Aiton English

Learning Languages for Life

Month: November 2017

Ru-En translation problem : Отказаться от

Have a go at translating the following without assistance, then check the internet to find options. There may be more than one (ortwo, or three) option for each. If so, what is the difference between the options

  1. отказаться от приглашения
  2. вам придётся отказаться от мысли увидеться с ним
  3. он полностью отказался от своих слов
  4. отказаться от всех претензий
  5. отказаться от выполнения договора
  6. отказаться от иска
  7. отказаться от комментариев
  8. отказаться от обещания
  9. отказаться от показаний
  10. отказаться от предложения x2
  11. отказаться от права на помощь адвоката

 

Speaking Grammar: Show you have experience

Being a teacher of English, I can say that I know a lot about grammar. And, having taught English for 15 years, I know 100% for sure that different people can use different structures when giving presentations. As someone who has seen hundreds of presentations, I’m convinced that this is connected with the fact that some people, when giving a presentation, need to use grammar structures to prove they have experience / have knoweldge. Other people do not.

For example, I used three in this text:

Being a teacher of English, I can say that….

Having taught English for 15 years, I know 100% for sure that

As someone who has seen hundreds of presentations, I’m convinced that

I used these expressions to show you, the reader, that you should listen to me because I have experience  / knowledge about this. If you do not know me, you may not think my opinion about a topic is important. So I use the above structures.

However, if you know about me, then I may not need to use these structures to show you should trust me. You already know and trust me.

 

For example, if Bill Gates gives a speech about the computer industry

 

 

does he need to say:

“Being the founder of Microsoft, I know that it takes a lot of time to create an international company.”

The answer is .. not really. He might say it, but most people know who Bill Gates is, and what he has done, so he can just say…

“I know that it takes a lot of time to create an international company.”

and we will accept this.

 

However, if you do not know the experience level of the person, then using the structures like “Being a …., ” / “Having …… ” / “As a…” can help. For example;

“Being a mother of 6 children, I know that it can be difficult to raise a child.”  = greater expert than just “I know that it can be difficult to raise a child.”

To improve your ability to use these structures when speaking:

Step 1

Click on the link here to read more examples

Step 2

 

Fill in the last column of the table yourself and send it to your teacher for correction

Step 3

Make a video / recording in which you ask yourself some questions, and then answer the questions using the structures.

Some example questions are:

What advice would you give to someone who… (wants to get a better job, wants to choose a university, has difficulty eating well, wants their children to play the computer less…)

How important …(are subjects like history, are universities when it comes to getting a good job, are zoos for educating children about animals, is it for the government to improve public transport)

What are the advantages and disadvantages of  .. (traveling overseas on holiday, playing team sports, living in a cold climate, having brothers and sisters, working in a small company)

 

 

 

 

Speaking Grammar: Show you’re sad about your life with “wish”

Follow the steps on this page to learn how to improve:

  • grammar range by using the grammar structure “wish + II” to show you’re sad about your life now
  • grammar range even more by using II conditional after it
  • vocab range by using “really” and “kind of”
  • pronunciation by pronouncing the structure well to reflect the meaning.

Step 1

watch the video

 

 

 

Step 2

if you need more examples, scroll down for further explanations in the “notes” section, if not, click on the link here, fill in the table, and send it to your teacher.

 

Step 3

when your teacher has checked that your sentences are correct, make a video of yourself practicing them and send the video to your teacher. When you make the video, focus on pronunciation. “really” should be stressed,  “kind of” should be said to show that it’s not that important.

 

and that’s it. Keep reading for further practice

 

 

Step 4

watch the video, and practice reporting. Note “she wishES

 

 

 

 

Step 5 (if you have anki)

Download the anki deck for more practice from here

 

Notes:

 

the following sentences are from my life at the moment. They are real situations….

1 – I don’t have time to practice the guitar

2 – I sometimes smoke cigarettes

3 – I am tired

4 – I don’t know Chinese 100%

5 – I have to travel a lot

6 – I spend too much time reading the newspaper

If I’m talking with another person, and I want to tell them that

a – I have this situation

b – I am sad / unhappy about it

I can say….

I don’t have time to practice the guitar, and I’m unhappy about it.

OR

I wish I had time to practice the guitar.

If I say… “I wish I didn’t smoke cigarettes” this is the same as saying “I smoke cigarettes and I’m sad / unhappy about it.”

So, the function of “I wish I…” = to tell the other person that you are sad / unhappy about a situation at the moment. You do this by ‘imagining’ a better ‘unreal’ situation. You want to go away from your ‘sad’ / ‘unhappy’ real situation into an ‘unreal one’. Please note, because you’re imagining an unreal situation, use the II (2nd) form of the verb (go = I, went = II , gone = III)

e.g.

