Category Archives: English

#EngVocab: Prefixes ‘un-‘ and ‘in-‘

Prefixes un- and in- are two similar prefixes which, if attached to a word, will create an opposite meaning.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Examples of words with prefix un-:
Undo, meaning the opposite of do
Unsaid, meaning not said
Unnecessary, meaning not necessary
Unwanted, meaning not wanted
And many more.

Examples of words with prefix in-:
Inactive, meaning not active
Incompetent, meaning not competent
Indirect, meaning not direct
Indefinite, meaning not definite
And so forth.

You can find many more examples in the dictionary. So, our main question will be when we use either prefix. Why do we say ‘unfinished’ instead of ‘infinished?’ Why do we use ‘incomplete’ instead of ‘uncomplete?’ Besides, those two words have similar meaning, too.

Many scholars argue that words that have English/Germanic root will go with prefix un- and words that have Latin root will go with prefix in-. To ensure which prefix we should use between the two, I think we will have to read often to increase our vocabulary.

Other prefixes that are the variations of prefix in- are prefixes im- (e.g., ‘impartial,’ meaning not partial), ir- (e.g., ‘irresistible’), and il- (e.g., ‘illegal’).

Now, can you give me more examples of words with prefixes un- and in-?

@Marco_20July: Uncertain, meaning not certain
Unsure, meaning not sure

Source: https://www.worldwidewords.org/qa/qa-unv1.htm

Compiled by @alicesaraswati for @EnglishTips4U on Friday, 24 September 2021.

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#EngVocab #EngKnowledge: Common Mental Health Vocabulary

TW/CW: mention of suicide and mental health issues.

Disclaimer: admin is by no means a mental health professional but is currently undergoing a treatment with both a psychiatrist and a psychologist. The content of this article is going to be cited from reliable sources, which are mentioned at the end of the article.

Today, 10 September is #WorldSuicidePreventionDay. On this occasion, we’d like to share some vocabularies related to mental health conditions.

Picture credit: International Association for Suicide Prevention (https://www.iasp.info/campaigns/world-suicide-prevention-day/)

We realise this is a very serious and sensitive topic, but we feel that it is only right to help start the conversation, especially during a pandemic that increases our stress level by multiple times. If you find the topic to be overwhelming, kindly take some time for yourself and skip this article.

To start, what classifies as a mental health condition?
It is a condition that affects someone’s thinking, mood, behaviour, and even personality, to the point of limiting someone’s capability to function on a day-to-day basis.

How did mental health condition start to develop?
There are a variety of possible causes, namely genetics, past traumatic events, a stressful environment, unhealthy coping mechanisms, or biological causes.

What is trauma?
Trauma is our emotional response, or as I would like to call it, a ‘psychological scar,’ that is caused by terrible events. For example, abuse, accidents, war, or natural disasters.

What is coping mechanism?
Coping mechanism is a strategy that we use to face difficulties or resurfacing trauma. Generally, there are healthy and unhealthy coping mechanisms.

Example of healthy coping mechanism:
– talking to an old friend
– spending time with loved ones
– going to therapy
– having a me time
– taking a break/removing ourselves from the stressful environment
– exercising
– eating healthy food
– finding a new hobby

Example of unhealthy coping mechanism:
– drinking or using mind-altering substances
– binge-eating
– splurging/overspending
– gambling
– avoiding our issues/running from our problems
– reckless behaviour with no regards to the consequences

What is the most common mental health condition?
There are two that one would say on top of their head: anxiety and depression. These two conditions can also coexist with or be the symptoms of a deeper condition.

What is anxiety?
Anxiety (generalized anxiety disorder) is excessive worry, nervousness, and fear that interferes with someone’s life. It is more complex than feeling nervous on our first day of work, for example.

Occasional worry, anxiety, or nervousness is a part of our survival instinct. They alert us to a possible threat or danger and they help us to be more aware or prepared. However, those who live with anxiety disorder are too focused on the things that worry them.

This can manifest in avoiding a situation that can trigger them, excessive pounding of the heart, excessive sweating, avoiding social interaction, not wanting to leave one’s home, not wanting to go to work or school or fulfill one’s responsibility.

Consequently, anxiety can alter our sleeping pattern (overthinking at night), causing sleeping problems like insomnia, resulting in excessive fatigue or frequent headache, and affecting our mood. At this stage, we definitely need to meet a mental health professional lest the symptoms worsen. A panic attack is a sure sign that one is dealing with anxiety issues.

What is depression?
Depression (clinical depression/major depressive disorder) is a persistently depressed mood, generally accompanied by a loss of interest to things we normally like and a intense feeling of emptiness, helplessness, or hopelessness.

One can have a natural sadness; one can also have a depression. While we can take time and do something interesting to deal with sadness, people who live with depression cannot find excitement or joy in anything.

Oftentimes, they don’t have enough energy to even get out of bed, which is why depression is often mistaken as ‘laziness.’ More symptoms include withdrawing from social interaction, isolating oneself, lack of focus, no sleep or excessive sleep, irritability (easily angry), and suicidal thoughts.

