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Results 1 to 10 of 1188 (page 1 of 119)

Salutations and complimentary closes made simple

An English blog post about salutations and complimentary closes in correspondence.When you begin and end correspondence, do you think about the greeting or closing you use? If not, maybe you should! Some standard greetings and closings work well for most correspondence. But certain types of correspondence, such as a cover letter, call for a more formal greeting and closing, while others, such as an email to a colleague you know well, call for a more informal beginning or end. At first, knowing which greeting and closing to use may seem complicated. But it can actually be quite simple. Here are some guidelines to help you choose the appropriate ones for your correspondence. Salutation A salutation is a greeting that you use at the beginning of a letter or an email, to address the person you’re writing to and to set the tone of the message. In letters, most salutations begin with the word “Dear.” Sometimes people who aren’t used to English letter-writing conventions feel that this is far too friendly a beginning! But don’t worry; English-speaking readers won’t think you’re being affectionate if you call them “Dear.” This is the standard way to begin a salutation in English, even in formal letters. If you’re writing to someone that you’re on a first-name basis with, you can use the person’s first name in the salutation: Dear Laura, Dear Matt. But if you don’t know the reader well, use the person’s professional title or preferred courtesy title with the last name: Dear Professor Brown, Dear Dr. Grant, Dear Ms. Smith, Dear Mr. Jones, Dear Mx. White. (Note that “Mx.” is a gender-neutral courtesy title that may be used by people who either don’t identify with one of the binary genders or prefer not to be identified by gender.) If you’re writing to someone whose name you don’t know or to a group, a good option is a generic salutation such as “Dear Customer Service Manager” or “Dear Colleagues.” “Hello” and “Hi” are also common salutations. They’re more likely to be used in less formal correspondence, such as emails. For more information, check out the Language Portal of Canada’s writing tip called business letters: salutations and the Translation Bureau’s linguistic recommendation on gender-inclusive writing in correspondence.Note 1 Complimentary close A complimentary close is placed after the body of the message as a way to politely end the correspondence. The complimentary close you choose depends on how formal the correspondence is and how well you know the person you’re writing to. “Sincerely,” “Yours truly” and “Cordially” work well for most forms of correspondence. However, if you know the reader well and the tone of the message calls for a more personal ending (for example, an email to congratulate a colleague on a promotion), you could use “Best wishes,” “Regards,” or “Warmest regards.” With these guidelines and resources, you should now be able to choose the right salutations and complimentary closes for your correspondence. Which salutations and complimentary closes do you use most often? Are there any that you find particularly useful? Share your thoughts in the comments section. Notes Note 1 The recommendation on gender-inclusive writing in correspondence referred to in this blog post has been replaced by the Guidelines for Inclusive Writing (opens in new tab), which were published on the Language Portal in 2022. Consult the Guidelines for the most recent articles on the writing techniques discussed in this post. Return to note 1 referrer
Source: Our Languages blog (posts from our contributors)
Number of views: 158,363

