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Writing the perfect business email in English

To whom it may concern –

Sending an email in the modern era is more casual and convenient than it has ever been before. Making plans with friends and keeping in touch with loved ones from across the world is only a few button presses away. But there exists a clear line between personal and business emails, a line that needs to be defined.

Writing the perfect business email may seem like a daunting and frightful task, but fear not. Addressing official recipients does not require a pocket-sized thesaurus (although I’d imagine it would certainly help!). One of the most important considerations when sending emails that are more official in nature is the language used. Slang words, colloquialisms and inside-jokes should be avoided at all costs. A note of formality is something that should be foremost. Politeness is key!

email
Writing the perfect business email in English

Professionalism is something that transcends language. Ensure that mentality is reflected throughout any business email you may send. Address the recipient with their full name and title, ensure you have signed off with your full name and credentials. Be concise, informative. Do not beat around the bush, this email ought to have a clear and defined purpose. This ideal should be reflected in the basic outline of any formal email:

  1. Subject
  2. Greetings
  3. Main Text
  4. Signature

And of course, check thoroughly for any grammatical and spelling errors.

Tonally, it is important to remain neutral. Do not let the subject matter sway you, emotionally. Allowing that to seep into the language you use and the emails you send can be quite problematic. You could potentially come across as hot-headed and extremely unprofessional.

This sort of neutrality and formality is all indicative of the unspoken law of Corporate email. Personal emails have a completely different set of standards and etiquette. Would you speak to the Queen of England in the same way you would speak to a childhood friend?

Yours sincerely,

Sadun Chamira Perera, B.Eng

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A Message from the Founder

Hi, my name is Toni Parks, and I’m the founder of World’s English. I think I already know a little about you—let’s see if I’m right. First off, you want English lessons that are at your English level. The lessons should have topics important to your goals. They need to challenge you and keep your attention. You also want an English teacher who is experienced, compassionate, and a native English speaker—a teacher you feel comfortable with, should have a clear plan for exactly how to improve your English in the shortest time possible. You also need to have lessons at times that fit your busy schedule. Online lessons are best for you because you can study from anywhere.

Founder
Founder of World’s English



Does this sound like you? If so, I have great news—you’ve found what you’re looking for! World’s English is an online language school with specialized courses in business English, exam preparation, medical English [you can insert a list of the courses you’d like to highlight here.. can end with “and more” if not all of them are listed]. When you sign up for a course with us, you’ll take an exam to determine your English level. Then you’ll receive a detailed plan—called your Personal English Action Plan—that shows exactly what you need to work on to improve your English. In your lessons, your teacher will use the plan to teach you exactly what you need most–so you’ll see real improvement from every lesson. I customized the Lessons what you need. If you need to progress very quickly, your teacher will assign homework so you can practice what you learn outside of class. If you don’t want homework, that’s okay too. At World’s English, we believe your English course should fit your needs.

I love helping people improve their English because I know it can make such a difference in their lives. It can open doors to better educational opportunities, higher paying jobs, and more confidence in English-speaking settings. As a World’s English student, you’ll have our 100% support in reaching your goals. We believe in you and want you to succeed!

So, this is my personal invitation to you—don’t wait to make this commitment to yourself. If your English is holding you back, sign up for a World’s English course today and let’s get started! See you in a lesson!

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Tip #4 : Identify and Strengthen Your Weakest Skill

The IELTS test is comprised of four parts: listening, reading, writing, and speaking. Each of these parts represents a language skill. Your overall IELTS score is the average of your scores on the four parts of the test, so if you receive a low score on one part, it will lower your overall score. Many people feel that some of their English skills are weaker than others. For example, a student might feel like she can read and write English well, but she is nervous about speaking and listening. If you feel that one or two of your English skills are behind the others, this tip is for you!

For your first step, take a practice IELTS exam and note the part of the test that you score the lowest on. Don’t assume that you know the part you will score the lowest on without taking a practice test. Your scores may surprise you! If you notice that your scores on one or two parts are significantly lower than the others, and you agree that you generally struggle with those skills the most, you will likely benefit from focusing on those skills as you prepare.

