Tag Archives: writing

#EngTips: Paraphrasing

Hi, Fellas. How is it going? Today’s discussion is about one important element of writing. It is paraphrasing. According to Merriam-Webster Dictionary, “paraphrase” means “to say (something that someone else has said or written) using different words”. It is essential that we understand paraphrasing to avoid plagiarism and prepare for IELTS test.

There are several methods of paraphrasing. Here they are:

Using Synonyms

This is probably the most commonly used method. Words can be replaced by their synonyms with no change in meaning. Remember, you do not need to change all words in a sentence.

e.g.:

  • Parents should teach their children to cooperate.
  • Parents should educate their kids to collaborate.

Changing Active Voice into Passive Voice, or Vice Versa

This method cannot be used for all kinds of sentences because only transitive sentences (sentences containing objects) can be changed into passive voice.

e.g.:

  • Deforestation causes global warming. (active voice)
  • Global warming is caused by deforestation. (passive voice)

Nominalization

According to Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary, nominalization is “the process of making a noun from a verb or adjective”.

e.g.:

  • The price of oil rises. [rise (verb)]
  • There is a rise in the price of oil. [rise (noun)]

Incorporating Data

This is a method of paraphrasing related to numbers.

e.g.:

  • From 1990 to 2000, the population of Indonesia increased significantly.
  • In ten years, the population of Indonesia increased significantly.
  • In a decade, the population of Indonesia increased significantly.

Adding Information

To paraphrase using this approach, it is better for you to add information which has already become general knowledge.

e.g.:

  • Many Indonesian scholars study in London, Paris, and Berlin.
  • Many Indonesian scholars study in European cities.

Joining Sentences Using Conjunction

Conjunction is a part of speech connecting words, phrases, clauses, or sentences, for instance: and, but, because, although, etc.

e.g.:

  • Students learn English. They want to pursue their education abroad.
  • Students learn English because they want to pursue their education abroad.

Compiled and written by @fathrahman for @EnglishTips4U on Thursday, May 24, 2018

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#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

 

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#EngClass: Participial adjective (3)

One of our followers asked the question above on Twitter. Do you have a similar question? Do you get confused as to when you should use present or past participle adjective? Kalau kamu masih tulis/bilang: “I’m interesting” saat mau menyatakan “Saya tertarik,” yuk baca lagi artikel ini sampai selesai.

Participle adjectives are verbs, often ends in -ing and -ed, which are used as adjectives.  There are two types of participles: present participles (v-ing) and past participles (v2). Example:

Present participle

Past participle

Boring

Bored

Relaxing

Relaxed

Tiring

Tired

Confusing

Confused

Exciting

Excited

We use present particular adjectives (v-ing) to talk about person, thing, or situation which caused the feeling. Example:

  • “I am boring.”
    • “Aku membosankan, aku menimbulkan rasa bosan.”
  • “They are confusing.”
    • “Mereka membingungkan, mereka menimbulkan kebingungan.”
  • “The book is exciting.”
    • “Bukunya menarik. Bukunya membuat orang tertarik.”

We use past participle adjectives (v2) to talk about how someone feels. Example:

  • “I am bored.”
    • “Aku merasa bosan. Yang kurasakan adalah bosan.”
  • “They are confused.”
    • “Mereka kebingungan. Yang mereka rasakan adalah bingung.”
  • “She is very excited.”
    • “Dia sangat bersemangat. Yang dia rasakan adalah semangat.”

If we were to compare the two side by side:

Present participle

Past participle

Penyebab perasaan

Perasaan yang dirasa

[Me- -kan]

[ter-], [ke- -an]

Entertaining

Entertained

Menghibur

Merasa terhibur

More examples:

Present participle

Past participle

Boring

(Membosankan)

Bored

(Merasa bosan)

Relaxing

(Membuat santai)

Relaxed

(Merasa santai)

Tiring

(Melelahkan)

Tired

(Merasa lelah)

Confusing

(Membingungkan)

Confused

(Merasa bingung)

Exciting

(Menarik)

Excited

(Merasa tertarik)

So, what do you think? I hope the explanation was clear enough. If you still have any question, feel free to leave a comment down below, or you can also mention us on twitter.

