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E The fifth letter of the alphabet, // in the IPA, a vowel, and ECHO in the NATO Phonetic Alphabet. To remember the way to say it, think of the E in e-mail.

EDITING This is the process of preparing written material for publication. The process of editing can include correcting, altering text to make it read better, cutting text into fewer words but not lose the original meaning intended by the writer, removing text that would be considered unimportant to the rest of the piece, or even rearranging the whole text so that it becomes clearer and easier to understand. Editing usually includes proofing.

ELISION The verb form is to elide. This is when we leave out syllables or vowels at the beginning or the end of a word, sometimes replacing them with an apostrophe. This is particularly popular in poetry, especially if the writer wants to maintain a poetic meter (to try to keep to a fixed rhythm). For example: It was a fine morn at the cusp of a dawn. The word 'morning' has been cut to 'morn', leaving out the syllable -ing to fit both rhythm and rhyme. Shakespeare's works are full of elisions: But with thy brawls thou hast disturb’d our sport. Other examples: 'tis Fred who escaped! He's a ne'er do well (elided form of 'never') I gotta get outta here! (elided forms of 'got to' and 'out of'). 

ELLIPSIS This term is often used in written text to show, particularly in language analysis, words or sentences that have been left out because it is clear from the context or situation what is meant, e.g., A: How many lessons have you got tomorrow? B: <I’ve got> Two <lessons tomorrow> . Here, the second speaker leaves out ‘I’ve got’ and ‘tomorrow’ as it is not necessary to say these and would be understood from the context. These are examples of an ellipsis.

ELOQUENCE This is having the ability - and it's a very useful ability - to use language to its best effect. This can be done by choosing a style or register either by writing or speaking that can be powerful, effective, and perhaps even persuasive. It's basically the use of words that, once expressed and communicated, is well and truly noticed by the receiver and its message has had a positive effect on them: I don't like him much, but he speaks with great eloquence.


EMBEDDED CLAUSE This is a clause that is within a main clause, usually (but not always) marked by commas, for example: My mum, who is very old, goes swimming every day. (The embedded clause is underlined.) These are often found in relative clauses. See also the process below, which is known as embedding.

EMBEDDING This is when one phrase is put inside another phrase. Look at this phrase: The teachers at the school are  overworked. The prepositional phrase at the school is embedded in the phrase The teachers are overworked

EMBELLISHMENT This is defined by adding on extra details to make something look or appear better and nicer. In writing, this is often used to extend or 'stretch' out the truth in a story to make it sould more interesting, exciting or even realistic. This website, for example, has had thousands and thousands of hits every month from many famous people. When speaking, politicians often embellish the truth about many things in order to be popular. Newspapers may have excellent examples of embellishment in their articles, also around the subject of politics. See also exaggeration.

EM DASH Not important unless you're a style guide editor or a publishing pedant. See hyphen.

EMOJI If you don't know what this is yet, then it's a digital image used to express an emotion in electronic communication such as emails or text messages. It's mentioned here because it has changed the way people communicate all over the world, some even suggested it being a new language. It is argued that text alone lacks emotional expression, and emojis  are able to express body language. As regards being a language on its own, this is perhaps unlikely for one main reason: a system of grammar, the one fundamental feature of human language.

EMPHASIS This is extra force that you put on a syllable, word, or phrase when you are speaking in order to make it seem more important. See also stress.

EMPHATIC SENTENCE This is a sentence that is given more emphasis, or made emphatic, by the addition of an exclamation mark (!). In this way, the word that has this exclamation mark added is expressing more importance and even urgent. So remember that!

ENCYCLOPEDIA This is a book or a set of books which contain facts and information. These can be on many different subjects or perhaps just on the one particular subject, and arranged in alphabetical order.  Compare with dictionary and glossary

EN DASH Hey - what did I just tell you a couple of entries ago? See hyphen. Dear me, some people don't read, do they?

END-FOCUS This is when new or important information is added towards the end of a sentence or clause. For example: What is it? It's a dog. Often this is because information that is already known to the reader or listener is placed at the beginning and so new information is placed at the end: Typical Errors in English is a great grammar book; It was written by Gareth P Roper. These pieces of new information are often preceded by a dummy subject, (e.g. it, there) or when the subject is after the verbThere were two strange-looking men standing near the bank. 

