All posts by alicesaraswati

Content creator to www.englishtips4u.com

#GrammarTrivia: Possessives with Gerunds

adolescent blur child close up
“I love you singing” or “I love your singing?” Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

 

We all have that one friend who sings beautifully, albeit never considering singing as a professional career. What should we say to compliment him/her? Do we say, “I love you singing,” or do we say, “I love your singing?” Which one is correct, fellas?

@ghaniginanjar: The second one. I love your singing.

@KushalRJoshi: Second one?

@endang_yl: I love your singing.

@XxKit_kat: The 2nd one ‘I love your singing’ = ‘I love the sound of your voice when you sing’.

 

On one fine afternoon, you and a friend are out for a walk. You pass a bus stop where a woman seems to be crying. Do you say to your friend, “Did you see that woman crying?” or do you say, “Did you see that woman’s crying?”

@Goyoomin: Did you see that woman crying?

 

So, what is the difference between these two situations? Why do we use the possessive form ‘your singing’ in the first example, but then we use ‘see that woman crying’ in the second example?

Let’s go back to what gerund is. Gerund is a verb that has transformed into and functions as a noun. Therefore, the way we use gerund should always be in line with the way we use a noun, including combining it with a possessive form.

If we see a sentence like the one in the first example, “I love your singing,” it’s very likely that the thing we love is ‘the singing that belong to you.’ ‘Singing‘ here is something owned by ‘you,’ or in other words, ‘your singing.’

What about the second example? Does it make sense if I modify the sentence into, “Did you see that crying woman?” Does the sentence still have the same meaning?

Crying‘ in the second example is not a gerund. It is in fact an adjective, modifying ‘that woman.’ Therefore, we do not need to use a possessive form like we did with the first example.

Two tips to determine whether a verb -ing should come with a possessive form or not:

  1. Check the object of our action. In the first example, is it the ‘you’ that you love or is it the ‘singing that belongs to you?’
  2. Try switching the sentence’s structure. Modifying the first sentence into ‘I love singing you’ does not quite make the same sense as modifying the second sentence into ‘Did you see that crying woman?’

 

Exercise:

  1. Do you mind (me/my) asking questions?
  2. No, not at all. I appreciate (you/your) coming to me.
  3. I heard about the (project/project’s) being cancelled.
  4. In fact, we anticipate the possibility of (it/its) succeeding.

 

Answer:

  1. “Do you mind my asking questions?”
    Checklist:
    – What will the other person mind about?
    The action ‘asking questions’ that belongs to the speaker. ‘Asking questions’ here is a gerund.
    – How could we modify the sentence into?
    The sentence could be modified into, “Do you mind asking me questions?” or “Do you mind asking my questions?” which does not have the same meaning as the primary sentence.
  2. “No, not at all. I appreciate your coming to me.”
    Checklist:
    – What does the speaker appreciate?
    The action ‘coming to me’ that belongs to the interlocutor. ‘Coming to me’ here is a gerund.
    – How could we modify the sentence into?
    The sentence could be modified into, “I appreciate coming you to me,” which does not have any clear meaning.
  3. “I heard about the project being almost cancelled.”
    Checklist:
    – What did the speaker hear about?
    The project is being almost cancelled. ‘Being almost cancelled’ here is an adjective.
    – How could we modify the sentence into?
    The sentence could be modified into, “I heard about the almost-cancelled project,” which has the exact same meaning as the primary sentence.
  4. “In fact, we anticipate the possibility of its succeeding.”
    Checklist:
    – What does the speaker anticipate?
    The success of the project. ‘Succeeding’ here is a gerund.
    – How could we modify the sentence into?
    The sentence could be modified into, “In fact, we anticipate the possibility of succeeding it,” which creates double meanings. It can mean that the project is being successful or it can mean that the project is being followed by another project. The phrase ‘its succeeding’ will remove the ambiguity.

 

Special shout-out to one of our fellas who sent us a question about how to use possessives with gerunds during our LINE chat session. If you would like a one-one-one consultation as well, add us on LINE .

 

Compiled by @alicesaraswati for @EnglishTips4U on Wednesday, 16 May, 2018.


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#BusEng #EngKnowledge: Old-School Career Rules for Millennials

pexels-photo-313690.jpeg
Picture from Pexels/Wordpress

People who were born from 1981 to 1997 are often being referred to as millennial generation or simply ‘millennials.’ This age group is also the one who prides itself as 90s kids, as the people who belong to it spent their childhood and teenage era in the 90s.

Now, most millennials have grown up to the productive age when they start working as professionals. Fast-thinking, self-assured, and a high adaptability to technology are often considered as millennial workers’ strengths.

Sadly, millennials often get labelled as disloyal, quickly jumping from one job to the next, having high expectation, and having a great deal of entitlement. Millennials also tend to get bored easily. If they feel they are stuck, they will find a way to be unstuck, which makes them seem difficult to deal with. These traits make millennials easily misunderstood by their coworkers and employers who are from older generation.

So, how can millennials solve this? I’d like to share several old-school career rules that millennials can apply to their professional life.

