Since the 1960s, computers have been able to store and analyze increasingly large amounts of data. Today, we can take all the words found in books, newspapers, magazines, and more, and store them in a database. What’s more, we can also do this with spoken language (although the process of converting it to text and storing it is more difficult).
Large collections of language, used for studying and analyzing the language, are called corpora. One collection is called a corpus. A good corpus which can give us reliable information about a language needs to be based on millions of words. The largest American corpus today consists of over 520 million words (http://corpus.byu.edu/coca/). In Britain, several exist containing over a billion words!
Most corpora of American (and British) English say the same thing: the most common word in English is the.
So it is not surprising: If we ask “What is the most common word in English?” we will see the word the in the question itself!!
What are some other very frequent words? And, be, of, to, a/an, in, have, that, I, are just some of the most common words which we are sure you already know!
“The lion’s share” is an expression that means most of or the majority (but not all).
It is a somewhat formal expression suitable for workplace and academic writings and presentations.
“The eldest son received the lion’s share of the inheritance.”
“Without a doubt, Kathleen, who has served as my advisor over these past five years, deserves the lion’s share of my gratitude.”
We didn’t write these, but we totally agree. A great resource! If you have questions about English – grammar, slang, idioms, etc., please let us know. We are happy to help.
Want to have a basic understanding of the history of English without taking a full course on the subject?
In under 15 minutes this E-Lecture by Professor Handke gives an excellent overview of the most important cultural and linguistic aspects that affected the development of the English language through time. This includes examples spoken in the original pronunciation of each period.
We are already into the month of March! Before you know it, the weather will be sunny and beautiful again here in Duluth, just outside the city of Atlanta, Georgia.
Next week, we also start a new session of English classes. Good things are happening!
There is an expression in English — it is not necessarily very common — but it is funny, which goes: mad as a March hare. This expression may be 500 years old or even older. In this case, mad doesn’t mean “angry.” It means, silly, crazy, wild, ridiculous.
Now, what is a March hare? A hare is a wild animal very similar in appearance to a rabbit.
This is a hare:
In March, the weather is warming up and hares become more active socially, physically, etc.. In England, the frantic behavior of hares in the early spring led to the expression “mad as a March hare,” and we can apply this expression to a person to indicate that they are acting extremely silly, ridiculous, or insane. Someone who is mad as a March hare might look like this:
Of course, in the U.S., use of phrases and idioms is extremely common in everyday speech. So, if you have a friend who is being strange or absurd, it’s okay to ask them: “You are mad as a March hare, aren’t you?“
Today we’ll present to you two idiomatic phrases. They both deal with snow. In southern United States (which don’t get so cold like northern states, e.g., New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts,etc.) there is still often some snow in the winter. Because the southern states don’t get a lot of snow, however, they might not spend the money on equipment to clear snow from the roads. In short, when there’s snow in the south – especially Georgia where CCB School is located – snow usually means A SNOW DAY!! And that means, NO SCHOOL!!
So far, there had not been a snow day in the Atlanta area this year, but many schools were closed today (actually, that was because of the holiday President’s Day) and more may be closed tomorrow. Many young people are anxiously watching to see if they can have some extra time away from school to play in the snow!
To be “snowed in” means that there is so much snow that people can’t leave their house. Or at the least, they cannot make it to work or really go anywhere. It is still an opportunity to play outside, throw snowballs at each other, build a snowman, and more.
Maybe even some of our students want a snow day! (No way! They are very serious about becoming experts in English and always love to come to school!) But if you are curious whether or not we have class, we always follow Gwinnett County’s decision. This information can always be found here: http://www.wsbtv.com/school-closings/search/
Whatever happens, have a great day!
Writing a five-paragraph essay is one of the most important skills you need to succeed on the independent writing section of the TOEFL (and many other tests including the GRE and GMAT) and in order to write papers for American college classes.
Americans love hamburgers more than you thought!
One easy way to remember how to do this is to think of your essay like it’s a hamburger. You can find a million examples like this online (just type “essay hamburger” into Google Images). College papers usually must be at least several pages long (and often can be 10-20 pages long) but they can still follow the “hamburger model.”
The basic idea:
TOP BUN = Paragraph 1 = Introduce the topic and present the argument you are trying to make (thesis)
TOMATO = Paragraph 2 = First type of support for your argument, with at least one specific example
LETTUCE = Paragraph 3 = Second type of support for your argument, with at least one specific example
MEAT PATTY = Paragraph 4 = Third type of support for your argument, with at least one specific example
BOTTOM BUN = Paragraph 5 = Conclusion; repeat your main argument and find a good way to end. For example, make a prediction about the future.
Some essay hamburger examples:
This model can also be use for writing a single paragraph: