Posted by: helpforyourenglish | June 6, 2012

I’m still alive!

I have not been here for a long time so firstly I would like to say a big hello to all my friends. I have not had much time to post a blog here or even to think about what to write. If anybody has something they would like me to help them with, I will try to answer you. If I have time, I will write a short blog entry about it.

You might like to know that this blog has been viewed 10,003 times since I started it 18 months ago. I hope the readers enjoyed what they read or found it useful in some way.

Take care my friends.

Posted by: helpforyourenglish | July 16, 2011

In her thirties

When we talk about age, we can be exact (she is 34), we can be approximate (she is about 34), or we can give a range (she is in her thirties).

………… 

You are “in your teens” means you are between 13 and 19 years old (13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19)

He is “in his twenties” means he is between 20 and 29 years old (20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29)

She is “in her thirties” means she is between 30 and 39 years old (30, 31, 32, 33, 43, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39)

I am “in my forties” means I am between 40 and 49 years old (40, 41, 42, 43, 44, 45, 46, 47, 48, 49)

They are “in their fifties” means they are between 50 and 59 years old (50, 51, 52, 53, 54, 55, 56, 57, 58, 59)

We are “in our sixties” means we are between 60 and 69 years old (60, 61, 62, 63, 64, 65, 66, 67, 68, 69)

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

In + my/your/her/his/their/our + teens/twenties/thirties/forties/fifties/sixties/  ……………………………………………………………….  seventies /eighties/ nineties

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

Examples

1. How old is Sally?

I’m not sure but I think she’s in her thirties. [She is between 30 and 39 years old]

2. How old is Tom?

I don’t know exactly but I know he’s in his twenties. [He's between 20-29 years old]

3. Has Peter retired from work?

No. He’s only in his fifties. [He is between 50-59]

4. Mr and Mrs Rogers look old!

Well, they ARE old. They are in their nineties! [They are between 90-99]

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

We’re in our teens 

I’m in my twenties

She’s in her thirties

He’s in his forties

You’re in your fifties

They’re in their sixties

Peter is still in his twenties

The Rolling Stones are in their seventies and they still play live concerts! 

Posted by: helpforyourenglish | May 23, 2011

It’s time for me to

Different ways to use “It’s time…………”  Look at the following sentence structures. 

……..

1. It’s time for something. It’s time for noun.  It’s time for determiner + noun 

Examples

It’s time for work.  It’s time for dinner.  It’s time for my dinner.  It’s time for your appointment at the dentist.  It’s time for the news on Channel4.

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

2. It’s time to do something. It’s time to verb 

Examples

It’s time to go to work. It’s time to go to school.  It’s time to turn off the TV.  It’s time to go to bed. It’s time to sleep.

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

3. It’s time for someone or something to do something. It’s time for pronoun/ noun/ determiner to verb 

Examples

It’s time for me to go to work. It’s time for you to go to school. It’s time for your friends to go home. It’s time for the movie to start.

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

4. It’s time (somebody or something) did something. [It's time (somebody or something) +past participle/verb 3 + object]

You can use this structure to give advice or express an opinion about something that you think should happen now or very soon in the future. However, notice that the verb used is in the past tense. 

Examples 

It’s time you bought a new car = You should by a new car (now or soon).

It’s time we went home. = We should go home (now or very soon)

It’s time she got married = She should get married (now or very soon)

It’s time motorcylces were banned  (now or very soon)

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

5 (a)It’s …………… time = The ……………… is starting.

Examples 

It’s show time!  = The show is starting (now)

It’s party time! = The party is starting (now)

………………..

5 (b). It’s …………….. time = It’s time for ……………..   

Example

It’s bath time = It’s time to have a bath.  (This is something we say to children)

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

Posted by: helpforyourenglish | April 18, 2011

Reading skills – referencing

When you read English texts, you will find many examples of the following common words: it, they, he, she, his, her, its, that, their, and there. We use those short, common words instead of using many other words – usually nouns. For you to understand the text or speech, it is important for you to understand what those common words refer to.

For example: Tom loves drinking coffee. He drinks it every day.

In that example, it = coffee. Tom loves drinking coffee. He drinks it every day.

We can write, “Tom loves drinking coffee. He drinks coffee every day” but it is more natural and common in English to use ‘it’ instead. 

