Language in use  
English Language & Linguistics

English Language


Language In Use

hear it, speak it,
it & use it


This site aims to help students learn about - and teachers teach - the English language.
See The Site Map for a full list of pages and themes.
There are tasks to help work through the material, expert advice and strategies for identifying unknown texts..


Examples of teenage jargon

Avoiding the Question - equivocation

What to call Islamic State

Politician Disguises the Truth

Informality - like informal ...


So Sorry ... Apology in discourse

Sexist Language (updated)

Why Are Languages Different?

The Right Impression? Written errors

Cheryl Cole - A Geordie misunderstood in the US

Hollow Point - the death of Charles de Menezes

Names of Fighting Vehicles

The Guided Interview

English As She Is Spoke

Football Managers' Tenses

Computer Metaphors

Describing Pain - stings

About Tongue Twisters

All Right? The Phatic Function

Wine Blurbs

These pages are written by Duncan Grey.
Materials or suggestions? Want something on English you can't find here? write to Duncan.

Students wanting to acknowledge reference to this site should use Harvard notation as follows:
GREY, D S., 2021. Language In Use [online]. Cambridge, UK. Available from: [Accessed day, month, 2021]

Extracts from this site have been used not only in classrooms worldwide but also by English examination boards, ESL textbooks in Greece, Quebec and Nunavut, Canada.

"I would just like to thank you for all your hard work on ‘’. Your pages have helped me get back to grips with the English language. I love the simple and direct explanations and would recommend them to anyone." Gabby

"We love your articles.  As a former ESL teacher, I know it will be a great generator of ideas." Patrick

"I just love what you write. ... Let's start a movement to get rid of people who can't use apostrophes right! Love it! " Marla, San Francisco

I think, in your website, I have just discovered a goldmine!
Liz L, TESOL teacher, Australia

Your website is fantastic!  I now feel like I could teach A level language!
Alison, UK

Thanks for 'put learning first' which I've used a few times for useful non-sexist terms in the editing work I do for the UN. Keep up the (very) good work!


See also