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What Happen or What Happened: Understanding Grammar and Usage

“Happen” is a regular, much-used verb that most English students will discover early in their language journey. It is an active, intransitive verb, and knowing how to use it in all its tenses is important for fluency. When asking what has occurred in the past, we say, “What happened?” If we were to ask what …

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Country vs. Nation: Similarities and Differences

While globalization has brought various challenges to nations or countries since the 1990s, the bonds of common culture, values, and family remain strong in many such nations. We often use the terms “country” and “nation” interchangeably, but have you ever wondered what the difference between a country and a nation is? The expressions “country” and …

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In the Beginning or at the Beginning: Understanding the Differences and Usage

Beginnings are amazing. They mark the start of new chapters, new ideas, new relationships, and new challenges. But as you turn that metaphorical (or physical) page, should you say “at the beginning” or “in the beginning?” “At the beginning” should be used to reference the start of a time period or to reference specific placement …

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In Home or at Home: Which Is the Correct Form?

When speaking or writing in English, subtle differences in phrasing and word choice can make your language appear fluent and accomplished — or it can demonstrate that you don’t have a grasp of English grammar. The correct phrase to use is usually “I am at home.” when you’re speaking about being in your house or …

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Beneficial for or Beneficial to: What’s the Difference?

If you’ve recently watched a commercial or two in the US, you’ve likely heard that a promoted product is beneficial for your skin, your health, or perhaps your waning energy levels – but is it beneficial “to,” or is it beneficial “for”?   The difference between “beneficial to” and “beneficial for” lies in the preposition that …

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Weird or Wierd: Which is Correct?

Most English language learners know the mnemonic “I before e, except after c.” One uses this rhyme to determine whether to use the digraph “ei” or “ie.” English teachers and learners are often not sure whether this short rhyme applies to the word “weird,” so is “weird” or “wierd” the correct spelling? The correct spelling …

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