Phil Wade’s 10-Minute Intro site is great for Business English teachers, which most freelancers are, naturally. You should give it a look. There is a great Dogme book and an interesting Sustainability one which is essential for those jumping in to freelance/agency teaching.
The other day I was teaching an upper-intermediate student who had difficulties presenting her ideas about a process. She said she finds writing much easier than speaking.
“You should start an audio diary,” I suggested.
“What do you mean?” she asked.
I know that I haven’t put up a podcast in a while; I am working on something that I hope is really cool.
In the meantime, here is an interesting podcast for intermediate speakers and higher.
I particularly recommend it for TOEFL or IELTS students but anybody who likes philosophy or thoughts about life should find it interesting.
There are so many different standardised tests available to test your English skills: the Cambridge certificates, TOEIC, TOEFL, IELTS, BULATS and, here in Japan, the Eiken/STEP test.
For a lot of people, these tests are pointless. If you need the certificate to get a job or a college place, go for it. If not, read on.
One of the first things students are taught when they are learning writing skills is not to answer questions with further questions. In conversations, however, it does happen.
The adverbs ‘absolutely’ and ‘exactly’ can sometimes be used in the same way but they do have different meanings; they are not exactly the same. Read on to find out how to use them.
It is easy to talk about likes and dislikes in English: “I like this” and “I don’t like that” are OK. Sometimes you want to say something a little different and ‘love’ and ‘hate’ are not what you were thinking about.
Here is a podcast special. The podcast will be back, probably in January and will be weekly again.
Today’s podcast is about New Year.
The podcast is also available in the iTunes Store by searching for Get Great English or clicking here.
Also, you can stream it on Stitcher here or in the sidebar.
A few of my students have part-time jobs in cafés and restaurants. This post is for them and anyone else who needs to use English in restaurants.
‘May’ or ‘can’?
Generally, when you are taking orders for people, use ‘may’; it’s more formal and customers should be respected. ‘Can’ is more informal and it’s not really a problem if you use ‘can’ instead of ‘may’ but ‘may’ is more appropriate.
How to ask about takeaway service
One of my students has asked:
Which is better, “For here or to go?” or “Is this to eat in or take away?”
The answer is both are fine. The first one is more informal, the second slightly more formal.
Here in Japan, at a lot of restaurants, it is common to take the bill/check to the cashier. At other places it is common to pay at the table.
Other little things
Japanese people can be very particular about how food ought to be served. The photograph at the top is from my class blackboard.
When the sand (in the timer) has all reached the bottom, (your tea) is ready to drink.
Not all of your food will be ready at the same time. We will bring each dish as soon as it is ready.
You might find these posts particularly useful.
When you talk to or about someone you can use their name first and then afterwards use a pronoun. The problem with this is that it you can, without bad intentions, insult people or sound ignorant.