Language learning, science, and art...

Irregular English verbs: -ode and -ade
It is no wonder Raj in the Big Bang theory couldn’t find the right past tense of “forbid”. The verb “bid” in the sense of either issuing a (...)
October 24, 2014 – Jakub MarianEnglish
‘Hair is’ vs. ‘hair are’ vs. ‘hairs are’ in English
The soft matter covering your head is usually referred to using a plural noun in other languages, e.g. die Haare in German or les cheveux (...)
October 22, 2014 – Jakub MarianEnglish
Number of Nobel laureates per capita in Europe (map)
The following map shows the number of Nobel laureates per 1 million inhabitants of each country (the smaller number shows the actual (...)
October 20, 2014 – Jakub MarianBiology, Chemistry, Maps, Physics
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Is 0.999… (repeating) equal to 1?
The short answer is yes. $0.\bar 9$ (zero point 9 repeating) is exactly 1. However, a lot of people find this result counter-intuitive (...)
October 16, 2014 – Jakub MarianMathematics
Are all languages equally hard to learn?
When people start thinking about learning a foreign language, one of the first thoughts that spring to mind is “I am not going to learn (...)
Irregular English verbs: say, lay, pay
Most English learners are well aware of the pattern -ay/-aid of irregular English verbs. However, this is more an exception than a rule. (...)
October 7, 2014 – Jakub MarianEnglish
Average number of languages spoken by the EU population
The Eurobarometer 386 survey organized by the European Commission provided a lot of insight into linguistic abilities of Europeans, and it (...)
October 6, 2014 – Jakub MarianEnglish, Maps
“But humans are at the top of the food chain” argument against vegetarianism
Almost every time there is a discussion about vegetarianism, someone comes up with an argument similar to the following: Humans are at (...)
September 29, 2014 – Jakub MarianNutrition
‘Good luck’ vs. ‘a good luck’ in English
Just the other day, I received a reply to the confirmation email all new subscribers to my educational mailing list receive pointing out (...)
September 29, 2014 – Jakub MarianEnglish
Wish + would (subjunctive of a future action) in English
I have already written an article about the use of “would” after “wish” when we speak about states and present or habitual actions. As was (...)
September 28, 2014 – Jakub MarianEnglish
Do certain numbers in a lottery have a higher probability of winning than others?
Does going for “nice” numbers, like 1 2 3 4 5 6, reduce the probability of winning in a lottery? Some people think so. “Have you ever seen (...)
September 25, 2014 – Jakub MarianMathematics
Map of public debt in Europe
There seems to be an interesting trend in geographic distribution of public debt in Europe. While Western Europe is traditionally (...)
September 22, 2014 – Jakub MarianMaps
‘Analogous’ vs. ‘analogical’ in English
These two words are a common source of mistakes. The word you will need most of the time is “analogous”, as in The example is (...)
September 20, 2014 – Jakub MarianEnglish
A curiosity about the F-word in Google Ngram Viewer
Google Ngram Viewer is a tool you can use to plot how common a word or a phrase was through the years in literature. I use it a lot to (...)
September 17, 2014 – Jakub MarianEnglish
‘Used to’ vs. ‘would’ in English
Both “would” and “used to” can be used to speak about an activity that someone did regularly long time ago: Every Sunday, I used to go (...)
September 15, 2014 – Jakub MarianEnglish
‘Will’ after ‘whether’ in English
You were probably taught that you shouldn’t use “will” after “if” in conditional clauses, for example: If you don’t receive the (...)
September 13, 2014 – Jakub MarianEnglish
Will computers ever be smarter than humans?
When I was a child, I was fascinated by the idea that some day, we will be able to construct computers that will be smarter than us. (...)
September 12, 2014 – Jakub MarianBlog, Cognition
‘Hear doing’ vs. ‘hear do’ in English
Verbs of perception (such as “hear”, “see”, “feel”, and others) can be used both with the -ing form (e.g. “hear doing”) and with the (...)
September 11, 2014 – Jakub MarianEnglish
Percentage of EU population able to hold a conversation in Italian (map)
The following map (based on Eurobarometer 386, 2012) shows a few interesting trends. Probably the most surprising is how low the (...)
September 9, 2014 – Jakub MarianItalian, Maps
How to use “Mahlzeit!” in German
Imagine the following situation: You work in the morning until 1 PM, stand up, go for a lunch, and meet a colleague in the hall. He says (...)
August 30, 2014 – Jakub MarianGerman
Do nutritional supplements equal bad diet?
I saw the following comment under one of the typical vegan-bashing posts: “Show me a vegan that actually looks and feels healthy (without (...)
August 28, 2014 – Jakub MarianNutrition
‘Many’, ‘much’, ‘a lot of’, and ‘lots of’ in English
These four phrases, “many”, “much”, “a lot of”, and “lots of”, all express a similar idea of a large amount of something, but they are not (...)
August 24, 2014 – Jakub MarianEnglish
‘He wants that I do’ vs. ‘he wants me to do” in English
If you want to express that someone wants “that someone else does something”, the idiomatic way to do that in English is using the phrase (...)
August 18, 2014 – Jakub MarianEnglish
‘Many money’ vs. ‘much money’ in English
Just like water, sugar, or love, money (in its most common sense) is an uncountable noun. This means, in particular, that we can’t have “a (...)
August 15, 2014 – Jakub MarianEnglish
Why are English words so short?
Being a user (and a passive reader) of several languages, I’ve noticed that English words tend to be shorter on average than words in (...)
August 9, 2014 – Jakub MarianEnglish
Are Witches and Wizards in the Harry Potter universe selfish?
I am currently reading Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone in Spanish (for language learning purposes), and there’s one thing that (...)
August 9, 2014 – Jakub MarianBlog
Spanish verb conjugation cheat sheet (PDF + image)
I wanted to have a concise ready-to-print cheat sheet with all conjugated forms of regular Spanish verbs. Surprisingly, I wasn’t able to (...)
August 6, 2014 – Jakub MarianSpanish
‘Lend’ vs. ‘borrow’ in English
The verbs “lend” and “borrow” are among the most commonly confused words in the English language. Why? Because they are often translated (...)
August 4, 2014 – Jakub MarianEnglish
‘Several thousands of’ vs. ‘several thousand’ in English
The words “hundred”, “thousand”, “million”, etc. when they are used in the names of numbers (i.e. when they are preceded with a number) (...)
July 31, 2014 – Jakub MarianEnglish
‘To be good in’ vs. ‘to be good at’ in English
When you want to express that you are well capable of doing something, the usual collocation is “to be good at something”, e.g. He is (...)
July 30, 2014 – Jakub MarianEnglish
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