Language Tip 11 (2014-15)

Do not start sentences with “This + verb” (e.g. “This is a massive generalization…” “This sounds glib…”; “This runs counter to…”; “This is troublesome…”).

This tip is a massive generalization. This advice sounds glib, but it’s an easy way to make sure that the reader knows what “this” refers to.

Follow “This” with a full noun.

“While we were watching The Muppet Show, Barry burst into the room and showed us his new sombrero. This was distracting.”

What does “This” refer to?
a) bursting into the room?
b) the sombrero?

a) “This intrusion/interruption/bothersome burst was distracting.”
b) “This sombrero/hat was distracting.”

This is easy to fix – sorry! This ERROR/POTENTIALLY AMBIGUOUS STRUCTURE is easy to fix. Just search through your essay for sentences that begin with “This…” and see whether you can add a noun and clarity.

This tip is, of course, not limited to Slovenians writing in English.

Two things to keep in mind:
1) Slovenian and other languages with grammatical gender are clearer in terms of reference
2) Slovenians tend to overuse “that” at the expense of “this” – what’s up with this (sic)?
Jason Blake and Monika Kavalir

ELOPE Events

ELOPE Vol. XI – Autumn (Journal Eds. Smiljana Komar and Uroš Mozetič, Volume Ed. Andrej Stopar)

We are proud to announce the new issue of the academic journal ELOPE (English Language Overseas Perspectives and Enquiries).

ELOPE Vol. XI – Autumn (Journal Eds. Smiljana Komar and Uroš Mozetič, Volume Ed. Andrej Stopar) is already available on-line ( and includes articles by:

– Dušan Gabrovšek (University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Arts),
– Uroš Martinčič (Slovenia),
– Lidija Štrmelj (University of Zadar),
– Vesna Ukić Košta (University of Zadar),
Lisa Botshon (University of Maine at Augusta),
– Nataša Gajšt (University of Maribor, Faculty of Economics and Business),
– Gabrijela Petra Nagode, Karmen Pizorn, and Mojca Juriševič (University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Education), and
– Uroš Mozetič (University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Arts).

You are also invited to explore other volumes of ELOPE here:

ELOPE XI - Autumn
ELOPE XI – Autumn

Blagajnik SDAŠ in članarina 2014

Spoštovane članice in spoštovani člani društva SDAŠ,

obveščamo vas, da je blagajniško funkcijo v SDAŠ 12. 12. 2014 prevzela dr. Franja Lipovšek.

Hkrati vam sporočamo, da se je v preteklem tednu začela distribucija jesenske številke revije ELOPE, ki ji je priložena položnica za članarino 2014. Če ste dobili več kot eno položnico, društvu dolgujete še pretekle članarine. Opozorili bi vas radi, da smo se na skupščini društva zaradi stroškov z mednarodno članarino (del vaše članarine, ki ga redno nakazujemo krovni organizaciji ESSE), odločili, da bomo večkratne neplačnike ob naslednjem posodabljanju evidenc izključili iz društva.

Za tiste, ki ste vajeni elektronskega poslovanja, pošiljamo tudi podatke društva, ki jih potrebujete za nakazilo:

– Slovensko društvo za angleške študije, Aškerčeva 2, 1000 Ljubljana
– IBAN SI56 0201 0002 0047 247 (Nova Ljubljanska banka d.d., Ljubljana)
– znesek: €20 za redne člane in €10 za študente in upokojence
– za referenco/sklic lahko uporabite svoj rojstni datum

Če vam članarino plačuje vaš delodajalec in rabite račun, o tem obvestite dr. Franjo Lipovšek (

Še enkrat vas vabimo k oddaji prispevkov za naslednjo številko revije ELOPE, ki bo tematska:…/call-for-papers-elope-xii-spr…/. Društvenim dogodkom lahko sledite tudi na Facebooku ( in na društvenem blogu (


Language Tip 10 (2014-15)

“bare” vs. “bear”

Both of these words have several meanings, but “bear” is the one that means “to carry”; “bare” is normally used when referring to someone or something devoid of clothes, plants, etc.