Food for thought: Exploring the origins of culinary terms

An English blog post about how words related to food travel from one language to another.At an Indian restaurant, I’m transported by the tantalizing spices and tasty dishes. When I eat out Italian, I savour the rich and creamy sauces. In Japanese cuisine, I’m amazed by the visual presentation of the dishes. If you’re like me, flavours, aromas, textures and colours take you away. But how many of us realize how far the vocabulary of food has travelled? English words borrowed from afar Words from foreign languages make us think of exotic places and unusual flavours. I’m sure it comes as no surprise to you that the English language has borrowed many such words. Note that the language from which English has borrowed these words is not necessarily the language from which these words originated. When it comes to language contact, there’s often an intermediary! Here are a few examples of English food terms borrowed from other languages. Some might surprise you… Foreign words borrowed into English English words borrowed from other languages Source language bratwurst, Emmenthal, kirsch, lager, noodle, pretzel, pumpernickel, sauerkraut, schnapps, schnitzel, strudel, vermouth German apricot, coffee, couscous, falafel, orange, saffron, shawarma, spinach, syrup, tabbouleh, tahini, tajine Arabic beef, café au lait, casserole, cream, croissant, cuisine, custard, eclair, mayonnaise, meringue, mousse, mustard, omelette, pastry, quiche, sauce, soufflé French avocado, barbecue, chorizo, daiquiri, empanada, fajita, gazpacho, guacamole, jalapeno, maize, maté, nacho, paella, quinoa, salsa, sangria, tapa, tortilla, vanilla Spanish amaretto, arugula, bergamot, broccoli, cauliflower, espresso, farfalle, lasagna, latte, macaroni, spaghetti, tiramisu, vermicelli, zucchini Italian baklava, bulgur, dolma, hummus, pilaf, raki, shish kebab, yogourt Turkish English words created in Canada From Canada’s Indigenous peoples, English borrowed words such as “saskatoon” berries and “pemmican” (dried meat mixed with fat and berries), as well as the names of animals enjoyed for their meat, like caribou, moose, sockeye, muskie and geoduck. We’ve also invented names for home-grown dishes: Beaver Tail (Ontario) Nanaimo bar (British Columbia) schmoo torte (Manitoba) English words used in other languages If English has borrowed food-related words, then you can be sure that English food terms have found their way into other languages as well. Take the humble sandwich: its name is well entrenched in French, Italian and Spanish! And who hasn’t heard of expressions such as “apporter son lunch,” “prendre un cocktail” or “préparer des muffins” in French? Terms like “hamburger,” “bacon” and “fast food” are also well known to Francophones. Culinary expressions Food is even the basis for many English idioms. Have you ever wondered why there are so many expressions with the word “salt”: worth one’s salt, take something with a grain of salt, the salt of the earth? In ancient times, salt was highly valued and was used as an item of trade and a form of currency. And here’s another example: when things are going well, we say everything is peaches and cream; when things are not going well, we say they have gone sour! I’m not feeding you a bunch of baloney when I say that words linked to food are used in a great variety of ways. To finish off, how about trying a food-themed quiz? I’m sure the Language Portal of Canada’s quiz Food clichés 1 will whet your appetite. You can find the “Food clichés” series in our quizzes on vocabulary, under Idiomatic expressions. Now, it’s your turn to make our mouths water. What are your favourite culinary words and expressions? Which ones make you chuckle? Share your thoughts in a comment! Adapted by Josephine Versace, Language Portal of Canada
Source: Our Languages blog (posts from our contributors)
Number of views: 154,593

