Who Are You Talking To?


When you speak English, one of the things you must think about is relationships. Who are you talking to? How well do you know them? What is the situation?

It is useful, especially in business situations, to be formal. In most native-English speaking cultures, business relationships start formal then become more informal as the relationship develops.

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Sequence Options to Sound Natural

When you are giving a list of options for others to choose from or explaining options to people, try to sequence the options so you sound natural.

An example of this could be transport options.

You can get the train, the bus or walk to my house.

This is OK but you can show that while walking might not be popular it is possible.
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English for Activists

Sometimes you need to use English for a problem. A lot of the time the problems you need to deal with are small. Unfortunately, sometimes they are large problems.

When your problems are so large that you want to do something to solve them, you might need to use English. It is, for better or worse, the main international language. It is the language that most multinational companies and organisations use.

Why be an activist?

Maybe a company is doing something you do not like and you want to persuade them to stop. Maybe a foreign government is doing something you don’t like and you want them to stop. Perhaps you want to show solidarity with other activists.

What can I do about it?

You can:

  • send letters and emails to give support to activists, complain to companies and governments, or to newspapers to raise awareness;
  • write tweets on Twitter or make videos to put on YouTube or Vimeo to raise awareness;
  • collect signatures on petitions (either paper or internet) to show how strong support is for your idea or point of view;
  • you can raise money to help solve your problem, too, or help a charity or NGO to raise money.

Examples of activism

Opposition to the Osprey aircraft used by the U.S. military in Japan.

Raising awareness of Coca Cola in Colombia and its links to paramilitary death squads.



  • show solidarity is a bit like ‘give support to
  • raise awareness means ‘make people know’
  • paramilitary means not really the military but a group with a lot of weapons