Come on mistakes!

Hello there!

Where do I begin?

I recently read an advert trying to get the attention of women, and it said ‘Common ladies…’. This made me laugh, as I am not sure how many people would respond to the advertisement, after being called common instead of being summoned to ‘come on’ and join whatever the advert was asking them to.

I have not seen this before, but there are many more grammatical errors out there. Today I will focus on where to seek help.

When you type ‘Grammar mistakes’ into your search engine, you receive thousands of results for common errors. With so many resources to hand, why do people still make the same mistake over and over again?

Some websites will give you examples of which words seem to appear all the time while other sites will actually try to educate you about each word so that you will hopefully avoid the mistake again in the future. The first example of one such website is:

14 Common Grammatical Mistakes in English – And How to Avoid Them by Oxford Royale Academy, see…/15-common-grammar-gripes-avoid.

This website gives you do’s and don’ts for the most common words or phrases.

Another website which I have found to be useful at explaining words and how to remember when to use a particular word is I like the fact that the website is laid out in such a clear way. It may be aimed at people who want to learn English as the title suggests, but anyone at any level can learn from this website.

When I typed ‘Grammar mistakes’ on Twitter, several articles appeared advising me that even professionals make common mistakes. We all make mistakes, and should not be embarrassed to seek clarity on whatever we have written.

During my research, I have come across quite a few universities that post English Grammar articles. These are really good, and I recently found

This website is for Washington State University, so I would advise you to be mindful of the American English usage with some of the words.

A great site that I used recently was from the University of Bristol. See This particular page has a good range of exercises to help students improve their grammar and includes a section on common mistakes.

In my next blog, I will go into more detail about university websites and how they can help everyone and not just students.

Hope that you now feel inspired to have a look at all the resources available that help to improve English Grammar.

Remember there is always help available through the contact form on


Take care,



Free Can Be Fantastic – Part Two

Hello there!

Thanks for joining me again.

In Part One I mentioned Alison and The Open University and what they have to offer, today I will tell you more about FutureLearn, Open Learn and a new find- Reed.

These are only three, of thousands of courses organisations that display when you type ‘free courses in the UK’, in your search engine. When I am searching and find that I am looking for a needle in a haystack, I usually go for websites that are simple and straight forward to read. You have to be able to navigate around the website with ease if you are to study with them.

Of course choosing a free short course, to begin with, will help you to decide whether the course or the organisation is for you. Another factor to be considered is advertising and subscriptions.  Unfortunately, many of the free websites will have quite a few adverts and may ask you to sign up for their newsletters.

FutureLearn is privately owned by The Open University and according to their website you:

‘Join over 1733635 people learning with FutureLearn. Enjoy free online courses from top universities and cultural institutions. Find the course for you.’ And,

Open Learn is: ‘The home of free learning from The Open University

The resources used by FutureLearn and Open Learn are no different from the main Open University courses, in that they all have well- designed course material. I have taken courses with both and find them to be informative and interesting. The only negative I can find is that there are so many courses you may have trouble deciding which ones you want to study!

FutureLearn courses have specified start dates and run from between three to eight weeks. You can interact with other learners via threads of comments. While with Open Learn you start and finish when you want.

FutureLearn offers you a certificate if you wish to purchase one as proof of Participation, while Open Learn offers you a statement of Participation.

I recently came across a website that acts as a platform for organisations offering free and certified courses. I have only ever associated Reed, with recruitment, and in-house training for candidates. Their website is

One example of the price range is:

The Elements of English Grammar, an online course which is £8.00 and at the other end of the scale is English Language and Linguistics MA for £8,385 at Leicester University.

As I have said previously, I would recommend that you do some research about these courses before undertaking any study. I cannot vouch for the courses Reed have on their website, as I have not taken any, yet!

I hope that this has helped to encourage you to look at what is out there, and take the plunge!

Take Care,


Free Can Be Fantastic – Part One

Hi there!

The information contained in this blog will be divided into two parts, the second of which will appear in the coming week.

Last week I introduced you to Future Learn by The Open University; well today I want to tell you more about another path to free learning from The Open University called Open Learn, as well as another organisation that offers free online courses- Alison. See

Alison describes themselves as ‘the original MOOC’(massive open online course), and is:

‘a five-million-strong, global online learning community, filled with free, high-quality resources to help you develop essential, certified workplace skills.’

According to Wiki,, Alison stands for; Advance Learning Interactive Systems Online.

I have no experience of using Alison’s courses, so I cannot vouch for how good they are. The information provided here is a start. I will always recommend that you do your research before you start studying. These days we are fortunate to have access to the internet and are able to search for reviews or complaints about all kinds of goods and services.