I am tired and I’m sad about this = I wish I wasn’t tired

am – wasn’t (we use ‘not’ because we are imagining the opposite situation)

I don’t know Chinese 100% and I’m unhappy about this = I wish I knew Chinese 100%

don’t know – knew (we don’t use ‘don’t’ because we are imagining the opposite ‘unreal’ situation. The real situation that makes me unhappy is ‘I don’t know Chinese’, so the imaginary / unreal ‘happier’ situation is ‘I knew’)

Note – The II (2nd) form here does not talk about the past!!! I wish I knew Chinese 100% NOW.

We can use the II form like “went, did, played, knew” for different functions.

One function is to talk about the past “When I was young I knew mathematics well.” Students learn this function first, so they often think automatically that ‘knew’ is past simple or past indefininite, but…..

Another function is to imagine an unreal present / future “If I knew mathematics now, I could help my child with her homework / I wish I knew mathematics now so I could help my child now.”

– there are more functions of II but I will not

So, the last two

“I wish I didn’t have to travel a lot” = “I have to travel a lot and I’m sad”

“I wish I didn’t spend too much time reading the newspaper” = “I spend a lot of time reading the newspaper and I’m sad about that.”

Look at the following sentences. In which ones do you know 100% how I feel about the situation? Put ‘not sure’ if it’s not clear if I’m unhappy / sad or maybe happy. Put if it is clear that I am sad / unhappy about the situation.

e.g.

a – I can’t speak French. = not sure (how I feel)

This is a fact, but you can’t say if I am unhappy or not. E.g. I can say “I can’t speak French, and this is not a problem because I don’t like it.”

b – I wish I could speak French. =

This tells you that my real situation is “I can’t speak French, and I am unhappy about it.”

1 – I don’t go to the gym much.

2 – I have a class today.

3 – I wish I didn’t have class today.

4 – I wish I knew English better.

5 – I don’t know English well enough and I’m sad about it.

6 – I play the computer 5 hours a day.

1 = ? 2 = ? 3 = 4 = 5 = 6 = ?

Look at the following pictures. The people use ‘I wish I…..’ to tell you about a situation in their life that they are sad / unhappy about. What are the situations?

1 –

The situation = I don’t know and I’m sad / unhappy about this = I wish I knew

2 –

The situation = I don’t work there and I’m unhappy / sad = I wish I worked there

3 –

the sad / unhappy situation = ?

4 –

sad / unhappy situation =

5 –

sad / unhappy situation =

6 –

sad / unhappy situation =

3 = I’m not with Michelle / 4 = I can’t kill my parents / 5 = I can’t forget you / 6 = I can’t hate you / 7 = I can’t give you a hug.

Notes on the notes:

1 – As you can see, it’s typical for us to use this function with ‘I can’t – I wish I could’. This is because “I can’t….” is often something that is sad for us

2 – if the real situation is connected with ‘not much’ / ‘not well’ / too we often use ‘more’ / ‘better’ / so with the ‘I wish…’

e.g. I don’t see you much and I’m sad about this = I wish I saw you more (‘a lot’ is also possible)

I don’t speak well = I wish I spoke better. (‘well’ is also possible)

I smoke too much = I wish I didn’t smoke so much

3 – I wish I IS NOT “I want”. If you want a cup of coffee, say “I want / would like to have a cup of coffee.”If you say “I wish I had a cup of coffee.” it is like saying “I am sad / unhappy that I don’t have a cup of coffee

4 – don’t use it to talk about a future situation ‘will’. For example

“Tomorrow I’ll work a lot and I’m unhappy about this.” We can’t say “I wish I won’t / wouldn’t work tomorrow”.

If you are talking about the future but using a present verb and NOT ‘will’, e.g. ‘am’, you can use ‘wish’

e.g. “I am working tomorrow and I’m sad about this.” = “I wish I wasn’t working tomorrow.” (note that ‘working’ doesn’t change)

“I am going to a boring party tonight, it’s annoying.” = “I wish I wasn’t going to a boring party tonight.”

5 – we can use a structure “I wish to do”, but it has a different function. “I wish to go” = “I want to go”. It doesn’t say that you’re sad / talk about your feelings, it just says that you ‘want’. This structure for ‘wan’t’ is formal, so use it in business letters, not when having a conversation. You can see more examples here .

