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Forum Rules
General Rules

Main Rules

  1. Don't harass other people.

    No one should make threats, or reveal identifying information about another person.

  2. Don't make bigoted remarks.

    Don't apply epithets to people or make crude generalisations based on people's age, race, ethnicity, gender, gender identity, or sexual orientation.

  3. Refrain from insult and swearing.

    In other words, do not attack people or their characters, or post swearing or profanity. Debates are welcome, especially debates that have substance. If your opponent's argument is truly weak, you shouldn't have to resort to insults. If it is necessary to post swear words (from example in a quote), ensure you mask the words using * or something equivalent.

  4. Don't relay messages for people who have been gagged or banned.

    If people have been gagged at the forum or locked out of the forum, it's because we don't want to hear from them anymore. Allowing people to relay messages for them would be counterproductive.

  5. Copyright

    Please do not post complete articles or significant sections of articles. If you want to refer to an article, quote a small selection and add a link to the site. Always give your sources and the URL where appropriate. Copyright applies to texts, pictures, etc and the site can be held responsible if people post things here that breach the laws. If we see complete texts being posted or other copyright infringements, we will remove the post.

  6. Homework

    Please don't ask us to do or correct your homework; this is a place to discuss language. We do not do homework or assignments for people. If we suspect that a question is an assignment, we will not answer it and may edit or delete it.

General Rules

  1. Profanity

    We at UsingEnglish.com try to keep our forums a clean and safe environment, and one way to do this is to keep profanity away; if you see a post with profanity, please report the post to us immediately for deleting.

  2. Spamming

    Don't post the same message more than once. Do not post any unsolicited advertising - spamming is not tolerated. If you want to advertise your forum or web page, check with the moderator first to make sure it's OK.

    All spam will be deleted and the poster will be banned from the forum.

    We define spam as:

    • The posting of irrelevant or inappropriate links

    • The posting of multiple links aimed solely at promoting a site, even if they are connected with ESL

    • Site owners pretending to have found a great site they want to share with us

    • Site owners posting links to pages in their site without any attempt to participate in the forum community

    • Schools posting job adverts

  3. If you do have a relevant ESL link, you can submit it for approval in our ESL Web Directory

    Reporting posts

    Our forum allows you to draw attention to spam or other inappropriate content by reporting problem posts to the forum staff and moderators.

    In the bottom left-hand corner of every message there is a Report Bad Post sign which looks like this: 

    If you see a message on our forum that you feel is offensive, inappropriate or just spammy advertising, simply click the Report Bad Post icon to alert us to it.

  4. Religion and Politics

    This is a forum with members from all over the world, and therefore political discussion is banned due to its potential to offend.

    Discussions about religion and politics often become arguments very quickly. Our general policy is not to have such discussions. We are a language forum and, as far as possible, discussions should stick to language issues. There are political aspects to language learning and teaching, but any discussion that starts to get heated will be closed or deleted.
  5. About making posts in languages other than English.

    As this is a forum designed for members learning English, we would like most posts to be in English. However, we recognise that a few posts in other languages will happen in any thread, but if you wish to have full conversations in other languages, please post them in the Other Languages folder.
  6. Proofreading

    We are a language discussion forum and do not offer a free proofreading service. You are free to put texts up for people to look at, but there is no guarantee that they will be proofread. If it's a short text, people will usually help. Most teachers get enough marking and correction at work, so some requests may not get done.

    It make also take time before anyone does it, so posting something that requires urgent attention is not advisable. Allow people time- they are coming here in their free time out of interest.
    Proofreading is a time-consuming activity, and if you need things done urgently, there are plenty of pay sites that will meet your needs.
  7. Inappropriate Advice

    We are an ESL forum and many of our students are taking formal exams, so please ensure that advice given takes this into account. In particular, descriptivists and prescriptivists are expected to co-exist without attacking each other. If there are problems or issues about the forum that you wish to discuss privately, feel free to send a message to one of the moderators. Please don't send language questions; these should be posted in the forum.
  8. Private messages

    This forum allows you to send Private Messages to other members. This is like sending an email, though the person receiving the message will not see your email address, just your username.
    This way, you can communicate privately, so if you want to exchange emails or Skype, ICM, etc details, you can. 

    Any harassment, inappropriate usage, advertising, etc will result in the person being banned.

    If there are problems or issues about the forum that you wish to discuss privately, feel free to send a message to one of the moderators. Please don't send language questions; these should be posted in the forum.

Member Profile Rules

  1. Profile names should not be advertisements

    Profile names should be real name or avatars, not advertisements. If your profile name is either a web address or the name of a product then this equates to it being an advertisement and you will be required to change it. You request to change it by following the FAQ entry called 'How do I change my username?'. If you refuse to change it you will be banned for attempting to spam our forum. 

    As noted in the above, there is an FAQ item that describes how you can make a request to change your username, which you can find here.

  2. Use accurate information about your location & language

    Please complete your member profile with accurate information about your location and language. This helps other users of the forum get a better understanding of your needs when answering your questions or replying to your posts.

  3. Don’t create clones, multiple accounts or ‘sock puppets’

    Multiple accounts and sock-puppets, accounts created by a poster to agree and to try to make their views look more accepted, will be removed.

    When people are banned, the ban applies to the person, so any further accounts they make will be closed.

Disciplinary Procedure

Each case will be taken on its own merit, but in general the procedure is as follows:

  1. The member will receive a formal warning

  2. If, after the formal warning the behaviour persists, the member will be gagged for a period of 2 weeks.

  3. If after being gagged the behaviour still continues, the member will be banned permanently.


Rules for specific sections of the forum

Replying in the Ask a teacher Section

You are welcome to answer questions posted in the Ask a Teacher forum as long as your suggestions, help, and advice reflect a good understanding of the English language. If you are not a teacher, you will need to state that clearly in your posts. Please note, all posts are moderated by our in-house language experts, so make sure your suggestions, help, and advice house the kind of information an international language teacher would offer. If not, and your posts do not contribute to the topic in a positive way, they will be subject to deletion. Please remember, the person whose questions you are answering or whose thread you are contributing ideas to believes the help is coming from a teacher. 

Editing and Writing Topics

If you are not a teacher, please state this clearly in your posts if you are making suggestions or corrections to people's writing.

Please read some of the questions (essays submitted for corrections and comments) in this section before posting your own. You may find that your question (at least in part) has already been answered.


Please, please space between paragraphs.


Use the first sentence (or first paragaph) to explain what the subject of the essay is. In the body of the essay, make your case. In the last sentence (or last paragraph) sum up your argument.

Always aim for clarity.


When making changes, please make a new post. Please do not change things in the original.


For breaking above rules you may be warned/banned appropriately!

 I have read, and agree to abide by the UsingEnglish.com ESL Forum rules.