How do you focus on a specific skill? The most important thing to remember is that in order to improve a skill, you have to practice it! Although it seems simple, many people don’t realize that they aren’t practicing English in a way that will improve their weaker skills. For example, if you need to improve your speaking skills, you must speak English. Reading or writing English will only help your ability to speak a small amount, and it likely won’t be enough to improve your score on the IETLS test. Or, if you need to improve your writing, then you need to write; speaking and listening will not be the best way to prepare.

Often, weak skills are weak for a particular reason that is related to a student’s environment or background in English. For example, if you are strong in speaking but weak in writing, maybe it is because you use English for work conversations, but you have never studied it in school. If you are strong in reading but weak in listening, maybe it is because you read English in school but never had many conversations with native speakers. So in order to practice your weak skills, you may need to change your environment or routines a little. Here are some suggestions of changes you can make to practice each language skill:

Skill
Listening Skill
  • Listen to the news in English online instead of in your native language
  • Find in-person or online English conversation partners and practice listening to and responding to them regularly. Prepare questions to ask them so that you can listen to their answers. Don’t be afraid to say that you don’t understand and that you’d like your partner to repeat what they said.
  • Watch films in English. First, you may want to watch movies with English subtitles. Then, repeat the movie and turn the subtitles off.
Reading Skill
  • Start a habit of reading something in English every day. Especially if you don’t enjoy reading in English, find a topic to read that is interesting to you so that you are motivated to read every day.
  • Choose things to read that are at your reading level. There should be about 1-3 words per paragraph that you don’t understand. If you are reading something with many words you don’t know, you’ll have to start reading and start looking up works. Then you will be studying vocabulary instead of practicing reading!
Writing Skill
  • Find someone that you can regularly write to in English. Maybe it is another English student like you; this can be great practice for both of you! Decide together whether you will text, write e-mails, or write paper letters, and discuss how often you will communicate.
  • Keep a daily written journal in English.
Speaking Skill
  • Find in-person or online English conversation partner sand practice speaking with them regularly. If your speaking skills are weak, explain carefully (maybe in writing) that you need to practice speaking English. Ask your conversation partner to be patient and allow you to think if you need time before you speak. Be honest with your partner if you feel you are not getting enough time to practice speaking during the conversation.
  • Keep a daily audio journal in English. Record yourself speaking about your day, your feelings—anything that you would like to record and remember!

You might think that it would be great to practice all of the skills, and so you want to use all of the suggestions. Remember, though, that being consistent is key. Most people can’t start many new habits at once and continue doing all of them. For most people, it is better to pick just one or two suggestions for the skills that need the most improvement and start implementing them consistently. Then, when these suggestions are part of your normal routine, you can add others. As you continue, you’ll feel more confident and more well-rounded in your English abilities!

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Tip #3 Study Vocabulary

Grammar is like an engine, and vocabulary is the fuel for your engine. If you can use past perfect progressive and passive voice like a pro, you have a powerful engine. But if you don’t have enough vocabulary “fuel,” your powerful engine of grammar skills still won’t take you anywhere! This article covers what vocabulary you should study for the IELTS as well as how to study it.

What Vocabulary to Study

First, something that can’t be stressed enough—the vocabulary you study should depend on the type of IELTS test you are taking. Why? Because the IELTS General Training test and the IELTS Academic test have different reading and writing sections. These sections will have different types of vocabulary. If you’re studying for the IETLS General Training test, you should be studying general high frequency words. If you’re studying for the IETLS Academic test, you should be studying academic high frequency words.

vocabulary

What are high frequency words? Simply put, high frequency words are the words that people use the most. General high frequency words are words that are most commonly used in English as a whole. Academic high frequency academic words are most commonly used words in academic settings—for example, in scholarly articles or in interactions between professors and students.

How do you know what words are “high frequency” words? Luckily, you don’t have to figure it out yourself! Linguists have spent much time developing high frequency words lists based on careful research. If you are studying for the IETLS General Training test, you might try studying the New General Service List. If you are studying for the IETLS Academic test, you’ll find the New Academic Word List more helpful.

You might wonder why you just shouldn’t study any words that you don’t know. After all, it’s always good to study new words, right? While that may be true, to study for the IELTS, some words will be much more useful than others. You likely have limited time before you will take the test. These vocabulary lists will help you study the words that you’re most likely to see, hear, read, and want to say on the IELTS—maximizing your time spent studying vocabulary.

How to Study Vocabulary

Study vocabulary every day. Even if it’s just a few minutes, some study every day will be better than several hours once a week. Most people need a lot of repetition of new words. You will get the repetition you need only by reviewing vocabulary daily.

