Tag Archives: formal

#EngTrivia: Telling time (2)

How was your day? Did you use your time wisely? In this particular article, we’ll talk about time… or rather, the different ways to tell the time.

Slide1

So, how do you usually tell the time? What time is this clock showing? There is more than one way to tell the time. Let’s look into it in more detail. Ready?

1. ‘a.m.’ & ‘p.m.’

‘a.m.’ and ‘p.m.’ are used in the 12 hours clock system. They are more often used in writing.

  • ‘a.m.’ stands for ante meridiem, before noon. It indicates the time period from midnight to midday.
    slide3
  • ‘p.m.’ stands for post meridiem, after noon. It indicates the time period from midday to midnight. Slide4

2. ‘to’ and ‘past’

The most common way to tell the time is to use ‘to’ and ‘past.’ This method is acceptable in verbal and written communication.

  • ‘to’ is used to show the number of minutes towards a particular hour.
    • Example:
      • If it is going to be 8 o’clock in 15 minutes, we say “It’s fifteen to eight.” Slide6
  • ‘past’ is used to show the number of minutes after a particular hour.
    • Example:
      • If the time is 15 minutes after 8 o’clock, we say “It’s fifteen past eight.” Slide7

3. Hour and minute

Another way to tell the time would be by simply saying the hour and minutes. Example:

  • If the clock shows 8:05 p.m. You can simply say, “It’s eight zero five” or “It’s eight oh five.”Slide9

With this method, you don’t need to worry whether it’s morning, afternoon, evening or night. However, do keep in mind to only use this in casual conversation. You are highly discouraged to use this method in writing, especially in formal writing.

4. ’till’ and ‘after’

Especially in American English, some people use ’till’ (until) instead of ‘to,’ and ‘after’ instead of ‘past.’

  • ’till’ is used to show the number of minutes towards a particular hour.
    • Example:
      • If it is going to be 9 o’clock in 25 minutes, we say “It’s twenty-five till nine.”Slide11
  • ‘after’ is used to show the number of minutes after a particular hour.
    • Example:
      • If the time is 15 minutes after 9 o’clock, we say “It’s fifteen after nine.”Slide12

As mentioned above, ’till’ and ‘after’ are only used in American English. And even so, they’re only used in speech; not in writing.

And that’s a wrap, fellas! I hope the explanation was clear enough. However, if you do have any question, feel free to leave a comment in the comment box.

Compiled and written by @miss_qiak for @EnglishTips4U on Thursday, April 13, 2017

 

Related post(s):

^MQ

Advertisements

#EngClass: Everybody – Singular or Plural?

Is ‘everybody’ singular or plural? Do you refer to ‘everyone’ with ‘him/her’ or ‘them’?
slide2

Alright alright… Let’s resolve this confusion together, shall we?

First of all; ‘everybody’ is an indefinite pronoun. Indefinite pronouns refer to nonspecific persons or things. And these are indefinite pronouns:

Somebody

Someone

Something

Everybody

Everyone

Everything

Anybody

Anyone

Anything

Nobody

None

Nothing

We use them to refer to a total number of people, things and places. We write them as one word.

Some indefinite pronouns, despite the illogic, are always singular. One of them is ‘everybody’. In this particular post, we’ll specifically talk about one of the: ‘everybody’.

 

‘Everybody’ in formal English

While ‘everybody’ seems like a plural noun, since it refers to a crowd of people, it is actually a singular subject. It refers to ONE group of people.

slide6

We use ‘everybody’ with singular verbs.

Example:

  • Everybody knows the truth.
    • ‘knows’ is a singular verb

When we want to refer back to ‘everybody’ and we don’t know if it’s a group of males or females, we use ‘him or her’ and ‘his or her’.

Example:

  • Everybody has his or her own desk.
    • ‘his or her’ is a singular pronoun.

Okay. We hereby determine that ‘everybody’ is singular.

slide9

 

‘Everybody’ in informal English

Now, how many of you have HEARD of people referring back to ‘everybody’ by using ‘them‘?

As mentioned above, despite being illogical, it is grammatically correct to treat ‘everybody’ as singular, especially in formal English.

However, when people talk, logic wins, so you will hear plural pronouns such as ‘them’. We use ‘them’ in informal conversations.