6 – don’t forget the second ‘I’. A typical mistake is…. “I wish wasn’t tired”

7 – don’t use ‘would’ with “I wish I…”. A typical mistake is “I wish I wouldn’t be tired”

 

Further Practice:

Practice using the function ‘I wish I..’ to tell someone about a sad / unhappy situation at the moment in the following sentences

I can’t be with you and I’m sad about this = I wish I …..

I wish I could be with you

I don’t help you more and I’m sad about this = I wish..

I wish I helped you more

I don’t have a good relationship with my boss = I wish….

I wish I had a good …..

I play the computer 5 hours a day, it’s bad. = I wish I

I wish I didn’t play the computer 5 hours a day

I have to go to work tomorrow. Grrrrrr. = I wish..

I wish I didn’t have to go to work tomorrow.

I’m tired = I wish …

I wish I wasn’t tired

I have class today, and I don’t want to go. = I wish …

I wish I didn’t have class today

I’m going to the doctor today, I’m unhappy about this = I wish ..

I wish I wasn’t going to the doctor today

I drink too much alcohol. It’s very sad. = I wish I…

I wish I didn’t drink alcohol so much (or – I wish I didn’t drink alcohol)

I can’t cook well, it’s a problem. = I wish…

I wish I could cook well

Exam Speaking: Talking about the future

In the IELTS /  Cambridge exams there is a 100% chance you will be asked a question about the future, most likely more than one. In the TOEFL it’s also reasonable to believe that you will be asked a question about the future.

A lot of canditates when talking about the future use “maybe” and “probably”, but it is a good chance to improve your range of both vocabulary and grammar.

First, watch an example of a student activating a range of structures. What structures can you hear?

 

 

Second, below are a series of questions about the future. Use the attached sheet here to improve your range of grammar and vocab when answering the questions.

If you want, make a link to a video you have done and post the link in the comments, I will have a look and give you feedback.

 

 

Personal Questions (IELTS part 1, CAE / CPE part 1)

Ask and answer the following questions……………

What will you be doing in 3/5/10 / 25 years’ time?

Where will you be living in 3/5/10 / 25 years’ time?

How many children / grandchildren will you have in 3/5/10 / 25 years’ time?

Will you do / be the following more or less in the future?……………………………………

e.g. “Will you read more or less in the future?” / “Will you be happier in the future?”

read / do dangerous things / dance / draw / donate money / write / trust people / watch movies / use technology / make presents by hand / look in the mirror / use public transport / drive a car / fly / use a phone / exercise / eat / go to concerts / travel / work / visit zoos / spend time with friends/ go to restaurants / visit libraries / sleep / go shopping / use electricity / go to cafes / study English / use English / read or watch the news / use paper / make speeches or presentations / go to parks / do gardening / use a computer / write sms’s / wake up early / play with children / lie on the beach / help elderly people / spend time in crowded places / sit in traffic jams / be happier / energetic / take photos / be late

 

General Questions (IELTS part 1, CAE / CPE part 1)

To make the questions suitable for Part 3 of the IELTS / CPE / CAE, just use  “Do you think people will …. more or less in the future?”

e.g. “Do you think people will read more or less in the future?”

“Do you think people will dance more or less in the future?

 

Python for linguists: beginner course + NLTK

If you’re interested in analysing how words are used in different contexts, or which words are more popular than others, analysing corporas, or just want to process people’s twitter / social media accounts to see who /what they’re positive about and what they don’t like so much, then python language programming can help.

And it’s easier than you think .

you can either search the internet for advice  / videos on

“how to use python to….”

and generally end up watching some videos to learn. Just two points:

1 – make sure you actually do yourself on your computer what you see in the video  (or read)

2 – as you “do” on your computer, play with what you’re doing, change it, experiment, have fun.

for learning about analysing language use, you can do the above, or follow the outline given below..

 

About the outline below, when followng it I recommend flexibility, i.e.

  • skip stuff that’s boring
  • look up more videos / articles for stuff that is difficult / more interesting
  • skip stuff that is still difficult after the previous advice
  • don’t be afraid at any moment to brach out into doing other things in python. THe stuff you learn will help with Natural Language Processing
  • definitely watch videos of stuff with python for doing anything so you raise your awareness of capabilities (in tihs case it miught be a good idea not to worry about actually doing what you see, just watch and pick pu general ideas even if you’re not sure about everything that is going on)
  • do stuff regularly, in smaller chunks
  • play and tweak…

 

 

Step 1: (if you’re new to python)

learn the basics of python.: good place to start is this free online course

NOTE: if you EVER have a problem, and the program tells you something is wrong, copy the message the program gives you, put it into a search engine, and you will find links to a GREAT tutoring forum

https://stackoverflow.com/

 

