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Thursday, 31 July 2008

7 Ways to Say "OUGH"

It's a pity that English is not phonetic! In some languages, you can look at a word and know immediately how to pronounce it. But in English you need to be a little more careful.

Take the letters "ough", for example. They occur in many words, but they do not always sound the same.

1. though (like o in go)

2. through (like oo in too)

3. cough (like off in offer)

4. rough (like uff in suffer)

5. plough (like ow in flower)

6. ought (like aw in saw)

7. borough (like a in above)

So how do you know the pronunciation of a word? Well, fortunately "ough" is an extreme example. English words are not always that difficult. But in general, when you learn a new word, you should also make sure you know its pronunciation. If you do not have a teacher or someone to say the word for you, you can look in a dictionary. All good dictionaries give the pronunciation for each word, often with special symbols. So it's a good idea to look at your dictionary carefully and learn the pronunciation symbols.
After that, you'll always be able to find the pronunciation of any word, easily. Try it with the 7 "ough" words above.




Source : englishclub



Tuesday, 29 July 2008

Reading skills

Skill development

Other methods of teaching and learning to read have developed, and become somewhat controversial:

  • Phonics involves teaching reading by associating characters or groups of characters with sounds. Sometimes argued to be in competition with whole language methods.
  • Whole language methods involve acquiring words or phrases without attention to the characters or groups of characters that compose them. Sometimes argued to be in competition with phonics methods, and that the whole language approach tends to impair learning how to spell.

Learning to read in a second language, especially in adulthood, may be a different process than learning to read a native language in childhood.

There are cases of very young children learning to read without having been taught. Such was the case with Truman Capote who reportedly taught himself to read and write at the age of five. There are also accounts of people who taught themselves to read by comparing street signs or Biblical passages to speech. The novelist Nicholas Delbanco taught himself to read at age six by studying a book about boats during a transatlantic crossing.

Methods

There are several types and methods of reading, with differing rates that can be attained for each, for different kinds of material and purposes:

  • Subvocalized reading combines sight reading with internal sounding of the words as if spoken. Advocates of speed reading claim it can be a bad habit that slows reading and comprehension. These claims are currently backed only by controversial, sometimes non-existent scientific research.
  • Speed reading is a collection of methods for increasing reading speed without an unacceptable reduction in comprehension or retention. It is closely connected to speed learning.
  • Proofreading is a kind of reading for the purpose of detecting typographical errors. One can learn to do it rapidly, and professional proofreaders typically acquire the ability to do so at high rates, faster for some kinds of material than for others, while they may largely suspend comprehension while doing so, except when needed to select among several possible words that a suspected typographic error allows.
  • Structure-Proposition-Evaluation (SPE) method, popularized by Mortimer Adler in How to Read a Book, mainly for non-fiction treatise, in which one reads a writing in three passes: (1) for the structure of the work, which might be represented by an outline; (2) for the logical propositions made, organized into chains of inference; and (3) for evaluation of the merits of the arguments and conclusions. This method involves suspended judgment of the work or its arguments until they are fully understood.
  • Survey-Question-Read-Recite-Review (SQ3R) method, often taught in public schools, which involves reading toward being able to teach what is read, and would be appropriate for instructors preparing to teach material without having to refer to notes during the lecture.
  • Multiple Intelligences-based methods, which draw upon the reader's diverse ways of thinking and knowing to enrich his or her appreciation of the text. Reading is fundamentally a linguistic activity: one can basically comprehend a text without resorting to other intelligences, such as the visual (e.g., mentally "seeing" characters or events described), auditory (e.g., reading aloud or mentally "hearing" sounds described), or even the logical intelligence (e.g., considering "what if" scenarios or predicting how the text will unfold based on context clues). However, most readers already use several intelligences while reading, and making a habit of doing so in a more disciplined manner -- i.e., constantly, or after every paragraph -- can result in more vivid, memorable experience.




Source : wikipedia


Reading

Reading is a multi-dimensional cognitive process of decoding symbols for the purpose of deriving meaning (reading comprehension) and/or constructing meaning.

It is a means of language acquisition, of communication, and of sharing information and ideas. Readers may use a variety of reading strategies, such as: decoding (to translate symbols into sounds or visual representations of language), using morpheme, semantics, syntax and context cues (to identify the meaning of unknown words), or activating prior knowledge (schemata theory).

Other types of reading may not be text-based, such as music notation or pictograms. By analogy, in computer science, "reading" refers to the acquisition of data from some sort of computer storage.

Although reading print text is now an important way for the general population to access information, this has not always been the case. With some exceptions, only a small percentage of the population in many countries were considered literate before the Industrial Revolution.





