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Hello Grammar!

My very best friend who is also an English linguist post it to my FB wall this morning. She knows that I have no good relationship with grammar and always say that grammar is one of my foe. Well, as long as it is one of my foe, it means that I have to defeat it, right? 🙂

Here is the fun pics how to learn grammar in a fun way 🙂
If you want some more, click this site.

Thank you dear! :* :*

Singular Plural Form

Singular Plural Form

The easiness of dashboards reading ;)

Wow, I just clicked summaries in 30 last days in my blog’s dashboard then it showed this summary. It is one of the advantages of using dashboards, easy and understandable 🙂 but I guess the nuclear engine is not that simple :p

The whole nations of my blog's readers..

The whole nations of my blog’s readers..

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I have to write many more things in English and stick it to my head that the purpose of my life in this earth must be cleared. It is for the sake of the world not only one or two countries. Just like my lovely prophet Muhammad SAW that enlighten the whole world to date and not limited to Arab only 🙂

IELTS Speaking Skills: Basic and Additional Information

Even though, IELTS was over last week but my soul is still attached to it :p

Speaking Test is the second most challenging for me, so I noted lots about that and now I want to share it with you all 🙂 Speaking Test is divided into three sequential parts.

  Part 1 Part 2 Part 3
Duration 4 – 5 minutes 3 – 4 minutes 4 – 5 minutes
Level of difficulty Easy Mediocre Most challenging
Type Short Conversation (2-3 sentences) One way speech (2 minutes) with note taking (1 minute) Two way conversation related topic to Part 2.
Topic Test taker’s attribute, daily activity, preference Travelling, Favorite/Memorable Book/Activity, Government, Environment, Planning etc. General understanding or public opinion.
Correlation between 2 or 3 variables.
Story telling about past time (10 – 20 years ago) or predicting the future (10 -20 years later)
Additional Information Avoid using same verb or part of the question to answer in order to show your wide range of vocabulary. Read the question carefully, sometimes there is twisted meaning about the question. Comprehend it deeply and carefully. Don’t miss a point when having the speech. You can ask for clarification once if you do not understand the question’s meaning. You cannot do this in Part 1 or 2.

In general, the test takers need to show their abilities in:

  • Agree or disagree: I tend to agree with …
  • Assessing a special topic
  • Making a comparison: I would like to choose … than …
  • Describing a situation: Generally speaking, …
  • Making an explanation
  • Express: For me personally, …
  • Possibility and probability: Well, it might be happened in the next 15 years, …
  • Justify an opinion: In my opinion, …
  • Narrate story or experience
  • Speculation
  • Giving suggestion: I tend to say that …
  • Summarize

Besides those basic skills, there are some additional skills that preferable to demonstrate:

  • Self-correction
  • Circumlocutions: I haven’t thought about it before, let me think a moment..
  • Paraphrase
  • Ask for clarification

The latest and the most important part is pleasing perform yourself confidently, sometimes the minor errors would not be recognized or considered as ‘slips’ if you say it with confidence :p

By the way, I am waiting my score now, huhuhu.. it will be published 13 – 14 days after the test. It means about one week later from today. I wish it will contain no 5.5 sub score anymore 😀

NB: This material is taken from McGraw-Hill book and some compiled IELTS books 🙂

Speaking Vs Writing IELTS

Indeed, there are differences and similarities between Speaking and Writing IELTS in term of Academic test. Even though both of them are active skills, it has several points to distinguish them beside orally and written products.

Points

Speaking

Writing

Task Completion There is no Task Fulfillment in Speaking Skill, but it doesn’t mean that you can say everything to answer the question. For me, it is like you can directly or indirectly answer the question because Speaking ask us to be spontaneous and can reveal our personality in the way of our daily conversation. You have to clearly state your opinion or position through your essay. It must be in paragraphs which cohesive attached one to another.
Using idiomatic words You can use some idiomatic words properly in speaking. Not a slang one because it still academic speaking. Better to not use idiomatic words.
Speed Preferable not to speak fast but managed carefully. Speak fast can produce more words but also enlarge the possibility to make mistakes. You need to write fast, you have to address all tasks within 60 minutes and the words are counted. If you fail to fulfill the words limit, you will get penalty 😦
Sentence switching Short pause can be an indicator to switch the tone of the sentence, preferably linking words. You can also use some filler to lengthen your time. You have to use either punctuation or signpost to indicate your tone switching or introduce new idea.

