Michelle's independent resources for ESL Students at Vancouver Community College

This is a Canadian ESL blog for Intermediate and Advanced Students who want to learn and improve their English. Each PAGE above contains thousands of free English lessons, tutorials and practice exercises to help you learn and improve your English grammar, reading, listening, pronunciation, speaking, writing and editing. Some of the resources are Canadian. Others are from around the world.

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Saturday, May 19, 2012

Phrase.In : Which Word is Better?

How many times have you thought of two ways  to say the same thing, but couldn't  decide which one was better? 

I've just discovered a new online tool called PHRAS.IN  which can be very helpful for ESL learners who aren't quite sure which expression or phrase is the right one to use when they are writing..

This is a very simple tool to use. All you need do do is type in two choices, and you will get an answer indicating which choice is the best one.  For example, if you look at the sample  above,  you can see that the expression "What's going on?" is much more commonly used that "What's happening?"

One bonus is that when you type in your two choices, you will also get  a series of examples of how each of the expressions is used, or if they are used at all.

For example, why don't you try comparing " I don't know" with "I have no idea,"  or
"I have no idea" with " that doesn't ring a bell." 

PHRAS.IN  is not really meant to be a grammar checker, but  would be useful for any of you who are struggling with language expression problems (see my post of  April 15th)   phrasal verbs , idiomatic expressions or collocations - words that generally go together like commit a crime, or make a mistake. 

It is also a useful tool to help you correct or deal with common errors or expressions that your teachers have marked on your previous written assignments.
If  you working in English as a Second Language this can be an extremely valuable resource to help your writing sound more fluent, natural and English rather than an awkward translated sentence. 

Try it out and let me know what you think  in the comment box below.

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