To use repetition to your best advantage, practice “spaced repetition.” To do this, study the same words several times, but always increase the time between study sessions with those words. For example, say you study seven words one day. The next day, study those same seven words again. After that, study those words again in two days, then in four days, then in a week, in two weeks, in a month, etc. During the days that you don’t study those seven words, introduce new words that you will also repeat with spaced repetition. This will mean that you have different groups of words following different study schedules. Make a system for yourself so that you can keep track of what group of words you should study each day and when you should study each group again.

You can practice spaced repetition with vocabulary using paper lists or paper flashcards, but you can also use technology to help you. For example, Anki is a program that allows you to create or download electronic flashcards. This program can automatically regulate spaced repetition so that you don’t have to keep track of what words you need to study each day.

Don’t let vocabulary hold you back from getting your ideal score on the IELTS. Commit to studying vocabulary every day, and look for opportunities to use the vocabulary you learn when speaking and writing in English. To improve your spoken vocabulary, you can ask English-speaking friends to tell you when you use a word incorrectly. However, because English speakers don’t always feel comfortable pointing out mistakes, you may want to consider working with an English teacher who has been trained to help you fix vocabulary errors.

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Tip #2: Set a Realistic Timeframe for Your Preparation

Many students ask how long it will take to prepare for the IELTS test. Some students hope that they can do well on the test with only a few weeks of study—and some can! For others, studying will take much longer. It’s important to have realistic expectations about the preparation you will need. How much time you will need to prepare depends on two major factors:

1. The scores you hope to achieve and

2. The scores you can achieve now without studying.

The scores you hope to achieve are likely determined by your reason for taking the IELTS. For example, if you’re interested in applying to an undergraduate program at the University of Toronto, you’d need an overall band score of 6.5 with no band below 6.0 in order to be admitted. To apply for a Tier 2 (General) visa to the UK, you’d need at least a 4.0 in each of the four bands. You will need to research the requirements for the school, country, or program you are interested in to determine the score you’ll need. Find out these requirements as soon as possible—you need to know what you’re aiming for!

Then, to determine the score you can achieve now without studying, find and take a practice IELTS test. There are two types of IELTS tests: the Academic IELTS and the General Training IELTS. The two types have different reading and writing sections. So it’s important to find a practice test with reading and writing sections for the type of IETLS . The British Council offers high-quality, free practice test materials for both types here.

When you take the practice test, imagine that it is the real IELTS. Read the instructions carefully, do not use any dictionaries or other materials, and do not allow yourself extra time. Your goal is to make the practice test as similar as possible to the real test. If you spend extra time answering questions or allow yourself to look up words on the practice test, your scores will not reflect your true ability. Be honest with yourself so that you can get a clear picture of how much you will need to study.

Preparation

Once you know the scores you need to achieve and the scores you can achieve now, you’ll have a better idea of how long you should plan to do preparation before taking the test. If your practice test score is only one band below the score you’ll need, you may only need to study for a month or two. If your score is more than one band below what you’ll need, you will probably need to plan a longer time for studying—likely at least a few months, and maybe longer. How much time you will need also depends on how much time you can study each day. How consistently you study, and whether you study in a test preparation course with an instructor to provide feedback.

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3 Ways to Practice English in Everyday Life

The best English speakers practice their language every day, in a variety of ways. The same is true for a native speaker of any language! The best way to reinforce your knowledge is to diversify the ways you practice the language with your body: through speaking and writing. Applying both your mouth and your hands in the learning process will make you remember!

⦁ Make an effort to memorize the names of common household or personal objects, like your watch, your keys, your attire, or your hairbrush. When using these objects, speak them out loud. Just say them to yourself or say it to someone close to you: “This is a toothbrush!” or “These are my pants!” or “This is my watch!”, and use them in different contexts. Be silly, have fun, enjoy the experience of learning, it’s a fantastic journey. Click this link for some help in pronunciations.

0. Learn the phrases you are likely to use in your language in English. People commonly greet each other, or use an exclamation when they make a mistake, or give instructions for dinner, or perhaps they use the same phrases at the grocery store’s cashier. Thus, we recommend using those phrases in English instead of your own language, even if people give you strange stares. You are learning, it takes effort, and you need to look silly before you can look professional! Click here for help with learning the correct phraseology and grammar for every-day phrases, and to also learn some new ones! Even if you get it wrong, the point is that you are trying! That in itself is a success already.