How about having a short quiz to see how well you understand the explanation given above? Look at these sentences and choose the correct answer.

  1. I was really (boring/bored) during the lecture. It was really (boring/bored).
  2. I bought a really (interesting/interested) book last night. If you’re (interesting/interested), I can lend it to you.
  3. I heard an (alarming/alarmed) noise last night, and it kept me (alarming/alarmed) all night.

Answer:

  1. bored; boring.
  2. interesting; interested.
  3. alarming; alarmed.

Compiled and written by @miss_qiak for @EnglishTips4U on Wednesday, March 22, 2017

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#EngTips: How to RSVP

RSVP is the acronym for répondez s’il vous plaît, French for ‘please respond‘. It shows that the hosts are asking us to let them know whether we’re coming to their event.

When invited to an event, it is proper etiquette to respond promptly and politely. By responding to RSVP, you help the hosts arrange seating, catering, etc.

RSVP is usually sent out for events such as wedding reception, dinner party, dance party, birthday party and other official or diplomatic events.

Common format:

RSVP by [date] to [email address or phone number].

Example:

  • RSVP by August 31st, 2016 to etifoyu@gmail.com or (021)654321

 

Or if you’re asking to RSVP on website:

Please RSVP on our website at [web address] by [date].

Example:

  • Please RSVP on our website at englishtips4u.com by August 31st, 2016.

 

You can reply an RSVP immediately or within 24 hours. A quick response shows your enthusiasm and gratefulness to be invited. Or, you can also wait until the deadline to respond. Though this might signal that the event doesn’t thrill you on first thought.

Do we have to respond to every invitation? Yes! Wouldn’t you be devastated if you’re hosting and ignored?

 

Accepting RSVP

Simple way to accept an RSVP:

Subject: Accepting your invitation for [event name]

Thank you for inviting me to [event name] on [date]. I will be attending, and if you are preparing name tags, please put [your preferred name] on mine.

Kind regards [or your usual closing phrase].

[Signature]

 

Casual way to accept an RSVP:

[Name] accepts with pleasure the kind invitation to [event name] on [date].

 

Note how event name & date are repeated in the response. It is to confirm that you get the details right.

 

Declining RSVP

Simple way to decline an RSVP:

Subject: Declining your invitation for [event name]

Thank you for inviting me to [event name] on [date], but I am unable to attend.

Kind regards [or your usual closing phrase].

[Signature]

 

Casual way to decline an RSVP:

[Name] regrets that he/she/they are unable to accept the kind invitation to [event name] on [date].

 

Respond to RSVP even if you won’t be attending. It’s considered rude not to respond.

Worried hosts going to beg if you decline? The best way to avoid such awkwardness is to respond via email.

If you decline for whatever reason, you do not have to offer an explanation officially.
However, if you decline an invitation from a close friend, you may wish to offer an explanation in private. Just keep it as brief as possible.

 

When in doubt

If you’re not sure, please say:

“I’m not sure if I can make it, but I’ll let you know as soon as possible.”

And… make sure to let them know as soon as possible to aid her planning of the party.

Regardless of how you respond, always thank the host for the invitation. It’s a privilege to celebrate key events with them.

 

Canceling RSVP

What if something unexpected happened, but you have accepted an RSVP?
In the event of illness, death in the family, or unavoidable business conflict, canceling an RSVP is completely acceptable.

Call your host immediately. The telephone is the quickest way to reach someone and will save your host unwanted surprises. Canceling or going no show on the last minute without news is considered extremely inconsiderate towards your host’s efforts.

Now is the right time to check your inbox. Have you forgotten to respond to any invitation lately?

 

Compiled and written by @miss_qiak for @EnglishTips4U on Sunday, August 7, 2016

 

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#EngClass: Common abbreviations in emails

There are numerous abbreviations which you might find in letters, especially those formal ones. Today, we’ll start with some of the most common ones. Let’s start with this blank email.

 

wp-1469852695818.jpg

 

As you would usually do, you type recipient’s mail address at the ‘To’ colom. Let’s say the email is for Eeny.

