Steps to Learning English: Where should you start?

{“en”:”[Singing] Hi. James. Greer. James Greer. From engVid. [Laughs]. Not Bond, and I know you think I was going to say Bond. I know. But listen, Bond always has an important mission he’s got to do, right? 007. And so do I. Today we have a mission. We’re going to learn how to study English. I know in many places, many websites, they tell you, and to teach you grammar and idioms and phrasal verbs.

But then, there’s the big question of you, and: How do you study, and how do you choose what is important for you at this moment? Maybe you’re advanced. Maybe you’re a beginner. Maybe you know this, and maybe you don’t. After today’s lesson and we do our mission, you’ll know exactly what you have to do. Okay? So, we’re going to go to the board in a second, and take a look. What steps should we take in order to learn? By the time you’re done this video, you’ll know exactly… Or you should know where you are, where you need to go, and when you’re going to be done. Ready? Let’s go. E. E is standing here saying: “Where do I start? Grammar, vocabulary, or speaking?” Common, and seems to make sense, I mean, you go to learn a language-right?-you go on a website, they start throwing things at you. You go to a school, they say you need this, this, and this.

But you don’t really know. So, I’m going to give you the tools to decide that. First thing we’re going to do is: What’s the first thing you need? Grammar? No. What? Conversation? No. Vocabulary. What? Well, look. If you can’t say: “bathroom” when you go to a country, you’re going to pee yourself. Okay? “Hungry”, you won’t get food. You don’t need to know everything to get basic information done. And that’s what we should look at first. Basic information for a beginner really is vocabulary. And instead of all the fancy stuff you need, you don’t need much. You need you, and a little bit of time, and to have some fun. Why? I’m going to suggest: For basic communication, get vocabulary. I’m telling you right now if I see you or any English-speaking person sees you, and you see… You say: “Drink. Thirsty.” There’s no grammar, but they’ll go: “Oh, the bar is over there.” If you say: “Washroom. Please”, they’ll go: “Oh, toilet is over there.” They use sentence, you use words.

Sometimes you just touch your belly and go: “Ahh!” They’ll go: “Oh, you want food.” You don’t need all that stuff. People will tell you you need to learn grammar, and this and that. You don’t. And here’s how you get your first vocabulary. Do what you love to do. Play video games. I’ve had… I don’t know how many students play video games, say they learned how to fire, duck, words that we wouldn’t teach them for a while, because they were playing games. Other people come in: “Dah-dah-dah-dah-dah, [sings]”, singing. I go: -“What the hell?” -“I love to sing”, and they sing a song, they sound like they’re just, you know, from this country.

Then they speak very terrible accent. You know what I’m saying, right? [Laughs] But when they sing, it’s like the gods have come down. I mean, literally, you go: “Are you…? You were born here, right?” Cool slang. You know? YOLO, you only live once. Right? ASAP, as soon as possible. When you do these things, you’re learning because you want to learn. You’re not even realising you’re learning, and it’s going to make you want to learn more because… You know, we’ll get to the second one and you’ll understand. But you want to communicate in a much better way. Okay? So, get the meaning of basic words. “Hungry”, “food”, “toilet”, “money”. You know that one, right? You need those things. If you have those things, you can start your adventure in learning English. Okay? And you’re going to do it by doing things you love. Video games, music, cool slang.

Right? Come on. Now we’re making language fun and easy for you, and that’s what we should do, because you’ll learn it faster. All right? And then here’s the bad news: Hard work is on its way, so let’s move over to the intermediate. So if you’re still on vocabulary and you can’t put a sentence together, you’re a beginner. Okay? But at least you’re better than other people. You know words in a foreign language. Cool. Intermediate is when we start, and I think you should introduce grammar. This is when your vocabulary is rich enough that you can say things like: “Need water.” Where? It’s not a sentence, so you kind of sound stupid. I’m saying it right out. You sound stupid. Had many students, brilliant people, sounding like… I called them kids. And I loved them. I thought they were great people, but I would call them kids because they sound like two and five year olds.

“Mommy, water, now.” Understand. Sentence? Not really. Grammar. Some teachers don’t think it’s necessary. It is. It’s like a skeleton in a body. Right? When you’re crawling on the floor, you still need a skeleton, something to hold everything together, but really it’s the muscles and everything else that make you move. But the skeleton is necessary or needed. Those are those bones. Right? These are the bones of the language. You got, you know, your vocabulary, but these hold everything together, that skeleton. Now, when you learn grammar, we do this to be understood.

We said basic communication. To be understood we need grammar. This is sound… And you can sound like you understand. “Oh! I can’t have your girlfriend and all of your money? Oh. I didn’t know that. I understand.” You sound like you understand someone. You can communicate an idea. “I would like to be a millionaire, but I don’t want to work.” See? I’ve communicated: “I am lazy, but I still want to be rich.” Like everyone in North America. Okay, but we’re going to take our vocabulary…

See, this is when you have the vocabulary, you take it, and you put it with some muscle. You put vocabulary and function words. That’s what grammar is. It’s the words that function. It’s the verbs. Right? It’s the pronouns. It’s all these things that go together. It’s like making a hamburger. Okay? You got your meat. Now you need a bun, some lettuce, and everything else. This is your grammar. This makes it good. Okay? So, now you can sound pretty intelligent, not like a child, but some people have great grammar skills and good vocabulary, but-and this is where we go to the advanced-they don’t sound like us.