Meanwhile, they also have some similarities, it sounds not fair if I only exploit their differences :p

Points

Speaking

Writing

Grammar It must be clearly spoken whether it is V3 or V2 or V1. The length and stress also must be correct.

Example: Shit or Sheet, Record (Verb) and Record (Noun), Read (V3) or Read (V1)

Spelling is one way to express the grammar. Grammar needs to be varied in writing than speaking, sometimes it is not common to use (past/present) perfect tense in speaking but it possible in writing.
Self-correction You can correct yourself while speaking, but please correct it perfectly not make it worse because they record your voice. Always spend time after you write all of task 1 and task 2 to self-correction your writing. It is about 5-6 minutes.
Less subjectivity Do not include words that require subjectivity to judge. Just like ‘bad’ and ‘good’, you can use ‘problematic’ and ‘properly’ to replace those words. Similar with Speaking.

Anyway, good luck everybody!

I’ve just looked the speaking apportionment, tomorrow I will be interviewed at noon.. Wish me luck! 😀

COlbie Caillat – I Do

IELTS Writing Skill: Common Errors in article use

This is based on my failure while writing too much sentences, less focus and led to more errors in article and preposition use. Yours might be different from mine, but if we have the same problems, here is tips from my English tutors and please let me know yours 🙂

Making generalizations using plural nouns

Keep asking to yourself whether you will write general statement or subjective examples. Usually general statement is written at the beginning of body paragraphs, while examples are used to complete your paragraph by giving them some details. Ex: Cars cause pollution; Cigarettes cause lung cancers. Apart from facts that there is specific cars which do not cause pollution or there is healthy cigarettes that do not cause side effects. Sometimes we should consider the majority by using generalizations with plural nouns 🙂

Single countable nouns generally require an article

The article that can be used (but not limited) to show a quantifier of nouns is a/an and the. Please use a if you mean one or any, as in an example: Most people would buy a new car if they could afford one. Sounds like general because there is ‘most people’ but the focus on that sentence is in ‘a new car’ which means only one car and it is new. Use the if you mean a specific one such as: The car that I bought last year. May be I have more than one car, but I tried to show which car I meant in that sentence by showing the time marker ‘yesterday‘. So, please use the instead of a/an.

Use the with these certain conditions

  • The noun already mentioned in previous sentence
  • It is used in ordinals: The first car I ever bought..
  • In superlatives comparison: The best car on the market..
  • Represent the only, sole or same: That is the only electric car costing less than..
  • The adjectives to show class or category of something: The wealthy could afford cars

Taken from advice and materials from books 🙂

Maroon 5 – one more night..

IELTS Writing Skill: Exam tips collection

Two of my favorite pastime are collecting and organizing. Counting down the final exam day, I am sure that something I should do to sum up my study lessons here. Still, writing is my weakest part in my IELTS but I will not surrender because I know I sacrifice many things to be here: my students, my final project supervision and my love life with my husband :p

So, Let’s begin!

General

  • Do not copy exact words of the task instructions, by rephrasing the instructions you can show your ability to comprehend the task and your vocabulary range.
  • Academic writing values modesty and tolerance of others’ views, hence, instead of using ‘I insist that governments do more to protect minority languages’ please write ‘I believe that governments should do more..’
  • One of most useful strategies to link between sentences is by using this or these.
  • Make sure you already noticed in what areas are your lacks in writing skills. Keep them in mind when you check your work. It is worthwhile learning how to effectively proofread your writing.