Source : wikipedia





Sunday, 27 July 2008

Learning About Phrases to Improve Fluency and Comprehension

Even though each word we read or speak has its own meaning, we generally don't read, speak or think of each word by itself. We tend to group words together into phrases. We can have entire conversations in phrases, and if we want to be sure we're understood, we often pause to emphasize the most important phrases.
Understanding phrases while reading can help fluency and comprehension. When trying to read something complicated that doesn't seem to make sense, it's very helpful to go back and read it one phrase at a time to figure out just where understanding stopped. If you want to savor a book, or are having trouble paying attention to something you're reading, you can read one phrase at a time, imagining how it would sound, and you can make a mental picture of it or re-phrase it in your own words.
You can make reading in phrases easier by lightly underlining (usually with a slight scoop, as if drawing a spoon to hold the phrase) phrases as you read. Re-reading a passage emphasizing the phrases can make it easier to read smoothly and with feeling. Repeated reading has long been known to help fluency and comprehension.






Source : Susan Jones, M.ed





Saturday, 26 July 2008

Using Prepositions In English

A preposition is a word that’s used to describe when or how a specific action takes place in a sentence. The most common prepositions in the English language are: for, in, of, on, and to. When used properly, these words lend depth and strength to your verbs and make it clear how each part of the sentence ties together. Unfortunately, if you don’t use prepositions properly, they can make your sentences appear tedious and difficult to understand.

1. Prepositions to Describe Where Action Takes Place

Consider a situation where you want to describe a cat lapping milk in your kitchen. Depending on how you want to write the sentence, you might use a different preposition to link the cat’s action and where it is taking place. For example, you might write the following: “My cat, Charlie was lapping up milk in the kitchen”. Or, you might want to try “My cat, Charlie was sitting on the kitchen floor lapping up milk”. Even though these two sentences convey similar information, each preposition – “in” versus “on” – requires a different sentence structure in order to flow properly.

In other instances, prepositions may be used to create a sense of how much one object is influenced by the subject of a sentence. Words like “throughout”, “marginally”, and “somewhat” are often used in these kinds of situations. If you’re trying to describe how many dandelions are on your lawn, you could say, “My lawn is somewhat covered by dandelions”, or “There are dandelions throughout my front lawn”.

2. The Preposition “Of” and Ownership

Many people trying to learn English have a difficult time translating the word “of”. Among other things, it’s important to realize that “of” does not convey the meaning of ownership in English sentences. For example, if you want to say that Mary owns a book in English, you would simply write “Mary’s book”. This is distinctly different from Spanish and other romance languages, where you would say “el libro de Mary”, or literally “the book of Mary”.

3. “For” and “On” as Timing Descriptions

Prepositions can also be used to describe a general period of time. You might hear someone say, “You can borrow this book for one day”, or “On Monday, I will go to the post office”. While these types of prepositions may seem unnecessary, they still give the sentence a subtle flavor. They also serve to help someone that is listening or reading to focus on the fact that information about the timing of an event is about to be transmitted.

In many cases, when you’re learning your primary language, prepositions seem to fit naturally into your speech and writing patterns. Unfortunately, when you’re trying to learn a second language with different prepositional rules, you’ll likely find that you need to think carefully about how you use them. Depending on the rules of your primary language, you might find it fairly easy to adapt to English. When in doubt, try different prepositions in a sentence to see how you can create the same meaning with different words and structures.



Source : www.englishsubject.net



Preposition

A preposition is a word that’s used to describe when or how a specific action takes place in a sentence. The most common prepositions in the English language are: for, in, of, on, and to. When used properly, these words lend depth and strength to your verbs and make it clear how each part of the sentence ties together. Unfortunately, if you don’t use prepositions properly, they can make your sentences appear tedious and difficult to understand.

Prepositions to Describe Where Action Takes Place

Consider a situation where you want to describe a cat lapping milk in your kitchen. Depending on how you want to write the sentence, you might use a different preposition to link the cat’s action and where it is taking place. For example, you might write the following: “My cat, Charlie was lapping up milk in the kitchen”. Or, you might want to try “My cat, Charlie was sitting on the kitchen floor lapping up milk”. Even though these two sentences convey similar information, each preposition – “in” versus “on” – requires a different sentence structure in order to flow properly.

In other instances, prepositions may be used to create a sense of how much one object is influenced by the subject of a sentence. Words like “throughout”, “marginally”, and “somewhat” are often used in these kinds of situations. If you’re trying to describe how many dandelions are on your lawn, you could say, “My lawn is somewhat covered by dandelions”, or “There are dandelions throughout my front lawn”.

