The Doing English Blog

Want to get really good at English, fast? Here’s an weird tip that I’ll share with you for free. Actually, no, I won’t. I’ll let my good Richard tell you — This is exactly my experience too. Work out. Get fit. Get healthy. And everything else follows. For me, everything changed the day I decided [...]

The Virtual Commute

Recently I can’t sleep. You probably know the story: You couldn’t sleep the night before, so you spend the whole day half asleep, tired and irritable. Only to go to bed at night and find yourself wide awake again. Want to know my rather unconventional solution? Watch this video: I first heard of this idea [...]

The Meaning of Life

What is the meaning of life? This is the fundamental question core to religion and science alike. But I ask you… Is it really necessary to have meaning? A little nihilistic perhaps. But a question worth considering: Nigel Franks, a biologist specialising in ant behaviour say that a single ant is one of the least [...]

Does our language define our thinking? Or rather, to put it another way, is our thinking limited by our language? Probably the best film I watched last year: “Arrival”. If you haven’t seen Arrival, and don’t want me to ruin it for you… DON’T watch this video: The film arrival is based on an idea [...]

Three years ago Ireland voted “Yes” for same-sex marriage. And yesterday they voted “Yes” to allow safe and legal abortions. This is a big deal. Though frankly, it’s backwards and medieval that this vote was even necessary. Nobody—nobody—has the right to tell anyone what they can and can’t do with their own bodies. Especially not [...]

I’ll never forget my first time. No, not THAT first time. The first time I attended a conference. It was aaallllllll the way back in 2012. I’d just started my PhD (yes, I’ve been doing it that long…). I finished my office job for the day and got on the train in my business suit [...]

Got an interesting question today: When to use difficult words in English? The answer to this is pretty simple. Use them when it’s appropriate and beneficial to use them. Simple right? Well, kinda… You see, here’s the big mistake you might be making… You’re thinking waaaaaaaaay to much about yourself. The things you want to [...]

I speak Japanese pretty well. Yes, yes. I know. I’m as humble as I am handsome. But that doesn’t mean I’m perfect. Ohhhhh, no. Even after being in Japan almost 12 years, learning and using the language every day sometimes I still totally mess up. Like today. My sons both have a cold. And guess [...]

Do you ever wonder about the origins of words? That is, their etymology. Recently I was in Manila. The major language of the Philippines is Tagalog, which apparently comes form the word “tagá-ilog” — or “people of the river”. Which got me interested… Where does “English” come from? Logically you’d think it comes from the [...]

Why are there so many accents in the UK? The UK has 56 main accent types. We say “main”, because, within each accent type, there are also loads of sub-accents. Meaning there are loooooads more than 56. These regional differences developed because of the historical way the English language itself developed. Up until the middle [...]

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