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English Stress Pattern. Episode 1

Most times, the urge to sound fluent is the desire of learners of English as a second language. We strive to attain a level of proficiency in our command of English, and as such, some resort to erroneous placement of stress, 'indecent' and repulsive change of accent. I must say, at times, I get pissed to see such act while it might look difficult to attain proficiency as they make us believe.

A little knowledge of English stress and rhythm will aid correct accentuation of English words. Stress and rhythm are examples of supra segmental aspect of English; by this, we mean it is above the level of segment. Stress and rhythm constitute the backbone of English pronunciation; their roles go far beyond the segment and have bearings on syllable structures. A learner of English who maintains the stress and rhythm of the language is likely to sound both natural and fluent than one who does not. Therefore, for intelligibility to be achieved, it is important to give words their correct accentual pattern and rhythm.

For the purpose of clarity, we will take each one individually.

Stressed sounds are those on which the speaker expends energy on. The degree of force one uses to produce a particular sound either makes it a stressed sound or an unstressed sound. There are various degrees of stress. We have:

·         Primary stress
·         Secondary stress
·         Tertiary stress
·         Weakly stressed

Primary Stress
Primary stress is received by the syllable produced more forcibly than the others, i.e., the one that has more force in production than the others, e.g., 'understand.' 
The primary stress is on the syllable 'stand', so the word is underSTAND.

Secondary Stress
Secondary stress is received by the syllable that follows the primary in being forcibly pronounced. For example, in the word, 'understand', the secondary stressed syllable is UN

Weakly stressed syllable
This syllable is weakly produced. It usually has the vowel schwa as its nucleus. Another vowel that can be weakly stressed is the/i/ sound. Still in the word 'understand', the weakly stressed syllable is 'der'. In the transcription of 'understand', you will notice schwa comes after 'd' that automatically makes that syllable weakly stressed.

Look out for the operational levels of stress in the next edition.

Written by:
Joy Iwuchukwu Daniels

Words Learners Of English Use Interchangeably

Below are some of the words learners of English use interchangeably:

1. Advice/Advise
These words have the same meaning but don't belong the same word class or part of speech. Whereas 'advice' is the noun, 'advise' is the verb. However, most times, learners of English ignorantly use them interchangeably hence making the sentence ungrammatical.
a) He always gives me good advice.

b) His advices  are always helpful
c) I don't like the advice you gave Tony.

a) I advised her but she didn't listen.

b) I will always advise you whether you like it or not.

2. Compliment/Complement.
Most times, people write 'complement' instead of 'compliment.'
'Complement' means the completion of something, that is, the full amount of a number which completes something. E.g. His designer's pair of shoes is a perfect complement to his outfit.

On  the other hand, 'compliment' is an expression of admiration, respect, affection, best wishes. 
a) Compliment of the season.
b) He told her that he admired her painting and she returned the compliment by saying she was a fan of his sculpture.

3. Forgo/Forego.
These words are also interchangeably used probability because they sound alike. 'Forgo' means to do without; to abandon, to abstain from; to deny oneself. E.g. The only way to avoid shame is to forgo acting shamelessly.

'Forego' on the other hand, means to precede; to go before. E.g. If the crowd supports his action, then his reputation obviously foregoes him.

4. Practice/Practise.
In British English, 'practice' is the noun while 'practise' is the verb. In American English, 'practice' is both the noun and the verb. Since the Nigerian English is based on the Standard British English, our usage should always correspond with the Standard British English.
a) The practice of a man marrying one wife is in accordance with the will of God.

b) Such satanic practice should not be brought to the church.
c) Practice makes perfection.

a) She practises what she's been taught in school.
b) If she must join the choir, she must practise with us.

5. Belief/Believe.
The difference between these words is in their word class. 'Belief' is the noun while 'believe' is the verb. Often times, English learners use the verb(believe) as the noun.
a)I have an unshaken belief.

b) My belief in God can't be shakened.

a) I believe in God.
b) She believed all what she was told.