  1. Something that will help you memorize vocabulary is learning homonyms. Write these down for yourself in a notebook. A homonym can be either a homophone or a homograph. Homographs are spelled the same way, and sound the same way, but have different meanings. Homophones sound the same but are spelled differently. Take the word: “‘watch” for example. The verb ‘to watch’ means to look at something, but the noun ‘watch’ can be used to describe a clock worn on the wrist – it is a homograph! An example of a homophone would be ‘week’ or ‘weak’. One describes a measurement of time, the other describes a physical attribute. Can you think of other examples, maybe words like ‘sun’ or ‘son’? ‘Address’ and ‘address’?

These are interesting little ways to help you become familiar with the intricacies and confusing aspects of the English language. Try each step in your everyday life and never be shy to look for help online, there are many resources out there to help you, and we are one of them!
⦁ By Thomas Marais

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“ Gotta Catch ‘Em All!” How The English language acquired its vocabulary. – by Bethany Hall

“ Gotta Catch ‘Em All!” History of how The English language acquired its vocabulary.

-Is it correct to use the Japanese word Pokemon in an English sentence?

Although many people like to be posh about their English, the language is actually made up of many different sources. In history, way back in 450 AD, Germanic tribes, the Angles, the Saxons and the Jutes flooded into England. They gave us some everyday words such as “house” and “loaf”.

In 597 AD, the Romans entered the scene and brought with them Christianity as well as words such as “bishop” and “font”.

In 800 AD, things were really shaken up when the Vikings barged into England. They brought with them some rather violent words such as “ransack” and “die”.

Much to the British Isle’s dismay, William the Conqueror and his Normans arrived on England’s shores in 1026 AD.  His reign brought along words like “judge” and “jury”. The Normans gave us about 10 000 new words as well as a 100 Year War. That led to the English rising to power in England.

 

What about literature?

Thanks to William Shakespeare, English literature’s most beloved writer, the English language has 2000 more words by the year 1616 such as “puppy dog” and the more ominous, “besmirch”.

Again, Literature revolutionized the language with the first edition of the King James Bible published in 1611; making English accessible in the written and spoken form to everyone.

 

And Science?

In the 17th-century scientific terms were added to English. Words such as “acid” and “gravity” helped the common man grasp scientific notions and better understand the workings of the universe.

Armed with science, religion, and literature, the English language ventured to the ends of the earth. In the Caribbean words such as “barbecue” and “canoe” were adopted In India, “yoga” and “bungalow” were added to the English lexicon. English adopted some rather spooky words from Africa such “voodoo” and “Zombie” and some more tame words from Australia such as “boomerang” and “walkabout”.

The inclusion of these foreign words causes some confusion. Thus in 1857, the first Oxford Dictionary was published and has regularly been updated ever since.

 

Yeah but some words are fake!

So now, back to our question; is it correct to use the word Pokemon in English? Well, based on the evidence above, the answer is a resounding yes! English has a history of adopting foreign words (literally) and incorporating them into mainstream English. So fear not Pokemon goers! Even when chasing Venusaur, you are upholding the proud traditions of the complicated language that is English.

 

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Improve your English to the next level in just 6 months with your PERSONAL ENGLISH ACTION PLAN!

Improve your English to the next level in just 6 months with your PERSONAL ENGLISH ACTION PLAN!

First, start by requesting a level test today.

Your PEAP will come to you in your email.

Next, complete the level test.

Then, after that, you will complete your FREE Consultation lesson.

Finally, you will receive your PEAP.  It will look something like this:

 

On the level test you will answer grammar questions at each level A1-B2. Ultimately, your combined answers will determine your level.

Additionally, you will have the opportunity to test your level in reading, writing, listening, and speaking. This will assure that we have a full and clear picture of your abilities.


At World’s English we offer English language training for professionals and executives, whether you have basic, intermediate or advanced level English skills. We offer one-on-one tutoring or small group online courses. Essentially, our lessons will help you and your colleagues achieve the specialized English communication abilities that are needed to succeed in today’s business world.

First, start with a level test and  free consultation lesson today. Then, receive a plan (PEAP) that will contain valuable information like this.

