Tips on writing and replies replies replies
Hi everyone –
Just before I get started with some individual replies, I thought I’d give you all a few tips on improving your writing, because quite a few readers have asked about that. I suggest that you read as much as possible – sounds a little strange but by reading you start to notice the way other people put their sentences and paragraphs together and this will help you to do this in a similar way.
Also, try leaving what you have written for a few hours or better still, overnight and then coming back to it. It’s always easier to find and correct errors when you’ve had a break from what you’ve written. This is true for whole essays, single paragraphs or even sentences for a piece of homework!
Lastly, try not to worry too much about making mistakes – that’s all part of the learning process. Concentrate on getting your ideas across and making sure that what you are saying is clear. Don’t try and write long complicated sentences – keep them short and simple and then the chance of making mistakes is smaller.
Okay – now for some individual attention! :-)
Sevinc - hi there, I hope you saw my answer to your interesting question in the 'Formal or informal?' post. Well done on the prepositions homework - almost all right!
Antonio - welcome back! My brother and his family live in Northern Ireland, just outside Belfast. I've only been once - it's quite an interesting place!
Silwal - hmm... you've asked an interesting question. I'm not sure what a single family is, although we sometimes refer to a 'single-parent' family: that's when there's just one parent (usually because the parents are divorced or never married). I think this is much more common in the UK than in Nepal or India! A nuclear family is one where just the parents and young children live together. You can also call your parents or your husband/wife and children your 'immediate' family. This is the most common situation in the UK. As I understand it, a joint family is when parents live with their older children who are married and have their own families. It's usually the sons you stay with their parents in India, while the daughters go and live in their husband's family. 'Extended family' refers to relatives like uncles, aunts and cousins as well as the immediate family. Hope this answers your query! Thanks for your input on the TOEFL test too. You might like to read Paulraj's comment about the joint family system, too.
Ana Paula - thanks for your kind comments! At the time that photo was taken i was nine months pregnant and getting quite fed up! I imagine it will be similar this time. It's fun being pregnant until it gets uncomfortable, then you just want to get the baby out as soon as possible!
Kay - I hope you've had a chance to look at yesterday's post where I talked about using 'even'. Have a look at the position of it in each of the sentences and see if you can figure out the rule. I'll let you know on Tuesday!
Sanja - thanks for all the compliments! :-) I hope you found my answer to your question about the TOEFL test useful. Silwal wrote something interesting about it too in one of his comments - have a look.
Diema - well done for doing the preposition homework - just a couple to double check. Keep it up!
Paulraj - thanks for all the information you gave about joint families, it was very interesting. I think there are all sorts of social changes happening in India at the moment, particularly in the metros, like you said. It seems like the social structure is becoming more similar to what it's like in the UK - fewer joint families (there are hardly any of these in the UK, except perhaps amongst British Asian families), higher rates of divorce and a lack of responsibility taken for aging parents. I I have always been fascinated by how interlinked the lives of people in Indian families are compared to in the UK where some people only see their grandparents once a year at Christmas. t's quite sad in some ways I think, don't you?
Adek - that's a good question. 'How about' can indeed be followed by the gerund, but then it must go directly after it, without a subject in between: e.g. 'How about telling us a bit about...' This is fine as long as the subject is clear. If not, then you can use the structure like this: how about + subject + verb, like I have used it. Here's another example: how about we go to the cinema tomorrow? And yes, it was quite cold when that photo was taken - it gets really cold here in Delhi in the winter. Boiling hot in the summer and freezing in the winter - it's a bit crazy!
Farzan - that’s an interesting question. You can say ‘I want to go to London early next week’ or ‘I want to go to London at the beginning of next week’. For later on the week you can say the opposite: ‘I want to go to London late next week’ or ‘I want to go to London at the end of next week’. Hope this helps! Your writing is quite good – have a look at the tips I wrote at the top of this post.