6. Seize/Cease.
These are another words learners of English use wrongly. Most times, learners of English use 'cease' instead of 'seize.' E.g. I will cease your passport. This sentence is wrong because what the speaker actually means is different from the meaning of the sentence.
'Seize' is the legal or official power to take something; to take possession of while 'cease' means to cause to come to an end gradually. Therefore, the correct sentence should be: 'I will seize your passport.'
a) The bank seized their properties.

b) The army seized control of the city.

a) Pray without ceasing.

b) The factory ceased operations last year.
c) Their hasle has permanently ceased.

7. Defense/Defence.
Both words have the same meaning, that is, the act of defending or protecting something from attack or injury. It can also mean an argument in support or justification of something, e.g. project defence.
The difference between these words is in their spellings. 'Defense' is American spelling while 'defence' is British spelling. Since Nigerian English is based on British English, we should always use the British spelling which is 'defence.'

8. Their/There
'Their' is used to show possession.
a) Their house is very fine.
b) The book is theirs.
c) Their belongings.

However, sometimes, you see learners of English writing, 'There house is fine.' It is totally wrong. 'There' has different meanings but these are a few:
'There' is used to show a location. E.g. The book is there.

'There' also means 'at that point or stage' e.g. Stop right there before you will say something you will regret.

'There' can also be used as a function word to introduce a sentence or clause, e.g. There shall come a time when famine shall overtake the land.

As learners and users of English, we should always use the right word(s) at any given time despite the similarity in meaning.

5 Magic Words In English

magic words in English

There are some words in English Language that have magical powers. As a result, they are referred to as 'Magic Words'. These words have saved lots of marriages and relationships, fostered intra and inter personal relationships and instantly resolved hassles among friends. Undoubtedly, these words, when uttered, can soften a stony heart. However, there are some persons whose hearts can never be softened by these words maybe because their problems are more powerful than these words. Lol! All English users should cultivate the habit of using these words in order to ensure a peaceful coexistence among one another in the society.

These words are:

1. Please
The word, 'please', is a very powerful word that should be used by English users when making a request as it can make the person you are addressing do whatever you ask of him/her.
Please, can I take your book?
Could you please sign my course form?

2. Sorry/I'm Sorry
Generally, people hardly say the word, 'sorry', or the phrase, 'I am sorry', to others. Perhaps they feel that they are accepting responsibility for what they didn't do if they say it.

A simple 'sorry' or 'I am sorry' can heal a very deep cut or wound. If you offended someone knowingly or unknowingly and the person approached you to tell you that you offended him/her, you could simply say, 'I am sorry' to the person rather than justifying your actions. As simple as it may seem, 'sorry' or 'I am sorry' can completely eliminate the grudge that person has for you.

Sorry for the other day/I'm sorry for the other day.

3.Pardon me
'Pardon me' is another magic word in English that usually comes after 'sorry' because you must first accept your fault before you can ask for pardon. I don't think there is anybody who will not forgive/pardon  a person who accepts his fault and ask for forgiveness. This word can actually make the person whose pardon you need to stop any negative plan he/she has for you. Therefore, let's use it when necessary.

4. Excuse Me
Another magic word which learners of English have actually changed its meaning is 'excuse me'. For example, girls, most times, playfully say to their friends, 'Excuse me, dor.....!' Do you know what they mean by this? Please tell me if you do.

Using this word when necessary shows how decent you are. It can save you from lots of troubles. Instead of saying, 'abeg comot for road make I pass or see something', you can simply say, 'excuse me'. When this is done, the person you are addressing will gently go off the way for you.

On the other hand, 'excuse me' can also mean 'pardon me' or 'forgive me'. For example, 'He excused me of my transgressions.' This simply means that he has forgiven your transgressions.

5. Thank you
You won't be happy if you did something for someone and the person refused to say, 'thank you'. Will you? 'Thank you' is a magic word because it has the power to spur someone who has done something for you to do more. Therefore, let's learn to always say, 'Thank you'.

In sum, as users of the English language, we should always patronize the aforementioned magic words by using them when necessary in order to ensure a peaceful coexistence among one another in the society.


Are you still in that school of thought where science students are regarded as very brilliant and smart whereas arts students are seen as either average students or dullards? My dear friend, I think it is high time you freed yourself from such socially constructed fallacy. We should rather create a balance between the two because nothing is useless in the society. Unlike science students, arts students don't build their world on already existing knowledge. They go extra miles in order to distinguish themselves from their contemporaries and this is achieved through creativity.That is why you see comedians/comediennes, musicians and producers of films and music always coming up with new ideas in order to remain in the market.