  1. Cc – carbon copy. This is to say that a copy of the email is also sent to the person(s) mentioned.
  2. Bcc – blind carbon copy. It indicates people who will receive a copy of the message in secret. Other recipients wouldn’t know.

 

wp-1469853185072.jpg

 

  • Example 1 & 2 – Now, have a look at the pic above. It shows that:
    • Meeny also has a copy of the email. And…
    • every other people (Eeny & Meeny) wouldn’t realize that Miny & Mo are in the know too.

 

In emails, ‘cc’ & ‘bcc’ can normally be found at the top part of your emails.On the other hand, in written letters, cc might be positioned at the bottom.

Moving down to the body of the letter/email…

wp-1469853254309.png

  1. Ref – reference, with reference to. It shows which document or piece of information you are talking about.
  • Example 3 – That is a fake reference code… just to point Eeny to the WhatsApp chat they had the night before.

 

  1. ASAP – as soon as possible. If you see this, sender wants something done at the earliest possible time, if not immediately.
  • Example 4 – Here, Etifoyu is urging Eeny to reply promptly, at the earliest time.

 

  1. RSVP – Répondez s’I’ll vous plaît. It basically a request for a respond, in French.
  • Example 5 – Etifoyu expects Eeny to respond soon or latest by Monday, August 1st, 2016.

 

  1. PS – postscriptum, postscript. Its a note added to a letter/email after the writer has signed it.
  • Example 6 – A short note for the recipient.

 

  1. PPS – post postscript, additional postscript. This is for extra notes and positioned after PS. If there’s any, PS & PPS would be found after the writer’s signature.
  • Example 7 – More short note for the recipient.

 

  1. Encl. – enclosed. This shows that something else is being sent with the letter/email. It’s normally placed at the bottom of the letter.
  • Example 8 – This part list out items sent along with the letter/email.

 

wp-1469853521232.jpg

So, here’s what your email should look like now, fellas! And there goes 8 most  common abbreviations in emails.

I hope you find the explanations & graphics clear enough. If you have any question regarding today’s session, feel free to ask away!

 

 

Compiled and written by @miss_qiak for @EnglishTips4U on Sunday, 31 July, 2016

 

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#EngTips: Faults to avoid in writing business letters (2)

In #EngTips: Faults to avoid in writing business letters, we’ve talked about a couple of things you shouldn’t do in writing business letters. This time, we’ll continue the topic with a couple more tips.

Let’s get started!

 

4. Needless inversion

In good writing, inversion is used in order to give freshness and force. However, when overdone, it not only becomes very wearisome, but also positively nauseating to anyone who loves the beauty of English language. In business letters, try to avoid using this kind of sentence:

“Greater value than this, never have we offered.”

You should just write:

“We have never offered greater value than this.”

 

5. Words misused

People with limited vocabularies are forced to use the relatively few words they know without any regard for their precise meaning. This is an example of misused word in business letter:

“This most unique Delivery Service…”

“Most unique” is absurd. Either a thing is unique or it is not. The word “unique” means the only one of its kind, and is capable of no qualification.

 

6. Colloquial expressions

Vigorous and vivid language is to be preferred to pompous phraseology, but colloquial expressions should not degenerate into slang. You should simply state what you mean. Try not to use this kind of expression:

“You keep asking us for suggestions and every time we submit an idea, you give it the bird.”

The idiom “give (something) the bird” is an informal way of stating that you disapprove something. In business letters, you should just say “you keep turning it down.”

 

Compiled by @iismail21 for @EnglishTips4U on Sunday, 3 April, 2016

 

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#EngTips: Faults to avoid in writing business letters

In this post, we’ll talk about some faults to avoid in writing business letters.

The fault to avoid at all costs in letter-writing is ambiguity. What you write should carry one interpretation only, and that it should be the interpretation you intended it to have.

Let’s get started!

 

1. Faulty Syntax

Faulty syntax is dangerous because it can distort the writer’s meaning. Have a look at the following sentence:

“We are sending you an antique clock by our Mr. Stark, with ornamental hands and engraved face.”

