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Avani Shah, Spellzone writer - audio book - BAME Short Story Prize 2017

We are delighted that Avani’s short story which has been shortlisted for the ‘The Guardian 4th Estate BAME Short Story Prize 2017’ is now available as a free audio book from Audible. Some wonderful stories well worth a listen – Avani’s story ‘Greed’ is Chapter 4. If you are viewing on a laptop go here. If you are viewing on a mobile device go here. See previous blog for more information....

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Commonly Confused Words: Hear vs. Here

What does each word mean? If you hear something, it means you are perceiving a sound with your ear. Click here for the full Spellzone dictionary definition of the word. Here is hear used in some example sentences: She heard the rumble of the approaching train. Did you hear what happened at the party? She didn’t want to hear what they were saying about her. Click here to find the Spellzone vocabulary lists related to the word hear. The word here is used by a speaker or writer to refer to the place or position they are currently in. Click here for the full Spellzone dictionary definition of the word. Here is here used in some example sentences: We’ve been meeting...

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Commonly Confused Words: e.g. vs. i.e.

What does each word mean? The abbreviation e.g. is used in a sentence to indicate that you are about to provide an example. Here is e.g. used in some example sentences: When applying for a job, make sure you check everything your potential employer will see (e.g. your CV, cover letter, application form, etc.) for spelling mistakes. Spellzone has a variety of features that will help you improve your spelling, e.g. spelling tests, spelling games, and spelling lessons. You should never use e.g. at the start of a sentence. The abbreviation i.e. is used to clarify the information provided in a sentence. Here is i.e. used in some example sentences: When applying for a job, make...

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Commas and Clauses

Do you find commas confusing? Don’t worry – you’re not alone. Commas have a variety of functions yet many people are uncertain of how to use them. So far this year we’ve looked at how to use commas as part of a list and how to use commas in direct speech. Today we’re taking a look at how to use commas between clauses. What is a clause? A clause is a group of words containing a verb that can either stand alone as a complete sentence or make up part of a more complex sentence. Complex sentences are usually split into main clauses and subordinate clauses. Subordinate Clauses A subordinate clause doesn’t make sense on it’s own – it needs the main clause to add meaning to it. Adding a...

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25 Idioms about Dancing

dancing in the streets – very happy footloose and fancy free – free from commitment it takes two to tango – both people/parties are responsible for the argument/problem to be all-singing, all-dancing – to have a large range of impressive features/skills to be light on one’s feet – to be nimble to step out of line – to behave inappropriately/to break the rules to dance on air – to be very happy to dance to someone’s tune – to comply with someone’s demands and whims to drag one’s feet/heels – to stall to land/fall on one’s feet – to have good luck to follow in someone’s footsteps – to do the same thing/make the same choices as someone else did before to get into a...

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Spellzone Writer Shortlisted for Prestigious Prize

We are delighted to announce that one of our writers Avani Shah has been shortlisted for the 2017 Guardian 4th Estate BAME Short Story Prize. The prize is now in its second year and, according to Danuta Kean, writing for The Guardian, was ‘set up in 2015 to find “fresh compelling writing” by minority ethnic writers in the wake of the Writing the Future report of 2015, which revealed the poor representation of black and Asian writers of fiction in the UK.’ You can find out more about the prize here. Avani, who holds a Master of Arts with Distinction in Creative Writing (Prose Fiction) from the University of East Anglia, has been writing for Spellzone since 2013. She says, ‘It wasn’t...

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Commonly Confused Words: Flaunt vs. Flout

What does each word mean? If you flaunt something, it means you are displaying it in an ostentatious manner. Click here for the full Spellzone dictionary definition of the word. Here is flaunt used in some example sentences: He flaunted his new shoes. Having saved up for months, she was looking forward to flaunting her new iPhone. Click here to find the Spellzone vocabulary lists related to the word flaunt. If you flout something, it means you are disregarding a rule or convention. The word is also sometimes used to mean ‘mock’ or ‘scoff’. Click here for the full Spellzone dictionary definition of the word. Here is flout used in some example sentences: She decided...

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Confused Words: Poll vs. Pole

A poll is a way of looking into the public opinion of something by gathering information through votes or interviews. The word can also be used as a verb to describe the act of gathering this information. Click here for the full Spellzone dictionary definition of the word. Here is poll used in some example sentences: It is imperative that you go to the polling station and vote in the election. He took a poll to see which members of the group used Apple products. They polled a sample of the public in attempt to predict the outcome. Click here to find the Spellzone vocabulary lists related to the word poll. A pole is a long rod, usually round and made of wood, metal, or...

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Idioms about Science and Technology

a cog in the machine – an insignificant member of a huge organisation or system a well-oiled machine – an organisation that operates smoothly acid test – a test of something’s value or success as bright as a button – very intelligent bells and whistles – extra features and trimmings cutting edge – advanced and innovative in tune with – in agreement or harmony with someone or something it’s not rocket science – it’s not difficult on the ball – alert on the same wavelength – to be in agreement/to have similar views and ideas to blow a fuse – to lose your temper to button your lip – to stay quiet to get your wires crossed – to have a misunderstanding to have...

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Commonly Confused Words: Who vs. Whom

Over the last few weeks, we’ve looked at subject and object and subjective and objective pronouns. In most cases we know whether to use a subjective pronoun or an objective pronoun instinctively, but there are two pairs of pronouns that people often confuse: I vs. me and who vs. whom. This week we’re going to look at when to use who and when to use whom. To learn about when to use I and when to use me, click here. When should you use the word ‘who’? You should use who when the word you are referring to the subject of a sentence. Learn more about subjects and verbs here. Here is who used in some example sentences: The two women, who have known each other since childhood, are turning...