4 ways French has influenced the English language

An English blog post about how the French language has influenced English.Throughout history, the movement of people has led to the development of the languages we speak today. The English language is no exception. While English is the most-learned and most-spoken language in the world today, it hasn’t always been this way. English has changed a lot through the centuries. Today, the English language is an amalgamation with influences from languages and cultures around the world. Some of the languages that have influenced modern English include Greek, German, Arabic. However, one of the biggest influences on the English we speak today has been French. French has influenced English not only in its vocabulary but also in its grammar, pronunciation, and writing. Here are the ways French has helped transform modern English. The addition of vocabulary According to different sources, at least 30% of the modern English vocabulary is directly borrowed from French. Words like “prince,” “joyful,” and “beef” come from the French language, as well as common terminology in the military, legal, technological, and political fields. For example, the words “army,” “parole,” “telephone,” and “regime” all have their origins in the French language. French literature, music, and art have also extended into the English-speaking world throughout the centuries. With the spread of Francophone culture, it’s currently estimated that English speakers who have never studied French can still recognize about 15,000 words in French (ThoughtCo, 2019). That’s a lot of words, considering the average person uses about 16,000 words per day (Huynh, 2014)! You may hear words like “cliché,” “déjà vu,” and “faux pas” in everyday speech. These words are directly taken from French and haven’t changed at all! The development of English grammar Surprisingly, we still use some phrases today that are influenced by French grammar. Particularly in the fields mentioned above where French has heavily influenced the vocabulary, French grammar plays a prominent role in seniority and titles. Titles like “consul general” and “agent-general” retained the original French grammar rule of nouns followed by adjectives. In the military, similar titles like “lieutenant general” and “brigadier general” are also used. English pronunciation French is known for having very different pronunciation rules than English, but most people don’t realize that English also borrows some French pronunciation rules. Some vocal sounds that French has contributed to English include the “g” sound in “mirage,” the “v” in “vacation,” and the “z” in “zigzag.” French is a beautiful language to listen to, and its influences on English pronunciation have added an additional layer of beauty in English. Writing in English French spelling helped transform Old English into the modern English we speak today. As Simon Ager indicates in his article “The Influence of French on the English Language,” words like “queen,” “ship,” and “should” used to be spelled “cwen,” “scip,” and “scolde.” The acute (é), grave (è), and circumflex (â) accents aren’t typically used in the English language, but some words borrowed directly from French still maintain these accents when used in English. These words include “café,” “décor,” and the delicious dessert, “crème brûlée.” Both French and English are widely spoken in the world today, and they’re the two official languages of Canada. Both languages have played a significant role in the history of our societies and cultures around the globe and have contributed to Canada’s unique and colorful linguistic heritage. How has French influenced your life? View references Ager, S. (2012, November 15). The Influence of French on the English Language (opens in new tab) [Blog post]. Huynh, J. (2014, June 19). Study Finds No Difference in the Amount Men and Women Talk. UBRP Gazette. ThoughtCo. (2019, November 4). Terms of Enrichment: How French Has Influenced English (opens in new tab) [Web article].
Source: Our Languages blog (posts from our contributors)
Number of views: 79,027

The language of tweets and hashtags: A bilingual mini-glossary of social media terms

An English blog post on social media terminology.If I told you I added a “hashtag” to my Tweet or that I posted a “status update” on Facebook, you’d probably know what I meant. But what if I told you that I was a “wikipedian” or that my latest “vlog” was online? Would you know what I meant then? Maybe not! Today, we use social media to make it easier to share content, collaborate and connect with people. But social media platforms have a language all their own, and if you don’t know it, using certain platforms can be a challenge. Here’s a useful table that will help you understand the meanings of certain social media terms. The table also gives you the equivalent French term. So the next time you tweet in French, you can say you added “mots-clics” to your “gazouillis” instead of “j’ai tweeté des hashtags”!   English-French mini-glossary of social media terms English term French term Definition chatting clavardage (masculine noun) A real-time texting conversation between users over the Internet.1 unfriend désamicaliser; décopiner; amiradier To remove a person from your list of friends or contacts.1 geotagging data données de géomarquage (feminine plural noun) Information that associates a geographical location with photos, videos, messages, etc.1 emoticon; smiley émoticône (feminine noun); binette (feminine noun); A symbol or an image that represents the mood of the person sending the message. tag étiquette (feminine noun) A keyword added to a picture, video or text in order to classify its content or identify a person. Note: In French, the term used on Facebook is “identification.” crowdsourcing externalisation ouverte (feminine noun); externalisation à grande échelle (feminine noun) The practice of making use of the creativity, intelligence and expertise of Internet users to carry out a particular activity. home timeline fil d’actualités (masculine noun) On Twitter, the chronological stream of all the tweets from any accounts to which a user has subscribed.1 news feed fil de nouvelles (masculine noun) On Facebook, the centre column of a user’s homepage that contains status updates, videos, photos, etc. twitterer; tweeter gazouilleur (masculine noun), gazouilleuse (feminine noun) A Twitter account holder who reads and posts tweets. retweet; RT gazouillis partagé (masculine noun) On Twitter, a tweet that a user forwards to his or her followers. status update mise à jour de statut (feminine noun) A new post on your personal profile.1 Note: Term used on Facebook. hashtag mot-clic (masculine noun); mot-dièse (masculine noun) A keyword, a keyword string or a theme preceded by the pound or number sign and used to index and categorize content. handle; nickname pseudonyme (masculine noun); pseudo (masculine noun) An Internet user’s alias or shortened name. post publication (feminine noun) Anything published on a social media platform, such as text, images, videos and audio recordings. log in; sign in se connecter; ouvrir une session To start a log-in session; to sign into your account.1 log out; sign out se déconnecter; fermer une session To end the current log-in session; to sign out of your account.1 video blog; vlog; videoblog vidéoblogue (masculine noun); vlogue (masculine noun); blogue vidéo (masculine noun) A blog in which posts are in the form of a video.1 wikipedian wikipédiste (noun); wikipédien (masculine noun), wikipédienne (feminine noun) A person who writes or edits articles on Wikipedia. Source: The Translation Bureau’s Social Media Glossary 1 My own definitions. For a more complete list, I encourage you to check out the Social Media Glossary in TERMIUM Plus®. It’s a very useful tool for all social media users. Now that you know the meanings of certain social media terms, do you think you’ll be more comfortable using and talking about various social media platforms? Let us know in the comments below! Adapted by Natalie Ballard, Language Portal of Canada
Source: Our Languages blog (posts from our contributors)
Number of views: 52,775