Can mental health conditions be cured?
Therapy with mental health professionals, be it individual or group therapy combined with medications can help someone ‘get back on their feet.’ Healthy lifestyle and supportive environment also play a big role.

What is the difference between a psychologist and a psychiatrist?
Admin receives this question a lot when I open up to other people about my mental health treatment.

A psychiatrist is a mental health professional who handles the medical aspect of a mental health issue, which may include physical and psychological assessment, diagnosis, and prescribing medications.

A psychologist handles the mental and emotional state of an individual. In some cases, a psychologist may issue a referral for us to be diagnosed by a psychiatrist. A psychologist is also commonly known as a therapist.

Can we avoid taking medications?
Most people are concerned of the idea of taking medications because there is a stigma that we can be ‘addicted’ or that the medications will have side effects or cause harm to our internal organs. This is not the case, as long as we take the medication by the prescribed dose and maintain a healthy lifestyle. This is something we need to discuss with the mental health professional who is taking care of us, so communicate it openly.

Can someone have suicide ideation/ suicidal thoughts even though they don’t have mental health conditions?
It is possible. Therefore, I would implore you to regularly check on your loved ones and open up about whatever difficulties you are facing. We are not alone.

Some signs if someone may be having suicidal thoughts:
– recently experiencing an emotional shock or facing a big life problem, for example, losing a loved one, having a life-threatening illness, or losing a job
– drastic drop of mood and appetite
– constant mention of death or wanting to end their life
– self-isolation and withdrawing from society
– feeling useless and perceiving oneself as a burden to their loved ones
– oversensitivity (easily sad, angry, or annoyed)
– seeing no hope for the future
– engaging in self-destructive behaviours
– attempting self-harm

This is not an exhaustive list, but it could provide a good timing to start a conversation with a person who might be having suicidal thoughts.

The last but not least, there are several resources that we can use to reach out for help if we feel something is wrong with our mental and emotional well-being. The 119 emergency line is Indonesian first responder for health-related emergency, including suicide attempt.

A general practitioner is someone we can have a preliminary discussion with regarding our mental health conditions. They can give a reference to a psychologist or a psychiatrist. Lucky for us, we have the JKN (national health insurance), so make use of it.

Otherwise, we can try contacting NGOs or independent psychologists.
Into The Light Indonesia provides mental health education; ibunda.id provides online counseling.

Even though our conditions make us think so, remember that we are not alone.

Sources:
https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/mental-illness/symptoms-causes/syc-20374968
https://www.webmd.com/mental-health/mental-health-causes-mental-illness
https://www.apa.org/topics/trauma#:~:text=Trauma%20is%20an%20emotional%20response,symptoms%20like%20headaches%20or%20nausea
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK559031/
https://www.psychiatry.org/patients-families/anxiety-disorders/what-are-anxiety-disorders
https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/depression
https://www.beyondblue.org.au/the-facts/suicide-prevention/feeling-suicidal/suicidal-warning-signs

Compiled by @alicesaraswati for @EnglishTips4U on Friday, 10 September 2021.

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#WOTD #EngTips: How to Speak Eloquently

Sometimes, when I look at someone who speaks English, I admire how eloquent they are, and sometimes, it’s not a matter of whether they are using a perfect grammar or the right vocabulary. It’s the way they express what they want to say with such confidence.

This article is going to discuss the word ‘eloquent’ and how we can speak eloquently.

Photo by Christina Morillo on Pexels.com

‘Eloquent’ means having the ability to use language clearly and effectively. When the word ‘eloquent’ is used to describe a speech or a writing, it can also mean clearly expressing the feelings or meaning.

An eloquent person is good at speaking and persuading people. Words synonymous to eloquent are articulate, expressive, and fluent.

So, the next question we have is how to be eloquent.

From my experience, even though I was interested in learning English and I tried to study from as many textbooks as I could, I still lacked in one thing: practice.

When I was faced with the possibility of speaking English real time, especially to native speakers, I always felt shy and said, “No. Please let other people do it.”

That was the case until I joined a group of friends who encouraged me to speak English.

Learning from reading and writing is a good start, but to be able to speak English eloquently, we have to practice with other people. It’s important to be within a community or a group where everyone encourages us to learn even if we make mistakes.

So, always practice and don’t let our mistakes hold us back.

Compiled by @alicesaraswati for @EnglishTips4U on Sunday, 11 July 2021.

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#WOTD: Eloquent

#EngTalk #EngTips: How to Master English (2)

When I was at school, a lot of people complimented me for my English proficiency. Sometimes I got asked, “How do you manage to speak so fluently in English? How can I be like you?”

I never really knew how to answer that questions because to me, learning English was just as natural as learning other subjects, like Mathematics or Geography. So, I was thinking, how can I help other people who have the same questions?

And then it struck me. What motivated me to learn English was that I was interested in the language. I love learning English.

I realised that some people around me perceived English as a scary subject, something that they could never be good at. This is where the first barrier is. By looking at it from a different perspective, we are allowing ourselves the chance to learn.