Step 2: NLTK  – Natural Language Toolkit

look into NLTK, a toolkit that helps analyse language:

a – watch videos 3,4,5,6 (click here)

NOTE: the book for NLTK is available online for free. Before, during or as you do step 2 a, you may like to read the first three chapters of the book (here)

b – then watch the series here  (ignore the fact that the guy is working from the “black and white” command line, you can do the same things in a Python IDLE)

c-  Do the course here (skipping stuff covered in the previous course)

At all times, any time you hav a question, pop it into a search engine to learn. There’s a lot of help for programming out there

 

after that look into regular expressions with python, scraping, plotting and other great stuff!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Active Grammar: Criticising yourself and others (past actions)

If you’re not happy about something that happened in the past and want to criticise yourself or another person, you can use…

 

subject + should + have + III

First, watch the video:

 

 

 

 

Now, read through written examples and watch the student video:

 

 

 

Note, ALL OF THE SENTENCES BELOW ARE ABOUT SITUATIONS THAT HAPPENED IN THE….

PAST

 

not about situations happening now or that might happen in the future

 

e.g. You can criticise yourself or your friends

I should have started learning English earlier. =Real situtaion: I didn‘t start English earlier and now I’m not happy about the fact and I want to criticize myself for this.

You should have told me earlier. =Real situtaion:you didn’t tell me earlier, I’m not happy about the fact that and now I’m criticizing you for this.

 

If you’re not happy with what your government / president did / did not do IN THE PAST, you can use this to critcize them…

The president shouldn’t have wasted so much money on useless roads last year. = I’m not happy that the president wasted money on the roads last year and I want to criticise him / her for this.

The government should have invested more money into education over the last ten years. =  I’m not happy that the government did NOT invest more money into education over the past ten years  and I want to criticiseit for this.

 

You can also criticise your parents for what they did  / didn’t do for you when you were younger:

My parents should have helped me more when I was younger.  = My parents did not help me enough and I want to criticise them

 

LINGUISTIC CHOICE:

You can improve your linguistic choice in this situation by making the criticism stronger or weaker.  In exams like IELTS  / TOEFL this will help improve your pronunciation and range scores

I really should have studied more for the exam. = strong criticism that I didn’t

I should have studied for the exam. = standard criticism

I probably should have studied for the exam.=  soft criticism

 

Analysize another student:

Listen to the student criticise herself for things she did  / didn’t do in the past using “really should have” and “possibly should have”. Does she

sound MORE critical when she uses “really should have” than when she uses “probably should have”

pronounce “have” as “ev” and fully join it to “should” or “shouldn’t” to produce “SHOULDev” or “SHOULDN’tev” (or is “ev” pronounced separately?)

 

 

 

 

GRAMMAR +

After criticising yourself or someone else about the past, you can imagine the alternative situation. This helps emphasise your point to the listener  /reader of HOW BAD THIS SITUATION WAS / IS!!! The structure for imagining about the past = if + subject + had(n’t) + III, subject + would (n’t) + have + III

e.g. Compare the three situations below. All are fine, but which shows the worst / saddest result…

  1. I really should have studied for the exam! I had studied more intensively, I would not have failed my exam.
  2. I really should have studied for the exam! I had studied more intensively, I would not have failed my exam.and my parents wouldn’t have taken away my car.
  3. I really should have studied for the exam! I had studied more intensively, I would not have failed my exam and I would not have lost my wife and house and wouldn’t be living on the streets now.

 

It’s probably 3.

EXAM TIP

in exams, some students use 3rd conditional mechanically. If you want to sound more natural…..

 

a –  avoid repeating the same thing

e.g.:

I should have studied more for the exam. If I had studied more for the exam…. =  repeating / saying the same thing= mechanical

I should have studied more for the exam. If I had been more studious …………. = not repeating = more natural

you can use “If I had(n’t) done so, ……”  if you can’t think of how to say the same thing a different way

e.g.

I should have studied more for the exam. If I had done so, I would have passed and I ……

 

b – use the “really” or “probably” with good intonation to show feeling, and make “have” “ev” and join to “should”

“I REEEEAAAALLLY should-ev studied” with annoyed intonation

“I proooooobably” should-ev studied” with “maybe” intonation

 

c – if the result of the imagined situation is now, then use the “would” half of the conditional in the 2nd conditional form.

e.g.

I would not have failed my exam (before) and I would still be able to drive  my car (now).

 

 

FINALLY, MAKE A VIDEO YOURSELF! If you want, put a link to your video in the comments and I’ll ive you feedback

 

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