Blog Posts

Meet the word that best describes a person who is repeatedly arrested for committing crimes

Of course, you and I know that "ex-convict" is the word that is used to describe a former prisoner. But what will that former prisoner be called if he or she is arrested again, especially for the same criminal behaviour? Will he or she still be described as an ex-convict? I don't think so because the English dictionary has provided an appropriate term for him or her, and to put the record straight, he or she must be described with the correct term. What is this term?
Meet the word that best describes a person who is repeatedly arrested for committing crimes
Well, someone who keeps going back and forth from prison for committing a crime, especially for the same criminal behaviour, is called a recidivist. A recidivist is a person who continues to commit crimes even after being caught and punished. This person is a repeat offender. He or she doesn't get tired of committing crimes regardless of the previous prison experience. Lol!
Sentence example:
The prisoners were arrested alongside five recidivists.

Recidivist is pronounced approximately as /re-si-di-vist/.

In sum, use convictinmate or prisoner to describe a person who is guilty of a crime and is serving a sentence in prison. Use ex-convict to describe a former prisoner or one who has just been released from prison. But if a former prisoner or an ex-convict still continues in his or her criminal activities and consequently returns to prison, he or she should be called a recidivist. For the purpose of clarity, this should always be considered.

WAEC GCE: 2018 Examination timetable is out

This is to inform the general public that the West African Examinations Council (WAEC) has released the 2018 West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) timetable for private candidates, commonly referred to as WAEC GCE. Candidates who have decided to participate in the examination are, therefore, advised to prepare before time and work according to the structure of the timetable in order to achieve good success.
WAEC GCE: 2018 Examination timetable is out

You can as well just view the timetable below.

Download the latest version of our android app

Tammy's English Blog has published the latest version of its android app on google play store – a version which is entirely different from the previous one.  If you have the old version, all you need do is just to update it. But if you don't, kindly download the app using the download link that is provided in this article. Thanks for being part of this.
Download the latest version of our android app

What is new?
  • Removed Splash Screen
  • Minor Bug Fixes
  • More English tutorials Uploaded
  • Added Post Thumbnail (Image)
  • Instant notification of daily updates.

Below are the services rendered by Tammy's English blog:

1.  Tammy's English Blog offers free online tutorials on English grammar and usage, Literature and effective writing. Always visit the blog for updates.

2.  Tammy's English Blog gives its active readers and commenters a token at the end of every month. Start reading and commenting on Tammy's English blog to be eligible for this offer, and please, do not comment as anonymous. If you must comment as anonymous, make sure you include your name and phone number.

3.  The blog also assists final year students of English, mass communication, Linguistics and Literature with their projects.

4.  You can also get complete project on language, mass communication and literature on Tammy's English blog. However, the project should only serve as a guide while writing your project as Tammy's English blog doesn't encourage plagiarism.

5.  You can as well get firsthand projects and topics on Tammy's English blog.

6.  Has your lecturer/teacher given you a very difficult assignment, or has your supervisor given you an entirely new project topic? Contact Tammy's English Blog via our "Contact Us" page.

7.  Tammy's English Blog helps advertise your business, short story, play, poem, articles, music etc. at affordable prices.

On Tammy's English Blog, your language satisfaction and command of the English language remain our utmost priority!

Arguments "for" and "against" the use of English Only in an ELS classroom

In Nigeria where English is being taught and learnt as a second language, the use of vernacular by students, especially secondary/high school students, in classrooms or within the academic environment is highly prohibited. Instead, students and teachers are instructed to communicate with one another in English Only. This is an instruction they must follow strictly.  In fact, students and teachers who act otherwise are usually fined and given query letters respectively. This is a common fact every Nigerian student can attest to and way of ensuring that students are well grounded in the language. 

The ban of mother tongue (MT) usage in ESL (English as a Second Language) classrooms has resulted to an inconclusive debate that has lingered for so long among supporters and opponents of the English-Only policy. According to Brown (2000), the debate over whether learners’ mother tongue should be used in English classroom or not has been a contentious question for years, but the findings of researchers have not been entirely persuasive. This article only unravels such argument.  
Arguments FOR and AGAINST the use of English Only in an ELS classroom


This argument clearly states the advantages of teaching second learners of English in English Only, giving no room to the use of the students'/learners' mother tongue (L1). These are some of the points given by the proponents of the English-Only policy:  

1. It maximizes exposure
English-only in an ELS classroom will not only expose the students to more English but will also enable them to gather feedback from errors they commit as well as errors others commit. By receiving corrective input through this exposure, they can hypothesize how the language works and test these hypotheses. That is to say that English-Only in an ELS classroom facilitates proficiency through exposure. No wonder Krashen (1985) opined that learners’ use of L1 (mother tongue or native language) in class could contribute to impede the success of exposure in facilitating proficiency. One of the major claims from the advocates of the English-Only policy is that the learning of a second language (L2) should model the learning of an L1 (through maximum exposure to the L2).