Keep in mind that learning is a process. We could be successful at one point and then facing difficulties afterwards. The result might not always be linear (always good), as shown in the meme below.

Progress is not always linear. Credit: @WholesomeMemes on Twitter

The first step towards improving our English is liking what we are learning. If you find textbooks to be too formal, you can look at popular sources, like movies, songs, memes, or other internet contents. Of course, this should also come with a mindset that popular sources might not be correct, so textbooks and dictionaries are always handy.

Secondly, we should practice what we have learned. All skills will become rusty (not as good as they used to be) if we never use them. Make time to practice, either by reading, speaking, listening, or writing.

My favourite method when I was at school was speaking in English to my classmates who were also interested in learning English. I also attended English courses twice a week.

Third, we have plenty of resources to use in our learning process. Now, I acknowledge that I had quite a privilege because my interests in English were started and then nurtured by my parents who wanted me to succeed.

But, luckily, the internet has now become a lot more powerful than how it used to be when I was at school. Google, YouTube, and other social media platforms have given us an unlimited access to learn anytime at our convenience.

@sarishara: whatever it is, when you decide to learn a foreign language, don’t be afraid to make mistakes & practice it every day. Importantly, don’t take personally what other’s assumption about your learning journey, some people might think you act pretentious. Just keep going, don’t stop

The last but not the least, don’t be afraid of making mistakes. Don’t worry about what other people say about your learning process, unless it’s a constructive feedback. If you want to learn something, no one can stop you.

Some more useful tips from our Twitter followers:
@sarishara: This is my personal experience, I thought self-learning is difficult and frankly, quite lonely. Somehow, I think it would be easier if you learn a foreign language with some friends and having moral support is really matter. It’s beyond joy when you able to reach the goals.

@sshaikhsohil: Best way is to talk with people who speak English well. It doesn’t matter if it’s audio or video call. This makes you think and sometimes when you come new vocabulary it’s easier to know the meaning in context for that particular situation.

@tangerineeye: I play online games so I can talk with people all around the world

@dinomyno: I like to talk in english with myself when I’m alone. It helps me to boost my confidence bcs I’m still shy to talk in english with other people.

@mrivaldi__: My personal experienced to learn english is from music. When i was kid ( 3 sd kalo ga salah ) , my cousins had luar negri songs. Then, i determined to menghapal the lyrics, bcs i really want to sing well. Until now, i love (and still learn) english.

@MissGanis_RIS: Things have changed.. Now kids in some private schools are taught using English for Math, Science, Social studies…They don’t go to courses anymore

@NituYumnam: What’s one valuable piece of advice you received as a student? A professor, owning a collection of encyclopedias and dictionaries, in the 1980s advised:
– Just learn one word a day, refer to dictionaries for its definitions, including its part of speech, word formation, and origin.
– Make a journal. Relate the word with things/people around you, be creative and write a meaningful sentence out of it.
– Show your work to your teacher/parents on a daily basis for approval, correction, and praise.
– Engage those words in your writings at school and verbal communication when applicable.


If this method/practice is adopted by a pupil at an early age, the child would learn 365 words by the end of a year, and over the years, he/she would have learned numerous words when adult. Plus, the enormous amount of knowledge he/she would have gained over the years—you can very well imagine the benefits of this pattern by yourself.

Compiled by @alicesaraswati for @EnglishTips4U on Monday, 21 June 2021.

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#EngTrivia: Spilling the Beans vs. Spilling the Tea

What’s the difference of spilling the beans and spilling the tea?

Photo by Jessica Lewis on Pexels.com

If you spend enough time on the internet, you’ll find that people use the phrase ‘to spill the tea’ a lot, especially when there is a scandal or a controversy. How does it differ from ‘to spill the beans?’

Quick answer: both can mean the same thing, which is exposing or leaking private information that is not supposed to be made public. However, I tend to use ‘spill the beans’ for something that has an amount of truth in it, while I use ‘spill the tea’ for gossips.

‘Spill the beans’ is believed to have come from an ancient Greek voting system, wherein those in favour of something would put white beans into the jar. Those who opposed would put black ones. It’s not clear what type of beans were used.

If someone knocked over the jar and the beans were spilled, the results were out and were known to public before the voting ended. Thus came the phrase ‘spill the beans’.

We have a much clearer record of ‘spill the tea’. It first appeared in a 1994 non-fiction novel, John Berendt’s Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. In it, he interviewed Lady Chablis.

The lady said she avoided being in a close acquaintance with certain men because once the found out the T about her, they tended to become more violent. ‘T’ here stands for truth.

In her autobiography which was published in 1997, Lady Chablis once again used the letter ‘T’ to refer to the truth. Later on, this ‘T’ was officially spelled ‘tea.’

Unlike ‘spill the beans’ that carries some truth in it, the phrase ‘spill the tea’ can mean the truth or gossips. It can also mean our truth/gossips and the truth/gossips about us. So be careful when ‘spilling the hot tea,’ lest we get burnt.