  1. Communication matters.
    Even when we’re working in the same workplace, people come from varied backgrounds. This means that we need to explain ourselves from time to time. So, there shouldn’t be ‘I thought you already knew’ or ‘Nobody told me that.’
  2. Be on time.
    By being on time (or early, if possible) we show people that we respect their schedule and we take them seriously. Besides, a delay often leads to other delays. If we don’t finish a task in a timely manner, it is very likely that the other tasks are delayed. In a fast-paced working environment, things can easily get out of hand.
  3. Eyes on the details.
    Be it on the way we dress, the way we write our emails with proper and acceptable manners in business relationship, or the way we refrain ourselves from checking our phones during important meetings, pay attention to small details. Again, we want to show our partners that working with them is important to us.
  4. Never underestimate any tasks.
    “I didn’t spend 5 years in the university only to work on Excel spreadsheets,” was my thought on the first day of my first job. Do you also have a similar experience, fellas? Well, no matter how much we dislike trivial assignments, they are actually necessary to learn the workflow at the workplace. If we can handle trivia, we can always ask for more responsibilities to our supervisor.
  5. Give time for a change to happen.
    Oftentimes, we as millennials want to see some changes to immediately happen once we utter the ideas. A new coworker to share our workloads with, a promotion, a more challenging position, or anything similar. What we should realize is that our supervisor or employer makes a decision that concerns many other people. Therefore, they might take some time before making up their mind.

 

That’s all I can share, fellas. Let us as millennials be a good example for our generation, while also being an agent of change to the workforce.

 

Compiled by @alicesaraswati for @EnglishTips4U on Monday, 7 May, 2018.


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#EngQuote: Quote from Indonesian National Heroes

Happy National Education Day, fellas! Let us all take a moment to be thankful for the quality of education that has brought us to where we are today.

Many Indonesian in the past did not quite have the privilege and access for good education like what we enjoy today, but that did not stop them to become intellectuals. Some even contributed to bring the end to the occupation in Indonesia. Therefore, I’d like to make today’s session a tribute to our national heroes by sharing their famous quotes that are related to education.

P.S.: I translated some of them from the original ones which are in Bahasa Indonesia, so feel free to correct the translation if it’s wrong.

“Learning without thinking is useless, but thinking without learning is very dangerous!” – Soekarno, first President of Indonesia.

Soekarno
Dr. Ir. H. Soekarno

 

“I’d volunteer to go to prison, as long as there are books, because with books I am free.” – Mohammad Hatta, first Vice-President of Indonesia.

Hatta
Drs. H. Mohammad Hatta

 

“Only with education will we build our nation.” – Dewi Sartika, founder of the first school for women.

Dewi Sartika
Raden Dewi Sartika

 

“The purposes of education are to sharpen our wits, strengthen our will, and soften our senses.” – Tan Malaka, politician and activist.

Tan Malaka.jpg
Tan Malaka

 

“Advancing in civilization requires advancing in both intelligence and character growth.” – Kartini, women’s rights activist.

Kartini.jpg
Raden Adjeng Kartini

 

“Make a teacher out of everyone and a school out of every place.” – Ki Hajar Dewantara, first Minister of National Education of Indonesia and the national hero whose birthday we celebrate as National Education Day.

Ki Hajar Dewantara.jpg
Ki Hajar Dewantara

 

Compiled by @alicesaraswati for @EnglishTips4U on Wednesday, 2 May, 2018.


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#EngProverb: Proverbs about Books

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Picture from Pexels/Wordpress

Today, 23 April, is celebrated internationally as World Book and Copyright Day. What is your favourite book?

I am going to share proverbs from various places that are related to the importance of reading a book.

  1. “A book is like a garden carried in the pocket.” – Arabian Proverb.
  2. “See to it that you have many books and many friends — but be sure they are good ones.” – Spanish Proverb.
  3. “Reading books removes sorrows from the heart.” – Moroccan Proverb.
  4. “A good book praises itself.” – German Proverb.
  5. “Unread books make hollow minds.” – Chinese Proverb.
  6. “Beware of a man of one book.” – English Proverb.
  7. “Whoever writes a book should be ready to accept criticism.” – Iraqi Proverb.
  8. “A donkey that carries a lot of books is not necessarily learned.” – Danish Proverb.
  9. “A book is a good friend when it lays bare the errors of the past.” – Indian Proverb.
  10. “Don’t judge a book by its cover.” – English Proverb.

 

Compiled by @alicesaraswati for @EnglishTips4U on Monday, 23 April, 2018.


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#EngClass: Portmanteau

Cronut.jpg
A cronut (croissant + donut). Pic from Wikipedia.

Have you ever heard or used the word ‘portmanteau?’

A portmanteau (/pɔːrtˈmæntoʊ/) or portmanteau word is a blend of words, in which parts of multiple words or their sounds are combined into a new word. A portmanteau is also called blending word. For initial information of blending words, check out https://englishtips4u.com/2012/06/27/engclass-blending-words/

There are many portmanteau words that have been widely used, such as ‘smog’ (from ‘smoke’ + ‘fog’), ‘netizen’ (from ‘internet’ + ‘citizen’), or ‘workaholic’ (from ‘work’ + ‘alcoholic’).