2. Native Language Domination
Students most often will take the easy route and speak in their native languages because they are easier. According to Cummins and Swain (1986, in Dash 2002), if the mother tongue is used together with the second language, students would tend to tune out the one which they felt uneasy about, and it would be detrimental to L2 (English) learning. However, English-Only classroom keeps the native language from dominating and puts more emphasis on the language being learnt.

3. Confidence factor
Requiring students to speak only in English in an ESL classroom will help them become more comfortable and confident in expressing themselves in English.


However, there are certainly arguments to be made for allowing students to communicate in other languages, especially where English is being learnt and taught as a second language. Here are some of the better points made against English-only Policy in an ESL classroom:

1. It can lead to students’ incomprehension and resentment
Sometimes, using the keywords in the target language (English ) and the native language will create understanding among the students. Also, providing directions with certain keywords in the native language helps the students understand what to do. It is found that students who are allowed to use L1 had acquired L2 faster than students who used only L2 in their classrooms (Auerbach, 1993). This is not to promote speaking or fully give directions in the students’ native language for prolonged periods of time, but occasional use will not hurt the students’ use of the L2. Therefore, imposing English-Only policy will only lead to students’ incomprehension and resentment. Harbord (1992) drew our attention to the fact that many language teachers have tried to create an English-Only classroom only to realize that they have failed to get the meaning across, leading to students' incomprehension and resentment. With struggling lower-level students, this is especially evident. Instruction in English only simply leads to their frustration (Burden, 2000), and this automatically creates a barrier and unnecessary tension between students and teachers. The alienation of students from the learning process will then come as an inevitable consequence (Patchler and Field, 2001). 

2. It is impractical
The biggest problem with the English-Only policy to teaching English as a Second Language (ESL) is that it is very impractical (Phillipson, 1992, p 191). One reason the exclusion of L1 is impractical is that the majority of English teachers are not native speakers (Hawks, 2001, p. 50). Sometimes, the English of the teachers is not very good, and by insisting on an English-Only policy, we can severely undermine their ability to communicate and consequently their ability to teach. 

3. It reduces participation
Enforcing the sole use of the Target Language (TL), which is English in this case, can often lead to a reduced performance on the part of the teacher and the alienation of students from the learning process (Pachler & Field, 2001, p. 85). If students are restrained by language, then those who do not possess the language will remain quiet. However, if the students are able to speak the native language and receive feedback from other students or educators, they will know more opportunity to use the target language. As Auerbach (1993) observed, students who are unable to participate in English-Only classroom will have an opportunity to study using both their L1 and L2.

4. Tension and barrier
Monolingual teaching or English-Only policy can create tension and a barrier between students and teachers, and there are many occasions when it is inappropriate or impossible (Pachler & Field, 2001, p. 86).  When something in a lesson is not being understood and is then clarified through the use of L1, that barrier and tension can be reduced or removed. According to Auerbach (1993), using L1 reduces barriers to language learning and develops rapport between teachers and students and between the students themselves.

     5. It crushes students’ confidence
Some students, especially lower-level students, will feel burdened by their inability to speak in the language. This can lead to a decline in confidence and demotivate the students from participation.

Harbord (1993, p.354) gave three reasons for using L1 in the classroom: facilitating communication, facilitating teacher-student relationships, and facilitating the learning of L2. Cook elaborated further by stating that teachers should use L1 to convey meaning and organize the class. Students can use it for scaffolding (building up the basics, from which further learning can be processed) and for cooperative learning with fellow classmates (Cook, 2001, p. 410).  Perhaps the biggest reason for using L1 in the classroom though is that it can save a lot of time and confusion (Harbord, 1992, p. 351). 

While arguing for the option of using L1 in the classroom, most researchers have at the same time cautioned against the overuse of it (Burden, 2000, p.9) because it can create an over reliance on it (Polio, 1994, p.153) and can oversimplify differences between the two languages, create laziness among students and a failure to maximize English (Atkinson, 1987, p. 247).

The difference between "Let's" and "Lets"

The misuse of these words is very common among social media users. Other words which have really confused most English users in terms of usage are 'advise and advice', 'bother and border', 'taught and thought', 'once and ones', 'where and were', 'there and their', 'weather and whether' etc. Although I will provide some hints on how to distinguish between these words which are somewhat phonetically related, it is important I first discuss the thematic preoccupation of this article.
The difference between "Let's" and "Lets"
As regards pronunciation, these words (let's and lets) are the same, but they are semantically and structurally different. In other words, they are pronounced alike but have different spellings and meanings.