Photo by Dmitriy Ganin on Pexels.com

Source:
https://www.merriam-webster.com/words-at-play/tea-slang-meaning-origin
https://www.grammar-monster.com/sayings_proverbs/spill_the_beans.htm

Compiled by @alicesaraswati for @EnglishTips4U on Tuesday, 1 June 2021.

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#EngClass: Inflection

One of the branches of linguistic is morphology, that is the study of words, how they are formed, and their relation to other words in the same language. In morphology, inflection (also spelled ‘inflexion’) is a process of word formation.

In order to express grammatical categories, such as tenses, numbers, persons, animacy, definiteness, or others, a word is often modified. This modification is called ‘inflection.’

Inflection as described by Britannica.com (https://www.britannica.com/topic/inflection)

The inflection of verbs is called ‘conjugation.’
Example:
‘I have been WAIT all morning’ inflected to be ‘I have been WAITING all morning.’
Adding the suffix -ing to the verb ‘wait’ to form present perfect continuous tense is a type of conjugation.

The inflection of other parts of speech, such as nouns, adjectives, adverbs, pronouns, determiners, participles, prepositions and postpositions, numerals, or articles is called ‘declension.’
Example:
‘I have so many book’ inflected to be ‘I have so many books.’
Adding -s to the noun ‘book’ for it to become its plural form is a type of declension.

‘My house is a lot SMALL than my parents’ house’ inflected to be ‘my house is a lot SMALLER than my parents’ house.’
Adding -er to form a comparative degree is also a declension.

Regular and irregular inflection
Does inflection only come with affixes (imbuhan)?

Not always. We have regular and irregular inflection.
Example:
1. The verb is ‘swim.’
The past form is ‘swam.’
The participle form is ‘swum.’
This is also an inflection, but an irregular one.

2. One CHILD —> many CHILDREN
One WOMAN —> many WOMEN
The changing of the nouns to their plural forms in the example is also an inflection.

Words that follow the regular pattern of inflection, such as adding affixes, are considered regular inflection. Other words that don’t necessarily follow the regular pattern are considered irregular inflection.

Conclusion: inflection is any type of word modifications.

Compiled by @alicesaraswati for @EnglishTips4U on Sunday, 23 May 2021.

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#EngClass: Fewer vs. Less

When using degree of comparison, we refer to something having larger quantity or greater quality as ‘more.’ This applies to countable and uncountable nouns, which are represented by ‘many’ and ‘much,’ respectively.

In other words, we can use ‘more’ for both countable and uncountable nouns. This is not always the case with comparing two things with one having inferior quantity than the other.

By linguistic prescription/prescriptive grammar, or traditional grammar rules, so to say, ‘fewer’ is used with countable nouns and ‘less’ is used with uncountable nouns.

Example:
“There are fewer people living in this area now.” (‘people’ is a countable noun)
“I try to minimise deep-fried food, that’s why I use less cooking oil now than I used to.” (‘cooking oil’ is an uncountable noun)

When the uncountable nouns are presented with measurement units, we can go with both ‘fewer’ and ‘less,’ although in some cases, using ‘less’ sounds more natural.

Example:
“I drank less than 6 cups of water today. No wonder I felt tired.” (‘6 cups of water’ is a measurement unit)

‘Water’ is an uncountable noun, but in the example, it came with a measurement unit, which is ‘6 cups.’ Using ‘fewer’ is still correct, but it sounds less natural.

‘Less’ is also more generally acceptable to use with nouns that are intangible or inexplicit.

Example:
Forrest Gump said, “One less thing.”
Ariana Grande also sang, “One less problem.”

This is because ‘thing’ and ‘problem’ are still intangible; we don’t have enough information about how many ‘things’ or ‘problems’ the speakers are talking about. What we know is only the quantity of ‘thing’ and ‘problem’ has decreased.

All right, that’s quite a deep dive into the usage of ‘fewer’ and ‘less.’ Hope it helps.

Compiled by @alicesaraswati for @EnglishTips4U on Tuesday, 18 May 2021.

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#EngTalk: Improving Education System

Happy National Education Day! Selamat Hari Pendidikan Nasional, everyone! One of my wishes for this year’s #Hardiknas is that may we contain the pandemic soon so students and teachers can go back to school in person.

I realise this is a delicate and complicated situations with the risk of students being infected while at school, but I guess we can agree that at the moment, remote learning is not yet on a par with in person attendance.

With that being said, we’d like to invite you to share what your thoughts are on Indonesian educational system and what you would suggest to improve it.

Photo by Tima Miroshnichenko on Pexels.com

For a start, I wish students would not have to upload their assignments to social media platforms that can be easily accessed by the general public, as it can pose a threat to their privacy. Private links accessible by the teachers are preferred.

Secondly, many teachers are still earning less than minimum wages, with sometimes the payment being delayed for months. This is definitely something that needs to be fixed.