Looking at the point we are now in this country(Nigeria), creativity is the only option because even the employed are being sacked on daily basis, so if you are waiting for someone to employ you, you will wait a little longer.

My friends back then in the university(Sikaboro Cynthia, Odigie Faith Omohe, Stephen-gow Obiene Daukoru, Leona Wessey, Agbogidi Faith, Timi Amarowei, Walson Keme etc.) can attest to fact that I have this  passion for teaching, so immediately after my service year, I submitted my CV in different high schools and was subsequently invited for an interview. Unfortunately, no principal/director employed me because they were looking for teachers with experience. How can I be experienced when you have refused to employ me? Well, that is Nigeria for you and I didn't(and still don't) blame them because they wanted the best for their students based on who 'dem be.'

I was totally disillusioned and thought of what to do until the idea of creating my Facebook page(Tammy's English and Literary Home) and subsequently my blog(Tammy's English and Literary Blog) visited my heart. A blog and page where at least I can teach the public the English Language free of charge. I never had the intention of making profit from it despite what I have spent. It was only a manifestation of my passion for teaching but little did I know that these blog and page would sell me within a short period of time. Today, without application, I am a teacher of English Language and English Literature in three private schools. Whereas I'm a full time teacher in one of the schools, I work as a part time teacher in the other two. My very good friend and colleague, Amadi Godswill, told me something like this sometime ago but I didn't take it seriously. I never knew he was a soothsayer. Thanks my friend!

Your passion might not be teaching but in whatever area you are good at, try to use it to add value to society and society will no doubt add value to your life. Look for different ways you can sell yourself by showcasing your talent.

I'm profoundly grateful to God Almighty for the wonderful idea and unmerited favour. To you my wonderful friend and reader, may God who owes no man, richly bless you for reading, liking, commenting on and sharing my posts. My employers saw what I got to offer because you shared, commented on, liked and read my post. God bless you! I will never stop telling you all you need to know about the English Language.

Those of you seeking for job, may God give you a miracle job! Amen! Cheers to y'all! I'm much obliged! I really appreciate! Ta!

My Addiction

Addiction is indeed a bitch! Yes, it is because I have been there and ridiculed by its lovely but wicked hands. It seem very okay and satisfying but can drain the destiny of any man on earth just like a prostitute will suck out all the semens in a man's body all in the name of satisfying him sexually.

Many people are unaware of the fact that the Niger Delta University wasn't the first  tertiary institution I attended but the University of Port Harcourt where I was lured into cultism and taking of hard drugs(cocaine and marijuana); consequently becoming a drug addict. I was very active in all our cultic practices to the extent that I was made the 'point one' of my cult after six months of induction. Such new title boosted my morale and my addiction to taking hard drugs.

I had a very good job because I worked with a company where I was being paid six hundred thousand naira(#600,000) every month but would use five hundred thousand naira(#500,000) to sniff cocaine. My academics suffered mercilessly as a result of my new lifestyle and I was consequently WAF from school. I would have been happier if that was the end but unfortunately, I began to grapple with more challenges as they continued to unfold.

I was so addicted to drugs that anytime the urge came,I would beg people for money just to get it into my sysetm. The begging habit continued until people got tired of it and stopped giving me money. Consequently, I started selling my properties so I could satisfy the urge anytime it visited. I sold all my properties, including my clothes and pants; I gave my rented apartment to friend for money and started squatting with a friend who was also a cultist and an ardent drug addict. All my responsible friends who later knew that I was into drugs, withdrew from me and I was left in the middle of nowhere like a wandering spirit who is waiting to be called home by his relatives.

This experience is what I don't like talking about. I watched all my course mates convocated before my very eyes; my father and elder sister would always call to find out what was really happening as it was taking too long for me to graduate, but in all, I would always force a smile on their faces with my well polished lies. 'How long will I continue to deceive or lie to my father and elder sister?' This incessant rhetorical question from my inside largely affected my well polished lies and subsequently revealed my nefarious activities in school to my dad and sister. At  that point, they were totally disillusioned.