The Preposition “Of” and Ownership

Many people trying to learn English have a difficult time translating the word “of”. Among other things, it’s important to realize that “of” does not convey the meaning of ownership in English sentences. For example, if you want to say that Mary owns a book in English, you would simply write “Mary’s book”. This is distinctly different from Spanish and other romance languages, where you would say “el libro de Mary”, or literally “the book of Mary”.

“For” and “On” as Timing Descriptions

Prepositions can also be used to describe a general period of time. You might hear someone say, “You can borrow this book for one day”, or “On Monday, I will go to the post office”. While these types of prepositions may seem unnecessary, they still give the sentence a subtle flavor. They also serve to help someone that is listening or reading to focus on the fact that information about the timing of an event is about to be transmitted.

In many cases, when you’re learning your primary language, prepositions seem to fit naturally into your speech and writing patterns. Unfortunately, when you’re trying to learn a second language with different prepositional rules, you’ll likely find that you need to think carefully about how you use them. Depending on the rules of your primary language, you might find it fairly easy to adapt to English. When in doubt, try different prepositions in a sentence to see how you can create the same meaning with different words and structures.



Source : www.grammar.com


Friday, 25 July 2008

Studying Grammar When You Learn a New Foreign Language

Learning grammar is likely your least favorite area about studying a foreign language. It is usually full of rules that are hard to remember and make it difficult to construct sentences. It would be so much simpler if every language had similar grammar rules and all we had to do is translate each sentence word for word. In reality if we did that, we wouldn't make any sense. Memorizing grammar shouldn't be hard as long as you learn it efficiently.

You can learn grammar without studying grammar. It sounds crazy, but it's completely possible. Instead of having a textbook with sections that are 'grammar', use a technique of immersion. Some great systems that use this are the Berlitz self-teachers, and Rosetta Stone. To learn more about these programs, click the link at the end of this article. Instead of saying, "this is how you translate -er verbs", and list the different conjugations, these programs get you involved in the language. By including the grammar in what you are learning, you are learning grammar without even realizing it.

You can also do this on your own by reading and translation. It's a good idea to include translating newspapers, magazines, and books into your language learning program. Jump into the language by reading and translating newspapers and magazines into your target language. When you come across a word that is unfamiliar to you, translate it. You might not find words in the dictionary that are in different conjugations, but as you move along, you will begin to understand it and realize how it works.

A lot of the immersion programs say they teach you how to learn a language like you learned your first language as a child. This is great, but even after you learned English, or another language if English isn't your first language, you eventually did learn grammar, right? Learning like a child is great, but it should be supplemented with other learning methods too. You can use a standard textbook with it and take on a new grammar topic every day or every couple of days. Work with it and try to see if it comes up in your other programs.

Language immersion will get you the fastest language learning results. In order to do this, include the following:

* Textbook Grammar * Continuous vocabulary * Learning program as a child or through actual speaking * Listening program or watching and translating television shows or movies in your target language * Reading and translating text in your target language such as with books, newspapers, and magazines * Practicing writing in your target language

You can add just about anything with your language learning. Don't focus solely on one thing, such as grammar. Instead of thinking that you need to learn grammar and vocabulary, remember that you need those and all the other skills of a language including writing, reading, listening, and speaking. As you use programs and materials to study these other ways, you will be automatically using grammar and vocabulary and will learn everything.

Learning a foreign language is never complete. Do you know every English word there is? You are never done learning a language. You should always keep studying. To learn a language effectively you need to stay focused and have well-rounded skills.




Source : Samantha Asher



Tips : The Best Way to Learn English Quickly

Have you ever wondered why children seem to be able to learn to speak English a lot faster than adults? The reason is mainly because they don't have the fear associated with learning a new language that adults have. The biggest problem that many people face when they start to learn English is a fear of not being able to master the language. They are afraid that they will not be able to pronounce the words correctly or that they will make a mistake that others will find funny and laugh about. Practice is the key to learning any language. You must practice as much as you can and learn from your mistakes, which are bound to happen.

Even if you attend classes to help with your English learning, there are many other resources you can use. The Internet has many sites that offer free instruction in English along with practice exercises and worksheets you can use to complement your classes. If you can, develop a friendship with a native English speaker with whom you can practice and pick up the various nuances of the language and use the rules of correct grammar.

One of the best ways of learning English is to become immersed in the language. If you are learning the language from your native country, you should try to watch English television. However, the best way is to live in a place where everyone speaks English. Then you won't have any choice but pick up the language. Take notes in English, read English books and listen to English music. Speak the language as much as you can to give you practice. As you start developing your language skills, you will find yourself "thinking" in English, which is important.

