Connectors and Comparisons

Have you heard of “linking language”? These are words that connect two sentences. It’s important to know how to use linking language because they help you change the flow and rhythm of your writing style. More importantly, they connect two ideas. In other words, linking language helps you explain more complex ideas and express more nuance. If you don’t use linking language, your sentences are possibly short or disconnected in terms of rhythm and ideas. Mastering linking language shows you know how to logically connect ideas.

Below is a chart of linking language, or connectors, you can try. Read the original  article by Kenneth Beare for more explanation about what connectors are and how to use them: Sentence Connectors and Sentences – Showing Comparison. Recommended for intermediate to advanced learners (Levels 400+).

TYPE OF CONNECTOR

CONNECTOR(S)

EXAMPLES

Coordinating Conjunction and…too High level positions are stressful, and can be harmful to your health too.

Customers are satisfied with our sales, and they feel our marketing team is friendly too. 

Subordinating conjunction just as Just as high level positions are stressful, they can be harmful to your health.

Just as students need a vacation from studies, employees require some downtime in order to bring their best efforts to work.

Conjunctive adverbs similarly, in comparison High level positions are stressful at times. Similarly, they can be harmful to your health.

Students from Asian countries tend to be excellent at grammar. In comparison, European students often excel in conversational skills. 

 

Prepositions like, similar to Similar to other important professions, high level business positions are stressful at times.

Like the healthy pursuit of free time activities, success in the workplace or at school is essential to a well-rounded individual. 

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Thinking Critically in English

As you learn English, you’ll notice that you’re not only learning the language in terms of grammar rules–you’re learning how to analyze the academic content, and the world in general, through a different lens. English and the associated culture interprets the world differently from how your native language and culture does. It’s important to keep an open mind with these differences so we can progress new ideas and build partnerships across borders. In other words, critical thinking is a useful skill to develop across all languages to better understand the world and one another. As an English learner now, try to improve on your critical thinking with 5 tips from the Ted-Ed video below (press CC on the bottom right for subtitles). Recommended for intermediate to advanced learners (Levels 400+).

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A very close look at English verbs

Have you noticed that there are different categories or kinds of verbs? What divides them into different kinds though? Here’s an article that explains in-depth about the kinds of verbs we have in the English language: “10 Types of Verbs (and Counting)” 

Check it out and learn how to use verbs and grammar even better! Recommended for intermediate to advanced learners (Levels 400+).

The Language of Graphs and Charts

Throughout the quarter, many of you are doing presentations. You might be using graphs and charts in them too, and it can be difficult to describe them because you don’t often use them in your daily life. In other words, the language used to describe graphs and charts can be unfamiliar. Here’s a useful article “Language of Graphs and Charts”. You can practice using the phrases from the article for your next presentation! Recommended for intermediate to advanced learners (Levels 400-800/EAP and EIB).


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Small Talk with English Club

Winter quarter is just starting, and many of you are meeting new classmates and teachers. Now is the perfect time for making “small talk.” Small talk is pleasant conversation about general topics and common interests. It’s a good way to begin making friends. English Club has a great page for learning small talk (recommended for Levels 300+). As they explain,

In most English-speaking countries, it is normal and necessary to make “small talk” in certain situations. Small talk is a casual form of conversation that “breaks the ice” or fills an awkward silence between people. Even though you may feel shy using your second language, it is sometimes considered rude to say nothing. Just as there are certain times when small talk is appropriate, there are also certain topics that people often discuss during these moments.

Read through English Club‘s lesson on small talk, do their practice exercises, and take the quiz here:


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70 ways to improve your English

Fall Quarter will finish soon, and in the long Winter Break, don’t let your English get rusty. There’s lots of interesting and fun ways for you to continue improving your English. Many of them can be done in your daily routine and hobbies! Take a look at this list of 70 ways to improve your English. You’re probably doing some of them already, but it’s always great to find new things to try. Recommended for all levels.

We’ll be on Winter Break for about a month after next week. Check back on January 10, 2017 for updates.

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Benefits of a Bilingual Brain

As English learners, you’re on your way to being bilingual, or even multilingual! Of course, with each additional language, you’ll have more ways to communicate. But have you thought how else being bilingual benefits you? For the curious, watch the TED-Ed video below, in which “Mia Nacamulli details the three types of bilingual brains and shows how knowing more than one language keeps your brain healthy, complex and actively engaged.” Click on CC to watch with subtitles (it’ll be helpful for the more scientific parts). Recommended for intermediate to advanced learners (Levels 400+).

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Additional Announcement

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Happy Thanksgiving on Thursday! We’ll also be on holiday, so check back Tuesday, Nov. 29 for the next update.

English with Lingualeo

Studying with apps are convenient and can help you study anytime and anywhere. Lingualeo is a grammar app that offers a lot of support:

Regardless of their current level of English, users will find useful exercises and materials in the app:

  • over 200 TED lectures with interactive subtitles
  • 7 trainings in game format for expanding vocabulary
  • 23 English grammar courses
  • over 100,000 texts, articles and excerpts
  • over 50 word kits with pictures, transcriptions and sound recordings
  • ability to practice without an internet connection
  • automatically synced with LinguaLeo.com

Try it out for Android or iOS (iPhone/iPad). Recommended for all learners.

App Screenshots:

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How to Write a Summary

For English students learning how to summarize, check out this video on how to write one; it explains the things you should and shouldn’t do for an effective academic summary. Apply these tips the next time you read a text. Recommended for intermediate to advanced learners (Levels 400+).

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The Good and the Bad

For many English learners who study in the U.S., it may be difficult adapt to an American classroom because the teaching and learning styles are different. One difference may be in how mistakes are corrected. Specifically, American teachers may not correct all of your speaking mistakes. You’re probably wondering, why not? Doesn’t correcting all your mistakes help you? Actually, that’s not always the case. Everyone makes mistakes, even native speakers. These mistakes don’t always mean that you don’t understand certain grammar points, and sometimes they even help your learning process.

Here’s a great article on why some teachers don’t correct all your speaking mistakes for good and bad reasons. If your teacher is an example of the good reasons, then great! You’re in good hands. But if you notice your teacher is an example of the bad reasons, try talking to your teacher and work out a better learning approach together; clear communication is an important way to work through these problems and improve your learning. This article is recommended for intermediate to advanced learners (Levels 400-800/EAP).

Article preview:

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Continue reading here.


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