Saturday, December 31, 2016

Information on Grammar pertaining to English Speaking

What is a subject?

The subject in a sentence is "who" or "what" you are talking about. Every sentence needs a subject. If you don't have a subject, then the sentence is incorrect and nobody will understand what you are talking about.


In other languages, the subject is not always required. Verbally, the person listening to you will understand what you are talking about, so a subject is not required. In English, a subject is always required.

Here are examples of small sentences with the subject underlined.

"I am hungry"
"My brother is very smart"
"That computer is very expensive"
"We are going to the store now"
"My sister and I will be waiting here"
"The building is very big"


"When are you going to eat lunch?"
"Why are they waiting in line?"
"Who is going to take you to the store?"

Friday, December 30, 2016

5 Speaking Rules you need to know!

1. Don't study grammar too much

This rule might sound strange to many ESL students, but it is one of the most important rules. If you want to pass examinations, then study grammar. However, if you want to become fluent in English, then you should try to learn English without studying the grammar.

Studying grammar will only slow you down and confuse you. You will think about the rules when creating sentences instead of naturally saying a sentence like a native. Remember that only a small fraction of English speakers know more than 20% of all the grammar rules. Many ESL students know more grammar than native speakers. I can confidently say this with experience. I am a native English speaker, majored in English Literature, and have been teaching English for more than 10 years. However, many of my students know more details about English grammar than I do. I can easily look up the definition and apply it, but I don't know it off the top of my head.

I often ask my native English friends some grammar questions, and only a few of them know the correct answer. However, they are fluent in English and can read, speak, listen, and communicate effectively.

Do you want to be able to recite the definition of a causative verb, or do you want to be able to speak English fluently?

2. Learn and study phrases

Many students learn vocabulary and try to put many words together to create a proper sentence. It amazes me how many words some of my students know, but they cannot create a proper sentence. The reason is because they didn't study phrases. When children learn a language, they learn both words and phrases together. Likewise, you need to study and learn phrases.

If you know 1000 words, you might not be able to say one correct sentence. But if you know 1 phrase, you can make hundreds of correct sentences. If you know 100 phrases, you will be surprised at how many correct sentences you will be able to say. Finally, when you know only a 1000 phrases, you will be almost a fluent English speaker.


Don't translate

When you want to create an English sentence, do not translate the words from your Mother tongue. The order of words is probably completely different and you will be both slow and incorrect by doing this. Instead, learn phrases and sentences so you don't have to think about the words you are saying. It should be automatic.

Another problem with translating is that you will be trying to incorporate grammar rules that you have learned. Translating and thinking about the grammar to create English sentences is incorrect and should be avoided.

3. Reading and Listening is NOT enough. Practice Speaking what you hear!

Reading, listening, and speaking are the most important aspects of any language. The same is true for English. However, speaking is the only requirement to be fluent. It is normal for babies and children to learn speaking first, become fluent, then start reading, then writing. So the natural order is listening, speaking, reading, then writing.

First Problem
Isn't it strange that schools across the world teach reading first, then writing, then listening, and finally speaking? Although it is different, the main reason is because when you learn a second language, you need to read material to understand and learn it. So even though the natural order is listening, speaking, reading, then writing, the order for ESL students is reading, listening, speaking, then writing.

Second Problem
The reason many people can read and listen is because that's all they practice. But in order to speak English fluently, you need to practice speaking. Don't stop at the listening portion, and when you study, don't just listen. Speak out loud the material you are listening to and practice what you hear. Practice speaking out loud until your mouth and brain can do it without any effort. By doing so, you will be able to speak English fluently.

4. Submerge yourself

Being able to speak a language is not related to how smart you are. Anyone can learn how to speak any language. This is a proven fact by everyone in the world. Everyone can speak at least one language. Whether you are intelligent, or lacking some brain power, you are able to speak one language.

This was achieved by being around that language at all times. In your country, you hear and speak your language constantly. You will notice that many people who are good English speakers are the ones who studied in an English speaking school. They can speak English not because they went to an English speaking school, but because they had an environment where they can be around English speaking people constantly.

There are also some people who study abroad and learn very little. That is because they went to an English speaking school, but found friends from their own country and didn't practice English.

You don't have to go anywhere to become a fluent English speaker. You only need to surround yourself with English. You can do this by making rules with your existing friends that you will only speak English. You can also carry around an iPod and constantly listen to English sentences. As you can see, you can achieve results by changing what your surroundings are. Submerge yourself in English and you will learn several times faster.

5. Study correct material

A common phrase that is incorrect is, "Practice makes perfect." This is far from the truth. Practice only makes what you are practicing permanent. If you practice the incorrect sentence, you will have perfected saying the sentence incorrectly. Therefore, it is important that you study material that is commonly used by most people.

