English for Everyone

<b>English for Everyone</b>
Stephen Lau's website to help you get the wisdom to live as if everything is a miracle.

Thursday, December 27, 2018

How to Expand Your Writing

To write effectively, you must know not only how to write correct sentences but also how to use your sentences to expand and develop your ideas. 

Develop Your Topic 

After introducing your topic, you begin to develop it by giving it more substance. Before you do that, you need to help your readers follow the flow of thought, which is expressed in the following: 

Point of View 

This relates to how you present a subject. It can be explicit or implicit; it can be personal or impersonal.

Personal tone: You play the role of the writer openly and directly. In this approach, you frequently use I, me, and my.

Impersonal tone: You keep your personality below the surface.

Your point of view should be stated or implied in the opening paragraph, and maintained consistently throughout your writing. Remember the following:

Select your point of view appropriate to your subject.

Establish your point of view in the beginning paragraph.

Maintain your point of view consistently. 

Tone 

This reflects your personality in your writing. Your tone is inevitably implied in the choice of words you use, how you use them, and their arrangement within your writing. You reveal your tone towards your subject (it can be objective, subjective, or even angry), and towards your reader (it can be assertive or intimate). 

Plan Your Writing

 Begin your statement of purpose

Now that you have pulled in all your ideas for what you are going to write, begin your statement of purpose. Writing one to two paragraphs describing what you are going to say.

Remember the following:

This statement of purpose is for yourself, not your readers.

You have to think about what you can say before you can think of what you are going to say. 

Ideas have to be sought, and then arranged accordingly. 

Writing the Introduction 

Introductions serve the following purposes:

Setting the tone of your writing

Defining your purpose

Drawing your readers into your writing

Ways for effective introductions

Begin with a relevant quotation that leads to the subject.

Begin with some background information that leads to the subject.

Begin with a relevant question that leads to the subject.

Begin with directly speaking to your readers in an imaginary situation related to the subject.

Begin with a relevant anecdote that leads to your subject.

What to avoid in introductions

Avoid making obvious general statements.

Avoid making personal statements, such as the use of I.

Avoid making statements that lead to nowhere. 

Planning the Outline 

Divide your subject with all its ideas into major parts, and then into subparts. Your plan provides a guideline for you. You can always update and make changes to your outline.

Expanding the Writing

You expand your writing by giving it more substance in different paragraphs, with a topic sentence in each.

A good topic sentence is concise and emphatic.

e.g. The United States is now in an economic expansion.

A topic sentence can be in the form of a rhetorical question.

e.g. Why do people go into debt?

A topic sentence is generally placed in the beginning or near the beginning of a paragraph. 

Writing the Draft

Write your draft, which is an early version of your writing. Keep writing, and don’t worry about making mistakes in your choice of words or in sentence structure. Just keep on writing, editing, and revising.

In revising, read slowly, and read aloud so that you see as well as hear your words. Revision makes you more thoughtful and critical of what you have written; you will spot mistakes in punctuation, spelling and typing, lack of clarity, or inconsistency.

Stephen Lau
Copyright© by Stephen Lau

Monday, December 24, 2018

Why Learn Slang

Language is forever changing. What is currently acceptable or popular may be replaced by something else in years to come, and the use of slang is a strong testament to that. Slang is just an alternative way of saying something. It is sometimes hard to identify what is slang and what is not. Slang and colloquial expressions are often acceptable in informal writing because they are used in communication in movies, newspapers, radio, television, and the media.

Easy on the eye: good looking.
e.g. I say, your girlfriend is easy on the eye.

Beefcake: a muscular man.
e.g. She has been dating a beefcake.
e.g. He goes to the gym regularly because he wants to be a beefcake.

Caught short: caught at a disadvantage.
e.g. The market plunged, and we were caught short just as thought we were on the road to recovery..

Daylight robbery: too costly.
e.g. That’s daylight robbery; to pay $300 just to fix this!