Watching English language television and films is an excellent way to learn the language. If your TV has closed captioning capability, you could watch the programs in your own language and read the English words on the bottom of the screen. Not only will you increase your vocabulary, but you will also improve the flow of your speech. Cartoons and educational programs for children are also great ways of learning the vocabulary and rules of grammar. Another method is to use books for beginning readers in English because these books usually have pictures with the English words to accompany them.

Listening to songs in English is an effective way of learning the language as well. Learn the lyrics of the songs and sing along with the singer as you listen. You can get the words to many popular songs online. Study as often as possible to increase your vocabulary.

As you read from English texts, record yourself and then listen to how you pronounce the words. On many online sites there are recorded conversations that you can listen to and read along with. Then when you play back the recording of your own reading, you will be able to see where you make mistakes or areas where you have done well. Even though no one likes listening to the sound of their own voice it is an important part of learning to speak English.



Source : Tong Lin



Wednesday, 23 July 2008

Prepositions of Time

1. at

a. time of the day:

at six o'clock

at lunch(time)

at midnight

at sunset/sunrise

[Note that in questions we usually say: "What time shall we meet?" – not: *"At what time ..."]

b. other expressions:

at night

at the weekend/weekends

[note: American English: on the weekend/weekends]

at Christmas/Easter

at the moment

at the same time


2. on

a. days:

on Friday(s)

b. day + time of day:

on Monday morning(s)

on Wednesday evening(s)

on Sunday afternoon(s)

c. dates:

on December 13, 1965

on Christmas Day

on New Year's Day

on Valentine's Day

on my birthday

on our wedding day


3. in the

a. periodical time of day:

in the morning(s)

in the afternoon(s)

in the evening(s)

b. centuries/decades:

in the 15th century

in the Middle Ages

in the Stone Age

in the 1980s

c. reference of time:

in the past

in (the) future

[but: at present]


4. in

a. months:

in April

b. years:

in 1978

c. seasons:

in (the) winter

d. a time in the future:

in five minutes

in a few weeks

in a moment


5. no preposition

a. before next:

Let's meet next week.

b. before last:

I saw him last week.

c. before this:

We got up late this morning.

d. before every:

I play badminton every Saturday.





Source : english tutorial




Saturday, 19 July 2008

4 Tips on Taking TOEIC test

There are several things you can do everyday to help you prepare for the TOEIC test.

1. Listen to music

Music helps you acquire the rhythm and stress patterns of spoken English. Listen closely to the words.

2. Use the language

Set aside half an hour each day to communicate only in English. If you can't do this face-to-face, send regular e-mail messages. The more you use the language, the better at it you'll become.

3. Read!

Reading is the best way to improve your vocabulary. While it can be hard to find partners to practice speaking, authentic reading materials - newspapers, magazines, Web sites, novels, non-fiction books, etc. - are always available. Choose something that genuinely interests you and isn't too challenging.

4. Write everything

Try keeping a daily journal where you can practice using new words and expressions. This helps reinforce sentence structures and vocabulary.



Source :www.4englishexams.com



Friday, 18 July 2008

Adjectives

Knowing what is an adjective and what is an adverb is very important in English grammar. For example, the following sentences are typical mistakes, caused by confusion over the difference between adjectives and adverbs.

"He works hardly." ("He works hard.")
"She writes good." ("He writes well.")
"It's a really problem." ("It's a real problem.")

Adjectives describe nouns.
"A good student."
"A nice day."
"He is interesting."

Adverbs describe verbs or adjectives.
"He eats well."
"She learns quickly."
"A well-known book."
"I'm really tired."


Problem


1. Some adjectives and adverbs have the same form.

"She's a fast driver." (adj)
"She drives fast." (adv)

"TOEFL is a hard exam." (adj)
"The students work hard." (adv)

"She has straight hair." (adj)
"He went straight home." (adv)

2. Not all adverbs end in -ly.

"He is a good student."
"She works well with others."

3. Some adverbs have two meanings.

Hard
"He works hard."
"I hardly know him." (Barely)

Close
"She sat close to the conductor on the bus." (next to)
"I listened closely to what he said." (paying attention)

Dead
"You're dead right!" (completely right)
"This snake is deadly - watch out for it." (fatal)

Fair
"He was fairly treated by the Immigration authorities." (justly)
"It's fairly cold today." (quite)

Fine
"How do you feel? Fine." (well)
"Finely chop the tomatoes." (in small pieces)

Free
"The english-at-home.com website is free of charge." (no money needed)
"Children can play freely in this park." (no limits to their freedom)

High
"We'll need to raise prices high in order to survive." (high prices)
"I think highly of him." (a high opinion)
"He's highly paid." (very well paid)

Late
"He arrived late for the meeting." (not on time)
"There have been a few complaints lately." (recently)

Right
"She walked right up to him and demanded to see the manager." (didn't stop until she got close to him)
"He rightly thought that he was going to lose his job." (correctly thought)

Wrong
"He wrongly told her that he had been promoted." (incorrectly)
"This is spelt wrong." (incorrect)
(You can only use 'wrong' when it's after the verb.)