They still haven’t got it quite together. We know you’re not from here. This is change it all. And this is something that I find interesting. Some students don’t want to do, they think it’s a waste of time. And then I remind them: In your country, are there people who don’t know how to read and write? What do you call them? Some people say (this is a fancy word): “They are illiterate.” I say: “No. They’re stupid.” Because you say: “Hey, read this.” They go: “I cannot read.” You go: “You’re stupid. Didn’t you go to school, stupid?” Don’t be stupid. Learn to read and write. It’s not just for that reason, for your ego that people…

It makes you feel good. It’s also because it teaches you how to think in the language. Huh? Well, when you write something down, you have to remember the author wrote it three years ago. The author is the writer of the book, could be a male, female, or whoever made it. They wrote it three or four years ago, and you’re not there. So when they write about it, they have to think in a way that you would understand it three years later, and not have to ask questions.

Because if you have to say: “I’m confused. What does he mean? Let me call him up. Yo, E, on page 47 you wrote this thing. It’s an awkward phrase. You got a dangling modifier, so I’m not really sure…” It doesn’t work like that. They have to write it properly so you understand it. This is when we become advanced, because you learn logical thought, how we put it together. When we talk about logical thought, we talk about syntax; how the words go together , how things flow, how we think. Every language is different, and the syntax is a bit different. Okay? This will make you think like a native speaker. You have to put the words and even the sentences in a way that makes sense to us. Okay? Remember I said you sound…? Here I meant not stupid. That was it, you don’t sound stupid. Reading and writing makes you sound intelligent, and there’s a difference.

Suddenly, I want to hear what you have to say, because you seem to know what you’re talking about, and you present your ideas in a way I can understand. It also gives you the time to think about the language, so it goes on in your brain, so it knows how to analyze and present the language for us. This is something people skip, because they want to speak, and don’t realize this is a very important part. Reading gives you an understanding of how we’re thinking. You read, you get that. When you write, you have to write in a way that we would understand it. Powerful stuff. And how does it do that? Well, we have three components or three parts. Number one, the grammar. See? Grammar we talked about. Grammar has to be in something you write. Okay? Then it has to be true.

What you say has to make sense to us. It’s logical. I can’t be just: “I am an alien, and I live in the sea, and I have fins and baby-back ribs.” It doesn’t make any sense, even if the sentence is perfectly grammatically correct. It’s like: “This is not true. I will not listen to you.” And then finally we have to connect them, and this is what we talk about syntax, and when we put all of these things together, suddenly you’re speaking and people understand you. Accent or no accent, you are an English speaker. Not quite. Almost. When we put all these three together, and we go to speaking, and you master speaking, which will happen if you take these steps – you will notice you are being understood when you speak. Not five times: “Sorry? Huh? Sorry? Sor-, sorry? Oh, okay. Oh, I’m sorry. No. Sorry?” No. You will speak, you will be understood. When I speak, and some of you think I speak very quickly. And you’re right. My students actually often laugh go: “You don’t speak quickly on those videos.

You speak quickly in real life.” But I like it when people understand me. You will find that you understand me more. You will have more understanding what I say, and English people say. You won’t be guessing what they’re saying. You will actually understand them. Finally, you know that accent that you really don’t like, and you wish you could get rid of? You will. Speaking and using a practice of speaking helps you with proper pronunciation. That’s what helps you with being understood, and actually helps you with understanding other people, because you realize it’s not the absolute pronunciation, but where you put the stresses, what the meaning is. Right? All this comes with language or speaking. You can communicate and have mastered the language. That’s what we talk about by speaking, and I wrote that for a reason. When you are speaking, it’s right or it’s wrong. There’s no time to think about it. That’s what your practice in reading and writing is for.

Okay? So once you can actually speak, you’re done. Congratulations. You’ve learned a new language. Now, look. I want to do… I want to go through a couple of hints to help you out in a second or two, and then I want you to go out there and practice. Figure out where you are. You’ll know, because I’ve already told you. You’re either a beginner and you got to work on your vocabulary. That means most of what I said you didn’t understand. Or you’re intermediate, you got something out of what I’m saying, but you know you can’t express yourself that way. You’re advanced, you’re already smart enough to be writing every day and reading every day.

Or you’re basically fluent and native. Get outta here. Go outside and play. That’s what you should be doing. You ready? Let’s go through those helpful hints. [Snaps] So, we’ve talked about where you might be as a learner; advanced, beginner, or native. Now, I want to give you some more basic hints on acquiring or getting the language. Are you ready? Okay, basic hint number one: 30 minutes a day goes a long way. Whether you’re a beginner, intermediate, or advanced, 30 minutes. If you’re not willing to spend 30 minutes learning, you really don’t want to learn. All right? You need to practice regularly. Give you a good hint or a good example. When you were a baby, you were trying to walk. You would fall down. You would never stand and walk, you kept falling. But every day you tried, and sometimes hours, hours, hours.

Then one day, you started to walk, then you started to run. If you told that baby that 30 minutes a day was a lot of work, you’d be sitting in a chair for the rest of your life. Right? So, 30 minutes a day. Hey, an engVid video is 15. Boo, half your work’s done. Am I a genius? Yeah. Helped you out. Okay, so 30 minutes a day is a good thing to do. Okay? It goes a long way to help you retain or remember the information. Number two: Spend five minutes and review what you did the day before.

I know, it’s 35 minutes, but it’s still not an hour. Okay? So, before, you know, you do your new lesson, think for five minutes: “What did I do yesterday when I did English? Did I…?” Was it…? Were you reading? Did you write? What did you write about? Were there any things you wanted to change in your writing? Okay? So, remember, in your 30 minutes, that can be 30 minutes of writing, 30 minutes of reading, 30 minutes of going through the dictionary looking for words you need, basic words. Right? Or, I don’t know, listening to, like I said, an engVid video.