Addiction is indeed a bitch and bastard! While being trapped by the vicious chains of addiction, I came in contact with some government officials who lost their jobs because of this shit called addiction. They were drug addicts like me who lived in the forest with the sellers of hard drugs and would most times perform some domestic and wild chores for those sellers, just to sniff the cocaine for free.

As stated in the bible, 'the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak,' I was really willing to change but the  urge always surpassed by will. Not being able to change into the kind of person the society wanted me to, I decided to live with my predicament for years until I met a man of God whom God used to turn my life around.

As a lover of education, I had to go back to school and today, I am a graduate of Petroleum Engineering from a reputable university. Emeka Chika is my name.

Know When To Use The English Articles.

The knowledge of using the English articles is very limited among learners of the English Language. For example, the article 'a/an.' Most learners of English think the article, 'a' is only used before a word beginning with a consonant while the article 'an' is only used before a word beginning with a vowel. Well, this is undoubtedly correct but the use of the English articles is not only limited to this.

The article is part of the English word class or part of speech that belongs to a close class system(that is, it does accept new members into its class). Articles are also known as 'determiners' in English language; they usually precede a noun (if they must occur) in a sentence.

The article only has two members/types/items. These members/types/items are: 
1. The definite article.
2. The indefinite article.

The Definite Article(The)
The definite article is 'the.' 'The' is used when the reference is known to the speaker and the person he is addressing. In other words, if the subject is known to both the speaker and the addressee, you use the definite article, 'the.' 
The boy came in yesterday.
Using the definite article, 'the' before 'boy' means that both the speaker and the addressee have a prior knowledge  of the subject which is 'the boy.'

The definite article(the) also occurs with some proper nouns like:
1. The names of rivers, e.g. The River Nun.
2. The names of institutions, e.g. The Niger Delta University, The University of Port Harcourt etc.
3.The names of mountains, e.g. The Mount Everest.
4. The names of Newspapers, e.g. The Punch, The Daily Times, The Sun etc.

It is therefore ungrammatical to omit the article 'the' while stating the names of the proper nouns mentioned above.

The Indefinite Article(a/an)
'A(n)' is used when the person you are talking about is not known to both the speaker and the addressee. 
A boy came home yesterday.

If you tell your addressee that 'a boy came home yesterday,' he/she will definitely ask you, 'which boy?.'This is because you use the indefinitely article which shows that 'the subject' is not known to both the speaker and the addressee.
On the other hand, if you tell your addressee that, 'the boy came home yesterday,' he/she won't ask you, 'which boy' except the both of you have a prior knowledge of two or more guys/boys.

The indefinite article has two variants. It can be 'a' or 'an' depending on the phonological environment. If it is 'a,' it means the noun it precedes or comes before begins with a consonant, e.g. a boy, a door, a car etc. However, if it is 'an,' it means the noun it precedes begins with a vowel, e.g. an orange, an umbrella an advert etc.

In sum, from the above explanation, it is therefore ungrammatical or wrong to use an indefinite article('a' or 'an') when talking about a subject that is known by both the speaker and the addressee. It is also wrong to use a definite article(the) when talking about a subject that both the speaker and the addressee have no prior knowledge of.

Hope the lesson is understood and helpful?

The Preposition- Types And Problems.

A preposition is a small word that tells the relationship between two nouns in a sentence. Relationship either in terms of time or position. E.g.They sat on the floor. 'On' here is telling us the relationship between 'they' and 'floor.' Prepositions show the relationship between the noun in subject position and the noun that immediately follows the preposition.

1. Simple Preposition
This is subdivided into two according to whether they are monosyllables or polysyllables. Examples of monosyllabic prepositions are: as, at, by, for, from, like, near, of, off, on, past, par, round, since, than, through, till, too, with, via etc.

Polysyllabic prepositions are: about, above, after, against, along, amid, amidst, among, amongst, around, atop, before, below, beneath, beside, besides, beyond, despite, during, except, inside, into, notwithstanding, unto, opposite, outside, over, pending, throughout, towards, under, underneath, unlike, until, upon, within, without etc.

2. Complex Preposition
There are two types of complex preposition: those made up of two words and those made up of three words.
Complex preposition comprising two word are: up against, apart from, away from, aside from(American English), as from, ahead of, because of, inclusive of, instead of, outside of, regardless of, irrespective of, according to, due to, close to, owing to, prior to, thanks to, pursuant to, up to, along with, together with etc.