versus, v., vs.

A writing tip on using the term versus and its abbreviations v. and vs.
Versus, meaning “against, opposed to” or “in contrast to,” is often abbreviated to vs. in sports coverage and to v. in legal documents. Versus and its abbreviations are not italicized. Headline: Canada vs. Belarus in Hockey Final Judge Whitcombe will hear Weiner v. The King next week. Avoid abbreviating versus in day-to-day writing. The coach studied the runners’ speed versus (not vs.) their endurance.
Source: Writing Tips Plus (English language problems and rules)
Number of views: 51,889

in regard to, with regard to, as regards

A writing tip on when to put a final s on the word regard in the expressions in regard to, with regard to and as regards.
Write the noun regard in the singular in the phrases in regard to and with regard to. The store has called in regard to (not in regards to) the missing hot tub. With regard to (not with regards to) my recent accident in the hot tub, I have completely recovered. The final s is correct only in the phrase as regards, where regards is a verb. As regards the hot tub, I’m making a planter out of it! Note: In regard to, with regard to and as regards are wordy phrases. Instead, to communicate clearly and effectively, use about, as for, concerning or regarding, or rewrite the sentence. The store has called about (or concerning or regarding) the missing hot tub. I have completely recovered from my recent accident in the hot tub. As for the hot tub, I’m making a planter out of it! OR I’m making a planter out of the hot tub!
Source: Writing Tips Plus (English language problems and rules)
Number of views: 41,532

False friends: Appearances can be deceiving

An English-language quiz on French–English false cognates.Over the years, English has assimilated many words from French. While some of these French and English words may still look alike, they often have different meanings. In French, these words are known as faux amis; in English, we call them false cognates. In the following quiz, avoid false friends by choosing the right word to fill the blank.1. The sales manager called a to discuss the new marketing campaign.reunionmeeting2. Heather drinks juice every day because it has the same heart benefits as wine.raisingrape3. Stuart, a retired high school , now volunteers at the library helping newcomers to Canada learn English.teacherprofessor4. Serena the project well before the deadline.achievedfinished5. Tanya volunteered to be the of the focus group.animatorfacilitator6. There's a choir every Wednesday night at the community centre.practicerepetition7. The computer programmers are working to resolve the firewall issues.actuallycurrently  
Source: Quizzes on the Language Portal of Canada
Number of views: 32,817