The placement of the comma in that sentence is very important. The phrase “with ornamental hands and engraved face” in that sentence refers to Mr. Stark because it’s placed after the name, separated by comma. That sentence is wrong because the phrase actually refers to the antique clock. This is the correct sentence:

“We are sending you, by our Mr. Stark, an antique clock, with ornamental hands and engraved face.”

That sentence is correct because the phrase is placed after “an antique clock”, separated by comma.

 

2. The double negative

The rule is of course that a double negative makes a positive, but in some instances a double negative is used where no positive is intended. For example, instead of writing:

“Neither of the three samples you send is the correct shade, and are of no interest to us.”

You should write:

“No one of the three samples you send is of the correct shade, or is of any interest to us.”

Nevertheless, avoid using a double negative.

 

3. Overdone superlatives

Giving compliments is good but don’t overdo it. Use only ONE of these: super, breath-taking, supreme, gigantic, exquisite, masterpiece, miraculous, stupendous, etc.

 

Compiled by @iismail21 for @EnglishTips4U on Sunday, 20 March, 2016

 

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#BusEng: How to write a good resume (curriculum vitae)

after-helping-his-friend-design-this-resume-rick-mundon-now-sells-resume-formats-online
(Source: businessinsider.tumblr.com)

In this post, we are going to discuss some important tips in composing CV or Resume. Although this session mainly focuses on business/professional work, you could also apply these strategies in your CV for your study or scholarship application.

Here are some strategies to compose a good CV or resume that we have successfully compiled for you:

  1. Don’t lie. Never lie. Simple, tell the truth. Lying makes your CV seems dubious.
  2. Always include an overview paragraph in the head of your CV. This gives a glimpse of your qualifications to the reviewers.
  3. Be succinct. A good CV should not be more than 2 pages long (A4).
  4. Tailor your CV. Read the desired qualifications carefully and selectively pick up relevant professional experiences to include in your CV.
  5. Use effective diction. Some companies use word-search engine so make sure you employ relevant terms/keywords in your CV.
  6. Use ‘doing’ words, such as ‘developing,’ ‘organizing,’ ‘facilitating,’ ‘assisting,’ etc.
  7. Elucidate your experiences efficiently. Avoid jargons. Mention your achievements and challenges you overcame.
  8. Use percentage in your achievements. It gives a clear depiction on how capable you are in doing your job.
  9. A survey by Hilden reveals the top 5 aspects being looked for in a CV:
    1. Previous related work experience
    2. Qualifications and skills
    3. Readability
    4. Accomplishments
    5. Spelling and grammar
  10. Meanwhile, there are 5 common mistakes that applicants frequently commit in their CV’s:
    1. Spelling and grammar
    2. Not tailored to the job
    3. Poor work history
    4. Poor format
    5. No accomplishments
  11. Correct punctuation matters; some companies might consider the absence of a comma and a period as a sign of careless.
  12. Use professional word style. Choose Arial, Lucida Sans, or Times New Roman.
  13. Check, check, check. Make sure your CV is free from misspellings and grammar mistakes.

That’s all for today. Thank you so much for your attention. Good luck with your CV preparation.

 

Compiled and written by @wisznu at @EnglishTips4u on Wednesday, January 7, 2016

 

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#EngKnowledge: Jane Austen

Jane Austen

Good evening, fellas! How was your day today? Mine went pretty well!

I have seen a lot of posts about people’s fave authors lately. Who’s your fave author, fellas?

One of my favorites is Jane Austen. Do you know her? Jane is known for a lot of works like Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice, Emma, and a lot more. Have you ever read any of her novels?

Well, today is actually her birthday. She was born on December 16, 1775 in Hampshire, England. That’s why tonight’s #EngKnowledge is about Jane Austen. If you know things about her, feel free to share.

Jane was a Gregorian era author, best known for her social commentary in novels including Sense dan Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice, and Emma. Those are some of her most popular works.

While Jane was young, she and her siblings were encouraged to read from their father’s library. Ever fascinated by the world of stories, Jane began to write in bound notebooks.

In the 1790s, she started to craft her own novels and wrote Love and Freindship, a parody of romantic fiction organized as a series of love letters. Her early adulthood was spent by helping run the family home, playing piano, attending, church, and socializing with neighbours.