Example:

  • Everybody was putting a smile on their face.
    • ‘their’ is a plural pronoun.

slide10

Anyone confused yet? So is ‘everybody’ singular or plural? Let’s clarify things up, shall we?
slide11

I hope that last image helped solve the confusion, fellas. Feel free to mention us or leave a comment if you have any question. We’ll solve it together.

 

Compiled and written by @miss_qiak for @EnglishTips4U on Wednesday, October 19, 2016

 

Related post(s):

 

^MQ

#GrammarTrivia: ‘Good’ vs. ‘well’

Good vs. Well.JPG

When we meet somebody, we frequently ask or are asked how we are doing. To those questions, we often response with, “I’m good” or “I’m well.”

You might have wondered which one of those phrases is correct.

In this #GrammarTrivia article, we are going to discuss when to use ‘good’ and ‘well.’

 

Describing ‘good’ and ‘well’

‘Good’ is an adjective. We use it to describe noun as ‘pleasing’ or ‘of acceptable quality.’

Example:

  • “This sandwich is really good.”

‘Well’ is an adverb, used to describe an action that is done in a pleasing way.

Example:

  • “Jonah plays the violin really well.”

Thus, when telling about an event or action, we use ‘well.’

More examples:

  • “My day had been going so well prior to her call.”
  • “I get along well with my colleagues.”
  • “You sing very well.”

 

‘Good’ as adverb

What could be a little confusing now, fellas, is that ‘good’ can also work as adverb in informal speech or writing.

For example:

  • “The prescription works good with my diet. The new trainee is doing really good. “(informal)

However, please be reminded that the above sentence is informal. For formal use, ‘well’ will fit better.

For example:

  • “The prescription works good with my diet. The new trainee is doing really well. “(formal)

 

‘Well’ as adjective

At the same time, using ‘well’ as an adjective can also be acceptable. For example, somebody is asking us about how we feel after we recover from an illness.

Q: How are you? I heard you were admitted to the hospital.
A: I’m well now, thank you very much. Just a bad case of dehydration.

In this context, using “I’m well” is more suitable since it is more specific than ‘good,’ indicating that the speaker is in good health condition.

 

Is there any other examples in which ‘good’ and ‘well’ confuse you, fellas? Feel free to drop a comment!

 

Compiled and written by @alicesaraswati for @EnglishTips4U on Monday, 29 August, 2016

 

Related post(s):

 

^MQ

#EngKnowledge: Dress codes

We meet again here to discuss ‘dress code.’ The term usually surfaces when you are about to attend an event, visit places of worship, have a job interview, etc.

While the terminology can vary from Brazilian Carnival, where everyone wears vibrant colours and looks like they’re about to join a parade, to The Great Gatsby, where we time-travel to USA in early 20s. Here are some dress codes that are commonly used.

1. Casual is the most comfortable clothing.

Example:

  • T-shirt
  • Jeans
  • Sneakers
  • Crop-top, etc.

2. Business casual is something many people wear to work every day. Replace jeans with dress pants or skirt, sneakers with loafers or heels, and T-shirt with collared shirt or polo shirt, and there you have it.

3. Smart casual is a combination of casual, business, and stylish outfit. Think of something that makes you look smart, sharp, and trendy. For examples for smart casual outfits, you can see the picture below.

image.jpg
(Source:businessinsider.com.au)

4. Business/informal. Contrary to its name, this dress code calls for something more sophisticated than smart casual: suit, tie, business-style dress, and ‘business’ colors (black, navy blue, gray, or brown).

5. Semi-formal is something fancier than business/informal and just below formal or black tie. Dark suit and long tie and oxford for gentlemen or little black dress or any other classy short dresses for ladies. The recommended length for the dresses is no shorter than one inch (2.54 cm) above the knee.