"Lets", which means to allow, permit or release, is the third-person singular form of the verb "let". Therefore, you are expected to say, "I let", "You let" but "He/She lets", and "It lets".

"Let's", on the other hand, is the contracted form of "let us". It is inappropriate to write "let's us". It is either you use "let's" or "let us".
1. "Let's always visit Tammy's English blog." This can as well be written as "Let us always visit Tammy's English blog."

2. I will be upset with her if she lets the prisoner leave.

In sum, "let's" means "let us" whereas "lets" means “to allow or permit.”  The wrong use of these words is not noticeable in speech, but in writing. Therefore, you should always ensure an appropriate use of these words when writing.

Below are some of the confusing words in English and hints on how to use them appropriately.

The importance of the word "GRAB" in the life of a woman

There are already too many books instructing women on how to keep their men. It is quite saddening that authors of these books seem to forget that women also need to be kept or taken care of. I think what is good (or sauce) for the goose should as well be good (or sauce) for the gander. Therefore, this article strictly instructs men on how to keep their women. And to achieve this, they (men) only need to know how to use the word GRAB. This word is magical; it has prevented many relationships and marriages from meeting their tragic and untimely end. If fully utilised, yours can never be an exception. Below is its prescription. Use it without making mistakes.  
The importance of the word "GRAB" in the life of a woman

1. Grab her heart when she is falling in love with you. Don’t pursue her only for her to end up being in love alone.

2. Grab her gently by the neck when you are kissing her. It makes her blood run.

3. Grab her shopping bags when you go shopping together or when she comes home from shopping alone. She has strong arms, but it feels good when she has a gentleman.

4. Grab her kiss when she blows it to you from a distance. Don’t let the air or sun evaporate it.

5. Grab her butt gently when she least expects it. She lets no other man touch her awesome behind.

6. Grab her with your strong arms when making love, not too forceful, not too loose; just the right amount of pressure. She loves it when her husband takes control in bed.

7. Grab her in your arms when you miss her or when she gets emotional. She loves to feel protected and needed.

8. Grab your new born baby lovingly with a smile when your wife gives birth. It warms her heart to see her husband welcome the child to this world.

9. Grab her hand when she is climbing up a "raised" platform in public or stairs in private. It makes her feel like a Queen.

1O. Grab and squeeze her chest when you are behind her and feeling naughty and playful. Breasts are sensual and intimate to a woman. She loves it when her husband feels her up.

11. Grab her when she trips and is about to fall down. This shows that you are looking out for her.

12. Grab the meal she has cooked for you like a hungry man. She loves it when her husband has an appetite for the food she took time to prepare with love.

13. Grab a copy of the newspaper or magazine when her interview is published there. She feels supported when her man is her biggest fan. She loves to make you proud.

14. Keep grabbing, but always grab like a gentleman.

How and when to use "some" and "any" in sentences to express the quantity/amount of something

Most English users completely lack clarity as regards when and how to use some and any to express the quantity or amount of something, especially money. Thus they use these words interchangeably without a second thought. This article is written to tackle this friendly problem. Lol! Of course, it is friendly. Until you see a problem as a problem, it is still friendly. Perhaps you will realise it is a problem after reading this article. But it will be a problem solved. Are you ready to sail with me? Let's cruise!

How and when to use "some" and "any" in sentences to express the quantity of something

These words (some and any) are used to express quantity, to say or ask if you have a quantity of something or not. However, they differ in terms of usage.

"Some" is used in positive or affirmative sentences to talk or ask about an uncertain quantity of something or a considerable amount of something. In other words, you use "some" when referring to the quantity of something which you have or is available.
1. Tammy has some money in his pocket.
2. I have seen some women in the hall.
3. Do you have some books for me?
4. There are some mangoes in the basket.

On the other hand, any is used in negative and interrogative sentences. If you don't have something, it is appropriate to use any instead of some when expressing the quantity of something.
1. Tammy does not have any money.
2. I don't have any children.
3. There isn't any reason to worry.

1. Tammy does not have some money.
2. There aren't some reasons to worry.
3. Tammy has any pen in his pocket.

Will you give me some of the textbooks?

i. Yes, I will give you some.
ii. No, I won't give you any.

In sum, use "some" and "any" in positive and negative sentences respectively.