Monica - thanks for all your lovely comments! I looked through all my photos but couldn’t find one of a Gulmohar tree. I’ll see if I can take one this week though and post it for you :-) I love the name that you have in Portuguese for sticky rice – that’s so funny! I’ll try and post that recipe soon, ooh and you’ve given me a good idea for a subject for a post – I’ll write something about languages in India soon and my experiences of it… I also had a c-section with Louie and it looks likely that I will have another one with this baby although I will try not to! This baby will also be born in Delhi. The doctors here are also quite keen on doing c-sections… in England it’s the opposite because it’s free healthcare and they don’t want to spend money unnecessarily! What to do?
Adriana - thanks for posting your answers to the homework – keep reading (and writing)!
Myen - yes, that’s right – Gulmohar Park is named after the trees because there are so many of them here. As I said to Monica, I’ll try and post a picture of one soon. Next year we’re planning on moving back to England, probably in March. I love living in India but I miss my family and friends in England and am looking forward to being closer to them. Well done on the homework and for correcting your mistake!
Ahmed - thanks for all your comments. Sorry I can’t point out all your mistakes – there aren’t very many of them though! You have a good vocabulary. Well done on the homework. And I’m glad you’re enjoying the blog!
Trang - your writing’s not that bad! See the comments I made at the beginning of this post with some tips for improving writing. I’ll see if I can answer your query about those question words (ask, recommend, require, etc.) in a later blog… Meanwhile, try having a look in the dictionary and seeing if you can write some sentences with them.
Mauricio - no, it’s not that my landlord’s son is not keen on living with his father – he already does! I think he just doesn’t want to settle down and get married! Glad you are enjoying the blog :-)
Wisarut - it’s nice to hear it’s raining in Thailand too. Guess what? My parents lived in Khon Kaen in the 1970s and again after I left Thailand, from 1999-2004! I visited them there a few times, it’s a nice town. My parents aren’t Thai, both are British but they have been associated with Thailand through work and study since they were in their twenties. My favourite meal is gaeng kiew wan jae and I LOVE kanom krok!
Yasser - I work at the British Council in New Delhi! I wonder who your teacher was?! I’m sure I know him. Glad to hear you have been enjoying classes there… keep reading and writing!
Stevieboy - I think you mean ‘having said that’. You use it when you are about to say something that is opposite to what you have just said. So for example, ‘I think you will do well on the test. Having said that, you still need to study a lot’. Does that help?
Hyoshil - I haven’t heard of BiBim Bap – I’ll ask my friend to make it for me one day, it sounds delicious :-) Glad you’re enjoying the blog and I’ll pass on your regards to Louie!
Marianna - thanks for your lovely comments and it’s nice to have you back with us! I’m always amazed by how many different countries are represented by our readers, it really is incredible, isn’t it?
Suchitra - thanks for writing! Hmm… that’s an interesting question. The biggest difference between US and UK English is the vocabulary – we use some words differently and some words the other type doesn’t have at all. Also spellings are sometimes different and also grammar. For example, US English doesn’t use the present perfect tense as often as we do in UK English. They tend to use the past simple instead. For example ‘I did it’, instead of ‘I have done it’.
David - Wow! What a compliment! I think the reason you have difficulty understand some people is probably because you’re less exposed to those accents. Try and watch films made in different countries with actors from different places (speaking in English of course) and this will help. I think everyone finds some accents difficult to understand, even I do! There are even some British accents which I have to listen very carefully to before I completely get what they’re saying… it’s not just you!
Filippo - hmm.. that's difficult. I don't really have much of a sweet tooth although I do like chocolate cake every now and then! I think if I had to choose I'd go for savoury foods...
Moham - well we've kind of chosen some names but they're secret! So perhaps the maths teachers have the right idea! :-) I'm glad you're enjoying the blog. Have a look at my comments above for some ideas on improving your writing.
Robert - thanks for writing. Have a look at the tips I’ve given at the top of this post for improving your writing skills – hopefully they should help you… Don’t worry about making mistakes! Try keeping a diary in English too so that you have lots of practice. That should also help.
Sorry if I’ve missed anyone out! Vocabulary definitions etc. coming tomorrow…
All the best,
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