 

Finally, climb the steps on your PEAP to the next level…

 

 

Complete the steps in your PEAP and qualify for another free level test to see how you did studying. Your second level test is our report card as much as it is yours. At World’s English we want you to be successful so we design lessons that will help you to learn and retain English language skills very quickly.

Start today by requesting your level test here.

Your Success is OUR success!!

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Pokemon and other made up words -by Bethany Hall

Pokemon and other made up words

 

Pokemon Go hit the world like a tidal wave and brought with it a host of new expressions and words that we have never used in quite this way before. But how does this fit into what we already know about English? Can we just make-up and add words as we wish? Can we add to the meaning of words?

Image result for pokemon photo credit: pokemon.com

Neologisms are made up or newly coined words or phrases. Shakespeare was the king of neologisms making up about 2000 new words that are now commonplace in the English language. Nowadays, neologisms usually occur with regards to technology and new inventions, e.g. “Facebook” and “What’sApp”. These new additions are usually made up of two words, face and book, to make up a new word. Much like in the case of Pokemon which is made up of two Japanese words, “Poketto” and “M”nsut”, translated to “pocket monster” in English.

Image result for neologisms

One of Shakespeare’s great neologisms is the phrase, “all that glitters isn’t gold” which means that everything that appears to be valuable may not be. This has become a well-known idiom used in spoken and written English. Pokemon Go is a phrase that I suspect will soon be almost as well-known as Shakespeare’s own words.

Another phenomenon that Pokemon Go has introduced us to is semantic progression. This is when the definition of a word grows to include the new meaning. For example, a short while ago “candy” only meant “a sweet, sugary treat”. Now, with the introduction of Pokemon Go, “candy” can also mean, “a substance that is used to evolve and strengthen Pokémon”.

Image result for candy pokemonPhoto credit: sizzle.com

 

Although it essential that we follow the grammatical rules of a language, it is also important that we remember that language is fluid and living. We must always allow room for new ideas and words. There might just be another Shakespeare in our midst.

 

If you would like to have an English lesson with Bethany or any of our other Native English speaking teachers please visit World’s English Academy (click here).

 

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The best TED talk ever!: 3 most important aspects of public speaking

LISTENERS’ PERCEPTION : IS IT WHAT YOU WANT IT TO BE?

Why do we study English? Why do we work hard to perfect any language? You’ve spent a few years learning English and you are perfectly able to communicate what you want to convey in English, yet you keep studying. Why?

You practice your presentation skills over and over again. Why?

Of course, simply, it is because we want to look and sound intelligent. We want people to believe us. We want credibility. How can others believe that we know what we are talking about if we can’t make our point clearly in English?

Well, today I am here to tell you there’s more to it than that. Yes, being fluent in the language you are presenting in is very important, but so are tone, body language, and perception.

With the right tone we can project confidence, happiness, sadness, importance, humor and so much more. Try smiling when you talk on the phone, versus frowning. You automatically sound happier just because you are smiling. Try laughing or speaking in a happy tone while slumped over with a depressed stature. It is difficult isn’t it? Our bodies naturally adjust our stance to our moods.

Just as important is our projected body language. If a man tells you a joke with his body slumped over and while looking at the floor is it easy to get his humor? Not so much.It’s just not natural. It seems funnier if the he is perky, smiling, looking outward. Have you ever watched mimes? They can display humor without a word; solely on body language.

The perception of the listener/watcher is important too. As presenters we have every ability to influence the perceptions of others. Creating the desired perception is a foremost important aspect of public speaking.

The TED talk to follow is really about nothing, but you will see how the speaker uses body language and the influence of perception to deliver the message he intends.

I hope you enjoy this as much as I did…

 

See what I mean?!

Were you bored while listening to the talk? What was it about? Nothing, right? But it really was about something. It was a demonstration about how you can use your body language and so much more to influence the perception of your listener.

Now, are you ready to practice your public speaking? Book a business English lesson today and ask to work on your presentation skills. Alternately, maybe you’d like to try some of our TED talk lessons or TED Business English lessons, which are very popular with our students. Either way, we hope you’ll be joining us soon.

By the way, those lessons are recommended for those with at least an intermediate level. If you’d like to check your level by requesting a free World’s English level test, message us today and we will get one out to your email right away. Best of all, if you are new to World’s English your first lesson is FREE!