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English Bites!

engbites1English Bites! are practical, bite-sized tips to help you improve your English for work. Published twice a week, the articles include useful advice covering different aspects of business English including grammar, vocabulary, writing, speaking as well as fun topics. It'll take just a few minutes to read each tip. You can subscribe to English Bites! from the Newsletters link above. After that, you'll receive notifications of all new tips by email.

Questions to Dr English 10

16 Jan 2022

questionsI asked my boss if he'd like to join us for a BBQ and he asked me if he could take a rain check. What does this unusual phrase, "take a rain check," mean?

A rain check is when you cannot accept someone’s offer of something at a particular time, but would like to do so at a future date. The phrase originates from the game of baseball, where spectators are given tickets to a future game if a game is cancelled because of rain.

So, your boss meant that he couldn't attend your BBQ this time because he had something else to do, but he would like to attend the next one you arrange. Here's another example: "Virginia, I'm going out to dinner with a few friends on Saturday. Would you like to join us?" "I'd love to, but could I take a rain check? My parents are in town at the moment."

Is it correct to use the phrase ‘due to the fact that’?

While the phrase due to the fact that is grammatically correct, it should not be used as it's too wordy and rather out-of-date. Why use such a long phrase, when it can easily be substituted by because, since, or as?

Make sure that you don't use ‘due to’ in its place. ‘Due to the fact that’ must be followed by a full clause, whereas ‘due to’ needs to be followed by a noun or noun phrase. For example: Due to the poor weather, the event has been cancelled.


What’s the meaning of the word "loaded," as in the phrase, "James must be loaded; he's just bought a Ferarri." Is the word common?

Loaded is a very common adjective that describes someone who has lots of money. If someone is loaded, they are rich. It's an informal word which should only be used in casual conversation. Here an example: Why don't you borrow some money off Charles; he's loaded.


Which is the correct opposite of ‘interested’ – ‘disinterested’ or ‘uninterested’?

This is a very common error that people, including native speakers of English, make. The opposite of interested is uninterested. Disinterested has a different meaning. If someone is disinterested they are neutral or impartial, as in the phrase a disinterested observer. It is incorrect to use disinterested as the opposite of interested.


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