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

Here are some more easy examples:
….s:

I think your teacher is nice. Why don’t you like him?  (him = the teacher) 

I’m going to Japan next week. Have you ever been there? (there = Japan) 

I like Celine Dion. I think she is a great singer. (she = Celine Dion)

Do you like the Spice Girls? No, I don’t like them or their music. (them = the Spice Girls) (their [music] = the Spice Girls’ [music])

Do you like Korean music? Yes, I love it. (it = Korean music)

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 

A sentence can have more than one referent word. For example:
…………………

Peter was playing with a ball with his friends, John and Tom. When they started teasing him, he picked it up and threw it at them.

There are seven referents in two sentences.

his [friends] = Peter’s [friends], they = John and Tom, him = Peter, he = Peter, it = the ball, it = the ball, them = John and Tom.

If we re-write the sentences, they become:

Peter was playing with a ball with Peter’s friends, John and Tom. When John and Tom started teasing Peter, Peter picked the ball up and threw the ball at John and Tom.

You can see that the sentences with referents are shorter than the sentences without the referents.  

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 

In reading tests, you are often asked to connect referent words to the words or meanings they refer to.
….  

Different ways to ask referent questions:

What does it refer to?   What does xxx refer to?   What does the word xxx refer to? 

In paragraph 2, what does xxx refer to?

In line 6 of paragraph 1, “them” refers to: (a) ………. (b) ………. (c) ………. (d) ……..

In line 16, Peter says, “They always help us.”  Who are they?

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Sometimes a referent question is like a vocabulary question – you have to match two words, expressions or ideas.
…………………. 

1. The US President Barack Obama said, “I spent two hours this morning talking to my French counterpart.”

Question: Who does the word ‘counterpart’ refer to?  (Who is Barack Obama’s French counterpart?)

Answer: The French President (Nicolas Sarkozy).

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

Now try these examples:
…….

Text 1: I read in the newspapers that there are about 200 fires in American schools each year and more than half of them are started by boys under the age of 16.

Question 1: The word “them” refers to: (a) newspapers (b) fires (c) schools (d) boys

…… 

Text 2: A mother and her two children were among those who died in Alabama, officials said. The trio had been sheltering inside their double-wide trailer when it was thrown about 500 ft by the winds, landing on its roof.

Question 2: Who does trio refer to?

Question 3: What does it refer to?

Text 2 is from the BBC: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-13109627

………….. 

Posted by: helpforyourenglish | March 23, 2011

pop in pop out pop off pop up

pop, pop in, pop out, pop off, pop up

………

The verb ‘pop‘ is quite common in British English. It is often used with a preposition such as in, out, off or up. The general meaning is to go or leave somewhere briefly or quickly. ‘Pop’ can also be used without a preposition with a similar meaning – to go somewhere briefly or quickly. Sometimes the word ‘just’ is used in the same sentence to stress that it will only be for a short time.

Remember: ‘Pop’ is a verb so we change it for tense and person (conjugate it).

……….

Examples

I’m just popping up to Mark’s house. I won’t be long.

I’m popping out of the office for a few minutes. If anyone calls, tell them I’ll phone them back in five or ten minutes.

I’m going to pop to the shop to buy some milk. Do you want anything while I’m there?

I’ll pop next door to ask Pat if the postman has been yet.

Alan pops into the pub for a quick drink everyday after work.

I’ll pop in to see Joanne when I’m in London. I don’t really want to stay there long.

I popped in to see  Margaret yesterday. She said her mother was sick.

Where’s Tom? He’s just popped off to the post office. He’ll be back soon.

I’ll just pop into Tesco to buy a lottery ticket before the bus comes.

…………

Real life example: Samantha Mumba pops in to see sick kids

http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1G1-92773228.html

…….

NB: ‘Pop’ can have other meanings so think about the context of where you hear, read or use it. For example, ‘pop’ a balloon means to burst a balloon, to break a balloon. Another example: ‘pop off’ can mean ‘die’. The old man popped off yesterday = The old man died yesterday.

…………….

Posted by: helpforyourenglish | March 21, 2011

Common mistakes – discuss, talk about

Common mistakes when learning English

………….

Talk about, discuss, discuss about

……….

