra project.  None of us wanted to work over the weekend, and since we were all in the same boat, we decided to stay late and finish the project!

When my cousin asked to borrow $10, I refused because we're in the same boat and I don't have any money either!

Vera and Peter both didn't understand the math class, so since they were in the same boat, they went together to ask the teacher for extra help.


Check out these other free English vocabulary resources:

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Write to express, not to Impress

With the strong emphasis on vocabulary in standardized tests, it is not a surprise that many students thing that good writing is about big words. It isn't. Big words can be nice, when used correctly, but never forget that the primary reason we write is to communicate, to express. Only add the big words if they enhance and clarify your meaning, not to impress people with your big vocabulary while learning English!

Write to express, not to impress.

Write to express, not to impress.


More free English tips like this

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The Most Common English Adjectives

Are you wondering where to start studying English vocabulary? Adjectives are a really important part of speech. It is a good idea to focus on the most common ones in the language. Below are lists of the 50 most common words in both American and British English.

50 Most Common Adjectives
🇺🇸 in American English 🇺🇸
No. Adjective
1 OTHER
2 NEW
3 GOOD
4 AMERICAN
5 GREAT
6 BIG
7 HIGH
8 OLD
9 DIFFERENT
10 NATIONAL
11 SMALL
12 LITTLE
13 BLACK
14 IMPORTANT
15 POLITICAL
16 SOCIAL
17 LONG
18 YOUNG
19 RIGHT
20 BEST
21 REAL
22 WHITE
23 PUBLIC
24 SURE
25 ONLY
26 LARGE
27 ABLE
28 HUMAN
29 LOCAL
30 EARLY
31 BAD
32 BETTER
33 ECONOMIC
34 FREE
35 POSSIBLE
36 WHOLE
37 MAJOR
38 MILITARY
39 FEDERAL
40 INTERNATIONAL
41 TRUE
42 FULL
43 HARD
44 SPECIAL
45 RECENT
46 RED
47 OPEN
48 PERSONAL
49 GENERAL
50 CLEAR
50 Most Common Adjectives
🇬🇧 in British English 🇬🇧
No.Adjective
1 OTHER
2 NEW
3 GOOD
4 OLD
5 DIFFERENT
6 LOCAL
7 GREAT
8 SMALL
9 SOCIAL
10 IMPORTANT
11 NATIONAL
12 HIGH
13 BRITISH
14 POSSIBLE
15 LARGE
16 RIGHT
17 LONG
18 LITTLE
19 YOUNG
20 POLITICAL
21 ABLE
22 GENERAL
23 ONLY
24 PUBLIC
25 AVAILABLE
26 FULL
27 EARLY
28 BEST
29 BIG
30 MAIN
31 MAJOR
32 ECONOMIC
33 SURE
34 REAL
35 LIKELY
36 BLACK
37 PARTICULAR
38 INTERNATIONAL
39 SPECIAL
40 DIFFICULT
41 CERTAIN
42 CLEAR
43 WHOLE
44 FURTHER
45 WHITE
46 OPEN
47 EUROPEAN
48 FREE
49 CENTRAL
50 SIMILAR

Most of the most common adjectives are the same in the US and the UK (78% of the top 50 and 92% of the top 25 words appear in both lists). Notice that American is the 4th most common adjective in American English and British is the 13th most common adjective in British English. We shouldn't read too much into these simple lists, but it is interesting to note that militaryfederal, and personal all appear in the American list. Do you notice any other patterns?

That's all for now! Start studying!

If you're looking for something similar, check out the most common verbs in English.


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Squid: A New Way to Read the Ginseng English Blog

We are excited to announce a new way to read the Ginseng English Blog: a news app called Squid. Squid is a news “aggregator.” This means it brings together news articles from different sources around the internet, and puts them together in the same app. You might be able to guess why it's called Squid: the app's " tentacles help you gather all the best articles and navigate through the ocean of news."

