Some Important Differences between Colons and Semicolons – An Essential Guide

Some Important Differences between Colons and Semicolons – An Essential Guide

Differences between Colons and Semicolons To sharpen up your English-language writing skills, a sound knowledge of the differences between colons and semicolons is recommended. These punctuation marks may appear similar, but their respective purposes are distinct, and mixing them up can bring confusion. To outline some important differences between colons and semicolons, concise guides to both are provided below. Colons (:) Essentially, the colon introduces or defines something. Introduction “Canada is made up of the following ten provinces: Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, Ontario, Prince Edward Island, Quebec, and Saskatchewan.” “The main problem for Africa at that time was obvious: famine.” In the latter example, the colon could be replaced with a comma and the word “namely” and it would still make sense; however, the colon here adds greater emphasis to the problem being introduced. Mathematicians will also be familiar with the colon being used in various technical contexts such as time (10:45) and ratios (20:1). Semicolons (;) On the other hand, the semicolon has one prominent purpose: to combine two already complete sentences that are closely connected. “It was one of the driest summers on record in the region; the lack of rainfall did not bode well for the harvest.” Here, a full stop could replace the semicolon to create two sentences, which would still be grammatically acceptable. Likewise, replacing the semicolon with the word “and” would be fine. The semicolon however allows the writer to demonstrate to the reader the tightness of the connection between the first and second parts. It also instructs the reader to take a short pause, thus...
English words of Arabic origin

English words of Arabic origin

Its influence on Spanish is perhaps better known, but Arabic, largely due to the Islamic Golden Age (8th to 13th century), has also penetrated the English language. Indeed, even today there are several English words of Arabic origin commonly used, five examples of which are listed below:   5 English Words of Arabic Origin    Alcohol The term comes from the Arabic word al-kuhl (the kohl), a form of eyeliner. As this cosmetic was made via an extraction process from a mineral, European chemists began to refer to anything involving extraction / distillation as alcohol. Therefore, although much of the Arabic-speaking world remains alcohol-free, the Arabic language can claim responsibility for naming one of the West’s favourite forms of consumption.   Arsenal Today, London-based Arsenal Football Club enjoys worldwide popularity, but few of its followers would realize that its moniker comes from the Arabic term dār al-sināʿa, which literally means “house of manufacturing”, a convenient description when one considers how many raw talents its manager Arsene Wenger has turned into the final article over the past 20 years or so.   Coffee Nowadays you don’t have to walk far for an overpriced cappuccino, but the name for coffee may have travelled further than you might imagine. Arabia originally got its coffee from eastern Africa and called it qahwah; this was then shuttled to Turkey where it was dubbed kahve before being embraced by the Italians who called it caffè. By the time this workplace-necessity reached Britain, it came to be known as coffee.   Sofa The Arabic word suffa refers to a raised, carpeted platform on which people sat....
How to Write a Personal Statement for University Applications – 7 Crucial Steps

How to Write a Personal Statement for University Applications – 7 Crucial Steps

Leading by example, this article gets straight to the point. No superfluous text or tales, just seven crucial steps on how to write a personal statement for university applications. 1. Clarity from the Kick-off Your personal statement will be short, normally no more than a full page. So make every word count. The first sentence is vital. Be accurate, brief and clear by stating the course being applied for and what has motivated you to apply. If you are currently studying in a similar field, mention this expressly as this demonstrates your suitability right from the start. 2. Fitting In By now the course admissions officer knows what and why, so it’s time for who. Provide details of your personal achievements, ticking off the course criteria often contained in the university’s course prospectus (this is a great guide to follow!), and confidently outline why you are suitably prepared for this academic step. Read up on the course in depth. Having done so, exhibit your detailed knowledge of what the course will entail and, more importantly, expressly why you are capable of meeting its challenges. 3. Extra-curricular can be Extra Interesting If you’ve taken your interest in your subject outside the library, then show this off. Perhaps you attended a conference or study session, wrote a newspaper or journal article or even visited the country or region of study… 4. Be Super, not Superfluous However, do not be tenuous. Work experience or summer schools are well worthy of a mention, but the admissions officer won’t be impressed by who you follow on Twitter or the pages you like on Facebook....
How to Write a CV – Five Essential Mistakes to Avoid

How to Write a CV – Five Essential Mistakes to Avoid

1. Spam? No thank you, Ma’am Job hunting is a notoriously excruciating process, as you hope that one encouraging reply or phone call will surface amid a tide of rejection. The temptation is often to apply for as many positions as possible, which is logical. Remember, however, to afford each application the proper, unique focus it deserves. Modify your CV for every single application, linking your past experiences and achievements to the particular post being applied for. Generic CVs are easy to spot, and will have your prospective employer irked in an instant. Clearly, tailoring every application will be considerably more time-consuming but ten well-measured applications will deliver a higher success rate than 100 copied and pasted, blunt stabs in the dark. 2. Proofreading (contact ALBA EDITING!) To err is human, to forgive divine. This is NOT a mantra adopted by your prospective employer when it comes to assessing CVs, who instead is actively seeking any worthwhile reason to consign your application to the recycling bin, and there are few more glaring justifications for this than a mistake in spelling, punctuation or grammar. Your spellchecker will flag up most such errors, but it cannot be fully trusted. Have your CV read by an attentive and experienced friend or family member. Or better still, have your CV professionally proofread to ensure your application is flawless: a good proofreader’s objectivity is invaluable in this situation. 3. Presentation When you go for an interview, you’ll make sure you look your best: dry-cleaned suit, an ironed shirt, a shave, haircut and make-up will, in varying proportions, be part of the pre-interview repertoire. But dedication...
The Ukraine or not the Ukraine..?

The Ukraine or not the Ukraine..?

As war rages in its eastern regions, foreign reaction and assistance to Ukraine has often been questioned. Indeed, the country’s name has even been the subject of contention and controversy, as illustrated when US President Barack Obama last year referred to the country as “the Ukraine.” Some may well regard this as a harmless mistake, while others would not detect a mistake at all. This use, however, of a definite article, namely “the Ukraine” instead of “Ukraine”, has deep-rooted historical and political connotations, which have now intensified during this particularly sensitive juncture in international relations. When Ukraine was part of the Soviet Union, it was referred to as “the Ukraine”, the implication being that it was part of the Moscow-ruled communist empire. Upon gaining its independence in 1991, Ukraine constitutionally confirmed its name as “Ukraine”: a “the-ectomy” was thus legally performed, a lexical statement of disassociation from its Soviet past. Some Ukrainians therefore may barely excuse a layman for applying the officially banished definite article to their country’s name, never mind a US president. The definite article is commonly used for “the Netherlands” and “the Philippines” and such usage would often not even draw a murmur of discontent from either country’s natives.  Nevertheless, the US Department of State cautiously claims that only two countries in the world that should be afforded the courtesy of a definite article before their name are The Gambia and The Bahamas. Definite articles are widely used for geographical features such as forests, rivers and cities but their application for countries is, in most cases, wrong. For instance, the River Congo is often called simply “the Congo” but the...