Not in the same street: of a different quality (usually inferior).
e.g. These two dresses may look similar, but they are not in the same street. This one looks much more elegant than that one.

Alive and kicking: in good health.
e.g. "How is your grandmother doing?" "Very much alive and kicking."

Bad shot: wrong guess.
e.g. “He came with his wife, didn’t he?” “Bad shot: he came all by himself.”

Not so dusty: quite good.
e.g. Well the performance was not so dusty; much better than I expected.

Whistle for: wish in vain.
e.g. The stock market has fallen sharply. You can whistle for your money invested.

Break a leg: good luck!
e.g. "I'll have my first piano competition tomorrow." "Break a leg!"


Stephen Lau

Copyright© by Stephen Lau

Thursday, December 20, 2018

Learning English Resources

American Idioms

Far cry from: very different from
e.g. Your achievement this time is a far cry from your previous one.

Sit on one’s hands: refuse to give any help
e.g. When we needed your help; you just sat on your hands.

Alive and kicking: living and healthy; okay
e.g. I had been sick for some time, but now I am alive and kicking.”
e.g. “How are you?” “Well, alive and kicking.”

Slang and Colloquial Expressions

Pardon my French: excuse my bad language.
e.g. Please pardon my French: I was so angry with his remarks.

All the rage: fashionable.
e.g. Wearing a hat will be all the rage this summer.

Slow on the uptake: slow to understand.
e.g. I'm a bit slow on the uptake. Can you explain it once more?

Choice of Words

Await / Wait

Await means wait for an event, an occurrence, or a development; it does not require a preposition, such as for. Wait always carries the preposition for.

e.g. We await your decision.

e.g. The people were awaiting the outcome of the election.

e.g. He is waiting for your reply.

e.g. Don't wait for me; just go ahead.
  
Prepositional Words and Phrases

Follow on: die at a date later than someone.
e.g. His wife passed away. He followed on a few months later.

Follow through: continue to supervise.
e.g. I hope someone would follow through on this project until its completion.

Follow up:  check something out.
e.g. Please follow up this lead, and see what will happen next.

Stephen Lau
Copyright© by Stephen Lau

                                Learning and Mastering English


Monday, December 17, 2018

Confusing Words

ARISE RISE

Arise: appear; begin.
e.g. When he was just about to call 911, a few men in uniform arose.

Rise: appear above the horizon; get out of bed.
e.g. The sun rises in the east.
e.g. He rises very early every morning.

RUSTY / RUSTIC

Rusty: corrode (covered with rust); weaken.
e.g. The iron gate has become rusty.
e.g. My grandfather's memory has become rusty.
e.g. Please pardon my rusty French.

Rustic: like the countryside.
e.g. We all enjoyed the rustic views from hilltop.

MEDICATED / MEDICINAL

Medicated: containing medicine.
e.g. Please apply this medicated gauze onto your wound.

Medicinal: having the power to cure.
e.g. He took some medicinal herbs for his cold.

PREVENTABLE / PREVENTIVE

Preventable: can be avoided.
e.g. The accident was preventable if you were more cautious.

Preventive: protective.
e.g. These are preventive measures from head injury.

BULK / HULK

Bulk: in large quantities; the greater part of..
e.g. His business was selling wheat in bulk.
e.g. The billionaire gave the bulk of his estate to charity.

Hulk: a big, clumsy person.
e.g. If you do nothing to your obesity, you will soon become a hulk.

Stephen Lau

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Expressions Commonly Confused By ESL Learners


EXPRESSIONS COMMONLY CONFUSED BY ESL LEARNERS

DRIFT


Drift apart
: separate slowly.


e.g. He drifted apart from his friends and lived a secluded life.


Drift back
: go back to someone or something slowly.


e.g. He drifted back to her former girlfriend, and they were married.


Drift off to sleep
: fall asleep gradually.


e.g. He sat on the sofa, and finally drifted off to sleep.


ARGUE


Argue about: dispute or quarrel with someone over.


e.g. They often argue about racial injustice over the dinner table.