Now, on to the more practical side. I notice that we are still focusing on ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ or ‘true’ or ‘false’ thinking, while the world often presents multi-dimensional situations. Instead, we should give the same attention to the ‘whys’ and ‘hows.’ This will allow students to elaborate their arguments and start thinking from many different perspectives, as well as cultivating critical thinking.

Social media and schools should not be two different, opposing entities. Instead, educational bodies can actively encourage students on how to use social media safely. This could also involve fact-checking to reduce the spread of hoaxes and disinformation.

Next, we have counselor office at school, but if I remember correctly from my school days, being sent to counselor office almost always meant a punishment or a warning letter to give our parents. I just wish that students would actually be confident to open up to the counselors about any issues they are facing, without the fear of being judged. Who knows, a student can secretly be a victim of bullying or can have problems at home with no one to turn to.

It’s also important to bring up discussion about mental and physical health, including our bodily functions. Some discussions are still deemed as taboos, leaving students searching information from non-reliable sources.

The last but not least, education should not only be about results (e.g., marks or grades), but also process. All of these require hard work, for sure, but with commitments from parents, the government, and the educational bodies, we can do this.

Leave us some comments on what you would suggest to improve our educational system.

Compiled by @alicesaraswati for @EnglishTips4U on Sunday, 2 May 2021.

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#EngKnowledge: Labour Day 2021 and Improving Working Conditions

The first day of May is internationally celebrated as Labour Day, so let’s take a moment to honour and commemorate those who have struggled and advocated for better working conditions and let’s work harder to create a no-discrimination and safer workplaces for everyone.

We as today’s workers can enjoy around 40-45 hours of work a week (8-9 hours daily), receive minimum wages, social and health benefits, and paid leaves thanks to those who worked hard for these changes in the past.

Does this mean that the work is done for us? As the world is constantly changing, we also need to adapt. There are still works to do to cultivate healthier working conditions. What are those?

International Workers’ Day illustration inspired by Frederick Douglass.
Source: Facebook CWA Local 1033

1. Environmentally-friendly industries
As the climate change poses a threat to everything on earth, we can start by adapting environmentally-friendly policies in our offices. Things like reducing carbon footprints, unplugging devices when not used, maximising natural light, minimising the use of papers and plastic wrappings, as well as giving back to the environment through social works and charities can help.

2. Humanisation
Except for artificial intelligence, all workers are humans and not machine or robots. Sometimes we get tired, we underperform, or we have health issues that could affect our performance. The best way to handle this is to treat our coworkers sympathetically.

3. Open the door
Open more opportunities for people with physical challenges. Try to connect with NGOs that empower people with physical challenges to see if we can give some training and eventually employ them.

4. Stand up against discrimination, harassment, or alleged abuse
Discrimination in workplaces can be in any forms: race, skin colour, ethnicity, gender, or other social backgrounds. Harassment and abuse can also happen in verbal or written forms, from microaggression, bullying, to sexual misconduct. If anything like this happens in the workplace, please stand with the victim and bring up the issue to people team or the higher management.

5. Support career advancement
A good workplace should not only obligate us to come to work and get paid. Trainings and opportunities to learn new skills that can be beneficial to our careers are also important.

6. Interns are workers, too
The year is 2021 and we should have moved past the mindset that interns are paid with working experience. As they usually do a portion of work for the company, they should also receive payment and benefits.

7. Working overtime is not to be glorified
Some still think that working as long as possible, whether it is at the office or from home, is a sign of dedication, while it could be stressful and detrimental to our health in the long run. Remember that burnout is not a badge of honour. Instead, try using our regular working time as effectively and as efficiently as possible so we don’t have to carry the workload to home, to later hours, or to the following days.

8. Leaves are for taking a break
People who are on a leave should take a good rest without their workloads looming over their heads. Whether the employees are single, married, or have children and family of their own, their leaves are for them to use.

9. Medical benefits for workers
This should be of a top priority especially for high-risk jobs. Not only should it cover physical injuries, it will be ideal if the medical benefits also provides support for psychological treatment.

10. Transparency
There should be a clear understanding between the employees and the employers regarding the company’s policy. Policies made should be socialised before applied to allow for any input from the employees.

11. Support for working parents
The needs of working parents, especially mothers, to care for their children as well as provide for the family are often neglected. Instead, we can try to support the parents by allowing a place for children in the office, providing nursing room, or flexible parental leaves for both mothers and fathers.

12. Empower women
There are still many issues related to women and those who identify as women in the workplaces, whether it is discriminative treatment, unequal opportunities, or even pay gap. We could try to allocate a certain percentage of female employees especially in the role of decision-making.

Those are what we can suggest to improve our working conditions. Try to propose them to the people management team in the company that we are working for to see if we can make any changes.

Compiled by @alicesaraswati for @EnglishTips4U on Saturday, 1 May 2021.

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#EngClass: Analogy

This article will discuss something that is still related to writing: analogy.

What’s an analogy?
An analogy is a comparison between two similar things, typically for the purpose of explanation or clarification.

In English, there are other purposes of making a comparison, but an analogy emphasises on giving an explanation.