If we categorize them, we will find that there are portmanteau words for:

  1. Animals.
    A new breed is usually named with a portmanteau word.
    E.g.:
    A ‘liger’ is the offspring of a male lion and a female tiger.
  2. Popular culture.
    E.g.:
    – ‘Brangelina’ is a portmanteau of Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie’s name.
    – ‘Bromance’ is a portmanteau of ‘brother’ and ‘romance,’ usually used to describe a tight friendship between two men.
  3. Vehicle.
    E.g.:
    – ‘Motorcycle,’ from ‘motorized’ + ‘bicycle.’
    – ‘Taxicab,’ from ‘taxi’ + ‘cabriolet’ (a type of horse carriage). Now, taxicab is more commonly known as simply ‘taxi’ or ‘cab.’
  4. Cuisine.
    E.g.:
    – ‘Brunch,’ from ‘breakfast’ + ‘lunch.’
    – ‘Cronut,’ from ‘croissant’ + ‘doughnut.
  5. General use.
    E.g.:
    – ‘Brexit,’ from ‘Britain’ + ‘exit.’
    – ‘Hangry,’ from ‘hungry’ + ‘angry.’
  6. Internet and computing.
    E.g.:
    – ‘Email,’ from ‘electronic’ + ‘mail.’
    – ‘Internet,’ from ‘international’ + ‘network.’
    – ‘Skype,’ from ‘sky’ + ‘peer-to-peer.’
  7. Organizations/companies.
    E.g.:
    – ‘Pinterest,’ from ‘pin’ + ‘interest.’
    – ‘Microsoft,’ from ‘microcomputer’ + ‘software.’

 

@Rnfadillaa: I just knewwww netizen means internet citizen. Thanksss @EnglishTips4U.
@laptamy: How about Frienemy? Is it a portmanteau too?
Yes, ‘frenemy’ comes from ‘friend’ + ‘enemy,’ used to describe someone with whom we have a love-hate relationship.

 

Compiled by @alicesaraswati for @EnglishTips4U on Wednesday, 18 April, 2018.


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#EngVocab: Adjectives That Describe Personalities (3)

Hi, fellas! How are you?

We meet again in another series of adjectives that could describe someone’s personality. For the first and second installment of this topic, please visit

  1. Daft: silly, foolish (informal use).
    • Example:
      • “There is nothing daft about my fondness for Daft Punk. Their music suits my taste.”

Daft Punk.jpg

      • Daft Punk (pic from grammy.com)
  1. Deranged: mad, insane.
    • Example:
      • “Police managed to stop that deranged gunman before he could shoot anyone.”
  2. Debonair:  from old French ‘de bon aire,’ meaning stylish, charming, and confident. Usually used to describe a man.
    • Example:
      • “Many who have met Nicholas Saputra described the actor as debonair.”
  3. Dapper: Neat, well-dressed. Also used to describe a man.
    • Example:
      • “The Academy Awards were crowded by charming ladies and dapper gentlemen.”
  4. Eloquent:  fluent and persuasive in speaking or writing.
    • Example:
      • “She is quite an eloquent young lady. She would make a good public speaker.”
  5. Enchanting: delightfully charming or attractive.
    • Example:
      • “Unlike her casual daily appearance, she became an enchanting lady on her wedding day.”
  6. Expressive = effectively conveying thoughts or feelings.
    • Example:
      • “Emilia is such an expressive person. We could know how she feels by looking at her face.”
        • Emilia clarkeEmilia Clarke (pic from pinterest).
  7. Fair: in accordance with rules or standards.
    • Example:
      • “If you should become a leader, be a fair one.”
  8. Faithful:  loyal, devoted.
    • Example:
      • “Her late husband was a faithful person. He always spent his free time with the family.”
  9. Fearless: bold, brave.
    • Example:
      • “Naomi Campbell is a fierce, fearless woman. No wonder she has the longest running career as a supermodel.”
  10. Flirtatious: behaving in such a way to suggest a playful attraction.
    • Example:
      • “Who was the flirtatious guy you were talking to? He seemed to make you uncomfortable.”
  11. Frank: open, honest, and direct in speech or writing, especially when dealing with unpalatable matters.
    • Example:
      • “Is she always so frank, even though not so many people agree with her?”
  12. Funky: modern and stylish in an unconventional or striking way.
    • Example:
      • “Lady Gaga is funky and quirky, in an extraordinary way.”
Lady Gaga.jpg
Lady Gaga (pic from pinterest).

 

There they go, Fellas! As ever, the best way to practice and memorise new vocabularies is by using them a lot. Start incorporating these new words in your daily conversation. Check your dictionaries often to understand the context better.

 

Compiled by @alicesaraswati for @EnglishTips4U on Monday, 9 April, 2018.


 

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^MD

#EngQuote: Stephen Hawking

Stephen Hawking.jpg
Stephen Hawking, 1942-2018 (Pic from Twitter).

Hundreds of people saw Stephen Hawking off at his funeral last week. The celebrated scientist left the whole world in mourning when he passed away on 14 March 2018.

On his most popular work, the book A Brief History of Time: From the Big Bang to the Black Holes, Stephen Hawking wrote in non-technical terms about the structure, origin, development and eventual fate of the universe, making the information accessible to non-specialist readers with no prior knowledge of scientific theories. Dubbed by many as the greatest physicist of our generation, Stephen Hawking’s legacy will forever change our way of understanding time, space, gravity, the Universe, and most importantly, ourselves.

On this article, I would like to share some of his quotes that are intriguing and mind-boggling just as they are inspirational.

  1. Theoretical physics is one of the few fields in which being disabled is no handicap – it is all in the mind.
  2. There is no heaven or afterlife for broken-down computers; that is a fairy story for people afraid of the dark.
  3. We only have to look at ourselves to see how intelligent life might develop into something we wouldn’t want to meet.
  4. My goal is simple. It is a complete understanding of the universe, why it is as it is and why it exists at all.
  5. Life would be tragic if it weren’t funny.
  6. Intelligence is the ability to adapt to change.
  7. However difficult life may seem, there is always something you can do and succeed at. It matters that you just don’t give up.
  8. I have noticed even people who claim everything is predestined, and that we can do nothing to change it, look before they cross the road.
  9. We are just an advanced breed of monkeys on a minor planet of a very average star. But we can understand the Universe. That makes us something very special.
  10. It would not be much of a universe if it wasn’t home to the people you love.