IELTS Writing Part 1

  • Instead of using from .. to .. for indicating the time period, you can also use between .. and …
  • Use varied adverbs to make your comparisons more exact: popular, interesting, appealing, preferable.
  • Use markers to emphasize which the small and big difference. For big differences use: many, much, far and significantly and for small differences use: slightly, nearly.
  • For describing process, do not overuse signpost expressions. You can insert the signpost in between subject and verb (precipitation then increases) or between auxiliary and verb and main verb (the trees are then extracted).
  • To find the pattern of the data easily, group the similar items together and looking associated trends. If you can’t see the pattern, feel free to change your focus until you can find the appropriate pattern.

IELTS Writing Part 2

  • Please spend 6-7 minutes on the first 3 stages of writing: analyzing the question, thinking of ideas and making a plan. Then, spend 30 minutes to write your essay based on your plan and the rest 3-4 minutes is error checking.
  • Your writing supposed to be clear and easy to read, therefore, avoids writing more than one subordinate clause in each complex sentence.
  • It is important not to make absolute or sweeping statements, you can do this by using a range of modifiers and softer vocabulary. In spite of writing ‘Rapid technological change destroys traditional values’, please use ‘Rapid technological change can weaken traditional values’. Do you feel the difference?
  • Use range of expressions to signal the reader about giving examples with: for example, for instance, another good example, and an example. If you want to pour several facts use indeed or in fact.
  • Use modal verbs to frame your ideas. Such as will to state your intention, must and should to express a necessity, can and could to make suggestions and would to indicate the consequences of implementing suggestion.
  • Make sure you complete your essay by writing a conclusion, even if this consists of only one sentence. It is better to omit or shorten body paragraphs rather than fail to complete the task.

I hope these tips which were taken from Writing for IELTS can help us to pass the exam 🙂

What does IELTS Score represent?

This question had been bugging me so much before finally I found the answer. In case you have similar question, here is the answer 🙂

Since IELTS consists of 4 tasks which are Listening, Reading, Speaking and Writing in English, it will scrutinize about 4 ideas too. It requires Vocabulary, Grammar, Organization, Ideas and Arguments. Even though in the Listening and Reading which are the passive skills about comprehending English, they also have those four values. That is why, IELTS is different with TOEFL that contain specific Grammar or Structure task, because it already assess your grammar unconsciously and naturally by looking at your listening, writing and speaking task.

Vocabulary: you need to have a good range of academic words and phrases for the main IELTS topics

Grammar: you need to use accurate grammar and complex structures (relative clauses, conditionals and noun phrases)

Organization: you need to write clear, well-organized paragraph and answer that easy to follow

Ideas and Arguments: you need to make sure you have well-developed ideas, that you answer the question fully and that you give a clear point of view

The IELTS scoring system from 1 to 9 and 9 is score for native speakers. They can suggest your ability to communicate with English clearly to professor or to certain universities to fulfill their strict requirements.

Level

Education Level

IELTS overall score

Upper – Intermediate

University Foundation Course 5 – 6

Advanced

Bachelor Degree Course 6 – 6.5
Master Degree Course 6.5 – 7

Upper – Advanced

PhD Research or Working in English-speaking countries in professions that need effective communications (Medicine, Dentistry, Law, Accounting) 7 – 9

So, are we ready yet to pursue higher education abroad, especially in English-speaking countries’ Universities 🙂 Well, I am pretty sure that you are ready!

Taken from Writing Skills: IELTS Advantage by Richard Brown and Lewis Richards

IELTS Writing Part 2: Problem-Solution Vs Idea-View

These are another question types in IELTS Writing Part 2, instead of having position, discuss both sides, giving opinion and proposing solutions, this version give us another side of comprehending Writing Task 2. Not based on the question sentence, yet based on understanding about what they asked for. These categories consist of two main streams: problems and topics. Each steam has two branches, either you should propose something to solve problem or you should give your critical thinking to evaluate a given solution towards a problem.

Propose one or more solutions to a problem. Besides what the ideas that you should provide to solve the problem, you also need to give the action about how to make it come true. You can have this kind of outline.

