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The Best of the Blog

Dicembre 2014
The Speak Up blog answers any questions you may have either about the English language or our articles. Write to us (preferably in English) at: http://blog.speakuponline.it. The most interesting questions will be published on this page. A word of warning, though: our blog is not a translation or homework service!

Hey! Teacher!
I’d like to know what words students use to address their teachers at school. I believe that “teacher” is a generic term, while “professor” is only used in universities. Is that right?

Teachers at school are teachers, whereas at university they are either lecturers or professors, depending on their rank. At school these days pupils (students are at university) usually address male teachers as Sir and female teachers as Miss (even if they are married).

In “Coffee and cats” (September 2014) there is this sentence: “More than £100,000 was raised in 60 days.” Isn’t £100,000 plural? Or maybe is it singular because of one hundred? And if it were £200,000, would it be OK to say “£200,000 were raised” ...?

No. Money is singular in English, as is an amount of money. Even if you obviously count money, it is, like bread, an “uncountable” noun in English! And so we say “the money was sent yesterday” and not “the money were sent yesterday.” And, similarly, The Beatles sang “Give me money, that’s what I want” and not “They are what I want.”
There isn’t really any logic, it’s just the way it is and different languages express things in different ways. If there is any logic, then it is that the use of the singular refers to “the money,” rather than the numbers that make up that amount of money.

Not again!?
I know there are two different ways to pronounce the word “again.” I was told that the pronunciation without the /?/ sound was common in the US, and I also heard this from an English person. Where are these two different types of pronunciation used?

Technically, the word “again” can be pronounced in two ways, but most of the time the short version (without the /?/ sound) is used. The long version might be used to fit a song or poem, or even the emphasis in that particular phrase.
If you use the short version, you’ll be fine!

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