4. Some words that end in -ly are not adverbs, but are adjectives.
For example, lovely, friendly, silly, lonely.

"She is silly."
"She behaves in a silly way."

"Her children are lovely."
"He treated her in a lovely way."

5. Some verbs are followed by adjectives.

"You look good today!"
"This soup tastes nice."
"He seems pleasant."
"I don't feel very happy at the moment."

In these examples, you are describing the subject (such as 'the soup') rather than the verb ('tastes').




Source : www.english-at-home.com

Wednesday, 16 July 2008

How to Make Comparisons in English

There are some rules to help you make comparisons in English.
1 If the adjective (describing word) is one syllable, you can add -er.
For example, small - smaller; big - bigger; nice - nicer.

2 If the adjective has two syllables, but ends in -y, you can change the end to -ier.
For example, lucky - luckier; happy - happier.

3 With other English adjectives of two syllables and more, you can't change their endings. Instead, you should use more + adjective.
For example, handsome - more handsome; beautiful - more beautiful and so on.

4 When you compare two things, use 'than'.
"She's younger than me.""This exercise is more difficult than the last one."

5 When you want to say something is similar, use 'as - as'.
For example, "She's as tall as her brother" or "It's as nice today as it was yesterday."

6 When you want to say one thing is less than another, you can either use 'less than' or 'not as - as'.
For example, "This programme is less interesting than I thought" or "This programme is not as interesting as I thought."

7 Remember that some adjectives are irregular and change form when you make comparisons.
For example, good - better; bad - worse; far - further.

Using qualifying expressions

You can vary the strength of the comparison by using "qualifying" expressions.
1. Comparing two things
You can use "a lot", "much", "a little", "slightly" and "far" before "more / less than":
"She's a lot more intelligent than him.""This car is much faster than the other one.""They are much less wealthy than they used to be.""He's a little taller than his sister.""She's slightly less interested in football than him."We are far more involved in charity than they are."
When you use these qualifying expressions in English, remember the rules about using -er. If the adjective is one syllable, or ends in -y, add -er:
"He's far taller than her." (NOT "He's far more taller…")"I'm much lazier than you!"
When the adjective is two syllables and more, you need either "more" or "less":
"He's a little more prepared for the exam than she is." (NOT "He's a little prepareder…")

2. Saying how two things are similar
You can use "almost as … as", "not quite as … as", "(not) nearly as … as", "nowhere near as … as", "twice as … as" and "half as … as" to change the extent of the similarity.
"She's almost as good as you!""He's not quite as confident as Susie.""I'm not nearly as intelligent as her!""This painting is nowhere near as famous as the first.""She's twice as old as him!"He's half as interesting as you!"





Source : english-at-home



Saturday, 12 July 2008

English Articles

In English, knowing when to use 'a' or 'the' can be difficult. Fortunately, there are rules to help you, but you need to know what type of noun you are using.

Grammar rule 1

When you have a single, countable English noun, you must always have an article before it. We cannot say "please pass me pen", we must say "please pass me the pen" or "please pass me a pen" or "please pass me your pen".

Nouns in English can also be uncountable. Uncountable nouns can be concepts, such as 'life', 'happiness' and so on, or materials and substances, such as 'coffee', or 'wood'.

Grammar rule 2

Uncountable nouns don't use 'a' or 'an'. This is because you can't count them. For example, advice is an uncountable noun. You can't say "he gave me an advice", but you can say "he gave me some advice", or "he gave me a piece of advice".

Some nouns can be both countable and uncountable. For example, we say "coffee" meaning the product, but we say "a coffee" when asking for one cup of coffee.

Grammar rule 3

You can use 'the' to make general things specific. You can use 'the' with any type of noun - plural or singular, countable or uncountable.

"Please pass me a pen" - any pen.
"Please pass me the pen" - the one that we can both see.

"Children grow up quickly" - children in general.
"The children I know grow up quickly" - not all children, just the ones I know.

"Poetry can be beautiful"- poetry in general.
"The poetry of Hopkins is beautiful" - I'm only talking about the poetry Hopkins
wrote.

