Tdol's English Language Blog

Richard Flynn (aka Tdol) is an English teacher and the Site Editor here at UsingEnglish.com. Here, he talks about English usage that catches his eye or ear, and looks at language issues that interest or puzzle him.

Family-Friendly Forum

By Tdol on Nov 16, 2014 | | 4 Comments

I have had a few complaints about swearing in the forum, even though the posts were legitimate questions about the use of slang and swearwords. There aren't that many threads dealing with these, but some of them do contain language that somewould consider to be extreme and taboo.

Continue reading Family-Friendly Forum.

Football Glossary

By Tdol on Jun 8, 2014 | | 0 Comments

The World Cup is about to start and the football glossary posted in the forum a couple of years ago has now been updated, turned into a regular glossary format and put onto the main site. You can view it alphabetically or by category.

Continue reading Football Glossary.

Forum- Passwords & Personal Data

By Tdol on Sep 27, 2013 | | 8 Comments

After we changed everyone's passwords a couple of weeks ago, people were asking some questions about passwords and personal data.  Firstly, we don't hold much personal data- as people have usernames, we don't know real names. We do ask for the year and date of birth to comply with the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA). We ask for an active email account and send a link that has to be clicked on to complete the registration. This is to make it harder for automated registration by advertisers and spammers. We also ask where you're from, where you are based now and what your first language is. There are also optional fields where people can add biographical information and interests if they wish. Unless you use your real name as a username or connect via Facebook, the data is anonymous. If an acount is deleted, this information is deleted from our records.

Continue reading Forum- Passwords & Personal Data.

Talk a mile in my shoes

By Tdol on Mar 24, 2013 | | 0 Comments

I was having lunch a few months ago when I suddenly struggled to get to the end of what I was saying- my voice dipped and wouldn't come back. Within a week or so, I couldn't produce any noise and was forced into a soundless whisper. If I strained a bit, I could just about make a sound that could possibly be heard at very close range. My first medical consultation did nothing, and I had tickets to go abroad that meant going with just this silent croak.

Continue reading Talk a mile in my shoes.

China Holistic English

By Tdol on Dec 17, 2012 | | 8 Comments

A few years ago we used to host some pieces written by Martin Wolff and Niu Quiang about their experiments in trying to teach English in new ways in China, which have since evolved into the China Holistic English site (link broken).

Continue reading China Holistic English.

Budget ESL in the Philippines

By Tdol on Nov 19, 2012 | | 6 Comments

There have been a number of articles about the growth of ESL teaching in the Philippines like this, but some of what they are stating don't strike me as right. The Philippines does have potential and in the drive to reduce costs, it is clearly a place to watch out for.

Continue reading Budget ESL in the Philippines.

Speaking Activities That Don't Suck

By Tdol on Nov 5, 2012 | | 2 Comments

I have English Teacher X's obra prima to read next and have enjoyed the other ebooks - they include a lot of sensible and realistic advice - but I didn't enjoy Speaking Activities that Don't Suck as much.

Continue reading Speaking Activities That Don't Suck.

How To Survive Living Abroad

By Tdol on Oct 29, 2012 | | 0 Comments

The next of English Teacher X's ebooks that I have read is subtitled An expatriate guide to not getting robbed, scammed, jailed or killed. In pre-Skype days, I was living in a place in SE Asia where the internet was expensive and used to use an internet cafe across the road   Most days I heard someone phoning home to ask their family to send them some money as they'd been robbed. The risks he's talking about are very real, and the first part of the book makes a lot of sense.

Continue reading How To Survive Living Abroad.

English Teacher X Guide To Teaching English Abroad

By Tdol on Oct 17, 2012 | | 5 Comments

English Teacher X's Guide to Teaching Abroad is not a guide to classroom practice with some swearing, but a look at what he sees as the realities and expectations of an ESL teacher's lifestyle and working conditions abroad, with lots of swearing.

Continue reading English Teacher X Guide To Teaching English Abroad.

To travel hopelessly

By Tdol on Oct 15, 2012 | | 0 Comments

I was sitting in a restaurant with a friend - who has a Master's, the DELTA and a PhD in ESL- and mentioned something from EnglishTeacherX- you're paid to turn up, regardless of anything like a hangover. He said that the guy's professionalism put him in the shade. ETX has produced two of the golden rules of ESL, though To Travel Hopelessly shows that he learned one from another teacher. Other than turning up however bad you feel, he also says that you must have your fare out of a country.  If you don't you can be exploited.

Continue reading To travel hopelessly.

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