We can say:

1. I want to talk to you about something

2. I was talking with my parents about work.

3. Tom was talking with his friends about the problems in Japan

4. The managers are going to talk about wage increases.

5. Yesterday, European leaders talked about Libya

or

1.a. I want to discuss something with you

2.a. I was discussing work with my parents

3.a. Tom was discussing the problems in Japan with his friends

4.a. The managers are going to discuss wage increases.

5.a. Yesterday, European leaders discussed Libya

………

We don’t say ‘discuss about’

1.b. I want to discuss about something with you

2.b. I was discussing about work with my parents

3.b. Tom was discussing about Japan with his friends

4.b. The managers are going to discuss about wage increases.

5.b. Yesterday, European leaders discussed about Libya

……….

Posted by: helpforyourenglish | March 18, 2011

Writing a cover letter

When you apply for a job you might have to complete an application form or you might have to send a CV (called a “resume” in American English). When you send a CV, you should also send a short letter. This letter is called a cover letter.

A good cover letter will make the employer want to read your CV in detail.

A good cover letter and CV will make the employer want to interview you.

Cover letters
……

The language in a cover letter should be formal and polite.  A cover letter should not be too long. One page is usually enough. In your cover letter you should:

  • say why you are writing (1)
  • mention your experience  (2)
  • mention your skills and personality traits (3)
  • mention your qualifications (4)
  • explain why you are qualified for the job (5)
  • encourage the employer to contact you (6)

It is also usually a good idea to say why you are interested in the job. (7)

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..….…………….….

An example cover letter

Sally Bloggs

123 Any Road

London

England

17 March 2011

……

Mr Rodney Smith

Personnel manager

ABC Enterprises Limited

London

…….

Dear Mr Smith,

I read your recent advertisement in the Evening Star for an administration officer in your Canary Road office and I would like to apply for a position. (1)

I have nine years experience working as an administration officer in a busy office in London in a similar type of company. In my current position, I am the coordinator for the organisation of conferences, meetings and other events and I am currently the senior person in charge of the computerised office system and software in the company. (2)

I am a dedicated employee and I have excellent interpersonal skills as well as strong presentation and reporting skills. I am highly skilled in using office based computer systems. I am reliable and I’m always polite with staff and customers.  (3)

I have a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from the Open University and I have an NVQ Level 1 certificate in Office Systems Management. (4)

My qualifications, skills and experience match the job specification and I am sure I will fit in well with ABC Enterprises. (5) I would like to join your staff as I have always wanted to work for a large company like ABC. (7)

I enclose my CV for your inspection and I look forward to hearing from you soon. For further details or to arrange an interview you can contact me by phone on (081) 28745658 (mobile) or by email at sally-bloggs@fmail.com (6)

Yours sincerely

Sally Bloggs

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

Some useful vocabulary

……….

Qualifications

I have a Bachelor’s degree from Leeds University

I have a BSc from Leeds University

I have a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science from Leeds University

I have a Diploma in Education from Bristol Community College

I graduated from Leeds University with a BA in English Literature

I’m a graduate of Leeds University and I have a BA in English Literature

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

Experience

I have three years experience working in the tourist industry

I have a lot of experience working with children

I am an experienced computer technician

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

Skills and personality

I am punctual and hard-working. I am reliable. I am confident and outgoing. (adjectives with ‘be‘)

I am a dedicated worker. I am highly skilled technician.  (adjectives and nouns)

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………


Posted by: helpforyourenglish | March 16, 2011

A lot – a lot of

A lot and a lot of – what’s the difference?

………

The meaning is the same. The difference is how we use them:

……..

We usea lot ofwhen we add an object. For example:

I want a lot of milk.

There are a lot of people.

There is a lot of traffic today

(object = milk, people, traffic).

…….

If we don’t add an object, we don’t add “of”. For example:

How much milk do you want? I want a lot.

How many people are there? There are a lot.

How much traffic is there? There’s a lot.

…..

We can use lots or lots of  - the meaning is the same

There are a lot of people in the mall today.

There are lots of people in the mall today.

I want a lot of milk.

I want lots of milk.

……….

We can also give short answers to questions:

How much milk do you want? Lots

How much milk do you want? A lot


Remember that for countable nouns, the noun and verb must be plural:

A lot of cars travel on this road everyday.

There are a lot of cars in the car park.

A lot of my friends study English.

…….

For uncountable nouns, the verb is as for singular:

There is a lot of pollution in Beijing.

