Today’s podcast is about starting conversations. Lots of students want to start conversations to practice their English. Here’s how to do it. 20140430_startingconversations.mp3 The podcast is also available in the iTunes Store by searching for Get Great English or clicking here.
Students studying academic reading, especially for standardised tests like TOEFL and IELTS frequently ask “How can I improve my academic reading?” The answer is, “Do more academic reading.” You need to look at real academic documents and analyse them for meaning. Try to insert your own subheadings and summarise the documents within 200-300 words. Underline … [Read more…]
Using the adverbs ‘just’, ‘only’ and ‘only just’ is just one of the troubles you face when using English. Just ‘Just’ indicates a limit or exclusion. In this case it can be replaced by ‘only’. “I just invited you, not the others.” It can indicate an action has taken place in the moment being talked … [Read more…]
This week one of my students who has been a little bit too relaxed about his TOEFL study has become extremely motivated and started undertaking listening practice of his own accord and systematically logging the vocabulary he is learning, emailing me to tell me his progress. What caused this? Me telling him I’d check up … [Read more…]
Which of the words in bold mean ‘get better’, ‘go up’, ‘at the top level’, ‘stopped changing’, ‘get worse’ and ‘go down’? Everyone wants to improve their English. They’d like to increase their vocabulary and develop their fluency. Not only that, they’d also like to build upon their existing grammar knowledge. They think about new … [Read more…]
Today’s podcast is about giving and asking opinions. It can be difficult to give your opinion or to ask for somebody’s honest opinion and in today’s podcast I’ll give some examples of how to do it. 20140423_opinions.mp3 The podcast is also available in the iTunes Store by searching for Get Great English or clicking here.
Today I’m going to give a a quick guide to the modal verbs ‘ought’, ‘must’ and ‘need’. For other modals, see last week’s post. Have to ‘Have to’ is used to indicate an obligation. It is weaker than ‘must’. “I have to go to the dentist at one o’ clock today.” “Don’t you have to … [Read more…]
All three words are similar and can confuse even native speakers. Here is a quick guide. Assume is used to guess and it is often, but not always, used to indicate a lack of knowledge about the situation. “I assume he was at the pub because he wasn’t at home last night.” Presume is used … [Read more…]
Usually I tell my students, “If you make a mistake, nobody dies.” For most people, English mistakes in a conversation don’t have significant effects and in business conversations you are probably fine. However, there are four kinds of mistakes that business people routinely make and may cost them money. Spelling Mistakes This should be easy … [Read more…]
Some students are patient and others are very impatient. Some students are diligent and others want to communicate as much as possible and as quickly as possible. The ones I see improve most quickly are the impatient ones. Why? Hungry for language Impatient students are hungry for language and they will try to soak up … [Read more…]