END-WEIGHT When long phrases, often including additional information that the listener or reader would like to be aware of, are placed at the end of a sentence or clause instead of at the start. Compare this end-focus example: 101 Grammar Questions was written by Scott Thornbury. Now here is an end-weight example: 101 Grammar Questions was written by the well-respected teacher and teacher educator, and author of several award-winning books on language, Scott Thornbury.

ENGLISH AS A FOREIGN LANGUAGE The term used to describe a language that is used by people usually as their second language and not as their native language. In this case it's English, but of course it could be French or German or another example as a foreign language.

ENGLISH LANGUAGE The sounds and written symbols expressed by people who communicate by using English. However, there are several varieties of the language, something you can discover just by clicking on what forms are available when you want to change the language in your WORD program. If you'd like to know more on how the language formed, then do check out A Brief History of English, to be found on this lovely website.

EPITHET This is a formal or literary word to describe an adjective or short phrase but used as a way of criticizing or praising someone, to describe their attributes or qualities. They can also be synonymous with the person. for example in the negative sense, someone who takes religion so seriously and knocks on people's doors to express the feelings can be known as 'God-Botherers', while positively, the Leicester City team that won the English football Premier League in 2016 were known as 'the Misfits', as they were a group of footballers mainly made up of rejects, free transfers and bought cheaply from other clubs.

EPONYM This is a name of something such as a place or product that comes from the name of a real person, such as diesel (named after engineer Rudolf Diesel, who invented the diesel engine) or silhouette (named after French author Étienne de Silhouette). See also eponymous

EPONYMOUS If something is eponymous, it can be a person after which a book or film is named after (the eponymous character of the film Don Quixote), or even after its creator; the style of many works are often described as being in the style of a particular writer, for example, George Orwell or Franz Kafka. See Kafkaesque and Orwellian.

ESSAY Something you remember from school and how much you hated them. Okay, well, an essay is either a short piece of writing on one particular subject (oh, the nightmares). However, they aren't contained to the happiest days of our lives: they are also short pieces of writing on one particular subject that is written by a writer for publication. Like me (the writer) for this (the website) and even a book (TEE). One of these days, I'm sure the newspaper will be there too.

ETYMOLOGY Not only for English but for other languages too. Etymology is what you study when you are looking into how words and phrases developed from when they started and to how they developed historically in forms and meanings. For example, the etymology of many English words show that they come from other languages and that English 'borrowed' them and added them to the language. Take the word 'tsunami', meaning 'a very large wave, often caused by an earthquake, that flows onto the land and destroys things'. Although this is now commonly used in the English language, it originates from Japanese. Studies show that it was first used in 1896, but became more well-known and used after a giant wave hit Indonesia in 2004. Before then, the more common (but less accurate) term was 'tidal wave'.

EXAGGERATION This is a statement that creates a worse, or better, image or situation than it really is, and is used to highlight points and add emphasis to a feeling, an idea, an action, or a feature. Using exaggeration in writing allows something to be described but in a heightened way to make it sound more remarkable than it really is. So to say that Typical Errors in English is the greatest English language website in the world would be an exaggeration, and certainly not the truth.

EXCLAMATION A sound, word or sentence that is spoken suddenly and usually emphatically or loudly as the speaker wants to express something that suggests strong feelings in the form of excitement, anger, shock or admiration. When written, these words or sentences are usually ended by an exclamation mark (!) . Most spoken exclamations usually appear in the form of adjective phrases: Great! Super! Absolutely bloody brilliant! Of course, some of these exclamations can appear in the form of taboo words, so do be careful...

EXCLAMATION MARK The symbol (!) , often used at the end of exclamations both in written and spoken English. They are also used in writing for commands: Attention! Come here! Close the gates! As an extra note, in cartoon comic strips (The Asterix series being an excellent example), characters are often expressing sudden strong feelings silently (often as shock) by a speech bubble containing either a single exclamation mark or even more.

EXPLETIVE See taboo word.


EXPRESSION In grammar terms, the explanation is simple: it's a word or phrase. Isn't it good when definitions are as simple as that?

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