6. Formal/black tie. Black tie optional means floor-length gowns, fancy jewelries, tuxedos, vest, bow-ties, and also elegant hairdo. Notice that this dress code does not necessarily limit you to black tie or the color black. Silver suit with matching bow-tie is an elegant choice, too.

f080f9bca508674f445c03ef3ac66ecf
(Source: shesaidyes.co.nz)

 

Compiled and written by @alicesaraswati for @EnglishTips4U on Monday, 18 January, 2016

 

Related post(s):

 

^MD

#BusEng: How to write a formal email for job application

email_mobile_icon_w1024

In this post, we are going to have a discussion on how to write email for job application. So, for those who are seeking for a job, this post might be helpful for you. Technically, a formal email should consist of at least one head, one body, and one tail; just like a crocodile. In terms of language style, some rules govern (but not always) a formal email are as follow.

  1. always use advanced vocabulary e.g ‘to enquire’ instead of ‘to ask,’ ‘to obtain’ instead of ‘to get,’ and ‘to supply’ than ‘to give.’ Don’t use colloquial expressions (bahasa sehari-hari). Expose yourself with synonymous words in English. Thesaurus might help enrich your vocabulary. Check http://www.thesaurus.com for synonymous words and always check their usages in advanced dictionaries.
  2. avoid composing simple sentences; try to use complex sentences instead. Some formal sentence or paragraph linkers you could use are ‘therefore,’ ‘furthermore,’ ‘consequently,’ ‘in addition,’ and ‘finally.’
  3. don’t use imperatives. Remember, you beg a job. LOL. A trick you may consider to avoid imperatives is by using passive voice. e.g instead of saying “you may contact me..,” you can say “I can be contacted..” or simply say “I am available to..”
  4. use full verbs; don’t abbreviate e.g “I would like to…” instead of “I’d like to…”

 

Enough with the discussion on language style. Now, we move on to discuss how to begin a formal email.

  1. begin your email with a proper address. If you don’t know the addressee, use “Dear Sir or Madam,.” Should you know the name, supply a title and only print the surname. e.g the full name is Wisnu Pradana, then you write “Dear Mr Pradana,”
  2. 1st paragraph should convey your intention of writing the email. Some opening sentences you may use are: “I am writing this email to..” or “I am writing in response to your advertisement on..”
  3. 2nd, 3rd, etc. paragraphs are supposed to be the body of your email. Communicate and provide elaboration on your expertise, skills, qualifications, and relevant achievements and experiences. Peruse the responsibilities and requirements of the position. Don’t forget to supply reasons on why the company should hire you. Hint, elaborate how your expertise fulfil the requirements and how you may help for the company advancement in the future.
  4. last paragraph is the place for your final remarks, availability for interview, and statement of attached documents. Some sentences you may use are “I am available at anytime to further discuss about…” or “I am looking forward to touching base with you very soon.”
  5. formal ending. You may type “Yours faithfully,” or “Yours sincerely,” or “Yours truly,” or “Sincerely yours.” Dot forget to give some space for your full name below the formal ending.

Before you hit ‘send,’ overlook your email and make sure that the email address and the subject are correct.

 

Compiled and written by @wisznu at @EnglishTips4u on Thursday, October 1, 2015

 

Related post(s):

 

 

^MQ

#GrammarTrivia: Comparative forms – ‘healthier’ or ‘more healthy’?

Hello, fellas. I’d like to start the article with a little story.

So, the admin happens to be working as a copywriter in an advertising agency. Writing and editing texts are part of my daily task.

Recently, I had to face an assignment which triggered an interesting debate even among my co-workers. That problem is: Should we use  ‘healthier’ or ‘more healthy’? Which one is the correct answer?

I personally noticed that both forms are common. Some texts use ‘healthier,’ while some other use ‘more healthy.’ My boss – an Australian who is a native English speaker – thinks that ‘healthier’ should be the way to go. But another co-worker thinks that ‘more healthy’ has a more comfortable feel to it. It gets even crazier as my client thinks there should always be a ‘more’ to every comparative forms! Torn between different opinion, I decided to do a small research. Turns out that there is a controversy on how to use it.

If we are referring to dictionaries like Oxford or Collins, ‘healthier’ is the way to do it. We are also familiar with the rule that stated that words with single syllable uses ‘-er.’

Does this mean that ‘more healthy’ is simply a common mistake that everyone had accustomed to? I remember an opinion stating “English is a language of exception” – because there are always exceptions in every rule. GMAT exercise books such as one published by Manhattan stated that ‘more healthy’ is the correct form. (Yes, this is the part where my head feels like exploding).