More uses of articles in English

Rivers, mountain ranges, seas, oceans and geographic areas all use 'the'.
For example, "The Thames", "The Alps", "The Atlantic Ocean", "The Middle East".

Unique things have 'the'.
For example, "the sun", "the moon".

Some institutional buildings don't have an article if you visit them for the reason these buildings exist. But if you go to the building for another reason, you must use 'the'.

"Her husband is in prison." (He's a prisoner.)
"She goes to the prison to see him once a month."

"My son is in school." (He's a student.)
"I'm going to the school to see the head master."

"She's in hospital at the moment." (She's ill.)
"Her husband goes to the hospital to see her every afternoon."

Musical instruments use 'the'.
"She plays the piano."

Sports don't have an article.
"He plays football."

Illnesses don't have an article.
"He's got appendicitis."
But we say "a cold" and "a headache".

Jobs use 'a'.
"I'm a teacher."

Countries
We don't use 'a' if the country is singular. "He lives in England." But if the country's name has a "plural" meaning, we use 'the'. "The People's Republic of China", "The Netherlands", "The United States of America".

Continents, towns and streets don't have an article.
"Africa", "New York", "Church Street".

Theatres, cinemas and hotels have 'the'.
"The Odeon", "The Almeira", "The Hilton".

Abbreviations use 'the'.
"the UN", "the USA", "the IMF".

We use 'the' before classes of people.
"the rich", "the poor", "the British".


Source : english-at-home




Friday, 11 July 2008

How to Choose Your English Tenses

Using the correct tense and verb form is important in English grammar. Here's a simple rule to help you choose which tense to use - which tense you use depends on how you see the event or action.

# Routine or permanent situations

- use the simple form. For example, "I live in London" tells you that "live" is true all the time - London is my home.

"I lived in the countryside when I was a child" - this was a long-term situation in the past.

# Temporary or continuing situations

- use the continuous form. For example, "I'm working as a secretary at the moment" - the job isn't permanent and maybe I'm doing it for a while until I get another job.

"House prices are rising" - they are continuing to rise and haven't stopped rising yet.

"She was wearing a black dress" - she put it on before I saw her and she still wore it after I saw her - wearing the dress continued over a period of time.

# Connecting different times

- use the perfect form to show that one event was completed before another, or to show that one situation continues from one time to another.

For example, "I have lived here for two years" - I started to live here two years ago and I still live here.

"I will have finished the report before next week" - some time before next week, but I don't know exactly when.

"He had studied law before he met her" - he studied law before he met her, but we don't know when.



Source : english-at-home





TOEIC test for Students

You've worked hard to learn English. Now certify your English proficiency by taking the TOEIC test, the world's leading English test. More than 4 million people just like you take the TOEIC test every year!

Educational Testing Service has announced changes to the TOEIC test to reflect the latest approach to good testing practice.

The changes begin in Japan and Korea in May 2006. In Canada, the new test will begin in late 2006 or early 2007. ETS Canada will announce the official launch date later this year.

Test-takers will not see any difference in how their TOEIC test is scored. The test will still be scored on a scale of 10-990. Your TOEIC score is valid for a full two years, whether you take the current version of TOEIC test or the new TOEIC test. The new TOEIC test certificates will include a photograph of the examinee.

When you take the TOEIC test in Canada, you can be confident that your score will be recognized worldwide.

As well, ETS plans to introduce an optional, and separate, Speaking and Writing test. This test will be administered at a different time from the TOEIC Listening and Reading test. Information on the launch of TOEIC Speaking and Writing will be available in late 2006.



Source : 4englishexams






What is The Format of the TOEIC Test

Based on real-life work settings, the TOEIC test consists of 200 multiple-choice questions categorised into listening comprehension and reading sections.

TOEIC test
questions are based on real-life work settings in an international environment (meetings, travel, telephone conversations, etc). The TOEIC test is a paper and pencil test consisting of 200 multiple-choice questions, divided into 2 separately timed sections. Test takers respond to questions by marking one response from a choice of 4 (A, B, C, D) with a pencil on a machine-scannable answer sheet.

Section 1: Listening comprehension

  • A variety of recorded statements, questions, and short conversations in English.
  • You will answer 100 questions based on what you hear.
  • You will have 45 minutes to complete this section.


This section comprises 4 parts:
Part 1: photographs (20 questions)
Part 2: question-response (30 questions)
Part 3: Short conversations (30 questions)
Part 4: Short talks (20 questions)

Section 2: Reading

  • A variety of materials to be read.
  • You will respond to 100 questions based on what you have read.
  • This section will take 75 minutes to complete.