She loved to read out novels to her family, occasionally one she had written herself. She continued to write and with more ambitious works such as Lady Susan,  Elinor and Marianne which would eventually be published as Sense and Sensibility. She also began drafts of First Impressions, which would later be published as Pride and Prejudice.

In 1801, Jane moved to Bath with her parents and her sister, Cassandra. In 1805, her father died after a short illness. In her 30s, Jane started to anonymously publish her works. #JaneAusten #EngKnowledge

In 1816, at the age of 41, Jane stared to become ill with what some say might have been Addison’s disease. Jane’s condition deteriorated to such a degree that she ceased writing. She died on July 18, 1817, in Winchester, Hampshire, England.

Today, Austen is considered one of the greatest writers in English history, both by academics and the general public. In 2002, the British public voted her No. 70 on a list of “100 Most Famous Britons of All Time”.

The popularity of her work is also evident in the many film and TV adaptations of Emma, Mansfield Park, Pride and Prejudice, and Sense and Sensibility, as well as the TV series & film Clueless, which was based on Emma.

Compiled by @FaridArdian for @Englishtips4u on 16 Dec, 2015.

#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

 

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#EngTrivia: British vs American English Spellings

Do you know that some British English (BrE) words have different spellings from American English (AmE) words?

In general, there are 10 types of spelling differences between BrE and AmE. Here they are:

  1. BrE (-our) vs AmE (-or). E.g.:
    • armour (BrE) vs armor (AmE)
    • favourite (BrE) vs favorite (AmE)
    • honour (BrE) vs honor (AmE)
  2. BrE (-re) vs AmE (-er). E.g.:
    • centre (BrE) vs center (AmE)
    • Litre (BrE) vs liter (AmE)
    • Theatre (BrE) vs theater (AmE)
  3. BrE (-ae-) vs AmE (-e-). E.g. :
    • archaeology (BrE) vs archeology (AmE).
    • Leukaemia (BrE) vs leukemia (AmE)
  4. BrE (-se) vs AmE (-ze). e.g. :
    • analyse (BrE) vs analyze (AmE)
    • apologise (BrE) vs apologize (AmE)
    • emphasise (BrE) vs emphasize (AmE)
  5. BrE (-l) vs AmE (-ll).e.g.:
    • fulfil (BrE) vs fulfill (AmE)
    • skilful (BrE) vs skillful (AmE)
  6. BrE (-ogue) vs AmE (-og). e.g. :
    • analogue (BrE) vs analog (AmE)
    • dialogue (BrE) vs dialog (AmE)
  7. BrE (-ence) vs AmE (-ense). e.g. :
    • defence (BrE) vs defense (AmE)
    • licence (BrE) vs license (AmE)
  8. BrE (-dge) vs AmE (-dg). e.g. :
    • judgement (BrE) vs judgment (AmE)
    • arguement (BrE) vs argument (AmE)
  9. BrE (-que) vs AmE ( -ck). e.g.:
    • cheque (BrE) vs check (AmE)
  10. BrE (-gramme) vs AmE (-gram). e.g. :
    • programme (BrE) vs program (AmE)
    • kilogramme (BrE) vs kilogram (AmE)

So, which one do you prefer? BrE or AmE?

 

Compiled and written by @iisumarni at @EnglishTips4U on Wednesday, September 19, 2012

 


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#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

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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

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#EngClass: Thesis Statement

Fellas, what do you think is the most difficult part in working on a TOEFL/IELTS test?

“I think ‘listening’ test is most difficult for me.” – @asepnovrian

“Listening section.” – @lianawdsr

“Reading section.” – @ranavirgie

Hm. Plenty of you answered ‘listening.’ All right, we can figure that out next time. Today we are discussing Reading and Writing!

Reading and Writing play crucial role in Academic English. In fact, universities in US often have a Writing Center to assist the students. (So, fear not. Even many native speakers are struggling!) Our topic today is Thesis Statement. How to use it, and how to identify it in a text.

So, what is exactly a thesis statement? Why is it important to understand?