Another problem I see is that many students study the news. However, the language they speak is more formal and the content they use is more political and not used in regular life. It is important to understand what they are saying, but this is more of an advanced lesson that should be studied after learning the fundamental basics of English.

Studying English with a friend who is not a native English speaker is both good and bad. You should be aware of the pros and cons of speaking with a non native speaking friend. Practicing with a non native person will give you practice. You can also motivate each other and point out basic mistakes. But you might pick up bad habits from one another if you are not sure about what are correct and incorrect sentences. So use these practice times as a time period to practice the correct material you studied. Not to learn how to say a sentence.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Bored - General Phrases

Being bored means having nothing to do.  When someone is bored, they often call people and try to entertain themselves or try to find something to do with a friend.  So being bored is a good starting point for conversational English.


General Phrases


"I'm dying from boredom."
"I hate being bored."
"I don't have anything to do."
"My life is so boring."
"Life is so boring."
"I'm just watching TV until I find something to do."
"I was bored all weekend."
"I am so bored today."
"I get bored very easily."
"I get bored all the time."

A common place to get bored is when you have to visit family members.

"It's always boring whenever we go to our relatives."
"It's nice to visit my grandmother, but it gets boring after a couple of hours."
"My cousins are so boring.  All they do is watch tv."

"There's nothing to do in the country side.  I'm always bored there."

If you think you are a boring person, here is a way to say that you are boring.

"I think I'm a little boring."
"I'm a boring person."

Boring can be used to describe someone.

"He is a boring person."
"His personality is very boring."
"It's boring whenever she's around."

Using bored to answer a question is very common.  Here are some general questions that someone might ask.

"How was your trip?"
"How was your vacation?"
"How was your weekend?"
"How was the lecture?"
"How was the class?"
"How was the game?"

Any of these types of questions can be answered with a simple answer.

"It was pretty boring."
"It was boring.  I didn't do much."
"It wasn't as fun as I thought.  It was a little boring."
"I was bored most of the time."
"Because it was disorganized, we had too much extra time.  I was bored during our free time."

Friday, December 23, 2016

Greeting - Basic


here are many ways to greet someone.  We'll learn about the most common way to greet someone in this lesson.  I'll give a variety of example sentences.


Greeting someone you never met:
"Hi, my name is Steve.  It's nice to meet you."
You can respond to this by saying,
"It's a pleasure to meet you.  I'm Jack."

Another common question to ask is

"What do you do for a living?"

You can respond to this by saying, 

"I work at a restaurant."
"I work at a bank."
"I work in a software company."
"I'm a dentist."

Usually, you will not need to ask for a name.  It is implied that each person should say their name.  But in case they don't, you can ask, 

"What is your name?"

Many times, I don't hear the name.  If you would like for them to repeat their name, you can say,

"What was that again?"
"Excuse me?"
"Pardon me?"

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Telephone

Making contact :
  • Hello / Good morning / Good afternoon ...
  • This is John Brown speaking
  • Could I speak to ......... please?
  • I'd like to speak to ..... .....
  • I'm trying to contact ..........
Giving more information:
  • I'm calling from Tokyo / Paris / New York / Sydney ...
  • I'm calling on behalf of Mr. X ...
Taking a call :
  • X speaking.
  • Can I help you?
Asking for a name / information :
  • Who's calling please?
  • Who's speaking?
  • Where are you calling from?
  • Are you sure you have the right number / name?
Asking the caller to wait :
  • Hold the line please.
  • Could you hold on please?
  • Just a moment please.
Connecting :
  • Thank you for holding.
  • The line's free now ... I'll put you through.
  • I'll connect you now  / I'm connecting you now.
Giving negative information :
  • I'm afraid the line's engaged. Could you call back later?
  • I'm afraid he's in a meeting at the moment.
  • I'm sorry. He's out of the office today. /
    He isn't in at the moment.
  • I'm afraid we don't have a Mr./Mrs./Ms/Miss. ... here
  • I'm sorry.  There's nobody here by that name.
  • Sorry.  I think you've dialled the wrong number./

    I'm afraid you've got the wrong number.
Telephone problems :
  • The line is very bad ...  Could you speak up please?
  • Could you repeat that please?
  • I'm afraid I can't hear you.
  • Sorry. I didn't catch that.  Could you say it again please?
Leaving /
Taking a message :
  • Can I leave / take a message?
  • Would you like to leave a message?
  • Could you give him/her a message?
  • Could you ask him/her to call me back?
  • Could you tell him/her that I called?
  • Could you give me your name please?
  • Could you spell that please?
  • What's your number please?