This section comprises 3 parts:
Part 5: Incomplete sentences (40 questions)
Part 6: Error recognition (20 questions)
Part 7: Reading comprehension (40 questions)

The test lasts approximately 2.5 hours. The remaining time will be used to respond to biographical questions and a brief questionnaire about educational and work history.

Candidates are given a score report , which shows their results. You are awarded separate marks for the written and oral comprehension sections, on a scale from 5 to 495 points. The total score is hence between 10 and 990 points.


Source : at4englishexams




Monday, 7 July 2008

Preparation and History of the TOEIC Test

TOEIC is an acronym that stands for Test Of English for International Communication. It is the most widely used English language exam taken by more than 4 million business professionals worldwide.

The TOEIC test measures your ability to use English in daily business situations covering such topics as corporate development, finance and budgeting, corporate property, IT, manufacturing, purchasing, offices, personnel, technical matters, health and business travel. A growing number of international companies recognize the TOEIC as an objective indicator of a person's proficiency in business English.

It is important to understand that the TOEIC does not measure what have you learned in one particular English class but evaluates your general command of the English language in a business setting. This means, you have to use and explore as many materials, resources and methods as possible in order to improve your English. You should create an environment in which you are exposed to the English language on a daily basis. For example, you can listen to the Voice of America, watch television on CNN, SkyNews or BBC, read newspaper articles in English and write emails. In addition, the Internet provides you with a wide variety of learning tools such as electronic newsletters, discussion groups and forums.

The TOEIC test came about from a request from the Japanese Ministry of International Trade and Industry to the Educational Testing Service, or ETS, in the mid-1970's.

TOEIC was designed to measure the English language proficiency of individuals whose native language is not English. Initially, corporations used the TOEIC exam, but it spread to include many university graduates, who found that corporations required TOEIC scores for new employees.



Source : www.4englishexams.com





8 Tips for Increasing Reading Speed

As our eyes move across the page they make a series of jerky movements. Whenever they come to rest on a word that is called a fixation. Most people fixate once on each word across a line of print.

In order to make our speed increase we must take in more words with each fixation, rather than make our eyes move faster.

1. Try to avoid focusing on every word, but rather look at groups of 2 to 3 words. For instance, this sentence could be grouped in this manner: for instance / this sentence / could be grouped / in this manner

2. Work on vocabulary improvement. Familiarize yourself with new words so you don’t get stuck on them when you read them again.

3. If you find yourself moving your lips when reading, force yourself to read faster by following (1.) above so that you can no longer move your lips.

4. Read more! 15 minutes a day of reading an average size novel equals 18 books a year at an average reading speed!

5. Determine your purpose before reading. If you only need main ideas, then allow yourself to skim the material. Don’t feel you must read very word.

6. Spend a few minutes a day reading at a faster than comfortable rate (about 2 to 3 times faster than your normal speed). Use your hand or an index card to guide your eyes down the page. Then time yourself reading a few pages at your normal speed. You’ll find that often your normal reading speed will increase after your skimming practice.

7. If you have poor concentration when reading, practice reading for only 5 - 10 minutes at a time and gradually increase this time.

8. There are several books on increasing reading speed available in most bookstores. If you are serious about increasing your rate you may want to work systematically through one of these books.



Source : www.4englishexams.com


Question Tags

Question tags are used in English to encourage someone to carry on talking. We use these question tags when we want to ask a question, or if we want someone to agree with us.

She doesn't like swimming, does she?
(No, she doesn't.)

He can't cook, can he?
(No he can't.)

He's interesting, isn't he?
(Yes, he is.)

We've been here before, haven't we?

# How to make question tags

To make a question tag in English, use the auxiliary verb (if there is one) in the sentence.

She doesn't like… (doesn't is the auxiliary)

He can't cook… (can't is the auxiliary)

He's interesting… (is is the auxiliary)

We've been here… (have is the auxiliary)

# Negative and positive tags

If the auxiliary is negative, the tag is positive.

NEGATIVE
She doesn't like…

…does she?
POSITIVE

If the auxiliary is positive, the tag is negative.

POSITIVE
He's interesting…

…isn't he?
NEGATIVE

# No auxiliary?

If there isn't an auxiliary in the verb, use the right form of 'do' instead.

He likes tennis, doesn't he?

You saw her last week, didn't you?

We don't know that for a fact, do we?



Source : english-at-home



Sunday, 6 July 2008

Reported Speech

Sometimes you need to tell people about your conversations and change direct speech into indirect speech. When you do this, you need to make sure that the tenses are correct.For example, Karen says to Peter: "My job is very interesting." Peter then wants to report this conversation to Sarah a week later. He says: "Karen said that her job was interesting."
When you report a conversation, the tense changes:
"My job is very interesting" becomes: She said that her job was very interesting.

