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Joe's Cafe

Joe's Cafe

Personal blog of EnglishClub founder Josef Essberger - see Menu

What abbreviations and acronyms do you know?

abbreviationAn abbreviation is something like “Dr” or “Dr.” for “Doctor”, or “Ltd” or “Ltd.” for “Limited”.

An acronym is made from the First Letters of other words, for example “NASA” for “National Aeronautics and Space Administration”, or “laser” for “Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation”.

What abbreviations and acronyms do you know?

Alcohol should be illegal



What do you think

about THAT?!

Mobile Phones Dangerous?

mobile phonesSome scientists now say that

mobile phones are dangerous and

may damage our brains

or cause cancer.

But not all scientists agree.

What do you think?

footer versus footnote

A reader writes: “Is the word ‘footer’, now used in documents and written on one of your pages, a correct English word? I think it was created by Microsoft, and I believe the word ‘footnote’ would be more appropriate.”

Let’s try to clear this up. I’m not sure whether the word “footer” was coined by Microsoft or not, but if it was it made it into my 1995 edition of Concise Oxford Dictionary. For the context that we are discussing, the two words can be defined as:

  • footnote (noun): a note at the bottom of a specific page usually about something on that page.
  • footer (noun): a piece of text or programming code repeated at the bottom of every page.

Footnote: the word “footer” can also be used in combinations such as “six-footer” (a man who is six feet tall) and “right-footer” (a specific kick in football etc).

Everything will be OK

Everything will be OK

Just how much this post-riots message of hope in 21st-century Bangkok draws upon the similarly repetitive 14th-century “All shall be well” by Julian of Read on »

The Prophet ~ Children

And a woman who held a babe against her bosom said, Speak to us of Children.

And he said:

Your children are not your children.

They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.

They come through you but not Read on »

specially or especially?

Many people wonder if there is a difference between the adverbs “specially” and “especially”. Even native speakers aren’t always sure how to use them. In some cases they can actually mean the same thing, especially in informal speech. However, for the sake of simplicity, here are the basic differences Read on »

cannot or can not?

People often ask me whether they should write cannot (1 word) or can not (2 words). Read on »

Saying of the Day

A saying is a short, clever expression that usually contains advice or expresses some obvious truth. Many traditional sayings are still in general use today. Read on »

How long is a question?

Today I was asked a question that at first sight seems very much like the famous “How long is a piece of string?” question. “How long is a piece of string?” is something that people say when asked a question and they want to answer “It depends”, “It depends on the situation”, “It depends on the circumstances”, “How can I possibly answer that question without more information?” In other words, “You’re asking a pretty stupid question which is impossible to answer.” Here’s the question that someone asked me: “How long is a question?”

Mmmm. Let’s see. Let’s just take two hypothetical questions and measure them: Read on »