A lot of money is spent on entertainment in Los Angeles.

……….

Afterof‘, we can use a noun, a pronoun or a gerund:

A lot of people play sport  (people is a noun)

A lot of them play football  (them is a pronoun)

A lot of fighting takes place at night  (fighting is a gerund)

……..

With comparatives of adjectives

We can use a lot (but not a lot of) when we use comparatives of adjectives.

For example:

Sarah is a lot taller than Sally.

I am a lot happier today than I was yesterday.

You are a lot more confident than you were two years ago.

We cannot use a lot of: I am a lot of happier today


Posted by: helpforyourenglish | March 13, 2011

Words in the news – toll, death toll

Toll – death toll

Toll and death toll – You will see these words in news reports about earthquakes, wars, floods, tsunamis and other disasters, especially when a lot of people die.

In this context, toll means death, loss or damage caused by a disaster. The word ‘toll’ often refers to the number of people who have died. This is clear when the word ‘death’ is used with ‘toll’ – “death toll”.

Real examples: Below are some real examples from the news:

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Japan mourns amid fears quake toll could run into many thousands

12 March 2011

The full horror of the devastating earthquake and tsunami in Japan is starting to emerge amid fears that the death toll could run into many thousands.  At least 1,700 people were reported dead or missing following the earthquake and tsunami, Kyodo news agency said.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/mar/12/japan-mourns-quake-toll-fears

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

Italy Says Death Toll in Libya Is Likely Over 1,000

23 February 2011

ROME — Italy’s foreign minister, Franco Frattini, said Wednesday that estimates of more than 1,000 Libyan civilians killed in clashes with security forces and government supporters “appear to be true.” Figures for deaths in the Libyan unrest have been difficult to pin down. Human Rights Watch has confirmed roughly 300 deaths in the week-long uprising, while noting that its estimate is conservative because of the difficulty in gathering information from morgues and hospitals when phone service is intermittent and the Internet is nearly blacked out.

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/24/world/europe/24italy.html?_r=1

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

Tsunami death toll tops 118,000

December 30, 2004

The death toll from Sunday’s tsunamis has jumped to more than 118,000 after Indonesia reported nearly 80,000 people were killed in that country alone. Estimates of the death toll are continuing to rise in most areas. Sri Lanka reports more than 24,000 dead, and at least 10,000 were killed in India. In Thailand, more than 4,000 are feared dead and dozens of deaths are reported in Malaysia, Myanmar, Maldives, Somalia and Tanzania.

http://articles.cnn.com/2004-12-30/world/asia.quake_1_tsunami-death-toll-aceh?_s=PM:WORLD

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

Toll has two other common meanings

1. a slow and continuous ringing of a bell

2. an amount of money to pay to use some roads or bridges.

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

Posted by: helpforyourenglish | March 12, 2011

Words in the news – foreboding

Foreboding

This word has been in the news a lot recently. It is often used with the word ‘sense’ like this: “a sense of foreboding”. What does it mean?

Foreboding is a feeling that something really bad, something really terrible is going to happen soon. (noun)

Real examples: Now read the recent news articles below.

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

Foreboding and euphoria mix in rebel-held Libya

One day after rebels repulsed the first major offensive by forces loyal to Libyan President Moammar Gadhafi in the liberated east, the fighters’ euphoria over their victory mixed on Thursday with a sense of foreboding: Where would the regime launch its next attack?

Vocab help: euphoria is a feeling of great happiness, great excitement or well being. (noun)

www.bellinghamherald.com/2011/03/03/1897014/foreboding-and-euphoria-mix-in.html

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Sudan’s sense of foreboding
………
Sudan’s National Day was celebrated under the shadow of a looming north-south partition.
………
In exactly one week, Sudan will hold a crucial referendum that could possibly split the country into two. But on Saturday, the country marked 55 years since independence. A sense of apprehension in the run-up to the vote has been felt during the National Day celebrations, as Al Jazeera’s Mohammed Adow reports from Khartoum.
………..
Vocab help: Apprehension = worry (noun)
………….

http://english.aljazeera.net/video/africa/2011/01/201112144516756509.html

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

If you are still not sure about the meaning of foreboding, look up the word in your own dictionary (or use a translator) and read the news articles again (or look for more news articles that include ‘foreboding‘).

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..……………………………………………………………

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