Complex prepositions comprising three words are: in aid of, in back of, in charge of, in front of, in lieu of, in quest of, in view of, in spite of, in respect of, in case of, in accordance with, in common with, by virtue of, by means of, on account of, on behalf of, in addition to, in relation to, with/in reference to, at variance with, with inception of etc.

There are also words that are classified as Marginal Prepositions. They are: including, pending, concerning etc.

There is also another group of prepositions which are mostly used in mathematics. They are: plus, minus, over, times & less.

There are also borrowed foreign words which are now used in English as prepositions. They are: Circa(around), Versus (Nigeria Vs Britain), anti(borrowed from Latin), Viz-a-viz(Italian).

Prepositions don't naturally occur alone; they necessarily occur with a noun or pronoun or nominalization.

1.This book is for John.
2. These shoes are not meant for diving.
3. This book is for him.
From the sentences above, you can see that the preposition 'for' is occuring with a noun(John); in sentence two, it is occurring with a nominalization(diving) while in sentence three, it is occurring with a pronoun(him).

Problem(s) of Prepositions
Prepositions sometimes present the problem of identification because some prepositions can also function as adverbs. For example, let's us see the preposition 'on.'
1. My bag is on the table.
2. The show is not on yet.
In sentence one, 'on' is functioning as a preposition because it shows the relationship between the noun in the subject position (bag) and the noun that immediately follows the preposition(table) while in sentence two, 'on' is functioning as an adverb.

Note: A preposition can be modified by an adverb.
We live very close to the university gate. 
            adv.    prep.
In the sentence above, the adverb, 'very' is functioning as a modifier to the preposition, 'close to' because it answers the question, 'how.' For example: how close? Your response will be 'very close to.

Popular English Acronyms Used On Social Media & Messaging

First and foremost, what is an acronym? In short, an acronym is an abbreviation formed from the initial letters of other words and pronounced as a word. Acronyms may also contain numbers.

Evolutuon cannot be separated from the English language as the language keeps on evolving due to certain factors. In this case, in order to avoid the stress of typing too many letters while messaging on social media, users of social media have devised a means of shortening their texts and this has led to the emergence of new English acronyms that are mostly used on social media and also, mostly understood by its users.

However, if you don't know the meanings of these acronyms, you need not to worry as I will be showing you some of these acronyms and their meanings:

·         F2F-              Face to Face
·         FB-                Facebook.
·         UWC-            You are welcome
·         G2G-             Good to go
·         LOL-              Laughing Out Loud.
·         LWKMD-        Laugh Wan Kill Me Die.
·         Gr8-              Great
·         HBD-             Happy Birthday.
·         WULLNP-       Wishing You Long Life and Prosperity.
·         BRB-             Be Right Back.
·         LMAO-           Laughing My A** Off
·         LOLz-            Laughing Out Loud(Plural)
·         OMG-            Oh My God!
·         4kU-              F**k You.
·         DP-               Display Picture.
·         PM-               Personal Message.
·         ROFL-            Rolling On the Floor Laughing
·         ROFLMAO-     Rolling On the FLoor Laughing My A** Out
·         RT-                Retweet
·         SMH-             Shaking My Head
·         TBT-              ThrowBack Thursday
·         TGIF-             Thank God/Goodness is Friday
·         Tnx/Thx-        Thanks.
·         TL;DR-           Too Long;Didn't Read.
·         Txt Msg-         Text Message
·         UI-                 User Interface
·         IG-                 Instagram
·         YT-                 YouTube
·         G .                  Google
·         UX-                 User Experience.
·         BAE-               Before Anyone Else.
·         BTW-              By The Way.
·         FYI-                For Your Information
·         LMK-               Let Me Know
·         BC-                 Broadcast Message.
·         BC/Bcos-         Because
·         2moro/2mrw-  Tomorrow.
·         BFF-               Best Friends Forever.
·         No P/NP-         No Problem
·         XOXO-             Kisses and Hugs
·         B4-                  Before
·         B4N-                Before Now
·         TLC-                Tender Love and Care
·         LUV-                Love
·         PLS-                 Please
·         Swthrt-            Sweetheart.

You can add to the list through the comment box.