What can governments do to encourage children to eat a healthier diet?

Body What are the solutions What specific action to be performed What are the positive consequences What are the negative consequences
1 Regulate the food industry Require food procedure to enrich their products with certain vitamins The food is healthier than before, children are safe to consume This would increase the price of the food, so the buyers will decline
2 Regulate school meals Set a daily schedule and find trustworthy food suppliers to make sure the meals’ quality Children would have at least 1 healthy meal per day This would not stop children for bringing unhealthy packed lunches or going out for lunch to fast food outlets
3 Educate children about cooking a healthy food Require schools to provide chefs to teach children to cook healthy foods Children can take pride in their learning and transfer these skills to their families Schools may not have cooking equipment and enough budget to hold cooking class

Evaluate one or more solutions to a problem. This type of question already contained one or more solutions to conquer the problem. You may give another solution if you want to, but your main task is evaluating the given solutions. Here is the example of this type.

Should the government regulate the fast food industry in the same way that it regulates the drug, alcohol and tobacco industries?

Body What are the solutions What specific action to be performed What are the positive consequences What are the negative consequences
1 Given Solution:Regulate the fast food industry like drug, alcohol and tobacco industries Restrict opening hours, location (e.g. far from schools and nurseries) Send a clear signal that fast food as bad as drug, alcohol and tobacco industries This would not stop cooking activities at home
2 Proposed Solution:Public health campaign explaining the dangers of eating too much fast food Television advertising showing long-term consequences of unhealthy diet Help people change their eating habits fundamentally People could ignore the advertisement

Present your ideas about a topic. Usually, this type requires you to predict what will happen in the next step or explain about cause and effect in short or long-term. There is a little change in the fields of the outline table due to the unnecessary field about the action or how you can make it come true.

Dieting to lose weight has become increasingly prevalent in the developed world. Why do you think people nowadays are so concerned with body shape and size?

Body What are your ideas What is the evidence for What is the evidence against
1 Advertisements encourage people to value slim figures Advertisements often show desirable consumer products alongside slim models Advertisers would not use slim models unless the public already had a favorable view of them.
2 People associate slimness with positive character traits People who do not eat too much are seen as having good self-control People should consider that there is no correlation between eating habit with good personalities
3 Many knowledge reveals that serious illness are caused by obesity Huge amount of fats can trigger diabetes, heart failure or cancer. So, the paramedics suggest them to have a healthy and proportional diet If people concern too much and decide to have extreme diet, they may become malnourished

Evaluate an idea about a topic. Same with evaluating solution to a given problem, but it is not about problem and solution. You will be given an idea about something and you should consider the fact and evaluate it more. Again, you may reveal your own and different idea, but you have to evaluate the given idea first, before you proposing your idea.

The problem of obesity is mainly due to people’s lack of knowledge about healthy eating. To what extent do you agree with the statement above?

Body What are your ideas What is the evidence for What is the evidence against
1 Given idea:Obesity due to lack of knowledge about healthy eating Information about nutrition and healthy substances in outside wrapper of food may reduce the unhealthy eating habit Some people tend to ignore the knowledge given by nutrition information at the food wrapper
2 Propose possible idea:Hormonal disorder system since birth Many medical practices try to inject some certain hormone to balance the composition. As the result, the obesity level is declining. If they do not inject this hormone for long period then the obesity back to increase

Okay, let’s have some fun exercises!

In order to be truly employable, the educated person should be able to demonstrate not just knowledge but also the ability to work independently in teams. How can teamwork best be encouraged and assessed in educational settings?

Is there a problem? Yep. The problem to me is ‘in order to be truly employable’. So it is categorized as problem-solution cluster, but let us see is there any proposed or given solution towards this problem? At first sentence it seems that there is a given solutions in ‘should be able to demonstrate knowledge but also ability to work in teams’, but please do not stop reading the next sentence. The question word is ‘How’ teamwork best can be encouraged and assessed in educational matters. Even though, the introduction sentence already gave the solution, but please keep reminding that these monkeys are so tricky, your task is in the last sentence which require you to list your solutions to use teamwork before they can be employable which is in educational term or schools.