A few examples:

Mussorgsky’s “Night on Bare Mountain” (or “Night on Bald Mountain”)

Barenaked Ladies (the rock band that composed the music for “The Big Bang Theory”)

“I can’t bear it!” (I’ve had enough!)

“Bear with me…” (Put up with me…”)

“Grin and bear it” means something very different from “grin and bare it.”

Jason Blake and Monika Kavalir


Language Tip 9 (2014-15)

One of us was taught in high school that “like” should not precede an example:

“I saw many fruits like oranges and apples and pears” supposedly meant “I saw many fruits THAT HAD A DISTINCT RESEMBLANCE TO oranges and apples and pears (but I didn’t actually see any oranges and apples and pears.”

“I saw many fruits, SUCH AS oranges and apples and pears” was correct.

Nobody listened to this rule back in high school, and few care about it today – though “such as” sounds slightly more formal and some style guides still do not admit “like” in place of “such as.”

Slovenian students often ignore “such as” altogether and instead write “like” all the time, which is, like, annoying.
Next time you write an essay, search through for “like” and see if you can use “such as” to add some variety.


Jason Blake and Monika Kavalir

Calls Events

25th Conference on British and American Studies Timișoara, Romania  –  21-23 May 2015

 25th  Conference on British and American Studies Timișoara, Romania  –  21-23 May 2015 Deadline for proposals: 15 February 2015 

The English Department of the Faculty of Letters, University of Timișoara, is pleased to announce its 25th international conference on British and American Studies, which will be held in May 21 – 23, 2015.

Confirmed plenary speaker:
Professor David Crystal, Fellow of the British Academy, honorary professor of linguistics at University of Wales, Bangor

Presentations (20 min) and workshops (60 min) are invited in the following sections:
• Language Studies • Translation Studies • Semiotics • British and Commonwealth Literature • American Literature • Cultural Studies • Gender Studies • English Language Teaching

Abstract submission
Please submit 60word abstracts, which will be included in the conference programme:
• to our website: • or to Dr Reghina Dascăl

Deadline: 15 February 2015
Conference fee
The early conference registration fee is EUR 100, to be paid by March 15; the late registration fee is Euro 120.
For RSEAS members, the early registration fee is lei 250; the late registration fee is lei 300.

Events Various

Vabilo na redno letno skupščino SDAŠ


Spoštovani člani Slovenskega društva za angleške študije,

Vljudno vas vabim, da se udeležite redne letne skupščine SDAŠ, ki bo v petek 12. 12. 2014 ob 15.30 v sobi 31 (pritličje desno, Prevajalski oddelek) na Filozofski fakulteti, Aškerčeva 2, Ljubljana.

Dnevni red:
1. Sprejem dnevnega reda, določitev zapisnikarja in dveh overoviteljev
2. Poročilo predsednice o delovanju društva v letu 2014
3. Poročilo o finančnem stanju društva (Andrej Stopar)
4. Izvolitev blagajnika društva
5. ELOPE: potrditev Pravilnika revije
6. Sodelovanje z ESSE (board meeting in konferenca v Košicah 2014)
7. Načrt dela za leto 2015
– ELOPE (elektronska revija, uvrstitev v baze, prihodnje številke)
– Priprave na 4. SDAŠ konferenco 2016
8. Razno.

Prosim, da se skupščine zanesljivo udeležite.

Smiljana Komar, predsednica Sdaš


Language Tip 8 (2014-15)

Who vs. that

Some people claim that relative clauses which relate to persons should only be introduced by “who” and never by “that,” although the latter option is in fact very common.

According to this logic, the following is WRONG:
“The person that gave me the advice was mistaken.”

It is not wrong. It is just as correct as:
“The person who gave me the advice was mistaken.”

Tracking down the “some people” who/that claim “relative clauses which relate to persons should only be introduced by ‘who’” is difficult. Perhaps because it’s a silly made-up rule.

That said, a fair number of English speakers get irritated when ‘that’ is used for persons, and if the person reading your grant/job application is one of them, consequences may be grave rather than silly. If you don’t know your audience (or you know they are grammar Nazis) and the outcome is important to you, stay on the safe side, otherwise feel free to use whichever you like.