Forming an analogy
To form an analogy, we need to make a comparison between two things, using ‘to be like’ or ‘as (adjective/adverb) as.’

Examples
Now, on to some examples. Here is my favourite analogy in case I need to explain a mental health condition to someone who’s not yet aware of it.

“Telling someone with mental health conditions to be grateful because ‘other people have it worse’ is like giving a candy to someone who just fell and hurt themselves. The candy is tasty, sure, but it doesn’t solve the main problem.”

By saying that sentence, I don’t necessarily mean to give a candy to someone who just fell. Instead, I’m explaining to my interlocutor that to treat mental health issues, we might need to go deeper than giving advices.

“Many people told me to go have fun or travel or treat myself with something nice whenever I’m depressed. I’m thankful for the advice, but it’s like telling me to have fun whilst my leg is broken.”

Another popular, albeit debatable, example of an analogy is this line by Forrest Gump:

“My momma always said, ‘Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.'”

Forrest Gump (1994). Image credit: on the picture

On one hand, the line was meant to say that when opening a box of chocolates, we never know what flavour we will get. This is just like life, when many things are unpredictable.

On the other hand, a box of chocolates contains chocolates, that surely taste similar, so a box of chocolates is not really comparable to the unpredictable life. Which is why some might say that the line could be an example of analogy, but it’s a weak one.

Does an analogy have to be long and detailed?
Not always. Sometimes, it can go just as simple as the following examples:
“My puppy’s coat is as white as snow, so I call it Snowy.”
“The ballerina looks like she’s as light as a feather.”

Compiled by @alicesaraswati for @EnglishTips4U on Saturday, 17 April 2021.

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#EngClass: ‘Very’ vs. ‘So’ (REVISIT)

This article is a revisit and rewritten version of #EngClass: “very” vs “so” (2012).

“The weather is very hot.”
“The weather is so hot.”
“The weather is so very hot.”

Is there any difference in using ‘very’ and ‘so’ in a sentence?

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1. Adverb of degree
As adverbs of degree/degree adverbs, also known as intensifier (adverbs that tell us the intensity of a state), both ‘very’ and ‘so’ can be used interchangeably. They are followed by adjectives or adverbs.

Example:
Followed by adjective
“The painting is very beautiful.”
“The painting is so beautiful.”

Followed by adverb
“The painting is very nicely done.”
“The painting is so nicely done.”

NOTE:
Some would argue that ‘so’ signifies more intensity than ‘very,’ whilst I personally think that ‘very’ is more intense. Regardless, both uses are correct. However, whilst ‘very’ can be followed by adjective + noun, rarely do we find such use for ‘so.’

Example:
“That is a very beautiful painting.” (common)
“That is a so beautiful painting.” (uncommon)

We can fix the second sentence by moving the article (a/an), but even so, replacing ‘so’ with ‘such’ is more common.

Example:
“That is so beautiful a painting.” (correct, but less common, unless followed by another clause. See point 2: cause and effect)
“That is such a beautiful painting.” (correct and common)

What about ‘so very?’ This form is used to further intensify the situation.
“I’m so very worried about you.”

2. Cause and effect
Even though ‘so… that’ is more commonly used to introduce cause and effect, we can also use ‘very,’ ‘such,’ and ‘too,’ to some extent.

Example:
“The painting was so beautiful that we couldn’t look away.”
“The painting was very beautiful that we couldn’t look away.”

I hope you feel confident now using ‘very’ and ‘so’. Remember that their roles as adverbs of degree or intensifier can be replaced with a more suitable adjective.

Example:
Very/so pretty = beautiful.
Very/so bad = terrible
Very/so cute = adorable, etc.

Compiled by @alicesaraswati for @EnglishTips4U on Saturday, 10 April 2021.

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#IOTW: Idioms to Express Sadness

We are saddened over the massive flood that happened in West and East Nusa Tenggara. Our condolences to all the victims. May the disaster be contained soon.

Photo by George Becker on Pexels.com

Some idioms to express sadness and grief:
1. Down in the mouth
This is to describe the shape of someone’s lips that is downward because of feeling upset or sad.

Example:
“He’s been down in the mouth since he received his test results.”

2. Be reduced to tears
This idiom is used to describe someone overwhelmed by grief or sadness that they begin to cry.

Example:
“Jane was reduced to tears when she spoke to her ill father.”

3. Cry one’s heart/eyes out
Describing someone who cries for a long time.

Example:
“Lisa patiently listened to Santi as the later cried her heart out.”

4. One’s heart sinks
This idiom is used to express the sudden feeling of unease or unhappiness.

Example:
“My heart sunk as soon as I heard the news.”

5. A heavy heart
‘A heavy heart’ describes someone’s heart being heavy due to the weight of sadness.

Example:
“It is with a heavy heart that I announce my resignation from the company.”

Compiled by @alicesaraswati for @EnglishTips4U on Monday, 5 April 2021.