Watching it twice. The first time, you watch it; second time, make notes about things you want to learn .Right? That’s 30 minutes. Painless. Five minutes review is good, because it’s like eating food. If you take a burger, just put it in your mouth, it’s not as good as when you take it, and chew it and taste it. When you taste it, that’s where the joy comes from. That’s what you should do with language. Just taste it. Play with it a bit. Number three: Imagine yourself in a situation where you have to use the English you’ve learned. That could be part of your 30 minutes. Read for a little while, stop, put the story in your head, close your eyes, and imagine it. If you imagine it, it becomes real. When it becomes real, it becomes useful. Okay? If you just write some grammar down and you write some rules, and you never think about using it, then guess what? You won’t.

So, why don’t we take a couple minutes with our review? Imagine. Okay? “I just learned this new vocabulary. James said something about a pharmacy. Now, imagine I had to go… What did he say I have to say? ‘Can you help me with…?'” Now, imagine asking the… There you go. Next thing you know, you’re in the situation, the words come out of your mouth. Practice. Number four: Set goals. What do you want to do with your English? I know.

“I want to speak English today.” It’s not going to happen. Sorry. Okay? Just like if you want a burger, you have to actually catch a cow, kill a cow, bring it to the store, grind it up or make meat for it, then put it on the barbecue. It doesn’t happen. Right? There’s many steps to it. So, in this case, set goals. Maybe a five-minute conversation with a native speaker. Two-minute, one-minute conversation. Maybe it’s learn turn… Ten words really well. Okay? So you read a book, you pick out ten words you don’t know, go to the dictionary, write it out, then write out sentences with those words. Talk to…

Try and use them in a conversation with somebody so that they become something you’ve digested, that means taken in and you understand. Okay? You understand it completely. Apply for a job. Here’s one. You… It’s the 21st century, bub. Get on the internet. “I would like to work for your company.” Send it out. Right? See what responses you get back. Now, most of them will say: “Hey, your grammar is really bad.” Right? Or you can do a phone interview. Say: “Hey, can we do a Skype interview for this job?” Practice. Just because you’re not living here right now doesn’t mean you can’t put it into practice. And through your mistakes, you can learn, and then go back and use that for your 30 minutes of work. Right? “They didn’t like my accent. It was too strong. Okay, work on pronunciation. They said my grammar skills seemed to be a bit weak.

Okay, work on grammar skills. My vocabulary was limited. I noticed I kept repeating the same thing. Okay, work on vocabulary. Work on synonyms.” You will start making your own lesson plan based on you, not on what some book or some teacher tells you to do. Finally: Travel. I should do, like, say this. Right? Travel. I know. This is not easy. You don’t have money. Right? You don’t have time. But why are you learning it? Everything you really want, you have to do something. We call it a sacrifice. You have to give something to get something you really want. You want to eat, you buy food.

The food’s not free. Right? You want to really use your language, you got to travel. You don’t have to be… Do a big trip. You can find things on the internet where it’s exchange. Somebody’s family comes to your house, you go to their house for two weeks, or something like that. Governments do exchanges where there’s learning programs. Right? Hey, you can go to startup programs. “Hi. I want to learn English. Send me to a country.” Some people, if you give a good enough story: “I live in a farm out in Lithuania.

My family is, you know… Always wanted me to do better with my life, and we know English is important. So, my father’s willing to give up three cows to have me go to Canada.” Put it out there. Somebody will go: “Oh, come on, man. I’ll give you the money.” You know, miracles happen. Things can happen, but you got to do something. Travelling is the one thing that makes you go out there, because you got to do something. You can’t pretend you want to learn, because you have to put your money there. That will be hard, and I admit that. But once you do, if you’re doing all of these things, there’s nothing sweeter than getting off a plane, and saying: “Hi. Can you help me this? I’m looking for a friend of mine”, and the other person going: “Sure, no problem.

Let me take you.” And you’re understood. Right? Cool? I think it’s cool. Anyway, where do I start? You know where to start now, whether you’re a beginner, intermediate, advanced, or you’re native. I’ve given you some helpful hints that you can use starting right this minute. Right? You’re watching one video, so 15 minutes of your time is done. Hit the next one, or go do the quiz.

All right? Cool. Listen, hope I’ve done my part for you. Now it’s time for you to do your part. Study, practice, review. And when you can and if you can, and if you can get the help, travel, see the world. All right? Listen, I got to go. You have a great day. All right? Don’t forget to do the quiz. Where? www, eng, as in English, vid, as in video. I probably did that backwards. Right? engVid. Doesn’t matter. You know. Go to www.engvid.com. Don’t forget to subscribe. It’s somewhere around here. Somewhere. Subscribe. And once again and always, thank you very much for being a part of our family. All right? Have a good one. Ciao.. “}

As found on Youtube

Study English in London

My TOP 5 Writing Tips (for all levels)

{“en”:”Hello. My name is Emma, and in today’s video I am going to teach you some great writing tips. These tips are for both academic writing and non-academic writing. Okay? So it’s for writing in general. Now, this video is going to be in two parts, because I have so many tips, so I’m going to give five tips in this video and five tips in the next video. Okay, so let’s get started. So, there are so many different ways… Or so many different types of writing we do in our lives; we write emails, we write essays if we’re a student, we might write a Facebook post, or we might write a resume or a cover letter.