Thesis statement is a sentence (or two) in an essay that contains the focus of the essay itself. Thesis statement helps tell reader what an essay is all about. A well-written essay makes it easier for readers to understand. Many writers think of thesis statement as an ‘umbrella’: everything you carry along should be able to fit this umbrella.

Thesis statement is usually the first sentence in a paragraph – though it is not always the case! In TOEFL/IELTS test, we are often being asked to identify the main focus/idea of a certain paragraph. It can be a bit difficult.

Understanding how thesis statement works can help you identify main ideas in a text better. This is an example of a text with a thesis statement in the first sentence: ow.ly/i/6SEQP

As you can see, the sentences following the first are all explaining in more detail the idea in first sentence. The thesis statement becomes the basic idea, the main topic discussed. The other part of the paragraph are helping to explain it. Meanwhile, this is an example of a thesis statement located in the end of a paragraph (in blue): http://ow.ly/i/6SEVO

The first sentence was only a rhetoric. A question to trigger the interest of the readers. The main idea was in the last sentence. Because it was the one that serves as the ‘umbrella’.

How the umbrella works. I like to use this method when writing or reading an essay: ow.ly/i/6SF0e

So when you are reading a text, imagine the umbrella. Which part is above, which one is under it? :D

Hope that answers your concern in reading. Keep your questions coming!

Source: The Guide to Grammar

Compiled and written by @animenur for @EnglishTips4U on Sunday, 14 Sept 2014.


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#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

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#EngTips: Basic etiquette in writing letters and emails

Imagine the following situation and tell us what you think.

There’s a new email in my inbox from some unknown address, with a blank subject? Do you think it’s worth reading?

Okay. So, curiosity got the better of me and I read it anyway. Nothing was written in it, save for 1 file in the attachment. What would you do?

@DaLonGxxi: it looks suspicious .. it might be a link some hacker has created to hack the account ..

@AwesomeChaser: A big no. I will just delete it even without opening the email.

People used to hand-write their letters and send them by post. However, to save cost and to cut on the use of papers, more prefer to correspond by emails nowadays. Letters and emails alike are tools of communication. Think of them as written communication.

Letter writing is an important life skill, especially in the digital era. It has the potential to affect your reputation and credibility. So, check out these basic e-mail etiquette.

 

1. State the purpose or main issue of your email in the Subject box.

Subject is the first thing people see, they would either read your email or ignore it altogether. It gives a brief idea of what your email is about.

 

2. Always start with a salutation.

In verbal communication, “salutation” is the part where we greet someone. This simple point can help build a good first impression. The most common salutation used is “Dear…,”.

  • If you only know the gender of the recipient, not the name, you can start with “Dear Madam/Sir/Miss,” Do pick one of the three.
  • If you know the name of the recipient, you can write his/her name with a title. Example: “Dear Mr. Jones,”
  • If you aren’t writing to a specific contact person, or if you have no idea whom you’re writing to,  you can start with “To whom it may concern,”
  • If you’re writing a semi-formal letter you may use “Hello,” or “Hi,” or even “Hey,” for informal greetings.

 

3. Depending on whom you’re writing to, you might start by asking after his/her well-being.

Or if you’re writing a more formal email, you might want to skip the small talk and get straight to the point.

 

4. Organize your thoughts and put them into writing.

If you can help it, divide the content into paragraphs, grouped by topics/ideas. That would definitely help keep the reader’s attention.

 

5. Thank the recipient.

For the time and effort to read your email, it wouldn’t hurt to add a “thank you” on the last paragraph of your email.

 

6. Be polite and use a complimentary close.

To end your letter on a good note, use a complimentary close. Of course, followed by your name.

  • For formal letters, stick to “Sincerely yours,” “Kindest regards,” or “Best wishes,”
  • For semi-formal letters, you can end them with “Sincerely,” or “Regards,”.
  • It’s not unheard of to end letters with “Love,” “Affectionately,” or “Fondly,” especially in ones for loved ones or close friends.

 

All these points might either sound a lot or even trivial for some people, but believe me, these basic etiquette not only shows how well-mannered and civilized you are, but also how much you respect, care about and appreciate the recipient. Yes… Even if you’re only writing to friends or relatives.