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#EngKnowledge: Easter and Paskah

Hi, hello, everyone! How was your Holy Week celebration? Happy Easter to those of you who celebrate and happy long weekend to the others. Remember to always practice safety precautions and comply with health protocols.

Photo by Alena Koval on Pexels.com

Fellas, especially Indonesians, have you ever wondered why the word Easter is translated to Paskah in Indonesian language?

After doing some readings, I found out the word ‘Paskah’ used in Indonesian language came from Latin and Greek ‘Pascha,’ a word derived from Aramaic ‘Paskha,’ which came from Hebrew ‘Pesach.’

This word is used to refer to what is known in English as Passover, a commemoration of Jewish exodus from slavery in Egypt. Around the 1st century, the word was applied to Christianity. To this day, save for Germanic languages, such as English, the word Pascha is still commonly used.

So, what about the English version, Easter?

Easter, as well as other words from the same origin, such as Dutch ‘ooster’ and German ‘Ostern,’ referred to an Old English word ‘Ēosturmōnaþ’ or the month of Goddess Ēostre, a West Germanic spring goddess.

Feasts used to be held during April, believed to the first month of spring, in honour of the spring goddess, but this tradition died down by the 8th century, and replaced by Christian Paschal month.

I hope this answers your question. Have a safe celebration tomorrow and take care.

Compiled by @alicesaraswati for @EnglishTips4U on Saturday, 3 April 2021.

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#EngKnowledge: April Fools’ Day History

As it is the 1st of April, we will have a little story-time on the history of April Fools’ Day.

In modern times, April Fools’ Day is synonymous with pranks and jokes, which involve not only individuals but also brands and media.

There are many versions of how April Fools’ Day came to such an importance. First, we will talk about the transition from Julian calendar to Gregorian calendar, which happened in France in 1582.

In Julian calendar, the new year was celebrated on 1 April, the spring equinox. Those who didn’t get the memo that year and didn’t realise that the beginning of the year had been moved to 1 January were referred to as ‘poisson d’avril’ or April fish.

The term itself meant a gullible person or ‘April fools.’ Those who still celebrated the new year during the last week of March through 1 April were made fun of by having a paper fish stuck onto their backs.

The second version said that April Fools’ Day is related to ‘Hilaria’ (Latin for ‘joyful’), an ancient Roman festival celebrated at the end of March which included citizen dressing up and mocking fellow citizen or public officials.

Who would have thought that Mother Nature and the weather are related to April Fools’? It is said that the unpredictable weather at the beginning of spring in the Northern Hemisphere is Mother Nature making a fool of us.

Finally, the April Fools’ spread throughout Britain in the 18th century. This version of April Fools’ was probably the closest to what we know now, as it sometimes involved sticking ‘kick me’ sign on someone’s derriere (back side). Since then, April Fools’ Day became an unofficial holiday in many parts of the world, where people are allowed to do harmless pranks, jokes, and hoaxes, and the targets are not usually mad or upset.

Source: https://www.history.com/topics/holidays/april-fools-day

Compiled by @alicesaraswati for @EnglishTips4U on Thursday, 1 April 2021.

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#EngTips: Learning English As Adults

Some people said that it is harder to learn something new as an adult. To some extent, the saying carries some truth because our brains need to create new cognitive frameworks or consciously do intellectual activities.

Besides, adults have less free time that can be allocated to studying. If children, teenagers, and young adults go to school, adults need to go to work and do other adult things. So, to help you get started, we’ll share some tips on learning English as an adult.

Photo by Nicole Berro on Pexels.com

1. Make time
Allocate 10-30 minutes daily to study, be it early in the morning or before you go to bed. It might not seem significant but if you use this time to study regularly, there will be some improvement.

2. Find a supportive community
We are likely to pick up words or habits from people we interact with. Try joining English learning communities and have conversations in English as often as possible.

3. Use technology
Apps, online dictionaries, thesaurus, or word games are there to help you brush up your English skill. Have fun with them!

4. Read the English edition of a familiar book
Start with something simple like bedtime stories, fables, or fairy tales that we know by heart. For example, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs or Pinocchio. We will eventually be familiar with the English version of the tales.

5. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes and don’t rush ourselves
“Malu kalau salah berbahasa Inggris.”
Don’t be shy and don’t be afraid to make mistakes, because that’s how we learn. Try to be open to correction and suggestion and think of mistakes as something we can fix, not something that should stop us. If you get overwhelmed, it’s okay to take a break and repeat what you’ve learned so far.

Compiled by @alicesaraswati for @EnglishTips4U on Monday, 22 March 2021.

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#EngQuote: Inspirational Women

Happy International Women’s Day! We hope that all women get the opportunity to always be the best version of themselves. In this article, we are going to share quotes from inspirational women. I hope they can be a motivation to you.

Photo by Lisa on Pexels.com

“No matter where you’re from, your dreams are valid.”Lupita Nyong’o, Kenyan-Mexican Oscar-winning actress.

“You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them.”Maya Angelou, American poet and Civil Rights activist.

“Women are like teabags. We don’t know our true strength until we are in hot water.”Eleanor Roosevelt, American activist and First Lady of the United States.

