Daily Archives: October 19, 2009

Very Complicated English

Ask any student and they’ll testify that English is a very difficult language to learn. Why not? Firstly, words are not spoken as they are spelt. Secondly, there are just too many rules and exceptions. Pronouncing words itself is a chore.

Let’s look at words that confuse us. The following words are adjectives but are used differently.

confused (adj.) and confusing (adj.)

Confused” means you don’t know what’s happening. “Confusing” means making things more difficult for others to understand.


  • A survey showed that many people are confused about the new education policy. ( = people are not sure what’s happening)
  • The media is making a lot of confusing statements with regard to the new policy. ( =  saying something to make things more difficult to understand)

Generally, only people can be confused. Therefore, you cannot say “confused statements” or “confused action“.

interested (adj.) and interesting (adj.)

Interested” means that you’re keen about something or someone, and want to know more. On the other hand, “interesting” means something or someone keeps your attention because they’re nice, exciting etc.


  • I’m interested in getting to know that girl. ( = I’m attracted to her, and I want to know more about her.)
  • I’ve bought an interesting book. I’ve read it twice already. (= I’m attracted by that book because it’s so exciting.)
  • Joe’s interested to find out why that book is so interesting.

Remember this: When you say that you’re interested, it means you want to know further about something or someone.

bored (adj.) and boring (adj.)

Bored” is the feeling of not being interested, or not having anything to do. “Boring” simply means not interesting.


  • If you’re bored, you could hang out with me. ( = nothing to do)
  • I’m bored with this lecture as I’ve already studied this topic. ( = the feeling of not being interested )
  • He’s such a boring person because he doesn’t tell jokes. ( = not interesting)

Remember this: Bored is associated with the actual feeling. That’s why we say “I feel bored“, notI feel boring.”  In addition, do not to say: “I’m boring.” because if you do, you’ll not have many friends 😀

complicating (adj.) and complicated (adj.)

Both words mean “to make it more difficult to deal with or understand


  • You’re making your life more complicated by doing multiple jobs.

So, there. This post proves that English is both confusing and complicated, and it makes every non-native English speaker confused. No wonder students find English boring and they get bored easily in English classes.


Improving English

Many local and international students enrol into the university with a very weak command of the English language. A handful of international students are not able to converse at all in English other than merely telling their names. Mind you, these are students who would eventually join the mainstream and study at foundation and/or degree levels. One of the questions they keep asking teachers is, “How do I improve my English?”

There’s only one answer to this question: “Practise” – students who don’t use it or are afraid to use it will never learn English well. It is not impossible to go from zero English to moderately good English in one year. I had a student  from Beijing who succeeded in grasping the language in just under a year. She came here with zero English, but within a year she worked hard on her own, and could ask us questions and understand most of what we say. I hope that our local students could take this student as their language-learning model.

What should you do to improve your English?

  • talk to an English speaker (not necessarily a native speaker)
  • get a listening book with CDs and practise on your own
  • if you make a mistake, correct it on the spot
  • get an English-English dictionary
  • each time you hear a new word, get its meaning, and use it
  • be persistent; if you get it wrong once, try again till you get it right
  • ask your teacher

It takes a lot of effort to be good in English, and do not expect to be good in a short time. You can do it. Good luck to you guys 🙂

Spelling Rules

Students are still confused when to use double letters when they spell words. This post helps to explain when double letters are used, but first, you need to know these terms:

  • vowel = the a, e, i, o, u sounds
  • consonant = the b, c, d, f, g, h, j, k, l, m, n, p, q, r, s, t, v, w, x, y, z sounds
  • syllable = a single unit of speech (e.g.: cle + ver = 2 syllables)

Here are the spelling rules. It looks a bit complicating, but with practise, you’d be able to avoid making mistakes.

End of verb



– ing


– e





2 consonants





2 vowels + 1 consonant





1 vowel + 1 consonant





stop: one syllable





visit: two syllables





prefer: two syllables

– y





– ie





Hope the table above has provided you with a good guide in when to use the double letters, and when not to.