So it’s very important to develop your writing skills because you will be writing throughout your life a lot. So let’s look at my first tip. My first tip is: It’s very important to think about the genre of what you’re writing. “Genre” is a very fancy word that pretty much means type. So, a genre of writing might be an essay, or it might be a cover letter, or an email, or a tweet. These are all different genres, and each one of these has a different expectation on what you should include and how you should write it. So it’s very important, first step is: Know the genre or know the type, and know what is expected of you.

Also important in this is knowing your audience, or thinking about your audience. So, for example, if you write an email, the language you’re going to use and the way you’re going to write will be different if you write an email to your friend versus an email to your boss. So it’s important to think about: “Who are you writing to?” because this is going to help you decide what to write and how to write it.

Same with, you know, if you are on Twitter and you write a tweet, or on Facebook a Facebook post, you know, it’s important to think about your audience. You know, are you writing this post for friends to see, or is this a post your boss might see, or members of the public? You know, and that could be a problem. So it’s important to think about, especially with this and on other social media, too: Audience. Who will see this and what will they think about it, and what are their expectations? You know, some people work for companies where they’re responsible for social media, so it’s important, too, the type of wording they use when they’re writing on Facebook. If you work at a company and you’re writing for your company, it’s going to be different than if you’re writing for your friends. Same with an essay. An essay has a certain structure, you know, it’s supposed to be a certain amount of pages, it has a certain organization to it, and so knowing what’s expected of you when you write an essay will help you because it’s going to be very different than, for example, a Facebook post.

Same with in business, business reports. Understanding the format of a business report is important if this is something you’re going to be writing, and thinking about your audience. Same with executive summaries, which is a type of thing businesspeople write. If you’re not in business you might not ever write one of these, but if you are in business you need to realize that audience is important because professionals are going to be reading this, and these people are busy, so, you know, knowing your audience and knowing what is expected of you is the very first step to good writing. Let’s look at some other tips. Okay, so we’ve talked about genre or the type of writing you’re doing, and part of this is knowing the expectations for how long what you write should be.

Okay? So you want to know a bit about length expectations before you start writing. This is really important, especially in university where you often have a number of pages you’re allowed to write. It’s important, you know, in the workplace because sometimes, you know, you can’t write a lot. And it’s important, you know, on Twitter because you have a certain number of characters you can use. So length is very important because that’s going to help you decide what to include in your writing. Okay, so let’s look at this a bit more.

When I was younger I used to think long, meaning a lot of writing, was always better, but this is not the case. You know, the more you write, maybe you can include more detail, but a lot of the times the person or your audience who’s reading what you write does not have a lot of time, and so they don’t want to read long pieces of work. Okay? So it’s important to know expectations.

So, for example, I have here the word “short” and “long”, and so this is kind of like the scale. If you write a tweet it’s going to be something short; a Facebook post might be a little bit longer; a paragraph, you might write something like five sentences if in school you have to write a paragraph on something; an email might be a little bit longer than this; a cover letter you might use a full page; a resume maybe you might use two pages but nothing more; and then you might write an essay which might be 5 pages, 10 pages, depending; and then maybe a report which might be 50 pages-who knows?-depending on what’s expected.

So my main point here is that different types of writing have different expectations with length, and it’s really important to follow those expectations. For students who are writing the TOEFL or the IELTS, you only can use a certain number of words, so this is very important for you to know and to really think about. How are you going to get your message across using the right amount of words? This is a key word we often talk about in good writing, and that’s “concise”.

So when you are concise, it means you say something with as few words as possible, but still getting the meaning across. So you are communicating your idea, but you’re doing it in a short way, as short as you can while still keeping the idea there. So, in different cultures you have different rules about this. In some cultures longer is better. In English-speaking cultures usually we really want to get to the point, so we want something to be… We want to communicate our idea, but we want it to be in a concise way, so using our words very carefully so we don’t use too many words.

So main point here: Know how long something you’re writing should be, and paying attention to this when you write. All right? Now let’s look at my next tip. Okay, so my third point might be one of the most important points in this lesson, and that is: When you write something, very important to plan or to think about what you will say before you write it. This is something a lot of people don’t do because they’re busy, they feel like they don’t have a lot of time, or you know, they just don’t have any ideas.

And the thing is, though, that this will really help improve your writing. Okay? And it doesn’t matter what you’re writing; planning out an email can be important, just like planning out an essay can be important. So let’s think about some ways we can plan out what we want to write. There are… There are different ways to do this. Some people like to make a plan by brainstorming. So, for example, imagine you were writing a paragraph about cats, so you might have your subject or your key idea here, and then you might think about: “Okay, what’s something about cats? Hmm. They make great pets”, and then you might write some stuff about that. Maybe they’re quiet, so they make a good pet. They’re cheap.

Okay? And so the thing is just getting out your ideas. Okay? And then you can organize your ideas better. Or maybe, you know, you’re thinking: “Okay, cats, they eat food. What kind of food do they eat?” So you can do the same thing with reports. You can think about: “Okay, what’s the main ideas that I need to talk about in this report?” You know, where you just kind of brainstorm in advance. I usually do that when I write reports, and I find it very helpful actually, just to get my ideas down on paper, and then I organize them. So, this is one method. Another thing you can do is you can just write down everything, just like this, with a dash. So, for example, if I was writing about cats in a paragraph, I might just start thinking…

Writing anything I think: “Quiet, cute, Grumpy Cat”, okay? And I might just write down all the ideas I have. Now, of course, you’re probably not writing an essay or a paragraph on cats; you’re probably writing something very different, but the idea is the same. Okay? The idea being it’s important to plan, and these are different, great ways to get out your ideas, and to think about them before you actually write. Sometimes if you’re writing an essay you might think in advance about your thesis or what your…