“The power to question is the basis of all human progress.”Indira Gandhi, First Female Prime Minister of India.

“I don’t go by the rulebook; I lead from the heart, not the head.”Lady Diana Spencer, British nobility and philanthropist.

“We must believe that we are gifted for something and that this thing, at whatever cost, must be attained.”Marie Curie, Polish physicist and chemist.

“Be faithful in small things because it is in them that your strength lies.”Mother Teresa, missionary and humanitarian leader.

“Just do what you want to do. Don’t be restricted by the thoughts, ‘I’m a woman, I shouldn’t be doing this.’”Susi Pudjiastuti, Indonesian businesswoman and Former Minister of Marine Affairs and Fisheries.

Compiled by @alicesaraswati for @EnglishTips4U on Monday, 8 March 2021.

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#WOTD: Touché

“I guess the grass is always greener on the other side. We can never compare with her.”
“The grass is always greener because it’s synthetic. I’d rather be myself than be fake.”
“Touché!”

This article is going to discuss an interjection, ‘touché.’ In Indonesian language, the word is comparable to, “Iya, juga, ya!” or, “Benar juga, ya!”

Fencing, a sport where the word ‘touché’ is used a lot. Image: Wikipedia

“Is ‘touché’ an English word?”
It’s a good question. ‘Touché’ is a passive form of French verb ‘toucher,’ which means ‘to touch.’ It has been adopted by English-speaking people with a slight change in its meaning and use.

Origin
In English, ‘touché’ is an expression acknowledging a clever response in a discussion or debate. Essentially, it’s another way of saying ‘well said.’ Rarely will we hear French-speaking people use ‘touché’ in this context.

In French, ‘touché’ as an expression is more commonly used in fencing. It’s to acknowledge that a contender has been hit by the rival. In everyday French conversation, ‘touché’ is used in the same context as ‘being moved.’

The use of ‘touché’ as an expression is believed to have started becoming popular in 1897. It’s pronounced ‘tuːˈʃeɪ.’

Usage in English
How do we use ‘touché’ in English? Generally, we use it whenever we are unable to counter an argument or a valid point. In the speechlessness, we can only admit that we don’t have a response by saying ‘touché.’

Other examples:
“I don’t eat junk food.”
“Really? You always have carbonated drinks with your meal, though. What’s the difference?”
“…touché.”

“I’m sorry, I can’t talk right now. Can I call you back once I get home?”
“But you said your place doesn’t have good reception.”
“Touché! All right, what’s wrong?”

“This song breaks my heart.”
“Wait, you have a heart?”
“Touché.”

Compiled by @alicesaraswati for @EnglishTips4U on Saturday, 6 March 2021.

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#EngClass: Redundancy in English

Indonesian classes at school teach/taught us different types of figure of speech. One of them is pleonasm, the usage of more words than necessary. ‘Maju ke depan’ is a popular example of pleonasm in Indonesian. This article will be talking about something similar, redundancy.

Photo by Ivan Samkov on Pexels.com

Some say redundancy can take a pleonasm form; others say pleonasm is a more general classification of redundancy.

How are they different?
Pleonasm generally refers to the using of too many words, while redundancy is using two or more words with the same meaning.

“I listened to their confession with my own ears.” <— this is a pleonasm because in order to listen to something, we use our ears.

“The description is sufficient enough.” <— this is a redundancy because sufficient and enough mean the same. We use only one of them.

Other examples of redundancy:
Global pandemic
A pandemic refers to a widespread of a disease on a global level. Use ‘pandemic.’

Reread again
The prefix re- means ‘back’ or ‘again.’ Saying ‘reread again’ is saying ‘read again again.’ Use ‘reread’ or ‘read again.’

Extra bonus
A bonus is something ‘extra,’ something additional. Use ‘bonus.’

Close proximity
‘Proximity’ means ‘close to one’s location.’ Use ‘proximity.’

Gather together
‘To gather’ means ‘to come together.’ Use ‘to gather’ or ‘to come together.’

End result/final outcome
The words ‘result’ and ‘outcome’ indicate that something has come to an end. Something is final. Adding ‘end’ and ‘final’ to modify ‘result’ and ‘outcome’ is redundant.

Still remains
We find this phrase a lot in love songs: “My love still remains…”
‘To remain’ means to be still in one place.

Repetition and redundancy
In writing, we also come across ‘repetition,’ that is repeating one word to put emphasis, to make a point, or to add a dramatic, exaggerated effect.

Example:
“I could not forgive him. He hurt me over and over and over again.”

However, redundancy is more often shunned than repetition, because not only will it make the sentences unnecessary long, leading to boredom, redundant words or phrases don’t add anything new. They don’t give new information.

This is where proofreading comes in handy, especially if what we’re writing is related to academic or professional aspects of our life. It’s important to find the right balance to avoid being tedious and keep our readers engaged.

Compiled by @alicesaraswati for @EnglishTips4U on Thursday, 4 March 2021.

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