Hence, this question is categorized as ‘Propose one or more solutions to a problem’.

Many people believe that formal ‘pen and paper’ examinations are not the best method of assessing educational achievement. What is your view of examinations?

The given topic from this question is education assessing method, and it also clearly stated that an idea failed to be presented as good method for assessing students. If the question sentence asked why it is failed, then it is categorized as ‘Evaluate an idea about a topic’. But, surprisingly it is not, the question is ‘What is your view of examinations’. Thus, it is clearly stated that we are required to present some ideas about examinations. Eventually, this question belongs to ‘Present your ideas about a topic’ category.

New technologies and ways of buying and selling are transforming the lives of consumers. To what extent do you agree or disagree with this opinion?

At a glance, this topic is about Information Technology (yay!) that is changing consumers’ way of life. There is a given opinion that the cause of this changing issue is new technologies. We are asked to assess how far this idea can fit the given topic, we can say it is not far (disagree) or quite far (agree) and may be not really that far (partly agree). Thus, this question belongs to ‘Evaluate an idea about a topic’.

Have a good weekend, everyone!

Taken and modified from Writing for IELTS – Anneli Williams

The mystery of Yes/No/Not Given has been solved!

All lives will be given a definite task, whether it is a right one or the wrong one.

How about a dead one? They are no longer having a purpose or a function because they are no longer given a live by God.

Okay, enough typing unconsciously, it is about Yes/No/Not Given as the title in this post. Well, after six months we are dating with IELTS course, finally and hopefully it can be a right prediction about this mystery.

I usually misled by the question, not the True one because it is obviously given in the passage with variety of rephrase styles, it is definitely written in the passage. No bargain. Then, what if the question is slightly contain some phrases or understanding that implicitly given to the passage? Theoretically, it could be False/No or Not Given.

Implicitly? Yep, it requires our comprehending about what is written in the paragraph. Here is the example;

Quoting passage:

This is in sharp contrast to the model of management that applies elsewhere in Europe. The principles of business process re-engineering have never been fully accepted in France, Germany and the other major economies; while in some Eastern European economies, the attempt to apply them in the nineties brought the economy virtually to its knees, and created huge opportunities for corrupt middle managers and organized crime.

In the question is written:

The European model gives more freedom of action to junior managers.

For me personally, I would like to take some keywords and match it with some words in the passage. My keywords are: ‘junior managers’ and ‘freedom of action’. I match the ‘junior managers’ with ‘middle managers’ (doesn’t match) and ‘freedom of action’ with ‘huge opportunities for corrupt and crime’ (match). For some occasions, all you need is just praying, seriously you won’t know which one to match because the monkey was so smart (I intentionally use ‘was’). By reading the question, do not interpret as the way it is written and do not fully accept what does it means in the surfaces because it has been modified to fail you. Try to analyse it in another meaning, may be you can argue how come huge opportunity for corrupt is similar with freedom to action, all I can say is ‘practice makes perfect’, you will have the sixth sense to know what it means sometimes without a logical explanation.

Okay then I have to derive that question into two parts, I like to name it Head and Tail, instead, Subject and Object. Not without a reason, you can still alive without a Tail, but may be live wrongly (False/No). In addition, you can’t live without a Head even you have a Tail (Not Given).

Head: The European model gives more freedom of action

Tail: to junior managers

After doing matching, I will know which one that I have and I don’t have.

Head: ….freedom to action is matched with passage then I have my Head.

Tail: junior managers != middle managers then I don’t have my Tail

Please guess, am I still alive? I have my Head but I have no Tail. Yep, I am alive but live wrongly. It means the answer is No/False.

Let’s do another exercise.

Quoting Passage:

We have to be cooperative team members rather than work on our own. We have to accept that, in flattened and decentralized organizations, there are very limited career prospects. We are to be motivated by target-related rewards rather than a longer-term commitment to our employing organization.