 

Do you have any other pet peeves when it comes to emails? Or do you have other tips on how to write a ‘good’ email? Feel free to mention us on Twitter or leave a comment in the box below.

 

Compiled and written by @Miss_Qiak at @EnglishTips4U on Thursday, August 14, 2014

 


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#EngEvent: @EnglishTips4U Admins Tips For You!

Hello, fellas! Did you know what day is today? It’s 2 January, I know.. But what do we celebrate on this day? A true fella would know! :D

Yes, it’s @EnglishTips4U‘s birthday! We are celebrating our 3rd anniversary today & would like to have a special session just for you! :D

Each of our admins from Monday to Sunday would like to share their personal tips on learning English. We hope they could be useful for you.

Don’t forget: if you like these tips, feel free to retweet them anytime. Your friends and followers will be grateful you do! :D

The first skill you need to master in English is listening. Having a hard time with it? Check out tips from @waitatiri, our Wednesday admin.

1. Listen to English songs. Try to understand the lyrics just by listening to them first before Googling the lyrics. ~@waitatiri

2. Watch English movies! You may use subtitles to help you, but don’t depend on them. Or even better, use no subtitles! ~@waitatiri

3. You can also download free listening practice MP3s available on the internet. Most of them are taken from news programs. ~@waitatiri

4. While listening, it’s okay not to know all of the spoken words as long as you get the main idea of what the speaker says. ~@waitatiri

5. Last but not least, make it fun! Learn in a way that you think is the most fun for you. You know yourself best, fellas. :) ~@waitatiri

Do you stutter as you try to speak in English? Well, don’t! Here are some tips worth checking by @NenoNeno, our Monday admin. :)

1. One thing for sure when I started learning to speak English was: I was not afraid of making mistakes. I said what I wanted to! ~@NenoNeno

2. Even when I didn’t have anyone to talk to, I talked to myself, anytime & anywhere it was possible. And I wasn’t embarrassed. ~@NenoNeno

3. At first, aim for fluency rather than accuracy. Use facial expression, body language, & things around you to express yourself. ~@NenoNeno

4. Another important key to successful mastery in speaking: exposure to spoken English. So do listen a lot (music, movies, etc.)! ~@NenoNeno

5. Make sure the exposure is not just ‘any’ spoken English, but the ‘natural’ form of English. For example: from native speakers. ~@NenoNeno

6. We learn by imitation. It’s true, esp. in speaking. After listening, time to practice what you hear, with no fear. Good luck! ~@NenoNeno

Reading in English. Isn’t that suppose to be not that hard? Not all the time tho. Here are the tips by @daedonghae, our Saturday admin. :)

1. Did you know that a lot of philosophical English language readings were also translated from other languages? ~@daedonghae

2. Like Roland Barthes and Michel Foucault have their books originally written in French. ~@daedonghae

3. So sometimes not all philosophical books can be understood straight away. ~@daedonghae

4. No wonder philosophical theory based courses in English language requires band 7 overall in IELTS! ~@daedonghae

5. The tips to read such text? Make sure you skim and scan, note down what you don’t understand and what you think of it. ~@daedonghae

Next! Tips on writing skills from our Sunday admin, @fabfebby. Like writing your statuses in English? These tips are for you! :)

1. Want to write something in English but afraid of the mistakes that you’ll make? Don’t be, fellas. Just write it first. ~@fabfebby

2. When you’re done with your writing, try to reread it, so you can find the mistakes, like misspelling or error on the grammar. ~@fabfebby

3. If you hesitate on what you write, Google it. Or ask someone with experience in English but don’t be lazy to search it first. ~@fabfebby

4. Use new vocabulary that you’ve got to make your writing look cooler. That way also makes you easier to memorize them. ~@fabfebby

5. Keep on practicing. Do it often to improve your skill on writing. Just write it in your blog/tumblr, diary, notes or anything. ~@fabfebby

“But how can I master all those skills when I don’t have enough vocab?” Check out these tips by @Miss_Qiak, our Tuesday admin. :)

1. Everybody knows that vocabulary building is VERY important. Using limited collection of words and phrases is boring. ~@miss_qiak