Tense changes

"I'm going swimming" --> She said she was going swimming.
"I haven't seen the film" --> She said she hadn't seen the film.
"I have been working all morning" --> She said she had been working all morning.
"I was working all week" --> She said she had been working all week.
"He went on holiday to Greece" --> She said he had gone on holiday to Greece.

Sentences that are already in the "had done" form remain the same:
"I hadn't seen him before" --> She said she hadn't seen him before.

Reporting modal verbs

Modal verbs also go back one tense.

Will becomes would.
For example: "I will see him later" --> She said she would see him later.
Can becomes could.
For example: "I can swim" --> She said she could swim.

May becomes might.
For example: "It may become colder over night" --> He said it might become colder over night.

Direct speech using would, could, might and should all stay the same in reported speech.
"You should speak more" --> He said I should speak more.

Reporting questions

When you report questions, the word order changes to look like a normal statement.
For example: "Can you help me?" --> She asked me if I could help her.
"What's the time?" --> He asked her what the time was.

Other changes

Time expressions also change in reported speech.
today --> that day
tomorrow --> the day after / the next day
yesterday --> the day before / the previous day
now --> then
next week --> the week after
last week --> the week before / the previous week

Other expressions that change:
here --> there

this --> that




Source : english-at-home



Using Few / Little in English

We use a few and a little to mean "not very much" or "not very many". Whether you use a few or a little depends on what type of noun you are describing.

For example, "A few people came to the party." We use a few with plural, countable nouns.

"There's a little coffee left, if you would like some." We use a little with uncountable nouns.

We can also use few and little (without "a") for a more negative meaning. For example, "there's little point in calling" (= there's not much point calling).

"Few people understand" (not many people understand), compared to "a few people understand" (some people understand).

In spoken English, we can also say not many, or only a few to mean "few" and "only a little" or "not much" to mean "little".

When we make comparisons, we use fewer for plural nouns and less for uncountable nouns.
For example, "There are fewer people here than last year" or "he drinks less coffee than I




Source : www.english-at-home.com




Friday, 4 July 2008

7 British/American Spellings

Some British English and American English words have the same meaning and pronunciation but different spellings.

Here are seven common groups. If you are not sure about a spelling, it's best to look it up in a British or American dictionary as appropriate.

1. ogue/og

BrE: analogue, catalogue, dialogue

AmE: analog, catalog, dialog


2. our/or

BrE: colour, favourite, honour

AmE: color, favorite, honor


3. ence/ense

Bre: defence, licence

AmE: defense, license


4. s/z

BrE: analyse, criticise, organisation (but z is also used)

AmE: analyze, criticize, organization


5. l/ll

BrE: enrolment, fulfil, skilful

AmE: enrollment, fulfill, skillful


6. re/er

BrE: centre, theatre, metre

AmE: center, theater, meter


7. miscellaneous

BrE: jewellery, programme, practise, pyjamas

AmE: jewelry, program, practice, pajamas


NB1: in BrE program is used when talking about computers

NB2: in BrE practise is a verb and practice is a noun



Source : englishclub




Thursday, 3 July 2008

An Adjective Describes...

  • a substantive:

- He met a pretty girl.

- Cuba is a beautiful island.

  • some verbs: to be, to get, to become, to turn, to grow (=werden)

-Be careful!

-I'm tired and I'm getting hungry.

-He grew angry.

-As the class went on, it became more and more boring.

  • to seem (=scheinen), to feel (anfühlen), look (aussehen), to taste (=schmecken), smell (riechen nach), sound (=klingen) à when these verbs tell us what something or somebody is like!!

-The dinner smells good.

-You look tired. - Well, I feel tired.

-The pullover feels soft.

-The tea tastes a bit strange.

-The new Tom Waits album sounds great. I have to go and buy it.

  • if we want to say how somebody does something we must use an adverb: (the -ly form):

  • describes a verb: she sings beautifully
  • describes an adjective: she is extremely pretty
  • describes an adverb: he runs extremely quickly
  • describes a participle: the children are badly taught

Exceptions and Irregularities:

  • good --> well
  • hard, late, near --> are both adjectives and adverbs
  • hardly (=kaum), nearly (=beinahe), lately (in letzter Zeit)
  • fast, straight, enough, daily, weekly, monthly, early --> adj. and adv. also have the same form
  • for adjective ending in -ly (e.g. friendly, silly) --> the adverb is formed with in a ...way (e.g. in a friendly way, in a silly way)
  • if you talk about health: to be + adv. (e.g. How are you? I'm well thanks).




Source : Grammar Tutorial