May 25, 2017

British vs. American English: Word Lists, Grammar Tips, Accent and More

This post will provide an overview of some of the key differences of British (United Kingdom - UK) English and American English. This post will give you guidelines in how to use these two languages, especially in interacting with American clients.

These two Englishes vary in many ways:
  1. Spelling
  2. Grammar
  3. Accent 
  4. Word Use
  5. Slang

May 22, 2017

Do I Use Were or We're?

Some get confused between the words were and we're. Let's look at the difference and a simple way to self-correct. 

Jennifer Kumar, author, at the Taj Mahal
in the year 2000. Read more here.
Were - When to Use
While "were" is second person singular past, plural past, and past subjunctive of be, I promise not to get too much into the technical aspects of grammar here. Were is used to talk about somebody having been somewhere. For instance, we could say, "Where were you?" or "Were you at the Taj Mahal?" or even, "They were at the Taj Mahal." 

When we are talking about someone being somewhere "were" is spelled as one word without the apostrophe between the e and the r. For example, "We're you at the Taj Mahal?" is incorrect. 

*Note: While "we're" and "were" are pretty much pronounced the same, "where" and "were" do not sound the same. The video below will help you to get the difference easily and quickly.

We're - When to Use 
We're is a contraction. That means this word is actually made up of two words. We + are = we're. Hence, the words we're and were have two different meanings. 

We're does not expand to we were.

While it is perfectly fine to say, "Where were you?" it is not at all correct to write, "Where we're you?"  (Note: In spoken English "were" and "we're" are pronounced the same way.)
While saying, "Were you at the Taj Mahal?" is correct, "We're you at the Taj Mahal?" is incorrect. 

Can "We're" and "Were" Come in the Same Sentence?
As "we're" is present tense and "were" is in versions of past tense sentences, it's doubtful.

Learn to Self-Correct: We're vs. Were 
In my eyes, the easiest way to try to self-correct is to write the sentence with "we're" then again expanding this to "we are" and see if the sentence still makes sense. If it does, then "we're" is the correct word. However, if it doesn't make sense, then "were" is the correct word.

With "we're": Where we're you? 
Expanded: Where we are you?
Ask yourself: "Does this make sense?"
If yes, then keep it as "we're," if not, change it to "were."
In this case it is WRONG. So, we must write, "Where were you?"

With "we're": We're going to the Taj Mahal?
Expanded: We are going to the Taj Mahal?
Ask yourself: "Does this make sense?"
If yes, then keep it as "we're," if not, change it to "were."
In this case it is RIGHT, so no changes are needed.

With "we're": We're you at the Taj Mahal?
Expanded: We are you at the Taj Mahal?
Ask yourself: "Does this make sense?"
If yes, then keep it as "we're," if not, change it to "were."
In this case it is WRONG. So, we must write, "Were you at the Taj Mahal?"

With "we're": They we're at the Taj Mahal.
Expanded: They we are at the Taj Mahal.
Ask yourself: "Does this make sense?"
If yes, then keep it as "we're," if not, change it to "were."
In this case it is WRONG. So, we must write, "They were at the Taj Mahal."

I hope these tips help you to self-correct your English grammar when using the words "were" and "we're." Feel free to get in touch with us if you'd like to take grammar or email coaching with our grammar experts over Skype.

Related posts: 
How to use the full stop or period 
When to use the question mark 
When to use advice vs. advise 

May 15, 2017

American Holidays Small Talk Newsletter - May- June 2017

What holidays and observences do Americans celebrate in May and June? Listen to the video or scroll below the video to learn more.

The American Holidays Small Talk Newsletter vlog.

Holidays and Observances in the United States in May and June
Welcome to the Route 66 Welcome Center.
End of April to End of June is the Graduation Season
2nd Sunday of May is Mother's Day
4th Monday of May is Memorial Day
June 14 is Flag Day
3rd Sunday of June is Father's Day

Learn more about these holidays by watching the video above and following these links on the Authentic Journeys' blog:
Learn about Dad's and Grads 

More about Memorial Day:
Facts about Memorial Day 
Small Talk Topics and News Clips for Memorial Day 
Questions you can ask to start conversations about Memorial Day 

Photos and Videos from Our Route 66 Trip through Missouri, Kansas and Oklahoma in 2016

First stop: The Gateway Arch in St. Louis, Missouri (pictured last)
Second stop: Springfield, Missouri (Missouri State University)
Third stop: Route 66 Visitor's Center
Fourth stop: Joplin 44 Petro (Truck Stop)
Fifth Stop: Cars on the 66 (Tow Mater picture in Kansas)
Sixth Stop (Final): Vinita, Oklahoma (Mexican food and Rodeo)

Jennifer Kumar, Managing Director of Authentic Journeys, with her husband at Missouri State University
Welcome Center for the Historic Route 66

Video of the Missouri Route 66 Human Size Replica of Olden Days Route 66 Road/Town

A big rig inside Joplin 44 Truck Stop Shop.
Dashboard lights drivers can buy.

Route 66 in Kansas.

Holding a kangaroo at the rodeo.
Mater -at Cars on the 66 in Kansas.

Sunrise at Joplin 44 Truck Stop.
St. Louis Gateway Arch
Playlist of videos from the rodeo in Vinitha, Oklahoma.

If interested, see more photos: 
Indiana, Illinois, Missouri 

May 7, 2017

Compare European Business Cultures: Slovenia vs. Germany

In the video in this post, Jennifer Kumar speaks to Nusa Veber about the cross-cultural differences one can face in working in Slovenia and Germany.

Topics of discussion in the video:
  • Geography of the countries in Europe. Travel options between the two countries.
  • Differences working between Slovenia and Germany: autonomy, bureaucratic process differences, how Germans and Slovenians socialize outside of working hours.
  • Similarities working between the European countries in Germany and Slovenia: knowing the local language of each respective country (English is not widely used), company hierarchy and position.
View video on YouTube.

Related Posts:
Avoid Mistakes when Working with Europeans (a focus on the U.K. vs. Finland)
Introduction to Slovenia: National Culture and Basic Facts 
European Culture- It's not all the same!  

May 5, 2017

Business English Idioms and Synonyms for “Hurry and Finish”

Working with Americans can be confusing at times due to American’s use of idioms or phrasal verbs. Idioms and phrasal verbs are strings of simple words when put together have a figurative meaning. 

In an earlier post, we looked at some idioms about time and disagreement. In this post we will look at some idioms that will commonly be used when talking about finishing a project in a rush, or hurrying to finish as the team approaches a [new or established] deadline.