2. There are so many new words and phrases to learn and try out. Start from your own interest. I started from romance novels. ~@miss_qiak

3. New words and phrases can be found everywhere, from books, magz, songs, movies, the Internet, even by eavesdropping others. ~@miss_qiak

4. DON’T memorize new words and phrases! Search out what they mean and imagine how you’d use them in practice. ~@miss_qiak

5. If you can’t recall words and phrases, explain them in your own words. And once you recall them, you’d remember them better. ~@miss_qiak

Frustrated with grammar? No worries. Check the tips by @Patipatigulipat, our Friday admin. Pst: it doesn’t include memorizing any formulas!

1. Read a lot: fiction, nonfiction, biography, history, magazines, newspapers, online articles. Anything. ~@Patipatigulipat

2. Force yourself to write full words and sentences every time you tweet or comment on something. ~@Patipatigulipat

3. Proofread anything that you write, including your daily journal or short stories. It will help you to be more careful. ~@Patipatigulipat

4. Use Google whenever you are not sure about your writing. ~@Patipatigulipat

5. Remember a quote by Dr. Seuss: “The more you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you will go.”

Last but not least, if you’re brushing up your pronunciation, these tips from @me_firdauz, our Thursday admin, should not be missed! :)

1. Pronunciation is an essential part in speaking. Correct pronunciation = easier for people to understand your speaking. ~@me_firdauz

2. Then how to practice your pronunciation? The key is listen and repeat. ~@me_firdauz

3. Listen to a listening material and make sure you have the tape-script as your reference. ~@me_firdauz

4. Remember, English word spellings are different from their pronunciation. ~@me_firdauz

5. This is important! –> Practice every word you hear from the recording, and do it as frequently as possible. ~@me_firdauz

6. Never feel bored to practice, since it takes process, and practice makes perfect! ~@me_firdauz

So how were the tips, fellas?

Hope you will always find our tweets helpful and valuable. Have any suggestion? Feel free to mention us. :)

If you want to know more about the people behind the tweets you read on this account, feel free to visit our page https://englishtips4u.com/about-us/ :)

And.. That’s a wrap! Once again, Happy 3rd Anniversary, @EnglishTips4U!

See you all fellas again tomorrow. Good night! :)

 

Administrated by @me_firdauz

Compiled by @NenoNeno

Written by @NenoNeno @me_firdauz  @Miss_Qiak @Patipatigulipat @daedonghae @waitatiri @fabfebby

For January 2, 2014

#GrammarTrivia: Grammar mistakes people need to stop making

Hi, fellas! We have told you many times that grammar is very important. Good grammar ensures that what you write is correctly comprehended and enjoyable to read. Who wants to read a page full of grammar errors, anyway? It doesn’t look so professional, right?

Today I’m going to tell you six other grammar mistakes that you need to stop making. Let’s see!

  1. “All of the sudden”. The correct phrase is “all of a sudden” and it is an expression. Why don’t we use “the” instead of “a”? Because there is not particular sudden, so it has to be “a” sudden.
  2. “Try and (do something)”. When you say “try and run”, you are implying two different actions – trying and running. If you want to combine the two into one action, it’s “try to run”.
  3. Misused quotation marks. Quotation marks are not meant to be used for emphasis. If you tell people that your melons are ‘fresh’, chances are that they wouldn’t buy it.
  4. Cut back on the unnecessary capitalization. Capitalization (for the most part) should be reserved for proper nouns. Capitalizing a word in the middle of a sentence doesn’t make the word more important.
  5. Mistakes in apostrophe usage. Apostrophes are used to show possession. You do not use an apostrophe after a possessive pronoun such as my, mine, our, ours, his, hers, its, their, or theirs.
  6. Using “toward” and “towards” interchangeably. Both words are correct, but the latter is British and the former is American. Which you choose depends on your audience, and please be consistent.

Grammar can be complicated and overwhelming, but if you use it correctly you will make good impression on other people.  Keep learning, fellas!

Sources:

Compiled and written by @Patipatigulipat at @EnglishTips4U on Friday, September 13, 2013


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