In the question is written:

There are good opportunities for promotion within segmented companies.

Again, my keywords are ‘good opportunities for promotion’ and ‘segmented companies’ (you can have another keyword). I matched ‘good opportunities for promotion’ with ‘limited career prospects’, hmm how do you think? Is it match? No, it isn’t matched, they have a reverse meaning. Good opportunities for promotion is contradict with limited career prospects or something that have a good career prospects is easily get promoted. Let see another keyword, ‘segmented companies’ with ‘flattened and decentralized organizations’. Is it match? Segmented means focus in their own segment rather than central organizations, it has a contradict meaning with centralized organizations then. Wait, let us see once more to the passage, it is written ‘decentralized’ not ‘centralized’. So, ‘segmented companies’ is just another way to name ‘decentralized organizations’ and yes it is match. What do we have now?

Head: …segmented companies match with decentralized, and yes we have the Head.

Tail: …good opportunities for promotion… is not match with limited career prospects then we have no Tail.

Are we still alive? Yes, we still alive without a tail, then the answer is False/No.

Well, it is still my hypothesis that works correctly in four trials, not all the F/T/NG question types always need this treatment. It can be applied only for a heart-breaking question that makes you surrender to find the answer 😀

Another difficulty is the way we choose Head and Tail. It can be simply by looking which one is affecting the other. For example, the latest question, which one is make sense to you?

a)      Because they don’t have good opportunities for promotion then the organization type is segmented company.

b)      Because it is segmented company then they don’t have good opportunities for promotion.

It works for B, the ‘segmented company’ rule the ‘opportunities’, then you can simply put segmented company as your Head and the other one is your Tail and please never let the Tail rule your Head 🙂

Good Luck, everybody!

NB: These Head-Tail formula is found by having a deep conversations with my IELTS geek friends: Junita, Gum-Gum and Rokib 🙂

Time after time – Future Continues Tense

I will be doing your job, again.. (Alex Karev – Grey’s Anatomy Season 10)

You will be hearing from me.. (Jim Moriarty – Sherlock BBC Series – A Scandal in Belgravia)

I will be waiting time after time.. (Cyndi Lauper – Time after time song lyrics)

What kind of grammar is that?
How come ‘will’ join with ‘be + Ving’?
Is that active or passive form?

At the first time I heard those phrases, I immediately contacted my dearest friend Junita to translate what did it means? And shot her with those three questions above. I realized that nobody will enjoy to be asked like that, especially language experts. Whereas, for me it makes no sense because future is something that are going to happen and continues is ‘in the progress of doing’ which is means we can’t join future with something currently happen, unless, you are equipped with Grammar Old Book Dictionary. It is called Future Continues Grammar and it is in active form.

When I checked into this site about how to use it, I consider that so many changes nowadays. It is no longer used with the following or comparison activity to say this. Sadly but true, I couldn’t agree more with my tutor’s statement that Grammar is only a seasoning, the main dishes is still the context and meaning behind it. It won’t be anything good to eat if your dish only has seasoning but you can’t cook the meat perfectly.

What is the Future Continues Tense? What are the differences with I am going to [Complicated Present Continues Tense] or I will go to [Simple Future Tense]. Well I am not going to explain the fundamental theories behind them because it is not my expertise, but one that distinguishes three of them is the degree of certainty. The Future Continues has the highest degree of certainty among the other two.

I will be doing your job, again.. (Alex Karev – Grey’s Anatomy Season 10)

It means that Karev will surely do his friend’s job once more time in a short time from the time he speaks.

You will be hearing from me.. (Jim Moriarty – Sherlock BBC Series – A Scandal in Belgravia)

Jim Moriarty is warning Sherlock to be careful and be ready in every time because Jim will absolutely come again to dare Sherlock.

I will be waiting time after time.. (Cyndi Lauper – Time after time song lyrics)

Cyndi is always waiting for this guy forever, so sad but it is the actual meaning on its lyric.

🙂 you will be finding new things by listening English songs or watching movies, either you ignore or accept them, it is your choice 🙂