Common English Errors: A compilation of Tammy's online English tutorials 2

Hello friends, this is the episode two of Tammy's online English tutorials. If you missed the first episode, kindly read it up HERE.
Common English Errors: A compilation of Tammy's online English tutorials 2

Remember, no one is immune to making errors when learning, writing or speaking the English language, but you should always ensure that you don't repeat the following errors after learning their correct forms:

1. Please, note that you don't "WRECK HAVOC". You WREAK HAVOC.

2. DON'T SAY: Heavy Downpour.
JUST SAY: Downpour.

"Downpour" already means “a heavy rain”. Therefore, it is unnecessary to describe it with "heavy".

3. Okay. The word is not "CAPSIDE" but "CAPSIZE". Are you still wondering? I mean a boat does not "CAPSIDE" but CAPSIZES.

4. When you are getting fatter, you are GAINING WEIGHT and not ADDING WEIGHT. "Adding weight" does not mean getting fatter.

5. I don't like her, TALK LESS OF making friends with her.
I don't like her, LET ALONE/MUCH LESS making friends with her.  
Avoid the use of "Talk less of".

6. How have you been saying this?
As at when (due).
As and when (due).

7. DON'T SAY: Should in case...
EITHER SAY: "Should" or "In case"
EXAMPLE: Should it rain.../In case it rains...

NOT: Should in case it rains...

8. Who is fooling WHO?
Who is fooling WHOM? 

Use "who" if it can be replaced with "he/she/they". And use "whom" if it can be replaced with "him/her/them". "Who is fooling whom" is correct because the sentence can be rewritten as "Who is fooling him/her/them."

9. Which is your school of thought?
Pump and plain 
Prompt and plain 
10. DON'T SAY: I "intentionally pretended" I didn't see him.
SAY: I pretended I didn't see him.

This is because "pretence" is something that is done intentionally.

11. Have you ever wondered why your meals are always not tasty? You've been making use of "GROUNDED PEPPER" instead of GROUND PEPPER. Always say, "Ground pepper".

12. The police IS your friend.
 The police ARE your friends. ✅ 
 The policeman is my friend.  

13. Next time, SAY: It slipped/escaped my mind.
 DON'T SAY: It skipped my mind.

14. A European.
 An European.

15. Dear choristers, is it "The most excellency is Jesus..." or "The most excellent king is Jesus..."? Please, the latter is very correct.

16. I hear most people sing, "I searched all over; I COULDN'T find NOBODY..." This means you found someone. Always avoid the use of double negatives in English.

17. If you're educated but still pronounce or spell FORK as "FERK", you are not ignorant. You are absolutely corrupt. The word, "fork", is pronounced as spelt. So, clear your negative thoughts. Lol!

18. Don't Say: I have rang the bell.
 Say: I have rung the bell.

Always use the past participle of the main verb after the auxiliary verb, "HAVE".

19. Don't Say: I was OPPORTUNED to meet him in person.
Say: I had an opportunity to meet in person.

"Opportune" is not a verb. It is an adjective. 

20. Don't Say: The President CASTED his vote yesterday.
Say: The President CAST his vote yesterday.

"Cast" is an irregular verb.

The reason why you can't say "second to the last" in English

Just when I thought I have known a lot about the English language, I discovered another phrase which I have been saying wrongly. Indeed, English is a language we can't stop learning irrespective of our degrees in either the language or other fields of study. The continuous learning of this language keeps you abreast of its hidden realities. So, let's learn.

The reason why you can't say "second to the last" in English

"Second to the last" is a very common phrase among second learners of English. Of course we use it appropriately. We use it to refer to something or someone that is immediately preceding the end of a sequence or list. For example, we do say, "The second to the last person" or "The second to the last name." 

Unfortunately, most of us do not know that this is not the right way of stating the phrase probably because the difference between the actual phrase and the way we state it is quite subtle. Yes, the difference is quite subtle because the right way of stating the phrase is, "second to last". The article (the) which is nearest to "last" shouldn't be there. It should only precede the word “second”, for example “The second to last seat.”

Again, Merriam Webster Dictionary describes it as an idiom, and idioms are fixed expressions, that is, their structures and meanings always remain the same regardless of the situation. Changing their structures means altering their meanings and depriving them of their idiomatic status. Therefore, you don't write or say "second to the last" instead of "second to last".

Other ways you can state the phrase, the second to last, in English are: "the next to last", "the one before last"; or "the penultimate". For those who may still find it difficult to state the phrase correctly, I advise you always use the third option, that is, "the penultimate". This will save you from any form of confusion and the wracking of brain as regards where to place the definite article in the phrase. It will also interest you to note that "the penultimate" is a more acceptable form in British English as an everyday or layman's term unlike in other varieties of English where it is regarded as slightly pretentious in normal spoken context.

In sum, don't say, "The second to the last," but say, "The second to last" if you must use this phrase. The definite article “the” shouldn't come before "last". Always place it at the beginning of the phrase.