Top Tips To Improve your English

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LEM takes you through the ways to best improve on your English skills in a variety of circumstances.

 

10 General Tips

Surround yourself with English!
The more hours you spend with the language, the better buddies you’ll be.

1. Speak it – Decide to speak English every day. Non-native speakers are great partners too…Just speak!

2. Don’t Grammar it – Don’t give up a chance to speak because you are afraid of making a mistake. You will learn from those mistakes!

3. Read it – Read a page from a book, a magazine, a blog or a newspaper & write down 5 new expressions to learn.

4. Articulate It – Read that same page out loud. It’s tougher than you think…but it’s great practice.

5. Record It – Record your voice & Listen to yourself speak. Compare earlier recording with more recent ones.

6. Clip it – Watch short video clips on sites like YouTube. Focus on expressions and intonation.

7. Phrase it – Learn as many collocations and fixed phrases as possible.

8. Web it – Find your favorite sites on the internet and visit them every day

9. Stick to it – Dedication to learning a little English every day will ensure you reach your goal. There are no shortcuts.

10. Enjoy it – Have fun learning the language. Your brain needs it for authentic learning and long term memory.

Credits: idem the other one

 

 

 

10 Tips for Better Presentations

 love actually

1. Have a clear structure

This is the best method that has been used by skilled presenters for decades.

  • Outline briefly the key points you will talk about.
  • Cover the topic in depth.
  • Summarize your presentation in a few short sentences.

2. Know your topic

You should always know which slide is coming up next. It sounds very powerful when you say “On the next slide [Click] you will see…”, rather than a period of confusion when the next slide appears.  However don’t overload the audience with your in-depth knowledge. Three key points in each area is enough to keep them interested.

3. A picture is worth a thousand words

Keep the audience’s attention with pictures rather than words. Often one effective picture says it all.

4. Speak to the Audience

Avoid reading from notes or worse — read the slides? The audience doesn’t need you to read to them. They came to see and hear you speak to them. Your slideshow is just a visual aid.

5. Pace the Presentation

Pace your presentation, so that it flows smoothly, while at the same time be prepared for questions at any time.  Make sure you allow for audience participation at the end. If no one asks a question, have a few quick questions of your own ready to ask them. This is another way to engage the audience.

6. Use your voice

Vary the tone, pitch and volume of your voice to add emphasis and maintain the audience’s interest.  Aim to speak loudly and clearly while facing your audience.  Avoid talking in a monotone voice or turning your back to the audience.

Pausing just before, and after, delivering an important point makes it stand out from the crowd.

7. Smile & Repeat

Your audience will believe you more when you smile during your presentation.  They listen with their eyes and ears. Be friendly to the eyes and the ears of your audience. If you want your main message to be remembered – repeat it and repeat it again. The first time they weren’t listening. The second time they caught part of it and the third time they might hear it and remember it.

8. Podiums are Not for Professionals

Podiums are “crutches” for novice presenters. To be engaging with your audience you have to be free to move around, or at least vary your position on stage, so that you will appear to be approachable to everyone in the room. Move just before you speak – then stand still while delivering the important message. Use a remote device so that you can change slides easily on the screen without having to be stuck behind a computer.

9. Practice makes perfect

You are giving a performance and if you were an actor, you would not be performing without first rehearsing your part. Use a mirror so you can pick up on any bad habits, such as folding your arms, which can be interpreted as defensive behavior.  You will become more comfortable with your material and the presentation will not come off as a recitation of facts.  Set up a video camera and video yourself presenting. You will see all sorts of mistakes that you are making, from how you are standing, if you are jangling keys, to how well your presentation is structured.

10. Always Have a Plan B

Unexpected things happen even with the best laid down plans so be prepared for any disaster. What if your projector blew a light bulb or their isn’t enough power leads? Consider all possible scenarios and be prepared.

p.s. This was brought to you by Heather who is always present

 

10 Tips About Common Errors

1.Not using a determiner in front of a singular noun

Most singular countable nouns need some kind of determiner, such as articles (a, an, the), possessive adjectives (my, your, his) or demonstrative pronouns (this, that, these, those) etc.
INCORRECT:

  • I saw car.

CORRECT:

  • I saw a car. 
  • I saw your car.
  • I saw that car.
  • I saw the your car. (n.b. *you cannot use more than one determiner at the same time)

2. Using “the” in front of indefinite plural nouns

INCORRECT:

  • She loves watching the movies.
  • I went to the store to buy the vegetables

CORRECT:

  • She loves watching movies.
  • I went to the store to buy vegetables/some vegetables.

“Some”  indicates an unspecified amount. We don’t use “the” because we are talking about “vegetables” or “movies” in general. If we add some information to specify which ones we are talking about, then we can use “the”:
CORRECT:

  • I went to the store to buy the vegetables that you had asked me to buy.
  • She loves watching the movies of Al Pacino.

3. Putting the adjective after the noun

The  adjective or adjectives, if there are more than one, should always be put before the noun:
INCORRECT:

  • It is a day beautiful.
  • It is a day very beautiful.
  • It is a beautiful day sunny.

CORRECT:

  • It is a beautiful day.
  • It is a very beautiful day.
  • It is a beautiful sunny day.