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Commonly Confused Words: Wait vs. Weight

What does each word mean? The word wait refers to the act of staying in one place in anticipation or expectation of something happening. The word also describes the act of serving food when in relation to a waiter or waitress. Click here for the full Spellzone dictionary definition of the word. Here is wait used in some example sentences: We waited for the bus. She decided to wait until she’d read the book before watching the film adaptation. He had an evening job waiting tables. There’s an hour-long wait to go on the rollercoaster. We had a long wait at the airport. Click here to find the Spellzone vocabulary lists related to the word wait. The weight of something refers...

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Subjects and Objects

In our last blog post we looked at subjective and objective pronouns, but what do we mean when we refer to the ‘subject’ or ‘object’ of a sentence? Read on to find out! What does the term ‘subject’ mean? The subject of a sentence is the person or thing that the sentence is about. All verbs have a subject, and the subject is usually the person or thing doing whatever action the verb indicates. Here are some examples of subjects (bold) and verbs (underlined) in sentences: Katie threw the ball. My mum and dad almost missed the party. Thomas and I love action films. Sometimes, the subject of a sentence is implied. For example: ‘Throw me the ball!’ vs. ‘Katie, throw me the...

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Pronouns

A few weeks ago, in part two of our series on Word Classes, we looked at pronouns. A pronoun used in a sentence to avoid repeating a noun that has been mentioned before. We use the term personal pronoun to describe pronouns used to replace words for people or things. Personal pronouns include: I, me, mine, you, yours, his, her, hers, we, they, and them. Personal pronouns can be categorised into the following four groups: Subjective Pronouns The term subjective pronoun is used to describe the pronouns: I, you, he, she, it, we, and they. This is because these pronouns work as subjects of verbs in a sentence. Here are some examples of subjective pronouns: She threw the ball to...

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Tips for Formatting Speech

A few weeks ago we looked at how to use commas in direct speech. This week, let’s take a look at the other things to be aware of when formatting speech correctly. Before we begin, let’s remind ourselves on the differences between direct speech and reported speech: The term direct speech refers to when the actual words of a speaker are quoted in the text. For example: ‘I love you,’ he said. Reported speech (also known as indirect speech) refers to when someone’s words are described rather than quoted. For example: He told her he loved her. This article will focus on how to correctly punctuate direct speech. There are no special rules to bear in mind...

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Three Eggy Idioms for Easter

Happy Easter! If you need a break from all the chocolate, why not have a look at these eggy idioms and their origin stories? A bad egg A ‘bad egg’ is someone who is disappointing or a bad influence. Here is the idiom used in an example sentence: James fell in with a group of bad eggs who got him in trouble. The idiom certainly derives from the irritation felt when cracking an egg only to find it has gone off. One early use of the phrase is in this 1856 issue of the Milwaukee Daily American: "Mayor Wood is moving heaven and earth to procure his renomination. One of his dodges is, to get up letters in the newspaper, pretending to emanate from 'distinguished...

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Use Commas in Direct Speech

Commas have a variety of functions and many people are uncertain of how to use them. The main purpose of a comma is to clarify meaning by grouping together specific parts of the sentence. Each group within the sentence is separated by a comma which marks a slight break. Earlier this year we looked at how to use commas in a list. Scroll down to read about how to use commas in direct speech. What is direct speech? In writing, there are two types of speech: direct speech and reported speech. The term direct speech refers to when the actual words of a speaker are quoted in the text. For example: ‘I love you,’ he said. Reported speech (also known as indirect speech)...

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Commonly Confused Words: Son vs. Sun

Now that springtime is finally here, we thought we would look at a weather-appropriate word! Scroll down to read about the differences between sun and son and for tricks to help you tell them apart. What does each word mean? The word son is used to describe male offspring. Click here for the full Spellzone dictionary definition of the word. Here is son used in some example sentences: They had two sons and one daughter. The son and daughter each inherited an equal share in the family business. Click here to create a Spellzone vocabulary list including the word son. The sun is the star at the centre of our solar system. It is the source of light and heat for the planets. The...

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Commonly Confused Words: Curb vs. Kerb

What does each word mean? The word curb is a verb used to describe the act of restraining or restricting something. As a noun, the word can also describe the restraint or restriction itself. In American English, curb also refers to the edge between a sidewalk (pavement) and a road. Click here for the full Spellzone dictionary definition of the word. Here is curb used in some example sentences: He needs to learn how to curb his temper. In England, there are curbs on watching television without a license. Click here to create a Spellzone vocabulary list including the word curb. In British English, the word kerb describes the raised edge that separates a road from the pavement. ...

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Words and Idioms about Mothers and Parenting

Happy Mother’s Day! Here are 20 words and expressions about mothers and parenting. a face only a mother could love – an ugly face a mother has eyes in the back of her head – a mother knows what her children are doing even when she can’t see them a tiger mother – a strict and demanding mother everyone and his mother – lots of people like mother, like daughter – daughters often behave like their mothers did before them mama’s boy – a boy or man who is easily influenced by his mother Mother Goose – a fictitious collector of nursery rhymes from the eighteenth century mother hen – someone who fusses over others in a maternal way mother house – the principle house in a...

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Commonly Confused Words: Complacent vs. Complaisant

What does each word mean? Complacent is adjective that describes one who is ‘contended to a fault with oneself or one’s actions.’ Click here for the full Spellzone dictionary definition of the word. Here is complacent used in some example sentences: After getting a few good grades, I became complacent and now I’m at risk of failing the year. Business is down this year – we can’t afford to be complacent. Click here to find the Spellzone vocabulary lists related to the word complacent. Complaisant is adjective that describes someone who shows ‘a cheerful willingness to do favours for others’. Click here for the full Spellzone dictionary definition of the word. Here is...

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