The main topic and the main argument of your essay is going to be. So, for example, cats are better than dogs. Maybe that’s something I want to argue in an essay. And then I might organize based on ideas, so I might write, you know, my first main idea: “They’re cleaner”, and then I might put some details about that. My second main idea is that they’re great for apartments, and then I might write some examples or some reasons why. So, my main point is all of these can work. Find what’s… What helps you in terms of planning. There’s many different ways to plan what you’re going to write, but the most important thing is to plan and to take some time to think about what you want to say in advance, because it will really help your writing. And it’s very obvious when somebody hasn’t planned what they’re going to write, because everything’s disorganized and it’s hard to follow. Planning makes it easier for the audience to understand you. Now let’s look at another tip for how to write better. Okay, so remember I said that it’s very important to think about the type of writing you’re doing, and your audience or who’s going to read it? One of the reasons why this is important is because depending on the type of writing, you’re going to write either in a formal way or an informal way.

Okay? And I’ll explain why this is important to know and how it affects your writing. So first let’s talk about what that means. Well, when you write something formally, this means that we choose certain words and certain types of sentences, and we write a certain way, and we write this way because our audience or the people who are going to read this are usually people from work so we want to be professional, so we write formally when we’re being professional. We might write this way to strangers or customers.

Okay? If we work somewhere and we need to write an email, we might use this type of language, formal language. And we also use formal language in high school, in university, in college when we’re writing for an assignment or for our homework, or something that our teacher or professor will read. Okay? So we use formal writing mainly in work settings and in academic or school settings. Now, this is different from informal writing. Informal writing is the type of writing you will be doing with your friends, so maybe for example a text message, that’s informal; you might use this type of writing when you’re talking to children or writing something for children; and also on social media, so if you write a tweet or a Facebook post, usually you’ll be using informal language; and also with your family, too, you usually use informal language.

So, I have here some examples of genres or types of writing that you might use the formal version or the informal version. So, under formal we have essays, if you do that at university or high school, it would be formal; a cover letter, if you want to get a job and you have to write a cover letter then this is going to be formal language you use; a report, if you work at a company and you have to write reports, you’ll be using formal language; or emails to customers you’ll be using formal language. And there’s a lot more; this is just some examples. For informal, if you write a postcard to your family you’ll be using informal language; a text message would be informal; an email to your friend you would use informal language; or maybe a birthday card.

Okay? So it’s important to think in advance what kind of language you’re going to use. Okay, so how can we make something formal or informal with our language? There’s a couple of ways to do this. The first thing you need to think about is the words you’re going to use or your vocabulary. So, different words either fit into the formal category or informal category. So, for example, if we were talking about a lot of something and we want to be informal, we might use the word “lots”. So this is an example of an informal word: “lots”; we’d use this with our friends. If we want to be a bit more formal, we’re writing, you know, at the university level, we might use the word “many”; this word is formal, whereas “lots” is more informal. Okay? Or same with if we’re writing an email and at the very end of the email we sign our name, we usually say something like “From”, but we don’t use the word “From”.

We can say “Cheers” if we’re writing an email, we can say, you know: “Cheers. Emma”, this would be informal. Or if, you know, we’re in a business and we need to be more serious and formal, we might say something like: “Regards” or “Kind regards”. Same with different words, like: “Sorry”. “Sorry” is a little bit more informal, whereas the word “apologize” is more formal. So, it’s very important when you’re choosing your words because a lot of words fit either into this category or this category, and some words fit into both. It’s good to know the level of formality for the words you’re using. Now, if you’re having a lot of trouble with this and you’re thinking: “How am I going to know if the word is formal or informal?” There’s a quick tip you can try; it doesn’t always work, but in general, longer words in English are often more formal.

So, the longer words are usually in this category. It’s not always the case, but just if you really don’t know, it’s a good way to guess. And they’re usually… They come from Latin. So, for anyone who’s watching who’s from France, from Spain, or South America, or Italy, or who speaks a Latin-based language, if you have a word that’s similar in your language, it probably is a formal word in English or it’s probably something you can use in a formal setting. Okay? So usually the shorter words are the more informal words. So now let’s look at some other ways we can look at formality; formal versus informal. Okay, so when we’re talking about formal and informal writing, another thing to think about is contractions. So, what’s a contraction? A contraction is a short form of a pronoun, like: “I”, “you”, “he”, “she”, “we”; and usually part of a verb, like: “am”, “would”, “will”. So, the short form is, in this example: “I am” becomes “I’m”. “I’m” is a contraction. Or: “you would” can become “you’d”, and that’s a contraction.

“We will” becomes “we’ll” for short, and that’s a contraction. So, contractions have an apostrophe here, and it’s where some of the parts of this word we just remove and so it becomes “will”. So, these contractions, and there’s many in English, we use them in informal writing. So if you’re texting someone, if you’re writing an email to a friend – this will make you sound more informal. Now, compare this to if you’re writing an essay or a thesis at university, or you’re writing a report – we don’t want to use contractions because these are informal. So, if we’re writing something formal, we would use something more like this; we do not use contractions for formal writing. Okay? So that’s another reason why we need to know what we’re writing in advance, because we want to decide if we’ll use contractions or not. My next point is about sentence types and sentence lengths. When we’re talking about formal versus informal, you’ll find things that are usually informal are short.