From the information given on their website, and a promotional video, Alison started in Galway, Ireland and offers courses that are flexible and can be studied at your own pace wherever you are. They have over 750 courses on offer including diploma courses, free courses, languages, digital courses and courses for personal development. Students are assessed throughout the course and have the option of purchasing a certificate.

An organisation that I do have experience of – The Open University, see

According to The Open University‘s Former Vice-Chancellor, Martin Bean:

The Open University’s mission is to be open to people, places, methods and ideas.

We promote educational opportunity and social justice by providing high-quality university education to all who wish to realise their ambitions and fulfil their potential.’

I studied for my degree with The Open University and agree that the people who I studied with came from all walks of life, all ages and nationalities.

The Open University has always been proud of their great resources, which is evident in their factual programmes made with the BBC; such as Secret History of Our Streets. They have now started working with other broadcasters.

Take care


Let’s be vocal about vocabulary!

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Hello again!

I have always harped on about the benefits of reading, and this has come in handy this week for my Start Writing Fiction Course with FutureLearn.

If you have not heard of them, FutureLearn is a MOOC (massive open online course), run by the Open University – see

Now as part of this course, we are encouraged to read all kinds of reading material which help with:

  • Understanding structures of written material
  • Introduction to various writing techniques
  • Generating ideas
  • Improving vocabulary

For the purposes of those reading this, if we take the last item on the list- improving vocabulary, we do this naturally when we are presented with new words on a daily basis. Any new words that I find are noted down in a notebook and kept along with their meanings. After all, you never know when a word may come in handy!

Reading encourages the flow of information and it increases your vocabulary. As far as I am concerned it is a win-win situation. I would suggest reading quality newspapers, however, if this is not possible, reading other newspapers and magazines can also help. I think that papers like The Guardian, offer a broad range of subject matter in an impartial way and have a good range of vocabulary.

There are all sorts of reading material at local libraries; Brochures, magazines, newspapers, quick reads and of course hundreds and hundreds of paperback and hardback books.

If you want access to other kinds of reading material, see London Town which gives you names of some good libraries.

Also, try, which is the website for the British Library.

I recommend English Grammar For Dummies. I have a copy and suggest that you buy one for your bookshelf along with a good dictionary and thesaurus.

If you are anything like me, the English Grammar For Dummies book will be on your desk more than it is on that shelf! I have different coloured sticky notes in various chapters for quick and easy reference.

If you cannot access information in book form, there are many resources on the internet, whether they are free courses, e-books, or online dictionaries, thesauruses, or websites offering help with grammar.

Each week I will try to mention any new finds that I feel will help you on your journey through the minefield that is English Grammar!

Thanks for reading.


Mnemonics…or Mne what?

Hi there!

I had it all planned. I was going to share my words of wisdom about mnemonics. I will still put my half penny worth in, but I may as well start with some expert help.

If you don’t know what mnemonics are, then have a look at the definition according to,

‘In general, a mnemonic (from Greek mnemon or mindful; pronounced neh-MAHN-ik ) is a memory aid, such as an abbreviation, rhyme or mental image that helps to remember something. The technique of developing these remembering devices is called “mnemonics.” Mnemonics can be used to remember phone numbers, all your new department colleagues’ names or the years of the reigns of the Kings and Queens of England. A number of approaches are used.’

At school, I remember being given just the start of a mnemonic for the word beautiful –

Bad Eggs Are Useless. It clearly works, as I have always remembered that phrase when spelling the word.

There are loads of great websites which will give you pointers on how to start your own group of mnemonics. gives a different kind of definition and examples while (a community-based website which  tackles all sorts of issues) gives their example of beautiful in acronym form.

If you cannot be bothered to look at the internet to get ideas, pick up a copy of Letts Make it easy English for 10-11-year-olds. This book has fantastic examples and exercises to test young minds, and their section on mnemonics is no different. Whatever your age you will benefit from these types of books, as they are really clever at breaking down all aspects of English Grammar.

When you start to write mnemonics yourself, it is as easy as A-B-C.

Acquire – All Cows Question Uniforms In Real Events

Amateur – A Mighty Army Turns Everyone Underwear Red

Believe – Brown Elephants Live In Eastern Village End

Category – Can All Tigers Eat Grapes Or Raise Yeast

So there you go, you know how to remember words, by making up silly sentences, even if you don’t know how to pronounce what this process is called. Oh, and why not use acronyms for Mnemonics too?

Mnemonics -Most Neighbours Empty Marshmallows On Nice Ice Cream Sundaes

Thanks for reading.