 

Compiled by @alicesaraswati for @EnglishTips4U on Wednesday, 4 April, 2018.


 

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#EngQuiz: The Determiners (the, a, an)

Gary Oldman Oscar.jpg
Gary Oldman won an Oscar in the 2018’s ceremony (Pic from mirror.co.uk)

 

Using a determiner the, a, and an can sometimes be tricky. So, let’s have another practice to brush it up. The rules are easy: fill the blanks with the correct determiner.

TIPS: Before you start answering, read this article on determiners: https://englishtips4u.com/2011/08/21/engtips-the-determiners-the-a-an/

  1. Here is _____ useful article about gardening that I found ______ few days ago.
  2. Have you heard? It snowed in _____ Sahara.
  3. He bought me _____ ‘Orange Is the New Black’ DVD box set as _____ birthday gift.
  4. When do you plan to return _____ book to me?
  5. I think I’m going to wear _____ white shirt for _____ interview tomorrow.
  6. After performing for almost 40 years, Gary Oldman finally received _____ Oscar in 2018.
  7. Which one do you think I should take, _____ TOEFL or _____ IELTS?
  8. It’s such _____ honor to perform for _____ Queen.

 

Answers:
1.a, a
Explanation: ‘Useful’ makes a yoo sound, which sounds like there is a consonant ‘y,’ therefore it is ‘a useful article.’ ‘a few days’ is clear enough.

2.the
Explanation: The Sahara is a specific area, only one in the world.

3.an, a
Explanation: ‘Orange Is the New Black’ begins with a vowel, therefore the determiner is ‘an.’ ‘a birthday gift’ is clear enough.

4.the
Explanation: People in the conversation have already known which book the speaker is referring to, so ‘the’ is the correct article.

5.a, the
Explanation: ‘a white shirt’ is the correct form as the shirt was not specified enough. ‘the interview’ is the correct form because it is already specified that it will happen ‘tomorrow.’

6.an
Explanation: ‘Oscar’ begins with a vowel.

7.a, an
Explanation: Both noun refer to general TOEFL/IELTS, but it is also acceptable not to put any articles, since TOEFL & IELTS are already established names.

8.an, the
Explanation: Although ‘honor’ starts with a consonant, the ‘h’ is mute or unread. Therefore, we put ‘an’ as the determiner. For the second part, a nation normally has only one queen, so ‘the Queen’ is the correct form.

 

Compiled by @alicesaraswati for @EnglishTips4U on Monday, 26 March, 2018.


 

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#UKSlang: Sherlock (1)

Who here is a fan of BBC’s Sherlock and just can’t wait for the next season? The detective, along with his sidekick, Dr Watson, has captured the hearts of many across the world. In my opinion, the modern twist added to the latest adaptation only made the iconic detective story fresher and more relatable. If you haven’t seen it, go check the original DVDs.

Sherlock SS1.jpg
BBC’s Sherlock.

Most characters on BBC’s Sherlock are well-articulated, and although it makes it a little difficult for non-native speaker to understand what they are saying, it does provide a good amount of new words to add into our vocabulary.

This article will discuss some of the slangs. If you are using these words, use them with caution, because some of them are quite impolite. We’ll start with season 1.

  1. “Sorry — gotta dash. I left my riding crop in the mortuary.” – Sherlock (S01E01).
    Gotta dash (v.) = to have to go quickly, to be in a hurry.

  2. “I’ll make you that cuppa. You rest your leg.” – Mrs Hudson (S01E01).
    Cuppa (n.) = a cup of coffee or tea.

  3. John: “What do people normally say?”
    Sherlock: “’Piss off!’” (S01E01).
    Piss off (v.) = Go away.

  4. “Either way, you’re wasted as a cabbie.” – Sherlock (S01E01).
    Cabbie (n.) = taxi driver.
    Cab (n.) = taxi.

  5. “Because I had a row, in the shop, with a chip-and-PIN machine.” – John (S01E02).
    Row (n.) = quarrel, fight.

  6. “Well, grab a pew.” – Sebastian (S01E02).
    Grab a pew (v.) = take a seat.

  7. “Your friend… he’s an arrogant sod.” – Dimmock (S01E02).
    Sod (n.) = an obnoxious person.

  8. “Nine million quid, for what?” – Sherlock (S01E02).
    Quid (n.) = pound sterling.

  9. “We end up havin’ a bit of a ding-dong, don’t we?” – Murder suspect (S01E03).
    Ding-dong (n.) = an argument.

  10. “Told you you should’ve gone with the lilo.” – Sarah (S01E03)
    Lilo (n.) = an inflatable plastic or rubber mattress.

If you have others, drop them on the comment section below!

 

Compiled by @alicesaraswati for @EnglishTips4U on Wednesday, 21 March, 2018.


 

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#EngVocab: Adjectives That Describe Personalities (2)

We know that English is very rich in expressions. We can describe anyone and anything with so many ways; idioms, phrases, and words amongst many others. We will discuss one of them.

Before you continue reading, you might want to check our previous article on this subject: #EngVocab: Adjectives That Describe Personalities.

Anhedonic = unable to feel happiness.
“In the ‘Winnie the Pooh,’ Eeyore is described as a depressed, anhedonic stuffed donkey.”

Agreeable = pleasant, enjoyable.
“She’s an agreeable companion. You won’t get bored.”

Assertive = self-assured, confident (without being aggressive).
“As a team leader, you should be more assertive.”