We usually use shorter sentences. And in formal writing, you’ll find sentences tends to be longer. Okay? So, we can call this… For informal we can talk about simple sentences, for example, a simple sentence: “Students are stressed.” It’s a short sentence that if you know about clauses, it only has one clause; if you don’t know about clauses, don’t worry. The point is it’s shorter. Now, compare this to something more complex. “When a student begins university, they often report feeling stressed.” This is more of a complex sentence, it’s longer, and you’ll notice there’s a comma in the middle of it breaking it up into two clauses; and again, if you don’t understand clauses, that’s okay. The main point here is this, complex or longer is usually in formal writing, whereas simple structures or simple sentences are more informal. And again, you know, it’s not always the case, but in general you’ll find longer sentences or more complex sentences are more formal.

You’ll also find informal writing we use relative clauses more. So, if you don’t know what a relative clause is, that’s okay. These are, for example, they use the word: “who”, “which”, “that”, “when” within the sentence. So, an example of a relative clause would be: “Jane Goodall, who works with chimpanzees, is a wonderful woman.” So, if you don’t know about relative clauses, I recommend looking this up. In this video we don’t have enough time to talk about them, but they can really help your writing, especially if you’re writing something in a formal situation. All right, now let’s look at some more tips on how to improve our writing. Okay, so the last thing I’m going to say about formal writing versus informal writing, and I’m talking a lot about this because it’s actually a very important part of writing, is I’m going to talk a little bit about slang, swear words, exaggeration words, and text words, and when to use them. So, slang, it’s words we use with our friends, words like: “cool”, I was going to say “groovy” but nobody says that anymore, so, you know, there’s all sorts of different types of slang.

It’s a word that’s very popular or an expression that’s popular, but it’s not a formal expression. So, “cool” is a really good one, or “awesome”: “That’s awesome”. So, slang we use informally. Same with swear words. Okay? So if you say a bad word, you know, sometimes you might say something to your friend, you might use different swear words when you talk to your friends, hopefully not with strangers, but with people you know well, but you would not use swear words in a formal writing situation. So maybe you might use it in a text, but you wouldn’t use it in a formal writing situation. Also exaggeration words.

What’s an exaggeration word? “Very” is a good example. “He is very funny”, “She is very pretty”, “He is really handsome”, “He’s totally hot”, okay? So these types of words: “very”, “really”, “totally”, we usually save these for informal writing. So if you’re in university and you want to say something is “very”, don’t use the word “very”; there are better words, like, you know… There are a lot of other words you can use as opposed to these ones. Another thing I wanted to say is there’s a lot of words we use now, they’re short forms of words, like, for example: “lol” for “laugh out loud”, “b4” for “before”, “LMAO” for “laugh my ass off”, these are words we use informally.

Okay? We do not use these in formal writing, so it’s important in formal writing to always spell out the word correctly, to use proper spelling, and to avoid some of these words you might be seeing a lot on the internet or in text messaging or on Facebook. Okay, so we’ve covered about formal and informal writing. My last tip for this video is about the importance of using variety in what you’re writing. So what do I mean by “variety”? Well, sometimes when people write, they have certain words that they use again and again and again, and so there’s not a lot of variety in their choice of words. Or you might have somebody else who uses the same sentence structure; maybe they learned the present perfect and they love the present perfect because it took them forever to learn it, so now they use the present perfect in each sentence. So this is not good because we really want variety in what we write, because we want it to be interesting. If you use something too much, it makes what you’re writing look boring.

So, let’s look at an example. I have here a sentence: “Sales have increased. They have increased for many reasons. The increase is because people increasingly like spending money.” Can you tell me: Which word did I use too much? If you said “increase”, you’re correct. I used it one, two, three, four. Okay, so that’s too much in a piece of writing. There are a lot of other words we could be using instead of “increase”. We could be using, you know: “go up”, “rise”. There are a lot of other words. And if you’re not sure of another word for “increase”, a good idea is to check a thesaurus. There are a lot of online thesauruses that can help you add variety to your word choice. So if you make this kind of mistake where you reuse the same word again and again and again, try to learn some other words that have the same meaning. This will really help your writing and make it more interesting. The other thing I wanted to say is that we just talked about how you want variety in words. You also want variety in sentence types. So you want to make sure that, you know, sometimes you use long sentences, and sometimes you use short sentence, sometimes you use, you know, maybe words like: “although”, “when”, “despite”, “in spite of”, and sometimes you might have something a bit simpler.

So instead of reusing the same sentence type and the same sentence structure, try to use different tenses and different structures in the sentences you write. Yeah, so different tenses and try to have different sentence lengths. That will make your writing more interesting. So, thank you for watching this video. I know we covered a lot today, and I have a lot more writing tips coming soon. So, we’ve covered a lot and there’s a lot of things you can practice, so I invite you to come visit our website at www.engvid.com, and there, you can practice what you’ve learned today.

I also invite you to subscribe to my channel; there, you will find a whole bunch of other resources on different grammar points, you know, especially if you’re interested in how to add variety, different videos on vocabulary, on writing, on pronunciation, and all sorts of other topics. So I invite you to check that out. Thank you for watching; and until next time, take care.. “}

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Study English in London

IELTS Speaking Task 1 – How to get a high score

Hi, there. My name is Emma, and in today’s lesson, we will be looking at how to do well on the speaking part of the IELTS. So the speaking part of the IELTS is divided up into three sections. Today, we’re just going to be looking at section No. 1. So first of all, I will explain how to do well — oh, sorry. First, I’ll explain what happens in Part 1 of the IELTS. And from there, we’ll look at some things you should do to do well and some things you shouldn’t do, okay? So let’s get started. So what happens in Part 1 of the IELTS? Well, first of all, the speaking Part 1 of the IELTS is for both those taking the General IELTS exam and the Academic. So whether you’re taking the Academic or the General IELTS, it’s the same test with the same questions. Okay. It lasts between four to five minutes.

