Saturday, July 28, 2018

Words to use instead of 'Nice'

A common mistake among English learners is that they tend to overuse certain words because these words seem to suit every situation imaginable or due to the fact that learners lack variety when it comes to vocabulary.

One such word which is often used more than it should be is the word "nice". Take the following examples:

  • "How was your day?" - "Nice." 
  • "Did you enjoy your meal?" - "It was nice, thank you."
  • "What do you think of the new substitute teacher, Mr. Jones?" - "I think he's nice."
  • "This room looks very nice indeed. Did you have it refurbished?"
In all of these situtations, a different word could have been used that would clarify the speaker's thoughts. 

Friday, July 27, 2018

Speaking & Writing: Words to Describe People

Describing a person is a basic skill required when speaking a language which is why English tests contain both oral and written tasks that ask candidates to talk about a person they know or admire, someone who influenced them or is a close friend. 

If you are simply learning English to be able to communicate, the list that follows will help improve your vocabulary. 

For those preparing to take an English exam, the difference between a good answer and an exceptional one is vocabulary. Saying a person is "nice" and "kind" is not that bad, but using words like "trustworthy" or "demure" will certainly give you points for lexical range.

Teachers can distribute the following list, ask students to find the meanings of words and make sentences with them. Those who want to improve their English on their own can translate the words into their own language and practice using them with a speaking partner.

Saturday, July 7, 2018

Oracle & Folly du Jour: On Treating Students like Children

IELTS - A Quick Rundown of the Test and Where to Start

What is the IELTS?

The IELTS, or International English Language Testing System, is a language proficiency test given by millions of candidates the world over. Teens and adults take the test as part of university application procedures at undergraduate or postgraduate level, or to acquire a visa, emigrate, work or train. 

Scores are given in bands from 1 to 9 (1 being the lowest, 9 being the highest) with results available two weeks after the written part of the test was taken (13 days to be exact). Scores are awarded for each of the four sections tested and you are also given an overall score as a whole or half band, so for example, you can score a 7.0 in Listening, 6.0 in Reading, 7.5 in writing and a 7.5 in Speaking. Your final score would be a 7.0 overall. What constitutes a passing score depends on why you're taking the IELTS exam and who's asking to see your results. 

Which module do I need?

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Essay Topics List 3

The following are topics teachers and students can use to practice writing for exams, as homework assignments, longer research projects, even as discussion topics or debates.

This list is intended for high school or university students, but may also be used by adults who are learning English as a foreign language. 

For those preparing to take an English exam (IELTS, CPE, ECPE, ESB, LRN, MSU-CELP, TOEFL, etc.), these are typical questions that may be found in C1 and C2-level assessments (advanced or proficiency level).

For more practice, find lists 1 and 2 here and here

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