insight about, insight as to, insight into, insight regarding

A writing tip on the noun insight and the prepositions to be used with it.
With the noun insight, the usual preposition is into. Other prepositions (including about, as to and regarding) are occasionally encountered. After studying this report for days, I now have some insight into this complex issue. Maxine has no insight regarding (as to) her son’s shortcomings. She thinks he can do no wrong. This experienced diplomat will provide us with fresh insight(s) about the war in the Middle East.
Source: Writing Tips Plus (English language problems and rules)
Number of views: 27,876

approval of, approval to, approve, approve of

A writing tip on how to use approval of, approval to, approve and approve of.
Approval suggests agreement or consent and can be followed by the preposition of or to. Your approval means a lot to me. Dad nodded his approval of my brother’s plans, while Mom shook her head in silent disapproval. The team owner gave her approval to the manager’s request for longer workouts. Approve means to sanction or ratify. Treasury Board has approved the expenditure reduction plan. Approve of means to think well of. The Deputy Minister approved of Szabo’s bold initiative.
Source: Writing Tips Plus (English language problems and rules)
Number of views: 25,697

10 practical tips to enrich your French vocabulary

An English blog post on 10 tips for increasing your French vocabulary.When we learn a language, especially at school, we study grammar rules and verb conjugations, we memorize sentences and sometimes even word lists. But when the time comes to speak, we may feel unable to express our ideas clearly. Maybe we don’t have enough vocabulary to do so, or maybe the vocabulary we do have isn’t useful in that situation. For example, let’s say you have to give your opinion on city traffic. You know what your view is, but you lack the specific vocabulary to express it. Or let’s take a simpler, everyday example. After many hours of studying French, you want to explain how to prepare one of your favourite recipes. You know the verbs you need for the steps, but you don’t know the words for the ingredients. Or vice versa: you know the words for the ingredients, but not the verbs for the steps. So what can you do to enrich your vocabulary in a practical way, without creating or memorizing word lists? Through my experience as a French teacher and also as a foreign language learner, I’ve discovered a few simple but effective strategies for learning new words. Here are some everyday tips you may find helpful: 1. Read the French version of product labels Here in Canada, we have the wonderful advantage of having the labels of many products written in both official languages, English and French. 2. Make French the display language on your electronic devices Change the language setting to French on your computer, cellphone or tablet. 3. Read the news in French When you read a French newspaper, choose a news article, pick out the important words, and look them up in the dictionary. 4. Write a page in your journal for each of your daily activities For example, if you go to the gym, at the end of your workout, write up a summary to learn the French words for the machines and the muscles you used, and the exercises you did. 5. Check the weather forecast in French Break the ice with any Francophone by using the appropriate words to describe the weather in each season. 6. Find out the French name for your favourite articles of clothing for every season This way, each time you wear those items of clothing, you’ll think of their French name. And you’ll find shopping easier when you visit a Francophone province. 7. Create a Twitter account in French Even if you don’t like social media very much, you can still learn vocabulary for topics that interest you by following the accounts of people, groups and organizations (like the Language Portal of Canada) that matter to you. 8. Add French captions to your photos Why not create an Instagram account specifically to write French captions under your photos? You can also ask your (new) Francophone friends to suggest captions. 9. Enrich your vocabulary through play Click on Jeux sur le vocabulaire (vocabulary quizzes) on the Resources of the Language Portal of Canada website, and you’ll find a variety of quizzes that will help you discover new French words or refresh your memory of old ones. 10. Research vocabulary related to a topic that interests you TERMIUM Plus®, a terminology and linguistic data bank, lists numerous terms by subject field. That really helps in retaining concepts and applying them in everyday life. Now, it’s your turn! What tips would you add to this list? In the Comments section, share your ideas (or your friends’ ideas) for learning new vocabulary. Thanks in advance! Translated by Josephine Versace, Language Portal of Canada
Source: Our Languages blog (posts from our contributors)
Number of views: 22,041