It’s made up of first an introduction. So the examiner is going to introduce himself or herself. Then, you will introduce yourself. So for example, “Hi. My name is Emma. Nice to meet you.” Okay, so there’s an introduction. And then, the examiner is going to ask you some questions about yourself. So these questions aren’t that difficult. Usually, they’re about where you’re from. So for example what city you were born in, where you grew up. They might be about work. They might be about what you study, about your friends, about your hobbies, food, sports, and another thing I don’t have up here, family. Family is also common on this part of the IELTS. Okay? So usually, the examiner, after introducing himself or herself, they will talk to you about two of these topics.

Okay?” Now, the way they mark this part of the IELTS is they’re looking specifically for pronunciation, okay? So can they understand what you’re saying? Do you pronounce things well? They’re going to be looking at fluency. So what’s “fluency”? Well, do you go, “Uh, um, uh, uh” a lot during the test? Or do you speak very clearly, in a very nice rhythmic way? Do you use organizers or transitions? “First of all, secondly, finally.” Do you use words like this? “Another reason.” Or do you have problems speaking at a normal rate? So they look at that in fluency.” Then, they mark you also on vocabulary. Do you use words like “good, bad” a lot? Those are very low-level words. Or do you use high level words that really show off your vocabulary?” The final thing you’re marked on is grammar and accuracy. So for example, do you only use the present test for the whole test or are you able to correctly use the present tense, the past tense, present perfect, future? How well is your grammar? Okay? So don’t panic.

Maybe you’re weak in grammar. Maybe you make some mistakes in grammar. But you’re marked equally on these four components, okay? So now, let’s look at some tips on how to do well on Part 1 of the speaking part of the IELTS. Okay. So what are some of the things we should do to get a good mark in Part 1 of the IELTS for speaking? Well, we have a list here of dos. Okay? So these are things you want to do. So the first thing that’s very important is when you first meet the examiner, okay? If you’re very nervous, and you don’t make eye-contact, and you look at the floor the whole time, you’re not going to do well on the IELTS even if your English is pretty good.

So it’s very important to present yourself with confidence, okay? You want to go into that test and know you’re going to do well. If you think you’re going to do well, you’re going to do a lot better. Okay? If you think you’re going to do badly, you’re probably going to do badly. So think you’re going to do well, and be confident. Okay? Another important thing is be friendly. Okay. You want to smile. Body language is actually very important in the IELTS. You want to make eye-contact, okay? So don’t look at your feet. Don’t look at your hands. Look at the examiner. But you don’t have to stare at them, okay? Just look at them when you talk. Another thing a lot of students forget is they don’t act excited when they’re answering questions. So what do I mean by this? Well, they talk with a monotone. So for example, “Do you like playing sports?” This is a common question on the IELTS.

A student might respond, “I really like playing basketball. Basketball is a good sport.” Okay. If the examiner hears that, you’re probably not going to get a good mark. You should act excited about what you’re saying. Okay? “Yes. I love sports. Basketball is my favorite. It’s, you know — I love watching basketball. It’s a lot of fun to play.” If you seem excited, you will do better. Okay. The next thing that’s very important is the vocabulary you use, okay? So remember, you’re getting marked on four different things. One of these things is vocabulary. So how do you improve your vocabulary mark? Well, don’t use simple, easy, boring, low-level words like, “I like basketball because it’s good. I don’t like soccer because it’s bad.” Okay? These words, “bad, good “, they’re too easy. You need to try to find vocabulary that is higher level and practice before you do the IELTS. So for example, a good thing to do is look at the list of topics you will probably be asked about.

Food is a very common thing they will ask you about. So try to come up with vocabulary in advance and practice this vocabulary about the different topics. So for example, I know they may ask me a question about food. So I might learn some words that have to do with food. Maybe I don’t know the word “cuisine”. Well, if they ask me a question about food, I can say, “My favorite type of food — I love Indian cuisine.” Okay? And there you go. They’ve just noticed you used a higher level word. Same with friends. A common word we use when we talk about friends, we talk about “acquaintances”. Okay? So this is another good word to use. So again, try to come up with vocabulary for each of the different topics, and practice. Okay.

Now, in this part of the IELTS, the examiner may ask you about what you like. “Do you like to play sports? What hobbies do you like? What are your favorite foods?” Now, one thing a lot of students do is they overuse “I like”. “I like this. I like that. I like this. I like that.” This is not going to help you with your vocabulary mark.

So instead of using “I like” a lot, try something different. “I enjoy playing basketball. I enjoy hanging out with my friends. I really love yoga. I really love bowling.” Okay? “I prefer playing sports to doing other activities.” So “I enjoy, I really love, I prefer” — I’m sure you can come up with more, but it’s good to practice these types of expressions before you do the IELTS, okay?” Another key tip: Expand your answers. So what does this mean? Well, maybe the examiner asked you a question, “What is your favorite food?” Or — sorry. Let me think of a good example. “Do you like to play sports?” Okay? The examiner might ask you that. Some students might just say, “No.” And that’s their answer. “Do you like to play sports? Do you like to cook?” “No.” Well, the examiner is not going to be able to judge your English if you answer questions yes or no.

You have to give bigger, longer answers. So this is what I mean by expand. Don’t just say “yes” or “no”. Even if you don’t know what to say, make something up. So for example, a common question they ask, “Where are you from?” Now, I could just say, “I’m from Toronto.” Or, “Toronto.” This isn’t going to help my IELTS mark. It’s better if I expand this answer. “I’m from Toronto. It’s actually the biggest city in Canada. It’s also considered one of the most multicultural cities in the world.” I don’t have to talk too long about Toronto. I don’t want to say the whole history of Toronto. I don’t want to keep talking and talking and talking. But I don’t want a very short answer. So you need to find an answer that is not too short and not too long. You want something in the middle. Okay? So that’s what I mean by “expand”.