Bold = strong, brave, willing to take a risk.
“She’s so bold. She does not wait for anyone to introduce her to the CEO.”

Brooding = showing deep unhappiness.
“He’s always brooding; I don’t know what’s wrong with him.”

Childish = immature.
“She’s so childish that she always throws tantrums over small problems.”

Childlike = innocent, having good qualities associated with a child.
“Her laughter is childlike; it’s contagious.”

Chirpy = cheerful, lively.
“Quenzino is such a chirpy little fella. I wanna pinch his cheeks.”

pexels-photo-774910.jpeg
A chirpy baby (Picture from WordPress).

 

Dark = mysterious.
“Whenever I forget to bring my driving license with me, the police always look like dark and intimidating figures.”

Dim = stupid (informal use) OR dim-witted = slow (in Bahasa Indonesia: lemot).
“Please don’t use sarcasm with him. He’s dim; he won’t get it.”

To make it easier to memorize them, try to use one of the words on the list on your daily conversations. Be careful with some words that have a negative connotation.

P.S.: The list will continue.

 

Compiled by @alicesaraswati for @EnglishTips4U on Monday, 12 March, 2018.


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#EngTalk: How to Start a Conversation

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Image by WordPress

 

Sometimes, we could feel nervous when we are about to start a conversation in English. The feeling of awkwardness of saying something in a foreign language, coupled with the concern about saying something wrong or grammatically incorrect, could be overwhelming.

However, the more you familiarise yourself with speaking in English, the more confident you could be. Therefore, always practice when you have a chance. You can start with everyday conversation with a friend or a colleague.

When passing a friend on a hallway at school or meeting somewhere else, we can say:
– How are you?
– Hey, what’s up?
– Hi, how is it going?

If it’s a colleague at work, a more formal interaction is expected. We can start with:
– How are you today?
– What have you been up to lately?
– How was your weekend? (if weekend has just passed) OR Have you got plans for the weekend? (if weekend is about to come).
– Have you heard of that news?

But what if we are in a situation when there is no one we are familiar with?
When you are in a party or a gathering, and there is no one there whom you know, you can always start a conversation and turn a stranger into an acquaintance.

Here are some sentences you could use to start a conversation with a stranger:
–  I don’t believe we have met. I’m Katie.
– What is it that you do for a living?
– Do you go to school near here?
– Do you live around here?
– This is such a great event. What do you think?

You can also start with complimenting a person’s appearance or performance. For example:
– I like your outfit. Where did you buy it?
– I couldn’t help but staring at your necklace. It’s beautiful.
– You gave an interesting speech. I’d like to know your thoughts about…

Making comments about someone’s physical appearance is fine if we are already good friends with him/her, but never point out what a stranger’s lacking as it is considered impolite. For example:
– You look uncomfortable in that clothes ×
– It seems like you have gained some weight ×

 

If you feel that you might require some helps getting into a conversation with strangers, bring a friend. After a while, you should be confident to do it on your own.

 

Compiled by @alicesaraswati for @EnglishTips4U on Monday, 26 February 2018.


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#EngVocab: Suffix -Let

Suffix -let is one of many suffixes in English. It originated from Old French -elet, from Latin -āle, a neuter of adjective suffix -ālis, or from Latin -ellus, a diminutive suffix.

Adding suffix -let to a noun will create a diminutive form to the original word. For example, if we attach -let to book, we will have booklet, which means a little or a thinner book.

With an exception to bracelet, which is also a diminutive form of brace, different meanings apply to some jewelries or articles of clothing attached to our body. In such cases, attaching -let will refer to the part of our body on which the jewelries are usually worn. For example, an anklet is an ornament worn on the ankle.

There are three basic rules of using suffix -let. First, when used with an object, it generally indicates diminution in size. E.g.: Booklet, pamphlet, droplet, bracelet, etc.

When used with animals, it generally means young animals. E.g.: Piglet, froglet, deerlet, etc.

When used to refer to a human adult, it is generally depreciative. It denotes pettiness and conveys contempt. For example, princelet is used to refer to a prince who is lesser in rank or displays pettiness (narrow-mindedness).

There are over 200 words with suffix -let. Check your dictionaries often to familiarise yourself with them.

 

Source:
http://www.dictionary.com/browse/-let
https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/-let
https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/Category:English_words_suffixed_with_-let
Compiled and written by @alicesaraswati for @EnglishTips4U on Monday, 10 April 2017.

 

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#EngTalk: Polite Small Talks

Some of us might prefer a deep, meaningful conversation over a small talk. However, upon meeting a new person, we are rarely in a situation where we could jump into a serious discussion. That is when need small talk.

If it is done correctly, small talk can be comfortable. The key is keeping the small talk casual, not bringing any discomfort, but is still good enough to connect two people. For example, we should go with topics that both persons like rather than dislike.

There are also several things to avoid when trying to connect to our interlocutor. We should avoid making fun of or commenting on our interlocutor’s physical appearance, as we cannot be sure if the interlocutor is comfortable to discuss about that.

Here is what we recommend to make our small talk more enjoyable but still courteous.