Argue against: make a case against someone or something.


e.g. My wife and I often argue against what is best for our child.

EASE


Ease someone of something: to relieve or reduce someone of something.


e.g. The doctor eased me of my back pain.


Ease off: diminish; let up doing something.


e.g The rain has eased off; we'd better leave now.


e.g. Come on, he's just a kid. Ease off!


DIFFER

Differ about: disagree about.


e.g  We differ about who should be the next president.


Differ from: be different from


e.g. How does this one differ from that one?


Differ in: be different in a specific way.


e.g. This one and that one differ in color.


Differ with: disagree with.


e.g. I differ with you on many things.


Stephen Lau

Copyright© by Stephen Lau


Monday, December 10, 2018

Why Learn Colloquial Expressions


WHY LEARN SLANG AND COLLOQUIAL EXPRESSIONS

Language is forever changing. What is currently acceptable or popular may be replaced by something else in years to come, and the use of slang is a strong testament to that. Slang is just an alternative way of saying something. It is sometimes hard to identify what is slang and what is not. Colloquial expressions are often acceptable in informal writing because they are used in communication in movies, newspapers, radio, television, and other mass media The more you learn, the more you will know when to use or not to use them in your formal writing. No matter what, knowing these common everyday expressions is a plus for all ESL learners.


Easy mark: a likely victim.


e.g. If you are so unsuspecting, you may become an easy mark for swindlers.


Go the whole hog: go through thoroughly.


e.g. The prosecutor went the whole hog when he inspected the murder weapon.


Dead from the neck upwards: stupid.


e.g. Don’t follow his example; he’s dead from the neck upwards.


Nod is as good as a wink: take note of the hint.


e.g. I think he was trying to tell you to resign; a nod is as good as a wink.


After a fashion: in a way, but not the best one.


e.g. I can play the piano—well, after a fashion.


Bazillion: a great number of.


e.g. The national debt is now in bazillion dollars, and the Congress needs to do something about that.


No way: not at all.


e.g. “Are you going to give him a hand?” “No way; he’ll be on his own.”


Chip on one’s shoulder: a grudge against.


e.g. She still has a chip on her shoulder: your infidelity some years ago. 


Ace someone out: win out over someone.


e.g. I plan to ace him out in the first round of the competition.


No two ways about it: no other alternative.


e.g. The man had to file for bankruptcy; no two ways about it.


Stephen Lau

Copyright© by Stephen Lau



Thursday, December 6, 2018

Right Attitudes for Effective Writing


Effective writing begins with a desire not only to write but also to write well. Desire galvanizes your efforts to improve your writing skill no matter what.


First of all, embrace the right attitudes to learning effective writing:


Improving your writing skill takes time and effort. You cannot master it overnight.


Overcome any negative attitude you may have, such as “I’m not good in English” or “English is never my strong subject.” Negative thinking may adversely affect your mindset and mental capability to write effectively. Always be positive about your ability to write well. After all, it is just a skill, and it is learnable.


Dispel the myth that a writer is born, not made. Writing is no more than a skill that can be acquired, learned, and taught.


Develop self-confidence that you, too, can acquire effective writing through the following:


Learning the basics of writing


Following clear instructions


Looking at samples of effective writing


Practicing writing regularly


With confidence, you will become more willing to express yourself, instead of worrying about making mistakes. It is better to write with mistakes than not to be able to write at all. Remember this: a creator is worth all the critics.

What separates EFFECTIVE WRITING Made Simple from other books on how to improve your writing skill?


First, this book is presented in a simple and easy-to-follow format: it is easy to read and understand. Second, this book is comprehensive: it covers every aspect of good writing—from basic grammar, correct sentences, effective use of words, paragraph development, to style and usage. With many examples and illustrations, this book is like a handy manual at your fingertips for easy reference. Effective writing is an essential communication skill in inter-personal relationships and in almost every profession.


Stephen Lau

Copyright© by Stephen Lau