4. Confusing “-ed” and “-ing” adjectives

Some participles (like ‘bored’ or ‘boring’) can be used as adjectives. However be careful ‘I’m boring’ is very different from ‘I’m bored’!   We usually use the past participle (ending in -ed) to talk about how someone feels and the present participle (ending in -ing) to talk about the person, thing, or situation which has caused the feeling.

  • It was such a long, boring meeting                   =                  I was very bored during the meeting.
  • I read a really interesting story.                        =                  I was really interested in the story.
  • Many people find this situation confusing        =                 Many people are confused by the situation.

5. Using double negatives

Combining the negative form of the verb (e.g., cannot, did not, have not) with a negative pronoun (e.g., nothing, nobody, none, nowhere), a negative adverb (e.g., never, hardly) or a negative conjunction (e.g., neither/nor) is a mistake:
INCORRECT:

  • I haven’t never done it.
  • I didn’t see nothing

CORRECT:

  • I have never done it/I haven’t ever done it.
  • I saw nothing/I didn’t see anything.

6. Using “for” instead of the infinitive to indicate the reason

When a verb is followed by either a pronoun or an object of some kind, the verb afterwards has to be an infinitive and it is normally used to explain the reason of the action indicated by the first verb.
INCORRECT:

  • I will call you for talk about it.
  • She ran for catching the bus.
  • We work hard for to learn English

CORRECT:

  • I will call you to talk about it.
  • She ran to catch the bus.
  • We work hard to learn English.

7. Forgetting the subject of the sentence

If it is not an imperative sentence, you need to have a subject in the sentence, otherwise it is not complete:
INCORRECT:

  • Is very important!
  • Rained yesterday.
  • Are there ?

CORRECT:

  • It is very important.
  • It rained yesterday.
  • Are you/her/she/… there ?

8. Confusing “meet” with “know”

to meet         

  • first contact with a person  – “I met him last year”
  • get together with people you already know – “I’m meeting up with some friends at the bar after work.”

*In this case, we often use “meet with” or “meet up with”.
to know

  • knowledge and skills in general – “He knows everything about computers.”
  • to be acquainted with people in general

“Do you know Janet? She works in accounts.”   –  “No, I don’t think I know her.”
INCORRECT:              I knew him last year.

CORRECT:                 I met him last year.

9. Confusing “would like” with “like”

I would like to go for a walk.   = something that you want to do at some point in the future.

I like walking.  = something that you enjoy and do on a regular basis.
INCORRECT:              Do you like a cup of tea ?

CORRECT:                 Would you like a cup of tea?

10. Confusing “since” and “for”

For + a period of time. We use it to measure the duration or the period,  to say how long something has lasted. e.g. I have worked here for 10 years/2 weeks/6 months.

Since + a point in time.  It gives the starting point of actions, events or states and refers to when things began. * Note, it is also wrong to use “from” for this purpose. e.g I have worked here since 2010/ since I left my last job/ last Christmas.
INCORRECT:

  • I have waited for you since 2 hours.
  • I have waited for you from this morning.

CORRECT:

  • I have waited for you for 2 hours.
  • I have waited since this morning.

p.s. This was written by Astrid

 

THE EASI WAY TO LISTENING

1.How does not understanding make you feel?

• “Isolated” “dejected” “what’s the point”? “Why did i ever begin learning English”?

2.You are not alone

Every learner, at whatever level, sooner or later goes through this mental block or barrier.

3. I’m great at all the other learning skills. Why can’t i understand?

Listening is probably the most difficult of all the skills.
Consider :
o Are you translating from your native language? Don’t spend unnecessary energy trying to understand every single word and then translate into your own language. This ‘crutch’ is taking you nowhere fast !
o It could be that you are listening for the wrong sounds. English is a mix of stressed, unstressed words, linked words, contracted words or reduced words. Many words we don’t even pronounce fully.
o Are you pronouncing words correctly? Maybe you can’t understand the words when they are pronounced correctly.

4.Maybe you underestimate your realistic ability?

“I can’t understand a word!” Hand on heart – is this really true?

5.What listening sources are available?

Any thematic texts, narrative stories, you tube exerts (etc.)

  • http://learningenglishmatters.com
  • http://tinytexts.wordpress.com

Listen to what you enjoy.

6.I still can’t understand a word. What approach should I take?

If you are a beginner or low intermediate :
• Start by listening to short extracts several times.
• Concentrate on individual sentences.
• Make sure you understand aspects of pronunciation, vocabulary and grammar.
• Without looking at the tapescript, try to repeat each sentence out loud, exactly as you heard it. Try to copy the intonation.
• When you feel more confident you can move onto short paragraphs.
• Try to tell the content of the listening material to your english coach (write down key words to help you convey the meaning).

More advanced learners :
• Should choose longer clips that last at least 5 – 10 mins.
• Try not to concentrate too closely on detail but rather the overall idea. This is called gist listening.
• Again it’s a good idea to recount the content to your coach trying to use any new vocabulary learnt.

7.When should I make reference to tapescripts or subtitles?

• Use tapescripts or subtitles after you have focused on listening and repeated the phrases or content.
• Use this material to compare, what you understood and what the tapescript says.
• This should be the end process.

8.What should I not do?

• Translate word for word and literally from your native language.

9.It’s an on-going process

• Be patient, accept the fact that you’re not going to understand everything.

10.Go with the flow

• Give the process time and try to enjoy it as much as possible.

p.s. This post was made by Helen who listened and heard you

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