You choose topics that interest you—for instance, Sport, Fashion, Food, Training, Psychology, Humor, Lifestyle, Film etc—and Squid makes something like a personal magazine for you. There is even a special section for English learners, called Easy English. This is where you can find posts from Ginseng!

Squid Logo
The Ginseng Blog will appear in your feed under Easy News!

The Ginseng Blog will appear in your feed under Easy News!

You can highlight what you read with Squid

You can highlight what you read with Squid

In many ways, Squid is similar to other news aggregators like Flipboard and Pocket. It selects stories for you. You can save them for later on your reading list or share them to social media. For the polyglots out there, you can switch between languages in one click (language currently supported include English, Spanish, French, Italian, and German).

But there's one really cool feature that sets Squid apart as a tool for learning English: if you tap the Squid in the middle of the toolbar, you will reveal a set of tools for "marking up" the text. You can highlight new words or insert a text field to type in your definitions and translations. There are also some just-for-fun features like squid stickers and a doodling tool.

The app is still in its early stages, and a few of the tools need some updates to be fully useful, but it's a really cool app to check out early!

You can download Squid for iOS or Android.

 


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C-V-C Words

So we all know that English is crazy. One of the craziest things about learning English is the relationship between spelling and pronunciation. We don't even need to talk about ought, enough, through, etc, right?

But there are some patterns to learn that can make English a little less crazy. Today let's talk about one of the most important ones: C-V-C words.

What are C-V-C words???

I'll tell you. C-V-C means consonant-vowel-consonant. Remember, vowels are the letters A, E, I, O, U (sometimes Y!), and consonants are all the other letters. A C-V-C word is a three-letter word that follows this pattern. For example, top. T is a consonant. O is a vowel. P is a consonant. C-V-C.

Here are some more examples of C-V-C words:

cat
cvc
red
cvc
big
cvc
hop
cvc
bun
cvc

Can you see the pattern? 

Now, why is this important? It is important because if you can recognize a C-V-C word, you can almost certainly pronounce it, even if it's a new word for you! That's because in C-V-C words, the vowel is almost always a "short" vowel.

Check out the list of the short vowel sounds with examples in the chart.

A E I O U

Short Vowel Sounds
Letter IPA Sound Example
A /æ/
cat
E /ɛ/
red
I /ɪ/
big
O /ɒ/
hop
U /ʌ/
bun

Double Consonants and C-V-C Words

There is another reason that C-V-C words are important. This one is a little more difficult.

Maybe you know that in English, we sometimes need to double a letter when we add a suffix like -er, -ed, -ing, and -est. For example mad becomes madder, nap becomes napped, win becomes winning, and big becomes biggest. For these words we have double consonants, but not always: nicer, hoped, mining, poorest. At first, this can be very confusing. When do we double the consonant!? How do we know!? C-V-C words!!! You generally need to double the last consonant when adding a suffix to a C-V-C word. There are some exceptions: generally we do not double the consonants W, X, or Y.

Longer C-V-C words

Above we defined C-V-C words as 3-letter words. That makes sense: C + V + C = 3 letters, right? But actually, there are more C-V-C words. It is really about the end of the words. Any one-syllable word that ends in C-V-C also follows the pattern above. Here are some other examples:

strap
cvc
shred
cvc
c lip
cvc
d rop
cvc
smug
cvc

There is one other type of C-V-C word. All of the C-V-C words so far have been one syllable, and most C-V-C words are only one syllable. But some two-syllable words also follow this pattern. Two-syllable words ending in C-V-C, with the stress on the second syllable also follow the C-V-C pattern. The stress is very important here. There are not many words like this, and most are just a prefix added to a shorter word. Most two syllable words have stress on the first syllable. But when you do find a two-syllable word ending in C-V-C, with the stress on the second syllable, you know that you should double the consonant when adding -ed, -ing, -er, or -est.

entrap
cvc
regret
cvc
sub mit
cvc
de fog
cvc
debug
cvc

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