For more on this topic, see:

Of course, never use ‘which’ in place of ‘who’ – “That is that woman which [sic] sits beside me in class” begs for a little ‘discussion’, not unlike here:

Jason Blake and Monika Kavalir


Language Tip 7 (2014-15)


Quoting is not a get-out-syntax-free card. When you integrate quoted words into your sentence, your “combined” sentence has to be grammatical.

This is nonsense:

In “Strange Fits of Passion Have I Known” Wordsworth uses the symbol of the moon to increase suspense, “the sinking moon,” “on the descending moon,” leading all the way to “at once, the bright moon dropped,” to mark his arrival at Lucy’s cottage, where, “if Lucy should be dead.”

There are two easy tests for whether you have quoted properly:

i) Read your sentence aloud. Is it syntactically sound?

ii) Temporarily eliminate the quotation marks and look at your sentence. Does it make grammatical sense? Can you tell where the quoted passages are? (No? That’s a good thing in this case!)

After all, nobody would write a sentence like this:

In Strange Fits of Passion Have I Known Wordsworth uses the symbol of the moon to increase suspense, the sinking moon, on the descending moon, leading all the way to at once, the bright moon dropped, to mark his arrival at Lucy’s cottage, where, if Lucy should be dead.

Just remember to put the quotation marks back if you use the second test.


Here’s another example, albeit one that is syntactically confusing rather than flat-out wrong:

The rhyme “This Is the House That Jack Built” is replete with domestic animals, “the cat / That chased the rat” and dairy products, “the cheese.”

Solution 1:

“This Is the House That Jack Built” is replete with domestic animals, including “the cat / That chased the rat[,]” and dairy products, specifically, “the cheese.”

Solution 2:

“This Is the House That Jack Built” is replete with domestic animals and dairy products, including “the cat / That chased the rat” and “the cheese.”

Try putting the passage on Wordsworth into a sentence that is both correct and clear.
Jason Blake and Monika Kavalir


Language Tip 6 (2014-15)

“Albeit” is tricky to use correctly, which is probably why students don’t use it often. Also, dictionaries give “albeit” bad press. Some dicitionaries cautiously label it “formal” or “literary,” while others slander it with “old-fashioned,” “archaic” and “obsolete.”

If “albeit” is no longer used, could someone please inform The Guardian and the New York Times? In other words, it is very much in use, and not just by old people.

Here are some very recent examples from those two newspapers (from a variety of sections, not just the hoity-toity arts pages).

The Guardian

“The rhetoric might sound antiquated but, in a sense, we now take for granted Bebel’s communal kitchens, albeit in private form.”
“In 1967, The Beatles and a BBC executive called Aubrey Singer managed to unite the world, albeit briefly, with the first global satellite broadcast.”
“McGeady created chances for Naismith and Lukaku, albeit both with the same result as his colleagues missed the target, and it was from his corner that Everton doubled their advantage.”

The New York Times
“My survey made me realize that, at heart, I’m a purist — albeit not immune to the appeal of the zanier specimens [of donuts].”
“But, on the plus side, the overall number of women in Congress will rise, albeit at a rate that would get us to equal representation sometime around 2078.”
“And his interwoven story lines, intentionally or not, evoke a piece of jazz, albeit one that’s Buddy Bolden raggedy in places.”

Here are some examples of INCORRECT USAGE:
“We know that – albeit neither of the tests is yet optimal – they are adequate.”*

“According to the author, studying literature is required for education, albeit it is often viewed as unnecessary.”*

…and here are some tips for using it correctly – that is, not as a perfect and simple synonym for “although.”

1) It’s not good style to use albeit as part of a finite clause. To play it safe, use “albeit” where there’s no verb around, e.g.:
“I kept on reading the book, albeit very slowly.”
“The free wifi was, albeit rather slow, a nice touch.”

2) You can also use it with a non-finite verbal form but then make it clear this happens outside the main sentence frame:

“The author claims that, albeit often viewed as unnecessary, studying literature is required for education.”

A good test is that you should always be able to put the part introduced by “albeit” in brackets or separate it from the rest of the sentence with dashes.

(If this explanation isn’t long enough for you, try:

Jason Blake and Monika Kavalir