Something new to read, every day

Posted by on May 8, 2013 in Reading |

Every weekday morning, I get an email from Delancey Place.  It’s a non-profit organisation that sends short excerpts from non-fiction books and if you buy the book through the link they provide to Amazon, they make a donation to children’s literacy programmes.  For me, it’s a short piece of good writing I can enjoy when I have a 5 minute break in my day.  For you, it could be a nice way to have a broad choice of things to read in English. In the email from 1 May, you can read a very negative reaction to the introduction of technology into the classroom… from Plato!  He says that writing “is an aid not to memory, but to reminiscence, and you give your disciples not truth, but only the semblance of truth; they will be hearers of many things and will have learned nothing; they will appear to be omniscient and will generally know nothing; they will be tiresome company, having the show of wisdom without the reality.”  Write that in your speaking exam and let me know what score you get! You can subscribe to the Delancey Place emails on either of the links above or directly on this page.  Happy...

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This I Believe–Essays from ordinary Americans

Posted by on May 2, 2013 in Listening, Reading, Writing |

It’s difficult to become a good writer without spending a lot of time reading good writing.  And I think we all know the quality of most of the writing on Facebook and Instagram.  So where do you find good writing that’s not 350 pages long? One place where you can read (and listen to!) short essays about hundreds of different topics is at This I Believe.  The website is a revived version of a radio programme in the 1950s where people could listen to essays from famous people talking about their beliefs and motivations.  The new version of the show is similar except the essays are by people from all walks of life.  The goal of the programme–as the Executive Producer says on the about page,–is “not to persuade Americans to agree on the same beliefs. Rather, the hope is to encourage people to begin the much more difficult task of developing respect for beliefs different from their own.” Start reading and listening to essays at This I Believe now! Check the other posts I’ve written about places to read good writing: blogs daily news sites weekly or monthly news sites...

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There is no “I” in academic writing

Posted by on Apr 26, 2013 in Writing |

The obligation to write in the correct style does not only apply to examinations.  The author of this article is struggling with the rigid constraints of academic style.  I am having the same struggle as I complete my master’s degree.  It’s very strange having to write about what I think without being allowed to use the word “I”! But unfortunately, this is just the way things are.  This is the style and fighting against it will only get me a bad mark.  There are a number of complex social reasons behind the different styles we write in, and part of successful writing is knowing how to manipulate styles effectively.  When you’re preparing for your exam, make sure you are familiar with the type of styles that will appear on the test!  Check my writing tips for the CAE and the IELTS to be sure you are...

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IELTS Speaking Criteria

Posted by on Apr 23, 2013 in IELTS Speaking Assessment, Speaking |

You have probably read a lot about what you need to do to get a good score on the IELTS speaking test.  Unfortunately, a lot of this information is hard to understand.  But the British Council has recently published a series of videos that I think really explains these requirements well.  In the IELTS speaking test, you will be given scores in 4 areas: Fluency & Coherence Lexical Range Grammatical Accuracy Pronunciation To understand exactly what is included (and not included) in each of these categories, watch the videos on the British Council’s Teach IELTS...

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Write emails easily with a new app

Posted by on Apr 17, 2013 in Grammar, Learning Websites, Writing |

Email Writer is a new app for iPhone, iPad and Android which will allow you to select from thousands of sentence combinations so you can write your business emails quickly and easily.  Sometimes you don’t want to look for the right preposition or expression when you’re in a hurry and this app will be a huge help in those situations.  Watch the video to see how it works! The maker of the app also runs The Business English Blog with regular updates, exercises and activities.  If you need to practice business English, I recommend checking it...

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