  1. Start with a friendly greeting and a smile.
    Smile is a universal language and it almost always earns us a positive feedback from our interlocutor.
  2. Use an approachable body language.
    We should keep our phone away for a while and look at the interlocutor. By doing so, we are giving signal to our interlocutor that we are paying attention.
  3. Avoid pointing out somebody’s lacking in something.
    Physical appearance, except for the good things, is rarely a pleasant topic. Try not to mention about somebody’s weight or age or mismatched clothes. Instead, compliment the person on something. Tell him that his hair looks great or his face is radiant.
  4. Find a common ground.
    Find a topic that both we and our interlocutor can relate to and that can possibly be extended to a longer conversation. For example, favourite sports, favourite TV shows, favourite teachers, etc. Who knows by the end of the conversation, we already recommend new TV shows to watch to each other?
  5. Tell something about ourselves, but not too much.
    We can start with something we like but we should also ask our interlocutor’s opinion. Remember, if the interlocutor feels like we never give him a chance to speak, he can easily get bored.
  6. Listen well.
    Not only will our interlocutor feel appreciated, listening well and paying attention can also help us find more common grounds, which means more topics to talk about.
  7. Mention about hanging out again.
    If you really enjoy talking to each other, express your interest to meet again. We can try saying, “We should talk more about this over coffee,” or something similar.
  8. Say goodbye nicely.
    Although small talk is often a pastime during a certain event, we should make our interlocutor feel important. Therefore, when we bid adieu, we should also express that we hope to hear from our interlocutor.

We can say:
“I’ll see you around.”
“I hope we can meet again soon.”
“It’s been a pleasure talking to you.”

All in all, our eloquence can always be improved by practicing more. As the saying goes, “Practice makes perfect.”

So never get tired of practicing, fellas. Try making small talks with your friends and teacher every day in English.

 

Compiled and written by @alicesaraswati for @EnglishTips4U on Monday, 3 April 2017.

 

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#EngQuote: Logan

After 17 years starring as Wolverine in the X-Men franchise, Hugh Jackman made quite an exit with Logan (2017). The film is said to be one of the best superhero movies of all time. We are surely going to miss Hugh Jackman as Wolverine, as much as we are wondering who will fill his shoes.

In the meantime, I would like to share some quotes from the movie.

Logan vs. Longan
Pic source: Onsizzle

“There was a time when a bad day was just a bad day.” – Logan.

“We got ourselves an X-Men fan. Maybe a quarter of it happened, and not like this. In the real world, people die!” – Logan.

“She’s like you… She’s very much like you.” – Charles Xavier.

“Charles, the world is not the same as it was. Mutants, they’re gone now.” – Logan.

“She is not my daughter, but I love her. You may not love her, but she is your daughter. Please, help her.” – Gabriela.

“There’s no living with a killing. There’s no going back from it. Right or wrong, it’s a brand that sticks.” – Laura.

“Don’t be what they’ve made you.” – Logan.

“Nature made me a freak. Man made me a weapon. And God made it last too long.” – Logan.

“You don’t understand. Something bad happens to the people I care about.” – Logan.

“Laura does not need reminding of life’s impermanence.” – Charles Xavier.

“A soldier who will not fight is useless.” – Gabriela.

“This is what life looks like. A house. A safe place. People who love each other. You should take a moment.” – Charles Xavier.

 

Compiled by @alicesaraswati for @EnglishTips4U on Monday, 20 March 2017

 

#EngKnowledge: Written Laughter from All Around the World

Nowadays, we do online interaction as much as offline. Tech innovators and providers always try their best to come up with the freshest ideas and inventions to make our online interaction just as lively as the offline one.

The introduction of emoji in early 1990s undoubtedly forever changed our way of exchanging messages online. With a single icon, we can describe exactly what we feel or how we react to something our friends said. For example, we use the emoji ‘face with tears of joy’ to react to something so funny that got us laughing in tears.

 

Face with tears of joy

‘Face with tears of joy’ emojis (Source: Wikipedia)

 

However, there are also those, like me, who prefer to type our laughter instead. For this purpose, we usually type LOL (Laughing Out Loud), LMAO (Laughing My A** Off), or simply hahahahahahaha.

‘Hahahahahahahahaha’ is considered as the most basic written laughter that everybody from anywhere can understand. Now, here are some that are not that simple.

 

Italy – Ah ah ah ah ah
Italian seem to think ‘ah ah ah ah ah’ as the phonetic way of writing laughter.

Chinese (Mandarin): 哈哈 or 呵呵
Laughter is written 笑声 and pronounced xiào shēng, but Mandarin native speaker also relies on onomatopoeia for laughter: 哈哈, pronounced hā hā, and 呵呵, pronounced he he. Similarly, xixi, 嘻嘻, suggests giggling and is usually used when somebody is trying to be cute.

Japanese: www
Not to be confused with World Wide Web, www in Japanese laughter came from Kanji character 笑 for ‘laugh’ which is pronounced as warai. Warai was quickly shortened as ‘w’ in chatroom and internet forums. Nowadays, Japanese type ‘w’ to indicate laughter, or ‘wwwwwwwww’ if it’s something really funny.

Korean: kkkkk or kekekekeke
The written form kkkkk or kekekekeke comes from ㅋㅋㅋ, short for 크크크, or keu keu keu, the Korean equivalent of hahaha.

Thai: 55555
In Thai, the number 5 is pronounced ‘ha,’ so instead of saying ‘hahahahaha,’ Thai speakers will sometimes write ‘55555.’

Spanish: jajaja and Greek: xaxaxa
In Spanish, ‘j’ is pronounced like ‘h’ in English, therefore ‘jajaja’ is an analog to ‘hahaha.’ Same goes to ‘x’ in Greek, which is pronounced like ‘h’ in English.

Hebrew: חחח/ההה or khkhkhkhkhkhkhkhkh
The letter ‘ח’ is pronounced ‘kh.’ Some sources also render it as ‘xaxaxa.’