In the end, I found an interesting conclusion stating that both are actually correct. We use ‘more healthy’ when we try to add emphasis to the context. Example:

  • “Milk is healthy, skim milk is healthier, and soya milk is even more healthy.”

‘Healthier’ also tends to show up in conversational instead of written English.

Now what to do? To play it safe, I decided to go with ‘healthier.’ But we must keep in mind that language develops. Especially in oral language where the rule tends to be more fluid.

Extra

“In that case, which one is correct: funner, or more fun?” – @catwomanizer

6XpHc

The word ‘fun’ itself has an informal tone in it. For formal use, ‘pleasure’ is more common.

Phew, language learning can often get a little complicated. When in doubt, refer to dictionary. But remember that sometimes there is an exception to a rule. Just like how the British had started to embrace ‘realize.’

Sources: Oxford Learners Dictionary

Compiled by @animenur for @EnglishTips4U on Sunday, September 21, 2014

Related post(s):

^MQ

#EngTips: Writing formal letters and emails

In this post, well focus on how to write formal letters and emails. If you missed our last discussion on basic etiquette in writing emails & letters, check out #EngTips: Basic etiquette in writing letters and emails

Letter writing is an important life skill. It is even more important for your study, career or business. The kind of formal letters you might write could range from cover letters for job applications, inquiry to college or scholarship institutions, complaint to your bank or insurance company, to cover letter for proposals to be sent to clients.

A lot of people tend to feel intimidated and overwhelmed whenever there’s a need to write formal letters. Worry not. It really is not that hard. Just follow these #EngTips on how to write formal letters:

1. Write in the correct format.

The basic format includes:

  • subject,
  • salutation,
  • clear and concise body, and
  • complementary close.

Read more about the basic etiquette here ~> #EngTips: Basic Etiquette in Writing Letters & Emails

2. Keep the letter short and to the point.

Get straight to the point, stick to it and don’t include any unnecessary information.

There’s a good chance that the person you’re writing to has tons of letters to read, and yours is merely one of them. Your letter should take seconds to read rather than minutes, otherwise it is more likely to end up in the bin.

In the case of cover letters for job application, don’t use any flowery language or long words just to show off, and don’t repeat too much information which may already be included in a CV.

3. Start by alerting recipient’s attention to the subject and purpose of the letter.

State the purpose of your formal letter in the first paragraph and don’t veer from the subject. Try to avoid flowery language or long words. Keep the letter short and to the point.

4. Introduce your main point as early as possible in a clear, concise way.

Once you have done this, you may want to give more details, perhaps adding further background or relevant facts.

  • If you’re replying an inquiry, you can start by saying: “In reply to your question concerning…”
  • Or if you’re writing to follow up a previous email, you can start by saying: “I recently wrote to you about…”

5. Provide a brief summary of your expectations.

Before the end of a business letter, it’s usual to provide a brief summary of your expectations.

For example:

  • “I look forward to hearing from you” or
  • “I hope we can discuss the issue…”, etc.

6. Vigorous writing is concise.

A sentence should contain no unnecessary words, a paragraph no unnecessary sentences. Writer need not make all sentences short, avoid all detail and treat subjects only in outline, but make sure that every word tells.

7. Check your letter and make sure it’s free of any grammatical or spelling mistake.

Mistakes will create a bad impression, lessen the effect of what you’re saying and if you’re applying for a job, they could be the cause it’s sent to the bin. Use the spell-checker if you’re using a computer or a smart phone. Check your grammar & punctuation.

8. Be polite, even if you’re complaining.

One way of doing this in English, which is common in formal letter writing, is to use ‘modal verbs’ such as would, could and should.

9. Be formal, but not overly so.

‘Formal’ doesn’t mean pompous or obscure.

10. Use words with which you are familiar and which you can reasonably expect the letter’s recipient to understand.

  • Avoid technical phrases or jargon, particularly abbreviations, unless you are certain that the person you are writing to will understand them.
  • Avoid everyday, colloquial language; slang or jargon.
  • Avoid contractions (I’m, it’s, etc).

Compiled and written by @Miss_Qiak at @EnglishTips4U on Thursday, September 11, 2014

RELATED POST(S):

^MQ