How can you know which words are the most important in a language? One way linguists find this out is by taking large samples of language and storing that in a computer database. They can run tests and analyses on the data, such as finding the most common and least common words in a language. This is called corpus linguistics.

More recently, some researchers have looked at written and spoken academic language to find the most common words used at the college level. This list is called the Academic Word List, or AWL. If you are preparing for college in the U.S. or some type of college entrance test (including the TOEFL), these words are essential to learn.

There are many websites that use the AWL and provide exercises to learn these words. Here are just a couple examples that you may find helpful:

What Does “Don’t Give Up the Day Job” Mean?

Sometimes someone wants to show off a certain new skill or joke. But what if that skill is not very impressive, or the joke is not very good? Or what if it is a little impressive, but not enough for that person to really boast about? We might say to that person: “Well, don’t give up your day job.” It means, whatever you just said or did, it wasn’t good enough to be a professional!

It may sound like it is a rude comment, but actually most Americans just think it’s a slightly funny comment.

In the case of this cartoon, this spider’s joke isn’t funny enough to make the man laugh. He even says, “Don’t quit your day job.” It means, just keep being a spider. Don’t try to be a comedian because you’re not that funny!!

Study: Fluent English Speakers Earn 34% More

Study: Fluent English Speakers Earn 34% More

This is an interesting article out of New Delhi, India, discussing the findings of a new study on fluent English speakers in India versus those with more limited knowledge. They confirmed what we already suspected: there are more opportunities and better compensation for fluent English speakers. Are you considering studying in an Intensive English Program to improve your personal, academic, or professional opportunities, but are concerned about the cost? CCB School of Atlanta offers certified and highly knowledgeable instructors at very competitive prices. Shop around. We are the only CEA Accredited private ESL school in Atlanta, but our tuition is lower than our competitors. In short, we ARE the best ESL value in Atlanta and Duluth.