One way to expand your answers is by giving examples. So I asked this question earlier. You know, “What’s your favorite food?” “Oh, I love Indian cuisine.” How can I add to this? I can give examples. “My favorite dish is palak paneer. It’s made from spinach, a type of cheese they use in India, spices. You know, we often eat it at my house.” So there. Instead of just saying, “I like Indian food”, I’ve given a lot of examples. And that’s what you want to do, okay? Finally, most importantly, practice. Okay? So you know the types of questions you’re going to get. A lot about what you do for work, what do you study, how many people are in your family — these types of questions. Now, it’s important to practice your answers. Okay? Practice with your friends. Practice with a mirror. Practice, practice, practice. It’s very important that you practice answering these types of questions before you do the IELTS. Okay, so now, let’s look at some of the “don’ts”, some things you shouldn’t do in the IELTS.

Okay. So what are things you shouldn’t do? Okay, now, we’re going to look at a list of what you shouldn’t do. So “don’ts”. Okay. Don’t do this. Don’t speak with a monotone. So I already mentioned this. Don’t speak where your voice flat, okay? Don’t speak like, “I have a mother and a father.” Don’t say things like that. Speak with enthusiasm, okay? Not monotone. Okay. Don’t give yes/no answers. “Do you have a family?” “Yes.” That’s a horrible answer.” Okay? It’s more — “Have you traveled to China?” “No.” Okay.

These types of answers are not the ones you want to give. Expand. Make your answer longer, even if you have to lie. It’s okay to lie on the IELTS as long as you speak. That’s the most important thing. Okay. Do not repeat the question. Okay. So if they say, “Do you like sports?” “Yes, I like sports.” You’re wasting a sentence. Instead of repeating the question back to them, find a better way to say it.

“Do you like sports in” “Yes. There are many sports that I find very fun and interesting.” Okay, so don’t repeat the question. “Do you have a family?” “Yes, I have a family.” It’s not a good thing to do.” Don’t go off topic. So sometimes, students — they’re really actually excited, and they want to talk. And they want to show off their language skills. And so they think, “Oh, yes. I need to expand my answers.” But instead of expanding, they go and they talk about so many different things that don’t have to do with the topic. So for example, if they ask me a question on my hometown, if I start talking about Toronto, and then I start talking about education, and then I start talking about technology, this is going off on too many different topics.

Stick to what they ask you. Okay? You can give examples, but they should be about — they should refer to the question they asked you. Okay. Don’t answer, “I don’t know.” So in the first part of the IELTS, this would actually be a difficult — I can’t imagine you actually using this answer because the point of Part 1 of the IELTS is to make you feel comfortable. So the examiner asks you questions about yourself. So you should know these answers. “What are your favorite hobbies? What types of foods do you like to eat? How many members are there in your family?” You shouldn’t answer, “I don’t know” to any of these questions.

They’re about you. And if — maybe you don’t know. Maybe you’ve never thought about what’s your favorite food. Just make it up. Okay? Even if you hate sushi, even if you hate West Indian food or Canadian food. That’s okay. Just make it up. “I love West Indian food. I love Canadian food.” If you don’t know, make up your answer. Don’t speak too quickly, and don’t speak too slowly. Okay? So this is a little bit about fluency.

What often happens with students is when they get nervous, they start to talk really, really, really fast, and they go a mile a minute. They just go so fast. So if you’re the type of person that does this, practice is speaking in environments where you get nervous. So this way, you can practice maybe ways to deal with stress, ways to deal with nervousness. Try not to speak too quickly. Also, don’t speak very slowly, okay? I’ve had some students who have used a lot of “uh’s” and “ah’s”, and this is a problem. So don’t speak too slowly. Okay? Another thing: Don’t speak quietly. Okay? A lot of students, they’re nervous, and they’re shy, so they talk like this. And the examiner has to really listen. They can’t hear what they’re saying, and so you’re not going to do as well if you talk quietly.

Talk with confidence. Talk loudly so they can hear what you’re saying. Okay. Finally, the most important point: Don’t worry about being perfect. You do not have to speak perfect English to do well on the IELTS. Even if you’re aiming for a mark of nine on the IELTS, a bandwidth of 9 — sorry. If you’re looking for the mark of nine, you do not need perfect English, okay? You can make mistakes. So if you make a mistake, that’s okay. If you can correct it easily, do so. If you try to correct it and you’re going to make more mistakes or you’re going to take a lot of time, it’s okay; just leave it. If you make a mistake, continue to talk. Move on. There’s a chance that the examiner didn’t even hear that mistake.

And they expect you to make mistakes. So if you make a mistake between using “a” or “the”, if you make a mistake in terms of grammar, it’s okay. Native speakers make mistakes, too. People are used to hearing native speakers, ESL students make mistakes. So you do not have to be perfect. I can’t say that enough. Don’t worry about being perfect. Okay? So if you’re wondering the types of questions you may see on the IELTS, and if you want to practice with a friend or even in front of the mirror, I strongly recommend you visit the website www.goodluckielts.com.

On this website, there are more tips, as well as practice questions for Part 1 of the IELTS. And information, too, on the writing section, listening section, and reading section, okay? So I also invite you to come and do our quiz at www.engvid.com where you can practice some of these tips that we’ve talked about today. So until next time, take care..

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