Brazilian Portuguese: huehuehue
This is Brazilian onomatopoeia for laughter.

Portuguese: rsrsrs, hashuashuashuashua, rá!, and kkkkk
‘Rsrsrs’ seems to me like somebody laughing through his teeth, while hashuashuashuashua seems more complicated as the position of letter h and u and s and a are in such distance on the keypad. Rá! sounds like Ha! and I think kkkkk is similar to Korean’s kkkkk.

French: hahaha, héhéhé, hihihi, hohoho, or MDR
French uses onomatopoeic laughter variations much like those in English, as well as the universal ‘LOL’ to indicate laugher. The French equivalent of LOL is MDR, which stands for ‘mort de rire’ or ‘dying of laughter.’

Indonesian: wkwkwkwkwkwkwk or wakakakakakaka
Also an onomatopoeia, this is how most Indonesian laugh online. We also use hahaha, LOL, xixixixi, hehehe, buakakakakakakak, or bahahahahhahahak.

 

Source:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emoji
https://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2012/12/55555-or-how-to-laugh-online-in-other-languages/266175/
https://www.buzzfeed.com/ahmedaliakbar/hhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh?utm_term=.wePzexKR7y#.kjgM6VxPgO
http://metro.co.uk/2016/01/02/how-people-type-laughter-around-the-world-5596241/
https://voxy.com/blog/index.php/2012/04/laughter-internet-languages/

Compiled by @alicesaraswati for @EnglishTips4U on Thursday, 16 March 2017.

#BusEng: Basic etiquette in writing business letters or emails (revisit)

As a person or a professional, we are often required to represent ourselves well. When it comes to building communication, be it an oral or a written one, what we say and the manner of saying it play an important role in whether our intention is well received by the interlocutor.

Talking about written communication, sometimes we have only one chance to make the impression that we are a competent and reliable person/professional to work with. Therefore, every time we write a business letter or an email, proper written language, grammar use, and etiquette must always be kept in mind.

1. Start with respective letterhead and filling ‘to’, ‘cc’, and ‘bcc’

An official letter from a body or an institution usually already has a default letterhead. If we are an applicant, the format is simpler but not less important.

To Cc Bcc

To: the person who will take immediate action or give immediate response to your email.

CC: the person who should be kept in the loop because his role is also related to the email’s content.

BCC: the person who should be aware of the email being sent, but not having direct responsibility to the email. The person put on BCC does not see his name anywhere in the recipient box, nor will he see the other recipients who are also put on BCC.

2. The importance of subject

Professionals receive dozens up to hundreds of emails daily, and it is possible that they scroll down their email account overlooking our email. That is why we need to make our subject relevant and related to the email’s content, so the recipient can see what we want to say just by reading the subject. Keeping the subject line properly and effectively written is also necessary. Try to maintain its length to around 5 to 10 words and use proper capital letters.

English Tips 4 U.png

 

3. Body text must not be empty

Sole email attachments without an elaborated body text are often considered rude. Body text is the main content of a business letters or an email, so it should never be left empty.

Body text

 

IMPORTANT NOTE:
Always start with greetings
If we know the name of the recipient, it is preferable to address with ‘Dear Mr’ or ‘Dear Mrs.’ If we don’t, we can start with ‘Dear esteemed customer’, ‘Dear valued partner’, etc.

If this is the first correspondence, introduction is important
If this is the first time we are sending the letter to that particular recipient, we need to mention our name and a brief introduction of who we are.

End the emails with ‘thank you’
No matter how bad we feel at the time of writing the email, we still need to thank the reader for his attention and his immediate action to take care of the issue. The ‘thank you’ part will also make the recipient feels more respected and appreciated. What is also necessary is adding a sentence to indicate whether we require the recipient’s immediate response. The following examples can be added:
“I am looking forward to hearing back from you.”
“Your immediate response is very much appreciated.”
“I hope to hear back from you.”

 

4. Attachments

Attachment is not a replacement to the body text, even though it often comes in a more elaborated version. To make sure the recipient is aware of the attachment, we can mention in the body text by saying:
“Attached is the copy of my purchase order for your reference.”
“Please have a look into the attachment for more details.”
“I also attached with this email my CV and recommendation letter from previous company.”

IMPORTANT NOTE:
Most email hosting services limit their attachment size to maximum 5 or 10 megabytes. If the attachment of our email exceeds that size, we can use a file-sharing platform and then copy-paste the download link in to our email.

 

5. What else to avoid

The business letter or email that we write should represent our level of professionalism. Therefore, the following needs to be avoided.
– The use of internet abbreviation, such as LOL, ASAP, OFC, TTYL, etc.
– Non-professional font, such as the one that looks like it is coming from comic book or horror movie.
– Emoticons. Yes, emoticons are meant to make written communication seems more friendly, but we can save it for messengers.
– One or two liners, such as ‘Yes, fine’ or ‘OK’. Even though we may have discussed the topic previously via phone call or face to face discussion, the email should always come with a recapitulation of that discussion.

Source: http://www.inc.com/guides/2010/06/email-etiquette.html

Compiled and written by @alicesaraswati for  on Monday, March 13, 2017


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^MD

 

#EngTips: IELTS vs. TOEFL (2)

If we are not an English native speaker but we are planning to study or work abroad, in some stage of the application, we will need to also attach our IELTS or TOEFL score to our application. Both tests aim to assess our English proficiency and make sure that we are able to communicate well in English.

What are IELTS and TOEFL?

