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04 December 2009

Advanced Use of English Part 4

Practise sentence transformation for CAE from Hibernia in Czech Republic. Still valid for 2015 exam.

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26 November 2009

Advanced Use of English Part 3

Word formation practice from Hibernia here. You can also use the FCE material added on 25 November.

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25 November 2009

Things to Remember 2: Space...

Presentation Matters

Remember, there is a Distance Test for writing. Can you -
  1. - count the number of paragraphs in your writing from a couple of metres away?
  2. - get someone to tell you what it is (letter, article) from how it looks from a distance?
Stand on the far side of your living room and look at your writing to check!

First USe of English Part 4

Extra practice on word formation here.

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24 November 2009

Formal vs. Informal Language


Reports, proposals, letters and Emails - all of them need some level of formal English at times. Try the exercises in this page of the Flo Joe website for some practice of vocabulary and structures.
Come back to us with doubts and questions.

23 November 2009

First: Writing a Story

Story writing in 180 word is a challenge. Amongst other things, you need to think about

  1. - Am I writing first or third person? (It may depend on the question).
  2. - Should I use a formal or informal tone?
  3. - What kind of linking words do I need?
  4. - Which vocabulary is the target?
  5. - Which grammar is the target?
  6. - Which vocabulary will impress?
Here's one:
"I had never felt so nervous before in my life...!"
Write your story (around 120-180 words).
What do think would be the answers to 1-6 above?

Here are our answers to the points above - (roll over to see them)
  1. First person
  2. Probably informal - it sounds like an anecdote.
  3. As a result, lots of informal linking - avoid long ones like furthermore/nevertheless
  4. Past tenses (note the option to go into reported speech and third conditional or wish)
  5. words connected to nervous
  6. Phrasal Verbs, as always
For ideas and inspiration you could do worse than take a look at some minisagas. Visit the British Council's mini-saga website. Mini - sagas - stories - central - British Council - LearnEnglish.

19 November 2009

Advanced: Use of English Part 3

All the fun of Brian's favourite - word formation! - with a CAE Part 3 from Hibernia in Czech Republic.

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18 November 2009

FCE Use of English Part 2

An example of an Open Cloze test from Hibernia in the Czech Republic.

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12 November 2009

Formality: Giving Bad News


Some excellent work from Advanced tonight (but, confession time, some terribly untidy boardwork by the teacher) produced this superb formalised version of

"I can't..."

Unfortunately, I'm afraid I have to tell you it looks like we may not be able to...

OK, it's too much for one sentence really, but lots of useful bad news English. Good work everyone!


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10 November 2009

Things to Remember 1: Dot, dot, dot...

Something we see in homework quite a lot: lists or groups of examples finishing with three dots like this...

Be careful! Unless you actually want to give the impression

"the rest of the list is obvious"
or
"You know how this sentence will end, so I don't need to finish it for you"
always use words - and so on or amongst others are two options.

Advanced: Collocations

Collocations and Emphasis

Some vocabulary work this week. Visit this page and take a look through the many collocations on offer. You should stop reading when you reach

"Here are example sentences"
We want you to have a a go at writing your own sentences before you look at the examples!

Think about the type of writing - Letter, Report, Email, Article, Essay, Review - and how you might fit the collocation in to your work. Examples from us next week.

06 November 2009

First: Formal Letters and Emails

Go here for a good collection of language.

So, on the page above, can you find, in order:
  1. As many variations as possible on the word satisfy.
  2. A phrase for as a result
  3. A word for topic
  4. A phrase inviting someone to contact you
  5. A formal verb for ask
  6. An alternative to regarding
  7. A very impressive substitute for I can't
And, as a more difficult challenge, can you find any word order that is formal? This is pretty tricky but there are examples there. Feedback next week.

04 November 2009

First: Use of English Part 3

You are (or will soon be) working on word formation exercises around now. Here's some extra practice from Hibernia.

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02 November 2009

First and Advanced: Informal Letters

Feedback from recent homework

Things to take care of informal letters. Think about why.
  1. First sentences should - what?
  2. Three dots at the end of a sentence - good or bad?
  3. What are some of the magic words for making your paragraphs flow?
  4. Imperatives. "Answer me, then we can organise our trip." Informal?
  5. Abbreviations "BTW" and emoticons ";-)" Appropriate?
  6. Final sentences should - what?
  7. What's white space for?
  8. "Look(ing) forward to +?"
  9. "Kisses"
  10. Make a list of items to check in your final 5 or ten minutes.

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26 October 2009

First Linking Words

Some interactive linking words practice for FCE here.

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21 October 2009

Informal Emails: More Information

Here's a useful document we found on the internet with lots of information about informal letters and emails and a couple of examples that might help you.

If you're writing for Cambrtidge exams you should not include addresses in your work.

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17 October 2009

Advice for all your Planning

The photo is not very good, so here's what you need to remember

- the question is king
- obey word limits
- be the writer not "a student"
- write to the recipient, not (usually) the teacher
- make it look right from a distance
- Experiment - risk-taking is good
- use your student book and online resources intelligently














Questitions or comments welcome

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04 March 2009

Advanced: Essay Planning Advice

Some keywords when writing essays. Can you predict the advice they come from?

Outline what at the start?
Start with an interesting what?
Main paragraphs start with topic what?
In main paragraphs, give detailed what?
After your main paragraphs, you may have a summery or a summary one?
You might finish with...what?

Go here for one method you might like to adapt to CAE length.

20 January 2009

First: Essays

Some questions about essays for you to think about.
  1. How should you start and finish your first paragraph?
  2. What could you put at the start of the following paragraphs?
  3. If you give examples in your paragraphs, what should they be?
  4. What does the final paragraph do?
  5. What could come after the final paragraph?
Go here for advice on what to put in your paragraphs. Remember that at First you have a word limit of around 150, so your number of paragraphs will be restricted to 4 or maybe 5.