International English Language Test System (IELTS) is an English language test that is used for educational, immigration and occupational purposes, and is accepted by over 9,000 institutions across 130 countries worldwide. Jointly administered by the British Council, University of Cambridge ESOL Examinations and IDP Education Australia, IELTS uses British English, and is more likely to be favoured by UK and institutions in Commonwealth nations such as New Zealand and Australia. Depending on the entry requirements of the program, we might need to take either the Academic or General Training IELTS exam.

Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) tests our ability to communicate in English in specifically academic, university and classroom-based settings. It is accepted by over 8,500 institutions across 130 countries, including the UK, USA and Australia, as well as all of the world’s top 100 universities. TOEFL is administered by US-based organization, the Education Testing Service, and so is conducted in American English. This test is more likely to be favoured by American institutions.

Similarities between IELTS and TOEFL

Both test our four main language skills: reading, writing, listening, and speaking. IELTSn Indonesia is similar to other countries, and so is TOEFL, that is why the scoring system is consistent all over the world.

Both tests also cost within the same price range, USD 150 – USD 250 per test per person.

Differences between IELTS and TOEFL

1. Scoring system

IELTS band score ranges from 1 to 9. The score report is valid for two years. We will generally aim to 6.5 to 7 to be considered as a ‘competent’ to ‘good’ user of English language.

TOEFL scores come in two versions. TOEFL Internet Based Test (TOEFL iBT) is more progressive, but test administration in some countries still uses the Paper Based Test (PBT). iBT score ranges from 0 to 120, while PBT ranges from 310 to 677.

The following spreadsheet shows the link between IELTS and TOEFL iBT score.

IELTS & TOEFL scoring system

2. Reading module

The IELTS test has a wide range of question types, while TOEFL test is multiple choices only. IELTS reading test lasts 60 minutes. Reading in TOEFL takes approximately 60 to 80 minutes.

3. Listening module

The IELTS listening test is 30 minutes, while TOEFL is 60 minutes. IELTS has a range of different questions including sentence completion, matching headings, and True, False or Not Given. The TOEFL test is multiple choices only.

We will also hear a range of different accents from English speaking countries such as Ireland, Wales, Scotland, the USA, Canada and Australia on the IELTS test whereas the TOEFL test will always be standard American English.

4. Speaking module

IELTS speaking test consists of 3 sections and its total duration is 15 minutes. In the test, we will have a face-to-face conversation with native English speaker.

In TOEFL speaking test, based on more recently used iBT, we will be talking to the computer. For those who don’t really have time to conduct IELTS, because it’s usually conducted during office hours, taking TOEFL iBT might be more suitable. The test will last for 20 minutes.

5. Writing module

IELTS has two different types of writing test: writing for Academic Training and General Training. Academic is suitable for those hoping to attend university, while General Training is mostly used for immigration purposes.

Both types have total duration 1 hour. In the Academic paper, we will be required to write a short essay based on a given graph, chart, map or cycle diagram. In the General Training paper, we will be asked to write a letter and a short essay on a particular topic.

TOEFL writing test consists of two tasks. The total duration is 50 minutes. In the first task, we need to read a text and then listen to a 2-minute lecture on the same topic. We must then write a short response to a specific question on that topic. The second task is a longer discursive essay on a particular issue, similar to a university style academic essay.

Which test to take?

Normally, the institutions we are applying to would specify which test to take. If they can accept either, the following table can be your consideration.

IELTS TOEFL
I like talking to people one-on-one. I prefer talking to a computer.
I like to write by hand. I am better at typing than handwriting.
I can understand a variety of English-speaking accents. I find American accents easy to listen to.
I find it difficult to concentrate for long periods of time. I can concentrate for long periods of time.
I prefer shorter tests. I can easily follow a lecture and take notes.
I prefer different types of questions. I like multiple choice questions.

Source:
Wikipedia
www.hotcoursesabroad.com
www.ieltsadvantage.com
 

Compiled by @alicesaraswati for @EnglishTips4U on Monday, March 6, 2017

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#EngGame: Christmas Vocabulary

Hello hey ho, fellas! How are you guys doing?

I don’t know about you. But I was surprised when I realized that Christmas is just around the corner. And New Year is in 2 weeks time! So, to welcome the fast approaching Christmas, how about an #EngGame on Christmas related vocab for today? Who’s in? *hands up*

Here’s what you have to do: Fill in the blanks to form a word which matched the description. Pick letters listed in each poster. #EngGame

1. C _ _ _ _ : A song of praise or joy, especially for Christmas.

2. W _ _ _ _ _ : A ring or circlet of freshly cut or dried flowers, boughs, or leaves worn on the head, placed on a memorial, or hung as a decoration.

3. R _ _ _ _ _ _ _ : A large animal with antlers on both male and female.

4. P_________ : A plant native to Mexico and Central America, having variously lobed leaves and brilliant scarlet, pink, or white petallike bracts.

5. M _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ : A plant which symbolizes vivacity, since it remained green while other plants were bare during winter.

6. S _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ : One of the small crystals, flakes, or masses in which snow falls.

7. P _ _ _ _ _ _ : Something presented, a gift.

8. S _____ : A vehicle mounted or runners for use on show or ice, having one or more seats and usually drawn by a horse.

9. B _ _ _ _ : A cup-shaped musical instrument which emits a metallic tone when struck.

10. O _ _ _ _ _ _ _ : Something that decorates or adorns; an embellishment.

Answers:

Compiled and written by @miss_qiak for @EnglishTips4U on Monday, December 19, 2016.